What do you think?
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In the suburbs of the town of Kutna Hora, which located about 43 miles away from Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, you will find a church called the Church of All Saints that looks perfectly normal…from the outside. Once you go inside you discover why the church is called the Sedlec Ossuary or Church of Bones. In a chapel inside the church the bones of more than 40,000 people have been used as decorations for the walls forming things such a coat of arms or a magnificent chandelier. These bones are no imitations. Each of those craniums you see in the picture or the video below was a living human being a few hundred years ago. Some people find this objectionable, but where would you like your mortal remains to rest: inside some dark cold hole in the ground or as art on the walls of a church?
What do you think?
I went to a wedding reception a while ago. They had a DJ playing music and we all danced to several songs with choreographed moves including the Electric Slide, the Hokey Pokey, the Chicken Dance, and the Macarena. So I thought about asking the DJ if he had the “Time Warp,” which is the most emblematic song of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (RHPS). He frowned and looked around his list and then replied in the negative, so I shrugged and went back to dancing.
However, a few minutes later the DJs assistant came over and informed me with a tone of voice that made it sound like the DJ had had to dig his way through a mummy’s tomb that after looking more thoroughly he had found it. As if this were not enough, just before playing it the DJ said. “And now I am going to take you way, way, way…back. Actually I lost track of the number of times he said “way,” but I felt I aged 10 years for every time he said that. Finally the initial notes of the Time Warp began to make their way out of the loudspeakers, and I had the sinking feeling that I would be the only one dancing.” To my surprise I heard screams and a commotion. Everyone, young and old, hastily made their way to the dance floor and we all did the Time Warp again!
This is the enduring magic of the RHPS. Created by the brilliant mind of Richard O'Brien, The Rocky Horror Show began as a play in London in 1973 and was adapted into a film bearing the name of the RHPS in 1975. While many A movies of that time have all but been lost to the interests of new generations, this B-movie musical with its hilarious over the top antics still captures the imagination of the young.
Conceived as a satire of earlier science fiction and horror flicks, the RHPS boasts the incipient talents of future Tony nominated actor Tim Curry in his amazing gender bending performance as the infamous Dr. Frank-N-Furter, future Oscar winning actress Susan Sarandon in her performance as the innocent/slutty Janet, and future Grammy award winner mega rocker Meatloaf who would also wow the world with the bestselling rock album of all time “Bat out of Hell,” playing Eddie a pizza delivery boy who meets a gruesome fate.
And not only are the performances and the storyline “out of this world” but the songs are pure foot stomping naughty fun. From the scandalous "Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me” to the touching "I'm Going Home”. From the energy packed "Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul" or “Wild and Untamed Thing” to the commanding “Sweet Transvestite”. There is also the tour de force of old science fiction movies “Science Fiction/Double Feature” and the “Dammit Janet” song whose title every woman named Janet has heard. And, of course, there is the “Time Warp” and its choreographed moves with the bizarre commentary of the criminologist.
But what has made the RHPS a cultural icon for the ages is the audience participation. Even nowadays the practice is still going strong and there are groups of youngsters that show up en masse for RHPS performances to shout their lines at the screen. Most of these groups have names related to the movie such as The Satanic Mechanics, The Wild and Untamed Things, or The Transylvanians. Many of the kids in these groups have seen the movie and or play dozens of times. In any given week there are dozens of performances of the RHPS going on in the USA and this increases towards Halloween when showing this movie is practically a tradition. In fact the RHPS bears the distinction of being the film that has remained on limited release for the longest time in film history.
So this Halloween find the RHPS playing at a theater near you or rent/download the movie and invite your friends to take that jump to the left and that little step to the right, to place your hands on your hips, press your knees real tight, and be driven insane by that pelvic thrust while you do the Time Warp again!
As if ballet were not difficult enough, this Chinese circus troupe puts on an amazing performance of the classic Tchaikovsky masterpiece!
What do you get when the great art of Tim Burton meets the Voice of Vincent Price? Well, you get "Vincent" of course!
This is a funny short film by CleanShort.tv and Big Sherpa Film Co. I love the message at the end!
The master has died. He changed the world with his fiction giving us visions of alternate realities that exposed the folly of our own, while at the same time making us dream of futures full of adventure, discovery, and wonder.
In this video he reads his poem “If Only We Had Taller Been.”
The fence we walked between the years did balance us serene.
It was a place half in the sky wearing the green of leaf and promising of peach.
We’d reach our hand and touch and almost touch the sky.
If we could reach and touch we said, it would teach us not to, never to, be dead.
We ached and almost touched that stuff; our reach was never quite enough.
If only we had taller been and touched god’s cuff, his, his hem.
We would not have to go with them who’ve gone before,
who short as us stood tall as they could stand,
and hoped by stretching, tall, that they might keep their land,
their home, their hearth, their flesh and soul,
but they like us were standing in a hole.
Oh Thomas, will a race one day stand really tall?
Across the void, across the universe and all,
and measured out with rocket fire,
at last put Adam’s finger forth; as on the Sistine ceiling,
and God’s hand come down the other way, to measure man,
and find him good, and gift him with forever’s day?
I work for that, short man, large dream.
I send my rockets forth between my ears,
hoping an inch of good is worth a pound of years.
Aching to hear a voice cry back along the universal mall,
“We’ve reached Alpha Centauri.. We’re tall... Oh God, we’re tall!”
Rest in peace Ray. We will miss you.
This June 5 will be the 180th anniversary of the student uprising against the monarchy that ruled France in 1832. The zeitgeist of these times was brilliantly captured by Victor Hugo in his novel Les Miserables. In modern times Les Mis, like it is colloquially called, has been turned into a hugely successful musical that has been performed from high schools to Broadway. Do you hear the people sing?
This is the great Vincent Price reciting Poe’s immortal poem “The Raven” in his own unique way. This poem plays a central role in “Raven-Lenore,” one of the stories in my book The Sun Zebra.
Carlos Gardel was the King of the Tango and his untimely death in a plane crash at the height of his career turned him into a legend in Latin America and his home country Argentina. The recording below is of him singing the tango "Silence" in the 1932 movie "Melodía de Arrabal" (Suburban Melody). When the movie premiered in Argentina, audiences interrupted the film with their clapping and demanded that the parts where you can hear and see Gardel singing be repeated. Such was the emotion elicited by this gendre of music as sung by the unforgettable Gardel. You can follow the English translation of the song below the video.
Silence in the night, all is calm,
bodies are asleep, ambitions at rest.
Rocking a cradle, a mother sings
a beloved song that touches the soul,
because in that cradle lies her hope.
There were five brothers, a saint for a mother.
Each morning five kisses
would tenderly graze the silver strands
of this little old mother’s white hair.
Five sons who went to work in the factory.
Silence in the night, for now all is calm,
bodies are asleep, but ambitions are at work.
A bugle sounds … the country is in danger.
To the shout of “War!”, men slaughter each other,
covering the fields of France with blood.
Now all that is past. Plants bloom,
plowed fields sing a hymn to life.
And the little old mother, with very white hair,
remains all alone … with five medals
for five heroes, awarded to her by the country.
Silence in the night, all is calm,
bodies are asleep, ambitions at rest.
A distant choir of mothers, singing as
they rock in their cradles new hopes.
Silence in the night … silence in souls.
I am a tinker, tailor,
Robert David MacNeil
The Passive Voice
Third Sunday Blog Carnival