Friday, July 29, 2011

friday dance - high kick pow!

so, following in the "i'm not supposed to like this" path...

dancer/choreographer kyle hanagami tweeted about jonte's (HUGE in japan, unknown to me) song High Kick Pow. so of course, i checked out the video (watch the language):

next up, i heard robyn's song konichiwa bitches:

after seeing hok and moon perform this choreo:

they're catchy tunes... i checked a couple of other jonte and robyn videos and i don't think these songs/singers make any horrifying orientalist gaffs like nicki minaj or gwen stefani but they did make me pause for a minute to think about it...

in the MVs, all references to asian culture are so *not* serious... save for the "don't get me mad, cuz imma hurt you LIKE AN ASIAN PERSON" theme in both songs... and again, jonte is HUGE in japan - and i dunno... maybe his fan base is ok w/ that stereotype... but still the videos beg the question, what's the point of referencing asian culture at all - in language, costume and/or stage dressing? is it or isn't it relevant/necessary to get the artist's statement across?

ennyhoo... i'm taking the blue pill and dancing now... and you should join me. happy friday!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

project restyle - bunnies on the move...

another finished project for project restyle?? crazy, i know... :)

the backstory: two (lindy hop dancing) friends are leaving chicago. *SOB* *sniffles*

so, i felt like i should make something instead of incessantly boo hooing... and i make cute bunnies: see here and here and my very close friends call me bunny and one of my fave children's books is little bunny on the move - about a bunny, on the move, determined to find/go home. :')

ennyhoo... every once in a while i see 80s kid's bedding at the thrift store... i was hoping to find some rainbow brite print - cuz that woulda been HILARIOUS... this was the closest i got - a kid's pj top:

which was a super soft rainbow and stars print knit... :) and i had this other fabric scrap at home - and the blues/lavenders actually matched... win!

and... here are the finished bunnies (click to enlarge) - the clouds/rainbow bunny will be travelling to singapore and the yellow kitten print bunny will be journeying to nyc. :'(

i gave the bunnies & said goodbye to my friends on monday. and although i know they're moving on to new and exciting chapters in their lives - i felt really empty afterward. :( but seeing and writing about the bunnies again kinda makes me feel better today... clearly, i made them for me and not just my dear friends...

thanks for coming by and reading... hope you had a lovely wednesday!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

paloma's summer reading @chipublib

paloma finished reading her 10th chapter book for the chicago public library summer reading program, "book beats"! i'm SO proud! i can't believe this is her fourth year participating in the program. she reads voraciously throughout the year. i can't keep up with what she reads... kinda makes me nervous... but what i like about the summer reading program is that she actually has to give an oral book report/review on each book she's read. she's really very good at it too.

she started in 2007 back at the beverly branch... we read 25 picture books together. :) in 2009, she participated in the program by herself - reading 10 chapter books. :)

i spent most of my elementary school days in the chicago public libraries. it feels very rewarding that not only is she an avid reader, she spends a fair amount of time at some of the same branches i spent hours in as a child/teen.

this year is also porkchop's first year in the program. we have nine books left, until he's reached his 25! his book reports are also impressive - he remembers such minute details... :)

ennyhoo... here's her list of books if you're curious (i linked to some reviews i found)... :)

1) ninjas, pirahnas & galileo by greg leitch smith

2) odysseus in the serpent maze by jane yolen

3) shredderman 1 : secret identity by wendelin van draanen

4) shredderman 2: attack of the tagger by wendelin van draanen

5) sugar plum ballerinas #3: perfectly prima by whoopi goldberg

6) the sea dog by jenny dale

7) chocolate fever by r.k. smith

8) the unseen by z.k. snyder

9) wizard at work by v. velde

10) the higher power of lucky by susan patron

thanks for coming by and reading!

oh yeah, what are you reading right now? i just picked up the girl with glass feet by ali shaw today at the library. and i'm finishing up city of fallen angels by cassandra clare.

happy thursday!!

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

project restyle - work that skirt

zomg... it's been so long since i posted about sewing... i've been doing a lot of alterations for friends, no planned projects as of late... but i eeked out a new one for project restyle!

we moved to a new apartment and my sewing room is now in the basement. and although, it's a lovely room, it's in the basement... outta sight, outta mind...

however, here in chicago, it's summer and i realized i didn't have much in the way of summer wear... and my pocketbook has been feeling a little thin as well... i ended up cutting up some XL tees into sleeveless tops to wear to my hip hop class... and then, after perusing generation T - i got the idea in my head to copy a dance skirt i have w/ tees for hot nights at swing at fizz.

i wasn't sure what i was looking for, but i realized that alot of the colors of the tees weren't going to match.... and then i came across these two tie dye shirts... although i was looking for XLs - one was a S and the other was a M. they we're $1.80 ea. i measured them and it turned out that they would fit my hips just fine:

the fronts had a hideous sports club screen print on it, but i figure that that portion could be hidden when i made that section into the waistband (turned inside out)....

i also bought a new south pole tee for $4 to go with the skirt...

or i suppose i could use it as a beach cover:

i don't have a tutorial for you, but it's pretty straightforward...

* i measured up about 11" from the bottom of each tee - that made up the gathered portion of the skirt.

* the hip portion was 10" or 11" as well (top to bottom) - the backs of both tees sewn together.

* i used a 1" wide elastic, so the waistband was about 3" wide - the fronts of both tees sewn together - inside out, so the print was inside the waistband.

ennyhoo... thanks for reading! hope you're enjoying a lovely wednesday - and much much cooler than here in chicago...

