ALMA DEUTSCHER – famous musical prodigy

Alma Deutscher learned to play the piano at 2, the violin at 3. She started to compose at 4, wrote her first piano sonata at 6. What’s extraordinary is not her playing and singing skill, though great. It’s her compositions which are extraordinary, and not because of her age, but because of the emotions in them and their maturity far beyond her years.

If you’ve ever wondered what a genius looks like, look no further.

“I’m not a little Mozart. I’m a little Alma.”

Composed at age 9, in 2014
3rd movement, Violin Concerto
Israel Philharmonic Orchestra – 2016

Scores for all instruments by Alma Deutscher

Composed at age 12, in 2017
2nd movement, Piano Concerto
Vienna Chamber Orchestra – 2017

Scores for all instruments by Alma Deutscher

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A DAY IN THE OUTBACK – Elfhome short story

The terrific Elfhome series by Wen Spencer is one of my favorites. Each book actually improves on re-reading. Click on a book cover to read its first few chapters & to buy the book. Below is a short story I wrote in the same multiverse.

A Day in the Outback

by

Laer Carroll

Character: elf security guard named Freezing Winter Night on Stone

(click image to see larger view)

Heather Weatherly awoke surprised that she’d been able to fall asleep at all last night. Events today might make or break her dreams of a secure income, something in short supply in Pittsburgh since it had been transported to the planet of the elves almost 30 years ago.

She might also die today.

She raised her voice enough to trigger her house AI. “Hey, Mama Bear, report.”

“Two friendlies waiting outside. Day expected to be bright but cold. Eight mid-level important messages waiting. Shall I start breakfast?”

“Yes. Keva Mocha and toasted bagels.”

“Got it, Boss.”

That fucking cheerful morning voice. For the thousandth time Heather swore she was going to reprogram it.

She made her usual toilette, faster than usual but more careful for all that. It included very subdued but attractive makeup. Her Mama always told her to put on good warpaint before every important endeavor.

She dressed in a long-sleeved flannel shirt soft as a baby’s butt, sturdy jeans with sewn-in light composite leg armor, torso armor, groin protector, all-weather combat boots, and her gunbelt. She double checked the four magazine pockets on the belt, made sure their magazines were fully loaded with armor-piercing bullets, adjusted the angle of her combat and utility knife, and jacked the slide of her Armstrong Special semiauto to ensure it was fully loaded and ready for action. Over it all she slung a composite-armored leather jacket with lots of pockets.

By this time the smell of coffee permeated her house. She double-checked the identity of the “friendlies” waiting outside. As expected, it was the two near-sekasha of the Stone Clan she’d hired from Steelcity Security for a week with an option to extend it to a month. They were Freezing Winter Night on Stone and Baking Summer Day on Stone, a female and a male.

Continue HERE

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The fabulous TANGO VALS

The third of the three types of Argentine tango is in 3/4 time: the tango vals. It has a fast tempo, so tango dancers typically only step on the first of the ONE-two-three beats. They may add a step on the two or three beats or both to add rhythmic variety.

The feeling is romantic and happy. It’s often used as a wedding dance, especially the first example: Desde el Alma (From the Soul) written by pianist, composer, and poet Rosita Melo at the age of 14.

The next couple are two of the leading traveling tango teachers and performers: “Chicho” Frumboli and Juana Sepulveda.


As a bonus here’s a brilliant milonga by them.

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Two fun TANGO MILONGAS

The Argentine tango comes in three varieties, each using most of the same musical instruments and dance steps. Scores for the music typically have four, three, or two beats per measure, written with 4/4, 3/4, or 2/4 time signatures.

The 4/4 version of the music and dance are what most people think of when someone says Argentine tango. You’ll see it on the show Dancing with the Stars and similar programs.

The 2/4 version is bouncy and a bit fast. It’s called the milonga. Some people believe the tango evolved from the milonga, smoothing the steps and slowing their rhythm. Supporting this view, tango dance parties are also called milongas (confusing newcomers to the tango until they get used to the convention).

Here are two examples, a slow then a faster version of the milonga. The performers are two of the foremost teachers and performers: Sebastián Arce and Mariana Montes. Click this YouTube query for more milonga dance performances.

