Friday, September 28, 2012


Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr., has announced that he is now "Snoop Lion."

This guy has been a "name" for 20 years or so. He said he changed his stage name because he's older, and he's going to be doing different things.

Okay, Snoop. A lion is bigger, the king of the beasts; the dog is a loving, wise, loyal pet.

Maybe the story behind Snoop's new name announcement, is a well-established performer reinventing himself, hoping for anther ten years of fame.

Remember Prince, how he changed his name? He insisted he be called some weird name that he referred to as "The Love Symbol." I don't know what the new name was, but I know it didn't do much of anything for Prince.

Here's some other big names, who changed their names :

Jennifer Aniston - Jennifer Anastassakis
Tom Cruise - Thomas Mapother IV
Charlie Sheen - Carlos Irwin Estevez
Demi Moore - Demetria Guynes
Nicolas Cage - Nicolas Coppola

Mel Gibson - Columcille Gibson
Whoopi Goldberg – Caryn Johnson
Mariah Carey - Maria Nuñez
Jamie Foxx – Eric Bishop
Elton John - Reginald Dwight

Tiger Woods
- Eldrick Woods
Meg Ryan - Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra
Kevin Spacey – Kevin Fowler
Goldie Hawn - Goldie Studlendgehawn
Jon Stewart - Jonathan Leibowitz

Helen Mirren
- Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov
Ben Kingsley - Krishna Bhanji
Carmen Electra – Tara Patrick
Jason Alexander - Jay Scott Greenspan
Katy Perry – Katy Hudson

Susan Sarandon
- Susan Tomaling
Kirstie Alley - Gladys Leeman
James Brolin - James Bruderlin
Cher - Cherilyn Sarkisian La Piere
Jodie Foster - Alicia Foster

If your favorite celeb isn't listed, visit

Gee, even Madonna tried calling herself by her Hebrew name "Esther."

It bothers me -- when I'm face booking or tweeting, and someone's page changes, or their profile picture changes, I'm no longer sure with whom I'm communicating. And many social networking people change their pictures, some, even every day, kind of like underwear.

It may feel fresh to them but to me, it's off-putting. If you use a pet's face, a symbol, or a baby's face, to me that says you're hiding, because you aren't sure who you are or don't like what you are.

Hey name-changers -- if the shoe fits...?

I'm thinking about John Cullum, he's a "name," and me, I was a "name" in dance.

Change our names? It feels very wrong -- if feels as if we're abandoning all the things we've done, that we still dream about doing -- the things we stand for.

Even if it means squirming around, wedging, re-adjusting, fitting in awkward sort of shapeless ideas of what we might want to do, we have to go on as the John/Emily selves we've been for so many years.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


If you had a crystal ball, what would you want to know about your future?

When I was a teenager, I learned how to tell fortunes. I also checked my horoscope in the daily newspaper.

Even now that I’m older and wiser, and have gathered lots of life experience, I still occasionally glance at horoscopes, but the dates keep changing and what I see ... well. I never trusted horoscopes, or what I learned about myself after reading my palm.

Have I ever seriously considered talking to a physic somebody about love things, or career things? No. My own inner calculator that’s chock full of data on my own experiences, is the best adviser I have on love and career stuff, but health ...gee ... We get such a huge daily dose of cancer-heart-attack-death from TV -- constant references to heredity -- things that happened to someone in your family ...

I just read about a California company, 23andME that offers DNA testing. The company name sells its basic idea -- there are 23 chromosomes in a normal human cell -- 23andME tests them quickly, relatively inexpensively, and gives an ordinary person a “window” into their DNA.

The article in Time explained that 23ANDme was founded five years ago by Linda Avery and Anne Wojcicki -- two women with top-drawer credits and years of experience in the field of genetic testing. 23anME’s Genome Test Kit was named "Invention of the Year" by Time in 2008. Avery left the company to work specifically on Alzheimer's. Wojcicki runs the company now.

Aside from Wojcicki’s impeccable credentials, she's married to Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google. Her mother, Brin’s mother-in-law, has Parkinson's. It's not surprising that Google invested $3,900,000 in the company.

Yes, there are other companies that do DNA testing, but none offer to get your results in eight weeks, for a $299 fee -- they charge between $1000 and $5000 for a DNA report that your doctor must explain to you.

