AS A LIFESTYLE
reinve n t
a r t i $t i c
# 09 | SPRING 2009 | movmnt.com | $5.95
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West Side Highway
Message In A Bottle
9 - Spring 2009
Movmntâ€™s online mini-series hosted by former So You Think You Can Dance Finalist, Ivan Koumaev
** Stay tuned to movmnt.com for more exclusive videos, behind-the-scenes interviews, and a special blog dedicated to summer dance festivals, tours, and events.
9 - spring 2009
movmnt.com/ivan | movmnt.net | youtube.com/movmnt
9 - Spring 2009
AS A POSTER
9 - spring 2009
9 - Spring 2009
reduce... reuse... recycle... 6-
C o n str u ctio n
As you may have noticed, this issue is not a magazine, at least not in the conventional sense. We know you’re thinking, “I’m sorry, what is this??”
Well, it is a statement in the style and passion of Movmnt -- our reaction to the troubles that face both our economy and environment.
Workers for the
Holding strong to the old adage, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” we have printed this special edition of Movmnt on recycled paper like always, but also using less paper. As the globe moves forward in this digital era, so must the print industry. Movmnt is here to lead the revolution. As a testament to Movmnt’s true devotion to the world we live in, this issue is dedicated to the individual’s power of Arti$tic Reinvention, which draws on the strength of our diversity and moves us towards a better future. We want to thank all of our readers for supporting our decision to take a stand in this economically challenging and environmentally conscious time. We would also like to thank Universal News for continually supporting our green efforts by allowing Movmnt to have significantly better visibility in their stores.
twitter fromtheeditor Reinventing ourselves is an art we have learned to master. By necessity, challenge, and finally philosophy. Keeping the Movmnt spirit alive.
Editor in Chief, Movmnt Magazine
9 - spring 2009
Follow the editorâ€™s tweets @ twitter.com/movmnt
Use this code to retrieve the full magazine online at movmnt.com/reinvention
now showing: dance flick - 13 Movmnt pays tribute to the Wayans brothers’ new parody film, “Dance Flick”
yumiko takeshima - 16 Dresden SemperOper Ballet’s star takes her graceful lines to a new medium
eye of the storm - 18 Catching up with Serena Ryder
eye of the storm
swan lake revisited
Dancer VIP: marquis antioine cunningham - 43
will dance for space - 46 A look at New York City’s performance venues for emerging choreographers
connecting people - 54 Dance in the Third Dimension
History of the funky drummer - 58 The journey of the world’s most popular drum sample
we are the cause - 64 Ten Tracks that showcase music’s finest putting their sonds to charitable use in confidence... teddy forance - 66 David Benaym converses with a talented young dancer and discovers some of his true ambitions
west side highway - 30 A fashion shoot with the cast of West Side Story on Broadway
U2: no end on the horizon - 44 A celebration of U2’s everlasting career
it’s all about the ‘80s - 24 Paying homage to a cultural period of many misses, but plenty of hits what’s in a name - 26 Interview with Rap Artist, T.I.
Cover art designed by David Benaym and Anjuli Bhattacharyya
MUSIC REVIEWS - 69 Telefon Tel Aviv, Lily Allen, The Bird and the Bee, Kylie Minogue, Animal Collective, and Antony and the Johnsons
Letter From The Editor - 6 Contributors - 10
Affecting movmnt - 74
Directory - 74
the reality of broadway - 72 Can Broadway be saved from Reality TV?
Subscribe - 75 in confidence
WhatI’sn A Name
of the the
Movmnt urges you to join the refillable aluminium bottle Re:volution. As members of the artistic community, we have the duty to lead by example and stop using plastic bottles like kleenexes. We can refresh ourselves and recycle with one simple gesture: refill our own bottle.
Movmnt introduces re, an aluminium bottle that will not only save the environment, but also save you money. Log onto movmnt.com/re to get your own bottle and learn how you can get involved and join the re:generation movmnt.
9 - spring 2009
Movmnt Magazine is launching a new campaign in partnership with dance studios, conventions, competitions, and festivals to help bring awareness to our daily habits that pollute the Earth. Habits that can easily be changed by each and every one of us.
To order your own bottle click on this link:
Shaun is from the Bluegrass State, where they sip Basil Hayden ’cause it’s good to the taste buds. But on the real, he’s a 2006 University of Kentucky graduate with a degree in print journalism, and a sports reporter for The News Leader, in Staunton, Va.
9 - Spring 2009
He savored the opportunity to do an interview with T.I. for Movmnt because Shaun is, first and foremost, a hip-hop head. Shaun was the lead reviewer for the West Coast hiphop web site dubcnn.com some years ago, and an entertainment and sports writer for Caffeine and Warning magazines. He’s interviewed everybody from vert-skating legend Bob Burnquist to World Serieswinning manager Charlie Manuel, NFL Hall of Famers Art Monk and Darrell Green, Staind lead guitarist Mike Mushock, and even uberrepublican, as Shaun refers to him, Mitch “douche bag” McConnell.
Kendra Ratliff started her professional career with Movmnt and proved she could be versatile by both photographing and writing for a feature. With a degree in Studio Art, emphasis in Photography, this University of Kentucky graduate continues to use her creativity in her photography and words to tell a story. However, seeing herself a photographer first and writer second, her focus is to be behind the lens. Captivated mostly by fashion magazines and their exciting array of photographs, Kendra’s enthusiasm for editorial photography keeps her driven and dedicated to shooting portraits that convey what words sometimes cannot.
Derek Warburton, stylist to celebrities and socialites, has been a fashionista all his life. Although raised in New Hampshire, Derek left the mountains, and studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. Derek has exploded on the forefront of the fashion industry, as he has worked with Emmy award-winner, Kelly McDonald, Miranda Kerr of Victoria’s Secret, and supermodel Alek Wek. Most recently, Derek has created the original DerekLovesShopping.com, and the “How to Be DerekFabulous” workshop at Bottomless Closet NYC. dereklovesshopping.com
together AS A LIFESTYLE
movmnt.com Co-Founders David Benaym & Danny Tidwell _______________________________ Editor in Chief & Publisher David Benaym Managing Editor Anjuli Bhattacharyya Artistic Advisor: Danny Tidwell Senior Copy Editor: Matthew Murphy Associate Editors: Bruce Scott (Music), Blake Davis (Pop Culture) Consulting Editor: Gina Pero Production Editor: Schuyler Antony Whetstone Graphic Design Assistant: Goura Rivera Columnists Debbie Allen, Robert battle, Frank Conway, Mia Michaels, Alisan Porter, Mario Spinetti, Rasta Thomas Contributing Writers Amos Barshad, Rob Brock, Lauren Brown Mike Burr, Taylor Gordon, Liz Levine Contributing Photographers: Matthew Murphy Contributing Stylist: Derek Wharburton Contributing Artists: Ivan Koumaev, Travis Wall Editorial Intern: Kendra Ratliff IT Intern: Ismail Choudhury
At an early age Frank knew that he wanted to be on Broadway, but since he couldn’t really sing, dance, or act he became a lawyer instead. Suing people for money wasn’t his thing, so he got his MBA in Entertainment Marketing from USC. For four years he was part of the Magic of the Walt Disney Company marketing and synergizing for Disney Theatricals in LA and NY on Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and Aida. He was the liaison between Disney and Broadway Cares, and in 1999 came to work full-time for BC/EFA, which includes Classical Action and Dancers Responding to AIDS. While he still can’t sing, dance, or act, he now takes comfort in the title, “Producer Who Moves Well.” bcefa.org
Advertising email@example.com - Tel: +1 646 486 1128 movmnt.com/movmntmediakit.pdf Circle of Trust Vivian Nixon, Ricky Marcelino Palomino, Denise Roberts-Hurlin, Denise Wall Special Thanks for their help and support to Atlantic Records, Elizabeth Barry at EB & Associates, Cyrus Baty, Mario Corrales Jr., Christopher F. Davis, Arlette Emch, Chris Giamo, Marcelo Gomes, Justine Kawas at Universal News, David Lopatynski, Sydney Margetson, Tonya Plank, Ryan Saab, Matt Shea, Derek Warburton, Eric White, Jesse Wintermute, Rickey Yaneza at rickey.org, America’s Best Dance Crew, MTV, Street Hero, Wall-E & E-va, West Side Story on Broadway, Monsters Dance Conventions, Dancers Responding to Aids, Gendance.com, 19 Productions, Move the Film ™ is an Inc. Publication 252 Front Street - First Floor - New York, NY 10038 - USA Tel: +1 646 486 1128 - Fax: +1 646 290 9196 movmnt.com - firstname.lastname@example.org Networking movmnt.net - myspace.com/movmnt - youtube.com/movmnt flickr.com/movmnt - twitter.com/movmnt, facebook and many more
To subscribe please call Toll Free: 1 866 713 4946 Circulation customers call Curtis Circulation Company: +1 201 634 7400 All rights reserved. Movmnt is a trademark of e-maprod Inc. Reproduction in part or in full is prohibited without permission of the publisher. Movmnt welcomes new contributors but cannot be responsible for unsolicited materials. The publisher assumes no responsibility for content of advertisements. The views expressed in the magazine by contributors or editors are not necessarily those of the publisher.
Movmnt is proud to support Dancers Responding to AIDS all year long. Step into the green light Movmnt™ Magazine is a member of Green America’s Green Business Network™. Members of Green America share ideas, resources, and support for creating a truly green economy.
Issue 09 - Arti$tic reinvention - SPRING 2009
9 - Spring 2009
comic strip The love story of an Underdog Ballerina, Bebe a.k.a Special B
The Wayans Brothers, with Flick, aren’t the only ones
their anticipated release of Dance who’ve recognized the need for a little parody when it comes to dance movies. The rampant use of ridiculous clichés and unimaginative plot lines doesn’t leave anyone guessing why the bulk of dance movies have become box office flops. Movmnt pays tribute to the Wayans brothers in our very own dance movie parody... comic strip. Pick your character, live the journey, and see if you can recognize the movies whose clichés we’ve deemed parody worthy.
Underpriviledged Guy, Anfrony.
Anfrony watches Bebe, his secret love who lusts for another, from afar...
Oh Professor! I must confess...
Nobody puts Bebe in the corner... ...I’m a stripper... I must raise $22,235.65 for a dance program for troubled, yet brilliantly talented children.
And I love you!
I just can’t be associated with you anymore. You just don’t have the feet to be a real dancer, and a size 2 is just TOO big. So use it, whatever you feel, just dance it.
