If there was ever a topic of interest that will garner attention for the coming days if not weeks, its the Cutie Awards. How can I NOT blog about this?
I bet I was the only one eating real cuties (no not that type of eating) (it's a hybrid fruit that's a cross between a sweet orange and a Chinese mandarin.) while being in the Cutie awards They're so addicting, sort of like tangerines.
Did I foresee the coming outcry? Yep. In fact I heard them prior to the awards as if, "yeah expect it and 'what can ya do' but lets have them anyways, sort of sentiment. Complaints of foul play, jeers to forensic nepotism, favoritism, and all from the overlooked, unnoticed, unmentioned, unnominated, and un-winners.
FAILURE - It IS an option!
Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die.
Everyone wants to be nominated, and win and nobody wants to lose BUT we dont want everyone to win else what's the point...so we want losers and it means we want those up against us to lose. We have to have losers in order to have winners but nobody wants to be called or inferred to as a "loser". You can argue, "Well Yummy we didn't lose, we just didn't win" ..well...ok...if you say so.
Oh and we did have a few ties...but what if every category had ties? What if every category that had 7 entries had 7-way ties? People would call it a farce, meaningless...like kissing your sister.
So we need others to fail.
Like relative wealth, we want relative achievement. I want more money than you but if I can't have more than you then I want you to have less than me. I want more than you have, even if I don't need more.That's beside the point.
We want life graded on the curve. We need disparity between them and us. Usually someone ends up espousing the colloquial, "I wish everyone was a winner",... notice thats only espoused by....winners. "Everyone else deserved this as much as me",..I've yet to hear a loser say that..well they do but with a different tone as in "I was as good as the winner (if not better)". Same thing. One is gracious, the other...not so.
I initially had sour grapes about the idea of an award ceremony. I suggested in a prior blog that just maybe just maybe we had evolved to a stage where we can say...ya know..sometimes shows are boring. Actually I only dared think it... but didnt feel it needed to be voiced publicly until I heard at least 3 others (dancers mind you) express the same sentiment while under the influence of holiday spirits.What this implied was that for the first time, not all performances were judged equal just because people showed up to perform and were nice people. Well I was countered with a comment that "NO show was boring". Oops..slapped me down. I cowered back into my favorite corner.
So I thought ok, maybe they are right. Mabye its NOT time to "compare" performances with each other..so I conceded that it was ME and my un-rose-colored spectacles......and then..in the next breath a few days later...WHAM BAM..we have...a show... that goes way beyond what I was hinting at...and instead of making a general statement about performance disparity...instead says, not only are we going to show that disparity exists, but we are going to NAME NAMES? We will have winners and losers, by name, and you will go down in history as having won or lost. Well my head jerked back. WTF? I thought to myself.
I guess they will argue that its "not the same thing, Yummy. There is something good to find in every act. Your mama told you if you can't saysomething nice about people, don't say nuthin at all". "Value can be found if you twist your head the right way"...Someone else implied that maybe 'I see too many shows and may be jaded'. Fair enough. Well its one thing to think, "I wonder if SHE was talking about ME or US? (regarding some shows being less or more boring than others)... and yet another to say..yes we ARE talking about YOU and YOU LOST...or worse..you were NOT even nominated. Your stuff was NOT as good as.
I think if I were my younger, self-centered, opinonated, grumpy, negative, know-it-all, mizz bad-ass biatch, this article would end with this negative tone and sentiment of,
CRY FOUL, SOUR GRAPES, FIX, CONSPIRACY, INNER-CIRCLE, RIGGED, NEPOTISM, CRONYISM, The Illuminati, The TriLateral Commission, Big-Foot, Locknessm, 11 herbs and spices, and so on
BUT...and a BIG BUT...(don't ya love big buts)?
