Everybody Dance Now!

I’ve been intrigued by the trailers for the documentary “Mad Hot Ballroom” — documenting a pilot program for ballroom dancing in New York City elementary schools — and plan to see it… eventually.

Whether or not you’re interested in the film, though, this interview with producer Amy Sewell is worth a read. It’s a real nuts-and-bolts look at how a little movie came to pay big bucks for the music used in the film — whether it’s there on purpose, or accidentally.

If a song is part of the story, and the kids are dancing to it, this makes sense. But a cellphone ringtone that’s picked up spontaneously? Or a cliché line from a cliché song that a kid happens to quip? That’s insane.

It seems ridiculous to me that the same industries that obsessively try to cover every surface and silence in our lives with their logos, themes, and other “intellectual property” are also trying to control how we document the world they’ve surrounded us with.

If every building, street, and park ends up plastered with trademarked logos, will we even be able to videotape our kid’s birthday party without paying a license fee?

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