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Two great ARGENTINE TANGO videos

It’s been a while since I showcased some examples of a major obsession of mine: the Argentine tango. Here are two.

All art forms evolve. The tango does too, both the music and the dance. The first music example is from its very beginnings, one of the first true tangos, La Cumparsita, composed by Uruguayan Gerardo Matos Rodríguez. Almost everyone has heard it in one of its many incarnations.

The second example showcases one of the later tango compositions (from 1942!): Así Se Baila El Tango. It incorporated some very modern musical elements that today’s frontline tango composers are still exploring. (The dance shown here also has modern dance fusions – some introduced to tango danza as early as the 1940s in BsAs.)

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GIFTED – wonderful movie about a seven-year old genius

Stories about super-smart kids (or adults) all-too-often portray them unrealistically. As eccentric in some way: socially inept, physically awkward, or downright ugly. The truth is that they are typically pretty much like everyone else. And like most of us have both ordinary and extraordinary needs and problems.

(For more about what very-smart people are really like see my post: REAL GENIUSES: What are they Like.)

The preview below lays out the basic problem the two main characters are faced with: how to bring up a genius.

Frank (played very convincingly by Chris Evans) fears a repeat of what happened to his sister, who killed herself shortly after giving birth to Mary (very believably acted by Mckenna Grace). Grandmother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan in a nuanced performance) fears Mary will be denied her potential by Frank’s insistence that his niece have a normal childhood instead of the intensely intellectual one his sister had.

How the two good people battle to a solution is a compelling story. I was impressed at the many subtle reveals and grace notes of the script by Tom Flynn and the realization by director Marc Webb. Grace also makes an adorable child, good hearted but in some ways too smart and strong-willed for her own good.

Gifted is available as a Blu-ray and DVD discs and streamed.

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BARE-SKINNED SUPERHEROINE which is not silly

Here’s the first draft of an interior illustration for my Shapechanger book, The Super Olympian: Mystic Warrior. In it my heroine is asked to help an old friend who’s been captured by terrorists. The baddies are hiding in a jungle, so she changes her skin to blend in with the greenery and dons green clothing and selects a rifle with a camouflage stock.

Why is she showing so much skin? Isn’t that something I’ve knocked comics about? Because I came up a good reason for when bare skin is not silly after all. She has skin which is as hard as rubber when struck by a knife or pistol bullet. Still has to avoid rifle and machine-gun bullets, partly by stealth and partly by having supersenses and super-accurate return fire.

Click the image for an expanded view, and more of my superheroine images, including Katy Perry as superheroine Snow White.

 

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PERILOUS WAIF – great military SF

In a far future Alice Long is a 14-year-old orphan on jungle planet Gaia. Her nun-like Matrons would disapprove of the body-mods she has if they knew about them. An accident reveals some, plus the fact that the brain-washing they gave her didn’t make her a docile naturist.

Escaping a heavier brain washing, she travels 2000 miles through dangerous jungle to the planet’s spaceport and manages to get off planet by rescuing the pilot of a space shuttle from would-be kidnappers.

So begins adventures among the stars in Perilous Waif, in a Star-Wars-like future. Almost all humans are modified, and they share ships and worlds with AIs with human and humanoid bodies. Alice makes friends and discovers more about herself and the mystery of where she came from. There’s plenty of action, including a few space battles, but the people are what makes this story special. And me want to recommend to you.

Preview ebook paperback

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NINA KIRIKI HOFFMAN duology – terrific

One of the brightest stylists of fantasy fiction is Nina Kiriki Hoffman. Her characters are compelling, her stories engaging. She is definitely an author whose books you want to keep alert for when you go to the book store.

I’ve just begun rereading one of my favorite books by her, and I highly recommend you dip into it on Amazon and see if you might like it too. If you do, you’ll also want to get its sequel. (The first book is complete in itself. You do not need to get the second to enjoy the first.)

Click on the abbreviations above them to preview or buy the books from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Preview Amz B&N

Preview Amz B&N

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more EMILY BLUNT and ANNE HATHAWAY lip-sync battle

MORE Em & Anne Lip Sync Battle on Spike’s hi-def channel on LSB’s YouTube channel!

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