9 - spring 2009
Later that night in a club
I’ve never seen such amazing Take the lead and step it up for our “That’s Dancing!” street competition. You could win $22,235.69!
I could really
use that money for my mom’s rehab, but those kids....
Bebe should keep it all.
Anfrony and Bebe meet Slinky Legs and the Boombaloo Crew at the club and decide to join forces for the street competition.
Kit Kat Chikin Fingers Slinky Legs
9 - Spring 2009
Boombaloo, Bebe, and Anfrony develop a “unique” blend of hip-hop and ballet. Never before seen...
You ‘bout to get served!
Boombaloo Crew’s Rivals, the 520, see Anfrony and Bebe as a threat to the street competition.
If you enter this competition, you are never
allowed into my dance academy ever again.
And I’ll personally see to it that you never dance professionally!
The night before the competition
One of my troubled,
Oh, no! Chickin’ Fingers
yet brilliantly talented kids
got his pinky shot off
already knows the
and now is unable to
What are we going to do?
At the competition...
It is a tough call for the Bebe, Anfrony and the Boogaloo Crew’s “unique” style steals the hearts of everyone present. Who did you think was going to win? judges but
The money went to building a dance
studio for underpriviledged children, with some change to spare...
Anfrony starred in an off-off-off Broadway performance to pay for his mother’s rehab.
And Bebe is offered a principal role at the pretigious Universal Ballet Theatre.
produced by David Benaym
comic concept and design by Anjuli Bhattacharyya Goura Rivera
Meet the movies we used for inspiration All that Jazz Billy Elliot Breakin’ Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo Center Stage Center Stage 2: Turn It Up Dance Flick Dance With Me Dirty Dancing Fame Flashdance Footloose Honey How She Move Save the Last Dance Saturday Night Fever Shall We Dance? Step It Up Step It Up 2: The Streets Take the Lead The Full Monty That’s Dancing You Got Served
9 - Spring 2009
d a n c e r d e s i g n e r a r t i s t i n n o v a t o r
<< As a dancer I am always looking for a comfortable fit, because I wear these clothes all day long. >>
s the faint blue lights illuminate a woman and her partner, Max Richter’s sweet symphony of violins triggers their first move. In unison, two bodies move with powerful force across a stage where nothing else matters but their movement. Before the final applause, there’s a silence as the audience sits mesmerized. She takes her bow, he takes his, and as they walk off stage, there’s nothing left but the sound of people as they whisper, awed by the magical performance, “On the Nature of Daylight,” awed by is Yumiko Takeshima. In the piece, choreographed by Dresden SemperOper Ballet’s resident choreographer, David Dawson, principal dancers Yumiko Takeshima and Raphael Coumes-Marquet made a memorable impression, not just because of flawless pirouettes, arabesques, and grand jeté’s, but because of Yumiko’s design of sleek fitting costumes that made every muscle stand out. The Japanese native began her design career with the determination to construct an outfit a dancer wouldn’t have to pull, tug, or adjust during a rehearsal or performance. She traded a toaster for a sewing machine and started sketching different designs of leotards in her spare time, experimenting with a variety of stretchy fabrics for all shapes and sizes. Her vision and patience for perfection paid off when she finally created a leotard she could wear to class. Her fellow dancers envied Yumiko’s style and began begging for their own; this marked the beginning of a second career.
Whether sitting a table with David Dawson sketching ideas for a costume or rehearsing for a show in a studio in Germany, Yumiko has embarked on an unusual journey where she can share her two full-time passions with the whole world. Kendra Ratliff yumiko-world.com
Yumiko’s recognizable name in dance has given her an opportunity to become a brand everyone can remember. With stores in New York, Spain, Germany, and Japan alongside a long list of retailers, her fashion career has been incredibly successful. Even celebrities like Madonna, who ordered 12 Yumiko leotards for her 2008 “Sticky and Sweet” tour, are taking notice of this fashionable and flattering dancewear.
9 - spring 2009
“As a dancer I am always looking for a comfortable fit, because I wear these clothes all day long,” she notes. The most important aspect is the “fit” of the leotard. “I focus on a tight looking waist and a wide chest because when you present yourself as a dancer, you want to be open.” Yumiko’s designs also focus on individuality by giving the customer the chance to customize every piece. You can choose your own fabric and color from the classic black nylon to an aqua microfiber, or from a rose colored velvet to a saffron colored georgette.
9 - Spring 2009
eye storm of the
If Serena Ryder hasnâ€™t already shown up on your radar, expect a blip very soon. Already a huge success in her native Canada, Ryderâ€™s gutsy, soul-drenched
Interview By Bruce Scott
9 - spring 2009
Catching Up With Serena Ryder
Photos By Kendra Ratliff and Anjuli Bhattacharyya
vocals and sharply intuitive style of songwriting have earned her countless fans, not to mention a US deal with Atlantic Records. Now, three albums and three EPs in to her career, the twenty-five year old powerhouse is about to release her latest full-length, Is It Ok.
<< I hope that I’m able to move people
9 - Spring 2009
ne of Serena Ryder’s defining attributes as both a songwriter and performer is her sincerity and openness, an honesty she feels is intrinsic to the music-making process. Whether she’s sifting through the ashes of a relationship (“Sweeping the Ashes”) or examining her own political convictions (“Blown Like The Wind At Night”), she does so with an ostentatious candor that cuts right to the bone. There is a calmness about her, too. Sitting in an office on the twenty-sixth floor of Atlantic Records surrounded by a small team of people, she sits at the eye of the storm seemingly unaffected; as down to earth and charming as one might expect a girl from a small town in Ontario to be. But there is a wisdom that belies her years, one that surely helps her navigate through choppy waters. “You really do have to be honest and open, and know that you don’t own anything you do,” Ryder says. “It’s not about ownership, it’s not about ‘this is my song, because I wrote it.’” Ryder was born in Millbrook, Ontario, a Canadian town whose
earliest settlers were Irish Protestants. “I come from a really little town where I lived half of my life in jogging pants and I didn’t even start wearing jeans until I was twenty,” she says. Her mother was a go-go dancing backup singer. Employed by an agent, she would travel for two weeks at a time and play tambourine with various bands. “Her agent would just stick her with a band, and be like, ‘ok, now you’re singing with this band, and now you’re going to be singing with this band,’ so she had to learn songs really, really quick. And she was back and forth all the time.” While Ryder never met her biological father, his history is also unsurprisingly steeped in music. Born in Trinidad, he was a member of a Calypso band called The Tradewinds. “I never met my biological father. But my dad that I grew up with is a huge music fan. My sister would make mix-tapes, and my dad and I would go out to flea markets on Sundays and jam out to the music.”
When Ryder was barely a teenager, her dad bought her a classical guitar with thick, nylon strings and a very wide neck. Instead of being daunted by the colossal fossil her dad had unearthed for her, she fell in love. “I’d been singing since I was a really little kid...playing at legions and motor hotels and things like that, doing kind of sketchy gigs. Anything to sing. My dad brought the guitar home when I was thirteen… he got it from my uncle’s closet for fifty bucks.” It was a transformative moment for the young Ryder, who confessed to locking herself in her bedroom with a book of guitar chords purchased by her parents. She learned to play both guitar and harmonica to albums like Neil Young’s Harvest, citing “Heart of Gold” as one of her greatest teachers. She also began writing her own songs around this time. Ryder moved to Peterborough, Ontario when she was sixteen, and became heavily immersed in the Arts program her new high school offered. Gone was the
“football, jock school” in Millbrook that stifled instead of nurtured Ryder’s creative nature. In its place were classes on ceramics, photography, even guitar. “I felt like I had finally found a place that I belonged.” Ryder furthered her songwriting and began singing for anyone that would listen. One of these “anyones” happened to be blues legend Bobby “Blue” Bland. “I went to see his show when I was just legal drinking age, just nineteen. It was this place, this kind of divey bar in Toronto called The Silver Dollar. He got up on stage, and he was this very, very
large man wearing this purple, crushed velvet jumpsuit…and I wanted him to hear me sing, so I sang really, really loud and he pulled me up on stage and he sat me on his lap. And I ended up singing “Stormy Mondays,” which was amazing.” It wasn’t too long before Ryder was signed to EMI Music Canada, where she released two albums: Unlikely Emergency and If Your Memory Serves You Well. She also began touring extensively. “I toured with Sara Bareilles for a little while, and that was really amazing. We were both opening up for Paolo Nutini. We were
on this tour, and it was me, and then Sara, and then Paolo. And to be on the road with her was amazing. We connected right away and we still keep in touch and text and stuff like that.” Ryder also began writing music with Nutini’s drummer, Jim Duguid, some of their collaborations even made their way onto Is It Ok. “We didn’t know if we would even come up with a song even, we were just chilling out.” No stranger to accolades, Ryder has been compared to such legendary women as Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin, an association that leaves her feeling both “honored” and “humbled.”
9 - spring 2009
to be inspired and take ownership of their lives... >>
But perhaps her biggest recognition was given to her at the 2008 Juno Awards, where she won Best New Artist. “When they announced my name, it was like… you know that scene in Labyrinth? where she eats the peach and all of a sudden goes into this dream world? I felt like that as I was walking up to the stage. It was a really intense moment for me.” Ryder’s current single “All For Love”—which, incidentally, is burning up Triple A radio—was also featured on the hit show Private Practice.