Yes, I DO think about cancer, heart and kidney failure, Altzheimer’s and some of the other latest, hugely advertized diseases like "shingles," that may be brewing in me.

I could email 23andME; pay the fee, and they’ll send the Genome Test Kit. Then, I have to spit -- provide them with a 2.5 ML spit sample that they analyze on a DNA micro-tray of “Illumina." (They explain that it’s 960,000 specific single-nucleotide polymorphisms. They say you don’t need to know what the various terms mean -- the test results report will provide information that YOU can read, and evaluate yourself.)

Okay, I can read a report. I’ve seen pictures of DNA, heard stuff about ‘helixes” and predilections on crime shows. But the big question -- “how many years do you have left ...?”

It lumbers and bumps around in my mind

If I had known that I would be in a major accident that would totally affect my dancer’s body, my ability to eat, digest, and absorb nourishment from food, I don’t think I could have tackled the things I tackled. If I had known my plays would NOT get professional productions, that my books weren't going to get bought by an established book publisher, I don’t think I would have written, re-written, and revised them again and again. Dancing and writing have been the joy, the triumph, the fun in my life-- the raison d’etre.

And what about bad news? What if my DNA report tells me something BAD is going to happen to me? Oh my God, watching for signs of the bad stuff will become part of my daily life ...

Gallavanting on the Internet, I've looked at videos of medical people and ordinary folks with pro and con opinions about DNA testing. I even read a blog by a guy who bought the 23andME testing kit.

Hmmm .... Are you thinking hmmm with me?

Would you rather keep floating along, dancing along the way you’re dancing, or would you -- maybe not now, but at some point -- go ahead and find out where you’re heading?

Me? I’ll keep dancing. What about you?

Monday, September 24, 2012


His gestures, the fingers, the hands. said that he was into whatever he was singing, the song itself, the words, the idea.

His dancing -- the knee that kept time, giggly knees, the trucking feet and legs -- it was natural, done without thinking, just him and his body being what he was. He danced as if he couldn’t help doing what he was doing.

I was a fan. I am a fan. Embarrassed, even annoyed by all those weepy, thrilled, young and old females who loved him -- truly loved him. I know that kind of love. (Hey, I married a man who had an inner thing like Elvis had -- his own thing. When you see a person like that, you can fall in love with that person -- it’s a nutty, crazy, adoration.

Sure, I saw Elvis change as he aged and got heavy -- saw him sweat, use his scarves to mop himself and toss his scarves to his fans, and drive them crazy. I saw what he wore -- his taste, jewels, capes, low-hung belt studded with glittering things. Those gaudy, outrageous things that thrilled him -- did I look down on them? Sure. I loved and laughed at what I saw -- mostly just loved it because that’s what he was.

I have been mentioning everything except his voice. The range, the control he hand, his lower register, wow -- like a Stradavariaus Cello, his voice was somehow encased in him perfectly, so perfectly that the tone was ... it was glory hallelujah.

I’m not listing the titles of my favorite songs that he sang. I don’t know the titles. I was in the middle of my career in modern dance -- another world filled with music of Beethoven, Bach, Henze, Vivaldi, Mahler and original music that I commissioned three composers to write for my choreography. I was touring -- doing one night stands -- tired of touring, but I knew that touring was bread and butter -- the only way I could keep on dancing.

Elvis toured, and touring is a killer way of performing. All that we’ve learned about Elvis, after he died on his toilet -- awful that we had to know that -- it was shocking to learn about his pills and medications, and why he was hooked on them.

None of this ugly reality is on my mind when I hear him. I saw a movie, ELVIS ON TOUR a few nights ago. It was spliced-together clips that revealed all the aspects of Elvis -- great moments, embarrassing, amusing, and real moments -- his enormous ego, his kindness, his amazing awareness of others, his huge love of music.

That love he felt for music overwhelms everything else I know about him. Music was everything to him -- gospel music -- it came from the world in which he was born and lived in all his life. Gospel was his family.

I am a writer, and I work on what I write -- research often, and feel out what’s on my mind. I haven’t figured out what the point is, of this Elvis essay. I loved his music, loved what came out of that voice.

Elvis was to me, still is, a preacher in song.