Rebel Talent

The innovation discussed

Identifying, cultivating, properly applying, and accepting people’s tendencies, possibly your own, for productive rather than destructive outcomes.

 

What YOU can do with this innovation

Make use, or better use, of the rebel talent around you and within you, for a bigger impact or cause in life.

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The IF Facebook Note

facebook notes for thinkersCopy the text between the dotted line as your note in Facebook, MySpace or other places. Put each of your answer on the line just below each emotion.

To make this an English as a Second / Foreign Language exercise, assign the note with some degree of explanation for each answer, whether a sentence, short paragraph or presentation.

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You can get to know a lot about someone not just what is true of them, but what might be true of them if certain things were possible. If nothing else, it’s a good conversation starter or changer.

So put your CAPS LOCKS key ON to accentuate your answers and let’s get going!

 
1. If you could have stopped aging at any point in life till now, how old would you want to be forever?

 
2. If you could possess an extraordinary talent in one of the arts, what would it be?

 
3. If you could be fluent in another language you currently do not read or speak, which would it be?

 
4. If you could be forever recognized for one thing, what would you like to be known for?

 
5. If you could break one athletic record, which record would it be?

 
6. If you could only save one thing from your place in event of a disaster, what would it be?

 
7. If you could “uninvent” one thing from the world so it no longer existed, what would it be?

 
8. If you could have one personality trait from someone, what from whom would you choose?

 
9. If you could commit one crime without being caught, what crime would you commit?

 
10. If you could ensure your children had one experience you had, what would that be?

 
11. If you could start a new charity, who or what would it help?

 
12. If you could have lived the life of a fictional character, who would it be?

 
13. If you could resolve any dispute in the world right now, which one would you resolve?

 
14. If you could give out an annual award, what would it be for and who would win it first?

 
15. If you could get rid of one fear you have, which fear would it be?

 

 
If you didn’t know the person who gave the answers you did, what would you think of him/her?

 

 
Please tag some friends to encourage them to try this note as well, and please include me because I would like to know what you would do if some of these things could happen to you.

For more introspective Facebook notes like this, please see https://digitalcitizen.ca/facebook-notes/

 
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1. If you could have stopped aging at any point in life till now, how old would you want to be forever?
RIGHT NOW, BUT I’M NOT DISCLOSING WHAT THAT IS ON A PUBLIC BLOG.

2. If you could possess an extraordinary talent in one of the arts, what would it be?
PLAYING THE PIANO, DEFINITELY!

3. If you could be fluent in another language you currently do not read or speak, which would it be?
I FIND CHINESE VERY INTERESTING.

4. If you could be forever recognized for one thing, what would you like to be known for?
BEING A RENAISSANCE MAN WHO WAS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF HIS PARTS.

5. If you could break one athletic record, which record would it be?
WORLD MARATHON RECORD, FOR SURE!

6. If you could only save one thing from your place in event of a disaster, what would it be?
MY CHILDHOOD PHOTOS FROM VIET NAM (IN ONE BOX).

7. If you could “uninvent” one thing from the world so it no longer existed, what would it be?
SMOKING. THAT COUNTS AS A THING LUMPING IN CIGARETTES, CIGARS, WEED, POT, ETC.

8. If you could have one personality trait from someone, what from whom would you choose?
MICHAEL JORDAN’S DESIRE TO COMPETE IN LIFE.

9. If you could commit one crime without being caught, what crime would you commit?
I’D ASSASSINATE SOMEONE WHO DOES THE WORLD A LOT OF HARM, LIKE MAHMOUD AHMAJINEDAD IN IRAN. You know, sometimes I wish the “crazy” people of the world who kill others would go for a little redemption and kill somebody worth killing. There are plenty of those around. I guess that would make them sane, though. Anyway, you shouldn’t rant in your note! 🙂

10. If you could ensure your children had one experience you had, what would that be?
MY ESCAPE FROM VIET NAM. I LEARNED TO APPRECIATE SO MUCH AT SUCH A YOUNG AGE.

