Friday, June 26, 2009

Make a Change

After our second show in Dallas Texas I ended up winding down in my good friend John's room. Some how we ended up talking about movies/tv shows that influenced us as children. He showed me YouTube clips of Dot and Kangaroo.  A lovely little show with music and cartoons mixed with live clips from the Australian outback.  I in turn showed him my all time favorite childhood/teenage obsession Captain EO (click here for the first half and here for the second half, which has the music and dancing).  Captain EO, a 3D movie at Disneyland staring Michael Jackson and Directed by Francis Ford Coppola,  ran from 1986-1997.  Living in Anaheim, I had a year round pass to the park, and Captain EO was a staple in my life. John and I watched the 20 minute film and reminisced about how RIDICULOUSLY talented Michael Jackson was and how truly sad he seemed now.  It seemed such a shame that someone who has influenced so many people all over the world should be driven to such a sad state. What brought us all so much joy and gave us some many wonderful memories also seemed to be what fueled his depression and seemingly lonely life. We had no idea that the next day we would learn he had passed away. 

     I still can't believe he is gone. I know EVERYONE was affected by him. We all have memories that we associate with his music, amazing ability as a performer.   While everyone turns his death into a crazy circus, I thought I'd share some of my favorite memories.

     When I was 5 years old I fully believed that he was my best friend.  My mom loves to tell the story of how I burst into tears when she shut the car door. As she struggled to find out what had happened, I quickly informed her she had not let Michael into the car. Hahaha... what a crazy kid! My mom, never one to burst a bubble, lovingly opened the door and let him join me in the car. Thanks, Mom. 

    A few years later, my aunt says, we walked into a shopping center and I stopped dead in my tracks, grabbed my chest as if I couldn't breathe.  She was very worried until she realized I had stopped because I spotted a poster of MJ and, clearly my heart skipped a beat. I was OB-SESSED. 

    Then... came Captain EO. I often try to explain the glory of this film.  When I meet people who have seen it, there is always  a spark of excitement. When I was in high school I found a VH1 special that showed the rehearsal process for the big dance number "We are Here to Change the World."  I watched that video with painstaking diligence and recorded each step into a notebook.  I then proceeded to teach the dance to the entire Associate Student Body leadership team.  It was really amazing. We even made shirts that looked like the shirt he wears under his space suit that read "We are here to change the world" on the back.  I still think it was a pretty brilliant idea. And... it was so much fun!  Captain EO closed when I was 17, and I'll never forget how sad I was when it was replaced by "Honey I Shrunk the Audience."  

   THEN... in 2003 my sister and I went to visit a friend who was working at Universal Studios in the Terminator stunt show.  As we waited outside to go in to see his show I got a phone call.  My friend had stepped backstage on a quick break to tell me that MICHAEL JACKSON was in the audience of his show. My friend told me where he would be exiting.  My sis and I freaked. We ran straight into a shop to buy a pen and headed toward the back of the theatre.  I am not usually one to approach celebrities. I feel like it is invasive and I think they should be able to live their lives without being attacked by swarms of people. BUT this was Michael Jackson. His life was far from normal, and he had meant so much to me.  We spotted him with a few friends and few security guards.  We got his autograph on the back of a ticket stub and my sis clicked a great close up pic of he and me. I spoke to him about Captain EO, he was super sweet, a little weird (of course) and very gracious.  I still feel so bad about not taking a pic of my sis with him. But, I think you can see her face in the reflection of his sun glasses.  

A few days have passed since the news of his death was confirmed. I know I didn't "know" him. But, it still feels so strange knowing he is gone.  I know it seemed as if the Michael Jackson we all loved has been gone for quite some time now, but he was still a force bringing new ideas to the entertainment world.  It's so sad knowing his upcoming tour will not happen. I don't think the world has ever seen nor will we ever see an entertainer who compares.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Salty Highlights

Here's a few of the Highlights from Salt Lake....

I found several great Vintage Clothing/Antiques Shops. 

This pic is from a shop called Retro Rose.  It's located at 207 E Broadway.  Everything in the shop was organized by color which I loved.  Loads and loads of antiques painted all over the shop.
  I also went to a new Vintage Clothing store called Misc. (pronounced Missy) which is attached to a Vintage Mondern Furniture store called The Green Ant.  I had such a great talk with Missy about how she opened her shop and owning her own business. It is so clear that having a great personality really gets you a long way as a business owner.  I highly recommend her shop.  She has some truly great finds ( including several great vintage bathing suits). 

