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25th January, 2017

Link Roundup: A song and dance

We pick through the month’s biggest entertainment news so you don’t have to!

Media circus

With Donald Trump taking office this month, there have been plenty of acts of protest from the music industry. Whether it’s four year long playlists to anti-Trump compilations, it seems the music world has it in for “The Donald” which might explain his struggles in booking A-list talent for his inauguration. But what about cabaret artists? Maybe they- nope… no, they hate him too as is evidenced by opera singer and Weimar cabaret artist Melinda Hughes song “Tweets in the Night“.

In the Sydney Morning Herald Brett Haylock asks “Is cabaret the new stand-up comedy?” The creative producer of La Soiree and Club Swizzle, and co-creator of La Clique reasons that the big hitters on the theatre scene aren’t the stand-up megastars of a few years ago, but rather cabaret and circus shows.

Not all circuses are looking quite so healthy though, with PT Barnum’s Greatest Show on Earth Circus set to close after a staggering 146 years. The Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus had performed for millions of fans over the years, but falling audience numbers and battles with animal rights groups have spelled the end for this classic big top. While it’s a shame that such a storied company has had to call it quits, one can’t help but wonder whether this was merely a failure to move with the times. There’s plenty of interest in modern circus shows like Cirque du Soleil and La Soiree to suggest the public still has an appetite for this kind of entertainment, but tastes have changed and perhaps Barnum & Bailey didn’t.

Music matters

Have you seen La La Land yet? It’s good! How good? Well good enough that this article wonders whether the Gosling/Stone swoon-athon might usher in a new Jazz Age. And who knows, maybe it will. But as avid Jazz-lovers here at Trevor George, we feel duty bound to point out that jazz never really went away, particularly in the events industry where you can often see some of the country’s best jazz musicians in action. Heck, you could even see them in action at a La La Land themed event. Who to call about that I wonder…

It’s Independent Venue Week at time of writing, with venues, bloggers, promoters and musicians up and down the country celebrating the small, dark, sweaty places where all the best gigs take place and not, as some might suggest, three miles back at a stadium watching Bono get trapped in a giant lemon on a large TV screen.

A new report from the Mayor of London found that despite stories of a few high profile closures “the number of grassroots music venues in the capital had remained stable for the first year since 2007.” In light of the report, this piece for BBC News takes a couple of these independent venues and asks them just what exactly they’re doing so right, and what other venues might learn from them.

A recent scientific study found that musicians have faster reaction times than non-musicians and they’re able to maintain faster reaction times as they age. Which is good news for musicians, but we’d advise against testing the theory by throwing things at the next band you see.

There’s more good news for musicians (and dancers) as it turns out music and dance “can help patients with restricted movement dance and those without speech to sing.” Stroke patients and those with Parkinson’s have seen positive responses to music that was familiar to them in their youth. Find out more from the Guardian’s new Science Weekly podcast.

Comedy Secrets

What’s the secret to great comedy? (*Pauses awkwardly*) … Timing. No, see, that didn’t work. Tell you who’d know, Louis CK whose act has been the subject of a quite brilliant video by YouTuber, the Nerdwriter. The video picks apart a single joke about Louis playing Monopoly with his two young daughters and mines it for insight into what makes it so funny. Anyone who’s ever daydreamed about heading down to an open mic night with a “tight five” will either be inspired, or put off entirely by the sheer craft that goes into just a couple of hundred words in a stand up act.

And finally, since we’ve touched upon some classic movie magic and comedy already, here’s a quick gif gallery that celebrates the mind-boggling ingenuity (and sometimes sheer bravery) of classic silent movie stunts. Don’t try any of these at home… ANY of them.

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