Monday, December 19, 2011

A Totally Radical Christmas for Jaded New Yorkers

Jaded New Yorker (noun): A resident of New York City (or the surrounding area) who has seen it all and is therefore unfazed by any sight, sound, or smell he/she may encounter. 
(Antonym: Overly Excited Tourist)

One of the greatest assets NYC has to offer is the jaded New Yorker. JNYs are fascinating creatures to behold--they don't even blink when passing a man with a cat on his head, a homeless man peeing on the sidewalk in broad daylight, or a Naked Cowgirl (a topless grandma with a guitar not quite big enough to cover her saggy skin) singing to people who can't quite look away in Times Square. New York City is like a giant Ripley's Believe It or Not! museum. It's insane what you can watch happening outside. But nothing can get this breed of urbanites to slow down on their race to the subway. I often marvel more at the JNYs than at the spectacle they're ignoring.

I get to see the JNYs firsthand when I film videos with my 80s dance troupe. Yes, you read that correctly. I belong to an 80s dance troupe that is changing the world one body roll at a time. Under the strict supervision of Deb and Ted Spangles, the Spangles Dance Company aims to bring back awesome moves and attitude and outfits from the 80s. We were even featured on America's Got Talent last year.

We film amazing music videos at various locations in midtown Manhattan. At least, until the cops kick us out. With blue eyeshadow, giant mall bangs, and sequin legwarmers, we make quite a spectacle of ourselves, and we often draw crowds of Overly Excited Tourists, who are pleasantly baffled that group dance numbers happen so unexpectedly on NYC sidewalks. You can almost see them trying to remember every detail to tell their neighbors in Iowa.

However, the Jaded New Yorkers could care less. They barely glance in our direction as they travel speedily to wherever they have to be in such a hurry. I love watching their blank stares in the background of the Spangles videos. We can high kick in their faces and they don't even flinch. I can't say I blame them. I know exactly how long it takes me to get where I need to be in the city, and I often get agitated if anything slows down my carefully timed travels. After 10 years here, I wouldn't say that I stop to watch oddities I see on the streets, but I do slow down when I pass a group of fast-talking breakdancers. Or a woman who has never cut her hair playing a musical saw. And when I see a drunk passed out in his own puke on the subway stairs, I always check to see if he's breathing. It seems like the charitable thing to do--especially around the holidays

And on that pleasant note, please enjoy the Spangles latest video: It's The Weather Girls (of "It's Raining Men" fame) singing a tune that sounds exactly like "It's Raining Men," but with the words "Santa" and "Christmas" in it. And if you like what you see, learn more at