Saturday, 20 December 2014

Senior Saturday ... Mr Alvin Ailey ...

If any dancer gives you a blank look when you ask them who Alvin Ailey was, slap them..... hard.

Alvin Ailey - linked to his Wikipedia page - was a ground breaker not just in the fact that he founded the first professional dance company for People of Colour, but he was a ground breaker in refining and pushing the style of Modern Dance. 

Alvin Ailey was a hard task master in the studio.  He demanded a grounding in classical technique as he believed you only moved forward with the traditions of the past.  He demanded perfection from his dancers down to placement of fingers.  His choreography is some of the most difficult yet joyous to perform. 

The Alvin Ailey Dance Company is now often referred to as "Cultural Ambassador to the World" - a title first given to Mr Ailey, but then transferred to the company after his death in 1989.

Please enjoy some pictures of the dance pioneer himself; the company dancers in Ailey-esque forms; and a small melange of my favourite work of his "Pas de Duke".  This piece is a modern take on the traditional ballet pas de deux.  And if you ever get the chance to see the entire piece live, do it.  Whether you are 18 or 80, you will leave with goosebumps.  It was originally created for the brilliant Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Just three of the honours awarded to Mr Ailey are....
-Springarn Medal from the NAACP 1977
-Kennedy Centre Honours 1988
-Presidential Medal of Freedom 2014 (Posthumously)

I would have loved to have had just 30 minutes with this man.  I can only imagine what I could have learned from him, and that his presence alone would have been both inspiring and humbling.

Mr Alvin Ailey left this world on December 1st, 1989.  A beautiful article remembering him and his work can be found HERE.

Alvin Ailey


 Dancers of the Alvin Ailey Dance Company (Click on these to really appreciate them)

Melange from Pas de Duke

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

RIP ......

The two lives lost in the Sydney siege.

May their families be comforted in this time of overwhelming grief.



Katrina Dawson 38

Katrina Dawson, mother of three.

Tori Johnson 34

Tori Johnson was a manager at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe. Picture: LinkedIn
Tori Johnson was a manager at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe.

Too sad.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Siege In Sydney Australia.....

Before you read the article reprinted from, remember that a lone man does not represent an entire religion. 

A man is holding several people hostage at Martin Place cafe

Staff and customers at the Lindt cafe hold what is believed to be a jihadist flag up agai
Staff and customers hold up what is believed to be a jihadist flag up against the window of the Lindt cafe. Source: Channel 7
ARMED men are holding up to 50 people hostage at a cafe in Martin Place in Sydney. 
There are reports that two gunmen have taken hostages at the popular Lindt chocolate shop, which has several entrances. The situation has been ongoing since 10am.
Some members of staff could be seen wearing their shop aprons and standing with their hands up at the windows. There is also a black and white flag being held up in a window. It is believed to be the Black Standard, a jihadist flag.

Lindt Australia CEO Steve Loane told he believes there are 40 to 50 people inside the cafe, including customers and staff.
Other reports are suggesting there may only be 13 hostages.
Police handcuffed a man 200m from the cafe siege but a police statement has since clarified the arrest was unrelated to the siege.

RELATED: Lindt workers wait for news as hostage situation continues

Jihadist flag at city centre siege
One of the men believed to be holding people hostage: Courtesy: Channel 7 Source: Channel 7

Jihadist flag at city centre siege
Picture: Courtesy of Channel 7. Source: Channel 7

The National Security Committee of Cabinet has met for briefings on the situation this morning.
At a press conference this morning Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the government did not know whether the hostage situation was politically motivated.
“We don’t yet know the motivation of perpetrator, we don’t know whether it’s politically motivated although there are indications it could be,” he said.
“The whole point of politically motivated violence is to scare people... Australia is a peaceful, open and generous society and nothing should ever change that and that’s why I urge all Australians to today to go about their business as usual.”
Mr Abbott urged all Australians to go about their business as usual but if anyone noticed anything unusual they should call the National Security Hotline 1800 123 400.
He said that the ordinary business of government would go on and the Budget update would be released as planned.

In a statement earlier, Mr Abbott said he had also spoken with NSW Premier Mike Baird and “offered him all possible Commonwealth support and assistance”.
“This is obviously a deeply concerning incident but all Australians should be reassured that our law enforcement and security agencies are well trained and equipped and are responding in a thorough and professional manner,” he said.
Mr Baird said his thoughts and prayers were with those affected.
“I’ve spoken to Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione & have full confidence NSW Police are working effectively to resolve the situation,” Mr Baird said.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said he had spoken with Mr Abbott this morning and offered him the Opposition’s full support.
“Our thoughts and prayers today are with the innocent people involved ... (and) also with their families who are seeing this incredibly distressing situation unfold, along with the rest of Australia.
“Australians can be assured that we are one when it comes to keeping Australians safe.”
Tactical response officers arrive at the scene. Picture: Toby Zerna
Tactical response officers arrive at the scene. Picture: Toby Zerna Source: News Corp Australia

Siege at Martin Place.
Siege at Martin Place. Source: Supplied

A Lindt cafe worker who managed to get out of the building told Nine News: “Everyone was sitting down, the door was locked. There was one guy walking around with a hat and a beard.”
Channel 7 reported that a woman told police that she saw a man near the cafe at 9.44am carrying a blue sports bag with what she thought was a gun inside.
The chocolate shop is 30 or 40 metres from the Channel 7 offices so they have cameras trained on the building. Channel 7 has been evacuated.

