Friday, September 30, 2016
Banned Books are Increasingly Diverse Books
Thursday, September 29, 2016
Three Interesting Things
Monday, September 26, 2016
A Bookish Weekend
Friday, September 23, 2016
Project Runway is Back
Thursday, September 22, 2016
Three Interesting Things
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Link to: The Five Things I need from White People Right Now
Monday, September 19, 2016
Sports Romance and the Handling of the Audience
Friday, September 16, 2016
Sing It On - Season 2 Episode 8 Finals!
Thursday, September 15, 2016
Three Interesting Things
Monday, September 12, 2016
7 Things About Flags, Anthems, and Protest
1. It's supposed to be inconvenient. Protests don't all happen on weekend mornings with permits submitted. Not just because that costs money and requires time and attention, but, because even for me, who lives in a hometown where everybody comes to protest, it's all too easy to ignore that. Those gatherings are still valuable, I'm not suggesting that the March on Washington, for example, was a waste of time, but those often bring attention primarily to those already committed. So joining hands and getting arrested, or blocking roads during rush hour are tactics often employed because they make news and therefore draw attention of those not necessarily already paying attention.
2. The idea that protesting the death of people is inappropriate during a tribute to the death of people, well, I'm not sure that's good logic at all there.
3. But, actually the national anthem isn't a tribute to fallen soldiers anything more than anything else is.
4. We stand to salute the flag not the song. I bring this up because people keep saying while that song is playing which indicates that people don't even fully understand the tradition they are objecting to having altered.
5. We have developed a tradition of playing anthems at sports games. It is not because sports have anything actually to do with patriotism (except possibly during the Olympics).
6. It's a clever marketing scheme by the military. There's a reason there's always a color guard there. So, it is essentially an ad. You are objecting to the interruption of an ad.
7. You are of course free to stop watching sports. You are free to object to people protesting in the middle of your entertainment. But when you try to claim the moral high ground for leaving, well, check that that horse has legs.
Friday, September 09, 2016
Sing It On Season 2 Episode 7 Northeast Semifinals
We start at University of Maryland (UMD) with the Faux Paz who are still backstage celebrating their semifinal win. Lynique is so hyped. Her family comes backstage to congratulate them. And to take Lynique back with them so she can go to church with them in the morning. Josh is still sounding hoarse, but is so grateful his vocal issues didn't cost them a shot at finals.
At the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) Craig from the Hexachords is excited about their win, but tells the group they were only 7 points ahead of Distilled Harmony and 11 points ahead of fellow UMass group S#arp Attitude. So he thinks big changes are called for because semifinals will be tougher. He wants to cut "So Emotional" and "Roller Coaster". Brandon immediately jumps in that he thinks "Rollercoaster" (where he has a solo) could be amped up with further tweaking. Craig tells the camera that Brandon's transitions to falsetto were not consistent. He tells the group that Katie is there strongest soloist and he wants to start the set with her. Linnea - half joking - says guess we know who Craig's favorite is. He responds, not seeming to be joking, it's Katie. Katie looks a little uncomfortable. I think she's fine being the strongest soloist, but a little more aware of the tension. None of this seems like group breaking tension, they are just adjusting quickly to a lot of change.
Craig wants to lead the set with "Expensive." Brandon doesn't think "Expensive" is competition ready. Craig says with this size group he wants to feature everyone so wants to give song to Linnea. Craig seems to be working on a Brandon got a solo for quarters, so Linnea gets one for semis, which is an interesting tactic. It's certainly the kind of thinking that would really only be feasible with a very small group. Linnea notes big deal to solo. Katie realizes that this means new choreography. Craig does say that they can run back through the song in rehearsal and revisit later.
Taryn has taken a few of the S#arps to the lake for a retreat. Sam is less than thrilled that this involves boating - so sits in the middle while Archie and Taryn paddle the canoe. Melinda joins them post boating. Taryn has a surprise for Archie since Archie will be the new music director - it's a big binder of all their arrangements. Archie thanks her. Archie is embarrassed about her post-loss meltdown, but Taryn says it shows her passion. Sam says she knows the group is in good hands.
Sam tells them she was "in nature" all day so now wants a drinking game. And she has brought a Pin the Junk on the Hunk game. They are all happy drunk.
The Hexachords are running through whole set for the first time. Sam shows up to help them with their choreography as promised. Sam teaches them to tooch. She is particularly encouraging them to bring the sexy with this new set. Sam tells them she thinks if they bring it, they will win, and her opinion matters most.