11. If you could start a new charity, who or what would it help?
IT WOULD BE A CHARITY TO FUND SCHOOLS THAT HAVE AN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE CURRICULUM, HELPING CHILDREN AND YOUTHS WHO ARE CHALLENGED BY THEIR LACK OF EMOTIONAL CONTROL AND/OR DEVELOPMENT. OTHER KIDS WHO WANT TO ENROLL COULD ALSO ATTEND BECAUSE IT IS GOOD FOR EVERYONE. HOWEVER, IF IT WEREN’T FUNDED BY THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM, THEN THOSE IN NEED WOULD BENEFIT FROM THE CHARITY AND THE REST WOULD HAVE TO PAY. CAN’T AFFORD TO ENROLL EVERYBODY IN IT!

12. If you could have lived the life of a fictional character, who would it be?
LT. COMMANDER DATA ON STAR TREK, THE NEXT GENERATION.

13. If you could resolve any dispute in the world right now, which one would you resolve?
THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN DISPUTE IS A GOOD ONE.

14. If you could give out an annual award, what would it be for and who would win it first?
THE GIV’ER AWARD, FOR BEST EFFORT TO GET THE MOST OUT OF LIFE WHILE BENEFITING OTHERS. MY FRIEND DENISE R. WOULD GET IT FOR BEING A SINGLE MOTHER OF THREE ADOLESCENT GIRLS, WORKING A FULL-TIME JOB AND HOLDING THE CANADIAN MASTERS WOMEN MARATHON RECORD.

15. If you could get rid of one fear you have, which fear would it be?
I SOMETIMES HAVE A LITTLE FEAR I FORGOT TO SET THE RADIO ALARM FOR WORK IN THE MORNING SINCE I TURN IT OFF FROM TIME TO TIME ON THE WEEKENDS.

 

 
If you didn’t know the person who gave the answers you did, what would you think of him/her?
SOMEONE WHO CARES AND IS INTERESTED IN A LOT ABOUT THE WORLD.

I Need 2 Go 2 NY CT 2 C Avenue Q

avenueq1I owe this post to my friend Holly Bartlett, who told me about the 2003 Tony Award Musical of the Year called Avenue Q. The musical’s content that is talked about here, though, has serious potentially offensive content so this is your one and only warning. If you don’t have an edgy sense of humour, please don’t read on. There are plenty of other good things to read about on this blog.

I’ve liked Broadway and musicals for a long time now, but I was and still am quite “old skool” at it, loving the Rodgers & Hammerstein stuff. I have heard of, and love, some more modern stuff like Chicago, Wicked and Jekyll & Hyde. However, I need to pay closer attention to what Broadway is putting out each year if they’ve got stuff which doesn’t get a lot of attention as some of their other shows, but still is great, like Avenue Q.

Avenue Q is a modern Sesame Street parody of similar characters trying to find a purpose in life when things aren’t going so well in adulthood after college. I can’t write a better plot summary than Wikipedia so I won’t try, but I like the description by one of its actors of “Sesame Street done South Park“. The show features a neat visual of real characters and puppets with their masters visible, something I’d like to try and learn one day for fun, and some seriously edgy humour and content.

Below is a medley of some songs in it, played for the Queen of England at the Royal Variety Performance, no less! That’s the one contestants on Britain’s Got Talent were vying to be a part of. So despite Avenue Q‘s potentially offensive content, the Royals proved they could handle it. Good on them!


The actual full musical has swearing in it, all kinds of soft and hard innuendos, even nude puppet sex! Other than songs like It Sucks to Be Me [lyrics] shown as part of a medley above, you also have songs (links are to lyrics) like

With a list of songs with titles like that, and others, better lyrics and even better music, who could resist seeing a show like this?

Ah, but it gets better with the Web and user-generated content. The Sesame Street parody has generated a whole bunch of parody Sesame Street videos of this musical, like the one below which I found just hilarious! The music is the actual music from the musical. Someone just adapted video for it from Sesame Street clips.


