Sunday, May 11, 2014

A "legal bit of dancing" with Daft Punk

What do you think is the TOP result if you Google "Benedict Cumberbatch dancing"?

Would it be a mash-up of clips featuring Benedict and Tom Hiddleston?

Perhaps it's behind-the-scenes footage of Benedict as Khan on the set of Star Trek Into Darkness?
Maybe. . .just maybe, it's the clip from Sherlock Series 3, Episode 2 ("The Sign of Three"), where Benedict pirouettes rather elegantly (which you can see here on an earlier blog post).



During Oz Comic-Con earlier in April, attendees reported that Benedict came out prior to a session with the audience when he heard their reaction to the video presentation. What had caused such a commotion?
Party moments at a private celebration, which were shared personally within Benedict's circle of friends, then hacked - and posted publicly.

UPDATE: The webmaster for (aka CumberbatchWeb) posted a reader inquiry today on the CumberbatchWeb Tumblr  site. Briefly, the reader wanted to know how the "Thriller" dance video on YouTube was hacked, as the file appears to have been uploaded by his then-girlfriend. It seems a hacker took great pains to impersonate the girlfriend,  interacting with sites via social media  to assure them the video could be shared. When it was found to be a hoax, the damage had been done.  More details about this incident can be found if you click on the Tumblr hyperlink above, and a wealth of archival info and current news about Benedict's professional life can also on the CumberbatchWeb page.  

Now, where were we? Oh, yes:

In the clip below, Benedict explains how THAT dance clip came to be (this was recorded during the time when the audience were allowed to use their smartphones):

Can you imagine? (Would you want to?) Picture the last wedding reception you attended, particularly if there was an open bar, and perhaps you're wearing your hair in a way you don't like. (Cumberbatch has been quietly vocal about the hairstyle required for Sherlock - although some fans would disagree with his assessment.)


There you are, being silly and a bit sauced and sweating just a bit, and one of those dance anthems comes on. In our old hometown, "The Chicken Dance" and "Cotton Eyed Joe" were common. Let's go there, shall we?
Keep an eye out for the cool cat in Converse - bringing his beverage to the dance floor. The photographer found him, didn't she?

Lots of amazing performances in this one, too. Tequila makes one surprisingly agile - and handy with a hat (starting around 6:35)

Maybe not? How about that time the fraternity brother from college and Nana found each other after a few champagne toasts?
"Wiggle-wiggle-wiggle-wiggle-wiggle, YEAH."

I laughed and cringed, as did the tweens at my house who came to see why I was cackling like a madwoman.
Here's the thing, though. I DON'T KNOW THESE PEOPLE.

None of them.

Not one.

Their videos are on YouTube and all I did was search. Easy. Entertaining - and enjoyed by random people all over the place.

So, if you're looking for a performance taken on a thriller night, you won't find it here. If, however, you fancy a legal bit of dancing with one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" - and I know if he gestured for me to join him, I wouldn't turn him down - let's re-visit the Oz fan video (from the beginning this time - although he doesn't get his groove on until 1:06)

The song he chose to showcase his dance skills? "Doin' It Right" by French electronic dance/house music duo Daft Punk (featuring Panda Bear). (It's a lot to say, isn't it?) When I first heard "Daft Punk" I just started thinking of similar phrases like "stupid prat" or "right foul git" (Thanks, JK Rowling). The funny thing about this duo, leaders in French house music that relies heavily on the use of tech (sampler, drum machine, synthesizer & sequencer) to create the latest incarnation of dance music, found their moniker after reading a review that described their music "a daft punky thrash." (They were called Darlin' at the time.)

Darlin', with a name like that,  I wouldn't have expected to see band members rockin' futuristic helmets and gloves:

Daft Punk (courtesy Billboard/Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
Daft Punk (courtesy Billboard/Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic)
(To be fair, they do have a bit of Benedict in their look with their suit & tie selection.)

"Doin' It Right" is the third US single off their fourth studio album, Random Access Memories, released last year, and winner of the 2014 Grammy for Album of the Year. Featured on the song (the last recorded for the album) is Panda Bear - born Noah Lennox and part of  Animal Collective, an "experimental psychedelic" band who originally called Maryland home.

Technology is taking music in directions that may not suit everyone, but, in its way, Daft Punk takes dance music and influences from the past and uses them to create a mood and experience, just like artists in traditional music genres. When I hear this song, I am transported - but to a place where you focus on the beat, the rhythm, and getting lost a little bit. (The  effect is possibly more dramatic depending on what you've ingested that night. Ahem.)

Music has the power to take us to so many places in our imagination, and we limit our travels (so to speak) if we turn off the radio or tune out something because it's new or different. I'd much rather have a sense of humor like the members of Daft Punk, and feel a little bit less of a punk if I avoid that other, illegally-obtained video.
Turn it up, tune in and take a turn at the next dance (just watch out for those smartphones):
"If you do it right
Let it go all night
Shadows on you break
Out into the light"

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