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Friday, July 15, 2011

friday dance - summertime nostalgia ed.

paloma asked me the other day "what is my favorite summer memory?"

and i told her:

"eating paletas on my front steps, watching a dad on the block pry open the fire hydrant with a big ol' red wrench, then everyone screaming and playing in the water sprays and listening to the music from the boom boxes... " GOOD TIMES :)

you can take the girl out of logan square, but you can't take logan square out of the girl...

happy friday!!!!
Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Friday, July 08, 2011

friday dance - karate kid 2010 ed.

ok.... i know, i know, it's kinda wrong to like this movie... but i kinda did... :)

jaden smith - it's hard not to like him!! :) and it's his birthday today... HAPPY BIRTHDAY LITTLE DUDE!!! :)

sooooo aside from all the obvious hollywood stuff i liked about the movie - cinematography, fight choreography, story, characters, dialogue, etc... i REALLY liked the soundtrack.... however, when i went looking for a soundtrack - turns out - an official soundtrack (not the original compositions) was never released... luckily, this amazeballs blogger cobbled up a list for me... us.... :)

so, my fave tracks from the film...

jay sean - do you remember

gorillaz - dirty harry (schtung chinese new year remix)

and i distinctly remember rain's hip song played in the film, but i don't remember where...

happy friday!!

Tuzki Bunny Emoticon

Friday, July 01, 2011

friday dance - debbie downer edition

a couple of weeks ago barcelona hosted the european swing dance championships. this couple won first place in the lindy hop classic division:

when i saw this i couldn't believe what i was seeing... immediately, i felt uncomfortable and awkward and honestly, i haven't been able to watch the entire thing thru... it's meant as an "homage" to the original dance performed by whitey's lindy hoppers in the marx brothers movie "a day at the races":

what little i know (still learning) of the intersections of race and sociology and culture... the beginning of the performance just drips of cultural appropriation and minstrelsy to me... all it was missing was blackface...

please note - i don't know the dancers personally, and i'm not calling them racists. all i'm saying is this performance has racial undertones that make me feel VERY uncomfortable and angry and embarrassed...

BUT IT WON! THEY. WON. FIRST. PLACE. (i can't even wrap my head around that...)

a couple of years ago, lisa wade (PhD and lindy hopper) wrote a short and simple post (dedicated to frankie) about race and lindyhop and one of my fave blogs, racialicious re-posted it. she writes:

"...contemporary dancers look to old movie clips of famous black dancers as inspiration. And this is where things get interesting: The old clips feature profoundly talented black dancers, but the context in which they are dancing is important. Professional black musicians, choreographers, and dancers had to make the same concessions that other black entertainers at the time made. That is, they were required to capitulate to white producers and directors who presented black people to white audiences. These movies portrayed black people in ways that white people were comfortable with: blacks were musical, entertaining, athletic (even animalistic), outrageous (even wild), not-so-smart, happy-go-lucky, etc.

So what we see in the old clips that contemporary lindy hoppers idolize is not a pure manifestation of lindy hop, but a manifestation of the dance infused by racism.....

Typically they (black dancers) would have no relationship to the plot; they would occur out of nowhere and then disappear. This was so that the movie studios could edit out the scene when the movie was going to be shown to those white audiences that were hostile to seeing any positive representation of black people at all."

re: this performance as an homage. again, i refer to racialicous and this post about cultural appropriation and how one person's homage is another person's insult. tami writes:

"...There is a long history of of white musicians being inspired by black music and finding fame with an “exotic” but safer sound, while their black muses languished in obscurity. Without diminishing the impact of artists like Elvis and The Rolling Stones on the popular music scene, surely it is clear that they benefited from a culture that would never allow a bluesman like Robert Johnson to gain mainstream prominence. The fresh sounds that electrified rock audiences weren’t really so fresh, just appropriated from an artist and culture made invisible by racism..."

and from this recent post on cultural appropriation from clutch magazine:

"It’s ironic how the White girl mimicking Black culture has been viewed as quirky, cute, and interesting in the past. But sisters who fashionably rock bamboo earrings, gold nameplate necklaces, and blonde streaked weaves, will inevitably be considered “ghetto” by society."

again - two white dancers performing a routine originated by black dancers WON FIRST PLACE IN AN INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION... at first glance - i guess it's cute and charming - but in the context of WHY the original dancers wore the outfits in the first place, why and how the singers sang their songs... not so cute. not so charming... *heavy sigh* *smh*

y'know, this performance showed up at a bad time for me anyway... just bad timing all around for dance performances really... two of my fave dance crews had their routines stolen - first, les twins and then, poreotics... then... THEN this ABSOLUTE CLUSTERF*CK of immense geisha fail turned up on my TV while the paloma was watching:

F*CK YEAH! way to EMBRACE ASIAN CULTURE by throwing up that TIRED, sexy, silent geisha trope in my face, SYTYCD! i especially LOVE the stupid f*cking head bobbing at the end!! next time, don't forget the backup male dancers with the buck teeth and the cone hats... why couldn't you just stop at accepting stolen routines... GAH! i can't watch that show anymore... :(

anyway, getting back to the WINNING performance above... i don't feel that the performance deserves the award it received or the accompanying accolades... lindy hoppers (including me) - especially teachers and pro competitors - have a unique responsiblity to learn everything about the dance - including its dark and racist history. teachers should at the very least KNOW, if not TEACH, this history, in addition to teaching steps, connection, musicality, etc... no, i'm not expecting them to haul out whiteboards, powerpoints and syllabi... but i do expect them to encourage and challenge creativity, continue their own education, develop the growth of the dance, and unify an often isolated/isolating community....


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