There are also versions with everything from Sponge Bob to The Mutant Teenage Ninja Turtles to Disney cartoons! A whole night’s worth of humour from clicking on video responses to each of these videos!

And then there’s If You Were Gay with Bert and Ernie, my favourite characters on Sesame Street who were parodied to be gay in 1997. Avenue Q ran with this to put it into its story with its equivalent characters to Ernie and Bert. So someone then had to have made the parody video with the original music and Sesame Street video clips of Bert and Ernie.


Other songs have parody videos, too!

But in all fairness to Avenue Q, it addresses many tough issues of today like homosexuality, pornography and racism.


If you can’t stomach edgy humour and content, then this show would not be for you. You would not be normal in this, though, because this show is the 21st longest running show in Broadway history at the time of this writing (Jun 11 2009).

As for me, I have never visited New York City, but this might be enough impetus to get me there for a visit and viewing! Before I go, though, I’ve saved the best number, in my humble opinion, for last. Mix Tape isn’t outrageous or anything, aside from a few words, but it is funny. The best part of it is how well it was sung on the recording, shown in the “video” below. There’s actually no “video”, just an image, so read on and listen for all the little things mentioned to listen for.

Julie Atherton, played Kate Monster and sang Mix Tape. She also plays a very different character of Lucy the Slut in the same show (see London performance 2nd from top). But for Mix Tape, Julie had my emotions like a yo-yo on a string with all the nuances she puts into singing the lyrics that also goes up and down emotionally like a roller coaster. Julie acts the song through her singing, basically. All the little gasps, squeaks, sighs, inflections and such not written into the score, and especially how giddily she said he likes me! at the end. Credits to the songwriter/s as well for such a great tune, but I’ve heard so many bad renditions on YouTube, and in singing songs otherwise, that the performer gets huge kudos here. It might possibly the best example of how to perform a song I have ever heard! I mean that for all those nuances, not some booming grand voice sort of best sung description, but that’s the tougher accolades to be getting, in my books. If you were to ask me how I liked that recording, I’d say I love it! pretty much the way Julie squeaks he likes me! at the end of the song! 🙂

Post-scriptum:

It is almost a year later from when I first posted this, now May 31 2010, and how things have changed. Sadly, it’s not been for the good, but I want to make mention as a dedication. I did just get to see Avenue Q a week ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. However, I watched it in memory of my friend Holly who had since passed away. I will always remember her for introducing me to this play, among many other reasons. Then, just a few days ago, Gary Coleman died on May 28. The show just wouldn’t be the same knowing he isn’t in the real world any more. I wonder how they’re handling the situation, but I’m glad I got to see Avenue Q without this circumstance surrounding it as it wouldn’t have felt the same for me.

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 8.3

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Diversity Dance Troupe Wins Britain’s Got Talent 2009, But Hollie Steel Still Dazzled

Was it unexpected? The odd makers say it was! Susan Boyle was the favourite going in. Aidan Davis was second. The others were too far behind, it seemed, to give realistic consideration to the crown. But the Diversity Dance Troupe (already with their own Wikipedia entry I see) won Britain’s Got Talent 2009! They got the people’s vote, as well as judges Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden‘s votes, by the sounds of what they said at the end of the video. Piers Morgan did not agree, and I’m with Piers there, but not on Flawless being better than them. Just that there were better acts than Diversity.

Diversity’s winning performance breezed through a range of movie and dance songs for music and choreography. They included Transformers, Superman, and some dance songs of the 90s. I especially liked the touch where they created the table with the judges and threw in three buzzes. Very clever and fun, talented and creative. They also did not use their semi-final routine so they brought something new. That was more than Aidan Davis could claim, I’m afraid. Aidan used his audition routine in the finals, on a grander and glitzier stage that added the technical background effects of his semi-final routine. Unfortunately, special effects don’t count for votes, and it was also a routine which I actually thought was inferior to his semi-final performance. However, I think I’ve seen too many good dance routines to be nearly as impressed as the people of Britain and judges. They might not have seen moves like those in Britain, but in America, I’ve seen better in just about everything from break dancing to tap dancing. Even Irish dancing! However, the good thing about Diversity winning is in their name. It left Britain’s Got Talent a show about diversity, not predictability. They had an adult singer, a child dancer, and we were heading there again with either Susan Boyle or Aidan Davis. Even Hollie Steel wasn’t a big stretch in a child singer, of which they’ve had a strong past contender in six year old Connie Talbot (2007, absolutely adorable audition video).