I experienced something else. I stepped back...looked at the ceremony as a whole, felt the ceremony as whole....the guts to have the idea in the 1st place, knowing you would catch holy hell, the volunteer work and effort that went into it, the smoothness with which it was carried out, how gracious that many of the outspoken were to each other, the sense of community, the comaraderie, a reason to speak and hang out with others, to escape to a fun event that was different, a 1st of its kind, to sit in a sim with 100 people.... and it not crash...that was icing on the cake. You know when the lag-monster gives you a pass, you're doing something right. And Murphy was dead asleep. I suspect we had divine intervention. A reason to dust off that outfit, gown, tuxedo and celebrate with friends, or go shopping for something new. Where else can you go in formal attire without a date and not look or feel out of place? WOOHOO!
Always love reasons to go shopping. See and be seen. The glitter theglam, the camera flashing, the candid interviews, the probing gossip columnists, the wardrobe malfunctions, the roar of the crowd, the anticipation, the scurrying of avatars to and fro. The live intermission entertainment. The suspense.
Just so many more positives, a lovely stage, great smart program, great intermission entertainment, good organization and planning, great support and attendance, that it became obvious that this really wasn't about winners and losers..it was about reinforcing the sense of 'dance community' and getting together and sharing a common mental and social thread. The 'contest' was a 'central focal point' with all its apparent imperfections....but not then end-all to be all. I think damn near everyone accepted the show for what it was an "honest as could be at the time given the circumstances" attempt at bringing us together and acknowledging each other. This is SL. We can also RP winning and losing..Its not RL Its not the end of the world...and there is always next year. Nobody went away with the belief that all judging was fair? How could it be since no way in hel could we have seen all the performances and performers and products ...just too much product. Oh yes, I tried all of the 18,000 dances in SL and came up with my choice of the best. Sure I did in my spare time.
This may be hard to fathom from someone outside the community, or even those inside the community who live an insular existance. Its hard to express. You just have to 'live it an feel it'. But...Its more than winning and losing but winning was invigorating to those who did as well as being nominated as many said they were happy (me as one ofthose) with just being nominated. Great PR. A nod to keep us going thru 2013. That what we do does matter. We have bars now set. THIS is what a desirable performance or product or service looks like. We can say, "ok thats what we need to be like and better".
The bottom line is that it was a "good thing" even if I admit to what the naysayers claim, that much of it may have given the appearacne of omprpriety, of being a popularity contest, that there was evidence of favoritism, or being in the right place at the right time...but..what else could it be at times? How can you support those you 'don't know and or have never seen perform?" And maybe it only appeared to be a certain way and not really that way..or it was "that way or no way"? and am I glad we chose 'that way' versus none.? Yes I am now that its all said and done...well probably not all said.
I would suggest to those who feel that the right way to hold awards is obvious and easy, a slam dunk, that SL is just like RL...that they put on a competing show...maybe a summer awards show from the 'other side'? From their perspective. But people are telling me that the new show... it wont be 'us" on stage, it will be the 'thems'. (Oh and btw, will someone IM me and tell me who the "us's" and "thems" are and which side I am on or should be on?) Oh here's an idea. What if the only way to be in the new "summer awards show" is if you were not nominated for the Cuties awards. That might prove interesting?
If asked to "chit or get off the pot"..my money is on someone or someones slowly easing off the porcelain when no-one is looking..
I think that if the alternative is to NOT have the Awards, the benefit of having it outweighed not having it with all its alledged short-comings. Just getting so many people involved at one time and in one location was a logistical masterpiece. It blew my mind but my mind is small so it doesn't take much blowing.. It's a great 1st step.
I have realized lately that there is an unrecognized talent/skill required in SL to make "events" work that requires volunteers and participation. Without it, you will have no event. That is the ability to motivate people that are extremely resilient to becoming involved. Nottoo has that rare talent in spades. You have to have the talent to motivate people to particpate as well as follow up..and yet not come across as abrasive, demanding, scolding, and aloof. I felt an initial resistence on my part as well as others did...to step up and become involved early on in the process. I know if it was me, I'd have given up especially trying to do it while trying to parry a continue non-stop barrage of huge tomatoes. I'd cry uncle and auntie early on. I'm outta here!!!!! Kiss my donkey.