9 - Spring 2009
Is It Ok has the potential to be big, very big, and could change the course of Ryder’s future indefinitely. On the flipside, there is the chance that it doesn’t pick up. Given the state of the music industry, being with a major label can prove to be a gamble, and the pressure placed on up-andcomings like Ryder to cash in big can be daunting to say the least. But as Ryder has made evident, she has a solid head on her shoulders. She’s thoughtful, perceptive, and knows that at the end of the day, it’s not about the label or the money, it’s about the music, and having a connection with the people who enjoy the music the most, the fans. “I hope that I’m able to speak to the people that need to hear what I’m saying. I hope that I’m able to move people to be inspired and take ownership of their life and their decisions in any possible way I can, and to show people how beautiful they are. Everyone’s really, really beautiful, and everyone has so much life and love inside of them, and if I could in any way inspire someone to see how beautiful they are and love themselves more I would be absolutely honored.” BS serenaryder.com myspace.com/serenaryder
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9 - Spring 2009
It's Al About the '80s They say fashion goes in cycles. Luckily, there are some trends that never return to the runways: boxy shoulder pads, acid wash denim, Hawaiian shirts, feathered bangs... Jellies. The list goes on and on. All of these gems hail from the â€˜80s, a time of bold colors and a lot of Lycra. This era did, however, produce some trends worth revisiting. Leggings, off-theshoulder tops, fingerless gloves, and leg warmers are ubiquitous today. These retro styles come from dancewear fashion that was popularized by Madonnaâ€™s sense of style, films like Flashdance, and the aerobics craze. They pay homage to a cultural period of many misses, but plenty of hits.
return of the decade
Photos by Matthew Murphy Fashion Styling by Derek Warburton Styling Assistant Mario Corrales, Jr. Hair Styling by Keiffer
American Apparel’s ideology embodies the hipster sensibility, which emerged in the late ‘90s and is still going strong. It has been a perfect vehicle to drive ‘80s dancewear into popular fashion. With its built-in irony and irreverence for the mainstream, hipster wear embraces the absurdity of legwarmers on a summer day, outrageous, clashing neon sportswear, and gold lamé leggings. A wide range of looks, ‘80s dancewear can be form fitting and feminine or layered and edgy. Though most people wouldn’t feel comfortable sporting a leotard and glove ensemble like Beyoncé did in her video for “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)”--in which she revived Michael Jackson’s iconic single glove with a modern day twist--there are choices for everyone. Selected accessories like a headband that can make you a member of Jane Fonda’s workout team, or a set of bangle bracelets can be incorporated into most wardrobes. Clothes made out of cotton, velour, and soft, stretchy materials, are particularly comfortable and affordable. In these tough economic times, spending twenty dollars on a pair of leggings is more practical than purchasing designer jeans. Whether bohemian chic, punk rock, or sexy and sophisticated, ‘80s clothing can find a place in any closet. Lauren Brown
American Ballet Theatre: abt.org Matthew Murphy: rantingdetails.com Derek Warburton: dereklovesshopping.com
Featuring Performers from American Ballet Theatre The Prince Marcelo Gomes Black Swan Misty Copeland White Swans Mary Mills Thomas, Jacquelyn Reyes
From left to right: Mary Mills Thomas White Top, Maison Martin Margiela White Leggings, Maison Martin Margiela Lace Gloves, Ricky’s Jewelry, Aldo Jacquelyn Reyes White Dress, Givenchy Jewelry, Aldo Marcelo Gomes Silver Shirt, Jean Paul Gaultier Black Trousers, Jean Paul Gaultier Shoes, Dior Black Gloves, Patricia Fields Crown, Ricky’s Misty Copeland Halter Slip, Dolce & Gabbana Pants, Dolce & Gabbana Leggings, Dolce & Gabbana Black Belt, Aldo Jewelry, Aldo
9 - spring 2009
Celebrity fashion icons like this pop queen both reflect and dictate popular fashion. With the retail industry as a conduit, these trends are made accessible to the masses. In part, we have American Apparel to thank. The Los Angeles-based clothing line, which opened its retail stores in 2003, is centered around key pieces of retro fashion, including colorful t-shirts, sweatshirts, tube dresses, leggings, and underwear. With no logos or graphics on any of their products, one would think identifying the brand would be difficult. But by saturating the world with an ‘80s rainbow of fabrics usually reserved for Barbie, the pro-labor, socially conscious business has made itself a driving force in the fashion world, offering affordable basics that challenge the muted khakis and blacks of the Gap and, in the process, created a niche all their own. Add racy advertisements, which have enough contorted limbs to be the cover of a porn video, into the mix, and the company provides just the right amount of controversy to keep the public buzzing.
Make up by Darrell Thorne
op divas, old and new, highlight the relevance of ‘80s fashion. From mini-skirts and leggings to lingerie outerwear, the Material Girl was a fashion force to be reckoned with from the time she burst out of the New York City club scene. Madonna has continuously showcased workout gear, leotards, and lacy undergarments in her twenty year career. Cover art for her most recent album, Hard Candy, is reminiscent of her look in the early ‘80s, infused with more edge, depicting a woman in a boxing ring wearing little more than a black leotard, fishnets, and a chunky belt.
WhatI’ns A Name By Shaun T. Cox
“That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Basically, it’s not what they call you but who you are that matters. So just who is Clifford Joseph Harris Jr.? Is
he T.I., one of the biggest names in hip-hop, or an actor on the come up? Is he a father — “the backbone” of his family — and a philanthropist seeking to serve the community? Or is he a former machine gun-toting crack dealer who is about to be known by just one designation — convict?
T.I., King of the South in the rap game, is all of that, and much more.
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.I.’s love for music started when he was just a child of nine years old, after he began writing rhymes and rapping, drawing inspiration from hip-hop institutions like N.W.A, LL Cool J, Rakim, and the Ghetto Boys to impress his friends. He scored his first record deal ten years later with Arista subsidiary LaFace Records, and shortened the nickname, T.I.P., bequeathed by his great-grandfather, to T.I., out of respect for new label mate and hip-hop legend Q-Tip, of A Tribe Called Quest fame. After the lackluster label support of his first album, 2001’s I’m Serious, he signed on with Atlantic and released 2003’s Trap Muzik, which included the hit that helped launch his career, the street anthem “Rubberband Man.” Since, his albums have spawned nine top-ten Billboard Hot 100 hits and captured three Grammy Awards including Best Rap Solo Performance in 2007 for “What
You Know,” and Best Rap Collaboration with Justin Timberlake on the track “My Love.” T.I. was nominated for four more Grammys in 2009 for his sixth album, Paper Trail, with the “too cool ode to Dean Martin” track “Swagga Like Us,” performed with Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, M.I.A., and Kanye West at the award show, before it won for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group. T.I. took on the lead role in the movie ATL in 2006, and then played alongside Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in director Ridley Scott’s 2007 hit American Gangster. He caught the acting bug after Will Smith and Dallas Austin approached him about ATL, but the studio head scoffed at the idea of a rapper with no acting experience anchoring a film. “He said, ‘Now there’s no way that this first-time actor — or rapper who wants to be an actor
— is going to be able to carry the lead role of a movie,” T.I. says of his first time around the block in the big-screen biz — or at least the first time he was given the chance to prove his ability. “You know, when people say I can’t do something, it lights my match.” Much like Eminem in his breakthrough film 8 Mile, T.I. surprised everyone but himself with his performance in his first starring role, and now has goals to star in movies made by some of the biggest names in the history of filmmaking. His wish list of directors to work with includes icons like Spielberg, Stone, and Scorsese. “All directors have their strengths and capabilities, so the director of a film would definitely depend on the type of film I’m doing. Whoever’s bringing their A-game,” he says. “It could be someone unknown, as long as
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they’re passionate about what they’re doing. I want to surround myself with the best in the business, as I’ve always done.”
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T.I. was convicted of a felony for selling a controlled substance in 1998, and in November of 2007 he was arrested again after his home was raided just hours before he was scheduled to perform at the BET Hip-Hop Awards. Federal officials claimed T.I. ordered his then-bodyguard to purchase machine guns and silencers for him, and it is illegal for a convicted felon to have someone acquire guns on their behalf. As part of his plea deal, T.I. will be serving a one-year prison term, and must also complete 1,000 hours of community service. If he doesn’t fulfill these obligations, he will face a 30-year sentence. To fulfill his community service obligations, T.I. and MTV have
been working on a reality show, T.I.’s Road to Redemption, leading up to his incarceration, with the premise of the show being his work with 15- to 18-year-old at-risk youths. “I’m very proud of it,” he beams. “It’s a show that we worked diligently at completing, and we were sincerely passionate about doing everything we could to impact the lives of young people in a positive way.” T.I. doesn’t want to change his image, he wants to change his life. When posed with the question of public perception and his impending jail time, the pause is brief, the answer succinct and unyielding: “My image is my image. I can’t change [it] without changing my life,” he proclaims. “If I change my life, my image will change on its own, ya dig? I’m not primarily focused on an imagery makeover for myself.
I’m more focused on helping others...” “It’s been fulfilling, and an absolute treasure to be able to use my experiences to help motivate others to change their lives and change mine,” he emphasizes. It’s a work in progress, he admits, but T.I. says his efforts have been inspiring. He talks to the kids from a position of equality — not an iconic pedestal — by relating to their situations. These kids don’t understand that their environment has programmed them to think a certain way, says T.I., and they need to break from that line of thinking if they ever truly want to succeed in life. “Once you take them out of that environment, then you begin to see a different person,” he says, enunciating like a preacher from his pulpit. “A lot of these kids, if you ask them, ‘Hey, look man, all
He’s driven, and his focus is by no means single-minded. He’s passionate about everything he does, from rapping, producing, or acting, to playing golf whenever he can find the spare time, or to just being a father, trying to spend his last free days — for now — with those he loves most.
“I say, ‘Well, that’s a likely outcome. What you gon’ do? Don’t think about it when it happens. Think about it now while you can still prevent it.’”
T.I.’s four sons and two daughters have changed his life in “every way known to man. [Being a father has] definitely given me a grounding, and something else to live for besides myself. It’s given me a whole ‘nother motivation to want to do my best at everything so they will see that anything is possible if they are willing to do their best.”
Be damned what the Internet reports or what the newspaper and magazine clippings say about him, Clifford, T.I., T.I.P., or King is a man seeking to change his life.
The rapper feels most at-risk kids are dealt with by people who haven’t lived their lives and aren’t qualified to teach them how to overcome many of the obstacles they face every day on the street. “And them knowing my experiences and knowing my history, they know I’m speaking from a
“We’re just taking advantage of all the time that we have to spend together, and not really focusing on the time that we won’t have.”
Just a man, no more, no less. Besides, what’s in a name? STC trapmuzik.com
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level of integrity and experience, not just me telling them something I think or [what] somebody told me to tell them,” he says. “I’m sharing my experiences with them. When you apply that level of intellect to it, it becomes fairly — I won’t say easy — but it’s more of a probability for them to change.”
the times you and your gang go to fight or whatever ya’ll do, you ever thought about what if one of ya’ll didn’t make it back?’ And most of the time, they say, ‘Well, no. I’ve never really thought about it.’ It’s just, ‘We’re going to fight just to be fighting. We never thought about if somebody didn’t make it back.’”
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From Left to Right: Joey Haro Jacket, American Apparel Vest, American Apparel Tank, Levis Jeans, Diesel Belt, Club Monaco Tanairi Vasquez Jacket- Members Only Blouse- H&M Jeans- Levis Manuel Santos Jacket, Members Only Sweater, Triple Five Soul Jeans, Levis
The words ‘authenticity’ and ‘musical theater’ have never been good friends. In fact, musical theater requires a suspension of belief so
high that audiences choose to applaud a dancing lion and a demon barber, instead of scratching their heads and running out of the theater to journey back to the “real world.”
