Dance-Movie Derby: An Introduction

27 04 2010

Johnny and the staff kids showing Kellerman’s what’s up.

I really love Dance Movies.

They’re corny and cliche, yet often transcend their faults and return somehow into the realm of awesome. I want to share the analysis and pleasure of Dance Movies with you.

I would prefer to do things chronologically from what I consider the “origin” of this specific type of film, but I am going to first begin by dealing with my favorite and the most –in my opinion– ultimate example of this genre: Dirty Dancing.

I will do Flashdance and Footloose later. I will not do Saturday Night Fever. The reason is that 1) Barry Gib sucks, and 2) John Travolta’s character is a douche. The main character of a good dance movie cannot be a douche.

To begin with I want to make a few stipulations for Films to fall into this category:

You suck so hard my floor is clean.

1. There can be no singing. Musicals are a totally different entity.

2. There must be socio-economic or social/cultural issues at stake; either as barriers or context.  Subculture clashing with systemic normality is preferred.

3. There must be totally kick-ass dancing beyond traditional dance style. In other words, the dance featured that helps the characters triumph over adversity must have sass and “A little som’in’ som’in’ on the end.” (Drumline is the bastard child of Dance Movies. I love Bastards.) This is where the lower-class or subculture influence shines.

For instance: The Company is not a dance movie because there is only formal ballet  and no actual conflict of any kind. (That movie sucks.)

So, this is my approach. Dance Movies are awesome. But don’t take my word for it: Go watch some. Your favorites? Discuss them seriously, you might be surprised at what you find.

Things I learned from Brent Spiner (Wondercon 2010)

5 04 2010

As I mentioned, I love Wondercon. I don’t think anyone doubts my love of it.  This year I discovered something new to love about Wondercon and that is the possibility of meeting your heroes and discovering they’re nice people in real life.


Things I learned from Marina Sirtis (Wondercon 2010)

4 04 2010

I love Wondercon. At Moscone center in San Francisco thousands of nerds, dorks, geeks, spazzes, dweebs, poindexters and their unsuspecting normal friends gather to search hungrily through bins and bins and  bins of graphic novels, buy action figures, meet their favorite stars and writers, and experience so many other things that I cannot possibly list.

This year I was lucky enough to have a press pass, which is pretty much a giant sign announcing “HARASS ME ABOUT YOUR WEIRD FRINGE ART ABOUT HOT ZOMBIE CHICKS.” While such things were a bit bothersome after a while, it’s really a great way to experience a comic-book convention. It brought me out of my own pathological interests and required I pay closer attention to the new and risky.

But, what was clearly not new and risky was the presence of sci-fi stars at the con. One of my goals of personal enjoyment was to meet Marina Sirtis; a London-born Greek actress most well-known and loved for her role as Counselor Deanna Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation.  After wandering through the booths and tables for a while, soaking up the culture, I saw her. She sat happily chatting with ecstatic fans and I felt my own heart begin to thump thump so hard I could scarcely believe it. This moment sums up Comic-book conventions for me: the intense thrill of nerding out so completely your heart-rate amps up like you’re running a marathon.

I approached her table. Her hair was perfect, her outfit black and fitted. She looks amazing! She met my nervous gaze with eyes of soft brown; very different from the black lenses I was used to seeing in so many syndicated episodes.

“Hello!” I exclaimed breathlessly. She seemed to beam. She shook my hand. She listened to me blather on hurriedly about how much I love her as an actress and how much TNG means to me as a show and creative entity.

“Oh! But you’re just a baby!” She exclaimed. I couldn’t help but blush and note how very right she was.  I felt so young and so hopeful at that moment it was like going back in time.

Then Marina Sirtis asked my name. “Oh! You have a Greek name!” she tells me lovingly. I had no idea! “Do you know what it means?” she asks. Of course I don’t. “It means crown. In the Greek church the bride and groom wear a crown of Laurels” she informs me of myself as she writes across her own bust-line “All the best, Marina Sirtis.” She hands me the photo, stands, and poses for another in which I am also featured. I look at it now and giggle intensely. I stand as if wearing a crown of laurels, about to run into the forest like a nymph pursued by a god.  I stand next to a goddess of outer space and acting. Lucky me!

Following this she sits, I thank her, she beams “You know Brent is here too!” My jaw drops. I didn’t see Brent Spiner listed among the guests at Wondercon.  There was no end to the joy Marina Sirtis would  bring me that day, and indeed maybe forever.

Stay tuned for more on this and Wondercon


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