5-Minute Dance Party | Sunny and Steve — Enjoy the Sweets

Happy Easter!

When was the last time you fought over Easter candy at your house?

The last time we fought over Easter candy was, let me see here—about three weeks ago?

On a related note, I’ve got some happy news!

We’re posting our 50th Marriage Interpreter today!

Can you believe it?

What’s been your favorite Marriage Interpreter moment so far?

(I think mine will always be the Cookie Movie incident.)

Our regular and original feature, Our Sunday Best, will return to its weekly posted time next Sunday.

Sports Mania SPECIAL broadcast: Post-Saint Patrick’s Day wrap-up

Action shot of Irish Stepdancers in Ireland.

BRIGHT BLUE SET of SPORTS MANIA television sports show. Newscasters CHET and ERNESTO sit behind a bright blue DESK tapping their PAPERS and chatting as the Sports Mania’s THEME MUSIC plays.

(ESTABLISHING SHOT of Ernesto and Chet sitting behind a bright blue desk of bright blue Sports Mania set.)

Chet: (Deep in conversation with Ernesto)…so then I sez to the produce guy, I sez to him—

(CUT TO: MEDIUM SHOT of Ernesto and Chet.)

Ernesto: What’d you say to him? Jeeeezuuuu— (Startled. Realizes show just started.)-ssssszzz. (Clears throat.) Hello! And welcome to Sports Mania’s St. Patrick’s Day post-game wrap-up. It was an exciting St. Patrick’s Day this year wasn’t it, Chet?

Chet: (Professional smile) It sure was, Ernesto! We had wins and losses all over the map! From Omsk, Russia to Lowell, Massachusetts, Irish Stepdancers and local revellers went head to head!

Ernesto: (Professional laugh.) They sure did, Chet! But there was one memorable moment from yesterday, wasn’t there? Let’s go to our interview with Niamh Ni Dálaigh, Irish stepdancer. (Trim dark-haired young woman comes up on a built in screen behind the Sports Mania desk. Ernesto and Chet turn to face screen) Niamh, how are you this morning?

Niamh Ni Dálaigh: (Sounds tired and hoarse.) I’m fine, Ernesto—just fine, all things considered.

(CUT TO: CLOSE-UP. Ernesto and Chet share a SPLIT SCREEN with NIAMH NI DÁLAIGH.)

Ernesto: (Serious face.) Now, Niamh, I’d like to show the footage from your midnight St. Patrick’s Day performance at the Wise Rhino last night. Sports fans, let me set up this clip for you. The Wise Rhino is a pub infamous for packing in the St. Patrick’s Day crowds and skimping on stage space. Niamh, how big was the stage where you danced your final show last night?

Niamh: Two feet by two feet, plus two feet high. (Pause.) And I had to share it with the band and five other dancers.

Chet: Well, that is one small stage, Niamh!

(Niamh laughs uncomfortably.)

Ernesto: (Cutting off Chet.) If you’re tuning into the broadcast just now, Irish Dancer Niamh Ni Dálaigh from Reno, Nevada is talking about last night’s performance.

Chet: Let’s run that tape.

(Footage shows Niamh dancing in place on a two-foot high stage. Amateur drunks are standing in front of the stage bobbing and weaving and shouting. The traditional Irish band sits behind her—they’re nearly sitting in each other’s laps.)

Chet: Now, watch carefully as this guy over here— (Circles a drunk guy in front and to the left of Niamh with a green screen pen.) —starts to reach out to touch Niamh’s dancing costume right here. (Chet draws wobbly green screen arrow to Niamh’s dress.)

(Footage continues. Drunk guy starts to grab the skirt of Niamh’s $1500 performance dress. Niamh executes a quick turn, yanking the dress out of his hand, but the turn sends her sprawling into the band right behind her. )

Chet: (Excitedly.) Right there— (Draws six green screen arrows on the footage.)

Ernesto: (Slaps pen out of Chet’s hand.) Shhhh!

(Niamh, still on the split screen, covers her eyes with one hand.)

(Footage: A random drunk hand goes over the lens of the camera, but viewers can hear a SQUEAK and a YELP and the WHINE-POP-PING of several squashed INSTRUMENTS.)