Amy Ryerson Jacket, H&M Sweater, H&M Jeans, Levis Earrings, Aldo Sam Rogers Jacket, H&M Polo, American Apparel Jeans, Levis Joshua Buscher Jacket, Levis T-shirt, Hanes Trousers, H&M
Joshua Buscher Jacket, Members Only Shirt, Levis Jeans, Levis Manuel Santos Jacket, H&M Polo, American Apparel Jeans, Triple Five Soul Joey Haro Vest, Levis V-Neck, Levis Jeans, Diesel Belt, Club Monaco
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Safe; thereâ€™s a word that is a much better friend of musical theater in the 21st century, a period already notorious for its reliance on known commodities delivered straight from the big screen. The most anticipated production on Broadway this spring happens to have already been an Oscar-winning movie. But if director Arthur Laurents has anything to do with it, the new revival of West Side Story, which openied this March, will bring an authenticity to the material (which he helped write) that will make you forget all about the legendary screen adaptation. The last thing it will be is safe.
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Taniari Vasquez Sweater, Tripl Five Soul Vest, H&M Shorts, H&M Sam Rogers Jacket, H&M Polo, American Apparel Trousers, H&M
For starters, ninety-one-year-old Laurents knows this isnâ€™t 1957. This is New York City in 2009, a time where the world is seen in multi-cultural high definition. It may be an economic crisis, but itâ€™s no time to downsize, so the director is counting on a 32-piece orchestra (unheard of these days) and a batch of new, young talent to breathe life into this classic musical. By now, you know the story: take Romeo and Juliet and place the weapons firmly in a jazz hand. Call the Montagues and the Capulets the Sharks and the Jets, rival gangs vying for street superiority through a series of kicks; then add finger snaps and head cocks created by choreographer Jerome Robbins. Realistic? Hardly. But
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the same heightened sense of emotion that causes one to react with violence isnâ€™t too far off from the same heightened sense of emotion that causes one to break out in a series of gliding jumps while the orchestra pulses.
In the film, thirty year olds played teenagers, and caked on makeup provided the needed ethnicity. Those casting choices are absent from this revival. One look through the following pictures proves Laurents cast the production young—some members have been plucked straight out of college—and the put-upon accents of the film’s Natalie Woods will be replaced with authentic Spanish. In fact, Lin-Manuel Miranda, straight off of his Tony-Award winning In the Heights, has been brought on board to translate portions of Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics into the native language of the characters.
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Starting to sound a bit more authentic? That’s the goal. And that’s just what Movmnt had in mind when we took the cast out of the theater and onto the streets of Manhattan’s West Side Highway to re-imagine some of West Side Story’s famous images.
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Tanairi Vazquez: Jacket- H&M Shirt- H&M Jeans- American Apparel
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AS A LIFESTYLE
Produced By David Benaym Photography By Matthew Murphy rantingdetails.com
Styling By Derek Wharbuton dereklovesshopping.com
Make-Up By Darrel Thorne Hair Styling By Keiffer Movmnt Production Crew on Set: Anjuli Bhattacharyya, Goura Rivera, and Kendra Ratliff
Special Thanks To The Cast of West Side Story on Broadway Joshua Buscher Joey Haro Sam Rogers Amy Ryerson Tanairi Vasquez broadwaywestsidestory.com
The Derek Loves Shopping Team Derek Wharburton Mario Caorrales, Jr. Cathy Mallebranche Ashley Foster Barlow Hartman
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together AS A LIFESTYLE
1383 Ave. of the Americas between 56 & 57th Sts. 977 8th Ave. between 57th & 58th Sts. 676 Lexington Ave. at 56th St. 234 W. 42nd St. between 7th and 8th Aves. 29 W. 35 St. bewteen 5th and 6th Aves. 50 W. 23 St. between 5th and 6th Aves. 213 7th Ave between 22nd and 23rd Sts. 11 W. 14th St. between 5th and 6th Aves. 484 Broadway between Grand and Broome Sts.
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Visit our Internet cafĂŠs at select locations
“Get past yourself, look beyond the mirror
and you’ll find center stage.” -
Marquis Antoine Cunningham Performer, Dancer | 19 years old | New York, NY
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Marquis Antione Cunningham
Death, taxes, and U2. You can delay them, you can ignore them, you can rationalize them, but at the end of the day they will still always be there. People tend to take U2 as something of a given, and that, in itself, is a testament to their staying power. With a career that finds the band still vital and relevant while entering its 32nd year together, U2 is an abnormality in today’s music scene. In a musical wasteland of pre-teen pop automatons, pre-programmed beats, and overproduced over-singing, they continue to find their own niche and raise the bar for everyone else. No Line On The Horizon, the band’s 12th studio album, released this March finds the Irish quartet in fine form as they bring their vision to yet another generation.
2 has maintained its place in music by continually reinventing itself every few albums and by blazing a trail instead of following the latest trend. Yet for all its evolution, very few elements within the band itself have changed. Since 1977, U2 has had only four members: lead singer Bono, guitarist the Edge, drummer Larry Mullen Jr., and bassist Adam Clayton. In their thirtyyear career they have used primarily the same three producers: Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, and Steve Lillywhite, and they have been on Island records since their first album, Boy, dropped in 1980. And the heart of the music is the same today as it has always been: epic anthems grounded by high-end lyrics touching on spirituality, politics, and passion.
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What’s different is that U2 has been the last band standing through all of the changes in the musical climate the last few decades have brought us. Early MTV? U2’s “I Will Follow” and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” were staples, but had an awful lot more staying power than Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Adam Ant. The late ‘80s hair band phase? U2 went against all the glam by wandering through the desert toward the spiritual enlightenment that was 1987’s masterpiece, The Joshua Tree. The early ‘90s Nirvana-led alternative music scene? U2 poked fun at its own self-serious image with the sonically adventurous, Achtung, Baby. And after a rare misstep with 1991’s overcooked, unfocused Pop, the band stripped back down to straight ahead rock for 2000’s All That You Can’t Leave Behind, a perfect tonic for the sugary pop sounds and rap/rock hybrids that were all the rage at the time. In short, they stayed true to who they are while experimenting with a wide variety of musical styles, and prospered in doing so. They kept their soaring anthems, but found a way to work blues, soul, folk, country, electronic, dance, techno, and post punk into the mix without alienating their audience. Bono himself has become something of a problem for the band, as the mere mention of him can sometimes cause a vast sea of eye rolling. He is politically omnipresent; there hasn’t been a charity, cause, or relief fund he hasn’t been associated with. He was even nominated for the Nobel Prize. And although these are fine uses of fame and power, his face being on every single chat show and his opinion being of-
fered on every single issue or disaster makes some people long for the less-is-more Bono of the mid-‘80s. But while constantly getting on a soapbox has hurt many musical careers, U2 has remained unharmed. It’s also amazing that at this point in their career, they aren’t coasting on their laurels and doing greatest hits tours. Unlike The Rolling Stones, The Police, The Eagles, The Who, or Van Halen, U2 keeps releasing hit album after hit album, with their singles charting just as high as they ever did. By continually reinventing themselves, U2 has found a way to make their appeal cross the generation line, and while many of today’s bands try to hijack U2’s sound, (I’m looking at you, Coldplay), there is no substitute for the undiluted original. No Line On The Horizon feels like something of a full circle for the band. While the first single from the album, “Get On Your Boots,” is reminiscent of “Vertigo,” the rest of the album is far more eclectic. With a good deal sounding somewhere between The Joshua Tree and Achtung, Baby, the band still reaches out for new ground, weaving some pop, some synths, and even some gospel into the patchwork. In short, the members of U2 are doing what they’ve always done, remaining true to who they are, and evolving with the times. Fortunately for us, there is no end in sight. Rob Brock u2.com myspace.com/u2
time out, new york
Text By Lauren Brown Photos By Anjuli Bhattacharyya
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Featured Performers: Lina Kent Halley Willcox Jesse Wintermute
In New York City, where rents are astronomical and space is more than hard to come by, people in search of housing are not the only ones who face a difficult challenge. Dancers are among the ranks of those battling the expenses and limitations of finding a home. Fortunately, several facilities are dedicated to providing choreographers with affordable space where they can rehearse and have performances. Dance New Amsterdam, Abrons Arts Center, and Joyce SoHo are three non-profit organizations that have operated in downtown New York for more than twenty-five years. Through a variety of programs, these centers offer performing artists opportunities to grow and explore.
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hat used to be Dance Space Center is now Dance New Amsterdam, a hybrid organization that offers classes, workshops, studio time, and performance space to aspiring artists. Walking through the bi-level center presents activity around every corner: dancers line the hallways stretching before class, an artist perches in the back of the theater sketching forms of dancers, and a cat meanders through the administrative offices as if it were her home. “People are given the freedom to try something new, even if they’re young, it’s the same, safe place,” says DNA’s Executive Director Catherine Peila. Emerging choreographers have the opportunity to rehearse and hold
showings, work with a mentor, and receive audience feedback so they can fine tune their craft. High ceilings create a sense of openness on the two levels, which are utilized for a myriad of artistic endeavors. The upstairs holds a visual arts gallery, and there are plans to transform the downstairs lobby into a cabaret area. DNA hopes to outfit their facility with plasma TVs that will be used to show streaming video and train artists in new media. The space has been a bastion to dancers in Lower Manhattan for years, helping to launch the careers of Arthur Aviles, Mark Davis, Joy Kellman, Jennifer Lambert, Lisa Race, and Kevin Wynn, just to name a few.
