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An alert iReporter caught this tractor square dance in Maria Stein, Ohio on tape. Not only is the sight of multiple John Deeres do-si-doing around each other all kinds of awesome, but also note how each one and its driver are decked out like superheroes. My vote goes to Wonder Woman.

tractorsquaredance

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I don’t know if it’s too much yoga and not enough dance, but I can’t seem to find the inspiration to write much lately. Personal blogs are interesting that way; they do tend to come and go, ebb and flow with the whims of the writer. Similarly, my blogroll changes as blogs I follow change or fall into inactivity. Not that I’ve been reading many blogs lately either. But here are a few that I enjoy following lately.

Apartment Therapy – If you live in a small space like me, those lavish spreads in traditional design magazines and blogs are hard to relate to. Apartment Therapy is a blog/web magazine that gives inspiration to those of us who don’t want to sacrifice style in tight quarters. From inspiring color schemes to unique ways to jazz up an entryway (or the wall by your door if you don’t technically have an “entryway”), I have gotten many ideas from this blog that I’ve been able to apply to my own living space.

This is Why You’re Fat – Only in America… Bacon, deep frying, and food-on-a-stick feature prominently on this blog of all culinary creations obscene. Yes, it’s an offensive name, but let’s face it– if you ate stuff like this on a regular basis, I don’t see how you could be skinny (or healthy).  I dare you to look through such creations as The Bacone (A bacon cone filled with scrambled eggs and country gravy topped with a biscuit) or the Fat Sam (Cheesesteak sandwich with chicken fingers, french fries, mozzarella sticks, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, bacon, and topped with egg and hot sauce) without giggling just a little bit.

Jodi’s Blog – I always enjoy following my friend, the talented artist Jodi Hoover’s blog. But never have I enjoyed it more than in the last few days as she blogs The World Beard and Moustache Championships. Jodi’s husband Mickey proudly represented Maryland with his full face of hair. I can’t tell you how entertained I have been reading about the Parade of Beards, and the politics of the World Beard and Moustache Association, and The Beards, an Australian band that, as Jodi explains, “They sing songs about beards for people with beards.”

It’s nice to know we have had so many dance movies in the past few years that it is time for a parody:

Preview for Dance Flick

In honor of the lovely spring day we are getting, here is some lovely ballet to brighten you ballet– an appearance by Suzanne Farrell on Sesame Street.

In which Miss Farrell takes little steps and big steps:

In which the Count counts Miss Farrell’s turns:

A million thank yous to Salsa Gigolo for bringing this MadTV spoof on So You Think You Can Dance and the presidential race to my attention. Not only was the Baroque Waltz hilarious, but the judge impersonations were totally spot-on.

I’m still wiping the tears from my eyes.

In searching for some West Side Story clips to listen to at work (getting in the mood for the revival which opens here in DC on December 15— today is T minus 50!) I came across this hilarious Scrubs clip. Why did I not know about this scene before? I love Scrubs for its zany alternate reality sequences such as this.

Overheard in DC: leotard-wearing construction workers

Apropos of my recent dancing with the candidates post, Barack Obama reprised his dancing role on the Ellen show today. My favorite quote, “Michelle may be a better dancer than me, but I’m sure I’m a better dancer than John McCain.”

And just because I want to test out WordPress’ new polling feature…

Seriously, the cha cha is so easy:

You go, Barack step back, cha cha cha, Barack step front, cha cha cha

If it’s too hard at first, just Biden’ your time, it will get easier!

This is one of the sillier photoshopped images of the politicians going around. It is nice to have some levity, not to mention some dancing in this ever more intense and dirty campaign season.

Early voting has started in many states. Here in Virginia, it began on the 15th. I cast my vote for Obama today, and it feels so good! If you need information about voting and early voting, go to Vote for Change and they’ll tell you when and where you can vote in your state.

Speaking of dancing with the candidates, I leave you with this now-classic clip of Barack Obama on Ellen:

Totally off topic, but I had to share this. It’s even funnier coming from a 94 year old woman, knowing the incident must have happened in the 1930s.

A Bra’s Tale: Detour on a Daughter’s Trip Abroad

Unless you are a reader of The Manolo’s bemused coverage of the event, most of my American readers are unlikely to be familiar with Eurovision. From what I understand, it’s like the olympics of manufactured pop bands and pageantry.

I’m a little late to this, because I should mention that the winner was announced yesterday (SPOILER: Russia). That said, it’s never too late to rehash the pop culture kitsch and dancing that occurred.

No way am I going to sit through all forty-something entries. Lucky for us, our European correspondent, Owlfish, has been following the festivities and has selected the songs involving the best dancing for us. And when we say “best dancing,” we mean in the most pop culture way.

Let’s start with Iceland’s entry, which brings to fruition every youtube lip-syncher’s and bedroom dancer’s daydreams. Hilarious.