Later that evening the S#arps are gathering for Sam's birthday. She tells them that the Hexachords have changed up everything. Archie brings a Happy Birthday Aca-bitch cake.
In rehearsal for the Hexachords, Craig is nervous. Linnea isn't yet, but says she will be. Craig tells the camera he has to be fearless for the group.
And we're in Boston for the semifinals, so a shorter trip this time. Katie notes that all the other groups are big. And it's a big hall. Craig and Matt have not arrived. Katie, Brandon, Xander, and Linnea are there, joking about being Hexachords not quadsichords. Katie tries to call but Craig and Matt do make it before things start.
Linnea climbs into the stage - to the horror of the emcee who explains she would like them to use the steps. It's time for performance order picking. Linnea picks 3rd. They show us all the other groups picking which was different but it turns out the ten was missing from the bag. To everyone's apparent horror, they now have to redraw. Linnea draws 9th.
Distilled Harmony is going 6th- ie the beginning of second half.
Linnea decided a new outfit would help her bring the sexy-so has a corset top and shorts. The group approves.
S#arps Melinda, Taryn, Archie, Sam, are here to cheer them on.
We see snippets of:
Northeastern University's Distilled Harmony singing Vance Joy's "The Fire and the Flood"
Northeastern University's Unisons singing Demi Lovato's ''Confident"
Boston University's The Bostones singing Ella Eyre's "If I Go"
Craig says this could be their last ICCA.
The Hexachords go onstage, and again this performance is broken up with talking heads and voiceovers. Katie has a powerhouse of a solo on Tori Kelly's "Expensive" and Brandon, as he was promised, gets a featured moment. Linnea brings a smoky alto to Nina Simone's ''Feeling Good". It is again really hard to tell through my TV, but they don't sound like just six people. Also, although Brandon's high tenor is probably helping with this, they don't sound like four guys and two gals, the sound is very balanced. The crowd seems incredibly responsive to their set.
Offstage Brandon says it was so much fun. Linnea doesn't know how to feel. Linnea tells them that after quarters she was sure they had won and this time she doesn't know.
We stop in at UMD where the Faux Paz are having a Jenga Truth or Dare game to bond before finals. Mitul keeps pulling blocks that say "Take a shot and pull another block." There is a disclaimer for underage participants, who are passing their drinking challenges to Mitul. Mitul feels they are picking on him.
And we're back with the Hexachords because the results are in.
3rd - the Hexachords
2nd - Distilled Harmony
1st - The Bostones
Craig sorry they won't go to finals. Brandon is sad. Linnea says 3rd is still really good. They are sad, but trying to focus on how great it went. They gather in a group hug. They thank Craig. He tells them he does it for them. Katie (who is shorter) breaks up the group hug noting there are so many smells.
The S#arps come back to congratulate them. Melinda says their sound was amazing and it was great for the greater community to hear it.
Craig is pondering going pro - a la Pentatonix.
Next week is finals. And while the Hexachords would be eligible for the wild card round, as you may suspect since we have only one episode left, they are not our wild card winners. But, viewers from last year may be happy to see that the winner is FSU's All Night Yahtzee. So perhaps we will get a glimpse of them next week.
Thursday, September 08, 2016
Three Interesting Things
Tuesday, September 06, 2016
7 Things In the NFL that I Did Not See Get This Level of Media Coverage
Friday, September 02, 2016
Sing it On Season 2 Episode 6 Mid-Atlantic Semifinals
We start in Maryland at UMD with the Faux Paz. Mitul reminds us they got second place at quarterfinals, so almost didn't make it to semifinals. David says they want to be the best and right now they are not even the best on campus (given Pandemonium's win at quarterfinals).
Lynique says at semifinals they have weeded out the duds and are left with only the gold. She talks again about how she channels her mom when she sings "Dog Days Are Over". She says her mom was not a singer, but would say that keying into the emotion of the song was the most important part. We see pictures on Lynique's family as she explains her mother held on through the illness for so long but eventually had to let go. In rehearsal she finishes the song and burst into tears. The group moves to hug her. Josh says the emotion they were channeling was so amazing even he stopped for a moment, and they want to do that to win.
In Pennsylvania, Off the Beat (OTB) is rehearsing also. Jasmine wants to focus on the choreography. Rohan reminds us they came in second at quarterfinals and last year the Faux Paz knocked them out at semifinals.
Brian wants to sing a little, is worried they need to get the music down pat. Rohan wants to rest. Brian wants to practice the dynamics too. Jasmine decides those who feel they are in good vocal health can sing softly so as not to wear their voices out. They are practicing in front of a mirror and she asks them to make sure their expressions match the emotions of the song.