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Part of DNA’s longevity and success comes from its belief in staying grounded in the community. Neighborhood restaurants and cafes are encouraged to participate in gallery showings while, in turn, they provide DNA students with discounts and free coffee. These strong ties have helped the center become a local fixture. But as rents continue to skyrocket, DNA struggles to stay afloat. The organization forges ahead using every resource it can in order to keep dance alive. Just recently, they had to start renting out space to Pace University and move some of their classes off site. Always in the midst of a juggling act, the center has extended its hours to offer additional studio time to artists developing their dance companies. “It’s not healthy for a government not to support its culture,” Peila says. Luckily, places like DNA have persevered so that experimental dance can continue to thrive. The Henry Street Settlement has been around for more than a century, offering New Yorkers a variety of social services in addition to a multidisciplinary arts program that is run at the Abrons Arts Center. Rich with history, Abrons’ intimate theater, the Playhouse, was designed in 1915 and maintains its original neo-classical style. Once
Space isn’t just a a precious commodity to dancers, though; it’s equally important to choreographers who are starting out, and those who have been around for years. Abrons recently turned an idle space into an experimental theater, which is now home to the Artist Workspace program. Artistic Director Jay Wegman explains, “The reason we’re doing this is that the space wasn’t being used, and artists needed it. There were a lot of artists mid-
career who still need space,” like Karole Armitage, who has her own company and has toured all over the world as a dancer and choreographer. She’ll be visiting Henry Street as a Workspace Artist where she will rehearse, show her work, and instruct the Abrons’ dance ensembles. Today, boundaries are being crossed between what is dance and theater, traditional and experimental. The Artist Workspace program is open to any performing artist that needs the space. With many theaters closing and arts funding cut, there are plenty of performers without a home. The center’s philosophy demonstrates a flexibility and eagerness to provide for working artists. When it comes down to it, “if somebody has an idea, we’re willing to work with them,” says Catanach, an 18-year veteran of Henry Street.
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The center possesses a warmth and energy that can only come from the pulse of creation. A partially exposed basement is filled with giant relief sculptures, as well as paint, debris, and the hum of resident artists at work. A storage room bursts at the seams with original period costumes ready to make their appearance onstage. The Director of Performing Arts Training, Daniel Catanach, takes time to ask teenage members of the Junior Ensemble about their latest rehearsal and also jokes with them about their latest crushes. The
red brick complex is old, but still hip; recently, the television show Gossip Girl filmed at the center, and used the Playhouse as its auditorium. Capezio, a popular dancewear company, held a photo shoot in the studios for their entire catalog one year. Though they are small, both studios have huge windows that allow light to stream in and reflect off mirrored walls, making them optimal spaces for dancers to rent.
the mecca of the downtown arts scene, the stage was the site of Paul Taylor’s choreographic debut in 1954. John Cage, Aaron Copland, Dizzy Gillespie, Martha Graham, Alicia Keys, Alwin Nikolais, Jackson Pollack, Denzel Washington, Eartha Kitt, and Orson Welles have all trained, taught, or performed for Henry Street.
In the mid-’90s, the Joyce Organization met artists’ overwhelming need for affordable rehearsal and performance space by creating Joyce SoHo. The building is entirely devoted to this end; for twelve hours a day, seven days a week, three spaces are available for rent. Emerging choreographers and smaller dance companies generally monopolize the offerings. Program Manager Cathy Eilers acknowledges that “space is really hard to come by in New York...we’re pretty much full almost 100% of the time, so there’s definitely a need.”
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From the street, you would never know that this three-story former firehouse is home to one of the largest unobstructed dance studios in New York City. The massive space on the top floor of Joyce SoHo is absent of any columns or structural supports that can impede a space. Eleven years ago, the organization wanted to start a residency program and received a grant to build another studio. The program hosts a wide array of artists rang-
ing from Danish Dance Theater, Denmark’s largest modern dance company, to John Selya, who was nominated for a Tony Award in 2003 for his performance in the musical Movin’ Out. Once someone becomes involved in the Joyce Organization it is not uncommon for them to remain connected. Camille A. Brown, an accomplished dancer, teacher, and choreographer, performed at Joyce SoHo in 2006 and is returning this June. “The first time I presented at Joyce SoHo I had ideas and now I feel like I’m coming to it differently, with full sentences and full stories,” she says. Brown’s work has been commissioned by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Memphis, and Urban Bush Women. Institutions like Joyce SoHo have fundamentally helped her along the way. “There are so many of us that are looking for space and that support,” she says. “And when you do have it, it’s the type of thing . . . you don’t want to let go.” Each organization provides emerging artists with their own space and continues to foster experimentation. Despite poor funding, high rents, and a gloomy economic climate, DNA, Abrons Arts Center, and Joyce SoHo have endured. More than just physical space, these sites provide the artistic and professional support that dancers and choreographers need to keep doing what they do: creating and expressing through movement. LB
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For more information about these dance spaces visit:
Dance New Amsterdam
Abrons Art Center henrystreet.org
Joyce Soho joyce.org
Karloe Amritage Arthur Aviles arthuravilestypicaltheatre.org
Camille A.Brown camilleabrown.org
Mark Davis Joy Kellman dance.tisch.nyu.edu/object/KellmanJ. html
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n i g t e c l e p n n o o e c p ce er Dan m o n is M
t h e at r
n the motion capture technology world, the rules bend. “In some ways it’s similar to what one might envision in their body while dancing. But the beautiful irony for a dancer is that you’re very much rooted in the reality of space: the length of muscles, how far you can jump. Only in our minds [can] we extend those concepts,” explains Christopher Elam, Misnomer Dance Theater’s Artistic Director.
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His ten-year-old downtown dance company is on the pulse of technology. Bridging artistic genres, Elam collaborated with the multidisciplinary company Tronic Studio in 2006 to experiment with the digitization of movement. Motion capture - often referred to as mocap – has long been used in video game imaging and animation. Now dance is entering another dimension. “Chris’s style is very much about the physics of dance,” says Jesse Seppe of Tronic. “He’s tweaking reality and…almost defying gravity. We didn’t want ballet or traditional dance. We were much more interested in composition and the experimental side of his work.” Seppe and his partner Vivian Rosenthal approached Elam with just a narrative idea for a mocap shoot. In the rehearsal process, they began to explore the theme of the creative process itself with a blend of movement and graphics. Like any dance for camera work, the challenges were different than those in choreographing for the stage. The frame directs the audience’s eye, and actions must be repeated and adjusted to achieve the perfect take. It’s no one-shot deal. “You feel like you’re dancing with your ghosts,” Elam says of creating movement
jumps. A 50-foot wall shoots out from his feet. Misnomer Dance Theater’s Director has the ground spinning beneath him. Structural forms emerge from his every movement, building a city through physical inspiration.
By Taylor Gordon
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Jaki L evy
within an invisible space that would only become reality in postproduction. In the animated piece, every move the dancer makes generates a new 3D building or element in a city being built. “If I’m choreographing a movement where I turn my head and a shape is supposed to come growing off my back, I need to know how long is that shape going to be. If I’m giving an impact of an action, I need to know whether to give a thrust or a gentle petering.” It takes imagination. Dance and science bonded during the half-day mocap shoot. Elam and his dancers wore suits with multiple reflective markers Velcroed on their joints. “It’s not your typical costume. All the little silver balls fall off your body pretty quickly, especially if you’re partnering with another dancer and lifting them,” says Elam. During motion capture, multiple cameras circle the room (known as the capture volume) to track the location of each body marker in space, explains Doug Fox, a technology consultant and blogger who has presented research on the topic at the Kinetic Cinema program in Brooklyn, NY. “Motion capture is so valuable because it’s an authentic rendering in animation of the actual movements of dancers.” “The entire room is mapped out for the software so it can record the XYZ coordinates of the markers. Then the motions are digitized,” says Seppe. A skeletal outline of stick-like diagrams can be played back in real time to be sure the kinetics are recorded as fully and accurately as possible. The data collected is then applied to a character in the 3D software. In this case, it’s the dancer whose movements inspire the creation of other structures. Initially, Misnomer Dance Theater’s project was set to be the opener of RES Fest (one of the earliest global digital film festivals), but the deal fell through when plans changed for the festival. Tronic Studio and the company are still looking for a final sponsor to help complete its last stages, but in the meantime Misnomer has had other collaborative projects. In addition to being one of the first modern companies to livestream their performances online and pioneer arts marketing initiatives, they emerged in 3D yet again. Icelandic singer Björk’s 2008 music video, “Wanderlust” featured Elam’s choreography and dancers. While shooting, he coached Misnomer members Brynne Billingsley and Coco Karo through a tumbling sequence in front of a green screen. The final version is a rich visual of movement in an unusual setting. Dance and animation form a cohesive relationship, particularly for Misnomer. The aesthetics that make dance enjoyable onstage translate well in the digital realm. So often, only ballet is viewed as otherworldly, but with motion capture even abstract movement becomes tangibly, and more engagingly, foreign. “If you’re shooting mocap for a video game that has soldiers in it, you want to cast ex-military because they move correctly,” Seppe explains. “If you’re doing something that’s really poetic and using the body to speak as the voice, I think a dancer is the right person to look at for that.” TG misnomer.org
in theDance Dimens
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I th ink the a rig dan ht cer per is son
tic e o p y eall voice, r s â€™ t tha the g s n a i k h met y to spea o s g doin the bod e r â€™ u yo sing u d << If n a
A week before Thanksgiving, 1969, James Brown and the latest incarnation of his backing band were holed up at King Records in Cincinnati, Ohio. On the drums that day was Clyde Stubblefield, who had joined the band in 1965 – at the time, as one of six drummers Brown would shuffle between when unsatisfied with the particular sound he was getting. By the fall of ‘69, however, Stubblefied, along with John “Jab’O” Starks, had outlasted the pack. By Amos Barshad
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s a m p l e d
s o n g
in hip-hop history
As Stubblefield tells it, he was playing an improvised groove when Brown walked into the studio and immediately took to it. “Brown says, ‘Hey, let’s make a song out of that. We already have the rhythm.’ So he starts singing. Then the horns come in. And we got a song. It was just a groove. Just a jam tune.” The track the band cut that day is also, thanks to Brown’s narration, a document of the session. On the record, the Godfather takes command as usual, dropping his proto-rap skitters – “Tall women! / is all I need / I ‘member / riding the breeze” – and every manner of uhs and ahs. Around four-and-a-half minutes in, he turns his attention to Stubblefield. “Fellas, one more time,” he instructs. “I wanna give the drummer some of this funky soul we got here.” And then he addresses Stubblefield directly -- “You don’t have to do no soloing, brother, just keep what you got” – and portends the moment to come: “Don’t turn it loose, ‘cause it’s a mother.” Some more announcements, a four-count, and then the whole band drops out but Stubblefield: eight bars of a crisp, crackling
beat -- hard as hell, but with a playful little snare shuffle – follow. Brown takes a minute to regain his senses, before announcing right there on wax that “The name of this tune is ‘The Funky Drummer.’” Stubblefield’s break would make the record– eventually released as a two-part 45 in 1970 under the name “Funky Drummer”–arguably the most sampled song in hip-hop history. By the late ‘70s, Stubblefield’s pattern had become an elemental building block of hip-hop as one of the first break beats to be isolated by originators like Grandmaster Flash. It mostly enjoys its reputation today thanks to an incredible ‘80s run: Big Daddy Kane (“Mortal Combat”), Kool Moe Dee (“I’m Blowing Up”), Kool G Rap (“It’s a Demo”), MC Shan (“So Def”), Slick Rick (“The Moment I Feared”), N.W.A. (“Fuck the Police”), and RunDMC (“Run’s House”) all flipped “Funky Drummer.” Eric B. served it up unadorned for Rakim on “Lyrics of Fury,” and the God MC murdered it: “a matter of life and death, just like a etch-a-sketch / shake ‘till your clear, make it disappear, make the next.” The Bomb Squad chopped it up for Public Enemy
“The Funky Drummer” is released as a two-part 45. 1970
ROCK N’ ROLL
on “Fight the Power” (and about a half dozen other tracks) and Chuck D paid it tribute: “Nineteen eighty niiiine, the number, another summer / sound of the Funky Drummer.” By the end of the decade, it was already a cliché. On the Beastie Boy’s Paul’s Boutique – a pinnacle of the pre-licensing-restriction, sample-as-art-form era – production team the Dust Brothers placed one bar of the break beat between “Shadrach” and the interlude “Ask For Janice” as a sly dig at its overused status. But it lived on through to the ‘90s nonetheless. Posi-rap acts (Digable Planets, Leaders of the New School) and post-gangsta rappers (Ice Cube, Dr. Dre) alike kept on riding Clyde’s groove. LL Cool J got well acquainted with it on 1992’s Mama Said Knock You Out, with producer Marley Marl sampling it on the title track and “Boomin System.” “The girlies, they smile, they see me comin / I’m steady hummin, I got the ‘Funky Drummer’ drummin,” LL declares.