Chet: (Excitedly.) Wow, I’ve never seen—

Ernesto: Shhhh!

(Niamh, still on the split screen, covers her entire face with her hands.)

(Footage: Normal filming resumes. A stunned Niamh sits sprawl-legged on stage surrounded by pieces of mandolin. Three of the four musicians are wearing the remains of a smashed hammer dulcimer. The fourth, a CONCERTINA PLAYER, has the bellows of his instrument wrapped around his neck, which he’s clawing to remove. The dulcimer player is weeping loudly. His tweed vest is in ribbons. )

Chet: Can I—(Waits to be shushed again, by Ernesto. Ernesto nods.)—talk now? (A beat.) So, Niamh, what was going through your mind when you executed that turn?

Niamh: Well, not much of anything, Chet. That was my 40th performance in three cities in five days—

Ernesto: (Looking at camera.) —the standard lead-up to St. Patrick’s Day, right?

Niamh: Yes. Yes, it is. (A pause.) —but, like I said, like every year, I’d been doing these performances since the first of March, really, and by last night, I didn’t even know my own name. Ernesto, I was so tired that I put on one soft shoe and one hard shoe at the beginning of that performance, and I would have gone on stage like that had another dancer not stopped me.

Chet: Wow, that IS tired, Niamh!

Niamh: (Nods.) Yeah. So, if I was thinking anything, I don’t remember it. But I remember what happened after the drunk guy grabbed the skirt part of my solo costume. I fell into the band, Chet. And all you could hear around me in the blur of the moment was Pop! Twaaaa-aaaang! Blawwp!

Niamh: (Continues.) I was smacked in the shoulder with that concertina—that thing should always be holstered when not in use—and somehow I sat on Jim’s mandolin. (Covers eyes.) All those smashed instruments and crying men. I’m never going to get that sound out of my ears, Chet. Never.

Ernesto: We’ve only got another minute here, Niamh. What I want to know is, what happened to the original drunk guy who grabbed your dress?

Niamh: Well… (Hand covers her mouth.) He started laughing.

Chet: Wow! What did you do?

Niamh: At first I was too stunned from the accident, but then I saw him doubled over, and like I said, he was laughing at us.

Ernesto and Chet: (Spellbound.) Yes?

Niamh: So I, uh, got up from the stage floor. (A final pause.) And then I walked over and punched him in the nose.

Ernesto: Whoa! That’s a serious party foul! How many Feiseanna do you have to sit out for this penalty?

Niamh: (Genuine smile.) Six. My Claddagh ring broke off in the drunk guy’s left nostril, and he smashed his face with his own beer bottle trying to pull it out. So, I’m out for one dance competition per stitch.

Chet: (Mouth open.) How much of your Claddagh ring ended up in his nose?

Niamh: The heart, the hands, and the entire crown broke off inside his nose, Chet. It was bad. It was really bad.

Ernesto: If you had to do last night all over again, would you have done anything differently?

(Niamh hesitates, then—)

Niamh: Yeah. (A beat.) I would have worn a bigger ring.

(Sports Mania theme music plays.)

Chet: Folks at home, we’ll see you after the commercial break. We’d like to thank our guest, Niamh Ni Dálaigh, who had to wake up before noon on the day after St. Patrick’s Day to be with us!

( Niamh waves a bleary hand at the camera. The split screen dissolves.)

(MEDIUM SHOT of Ernesto and Chet behind Sports Mania desk.)

Ernesto: (Continuing on.) After the break, we’re going to talk to a an eight-hand Irish figures team who got into a fight with half of the metropolitan symphony in Poughkeepsee, New York! This is Ernesto—

Chet: —and Chet. Live, with our day after St. Patrick’s Day wrap up on—

Ernesto and Chet: Sports Mania!

(Theme music swells.)



Niamh Ni Dálaigh   NEEV   NEH DOHL-lee 

(Irish name. “Ni” replaces “O’” in feminine names.)

Feiseanna  Fesh-eAN-na  

(Irish Stepdancing competitions.)

