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A cappella master Deke Sharon is seriously awesome, musically and beyond, and I'm happy to see him recognized in the NY Times.

I e-met him in undergrad¹, marveling at his admirable but laughable plan to make a living from a cappella music.

He's gotten the last laugh, musically-powering super-popular movies (the "Pitch Perfect" series), a well-loved TV show ("The Sing-off"), multiple a cappella groups, and most recently, a musical on Broadway.²

I've had the pleasure of meeting him in person (he gave a talk at Google!³) and his optimism and sincere cheerfulness are just as amazing 'live.'

What I most appreciate about the fellow is that he sees music-making as a way for everyone to share joy.
He firmly espouses that both everyone can sing and everyone SHOULD sing. And as you might guess, I think he's 100% right :).

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¹ He and I were both geeks on the USENET newsgroup rec.arts.a-cappella back in the early 90s.

² http://www.dekesharon.com/

³ "Lessons from A cappella for Business and Life" - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB2Teglru-s
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Awesome John Williams movie music - A cappella!
Check out this beautiful, fun, and wonderfully executed medley:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVKa1LEFPas

and be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel of Voctave (which I'm delighted to have now discovered!)
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKb63xBY-hnVbQ82sxfzXEQ


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Hat tip: https://www.yahoo.com/movies/heres-an-a-cappella-medley-of-great-john-williams-175656083.html
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This is one of the most joyful and awesome videos I've seen in a while.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEeiRXOlWUE

About 4 minutes of music, and then... the making of.  All very worth seeing!

Hat-tip: my parents! :)

P.S. -- Yes, this is the same amazing group that recently featured a massive music-marble machine! 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvUU8joBb1Q
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Go see #Zootopia  the first moment you can!
Kids or not, doesn't matter. This is a moving, funny, thoughtful, clever film. Loved it!

And yes, this is a film about racism and bigotry and hatred and understanding and tolerance and love. 

With all that said... I'd love to know what my non-white and (also) female friends think of the film. Inspiring? Patronizing?
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This guy has recorded (and composed) some absolutely beautiful pieces which he shares on his YouTube channel*

Here's a sample (BUT DO NOT YET READ THE  COMMENTS ON THE VIDEO)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txnitrq53RQ

All is not what it seems, though.

See if you can figure out the interesting and (IMHO) somewhat shocking twist.  And then in the comments (at least initially), note whether you guessed the secret or not ;)

P.S. -- Yes, it's really him playing.  

The reveal:
http://j.mp/iiree

His YouTube channel:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCzp0erAOXXpY6O40hMx1xLg
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Charming "Leo's Fortune" game on sale for 99 cents

On Android, iOS, and Amazoid :-D

I bought it a while back and made it all the way through... and without even needing any hints or cheats.  woo hoo!
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I love how a cappella is becoming more and more popular :-)
+Deke Sharon, though I'm guessing he's already seen this / been forwarded it a zillion times :p
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Guaranteed laughs... and some head-scratchers
This film - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6wms-ZuuoE - has garnered a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 99%.  107 thumbs-up reviews, 1 thumbs-down review [1], with critics hailing it as a hilarious film for adults, not just a kiddie-flick.

I can't wait to see it (and will hopefully catch it in theater with friends this coming weekend).

But there are a couple mysteries:
- Why did so few people go see it opening weekend?  In particular, it earned less than 1/6th the revenue of this stunningly bad stinker: [2]
- Why the need for two near-identical trailers? [3]  Are we Americans really that dimwitted or provincial? (you'll understand what I mean when you compare the trailers)

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[1] http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/shaun_the_sheep_2015/
[2] http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/fantastic_four_2015/
http://www.boxofficemojo.com/weekend/chart/
[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_4vs0nCCUI
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Social dance as a playful, awesome conversation
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UtQeMGgoA1c

Watch Paul dance with a zillion partners, and you'll notice something intriguingly... different.

Yeah, he dances a bit differently with each partner.  Yes, each of the folks coming into his jam circle has a different style.  But that's not what I'm talking about.

He's not showboating.  He's not shouting "me, me, me, look at my awesome moves!"  He's not trying to impress.  

Rather, he's listening and he's having a conversation with each and every partner.  That's fun.  That's respect.  And that's understated talent.

He's dancing with, not at.

Why am I emphasizing this distinction?  Because nowadays, when most people look up "lindy hop" on YouTube, what they end up finding is competition clips.  And yeah, they're fun; I like watching 'em sometimes, too.  But they're scripted, they're designed to impress.  

And while I respect competitions (and competed a ton as a pianist back in the day), I think the increasing emphasis on them nowadays in dance is leading us to forget some of the dance's core beauty:  that of a conversation, of a special and often unexpected connection.  

Or, as the late, great Frankie Manning once said, "they're three minute love affairs!"

Amen to that, and let's never forget it.

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The clip above was recorded at the 2000 Swing Out New Hampshire camp (www.swingoutnh.com), a camp which is coming up on its 17th year and is renowned for its friendliness, talented teachers, and inspiring dancers (from beginner through super-advanced).

It features +Paul Overton, who was one of my first-ever lindy hop teachers.  And just to clarify, my thoughts on dancing and lindy hop and competitions are mine, not necessarily his :).  And my persistent lack of dancing talent should not be a reflection on his fine teaching :p.
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Hmm.  "Thomas Was Alone" (award-winning puzzle game) is on sale on Steam, & also avail. on Android. Which should I choose? 

http://store.steampowered.com/app/220780/

#Gaming  
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