Since I knew about the process early on and I didn't ante up, my 2 cents about what I didnt like about it...that it was "imperfect" , well my yapping carries a lot less weight than the comments from those who DID step forward early on.
All of a sudden, those who didnt have time, all of a sudden found the time, when egos are on the line. Its all about 'whats in it for me' and 'when is it my time?'. My time is not in the planning stages, my time is in the reaping stages....well it seems we reap what we sow sometimes.
Those who did ante up early are the ones we are complaining about. "Help us!" they cried and we said, sorry we have no time..We have an RL. We're busy. At this point, there's nothing in it for me. The benefits are not immeditate. Low on my radar. We have other priorities. You handle it. But we will find the time later to tell you what you should have done and how you should have done it.That we will surely find time for.
Well they did what they could with what they had. It was looking like a bust early on, to me anyways. Few responded, it seemed. Here was a chance to get noticed. You could even enter your own self, venue, product, or contribution and yet the cry for participation fell on deaf ears.....until...we saw a few enter and then we said WAIT...I'm not gonna let THEM steal that category unchallenged. All of a sudden a swell of ego-driven particpation emerged. This was becoming serious. Its becoming prestigious. I know those names! I deserve to be part of THAT crowd. This thing had grown 'legs'.
In the interest of having SOMETHING, ANYTHING in the categories, people were often urged to vote for themselves as there was an initial inertia to over come. Who should I vote for? What criterion should I use? We need ot make this look like SOMETHING to get it started. At the point it seemed an unspoken assumption that, ok this isn't scientific nor will it have the face of fairness...its meant to be a start, give this thing substance... a core to build from.
Maybe...just maybe...the idea was to intentionlly fire people up with a seemingly slanted offering, maybe not the best way but they used what they had, ...and get people saying "OH YEAH?" well that was NUTHIN, wait till you see what I/WE do NEXT YEAR! I/we gonna kick some real butt..you just wait and see. And thus, we get pumped up with a new level of excitement and motivation with new creative spirits that will produce new spellbound product. And thats a good thing...
b**** you gon show yo ***
Then gon make it shake
If that's a ****** hater
Then gon make 'em hate
On the note of "popularity" that implies that performers not only perform well but are likeable. This often means that they:
1) go and support other shows as audience members,
2) perform at other venues,
3) volunteer for group and community activities when called upon,
4) cheer, applaud, and show linden support to other performers,
5) are positive and upbeat about dance and those involved,
6) just give words of moral support when others are ill or feeling down, stay in touch, express a caring word,
7) offer up tips and tricks to the masses,
9) offer to help as well as help others with technical issues.
I believe that a lot of "that type of thinking" factored in to some of the decision to cast votes. I realized that the people getting the nod were very "visible" in the community and managed to get around to different venues, meet other performers. Those people were very busy creating "product" and we can feel their passion when they perform. Its not just a "job" its an adventure. (Gives me an idea for a slogan. Wonder if it's been taken?)
So...get out and get known. Rub elbows. Show your support to others and care about the dance community and what goes on outside your own circle. I think "popularity" will always factor in as its human nature and performers, well most are human (ok all are human).
I realized that many work tirelessly and at a financial loss in order to bring "product" and when they are "not performing"...are supporting others who do perform, in one way or another. Many put on shows when they dont feel like it. Even when sick. Performers are often immobile in RL.wheel-chair bound, some are battling terminal illnesses, some have total or limited capacity to hear, or to speak, some can hardly think clearly,at times, many live day in day out with pain, while others are doing the work of one raising a family that was meant to be raised by 2, ..for many this IS their RL They perform with debilitaing illnesses probabaly we dont know it most of the time, and wade thru the greiving process of loss of love ones, be they human or pets or family or close friends. Some are battling economic downturns and general life hardships, many are saddled with the pressures of businesses to run, many run errands endlessly and yet others have people who depend on them for sustenance. They perform thru domestic crisis, they perform while being housebound and confined, unable to go outm often those socially-challenged, medicated, or under the influence.
