I bought your September issue with Giselle on the cover in the hopes of reading a brilliant and exciting article about Brazil, as promised on the cover.
I'm half-way through your sensationalist article, and rather pleased with the photographs as they build in energy and show off a lot of leg.
Here is a simple request: You feature one of the most beautiful Carnaval headdresses I've ever seen and it
stands out as the focal point in one of your full-page photos. While all fashion designers are properly credited down to the shoes and belts, all that is mentioned of the headdress is, sadly, "in a carnaval headdress".
Did you not LOOK at this thing? You think that is something Brazilians pick up at the mall or put together in an afternoon? You think this piece takes any LESS effort to create than one of these lousy little cocktail dresses that a designer clearly sleep-walked into sketching as a filler for their summer collection?
Carnaval is couture. PERIOD. It takes an insane amount of craft and patience. And the work is no less intricate a process than what takes place in the revered houses of seamstresses in Paris.
If you doubt this I invite you to revisit our article on Jair Oliviera.
Hopefully you will print this in your letters section next month with proper credit to the creators of the headdress that adds so much beauty to your fashion feature on Brazil.
I swore to myself I was not going to write about this show again. I thought I was above it, being on *gasp* television and all... it gave me shivers of watching Dance Fever as a child.
This season I got sucked in. Hok stole my heart and when Debbie Allen came on as a guest judge, well thats validation enough for me!
The show stands out from the rest of reality drek because it actually features people with real talent and
training; albeit pushing them to injury, but nonetheless... It doesn't create drama by sticking them in a house together although I'm sure behind the scenes and with so many young dancers drama happens. While I dismissed it as reaching only an audience of 12 year old girls, I take it back. Yes, clearly the little girls are voting but there is also something else happening.
Exhibit A: Last night's African dance performance. Debbie Allen brought in an African dancer to open the show with a solo backed up by live drummers. Nervously I watched wondering 'How will American audiences react to this?' The crowd cheered so wildly that I had to wonder if 'Applause' signs were flashing above their heads while cattle-prodded by the ushers. If this is any indication, this show has an incredible power to influence popular culture in a positive way.
The Fox Network still has a long way to go as the following program, Hell's Kitchen, prides itself on work-place abuse.
Baby steps.... baby steps...
Marcy Mendelson Editor
*one more note: the Crumpin' ensemble took my breath away.... can't wait to see what's next in this dance form....* Check out Lil' C and the Nephz Squad
Video recaps of the solo performances from the last 6 competitors here at Daemon's TV
Last weekend I attended the Harmony Festival in Santa Rosa, California. It was hot and crowded, but that didn't stop the masses from checking out the leather goods, frock coats and eating steaming plates of Caribbean and Indian food.
I was a little wary of the whole scene, having flashbacks of state fairs in New Jersey and endless teenage evenings wandering the boardwalks of Atlantic City (don't ask).
There was so much going on between various stages that sadly I missed the performances by Root Magazine friends, DholRhythms and Baby Seal Club.
Night fell over the fairgrounds and the Techno Tribal Fest began with some big name DJs and incredible fire performances by troupes such as Lucent Dossier .... Perhaps the DJs needed time to switch out their equipment, I don't know, but the interim acts were absolutely horrible. If I ever see the Shamanic Cheerleaders again, I will scream bloody murder. I've never witnessed hundreds of people clear a dance-hall faster than when this painful act came onto the stage to destroy the energy generated by the Stanton Warriors who had just finished their set.
My friends and I escaped the train-wreck, joking they needed a 'karmic hook' to drag them off the stage. We entered a smaller dance-hall where Sukhawat Ali Khan and Riffat Salamat were just getting started. To sit down in an intimate setting and witness musical royalty, clap along with them, eventually dancing with the whole crowd... this was the highlight of the entire experience.
The pair can date their lineage
back to court musicians for ruler Akbar the Great. Their
father, Ustad Salamat Ali Khan, was one of the great classical Indian singers, and an influence on the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Sukhawat began singing at the age of seven, and has performed around the world for presidents and kings.
Renowned for his technique
and passion, he shares vocal duties with sister Riffat, whose
siren sensuality and harmony burn with the Qawwali Sufi tradition, making her a rare female exponent of a style from which women are generally discouraged.
Together they create a stunning vocal magic, and take Qawwali to places it’s never been before...
Perhaps I'm not a hippy at heart but the Harmony Festival tried my patience at times. The amount of trash generated and lack of clean bathrooms plus the cost of the event didn't make much sense to me. I think we would be better served to learn about green issues at events such as LOHAS or Green Festivals, and to separate the music/ dance & vendors into a different thing altogether. What I witnessed was a combination of family outing, new-age marketplace, flea market and teenage rave. It tried to be all things to all people, which in the end, was too much to ask.
