Sometimes when this work seems too hard, someone will send me a video link… and I’ll suddenly find myself bathed in one more reason why it is worth pouring so much of life into creating a decent, joyful, healthy society.
There is so much going on in the world that is worth preserving, so much worth celebrating, so much worth nurturing. And, of course, most of it is not on videos.
But a lot of it is…
I thought I’d take a moment to share some of my favorites. Most of them are 2-10 minutes long. I’ve marked the longer ones.
All Links with Descriptions Below the Line
FOUR YOUNG PRODIGIES
TEN YEAR OLD JACKIE EVANCHO SINGS “PRAYER” – You may already know her, for she’s getting quite famous fast, for good reason. She’s ten years old and has the voice and performance presence of a mature opera singer. How does such a voice come out of such a small, young person?? She says she’s been singing for 2-3 years. She’s at the top of my list in this mailing: I’m putting my absolute favorite video of her here and several more of my favorites at the end of this message — rather than all of them up here, so I don’t crowd out all the other exceptional people in this mailing. I love this particular video partly because the feeling of the song seems to totally possess Jackie and partly because as soon as she finishes her song, she goes through a fascinating 2-second transition from her persona as master vocalist to being a little girl again. Numerous friends I’ve introduced to this video have spontaneously murmured “Is she channelling?”
THREE YEAR OLD JONATHAN CONDUCTS BEETHOVEN – About a third of the time he is so spot-on, right in his living room, I find myself laughing in amazement. But part of what is so delightful is how completely he is a kid, even as his brilliance shines through, wiping his nose, yelping in delight at his favorite part, and finally falling on the floor and rolling around in giggling abandon after he drops his baton at the peak of the music.
SIX YEAR OLD JAMIA SIMON NASH ROCKS – With a passion and vocal range that lift her audience out of their seats.
THREE YEAR OLD RECITING “LITANY” BY BILLY COLLINS – If you want the story of how he learned this, go down to the earliest set of comments, where his parents explain. He just loves memorizing this kind of stuff and has a knack for “getting” it…
(Just for fun, here’s poet Collins reading the same poem, which offers a whole ‘nother sense of it…)
SEVEN ADULTS WHO AREN’T SO BAD, THEMSELVES, AT WHAT THEY DO
HARMONICA IN CARNEGIE HALL – WILLIAM TELL OVERTURE — Stuffing an orchestra into a harmonica?
AMAZING JUGGLING TO BEATLES MUSIC — Translating sound into motion, mesmerizing
DANNY MACASKILL NEW STREET TRIALS RIDING — Taking off-road biking to jaw-dropping levels. I mean, you just can’t do this with a bike… can you?
MAN WHO LIONS LOVE WHO LOVES LIONS – Apparently if you learn the body, head, and eye language for “play”, you can even play with lions. One can only wonder how this fellow survived getting started in this line of work…
ANNA DEAVERE SMITH – Her one-woman multiple-viewpoint performances about riots — “Twilight Los Angeles” about the Rodney King riot and “Fires in the Mirror” about the Crown Heights riot — are among my favorite examples of co-intelligent art. (The movie “Crash” is an interesting parallel.) Sadly, these two VHS videos are almost impossible to find nowadays. But someone recently posted most of “Fires in the Mirror” in chunks on YouTube (inexplicably the first chunk is missing, but the others are amazing). So this is a long one, but you can taste it first.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=milFnPD0t0I etc (follow the numbered links after this first one)
SARAH JONES – I just discovered her work. She does a different take on multiple voices…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sucza6EOIf0 – this is about 21 minutes
AUTISTIC STEVEN WILTSHIRE DRAWS ROME FROM MEMORY – And he keeps doing it with other cities…
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVqRT_kCOLI (then follow his other links if you are interested)
A FEW OF MY FAVORITE (WELL PLANNED) “FLASH MOB” MUSIC AND DANCE EVENTS
CHRISTMAS FOOD COURT MUSIC
BRITISH PEOPLE WELCOME AIR TRAVELLERS
SOUND OF MUSIC DANCING IN ANTWERP TRAIN STATION
DANCING IN THE UKRIANIAN STREETS (MORE FUNKY)
AND THEN THERE’S ALL THE MIRACULOUS PHENOMENA UNFOLDING IN THE NONHUMAN WORLD
A DOG AND A DOLPHIN HAVE A POWERFUL FRIENDSHIP – Which I couldn’t actually believe until the last third…
THE HUBBLE DEEP FIELD – What do you see when you take the world’s most powerful telescope and focus it on nothing…
WATER DROPS BOUNCE – What happens when you focus your 2000 frames per second camera on something that many of us see every day…
“I want to be so like water that I can fit into any vessel, flow anywhere, move with the grade, not only in my own way. Think like water! Not limited by ideology, concepts, fresh in every moment… I wish to think and act like water — powerfully working with other drops of water to wear away resistance drop by drop. Wear away the stones on which poverty and suffering rest. Always looking for the deepest way to flow, and to allow the world to flow through me.” — Fran Peavey, mentor of my late partner Karen Mercer. Fran, who died Oct 5 last year, ten weeks after Karen, was the originator of the Listening Project (she sat on benches in foreign countries with a sign that said “American Willing to Listen”) and Strategic Questioning (questions that create change whether they are answered or not, like “Why doesn’t the emperor have any clothes on?”), and author of the watershed book on activism, HEART POLITICS.
FOUR MORE JACKIE EVANCHO FAVORITES
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH7P8yVLvYM – With Jay Leno. A display of her very centered personality as well as her great voice. Also a home video clip of her singing with her brother “You are my sunshine”, very sweet.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzzDXieTn-I – Singing O Holy Night for President Obama and a big outdoor crowd at DC tree lighting 2010. A mind-boggling professional angel.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e4E3O9iaeqM – with David Foster, a master performer with a Las Vegas show who is bowled over by her “In all my years I have never seen anything quite like this!”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPITHzdUUDk – her first performance on America’s Got Talent, where she blew away the judges and audience the way she blew away her fans in her first YouTube AGT audition video
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