Archive for the ‘Freewrites’ Category

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Knox Leon & Vivienne Marcheline dot coms

July 14, 2008

This post is about… babies, celebrity brands and web domains.

Two days ago the world held its breath waiting for Angelina Jolie to give birth to twins. The media and paparazzi hysteria about this event is not surprising at all. They are, of course, following every move of the most beautiful and successful Hollywood couple 24/7.  What surprised me  was the short note in one of the very first reports of the news, that on the day the babies were born (July 12, 2008), even before their birth was announced to the media, the lawyers of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie purchased all possible domain names for Knox Leon and Vivienne Marcheline.

celebrity baby name domains taken

celebrity baby name domains taken

Just Jared reported 24 different variations of the babies’ full names were purchased by the star couple’s lawyers immediately after the twins’ birth. The extensive list includes all possible “.com”, “.org”, “.net”, “.biz”, “.info” and “.us” domains.

I am wondering – has this ever happened before? I mean with other celebrity babies? Well, if it has not happened so far, it will start happening, since the Brangelina couple are definitely trend-setters. I could not find information on the web confirming that the name domains for the other Jolie-Pitt kids have been bought off like this. Are the twins’ names more special than the other children? Is their parents’ top concern to prevent people from taking advantage of the Jolie-Pitt brand on-line?

In a discussion about this with friends today, I heard a suggestion that perhaps all parents should do that – buy the domain names for their children even if they are not celebrities currently. Then, one day they can blackmail their own kids, who become famous and sell them back their on-line brand names. Sounds crazy, but think about stars estranged from their parents, like Angelina Jolie, who does not want to have anything to do with her own father. What would have happened, if he had registered and possessed her domain name? Would this be a reason for serious conflict and further divide or something that could perhaps bring them closer together as a family?

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Bellydance Blogging

July 8, 2008

I have not shared anything much about my personal interests so far, except my fascination with stand-up comedy. Well, belly dance also brings me real joy both as a spectator and as a dancer. It is definitely a more participatory and active hobby than comedy. I have seen tons of bellydance videos for learning purposes and enjoyment on YouTube.

Comedy and bellydance are my two richest collections of online videos. I have spent too many hours browsing and collecting bellydance videos, so, here are a couple of my most favourite. This is Sadie from Wisconsin and her performance is excellent.

Sadie has very precise movements and great execution, but compare her to the emotion that comes across from an actual Egyptian belly dancer – Dina, who is not that big on sophisticated movement isolation. Her technique is rather subtle.

I love both performances and, if I could merge them into one, that would be my ultimate belly-dance dream achievement! 

Belly dance is a celebration of feminity* and an incredible workout. The Western world has perceived belly dance as revealing and erotic for a long time before it became a popular activity for many women in the US and Europe. In the Middle East belly dance also has had a controversial image. The best description I’ve ever heard of it said: “Everyone loves it, dancers are the stars, but no one would like their son to marry a belly dancer or their daughter to become one.”

People in the Arab world dance belly dance with genuine enjoyment and emotion – both men and women. This is what you would rarely see in the West, which has taken belly dance and has placed it in the gym or dance studio and on the stage. It is not something they’d play at a wedding party here, for example. For one thing – we don’t get the lyrics of Arabic music. So, in this respect belly dance will never completely yield itself to western representation. Hm, when I think of it “raqs sharqi” (Arabic for “belly dance”) literally means “dance of the east”.

I find myself somewhere in the middle between these two ends, because music in Bulgaria (both traditional and popular) has taken its influences from the Middle-East and I can relate to bellydance rythm and melodies. I have been taking belly dance classes for over two years now. I have looked up plenty of web info about the origin and history of the dance, but was never able to find good blogs that are still “alive”. How difficult could it be to keep a blog, dedicated to dance, interesting and engaging? Today I found one – a pretty good blog with many links and resources, but also coming from a truly committed American belly dancer. Bellydance: Experinces is written by Natalia from St. Louis in Missouri and is interesting to like-minded readers. Perhaps I should consider setting up my own bellydance blog.

* Guess what – the best and most renowned belly-dance instructors in the world are… men.

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Stand-Up Comedy Lives Online

June 25, 2008

I love stand-up comedy. My fascination with it came twelve years ago after hearing (not even watching) some early stand-up comedy audio tapes done by Woody Allen in the 1970s. He is awsome! He set the bar of my expectations really high. It is strange though how people in America do not associate him at all with his early career as a comedian. I rented the tapes from the BBC Center in Sofia by a reccomendation of a friend and ended up literally memorizing them. I have to make it clear that stand-up comedy is not a popular genre in Bulgaria except for a couple of recent attempts at launching stand-up shows on TV in 2005 and 2006. To my utmost disappointment, I have so far discovered only one YouTube video of these early Woody Allen stand-up comedy performances. Here it is – the one and only:

Thanks to the proliferation of videos and channels on YouTube I have discovered many exceptional comedians. One of them is Russel Peters, whose entire career and huge current popularity is built exclusively on word-of-mouth marketing. Thanks to the web and mostly YouTube I have come to adore his comedy for a year already and you bet I was among the first people to buy a ticket three months in advance for his live performance in D.C. last week-end. He is big on making fun of ethnic differences and draws a very versatile audience.

Other great comediansI have discovered via the web are the Middle Eastern bunch that made the Axis of Evil Comedy Tour. They are very efficient in breaking stereotypes about the Middle East through comedy and similarly to Russel Peters they appeal to a vast multi-ethnic public.

I have found immense gratification in exploring amateur or user-produced comedy online, which is in many cases as good as professional comedy. Among the best picks I have come accross recently are Barats and Bereta. Their videos can be found in MySpace, YouTube and their official website.

And since this is my school blog, let me fullstop this post with my all-time comic YouTube video called “Effect of education on men and women”: