Showing posts with label dancing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dancing. Show all posts

Friday, September 15, 2017

Radio and dance in an age of theology and geometry

In 1941, WJBO -- 1150 on Your Dial! 5,000 watts! -- was the only radio station in Baton Rouge.

But at Louisiana State University, "WJBO" was a modern-dance composition, too.

I'm unsure what the LSU WJBO says about the state of modern dance 76 years ago in a sleepy, Deep South state capital. But I damned well can tell you that, today, listening to Rush Limbaugh on your average denuded talk-radio station (enter the 2017 incarnation of WJBO) might inspire me to do many things, but dancing isn't one of them.

Alas, in 1941, radio was radio, and dance was dancing, and my parents and grandparents were spared the likes of what stations like WJBO have become.

The State-Times (peace be upon it), gave its readers a preview of this exciting danse electronique, in which collegians chase electrons to and fro:

"WJBO," illustrating in the dance the various types of programs available from the push-button radio, will open the recital. Elizabeth Green of Haynesville, graduate student, is the composer. First there will be war news, with dictators presented against a background of sorrowing women and children. Another push of the button will bring the serial, a very usual sort of triangle story which will be interpreted by David Stopher and two girls of the dance group. Next will be the symphony, which Miss Green will give, and at the conclusion Linda Lee's social column of the Air, to be presented by a group.
MY PARENTS' generation, God bless it, obviously did not yet lack for theology and geometry. I scarcely can picture what a contemporary "WJBO" might look like. I assume it would involve a fat guy waddling around with a microphone, pantomiming a conniption fit as a large troupe rhythmically evoked opioid abuse and falling IQs around him.

In the second movement, the microphone may or may not be placed where it was not designed to go.

I'm not sure about the third and final movement. I don't think anyone would stick around that long. Kind of like AM radio today.

That concludes your news from May, 14, 1941. I'm your Mighty Favog. Next, Your Esso Reporter. Good night.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Love. Peace. Sooooooooul Traaaaaain!

"The hippest trip in America" is no more, and now the hippest tripper, Don Cornelius, is dead by his own hand.

Our present sadness keeps giving folks reasons to really miss the Seventies. I'm even starting to miss the clothes -- at least the kind of threads one might see on Soul Train.

Listen, I'm a white guy from the Deep South, born in the year of our Lord Jim Crow, Nineteen Hundred and Sixty-One. In the early '70s as they existed in my corner of the world, could there have been a more subversive --
wonderfully, funkily, groovily, terrifyingly (to some) subversive -- program on television?

If 1973 had been 1963 and Baton Rouge had been Birmingham, a TV transmitter would have been blowed up good.

NPR blog post by Dan Charnas sums up Why Don Cornelius Matters quite nicely:
It was the Godfather of Soul's first appearance on Cornelius' then-nascent syndicated TV show — designed to do for soul music and black audiences what American Bandstand had long done for pop music and mainstream audiences. Brown marveled at the professionalism of the production, the flawlessness of its execution.

He turned to Cornelius and asked, "Who's backing you on this, man?"

"It's just me, James," Cornelius answered.

Brown, nonplused, acted as if Cornelius didn't understand the question. He asked it two more times, and Cornelius answered twice again: "It's just me, James."

That the man who wrote the song "Say It Loud — I'm Black and I'm Proud" and who recorded the soundtrack to the Black Power movement could scarcely comprehend that a black man like Cornelius both owned and helmed this kind of enterprise without white patronage is a testament to the magnitude and the improbability of Cornelius' achievements.

REST IN LOVE, peace and soul, Don Cornelius.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Simply '70s: The real TV spiel

You say it's Feb. 14, 2011. I say your clock is fast.

Way fast. Thirty-seven years fast.

According to my clock, it's May 1974. Bell bottoms are all the rage. Platform shoes, too.

And we like to settle in on the living-room couch in front of the big console television set and watch all the cool kids dance to the top hits on
American Bandstand.

The Real Don Steele Show on KHJ-TV out in Los Angeles.

Sorry, I meant Boss Angeles.

Hey, man, can you get that open flame away from my shirt? Please?

If you don't, I'm a cut you up bad with the big, big comb I got in my back pocket for my big, big hair.

Think I'm not serious? Maybe I'll introduce Gary Glitter to your 12-year-old sister, man. I hear he gives lip-syncing a whole new meaning.

Or maybe I'll make you watch Don's "Show Biz News Stuff" skit twice. Tina Delgado may be alive, ALIVE, but that bit just died, DIED.

Rock 'n' roll, man.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Simply '70s: Woot! Woot! Let's all pledge!

Nebraska ETV survived disco . . . and 1976.

But it was close there for a while.
Hotline, hotline,
Calling on the hotline for your cash. . . .

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Your Daily '80s: Dance Fever!

One question about Lita Ford's appearance on this 1983 episode of
Dance Fever.

If you're going to have Lita lip-sync into a dead wireless microphone,
would it have been too much to plug a cable to nowhere into her electric guitar?

AND HERE'S a Dance Fever promo from 1985.

You know, new host Adrian Zmed was no Deney Terrio. That's not necessarily saying much about anything.

Now, if
Dance Fever had had William Shatner (Zmed's old T.J. Hooker co-star) on the show to reprise his spoken-word version of "Rocket Man," that would have been somethin'.

Oh, look. I happen to have a copy.

from the '80s (it's from the 1978 Science Fiction Awards show), but who cares?
I'm not proud.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pigs do it . . . dogs do it. . . .