Since its peak, notable use has been spotty (Nas’s 2002 track “Get Down” is an exception) but appreciation has not. Boston indie rapper Edan curated a mixtape of all “Funky Drummer” samples, appropriately titled Sound of the Funky Drummer. The Root’s ?uestlove borrowed the moniker for his own mixtape series and his band has played the song live. And top producers still love throwing Stubblefield respect -- Just Blaze, to Remix Magazine in 2007: “Listen to the drummer on James Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer’ and try to replicate it; it is damn near impossible.” Pharrell, to Rolling Stone in 2005: “The illest rhythm section in the world has gotta be Clyde Stubblefield with James Brown.” But what does Clyde Stubblefield think of the deathless “Funky Drummer”? “That rhythm never excited me,” he’s said. “I actually didn’t care about that beat. ‘Cold Sweat,’ ‘I Got the Feelin’,’ ‘Give It Up or Turn It Loose’-- those are the drum patterns that I put together mentally. ‘Funky Drummer’ – not much thought [went] into it.” And how does Stubblefield feel about being the world’s most sampled
“The Funky Drummer” is released for the part of an album, In the Jungle Groove.
Kool G Rap samples “Funky Drummer” (FD) in “It’s a Demo.” 1986
MC Shan’s “So Def” Slick Rick’s “The Moment I Feared” NWA’s “Fuck Da Police” Eric B. and Rakim’s “Lyrics of Fury” all sample FD . 1988
interview for Isthmus, a Madison, WI publication, “I made James to a certain extent, but you won’t see anyone’s name but his on any of his albums.” 1983
LL Cool J’s “Boomin’ System” and Dr Dre’s “Let Me Ride” mixes in FD. 1992
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HAIR METAL NEW WAVE
1989 Run DMC “Run’s House” Big Dadd Kane’s “Mortal Combat” Kool Moe Deep’s “I’m Blowin’ Up” Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” Beastie Boy’s “Paul’s Boutique” all sample FD.
1993 Digital Planets follows suit with “Where I’m From.”
1991 L eaders of New School sample FD in “Sob Story” .
drummer? “The feeling about that is like ‘show me the money,’” he half-joked in a 2003 interview.
Stubblefield hasn’t seen a penny from any of the artists who have sampled his rhythm.
It’s not the modest pooh-poohing of the “Funky Drummer” phenomenon that it appears: a financially motivated resentment runs very deep in Stubblefield’s relationship with Brown. “The only thing I didn’t get off on,” Stubblefield has said about playing with Brown, “was the money he paid you. He wound up taking the majority of it back at the end of the week by fining you. If you missed a beat, or your shoes [weren’t shiny enough], or you did something wrong onstage, you’d get a fine. He’d turn around and do his fingers like five, ten, fifteen. That would be the fine and it came out of our money.”
Stubblefield still plays – you can catch his band at their Monday night residency at Madison’s Downtown in Madison, Wisconsin, his home more or less since leaving Brown’s band in 1971. He’s released albums and toured with former members of Brown’s band, including Jab’O and Fred Wesley, and has a hand in a half a dozen other low-key musical projects. But his legacy is inextricably tied to “Funky Drummer.” And that won’t ever sit quite right: “Somebody sent me a list of all the people that sampled my drum patterns. It’s almost two hundred people. And out of that many people no one’s ever said, ‘Clyde Stubblefield’.” AB
More significant though is the fact that Brown owns all the licensing rights to his songs. “I made James to a certain extent,” Stubblefield said in 1983, “but you won’t see anyone’s name but his on any of his albums. He’d rather give the doorman a royalty on a record than any of his musicians.” To this day,
myspace.com/clydestubblefieldband for a more complete list of songs go to: tiny.cc/funkydrummersongs click here to listen to “The Funky Drummer” mp3
Edan the Dee Jay makes a compilation album of FD sampled songs appropriately titled, “Sound of the Funky Drummer.” 2004
record MIDI tracks for Tonntracks EZ Drmmer software. 2008 Nas’s “Get Down” becomes one of 100+ songs to sample FD. 2002
2009 Movmnt magazine shows
famous sample in an interview with Norman Bender, “The feeling about that is like ‘show me the money.’”
2007 Hip-Hop music producer, Just Blaze, tells Remix Magazine., “Listen to the drummer on James Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer’ and try to replicate it; It is damn near impossible.”
2005 Rapper Pharrell says to Rolling Stone, “The illest rhythm section in the world has with James Brown.”
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“The History of the Funky Drummer,” written by Amos Barshad.
Serving Size 1 Plastic Bottle (20 oz.) Servings Per Year 29,000,000,000
Total Bottles Used by US by Dancers
Estimated Yearly Value*
Total Percentage by Dancers Per State (4 Towns) Per Town (10 Studios)
1.07% 6,240,000 1,560,000
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156,000 Per Studio (250 Dancers) Bottles/yr Per Dancer 624 Per Week (4 Days of Class/Week) 12 Per Day 3 $936 Cost Per Year ($1.50/ bottle) *Percentage Yearly Values and estimates are based on plastic bottle consumption and waste in the US. Each year over 90% of water bottles end up as garbage. 17 million barrels of oil are used each year to make plastic water bottles for sale in the US. Thatâ€™s enough to fuel more than 1,000 cars for an entire year! What it takes to produce a single plastic water bottle. What it takes to produce 1 dancerâ€™s estimated bottle consumption. One Bottle
162 g Oil Carbon Dioxide (CO2) 100 g Water (H2O) 7 liter
One Dancer 93,312 g 57,600 g 4,032 liter
81,000,000 g 50,000,000 g 3,500,000 liter
Serving Size 1 Aluminium Bottle (20 oz.) Servings Per Year
Total Refills per year by Dancers
Total Refills by Dancers Per State (4 Towns) Per Town (10 Studios)
Estimated Yearly Value*
1.07% 6,240,000 1,560,000
156,000 Per Studio (250 Dancers) 1 Bottles/yr Per Dancer 1 Per Week (4 Days of Class/Week) Per Day 1 $10 Cost Per Year ($10)
Movmnt urges you to join the refillable aluminium bottle re:volution. Log onto movmnt.com/re for more information about how you can help save the environment and to become a re: member.
At $2.50 a liter, water is more expensive than gasoline! A metal water bottle not only saves the environment, but also your bank acount. In fact, in most parts of the country tap water is not only perfectly safe, but also more tightly regulated than bottled water.
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*Percentage Yearly Values and estimates are based on the amount of refills per re: bottle as suggested by the yearly waste of plastic water bottles.
“Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me” Elton John and George Michael
In addition to having created his own charity, Give It Sum, in his hometown of Stoke-on-Trent, England, the magnanimous Mr. Williams is not only patron of the children’s charity The Donna Louise Trust, but also works as a national ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Sticking true to his title, Williams released a live, acoustic version of his 2000 track “Better Man,” for UNICEF, complete with a music video.
Already a massive hit for Elton John back in 1974, John and George Michael enjoyed an even bigger success with “Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Me,” when they released a live version in 1991. Recorded at Wembley Stadium, London, the live single went on to top both the British and American charts. More importantly, all proceeds were split up amongst ten charities that benefited children in need, AIDS research, and education.
“Fake Empire” The National Indie music’s favorite underdogs, The National, finally broke through eight years into its career with its startlingly good album, Boxer. Earning touring slots along the ranks of R.E.M and Modest Mouse, The National never could have foreseen their track, “Fake Empire,” being used by none other than Barack Obama’s campaign for presidency. In this two and a half minute video, an instrumental version of the band’s regal arrangement is played alongside images of people offering messages of hope and change for a better tomorrow.
“I Run For Life” Melissa Etheridge
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When Melissa Etheridge performed at the 2005 Grammys having recently lost her hair from chemotherapy, it brought one woman’s experience with breast cancer to the forefront, and made it a stark reality for many viewers. That same year, Ford approached Etheridge about writing a song to document her journey, the proceeds of which would go to two major breast cancer charities. The result is the piercing “I Run For Life,” which vividly documents Etheridge’s journey.
“Love Today” Mika Deliciously flamboyant Mika offered his song “Love Today” to Bono’s organization RED in order to promote the purchase of RED products over the 2006 holiday
season. And who better to star in the commercial than former SNL cast member Chris Kattan, who danced in uber-red skivvies with Romanian model Alina Puscau using a host of props ranging from light sabers to bongo drums.
“Farm Aid Song” Neil Young
In an age of corporate farming, genetic engineering, and chemically modified food, the now archaic family farmer seems to have been thrown by the wayside. But family farming is still prevalent, and people like Neil Young, John Mellencamp, and Willie Nelson took it upon themselves back in 1985 to host a benefit concert called Farm Aid to raise money for family farmers and support homegrown food that doesn’t have industrially altered DNA. Young even wrote a song about it, aptly titled “Farm Aid Song,” where he cautions: “I’d hate to say the farmer/Was the last of his kind.”
