Posted by: PunkiePixie | November 13, 2007

Belly Dance and a few news related rants…

So, as most of you know, I’ve been taking belly dance classes since September ’06. I instantly fell in love with the dance style and the teacher (Shalimar Rocks!), so I signed up for 6 weeks of classes, then another 6 weeks, then another and another and another… and it’s now a year later and Shalimar thinks I’m ready to perform. Eeps! I’ve been in the intermediate class for about 9 months and she thinks I’m decent enough to dance in front of other people. Whatever, she’s the retired professional, she knows best.

I took her up on her offer to have me dance with the class at Belly Dance Connection on Friday, November 16, 2007. The class is being introduced as the Daughters of the Pharaoh, and as a student group. As always, I’m nervous as hell and I think I suck despite knowing the whole dance from top to bottom and just having a slight timing issue that’ll correct once I dance with the group. I haven’t performed in ages, oh gods, in 8 years. The 1999 Caroline’s Dance Center recital. I was a soloist and I had no clue it would be my last year dancing on stage. I was in a car accident just weeks before my final recital with the school before I headed to college, so I had to be taken off the program. At least I was a vocal soloist and could at least perform “I Will Remember You” by Sarah McLaughlan as my goodbye to Miss Caroline. I miss her dance classes, she was so much fun.

So of course, my return to the stage is a bit fraught especially since the Belly Dance Connection is a well attended event and this time it’s not a theater filled with parents, but instead a banquet hall filled with belly dancers and belly dance enthusiasts. Oh, and I’ll be in a line up that includes professional dancers. Oh my god! Just thinking that makes me more nervous!

If you’re interested in seeing me belly dance in public for the first time ever, again, it’s on Friday, 11-16-07 at the Marco Polo restaurant in East Hartford (near the Manchester town line). Doors at 6pm, performance at 7pm, cover is $5 per person.

UPDATE: The performance went really well. I’ve been busy preparing for Thanksgiving so I haven’t been able to blog about it. I only messed a few things up and I nailed the one sequence I was sure I was going to mess up, but overall the performance went well. It was a fun night and now I’m gearing up for next month’s solo (I finally chose a song!)

Also, Shalimar was able to convince me to perform SOLO (bigger eeps!) at The Buttonwood Tree in Middletown, CT on Wednesday, December 12, 2007. This one I’m totally scared of because, seriously, after one year of study and Shalimar constantly telling me “Yes, Liz, you are a good dancer and have come really far in one year,” that I feel like I totally suck. Worst part? I have to choreograph it myself! UNGH! Shalimar, thank the gods, is wiling to help me tweak and perfect whatever I come up with, but I’m still unsure. At this point, I’m still listening to hours and hours of Arabic folk music and “belly dance music” looking for a song that “speaks to me” so I can put something together. Why is it that all the song I like are too western? Oy! I need to choose a song, the performance is in 29 days and I’ve got nothing! *sighs* I really need to get my act together on this shit. At least Shalimar made up 2 discs of bootlegged stuff for me, that’s helping a bit because now I at least know what she’s looking for. I’m totally screwed…

If anyone’s interested in seeing me make an ass of myself in Middletown, CT next month… click here for more info

You all know about the writer’s strike; if you don’t, please tell me what rock you’ve been living under?

The news media has gotten tired of covering it b/c the strikes have been peaceful thusfar and let’s face it, they’re owned by the companies being targeted by the strike and therefore don’t care that much.

So, being pro-union and all, I got curious and started researching the whole thing. Turns out the news media did a gods awful job stating what’s going on. Why should they? As I said before, their ownership are the ones being targeted (NBC/Universal, CBS/Viacom/Paramount, ABC/Disney, Fox/Fox). The writers have a really good reason to strike: they’re the ones creating the work that the producers are profiting from and all they want is a small share of the “new media” (aka: internet/iTunes) sales. Let’s face it… if someone was profiting off selling your work and not giving you you’re fair share, you’d be pissed too! It’s corporate greed their fighting… and it’s good that someone if finally standing up to it! The money hungry assholes on the top of the corporate food chain need to be bitch smacked by those at the bottom from time to time just to be reminded that without the little guy at the bottom doing all the work, they wouldn’t have their millions/billions.