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 48)

The Husband looking at viewer, while the Underpants Lemur is checking out The Husband.

THE HUSBAND is talking to Ilsa von Dogovitch on the couch.

The Husband: You could be a superhero dog.

Ilsa: Bark!

The Husband: (Rubbing Ilsa’s head.) Yes, a superhero dog, with your little feet and your little carbon footprint….

Ilsa: ??? (A beat. ) Bark!

THE HUSBAND is washing dishes and talking to himself.

The Husband: Dingo got my tiara!

THE HUSBAND looks up from the TV suddenly.

The Husband: The movie “Goodwill Hunting” was about thrift store shopping, right?

Bluebird: (Rolls eyes upward.) Of course it is.

THE HUSBAND is drinking coffee and thinking.

The Husband: Why do we name undergarments after animals?

Bluebird: Like what?

The Husband: Garanimals… teddies… underpantlemurs.

Bluebird: There’s coffee in that cup, right?

The Husband: (Sipping coffee.) Wouldn’t you like to know.

THE HUSBAND walks in to Bluebird’s office, computer in hand, looking bummed.

The Husband: Textbook prices are exorbitantly lame.

Bluebird: I’m sorry to hear that. (A beat.) Did you say “exorbitantly lame”? Dude, that’s kinda awesome.

The Husband: (Brightening.) That’s because I’m exorbitantly lameawesometastic like that. (Singing and walking away.) Stupid textbooks! Are! Exoooooorbitantllllyyyyyyy… LAAAAAAAAAAAAME! Do-WOP-WOP, yeaaaaah!

TO COMMEMORATE THE GREAT DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. TODAY: MLK’s “But If Not” speech, courtesy of the Internet Archive. May Dr. King’s legacy live on in all of us.

5-Minute Dance Party | David Lynch’s Dune… “Sweded”

My friend Phillip sent me this last week, and I just got around to watching watching Monkey Theater‘s version of Dune. It’s hilarious.

It’s all about— Wait… give me a sec. (Bluebird cracks up.)

Just watch it. Oh my gosh, just watch it, y’all. You’re going to tip over from laughing, I totally know it.

PSSST! It’s less than six months until DUNE IN JUNE! You know about DUNE IN JUNE, right?

POSTSCRIPT: “SWEDED” is a term I didn’t remember hearing before, but its origins are pretty cute. According to Urban Dictionary, a sweded film is a movie that has been summarized by a group of people, usually fans of the film, by utilizing the lowest budget props, cameras, and film techniques available. The origin of the word “sweded” comes from a movie I really love— “Be Kind, Rewind,” which you can read about on the Be Kind Rewind Wikipedia entry.

Well, I don’t want to say this, but my conscience insists: I don’t often use Urban Dictionary because its reputation is terrible for a number of reasons we can discuss at a later date. To be clearer, I do not recommend visiting Urban Dictionary, nor using it as a reference source if you can avoid it.

5-Minute Dance Party | Inspector Clouseau and Cato (Round 6)



After a day like yesterday, I have a rather dark yet familiar feeling that I resemble one of the characters from that popular movie series, The Pink Panther.

But if I had to guess, I am probably some terrifyingly inept hybrid of both the daring-but-shy Cato and that bloatus of a human being, Inspector Clouseau.

What I’m trying to say is that I destroyed my Macintosh again. To provide a frame of reference I had just begun to finish reinstalling the software that I use to create work for Bluebird Blvd.

Right now as Mac’s Disk Utility is writing the last pass of zeros to the hard drive, I can say the following:

Although things have gone terribly wrong with everything I’ve attempted technologically in the last six weeks, everything that has gone wrong has done so in a funny and horrible fashion.

So all is not lost. I may have destroyed my computer again, but in the process I gained yet another story that displays the wide, yet dramatic range of my bumbling ineptitude.

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 42)

What'd I Do?

Coming to a Husband near you: The Husband's Denostrilizer.