“Absolutely Fabulous” Pet Shop Boys feat. Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley
“Don’t Give Up” Peter Gabriel feat. Kate Bush Recently named Ambassador of Conscience on behalf of Amnesty International, Peter Gabriel has spent over twenty-five years working side by side with Amnesty International through tours such as 1988’s Human Rights Now! It was no surprise then, when Gabriel’s heartfelt duet with Kate Bush, “Don’t Give Up,” with the always relevant message to not give up hope, was aired on US ads for Amnesty International.
“Angel” Sarah McLachlan A longtime philanthropist and advocate of human rights, Sarah McLachlan took a different route in 2006 by filming a two-minute advertisement to raise money for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). Since the original airing of the ad, which features McLachlan’s sparse, haunting track “Angel” over shots of shelter animals, the ASPCA has received a staggering thirty million dollars in donations.
We Are The Cause
re big business war, and poverty, whe a time of corruption, find a decent t ’ can ens kitt puppies and the little guy and even out ing wcase music’s sho inch ks ly trac slow is of hope. These to music for a glimmer ds for a greater good kloa home, we often look truc ing rais and , gs to charitable use finest putting their son By Bruce Scott in the process.
Musicians have hearts, too. In
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Anyone who grew up in the ‘90s remembers the video. Opening with the statement “there are over one million youth lost on the streets of America,” Soul Asylum’s “Runaway Train” became both a career-boosting hit for the band and a scrapbook of sorts for missing children in America with their full names and the date they went missing underneath their photo. Because of the song’s universal success, the video went on to help many families reunite with their children.
“Runaway Train” Soul Asylum
Pairing dance legends Pet Shop Boys with Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, the stars of the hit British comedy Absolutely Fabulous, was nothing short of a match made in gay heaven. All proceeds went to Comic Relief, whose aim is to relieve famine in Ethiopia.
. . . e c n e d i f n o c in Teddy Forance first encountered Teddy Forance when Mia Michaels selected him to act as her muse for Movmnt’s “In Bed with Mia” Feature, photographed by Koury Angelo. Ever since, Teddy has spread his wings and continues to perform with outstanding artists like Janet Jackson as one of her lead dancers on tour, and has been a successful dancer working for various productions like Shrek Goes 4th. His roster is ever expanding. Movmnt had the opportunity to snag a conversation with this talented young dancer and discovered some of his true ambitions. Interview By David Benaym
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DB: Any other dreams? TF: To be in a show that Mia Michaels creates from scratch. She is my biggest inspiration and I would love to see what would happen if her direction and choreography were put on the same stage. Lately I have been working on getting back into as much ballet class as I can to transform myself into a whole new dancer, which will give me the opportunity to audition for contemporary dance companies around the world.
DB: You were on tour with Janet, what’s it like working with her? TF: She is a sweetheart and keeps us disciplined in rehearsals so we will be ready for performances. The second she enters rehearsal her energy is greatly respected and we know that it’s time to step up! DB: You were one of her lead dancers on tour, right? TF: Yes, it was an honor to step onto that stage and share with the arena what I do personally. My character’s name was “T5” the chosen warrior. DB: But you’re a very peaceful person. TF: That’s why they chose me for this role because of the way I control my movement.
DB: What have you been up to lately?
DB: Does Janet consider herself a dancer?
TF: I’ve been working with Michael Rooney a lot. I did four Honda commercials, and we just did Dancing with the Stars.
TF: She considers herself many things, I believe a dancer is one of them. Her movement sits deep inside her body especially because she made the music so she knows every little accent. Her experience is obvious when she steps onto the stage giving us that much more confidence to soar.
DB: Were the commercials dance related? TF: No, they weren’t dance related, it was more about capturing natural human movement... just how to capture people exiting a vehicle and knowing where to put the camera to get the right angle. DB: What else have you been focused on lately? TF: I’m also focused on the business side of my life. I’m 21 and I need to think about my future so I can be prepared when I start a family. I’ve really been inspired by a lot of people around me like Mia Michaels, Tony Testa, and Wade Robson to think about both the art side and the business side. That’s why it’s been crazy for me lately.
DB: Do you consider yourself a dancer? TF: Absolutely! It’s my driving force that keeps me aligned and focused on my life’s journey. DB: You’re one of the rare dancers with a moustache, if not the only one, where does that come from? TF: (laughter) That’s from my dad.
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Teddy Forance: I’m really focused on performing while I am young to get as much experience as possible. My ultimate goal would be to travel around the world exploring every style of dance. Whether it’s a tribe in Africa or in class in New York or L.A. I want to investigate all inspirations that this artform has to provide -finding the roots of dance.
I’ve also been working on Shrek, it’s coming out next year.
DB: So you’re just carrying on the family legacy then? TF: Yeah, I guess so.
David Benaym: What is one of your biggest dreams?
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it’s not me, it’s you Brit-phenom Lily Allen has come a long way since introducing herself to the world via MySpace. In addition to selling over two and a half million copies worldwide of her cheeky debut, Alright, Still, Allen has since become the subject of endless tabloid fodder, hosted her own show on the BBC, and suffered a miscarriage, which led to a three week stay in a psychiatric clinic. Now, teaming up with pop-monolith Greg Kurstin (Britney Spears, All Saints, Kylie Minogue), Allen has released her latest effort, It’s Not Me, It’s You. Moving forward from the tomahawktoting, club-happy coquette of Alright, Still, what’s immediately different with album opener “Everyone’s At It” is a newfound sense of awareness for issues that extend further than Allen’s own microcosmic universe. Lead single “The Fear” takes Allen’s acute observations about the vapidity of the public’s obsession with celebrities, material status, and “packing plastic” even further, with lyrics like: “Life’s about film stars and less about mothers/It’s all about fast cars and cussing each other.” Allen even addresses such heavyweight issues as God in “Him,” her father in “He Wasn’t There,” and the delightfully bawdy kiss-off to George W. Bush in the aptly titled “Fuck You.”
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Bruce Scott lilyallenmusic.com myspace.com/lilymusic
Telefon Tel Aviv Immolate yourself Formed in 1999, Telefon Tel Aviv is the brainchild of Chicago-cum-New Orleans locals Joshua Eustis and Charles Cooper (whose unexpected death in late January of this year came as a shock to worldwide fans of the duo). Moving forward from their pared-down electronica that always seemed wonderfully on the verge of malfunction, Telefon Tel Aviv has transformed its sound into a lush world of dreamy landscapes and highoctane yearning. Hushed vocals and barely discernable lyrics lend to the rapturous ambiance that fills the space of every song, leaving every track brimming with emotion. Opening with “The Birds,” a lofty synth slowly propels into a driving beat, the track saturated in chords that
define desire. In fact, the biggest anomaly about Immolate Yourself in context to Telefon Tel Aviv’s past work is how undeniably sexy its ten tracks are. “Helen of Troy,” the album’s first single, offers an ‘80s-reminiscent, rail-thin bass line snaking around programmed drums with a sound that wouldn’t feel too out of place on Depeche Mode’s Violator. Meanwhile, the title track’s spacious yet densely structured whirling synths and beats slowly ascend into a cymbal-laden climax, one of many epiphanies on Immolate Yourself. Bruce Scott telefontelaviv.com myspace.com/telefontelaviv
The Bird and the Bee
Ray guns are not just the future
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The Bird and the Bee’s pop-oriented lounge music on Ray Guns Are Not Just The Future could soundtrack any given day in the life, from a lazy summer afternoon, to a casual night club, to a bumpin’ dance floor. Singer Inara George’s slinky, shadowy pipes burst with an immediate singing prowess while still retaining a soft innocence. The duo’s other half, Greg Kurstin— who has worked with names ranging from Lily Allen to Britney Spears—fills out the band’s sound with beats that are spacey yet smooth. Random computer noises team with peppy accompaniment from horns, harps, even a saloon piano, and many-layered vocals create an otherworldly depth. Though George and Kurstin first bonded over their love of jazz standards and call that genre’s mother label Blue Note home, their second release steps towards mainstream standards with girlish cheerleader anthem “My Love,” and the Spice Girls in space “Love Letter To Japan.” The ‘20s tempo on “You’re A Cad” is a playful jaunt accentuated with French accordion, and reflects the youthful lean of the album’s lyrics in their giddy handling of love and dating. Ray Guns tinkers and experiments as much as it presents remarkably accessible pop songs, and so emerges as a crowd-pleaser from all sides. Liz Levine thebirdandthebee.com myspace.com/thebirdandthebee
The crying light
Antonty and the Johnsons
Kylie Minogue BoomBox
Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavillion
With an impressive nine albums in as many years, the perpetually unclassifiable Animal Collective has always been boldly experimental with not only the shape and texture of its songs, but the sheer number of enticing sounds crammed into each moment. The oft-labeled avant-garde group has been moving toward the commercially acceptable with each release, gradually employing prevalent vocal melodies and discernible lyrics over the course of their career. Appropriately, their latest, Merriweather Post Pavilion, can be appreciated as much for message as it can be for song construction and downright catchiness. It delivers moments of sheer dance-ability and provides plenty of fodder for pop purists all while dripping dollops of water and chirping jungle noises give the album a closeness to nature. Aurally, the vocals are prominent and thick as they drive the tracks through clicks, bleeps, and carnival-esque lunacy, occasionally aspiring to the harmonic heights of The Beach Boys. Whether in the mood for a brain trip or a simple pleasure, Merriweather Post Pavilion is a peppy, drunken thrill ride. Liz Levine myanimalhome.net myspace.com/animalcollectivetheband
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Bruce Scott kylie.com
Vocalist, pianist, and sole songwriter Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons is just as much a poet as a musician, a truth that resonates on the group’s third full length, The Crying Light, and is highlighted by the album’s striking cover image. The artwork features an arresting silhouette of Kazuo Ohno, whose famously expressive dance performances span a notably long lifetime, and its inclusion pays tribute to the never ending search for meaning the album’s lyrics convey. A delicate wordsmith never afraid to reveal his innermost musings, Antony moves from the intensely personal contemplations of previous releases to more universal themes of nature and its inherent, unchanging cycles. Indeed, seven of ten tracks contain crucial elements of nature in their titles -- earth, water, light -- and suggest Ohno’s unfaltering devotion to performance. The songs are stark piano ballads featuring delicately stroked keys and soothing string accompaniment as augmentation to Antony’s unmistakable, riveting voice. Strong, smooth, and distinct, his cry seems to melt as it leaves his lips, and brings even the simplest compositions to pop mastery. Sometimes depressing but always ripe with a closeness to humanity, The Crying Light is a set of gorgeous songs that are difficult ignore. Liz Levine antonyandthejohnsons.com
Australian pop princess Kylie Minogue has maintained one of the most enduring careers in pop music. With twenty years in the industry, ten albums under her belt, and over forty million albums sold world wide, it seems all the more shocking that she has had such limited stateside success. Despite this, Minogue has amassed a slew of hits overseas that have, over the years, been remixed, reworked, and reconfigured by some of the industry’s hottest names. With sixteen tracks all taken from her post-comeback period (2000 – 2008), Boombox offers a non-stop night out at the club complete with all the sweat, body-heat, and gold lame’ hot pants Ms. Minogue can muster. The album kicks off with a new wave reworking of her biggest hit to date, “Can’t Get You Outta My Head,” which is wisely spliced with New Order’s “Blue Monday.” The two tracks fit seamlessly together, which is all the more remarkable considering how individually identifiable each track is. Elsewhere, the Chemical Brothers remix of her 2003 UK number 1 hit “Slow” and Fischerspooner’s reworking of “Come Into My World” are inspired enough to be hits on their own.
have to admit that I am not a fan of American Idol. In fact, I call it American Yodel. No one ever sings just one note. They warble and wail and riff all around it. I thought it was a fad that would fade away, but I was wrong. The country is fixated on American Idol, and Broadway has taken notice.