(Eurobandid – This Is My Life)

Next, Owlfish recommended Ukraine’s 2008 entry, but I much prefer that country’s entry from last year, which came in 2nd place. I could really dedicate an entire post to Verka Serduchka.

(Verka Serduchka: Dancing Lasha Tumbai)

Next is Greece, which features some nice solid teen boy/girl band choreography.

(Kalomoira – My Secret Combination)

Finally, Switzerland’s entry. Bonus points for actually singing in a country’s native language rather than all the others’ Ken Lee-worthy English. As far as music video dancing goes, this is definitely the most interesting and artistic.

(Paolo Meneguzzi – Era Stupendo)

I enjoy visiting The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks from time to time for a chuckle. Today, one of the featured offenders was none other than a certain local ballroom/salsa teacher who has long regaled us with his excessive and unnecessary use of punctuation. In fact, this particular ballroom studio is right across the hallway from the Joy of Motion location I visit every Tuesday for class. I always think it’s funny when non-dance blogs I follow suddenly veer into more familiar territory.

The Tony Award nominees were announced today and the cat in the front was so excited he threw his feather headdress in the air and made some purrfect jazz hands. The black cat in the background is all like, “Fosse is sooo two decades ago, it’s all about salsa and hip hop on Broadway now. Let me see you shake your caderas.

In the Heights, a musical featuring some amazing salsa and hip hop dancing (at least from the youtube clips I’ve seen) that has broken the mold for Tony nominees, leading the pack with 13 nominations. I’ve been so excited to see it and now these accolades will ensure that I’ll have to wait even longer to snag tickets. Dear Producers, let it be known that I will shamelessly promote your musical on this blog if you comp me tickets to In the Heights. I would like to see Celia as well.

Why is the whole Step It Up and Dance cast wearing circle necklaces? Or in the case of Tovah, also circle earrings. It can’t just be a coincidence. Maybe they have all joined a secret cult or society involving circle worship.

Today is officially Pope Mania day in Washington, DC. Pope Benedict is stateside for a few days and will be giving a mass at Nationals Ballfield this morning at 10:30am before moving on to NYC. People have come in from all over the country and the world to attend, as was fairly evident on my very crowded morning commute.

The most delightful story coming out of Pope Mania is the involvement of a local acapella ensemble, the Suspicious Cheese Lords. I came to know the Cheese Lords when a friend and I were looking for something interesting to do one evening and saw an announcement for a free concert at a church. We really had no idea what they were, but how could a person in their right mind turn down the opportunity to see a group called the Suspicious Cheese Lords?

Turns out, they are an all-male acapella group that specializes in “sacred renaissance polyphony.” As the hauntingly beautiful vocal harmonies echoed around the chapel of the Franciscan Monastery, we knew we had discovered one of Washington’s jewels.

Fast forward to yesterday, when I received an announcement on the Cheese Lords’ mailing list, that they had been selected to perform at this morning’s papal mass. There was just one small catch: the name.

“Despite having performed at such venues as the Kennedy Center, the National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian Institution,” says a press release entitled Too Cheesey for the Pope?, “their name still seems to make some folks a little uncomfortable: they’re listed in the official program for the April 17 event as ‘Sacred Music Ensemble’, with their real name discreetly tucked away in the acknowledgements on a back page.”

To my knowledge, silly humor is not against Catholicism, but perhaps some people think that such a name lacks the appropriate gravitas to be appearing in such close proximity to the Pope’s.

“Dr. Hugh Dempsey, Deputy Director of the [Pope John Paul II] Cultural Center, is a fan of the group. It didn’t hurt that the group has presented several concerts at the Center, and that one of its members, George P. Cervantes, works there. However, this did not guarantee that the Lords would be asked to perform. Dr. Dempsey had to convince the staff at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the primary organizers of the event, that having a group called the Cheese Lords sing at such an historic and dignified event wouldn’t be such a crazy idea.”

I know the Pope and assembled guests will be thrilled to have the Cheese– er, ‘Sacred Music Ensemble’ performing for them, and as a local fan, I hope it serves as a springboard for more national and international recognition for this talented group.
 

P.S., You’re probably wondering how such an unserious name came to a group of such serious musicians:

“The Suspicious Cheese Lords’ unconventional name is derived from the title of a [Thomas] Tallis motet, Suscipe quaeso Domine. In a playful translation of the title, it was observed that Suscipe could mean “suspicious,” quaeso resembles the Spanish word queso meaning ‘cheese,’ and Domine is, of course, ‘Lord.’ Hence, the title of the motet was clearly ‘Suspicious Cheese Lord’ – which in time became adopted as the group’s name. ‘I hated the name,’ says West. ‘And the guys loved it.’ And to this day, thanks to Skip’s cooking skills, the Cheese Lords continue to have dinner together before their weekly rehearsals.”

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