THE HUSBAND is in his office.
The Husband: (Musing out loud.) I wish there was a fashion book called “The Stylings of the Suburban Fez.”
(Bluebird glances up from her computer, bewildered.)
The Husband: (Still speaking from his office.) Or a book like “Cravats Are Where It’s At.”
Bluebird: Is this the spring break version of you?
The Husband: Yes. Yes, it is. It’s regular me with more fezzes and cravats.




THE HUSBAND is eating lunch and looking thoughtful.
The Husband: I just came up with the perfect video game. It combines basketball with birds!
Bluebird: And you’re calling it…?
The Husband: Angry Larry Birds
Bluebird: No.




THE HUSBAND just came back from school.
The Husband: (Setting his book bag down.) A narwhal is a porpoise with a unicorn horn!
Bluebird: (Cracking one eye at him.) Do you need more sleep?
The Husband: Maybe. No. Yes? Porpoises!




A FRAZZLED BLUEBIRD walks into The Husband’s office.
Bluebird: I took sixty pictures of myself last night for that thing, and I have narrowed it down to fifteen possibles. Can you look at these and tell me which one you like best?
The Husband: (Flipping through pictures on her laptop.) No. No. No. Yes. No. No. No headphones. So, the rest of these are a no-go.
Bluebird: (Pointing to The Husband’s one yes.) I was going to use this one, actually.
The Husband: (Pauses.) Well, your forehead isn’t that big in real life.
(Bluebird stares at him.)
The Husband: What’d I do? Don’t you have a app that will de-forehead a picture? Can’t you get Adobe Deforeheader?
Bluebird: (Still staring at him.) I predict—
The Husband: (Small voice.) Oh, no.
Bluebird: (Points accusing finger.) —six months of up-nostril photos. Don’t worry. Doesn’t Adobe have their Denostrilizer app out yet?


Take Your time, Husband


* 5-Minute Dance Party [Cool Unicorn, Bruv]

* The Marriage Interpreter (No. 14)

* Self Portrait With Fez


I Was a Teenage Irish Stepdancer! Or, A Few Notes on Irish Stepdancing That I’ve Been Meaning to Write Down for Years Now

Michael Flatley in Feet of Flurgh

STOP!  Did someone in the audience call Irish Dancing FOLK DANCING?  We will show our displeasure through this interpretive Treble Reel!


I am a former Irish Dancer.

I do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

(But you can! And I love you for it.)

Today will be a day of quiet and rest for me.

Because every St. Patrick’s Day of my childhood, youth, and young adult years felt like an eternity.

And in some ways— it was.


For seventeen years’ worth of St. Patricks Days, I performed without pay (because I was still an amateur competitor) starting at 6 a.m. on the 17th and ending somewhere around 3 a.m. on the 18th. This was expected of me, and sometimes I enjoyed it.

Typically, there was some driving and waiting around between shows, and we had some sort of long dinner break around six p.m. to just before eight o’clock.

But, from eight p.m. to three or four the next morning, we’d begin performing again at this large restaurant/bar with a teeny stage. Hour after hour.

This audience loved us more than the other eighteen or nineteen other audiences of the day put together because this audience was really, really, really drunk.

Enough time has lapsed that I don’t feel nearly so grouchy about St. Patrick’s Day.

I’ve got three things I’ve been wanting to say for years.

And I finally feel ready to share these thoughts with you.

1) Irish Dancing is not folk dancing.

The steps are as new as hip-hop, or any other contemporary dance form. In the world of Irish Stepdancing, people come out with new ways to move every year.

In folk dancing the steps and the music do not change. Ever. No one adds new movements and you dance to a specific time signature. Typically in a costume of clothes that people in the old country wore for celebrations.

Irish Stepdancing has one equivalent.

There are four plodding “set dances” with slooo-ooow hard shoe steps that every dancer has to learn. We had to do them in competition. I don’t think the generation that’s competing now has to use them at all, but I could be wrong.

Learning the “Trad. sets” helps you appreciate the modern swift-changing form that Irish Stepdancing has always been, and will always be. It’s also a way for adjudicators to line up four competitors stripped of their fancy choreography and see, in one flick of the eyes, whether the dancers have correct form, timing, and style.