They show up and entertain us when they'd rather not. They show up and show up often, rehearsing and perfecting, solving creative and technical challenges. They show sometimes when theres no show to show. They are there for us as a solid reliable bond of the dance community. They are the heartbeat. They are there when there is really little else exciting going on in SL. They are often there when we are not there ourselves. They provide us with escape. Its those for whom I think the bell tolled at the 'very cute" Cutie Awards ceremony and deservedly so, I might add.
You may say, "well wny not have a separate category for "Most Popular" or "Most Likeable"? But then don't colleges and businesses look at "community service" as a factor when weeding out applicants? It's not unheard of. But yes I think it would be ok to have a category that reflects how people feel about someones non-tangible contributions to the community in ways that translate to being a 'good likeable asset' to the community..above and beyond.
I think many had good intent that voted. I tried to vote my conscious and I even voted for people that I didn't pesonally like as well as someone else, but DID vote for the less-liked because their talent was better in the particular category. I also I skipped a lot of categories because I had "no clue".
I felt bad skipping so many categories, thinking I had seen a lot of shows....but the community is si vast and so much more goes on in different areas and time-zones than one can imagine.
How would I improve the process? Well I wont get involved in the "politics" of who gets to play God and how?. I will leave that for the brave-of-hearts
What seems really needed in order for the event to be less about popularity is to be able to "see and judge" the contestants performances and products either live or preferably on video. All performances would be the same length when judged so maybe they "must have a video" and that it be say 90 seconds long...show us your best...show us the highlights of what and who you are about or whatever your category is about. Also there needs to be enough time for people to compile their videos and for voters and nominators to view them.
Someone suggested we have guild voting. Only those experienced in the category be allowed to vote. Maybe that has merit? We would have guilds, "virtual groups" so they dont take up a real group slot, and allow only those who have a vested interest in the category be admitted to the guild. Then only those are allowed to vote for that category. Maybe too segregated of an idea?. Maybe that smacks of elitism? Maybe they each get a vote and the public can also vote but their total vote counts as 1 (or 2) guild membe(s). Just a couple of ideas. (Ok admittedly I did just talk about Godmoding when I said I wouldn't).
Also the idea came up by me and Nottoo, to disallow a person from winning 2 years in a row but it was suggested that that restriction might stifle creativity. I don't know. I still think that idea has merit. Maybe allow for 2 winners in each category. A new and a spot for a previous winner. If neither of the top 2 were winners, then select the top winner with the most votes. If one of the top 2 was a prevous winner than announce a tie between previous and top or 2nd top winner.
I think we want to widen birth of winners, widening the net of praise and recognition to as many worthy participants as we can...goes towards strengthening, rewarding, and motivating the community to push foward with renewed vigor and energy.
But anyway...the Cutie Awards was FUN!....It had value. The only other outcome marginally acceptable by the masses would be one where everybody won something. So knowing that, I accepted it, applauded the effort, boldness, and follow-thru of putting the show together..
After a few categories were announced, a pattern began to form and so I was able to predict winners. Its ok. Really. Because on the other hand, a lot of the people I voted for won. A high percentage... so that means I am not that out of touch with the memberships way of valuing talent and I made a serious effort not to vote for somone just because I liked them nor NOT vote for someone because I did not like them. So if there WAS a problem it means I was, in some part, part of it.
And I would be amiss if I didnt express joy in being nominated for a category, (one I had totally overlooked, so I was shocked),....and I was also selected to be a "presenter". That was nerve-racking but the process went smooth and it was just fun to be a part. I wish I could write from the perspective of someone without a dog in the fight. I dont want to appear tainted and biased but I truly truly felt that Nottoo was genuine in her sincerity to have people recognized for their contributions. I think those that contributed the most and in more ways than just, doing their stage bit and going home, were recognized and deservedly so.