The last shop I went to was Jitter Bug Antiques & Collectables.  This small packed shop proved lucky for me.  Not only did I find loads of Vintage Clip on Earrings to use for my new vintage/felted jewelry, I also found an authentic Chitty Chitty Bang Bang replica! It's missing Potts and the Kids, but Truly Scrumptious is there waving in all her glory.  

This and the next few pictures are sights I saw as I strolled through Downtown on my last day in Salt Lake City. So beautiful!

This Violin Making School was a definite gem. The shop windows were filled with half finished Violins. I felt like I was on one of Mr. Rogers' field trips. No one was there, but it was clearly so full of life.   

Thanks Salt Lake City for a great week! Now... on to Tempe. 

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Honoring a Great Man

I was in a hotel room in Atlanta when I learned that legendary Lindy Hopper, Frankie Manning
 had passed away at the age of 94.  Frankie was one of the original Lindy Hoppers in the Savoy Ballroom and a member of a group that called Whitey's Lindy Hoppers.  He can be seen in many films, including A Day at the Races, and Hellzapopin.    After taking a long break from dancing, he hit the floor again in the 80's and began spreading his passion for the dance. He toured the world teaching, choreographing, telling stories, and spreading his love of life Lindy.  

I began swing dancing (mainly Lindy Hop) in 1996.  My highschool weekends were spent in vintage clothes swinging out in front of live band and eating pasta.  My passion for the dance
 even took me to a 2 week camp in Sweeden.   I've been lucky enough to see him in person a few times and he has been a constant symbol of joy, life and general kick-buttedness.  I don't get many chances to dance socially these days, but when I do, it always feels like home.

Frankie passed away April 27th, and I was not scheduled to be back in NYC for another few weeks.  So, I had to miss the funeral service. However, I was able to attend (with my friend and fellow long time Lindy Hopper, Jen Brooks) the Memorial Service  that was held as a part of Frankie's 95 Birthday Celebration.   I know that my words can not do the service justice.  It was a perfect memorial filled with stories, laughter, gratitude, music and of course dance. After the service at 5th Ave Presbyterian, we followed Dave Otswalds Gully Low Jazz Band in a traditional New Orleans Style 2nd Line procession that ended with a dance at the Bandshell in Central Park. I felt so proud to be a part of the GIGANTIC group holding parasols, scarves and pictures of Frankie through the streets of NYC.  Jen and stayed and danced in the park for a bit, and then went to another dance at the Hammerstein Ballroom. It was a great day.

As I said, I don't get a chance to dance much now.... but I can't deny that the years I spent social dancing have shaped all that I am and all that I do now. I often seek to fill my life with joy, improvisation and general kookiness. I know the days I spent swinging out for hours on end lit a light in my heart that will never go out. 

Thank you, Frankie, for all of the joy you've spread.  I, for one, will do my best to continue to spread it with your smile in my heart. 

1996ish - We all used to dance to bands like Red and the Red Hots at Disneyland every weekend

Jenn Salvadori and I camping it up at Dinsey.  While I'm sure I have amazing black mail videos of Jenn when she first started dancing, she and her man Justin Zillman are my favorite dancers to watch.  Find them and get them to a dance floor near you! AND.. watch them here... ridic!

1996 - My first dance partner Shesha Marvin.-If you are in Southern California, check him out for lessons.

At one point, even both Pastors started dancing on the Alter! This was a perfect Memorial Service.

Dancing with Jen in the Park.  We've worked together at Ellen's Stardust Diner, and FREAKED when we discovered we both Lindy Hopped. I'm so lucky I have an NYC friend who dances. 

 Dancing with Cody Mui at the Ballroom after the Memorial Service.


I had a wonderful 3 week lay-off.  I spent the first week in California, the second in NYC and the third in the Caribbean.  Not too shabby.  We re-opened the show in Albuquerque and we are now back in the swing of things with 2 new cast members in Salt Lake City.  I'm making a commitment to post more often and I have lots and lots to share.   Here's a few highlights from the vaca.

CAN YOU HANDLE THIS FACE!!!!!  Little Lucia is the beautiful daughter of two of my very dear friends, Melissa and Ozzy.  I can not handle how cute she is, and I'm so glad I was able to see her in California.

PROJECT BRIDEWAY! My beautiful sister (the tall blonde) is getting MARRIED!  Super fun Shower.

Of course, I had to sport some "Molly Made" items on the cruise. I made this flower headband with my sis in mind. I hope to start a white bride inspired line. BUT.... my man said it looks like an egg... so now, all I can think is EGG HEAD when I see this picture.  Thanks mister.

I made these earwarming headbands for Marvin (on the left) and Richard (not pictured). I also made one for Skip's lady Tara. But I know Skip really wanted the flowered headband for himself.