The rest of the dances you encounter are a horn o’plenty of reels and jigs and hornpipes of the soft and hard shoe variety. More bounty: Each soloist will have their own choreography made up of many different steps in combination.

Some of those steps will be new. In the “no one has moved their feet that way in Irish Dancing before I just saw you do it right now” school of newness.

Now, let’s talk about those new steps in Irish Stepdancing.

Where do new steps come from? How do new steps get passeed around?

Someone does some cool new thing on stage at the World Championships, and every big competitor and their teachers sees the step, and they steal it.

That original competitor will place no higher than third because brand new steps are not acceptable. Last year’s new step is okay. And everyone is required to do the new step from four years ago with the double-Swiss variation.

But for that first guy: Woe to ye who thought it was a good idea to bring that step to Worlds!

Next year, everyone’s using his new step in their winning solo.

The following year, someone will add three extra somethings to the new step, a movement defying both physics and human anatomy. Gasps all around. And all the teachers and all the dancers steal the souped-up version of the step.

We’ve all got to learn to do the quadruple-doohickey the year after that. It’s become standard for your level of competition.

In the meantime, a dancer and her teacher have come out with “the Swan” which is a crosskey done backwards with a flick both ways, and a boy in a dance school in Guileford just added three twists to it.

That’s what we get to learn next year for our competitions. I hope your kneecaps are double jointed!

2) It’s not called “Riverdancing.” That’s a show.

Irish Stepdancing as culture goes way past Michael Flatley. What Flatley (and Marie Duffy and about ten others) did, is loosen up some of the rules of performance. To be fair, Riverdance was such a phenomenon, former champions were finally able to make a non-competition, non-teaching career out of Irish Dance. Dance teachers were able to fill all their student slots, and probably for the first time, keep a waiting list of would-be students.

However, Flatley created some unfortunate precedents for female dancers— he created a thin body culture Irish Dancing didn’t have and didn’t need.

Before Riverdance, some of the best “power competitors” were built like Mohammed Ali, and they had his considerable physical grace too. I once silently cried watching this muscular dancer perform. She was a rather famous World Champion, and she was doing things my body would never be able to do.

So there’s that.

With the new “thin” Irish Dance culture, came the weirdly dichotomous femininity, also a Flatley specialty— in which you were either a withering swan or this naughty, naughty girl. Luckily, I was heading for the exit by then. I had a university degree and I was going off to graduate school. I didn’t have an interest in dressing up as one of Flatley’s female chorus members: Three wigs sewn together to make one super-wig, six slickery coats of spray tan, and a beauty pageant tiara, all tied together visually by a dress made from wisps of fresh Irish mist.

Male dancers had it worse. I don’t even know what to say about those “masculine” leather pants Flatley stuffed his male dancers into for his next show, “Lord of the Dance,” but I can tell you those pants looked damned uncomfortable. And so did the performers wearing them.

I said I was heading towards the exit. Check that. I was sprinting.

As I wrapped up my solo career, women in any audience got in the habit of grabbing at my solo costume (worth more than my first car) and, yes, crying because they loved riverdancing so much. (Poor ladies— it was HUGE at the time. Commercials. Specials on PBS. Some people really identified with this show.) I felt bad for these women and their genuine gigantic feelings for Michael Flatley, and Irish Dance, and me, who they thought danced just like Michael Flatley, and should be in Riverdance, but all of it really freaked me out.

So I thanked them and I thanked them, and gently removed their hands from the only new solo dress I ever owned.

For the record— I wouldn’t have made the first round of cuts for the corps of any of the three touring Riverdance shows. I wasn’t good enough and that was fine by me. (No super-wig!)

If you are out and about today, for goodness’ sakes don’t call it riverdancing. Irish dancers get really ticked about this, but they’re too polite to say anything— usually because you’re all so nice and earnest and genuinely heartfelt that no one wants to correct you.

Nor should they. Dancing for an enthusiastic audience is one of the most visceral pleasures of an Irish Dancer’s life.

After more than a decade out of my ghillies*, I can afford to be frank this once. (No super-wig!)

3) This is going to blow your mind, but the national color of Ireland until late in the 20th century was actually blue.