I’m seriously looking at Disney and thinking “What the Fuck? You KNOW unions and their demands, I’ve seen you give in” as I used to work for their Parks & Resorts division. I was in an non-unionized department of said division, but the largest group, the housekeepers, were. Due to this, we got a lot of nice perks that most other employees in the US don’t get: two 30 minute breaks every 4 hours, two 15 minute breaks per every 2 hours of overtime, guaranteed overtime if a shift exceeded 8 hours for any reason, if a 6th day needs to be worked, that day is only 6 hours long and still has the two 30 minute breaks. Oh the luxuries!!! I missed them when I switched to retail. If I worked 6 days in one calendar week, you bet I was working 8 hours on the 6th day… I made OT pay, but I would be barely able to function. Only one 30 minute break per 8 hour shift, if I worked OT, no guaranteed 15 minute break. See, unions can be a good thing; they force employers to be HUMANE.

Yeah there’s the sucky thing of paying dues, but they offer health insurance if you need it and your employer for some fucked up reason won’t provide it (or if the company plan takes way too much out of your pay check). They offer pensions, what companies offer that anymore? It’s now 401K and that has it’s faults because it’s based on the stock market…. you could lose your retirement income if your company stock becomes devalued.

Employers don’t like unions because, well, they fight for stuff that the workers want that they don’t want to provide like decent health coverage, humane working conditions, and oh! What are the writers wanting?

THEIR FAIR SHARE.

To find out more, watch this video from the WGA East website.

For more info: click here

ETA: a friend of mine brought this letter to the editor from the Hartford Courant to my attention. It’s ironically funny and quite insightful click here to view

Moving on to other news that I’ve been thinking about.

I love BBCAmerica, specifically I love BBC World News America. I love how it’s British journalists trying to explain America to Americans. It really gives me a great perspective on what’s going on in the US and around the world as I’m getting it from a point of view of an outsider, mainly: British journalists. It also has better world news coverage than ANY of the American news sources. No coverage of escaped convicts, or bank robberies, or how much the insurance companies suck… it’s coverage of European elections (I didn’t know that this past summer the French were having Presidential elections until I started watching the BBC World News!) or Turkish refusal to acknowledge the Armenian holocaust and their childish move of pulling out all their dignitaries and ambassadors from the US because the US was trying to make them acknowledge said atrocity. Or, that the Turks hate the Kurds and they’re ready to fight a war over something that makes no sense to me so why try and explain it, or that the kidnapped African children have *gasp!* families that are concerned about them and are pissed off that they were taken advantage of by this French “charity” and the strange Western trend of international adoption (stupid Madonna and Brangelina— hmmm Brangelina sounds like a breakfast cereal, I digress). Seriously, the American news agencies cover these events for all of 2.5 seconds during a 30 second “World News” piece. Ungh!

Oh and the commercials are drastically different. The commercials on the nightly network newscasts are so geared to the old people who watch said newscast. It’s for medicare supplement insurance, arthritis rubs/pills, cholesterol medicine, laxatives, life insurance, and frozen dinners. I feel 80 just watching that shit. Now, flip to the BBC and watch the newscast there… I finally learned how to pronounce Qatar! It’s Kah-tar! Who knew! Well, they advertise on the BBC World News as a great place to put offices of the multinational corporation the viewer might be heading up. It’s also for airlines and those crack me up!!!! The ones for Thai airlines? OMG I fall over laughing watching this really “white” Asian business man get pampered by beautiful flight attendants and he’s obviously in first class! What do you get when you fly coach? Nothing. But the target market flies first class, so the commercial is for them. There’s ads for Credit Suisse, and Turkish airlines (this also makes me laugh as there’s a 747 rolling down city streets in London, Rome, Moscow, Istanbul… and people stop and point all calm and stuff), and Wallonia, Belgium (never heard of it before I saw the commercials). Oh! and Rolex and Intercontinental Hotels. Wow! Their target market is the top people at multinational financial companies…. too bad those people are resigning and being taken to court by the SEC. Ahhh, how funny the world is.

So, if you actually want to know what is actually going on in the world and you have digital cable, watch the BBC.

Now for you’re enjoyment, my favorite commercial btw; it’s for Thai Airways. It’s the one I was ranting about.

That should be about it. I’ll post pictures from Friday’s dance event during the Thanksgiving break, and I’ll bitch about Thanksgiving as well.

And remember, don’t overdose on turkey next week because submitting to a turkey induced nap around the extended family can produce unwanted side effects.

Take care!

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