From the Basement

November 7, 2010

“Random Acts of Culture”

I love the internet and how it enables people from far and wide to witness “flash” mobs and random acts of culture. I want to join in and be a part of one! Where do I sign up?

Current youtube obsession: the Random Act of Culture performed by the Opera Company of Philadelphia less than two weeks ago. They flash mobbed Macy’s with a beautiful rendition of Handel’s “Messiah.”

And my favorite dance flash mob…

Note: I am far more equipped to do the Sound of Music dance than the opera singing. Just sayin’.

What I love about these is that they bring joy to people. It’s random, unexpected – you don’t expect an opera company or random dancers when you’re shopping or traveling – and that’s what’s so fun about it. Maybe it’s naive and Pollyanna-optimistic, but to me, these events are reminders that there is good in the world, good coming straight to you from random strangers who gathered in a spot to bring light and joy into your life. Random act of culture, sure. But it’s a random act of kindness, too – even to those of us watching from the comfort of our own homes.

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August 6, 2010

In Celebration of Robert

For the first time ever, I’ve been watching So You Think You Can Dance (and I think I’m in love – I enjoy it so much more than Dancing With the Stars). Tonight’s episode was a nailbiter: 4 got whittled to 3 as viewer votes alone determined who would go on to dance in next week’s finale.

I feared that my favorite of the top 4, Robert, would be going home. Adechike, for all the criticism, had never been in the bottom three, and the judges seem to be in a weekly contest of “I Love Lauren and Kent More!” The Lauren Love, I get – girl is wicked talented, and judge Adam Shankman summed it up with three words: “I’d hire you.” But Kent? Talent, check. Cornfed charm, check. But A) he cannot control his face and B) up until last night, there was no indication that he could connect with an emotionally mature routine.

Robert, on the other hand, has gone in and out of the bottom three all season. Even with his “brilliant” performances, wonderful growth, and remarkable maturity (he’s only a year older than the innocent Kent), he hasn’t been a voter favorite.

But tonight turned out to be a wonderful surprise. Adechike went home, the picture of gratitude and humility, and so Robert, Lauren, and Kent will be dancing in the finale. My money is on Lauren to win it, but I’m thrilled that I’ll get to see Robert dance one last time.

So, in celebration of Robert, I give you my favorite Robert Dance. The routine below was danced on the second “Top 6” night, and it’s one of my top 5 dances of the season. It’s subtle and mature, and the more I watch it, the more I cry. (The video quality isn’t ideal, but it’s the only vid of the performance I could find that would embed.)

Enjoy. And Robert – best of luck next week.

P.S. A link to one of his other exceptionally moving routines – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnguqsMQmg4&feature=related

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