I was amazed at all the categories and was schooled in all the disciplines that went into making the community work from the obvious to the sublime. From large clubs to small clubs. From the serious and the funny. To the old and the new. From the well-known to the not-so-well-known. The many cultures and styles. Groups, couples, singles, the non-human products, the behind the scenes people, the people that "you like as well as those that you don't like so well "...I learned we are all a part of the community and help make it what it is...in spite of its shortcomings.
One sentiment I've heard rumblings of 1st hand from a few movers and shakers is that 2013 is focused on taking the entertainment of dancing to the "next level". It means getting tougher on people, places, things, offerings, and expectations to raise dance to new heights, now that there seems to be good healthy talent pool to draw from. It means making the hard and not always popular decisions; and the Cutie Awards sort of slammed the point home. It appears that venues are will be putting out less product in order to produce a more consistenly higher quality product. Gone ae the days of feeling you've failed because you didnt have a show for a given week. Just wait until they see the show you DO end up putting on.
What YOU DO and your efforts matter..they matter to your peers and your good deeds do not go unnoticed. And so the sentiment is "wait till next year".
People now realize, ok...there is peer recognizition...A good performance, a show of effort, does make a difference.
I'm seeing 2 camps form.
Those who are serious and zealous and aware of the "community" and those just out to have fun and show up if and when they feel like it and expect to do 'business as usual' because thats what worked 'last year'. Venue leaders are asking for "more" not 'the same' and that was before the cutie awards. Now that issue has only become more exacerbated.
Well it will be good for "us" and the audiences to move us all forward to 'whats next'. There will be an unspoken desire to be part of those who will stand out, stand up, and be counted. The by-product is a more fun experience for all as well as more ways to be creative.
And here is a parting thought...if you can follow me...
I think that the voting and nominating process was maybe far from ideal, if not in reality, then surely in appearance...
....I agree 99% that many if not most of the people who were NOMINATED and/or who WON SHOULD have been nominated and/or should have won...something... and that the results would have looked and been somewhat similar even had the system been better, based upon the participation rate.
So here's to 2013 and BIG things from the big and not-so-big participants.
And let me sprinkle a little fairy dust on those places that can use it the most. *wink*
So to the question of Cute or Not So Cute...my Vote is...DRUM ROLL ////// CUTE !!!!!!!!!!!!!
I am going talk out of line and ask that if you can, show a few words of support as someone who is responsible for this fine blog and dance community whose name begins with "N"...(an n-word you CAN say....)she is feeling a bit low...ok very low...we should not judge DQ or Her by just 1 event...don't let her spirits flail in isolation..Don't let her do anything that approaches retreating and taking a back seat....While she, and many of the we, enjoyed the final result of the Cutie Awards, the path getting there was pure HELL for her, to say the least...and I only have glimpsed the tip-of-the-iceberg, I'm told. She doesn't want to show it nor want you to know it, not revealing any weakness, always the pillar of strength for us..absorbing negative lobs of artillery shells day after day thru this ordeal ,so I will probably catch hell for this...
...but if you've ever:...
...advertised your product here for free...
...advertised and benefit from the use of this blog...
...gained how-to's or helpful hints on any aspect of dancing and related topics...
...met and made new friends from this site...
...found opportunities to join a venue or group...
...made to feel part of a community...
...aired photos of yourself and/or group or venue...
...aired videos of yourself or group performing...
...acquired freebies from vendors...
...had a laugh...
...learned something new...
...discovered new places and products...
...was entertained, moved, and/or informed by articles and opinionated blog posts
...then by all means please, PLEASE reply with a kind word or 2...even if its just "Thanks N!"
..lets not let the baby be tossed out with the bathwater.
..and this too shall pass.
(Ok someone hand me a tissue)
And that's Yummy's taste of things...
...*hunkers down* and now let the tomato assault begin.."ducks behind a her much-improved tomato-repellant cloak".