By Frank Conway*
hen Frenchie Davis was kicked off of Idol for appearing on an adult website she got an offer to join the cast of Rent, then in its 7th year. People knew her name and came to see her, as if she were a star. Stunt casting? They capitalized on her name to sell some tickets. It’s been going on for years on Broadway. When Toni Braxton was down on her luck, Disney picked her up and dropped her into Beauty and the Beast (and dropped the keys of the songs). She was a star and people came to see her. So what’s the difference?
These days the definition of a “star” can simply be someone you’ve seen on television over and over again. In the ‘90s it was John Tesh, now it’s anyone who’s been on American Idol. Simon Cowell dismisses contestants as “too Broadway,” but Broadway can’t dismiss reality TV so easily. American Idol “stars” are all over the place:
REAL OF 72 -
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Diana DeGarmo in Hairspray, Clay Aiken in Spamalot, Fantasia Barrino in The Color Purple, Taylor Hicks in Grease, and Constantine Maroulis in Rock of Ages. Tamyra Gray has been in both Bombay Dreams and Rent. And she was good! When Josh Strickland was cast as Tarzan, all of the news stories included the fact that he was a national finalist on AI. Yes these people all started out on Idol, but they wouldn’t have made it on Broadway if they didn’t have the talent to back it up.
Soon producers went a step further. It was no longer enough to take the cast offs from television. Why not create your own star? London’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? was the first show to use a television competition to cast a musical. The series was a huge hit when it debuted on the BBC in 2006. It made a star out of Connie Fisher, and The Sound of Music opened with the largest advance ticket sales in London theater history. It was such a sensation that even the runner-up, Aoife Mulholland (also known as “Irish Maria”), was cast in the West End production of Chicago.
Here in the U.S. we’ve had Grease: You’re the One That I Want and Legally Blonde the Musical: The Search for Elle Woods. The Grease show was basically an hour-long commercial seen by 8 million viewers a week. The revival opened on Broadway with a $14 million advance, making Broadway stars out of Laura Osnes and Max Crumm, and ran for almost sixteen months. That’s not a huge run when you look at shows like The Lion King or Phantom of the Opera, but considering that there had already been a revival of Grease a few years back, it did respectable business. Osnes is now taking over the role of Nellie Forbush from Tony Award-nominee Kelli O’Hara in the Lincoln Center Theater revival of South Pacific. Legally Blonde, the TV show and the musical, didn’t have the same luck. The reality show ran for 8 episodes on MTV. Bailey Hanks took over the pink reins in July and the show closed in October. The problem with these reality shows is that there is no reality in them. The audition process and performances are both so contrived. Auditioning is stressful enough; show that part of it. On the other side of the coin, the people who get down to the wire actually do have talent. Many of them are told to mask their performance history to make it look like they are being “discovered” on TV. There’s also the entertainment factor. When you see a plus-size Sandy or a 40-year-old Danny it’s not a far cry from the early American Idol audition of William Hung.
So far we’ve been spared the horror of other reality TV stars coming to Broadway. Can you imagine The Apprentice’s Amarosa as Nala in The Lion King? Or Janice Dickinson as The Drowsy Chaperone? Okay. Maybe that one could work. And we are still creating our own stars on Broadway. For every Frenchie Davis there’s an Audra McDonald. For a Diana Degarmo coming from television, there’s a Kristin Chenoweth going to television. The bottom line is American Idol stars help out at the box office. They can boost sluggish ticket sales and give a show another angle and story to pitch. Do we want to keep seeing Broadway being cast from television? Not really. When they take Lauren Graham out of Gilmore Girls and put her into Guys and Dolls, it’s not all that different. At least with American Idol’s cast-offs we already know they can sing before we get to the theater.
*Frank Conway is the Associate Director of Corporate Sponsorship and Production Services at Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS (BCEFA). This is his first contribution as a columnist for Movmnt Magazine.
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affecting movmnt dancer’s fit Capezio 1650 Broadway (at 51st St.) 2nd Floor New York, NY 10019 Tel: (212) 245-2130 capeziodance.com Sugar and Bruno sugarandbruno.com Yumiko World I Dancewear 451 W 46th St. New York, NY 10036 yumiko-online.com
lessons learned The Ailey School The Joan Weil Center of Dance 405 W 55th St. New York, NY 10019 Tel: (212) 405-9000 alvinailey.org Broadway Dance Center 221 W 57th St. - 5th Floor New York, NY 10019 Tel: (212) 582-9304 bwydance.com Dance New Amsterdam 280 Broadway - 2nd Floor New York, NY 10007 Tel: (212) 625-8369 dnadance.org Debbie Allen Dance Academy 3623 Hayden Ave Culver City, CA 90230 Tel: (310) 280-9145 debbieallendanceacademy. com Denise Wall’s Dance Energy 4020 Bonney Road - #116 Virginia Beach, VA 23452 Tel: (757) 431-9645 denisewall.com
The In10sive Dance Convention myspace.com/thein10sive Jump - Break the Floor Tel: (212) 397-3600 breakthefloor.com Monsters of Hip Hop PO BOX 47425 Baltimore, MD Tel: (888) 5MONSTRS monstersofhiphop.com In FL July17-19, 2009 In CA August 10-14, 2009 Steps on Broadway 2121 Broadway New York, NY 10023 Tel: (212) 874-2410 stepsnyc.com
on stage Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre at the New York City Center Tel: (212) 581-1212 Dec 3-Jan 4, 2009 BAM
(Brooklyn Academy of Music) Bam Howard Gilman Opera House
30 Lafayette Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217
Henry Street Settlement 265 Henry Street New York, NY 10002 Tel: (212) 766-9200 henrystreet.org The Joyce Theater 175 8th Ave New York, NY 10011 Joyce Soho 155 Mercer Street New York, NY 10012 Tel: (212) 431-9233 Joyce.org
West Side Story The Palace Theater 1564 Broadway New York, NY 10036
favorites American Ballet Theatre 890 Broadway New York, NY 1003 Tel: (212) 477-3030 abt.org Battleworks Dance Company PO Box 16 New York, NY 10012 Tel: (718) 312-8718 battleworksdance.com Cedar Lake Dance 547 W. 26th Street New York, NY 10001 Tel: (212) 244-0015 cedarlakedance.com David Dorfman Dance 140 Second Avenue, #503 New York, NY 10003 Tel: (212) 677-2503 daviddorfmandance.org Misnomer Dance Theater 588 10th Street, Suite 4 Brooklyn, NY 11215 Tel: (917) 602-0478 misnomer.org MTV Films 1515 Broadway New York, NY 10036
addicted to myspace Dancers Responding to AIDS myspace.com/dradance Ivan Koumaev myspace.com/160421163
Shimmy Magazine myspace.com/ shimmyonline
Give Me My Remote givememyremote.com Great Dance greatdance.com
STYCDA myspace.com/sytycda Kameron myspace.com/bboykaliper
Ranting Details rantingdetails.com
A Time To Dance atimetodance.wordpress. com
Reality Dancing realitydancing. contentquake.com
Dance Channel TV Network DanceChannelTV.com
Rickey rickey.org Swan Lake Saamba Girl tonyaplank.com/ tonyaplank
DanceJam DanceJam.com Dance Outlook danceoutlook.blogspot. com Dance Watcher dancewatcher.com
Stage Door Access stagedooraccess.com Television Without Pity televisionwithoutpity.com Tendu TV TenduTV.com
Dancing Perfectly Free dancingperfectlyfree. wordpress.com Danciti (NYC Dance Blog) danciti.com Ducky Does TV Duckydoestv.com
The Winger thewinger.com Watch Dance The Dance Video Community WatchDance.com
Derek Loves Shopping dereklovesshopping.com Fame or Famine fameorfamine.com Gendance gendance.com
Lacey Schwimmer myspace.com/ laceytheeuromut
directory Aldo aldoshoes.com
Triple Five Soul triple5soul.com
American Apparel americanapparel.net
Dolce & Gabbana 434 W Broadway New York, NY 10012 doclegabbana.com
Maison Martin Margiela maisonmartinmargiela.com
Versace 647 5th Ave at 52 Street New York, NY 10019 Tel: (212) 317-0224
Calvin Klein 205 West 39th Street New York, NY 10018 calvinklein.com
Erge Designs ergedesigns.com
Christian Lacroix christian-lacroix.com
Green Changes greenchanges.org
Cloth Logic clothlogic.com
Club Monaco clubmonaco.com
H&M Tel: (212) 564-9922 hm.com/us
Dance Outfitters 109 Volvo Parkway - 14 Chesapeake, VA 23320 Tel: (757) 563-6100 danceoutfitters.com
Kelly Nishimoto kellynishimoto.com Jean-Paul Gaultier jeanpaulgaultier.com
Members Only membersonlystyle.com Mighty Fine mightyfineinc.com Milkshake NYC milkshakenyc.com Monarchy Collection monarchycollection.com Nike 57th at 5th ave New York, NY 10022 Tel: (212) 891-6453 Rane Clothing raneclothing.com
information The Caroline & Theodore Newhouse Center for Dancers 165 W 46 Street, Suite 701 New York, NY 10036 Tel: (212) 764 -0172 Dancers Responding to Aids 165 W. 46th St. Suite 1300 New York, NY 10036 dradance.org
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