Marcy Mendelson: Editor in Chief/ Photographer. Dancer
Mayor Gavin Newsom and the City of San Francisco will declare Friday, May 18 2007...
Mestre Carlos Aceituno Day
in gratitude to the artistry and dedication of our beloved teacher
Founder of Fogo Na Roupa and Mestre of Omulu Guanabara
The ceremony will be in conjuction with the Annual SFCarnaval Reception
Friday, May 18 2007 @ noon
San Francisco City Hall
Plan on coming in full Carnaval regalia with a previous Fogo Na Roupa
carnaval costume (preferrably Fogomorphosis) email metziquez@aol. com for further
All of Mestre Carlos' students and friends who wish to support please come
wearing red and white in solidarity with Mestre's work. Lets show the city how
many of us he impacted!
For our friends around the world... a short bio of Mestre Carlos Aceituno:
Carlos Aceituno’s artistic
background encompasses various forms of music and dance study: Latin, Afro-Brazilian,
Jazz, modern, and African. In 1989, he formed the award winning Carnaval Group Fogo Na
Roupa; consisting of both a performing company and a Grupo Carnavalesco (Carnaval Group),
Fogo embarked on what is now more than a decade of Afro-Brazilian parade, performance and
The group’s repertoire has broadened through his strong 27-year commitment the
study, training and teaching of Capoeira. Carlos is currently working with the leadership
of his teacher, Mestre Preguica, a first generation student of legendary Mestre Bimba, the
founder of "Capoeira Regional". In May 2000, he received
the prestigious title of "Mestre", the first one achieved outside of
Brazil in the United States.
Carlos Aceituno stems from a legacy of Afro-Brazilian dance and music culture,
pioneered in the San Francisco Bay Area by Jose Lorenzo’s Batucaje. He continues to
be a stalwart in the community with the consistent programming of annual travel study
tours to Brazil. He has worked directly with such master artists as Jorge Alabê, Mestre
King (renowned pioneer of Afro-Brazilian Dance in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil), Rosangela
Silvestre, and the Bale Folklorico da Bahia.
While educating and encouraging others, he conducts annual study tours to Brazil with
Fogo Na Roupa. These tours serve to enhance his knowledge of Regional Dance and Music Art
Forms while keeping abreast of ever-changing popular trends. He trains children, youth and
adults throughout the Bay Area and currently teaches at the Mission Cultural Center in San
Francisco, and Citicentre Dance Theatre in Oakland.
Under his artistic direction, Fogo Na Roupa’s performance highlights include Bay
Area opener for Brazil’s popular Olodum and collaboration with prominent Bay
Area jazz ensemble, Mingus Amungus, opening for Carlos Santana. He also
directed Fogo Na Roupa’s performance at the annual KMEL Summer Jam during the
‘96-’97 season. In 1999, he led Fogo Na Roupa in the opening of internationally
acclaimed Brazilian recording artist, Carlinhos Brown, at the Galleria Trade Show
Center in San Francisco.
Under his direction, Fogo Na Roupa has earned the grand prize of "Best Brazilian
Contingent" in the San Francisco Carnaval Parade for multiple years. Additional Performances: Brazilian Independence
Celebrations in San Francisco, the Afribbean Festival, Oakland’s own Carijama
festivals, Chinese New Year Parade, and TV appearances on KGO, Channel 7.
We were deeply saddened by the devastating news of the untimely passing
of Carlos Aceituno on September 27, 2006.
I've been thinking a lot about culture, music and the healing power of dance and how it all ties into the healing of the planet that we are a part of. Filling my brain with movies like, Who Killed the Electric Car and An Inconvenient Truth have inspired me to think about my personal impact on the planet.
In light of Earth Day which is of course, every day, I'd like to direct your attention to a new socially conscious networking site:Urth.tv
As dancers and musicians, we can contribute to this network in our own way and learn from other members on similar paths. Oh, and they will plant a tree in a village in Ethiopia if we sign up! Check out the details on Urth.tv
Neat stuff.... writing while in my apartment today and not driving my car...your editor:
So you know how you're not allowed to dance in any bar or club in New
York City that doesn't have a cabaret license, and Rudy Giuliani was
known for, among other things, closing places down that didn't have the
appropriate licenses? Well, you still can't do it, and you won't be
able to in the foreseeable future, either.
The state Supreme Court ruled
yesterday that the 80-year-old cabaret law could be upheld because
there's no constitutional right to dance. Oh yeah? Try telling that to,
like, Junior Vasquez! The people just want to dance! Enjoy your shuffling-in-place moves this weekend.