“This Too Shall Pass” – badass music videos in the post-video age

Sure, the song title is Jewish…but we’re not really talking about anything Jewish, just a heads-up. Though it is interesting that the name of OK Go’s newest hit song is a popular Jewish phrase (often inscribed on jewelry, such as Yeshiva Girls rings), I could not find any relationship between the song/band and Judaism.

So let’s instead talk about badass music videos, which “This Too Shall Pass” certainly is. We’re gearing up over here for the Washington Jewish Music Festival, and though we certainly listen to some terrific music, we definitely don’t see any music videos! These videos used to be prime advertising opportunities for musicians and  bands – see a cool video, buy the CD, right?

But since CD sales are down, pirated music is so easily accessible, and even legal, purchase of MP3s is also so easy, nobody wants to make the  videos anymore. But we still want to see them, even if MTV disagrees (noted by their official dropping of “Music Televison” from their network description).

Even if musicians don’t have MTV to showcase their awesome videos, thanks to this whole internet evolution, they have YouTube, Vevo, and the ability to go crazy viral. OK Go created the video for “Here It Goes Again” independently of their record label (which they have since left). With little more than four  treadmills, a camera, tripod and killer choreography, they created a web phenomenon – and probably a whole new fan base.

But some artists want to make their videos with some more money, which is fine too, if they have it. Lady Gaga’s new music video for “Telephone,” featuring Beyonce, is completely ridiculous…but I can’t stop watching it! The costumes, the storyline…the song, meh, not so much. But give me a telephone hat and glasses made out of cigarettes, and I’m on board!

So what’s my point? Nothing huge…I just want you to watch these music videos! Explore the internet, and find those videos that speak to you…dig out those old videos that were so fun to watch 15 years ago. I’m sure you’ll discover that music videos are a form of entertainment you have seriously been missing in your life.

And then don’t forget to check out the Washington Jewish Music Festival on June 6-13 (line-up to be announced soon!). Maybe you can talk our bands into creating some viral videos for your viewing pleasure.

Last Minute Event: Meet the head of the IDF Field Hospital in Haiti

We’ve just added this free event for tomorrow, Wednesday, March 3; a very special opportunity to hear Dr. Ofer Merin, who was in-charge of Israel’s remarkable field hospital established in Haiti after the devastating earthquake.

For those of us who love Israel it was a refreshing change of pace to see the IDF portrayed so widely and so positively for its magnificent response to the overwhelming need in Haiti. Of course, it didn’t take long for even this effort to be subjected to criticism, charges of cynical manipulation and worse still even heinous blood-libels. People got so wrapped-up in the political posturing regarding the “purity” of the medical mission’s objectives (both attackers and defenders) that the pure fact of the actions performed, the aid rendered and the lives saved has already begun to dim in peoples’ memories.

Tomorrow is the rare opportunity to hear from someone who was there. Dr. Ofer Merin was the Chief of the IDF’s field hospital and was witness to the amazing marshalling of people and materials at a moment when the rest of the world’s relief efforts seemed to be spinning their wheels. Whatever political drama gets constructed around the fringes of this operation, the fact of its achievements cannot be denied.

The event is a chance both to learn more about the operation, and to thank one if its leaders for representing Israel and the Jewish people so well.


Because There Are Only 879 Days Until London 2012

The Olympics have wrapped up and armchair athletes can take a breather. Not a single athlete has been sanctioned over the use of performance-enhancing drugs. But you, Mr. and Ms. Olympic “Could Be If You Only Made an Effort” Athlete, you are fully entitled to the rush to be gained from endogenous opioid polypeptide compounds. Yes, we’re talking endorphins. No need to go to some sleazy dive, no need for illicit materials, no, the source of these is right there in your very own body. You too can have feelings of exhilaration, a sense of power and control over yourself. How, you ask?

Get out of that armchair and stop watching others exercise. Run, swim, bike, take a group exercise class, whatever, it just doesn’t matter, just move something in some direction other than sitting down. (Though of course we do want you to stop moving long enough to read this rant).

Not that you aren’t aware of this already, but the Mayo Clinic (stellar reputation as a pioneer and innovator in medicine) gives you seven reasons to exercise:

  1. Exercise improves your mood, in part because physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. (now that’s what we’re talking about here)
  2. Exercise combats chronic diseases
  3. Exercise helps you manage your weight.
  4. Exercise boosts your energy level.
  5. Exercise promotes better sleep.
  6. Exercise can be — gasp — fun!
  7. Exercise can put the spark back into your sex life.

Really can’t argue with any of that. And may we suggest that the full range of fitness facilities available at the 16th Street J, to say nothing of the nationally-certified personal training staff, are here for you. Run on over (or walk, we’re not particular) and we’ll give you a free day pass to try it out. And if you’re already a member, mix it up a bit—swim if you usually run, take a class if you usually do the bike, try free weights one day instead of the Cybex. And if you ever have questions about membership or fitness, you can’t do better than to go to Lynda Espada, Director of the whole shebang (formally known as the Sport, Fitness & Aquatics Director).

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