Seven random tidbits:
1. The French have left DC and are now on their way to Chicago for the Chicago Classic this coming weekend. Most flew but some are driving. Why, I asked, Why are you driving? Such a long drive! “Vee vant to see leetle beet of your country!” they said. Great! I said Great! Where are you going? “Peesburgh!” they said.
I always tell visitors from abroad: If you’re visiting the States the one place you don’t want to miss is Pittsburgh. No I don’t.
2. New at MadJam: If you won more than $100 in prize money you received an empty envelope with a tax form and a note that in order to receive your prize you must submit the completed form at the Registration Desk. Hoping it was a W-9 (which asks for social security number) and not a W-2 (which asks for a lot more than that) but don’t have one here in front of me so can’t say for sure. Never seen this at any other comp. Means that if we win prize money we (rather than the event director) pay taxes on it.
3. For next year’s MadJam: There is an online store which sells 100% purple merchandise. Fishnet stockings, electrical tape, jewelry, furniture, bow ties, hair dye, kitchen tools, food, writing implements, stuffed animals, electronics, home decor, and clothing.
4. Melissa Greene has the cutest new hair style. Adorable cut, fifty different colored highlights. I took pictures but could be the next millennium before I post them so be on the look-out for other pictures of her.
5. Lemery’s shoes at Awards OMGAWD! White, red, black, yellow, bold modern-art slashes of color on 6″ heels, chunky peep-hole toe. AUGHGHGH.
6. Great lighting all weekend. Stage lights, spotlights, “christmas lights” sparkling on the back-drop … a photographer’s dream! Dramatic contrasts, shadows, enough light to make it easy to capture flying dancers. No excuses for bad pictures – it was even easier than shooting outside.
7. If you were watching u-stream you may have noticed that the list of finalists in each category was broadcast beforehand. I love that the lists of finalists appeared *somewhere* even if you have to go to a u-stream video to find it. I always try to catch the names of all contestants, including all those who pay to enter but who, if they don’t make finals, leave no trace, as if they don’t exist, never attended the event. And I try to get the names of finalists. And all the rankings – not just the top three or five. Cause I’m constantly asked who competed? Who made finals? Who placed where? People all over the world are always waiting to hear the “stats.” I’ve said before: wouldn’t it be great to see the full lists of competitors, the full lists of finalists, and the full lists of placements and judges’ rankings? Lotta geeks and analyst/engineer types in the dance world, guys (geeky girls, too) who love lists, excel spread-sheets, pie-charts, graphs, forecasts, analyses … These folks would love to see all the data. In an era of 1’s and 0’s it would be easy to make this available.
I’m for complete transparency anyway. We have this awkward cult of secrecy regarding scores for which I’ve heard three explanations:
- People have photo-shopped pictures of the judges’ sheets and posted them online. This is why pictures are not allowed. (If the event posts the scores then there’s no possibility of altering and lying about them, right? So I must be missing something.)
- Judges are attacked. This is why their names are withheld or only displayed for a short time. (Judges should not be attacked. I haven’t ever seen this myself but I’m sure it happens, evidently enough to warrant inconveniencing the majority of competitors who are polite and thoughtful. If asked politely it seems a judge should be able to say either “I’m sorry I don’t remember what I saw” or “I do remember and this is why I put you where I did.” )
- People don’t want it publicly displayed that they did poorly. (Maybe they shouldn’t be competing in a public “race” if they want to keep secret how they do? Competition means ranking yourself against everybody else. It seems odd to have a public competition and then keep the results secret.)
At MadJam the finalists, at least, appeared in the u-stream videos broadcast in the ballroom, in the guest rooms, and on monitors and cell phones around the world, which was a breath of fresh air.