Susan Boyle came in second despite regurgitating her audition number of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables. There was no drama, no crowd energy, no surprise or anything like the audition. I would even say it wasn’t say it wasn’t as good as her audition. For that reason, I’m only including a link for anyone who wants to watch. Not worth the blog real estate for an embedded video. I’d highly recommend her audition video if you haven’t seen either. THAT, was a magical moment!

Hollie Steel BGT FinalsUnlike Susan Boyle, though, Hollie Steel came out with an angelic, heart wrenching and professional rendition of Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again, from Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s Phantom of the Opera. It was just beautiful! She sang it like she meant every word of it, and justifiably so given how appropriate the lyrics were! I bet Hollie wished the crowd would be there again for more performances. The whole experience definitely taught her how to live, and what it means to forgive (reference melt down and comeback in the semis). Even the line about “then my world was shattered” became prominent given what unexpectedly happened in the semis. Then, of course, to end with “no more memories” and “help me say goodbye”, was absolutely appropriate for the occasion. Whoever thought of it couldn’t have chosen a better song.

It was also a new piece for Hollie. You’d think if a child could come up with three songs to sing that someone like Susan Boyle could have as well. As I had speculated in my previous post, Susan is a one trick pony who can sing the grand songs, but that there weren’t many and many of the grand songs aren’t grand all the way through. I thought Hollie would have to do something a little faster and more mature if she were to win, but will put that thought aside to complement her in surprising with a soft, dramatic and loving piece that was difficult to sing. On top of that, she added a few touches of her own and also acted out some of its emotions! And no nerves, either, despite the semi-final breakdown that would still be on her and everyone else’s mind! Fourth time she’s made me cry in BGT! Just lovely!

I don’t know if that second chance she got last night affected Hollie not getting second place over Susan Boyle, given the British were going for dance and not singers. However, she should have gotten second in my mind, and just confirms my belief that Britain is not a land or a people of second chances. They probably gave Hollie a second chance because Simon led the charge to give her a second chance.

Saxophonist Julian Smith got third place with yet another regurgitation of an audition, playing Somewhere. That’s completely lame! Since he didn’t put an effort towards it, I won’t to put even a link to it, either. You can go find it if you want it to see it that badly. And I’ll also say that Britain, you should be ashamed of yourself for voting him in third!!!

For a 29 year old music teacher, you should expect him to have more songs in his repertoire. There are also many other challenging songs, and it’s not like he didn’t have the time to practice, either! Singers, like instrumentalist, have a much wider source of material than dancers have to draw upon, and likely something to showcase every strength they have as well as hide any weaknesses. To regurgitate, especially if you’re a music teacher, is deplorable!

Is this Britain’s Got Talent, or Britain’s Got Redundance?

Hollie Steel BGT Finals2So while the audience vote was:

  1. Diversity (24.9%)
  2. Susan Boyle (20.2%)
  3. Julian Smith (16.4%)
    Full finals and semi-finals vote info here.
    (courtesy of Commenter Steve, thank you!!!)

My vote would have been:

  1. Hollie Steel
  2. Diversity
  3. Aidan Davis

I think the Queen would have preferred to have seen Hollie as well, royalty being what it is in “properness”. But she’ll get to see Hollie soon enough, I’m sure, which is more than I feel I can say for Diversity’s long-term future. What do dance troupes do for shows? Could they dance for an hour? If they could, why didn’t they dance for like 3 minutes instead of 2, show more moves and more likely guarantee their win? And they are going to be in for a major reality check when they go international and see what the Americans, Irish, French, Koreans and so on can do with respect to real dancing!

My consolation with Hollie’s outcome, though, is that Hollie will be getting some very good recording contracts, as well as television appearances. In the long run, I think the public will be easily more enamoured with her than with Susan Boyle. There’s no more anticipation and no fairy tale ending to look forward to any more for Susan. She’s had a few blow-ups with the press already! Hollie, meanwhile, is just adorable and sings like an angel in every sense of the word. With the redemption she showed in the finals, people won’t be nervous about having her not be able to perform live again in talk shows and such, any more. So I say, Oprah and Ellen, Larry, Jay, David and Conan, bring on Hollie! Let’s once again prove America is the land of second chances, as Malcolm Gladwell documented in Outliers, so give the kid a second chance. But wait till summer when she’s done school, eh? 🙂

Hollie will be a full-fledged bonafide star by this time in 2010 that she won’t need to come back to BGT 2010 to try it again, either! “Failure” will do something for one’s resiliency for those who know how to handle it, and Hollie showed that admirably in the semi-finals. Remember, failure is not about falling down, it’s about not getting back up!

So I guess that’s it for now with Britain’s Got Talent 2009. I’m going to really miss it, but really look forward to the 2010 season. Meanwhile, America, as I said before, you’ve got to up the talent to match what they’ve got over there. And for the British, watch more American dance. You’ll really be wowwed by what they’ve got. As well, expect more, especially of singers and instrumentalists who have so much material to draw upon they shouldn’t have to regurgitate materials for the finals! That’s really sad! Maybe they should make that part of the show rules, about no repeats in the finals for musicians and singers cause it’s a boring show otherwise.

As for me being Canadian, I don’t even watch Canadian Idol, the closest thing we’ve got to these talent shows… and for good reason. However, I am comforted by how many professional singers, bands and such, of all genres, we have on the charts consistently these days. For a low population country, we sure produce our fair share of professional talent!

Two question to end.

  1. How would you have voted in the finals among the acts?
    .
  2. How much do you think Christmas concert tickets at Hollie’s school will go for this year? 🙂

Nov 8 add-on. See George’s extensive comments below for a huge bunch of other insights and information that is a nice supplement to this post. Many others who have also comment also add to the value of this post, and I want to genuinely thank everybody for their insights and time.
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    Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.5

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    Hollie Shows Nerves of Steel on Top of Singing Talent in Britain’s Got Talent Semi-final 5!

    Hollie Steel Semi-final 5It didn’t go as planned, but you know, how often has your life gone as planned? There’s going to be some controversy about it, but let them talk, cause Hollie Steel deserved to be talked about. She brought the unexpected in quite a different way than anybody imagined.

    Like all the big contestants in the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent 2009, Hollie showed nervousness. However, she showed the most nervousness and, it seemed, forgot her lines mid-performance! A gorgeous rendition of Edelweiss, from The Sound of Music, just went silent and the poor girl was crying her heart out. It was really a heart wrenching scene to which I will only include a link so you can have an idea from where she came, if you really want to watch it. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though, cause it is really hard to watch and I don’t particularly care to see the full video on my blog as a visual reminder.

    In the aftermath of that scene, Simon Cowell showed some remarkable kindness by overruling the producers, who said they didn’t have time for Hollie to try again, despite her plea. Simon said they’d find the time Hollie to try again somewhere, without necessarily showing where. Good for you, Simon! If you’re going to be authoritative, use it right!

    It might have been the right thing to do, but you know, who was to say it couldn’t happen again? I mean, if Hollie got stage fright the first time, it was going to be a hundred times worse the second time given everyone knew what had happened, including herself! If the post title of Hollie having nerves of “steel” confused you, considering she lost it, what I was referring to was the nerves to go back out and try it again!

    At this time, I feel it’s important to point out one thing about performance. People tend to want you to succeed. Even if they were cynical to begin with, like in Susan Boyle’s audition, they jumped on her side after the first line she sung. It was a good line, but not the greatest first line of all time or anything close… and she did set them up to be cynical given her look, gyrations and quirky manners on stage before singing.