Martin Place is home to several prominent buildings, including NSW Premier Mike Baird’s office, the Reserve Bank of Australia, Westpac Bank and the Commonwealth Bank headquarters as well as the US embassy and the Seven Network. The Supreme Court, Sydney Hospital, State Library of NSW, and NSW parliament were also in lock-down.
The Sydney Opera House was also in lock-down for a short time as authorities enacted a cluster of security measures across the city.

Seven reporter Chris Reason is currently on the corner of Philip and Hunter St where all five floors of Channel 7 staff were evacuated. He told that he is with several hundred people from Seven and surrounding buildings.  He confirmed that police entered Channel 7 at 10am to use their building as a viewing point after the incident first happened at 9.44am.
Courtesy of Channel 7.
Courtesy of Channel 7. Source: Channel 7

A map of Sydney shows where the Martin Place Lindt Chocolate cafe is located.
A map of Sydney shows where the Martin Place Lindt Chocolate cafe is located. Source: News Corp Australia

At 10.20am the entire building was evacuated and the central hosting duties was transferred to Melbourne to broadcast out of there.
Police have erected a large black shield to cover the corner of the Lindt Store from view.
“It’s tense, people are obviously concerned for the people inside. During the initial minutes when the evacuation happened there was, of course, a lot of concern, a lot of anguish from some staff. But nobody resisted, we all followed police orders. Right now, outside the building there is a mix of curiosity and concern and hope that the people inside get out OK.”

Currently there are at least 100 police and tactical units stationed in Martin Place
“I was at a cafe right next to the Lindt Store when I noticed people suddenly running towards the building and looking in. At 9.45 I sort of approached and realised what was happening. At first we thought it was an armed holdup because the RBA (Reserve Bank of Australia) is next door and there were armoured vehicles outside. When we saw the hostages against the windows holding up the flags it was quickly apparent that this was severely urgent.”

When asked whether he thought why the men may have chosen Martin Place, he said: “It’s hard to tell, as we saw in the terror raids in September, Martin Place would be a target. It might not be iconic Sydney location but it is deeply symbolic, on top of our building (Seven) is the State Government, the treasurer the minister, beside it is the financial heart of Sydney with the reserve bank and right in the centre is the cenotaph and ANZAC memorial so it ticks so many boxes when trying to make a political statement.”

There are State Government agencies in the same building and police have shut down traffic in a wide perimeter surrounding the incident. Surrounding buildings are also in lockdown.


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Australia Elects First Gay State Leader....

*Article reprint - link at bottom.

Our state leaders here are usually called Premiers.  But we have to Territories where they are referred to as Chief Minister. 

This is HUGE!!!

Australia elects first gay state leader Andrew Barr says he will campaign to marry his partner of 15 years 11 December 2014 | By Darren Wee

Photo via Andrew Barr/Facebook

 Andrew Barr today became the first gay government leader after he was sworn in as chief minister of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). He won yesterday's leadership ballot unopposed after the incumbent leader quit last week and said he would use his position to advocate for gay marriage.

During his emotional acceptance speech at the ACT legislative assembly, the Labor politician turned to his partner in the gallery and said, 'Anthony, I love you. 'I look forward to the day when we can legally marry in this country.'

In a press conference after the speech, Barr reiterated his plans to campaign for gay marriage. 'It is quite ironic that you can be elected chief minister but you can't marry your partner of 15 years,' he said. 'It's time that this discrimination is ended in this country and I will continue to be a loud and passionate voice for that change.'

Marriage equality advocates said it was a 'disgrace' that Barr could be a head of government but could not marry his long-term partner. 'It's an historic moment for the territory and the nation to have Andrew Barr as Australia's first openly-gay head of government,' said Ivan Hinton-Teoh, deputy director of Australian Marriage Equality. 'It sends the message to young gay Australians that they too can aspire to the highest offices in the land and not be limited by old stereotypes and prejudices. 'But it's a disgrace that someone who is soon to have the responsibilities of being Chief Minister still does not have the right to marry his partner.'

Tomorrow will be the first anniversary of the high court decision which struck down the ACT's groundbreaking Marriage Equality Act, effectively terminating the 31 marriages of same-sex partners which were performed under that act.

See more at:

Senior Saturday ... Mr Harvey Fierstein ...

If I need to introduce ANYONE here to Harvey Fierstein then you deserve a smack.  "Torch Song Trilogy" is on the required movie watching list for the LGBT Union and you ain't one if you haven't seen it. (My own personal opinion of course and may not reflect the views of others).

Actor.  Performer.  Writer.  Producer.  Activist.  Podcaster with the legendary Robyn Williams (You really need to check those out).  I am in awe of this man and so proud he is one of ours and making sure that we keep it real.

Enjoy.  And thank you Mr Fierstein.


And here is a clip of Mr Fierstein telling it how it is.

Shabbat Shalom all.


Thursday, 11 December 2014

Twin Thursday...





Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Turn Tuesday...

In Ballet these are called Fouettes - a type of signature series of turns that takes place usually during the highlight pas de deux of a Ballet.

They are VERY hard.  And this ballerina does them effortlessly...