This national color was about three to six different colors of blue because various groups in the two countries that make up Ireland couldn’t decide which blue was the right blue, so instead of picking one, they named a bunch of them St. Patrick’s Blue and called it a day.

It naturally follows that the flag that represents St. Patrick—(There are three of him too!)— is a carefully chosen symbol called the “Saltire of St. Patrick” and also the “Standard of St. Patrick.” (Though there’s fighting about that, also. Lots of history in Ireland.)

And it certainly is at all points logical that this St. Patrick’s flag, or Saltire, or Standard is, in fact, colored bright red and blinding white.

Today, I will not be watching a bunch of St. Patricky things on TV or singing any of those songs about “a ragtag rambling rover from Donegal who wore a black band in his Guinness black hair” or any other Irish tune stuck in my head until always. I will never, ever wax nostalgic about what it was like to be an Irish Dancer because there is always this:

My stress dreams involve Irish dancing. Every time. And that’s enough to keep me from pulling out my last pair of unbroken Rutherfords* and strapping them on for ould times’ sake.

Because late next week, when I’m worried about something, I’ll be looking for those damned hard shoes in my dreams as the PA is announcing the callbacks in a competition I’m in.

While I’m frantically peeking under chairs for my shoes, a lady with a fixation for Riverdance will grab at my costume and rip it— massive points off for me. And I’ll get to the stage and remember that on purple days cats don’t wear garbage cans. They wear St. Patrick’s Blue, or nothing at all.

*soft shoes, or ghillies, are what female dancers wear. They’re also called poms for some reason, and most likely, six newer names I haven’t heard yet. Male dancers wear soft shoes as well. Those shoes don’t have nicknames at all.

**a brand of hard shoe. Irish dancing has hard shoes and soft shoes for both men and women.

MORE IRISH DANCE-TASTIC GOODNESS, OR SOMETHING: I didn’t get a chance to post this list in the links on St. Patrick’s Day proper, but as it’s a NATIONAL HOLIDAY in IRELAND today (03.18.13), but I did a short survey of Modern Irish Dance on the Bluebird Blvd. B-Side Tumblr: TapTronic’s Hard Shoe Dubstep; Prodijig’s mix of Hip-Hop and Hard Shoe, and Up & Over It’s lean and conceptual “Folk You.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Photograph photograph of Michael Flatley in his Marie Duffy co-choreographed production, “Feet of Flames,” was made available by the photographer MaxGuy and by Wikimedia Commons.


5-Minute Dance Party | Here Comes Your Man, Harold Lloyd

Well, I was so impressed with this fan montage/tribute video by BrackAttack79 that I used up my Pixies credit.

What the hey-ho is a Pixies credit?

It’s like this, my friends— we don’t repeat artists for a single year on Bluebird Blvd.’s patented 5-Minute Dance Party.

Bluebird Blvd. post five dance parties a week for 52 weeks. No repeats.

The Pixies are one of my favorite bands of all time ever in the whole wide universe of sound. Seriously— ever. Did you hear me? ‘Cause I’m using italics for emphasis a lot today.

That means as of this moment rightthissecond, I’ve posted my one Pixies song for the 2013 Bluebird Blvd. 5-Minute Dance Party season.

So that means I’ve used up my Pixies credit!


It’s worth it, right?

I mean, it is Harold Lloyd. And it is the Pixies What confused Bluebird would skip over HAROLD LLOYD and the PIXIES together in a beautifully made montage?

Not me, brother. I’m all in.

How ’bout you? Happy FRIDAY!

The Marriage Interpreter (No. 41)

I am the very model of a modern major general...

THE HUSBAND is sitting on the couch, worrying.

The Husband: I’m on a very set schedule for my classes because I have that presentation on Thursday.

(Bluebird nods solemnly.)

The Husband: I have to present. Actually, I hate the word “present.” It’s the same word they use to describe female baboons courting a mate on nature shows.

Bluebird: Eew.

The Husband: And by courting, I mean—



THE HUSBAND is making himself coffee.

The Husband: So, we’re getting ready to study the incontinental drift.

(Bluebird is speechless.)

I've information vegetable, animal and mineral.