Rohan is worried their voices are shot.
Back in Maryland, Lynique is having a family dinner with her dad and her sister. They have set a place at the table for her mom also. Her dad asks if the Faux Paz are ready. Lynique explains that with her mom sick, her dad and sister couldn't be at semifinals last year, but they'll be there this year.
The Faux Paz are on a bus to Philadelphia for semifinals (so they had to travel a little more this round). Apparently the magic of Facebook has alerted the Faux Paz that OTB has changed their set for semifinals and there is speculation as to what they may have done. Josh says the Faux Paz will be fine because nothing could be worse than Rohan's voice crack. (Hmm.) David tells us the Mid-Atlantic region is stacked with nationally known groups.
OTB arrives at the theater. Jasmine likes the Faux Paz but thinks that any group could take this. Rohan says that the Faux Paz, OTB, and Vocal Point all got second in their quarterfinals, the rest of these groups are winners of their round.
It's time for performance order picking. Jasmine says she doesn't actually think it matters what number they get. David picks third for Faux Paz. (Which…is what they got for quarterfinals too. I'm just saying.) Jasmine pulls 7th for OTB.
David asks Rohan if they are ready for them to Off the Beat them down. Rohan laughs and says that joke was a Faux Paz. David says their set won't be. They exchange various high and low fives.
OTB does not get through everything Jasmine wanted in the sound check. Backstage Jasmine reminds them that even though this is a larger theater they need to do the performance the way they've rehearsed it and not try to exaggerate anything.
Meanwhile Josh of the Faux Paz has started losing his voice. He felt fine earlier but now sounds hoarse. His solo is first and he's worried. He doesn't want to be the reason they don't go to finals.
OTB is rehearsing and you can just tell no one feels it's going well. Jasmine doesn't want to screw up the OTB legacy. Rohan is getting nervous about his voice. He is stage whispering that he has never done four full rehearsals on a performance day in his whole life. Jasmine reminds them that whispering is just as hard on your voice as singing. She tells the camera she thinks some of this is misdirected nerves.
As I adore a list of a cappella groups here are the ones we see snippets of:
University of Maryland's Pandemonium sing Gallant's "Weight of Gold"
University of Delaware's Vocal Point sing Sia's "Alive"
Wagner College's Vocal Synergy sings Nina Simone's "I Put a Spell on You"
And the University of Delaware's Meludees are also there.
The Faux Paz go on stage right after Pandemonium, and Josh feels the adjustments they've made to their set (and group) are going to get them past Pandemonium this time.
Again, the sets in this episode are interspersed with talking heads and we don't see any full songs. But starting out Josh sounds okay. If you didn't know better, you might think Josh just had a gravelly kind of voice. As the tempo picks up, it seems more obvious that he's having issues, but again, I know what he should sound like, as do Rohan and Brian who are in the audience. Brian says it sounds like he wore out his voice. Josh is giving a great performance, but by the end I think even if you thought he was gravelly, there's still rough spots. We next see "Dog Days are Over" and Lynique is killing the solo. Rohan whispers that they might be screwed because the judges will not forget Lynique's solo. Lynique's dad and sister have been given prime box seats that are visible from the stage. Lynique says she could see them as she sang.
Backstage the group all comforts Josh that he sounded good. Josh says the judges don't know what he normally sounds like.
OTB goes on stage. "Ain't No Sunshine" starts them off. "End of an Era" has a tough note for Rohan, so he's worried. He nails it. Again, we're only seeing snippets, but Rohan is doing the very note slidey thing that Shams warned Sam about. It's consistent, so I assume it's a stylistic choice, but, in my opinion, Shams is right, it sounds like you don't think you can hit the note, so you slide up to it. There are very popular singers who do this, this is just my thought on this. Rohan does seem much more confident in this performance, and Jasmine has a moment with the male trio and is pumped that they nail the moment.
Offstage they are very happy with their performance. They thank Jasmine.
We get a little moment of Rohan and Brian fixing their hair.
While waiting for results, Rohan tells the group that he thought picking such a serious school meant giving up performing and they were just part of one of the best performances of his life.
It's time for the results.
3rd – Pandemonium
2nd – Vocal Synergy
1st – Faux Paz
The Faux Paz are thrilled. OTB is sad, but congratulates the Faux Paz. Jasmine says it sucks to work so hard, but she knows that performance was great. Brian says he'll be back. Lynique hugs her family. Faux Paz are going to the finals.