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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The romantic TANGO VALS

There are three kinds of Argentine tango: tango salon, milonga, and tango vals. They are written in 4/4, 2/4, and 3/4 time, respectively.

Tango valses tend to have a romantic feel and vals tandas (sets of 3-5 related works) often are played toward the later part of the night to encourage newly-met couples to exchange contact info.

Tango valses are fast tempo, so dancers typically only step on one beat of each measure. Usually but not always this is the first of the One-two-three beats. But for variety dancers may throw in double- or triple-step sequences.

One of the most popular is “Desde el Alma” (dez-del-ol-ma, “Out of the soul” or “From the soul”). It was composed by 14-year-old FEMALE musical prodigy Rosita Melo in 1911. The words were much later written by her husband, then the more famous version by Homero Manzi.

The Rose Pavilion was a large two-story chalet style cabaret and ballroom surrounded by a garden. Tango greats played their music and danced there during its lifetime from the late 1800s to 1929. (Other non-tango events were also held there.)

“Heart of gold” was written by composer, orchestra leader, and impresario Francisco Canaro.

“Tears and Smiles” was composed by Pascual de Gullo & N. Casuscelli.

“Blue Illusion” was composed by Alfredo De Angelis.

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Tango MILONGA: Sebastian Arce & Mariana Montes

The Argentine tango (contrary to myth) did not start in brothels. It began as a folk dance called the milonga in Uruguay and Argentina well before 1900. The music was in 2/4 time and the dance was bouncy and happy.

As often as not it was danced on dirt or grass in the beginning, at a picnic site, in a backyard, or in the patio of a tenement. Later it moved to bars where the floor might be uneven concrete or tile as often as wood. Because of these rough surfaces, each individual step was lifted and placed, not gliding close to a surface as in many ballroom dances.

The “steps” or patterns were very simple and the “hold” was close, perhaps little more than suggestive bumping and grinding. Later as the dance became more family oriented and done in polite society the hold became looser and the steps trickier.

Here are three videos of milongas done as show dancing, elaborate and at least partly choreographed. The first two couples are Sebastian Arce & his partner Mariana Montes, dancers from the age of eight. He lives in Russia, she in Cagliari on the Italian island of Sardinia where she teaches at the Tangomeet tango school. From those bases they travel all over Europe to perform and teach.

Sebastian Achaval & Roxana Suarez are friends who’ll soon be at the tango school.

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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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EMILY BLUNT and ANNE HATHAWAY lip-sync battle

Last night I watched Lip Sync Battle on Spike’s hi-def channel.

Utterly hilarious antics from two hotties – always a favorite with me. Now you can watch it on LSB’s YouTube channel.

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ALIZÉE, phenomenal French songstress

My favorite female singer is a French woman named Alizée (AH-LEE-ZAY, said quickly and with equal emphasis on each syllable).

Born and raised on the French island of Corsica, she very early began to take lessons in dancing and singing. At 16 she won a contest and was signed by a producer team. She made two albums which were runaway hits in Europe. She became an independent producer and has since made four more.

Alizée’s early publicity portrayed her as a teen sex symbol. Since then she’s relied less upon sex appeal and more upon talent, though without abandoning that advantage. Smart, talented, hard-working, she has been steadily extending her musical range while still remaining commercial. I’ve not been disappointed by any of her albums though the first two are still my favorites.

Her CDs can be gotten through Amazon, iTunes, and other retailers. I much recommend her concert DVD, Alizee En Concert. News is available in English at Videos of her appearances on the 9-week French version of Dance with the Stars (which she and her partner won) can also be seen there.

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“ELEMENTARY” theme music

CBS also has a Sherlock Holmes reboot, Elementary. Its theme music (composed by Sean Callery) hasn’t excited as much attention, but I enjoy it.  Here is the YouTube video of the credits for the show. It’s only 32 seconds.

After the video is the full 3:13 music piece from which those 32 seconds are taken.

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“SHERLOCK” theme music

One of the attractions of the BBC reboot of the Sherlock Holmes myth, Sherlock, is its theme music.  Composed by , it has captivated a lot of people.  If you watch the following video on YouTube it will suggest numerous other versions, including classical piano & hard rock.

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JENNIFER LAWRENCE being star struck at Comic Con

Not science, science fiction, or technology related.  But I couldn’t resist linking to adorable Jennifer Lawrence being star struck at Comic Con over Jeff Bridges.

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REAL GENIUSES: What are they Like?

Science fiction writers often write about geniuses and other very bright people.  If you’re satisfied with all the stereotypes about them, read no more.

But if you’d like to know what they are REALLY like, go to this newly posted article.

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