Back in the olden days of Midwestern radio, a "Barn Dance Frolic" was a hillbilly-music program that aired Saturday nights on WHO out of Des Moines, Iowa.

Today in American high schools, including all across the great American midriff, what you see on the dance floor might also be described as a "barn dance frolic." As in,
"Pigs do it, cows do it, even dogs and sheep do it . . . OH MY GOD, BILLY AND MARY ARE DOING IT IN FRONT OF THE WHOLE SCHOOL!"

Well, not exactly. Genitalia remain covered, and the kids call it "dancing."

AND RIGHT HERE in River City, the Omaha World-Herald is talking about how it's giving high-school administrators fits:
The dance style known as grinding — pelvis to pelvis gyrations, typically with the boy behind the girl — has grown popular at high school dances, but several school administrators say it's indecent.

With homecoming season in full swing at Omaha-area high schools, administrators are employing a variety of tactics aimed at cleaning up dirty dancing.

“Every school needs to stop this,” said Jonna Andersen, principal at St. Albert Catholic School in Council Bluffs, who cracked down for this year's homecoming dance.

Andersen warned students ahead of time that they must dance face-to-face, and if they didn't, the music would be stopped. Letters went home alerting parents to the rules, and administrators enlisted help from the homecoming court to encourage students to abide by them.

School officials were concerned about how students might respond, and planned to stop the dance if they didn't comply, she said. But the dance a week ago ended up well-attended, students followed the rules, and they reported having a good time, Andersen said.
ONE MIGHT say that if Catholic schools are having to tell their teenagers that dancing like you're doing it "doggie style" is morally problematic and not decent for public consumption, something has gone horribly wrong with Catholic catechesis and moral training -- both at school and at home --in the preceding decade.

Of course, one also might say that's obvious, so why bring it up? I dunno, maybe it's because "obvious" stroked out and died about 20 years ago.
Back to the story. . . .
Although it's nothing new for young people's dancing to alarm the older generation, Lincoln Southwest High School Principal Rob Slauson said the current trend in dancing goes “way beyond” the days of Elvis Presley gyrating his hips on stage. The students are “simulating sex,” he said.

“We're talking about a situation now where the young lady is facing away from the man, and at times she's putting her hands on the floor, raising her rear end,” he said.

“And in some dances, the girls are wearing short skirts and the guys actually pull the skirts up while they're dancing. And then there's contact between her groin area and his groin area.”

Chaperones have a difficult time policing the dances when students form a circle in the middle of the dance floor and the adults can't see what's going on, he said. High school dances can attract more than a thousand students.

Slauson said he warned students about their dancing before last year's prom. Although the situation improved, they still resisted, he said.

School officials last June decided to step up their response and prohibit guests from other schools at Southwest's dances, with the exception of prom. It's easier for school administrators to discipline their own students than those from other schools, he said.

Slauson said the policy was a “shot across the bow” to let students know the administration was serious about cracking down.
METHINKS "shots across the bow" aren't going to touch on the larger problem -- including what these school administrators are going to be dealing with next year as their student bodies continue to marinate in this sort of cultural stew.

(NOTE: The first "how to" video probably is safe for work. The following teenage application of "grinding" principles definitely isn't -- in fact, it's what we Catholics call a "near occasion of sin." I wouldn't advise watching any more than necessary to get the idea of what kids find acceptable on the dance floor.)

MY FIRST reaction to this stuff is "They have to teach dry humping?"

My second reaction is that what ordinary folk used to consider public indecency -- and still would be considered sexual harassment in the workplace -- is what kids today consider "normal," which pretty much is the end of the line of what we consider
(or at least once considered) "civilization."

Folks, this isn't just another instance of kids "pushing the envelope" and scandalizing the old folks. That ended somewhere short of dry humping.

This is flat-out simulated sex, and the only place to go from here is the real thing.

In public.

At your kid's high school.

Perhaps with your kid.

SO, DON'T GIVE me that crap about Boomers scandalizing the folks with the bump, and bobby-soxers scandalizing great-grandpa by doing the jitterbug. Nobody ever found condoms on the floor after the high-school hop back when TV would only show Elvis Presley from the waist up.

The condoms-on-the-floor thing came from this MSNBC story in February.

What we're dealing with here is mass abandonment of human dignity -- the continuing objectification of human beings, if you will. When you're "grinding" little Susie on the dance floor, you're not enjoying the company (or the beauty) of a wonderful girl with a sparkling personality and winning smile. Instead, you're getting what jollies you can in public with a butt and a vagina -- albeit covered
(for now) -- that happen to have a torso, head and legs attached.

For young women, substitute the appropriate male "features."

(Please. Don't give me that bull about it being "not sexual." I'm not an idiot, and I understand the physiology of, and the stimuli involved with, sexual intercourse.)

Back about the time of the fall of Rome, in a Christmas homily, Pope Leo I reminded the faithful of who and what they were:
Christian, remember your dignity, and now that you share in God’s own nature, do not return by sin to your former base condition. Bear in mind who is your head and of whose body you are a member. Do not forget that you have been rescued from the power of darkness and brought into the light of God’s kingdom.
THAT'S JUST so much history. Leo the Great has been dead for millennia, and now so is dignity.

And judging by the cultural evidence surrounding us, we even regard ourselves as nothing more than exceptionally intelligent farm animals. Who engage in "barn dance frolics."

If I were a school administrator, I'd be tempted to break up the "freak dancing" with the strategic application of a cattle prod.

It's the only thing animals understand, after all . . . and it's not like the kiddies could complain that I was offending their dignity. That, they -- we -- discarded a while back.