    However, little Hollie Steel lived up to her name and came back with resilience! She, like Susan and Shaheen Jarfogholi, didn’t have a great start. That could only have put more pressure on her because the cracks were already showing within the first few notes. But she stuck with it, had a only a few more shaky notes (which was fewer than I could say for Susan or Shaheen in the semi-finals), but nailed the rest, including some extremely high last notes!

    It was one of the gutsiest things I’ve ever seen anyone do, to not only come back, but come back like that! I completely agree with the judges there.

    .

    Hollie was a bit of a happy crying wreck after it all, not surprisingly, but who wouldn’t? The judges and everyone were on their feet for her. Simon called Hollie “officially the bravest little girl in the world”, and I couldn’t agree more!

    Now, this was a second chance that Hollie had. To many people, that was unfair. The other acts didn’t get a second chance. I can see that point, but I ask, are you looking for the best talent, or the best talent on a first go around? That question was going to have to be answered by the people. They would vote in the top three acts. The first one would go through to the finals, and the judges would have to choose one between the other two. The selection process is in a video below, though don’t read on till you’ve watched it unless you don’t care for the results… in which case, why watch it? Would the people thought Hollie deserved a second chance, or would it just be a complementary chance to right herself?

    .

    The public voted in Aidan Davis, and I would agree because he had a stunning routine tonight, without any second chances needed.

    .

    However, they also voted for Hollie Steel and Greg Pritchard, the human cat in heat male soprano singer. That surprised me a bit because I don’t associate Britain with being a land of second chances. America is the land of second chances. You ask all the British actors, actresses and singers who have ever flopped in Britain and came to America and see if they won’t confirm! However, humans are humans, and, in general, the audience wants you to succeed as I said before. Hollie couldn’t be expected to be voted through, but the audience left it in the opinions of the judges.

    With those two choices, the judges then made their decision and went for the better talent. It was as simple as that.

    SO, here’s the big question I have now. The finals are tomorrow night, on Saturday. That’s the day after this post and Hollie’s performance, if you’re reading later. That’s no time to prepare. What were the contestants told, prepare two numbers? Or would they redo their semi-final acts?

    If it were the first, I hope Hollie has something faster and funner. I had hoped she would do something with a little more maturity than something to suit her younger image like Edelweiss, even if not a fast song to show a little more diversity to her talent. Susan Boyle is a one trick singer who can sing the grand parts, but seems to have trouble with anything less than that. That’s great, but limits you to very few songs, especially considering very few are grand all the way through. I think if Hollie does a song something like those faster, more mature songs I had suggested, she could have a chance to win.

    However, if the finalists were to redo their semi-final acts, it would not only be a boring show that’s a foregone conclusions to people who had seen the semi-finals. Based on semi-final performances, Hollie doesn’t stand much of a chance to win cause I just don’t think she picked a song that gave her a really good chance to win. Based on the semi-final performances, if they were to be repeated, I’d say Aidan Davis has the best chance to win. He’s got moves, and charisma to go with it. Of course, having another dancing boy winner would start to make BGT a little stale with two of three years’ winners being such, but that’s the only thing really standing against Aidan under this scenario.

    Still, phenomenal job to come back and do it the way you did, Hollie! Nerves of Steel, indeed! And hey, say what anyone will about second chances, Hollie still easily had the most memorable performance, two if you count one good and one bad, of the semi-finals! But you know, the masses love people who show their vulnerable side. If she can come back with a great number, what happened in semi-final 5 will only help her.

    I hope the contestants were told to prepare two numbers, though, so as to leave some anticipation for the final night. And I hope somebody steps up with something unexpected and amazing cause, otherwise, the auditions would have far outshone the rest of the competition… and wouldn’t that be a bit of a pity in some ways? I mean, if it runs like that, just hold auditions and give them prizes, like recording contracts and so on.

    Regardless, can’t wait for the outcome Saturday night! Good luck, Hollie! Whatever happens, you’ve got a special spot in our hearts and one bright future!

    Update: Here’s the BGT finals outcome post!

    Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.5