Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Iconic Language of Star Trek

Star Trek - USS Enterprise
The sci-fi, action-packed film Star Trek Into Darkness has just hit American movie screens.  The Star Trek franchise is a North American icon that dates back to the original Star Trek TV series created by Gene Roddenberry back in the late 1960’s. 
Check out some of the main, original actors (left side) and their latest talented counter-parts (right side) from Star Trek.

Iconic Characters

Captain Kirk
Captain Kirk William Shatner and  Chris Pine
William Shatner and Chris Pine

Mr. Spock
Star Trek Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto
Leonard Nimoy and Zachary Quinto

Dr. McCoy
Star Trek_DeForest Kelley and Karl Urban
DeForest Kelley and Karl Urban

Language and Cultural Learning Section
Theme: Iconic Style

With iconic movies comes iconic language.  Iconic language or phrases become a recognizable part of a TV series or movie franchise.   Quite often, the iconic language is associated with a character.  So let’s take a look at Spock in the original Star Trek TV series and one of his iconic words including the same word from Zachary Quinto.

Such a simple and easy word “FASCINATING” that has become iconic in North American language.  Now let’s take a look at some recent situations where the Spock character and his language are used to create something new.

The Big Bang Theory is a very popular American TV comedy.  In this scene, Sheldon Cooper (the TV character's name) talks to the Spock Action Figure.  There are lots of Spock ideas and expressions in the conversation but you can hear "fascinating" early on in the conversation.  Leonard Nemoy does the voice of Spock.

One of the more recent and successful advertising campaigns from Audi implemented Spock to sell their automobile brand. The advertisement titled Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: "The Challenge" uses a lot of Spock related ideas and expressions but, once again, I just want to focus on one simple iconic word: 


Both Quinto and Nimoy say it at the end of the commercial.

I always find it “fascinating” to see iconic language at work in culture.  It is all around us and always at work in the ever-changing language of English.

Live Long and Prosper,

Next week we have a fascinating, new author with a great story to tell! Check back soon!

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Celebrity English Alex Graham

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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Lynhthy Nguyen is on Fire!

Lynhthy Nguyen dancer and model
Lynhthy Nguyen is on Fire!  From dancing in a Justin Timberlake video to performing with Snoop Dogg, Lynhthy (pronounced Linty) is making her dreams come true in the fiercely competitive, demanding world of dance! 

Let’s take a look at this incredibly talented performer out of California in an interview I call #dancelife!

Lynhthy Nguyen the dance life
Linty #dancelife
Alex Graham: How did you get started in dancing and how long have you been dancing for?

Lynhthy Nguyen:  Ok, my parents put me in dance classes when I was four since I was like basically dancing out of the womb. And I have been dancing since then.  I trained technically until I was 18 and then 19 and 20 I was on a hip hop dance team UC Irvine. Then I started Go Go Dancing and then danced on a scholarship to San Diego (Academy of Performing Arts) and then challenged to make it my profession.

Alex:  Excellent. That is awesome stuff!

Alex:  What styles of dance are in your repertoire? Which one is your favorite?

Lynhthy:  Ummh. I am trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Modern, Hip Hop. And my favorite is Contemporary but I love watching Hip Hop. I eventually aspire to be a Hip Hop dancer.

Alex:  That’s great. So diverse! Do have any dance people that are inspirational to you?

Lynhthy:  Aaah…you know, particularly, I can’t name any particularly but there is so many dancers that I admire that are in the industry. I went to (watch) my second ever dance show in LA. Two days ago. And the pieces were just amazing.  It was Dana Foglia.  I have always heard about her and I finally saw one of her pieces.  She did not disappoint, and I had such high expectations. She is amazing!

Alex:  Sounds great!

Lynhthy:  I love going to shows. It has only been my second show but I loved it. It is so inspiring. You just want to get up there and dance!

Alex:  Dancing is a physically and mentally demanding career, it a very tough career.

Lynhthy:  Yes!

Alex:  What keeps you from not, you know just quitting? In other words, what I am saying is what inspires you to keep on dancing?

Lynhthy:  Well what actually keeps me going…First of is Passion! It is just within you! I know it sounds super corny but it is the thing I always go back to.  I dance when I am happy. I dance when I am sad.  It helps me cope with things. I have gotten over break ups with dance. Also even in class it is so inspiring to see so many talented artists and they push you! You know? And it is just such a positive atmosphere! Honestly I am obsessed and in love with everything dance has to offer. It is something that keeps giving but never asks anything of you, I feel. 

Alex: Wow! That is outstanding!

Alex:  Recently you performed in Justin Timberlake’s music video "Suit & Tie", what was your role and what was that like (video at end of the interview)? 

Lynhthy:  I was a burlesque slash showgirl. And
Lynhthy Nguyen Justin Timberlake behind the scenes
Lynhthy Nguyen at the Justin Timberlake video shoot!

Honestly, it was a dream come true! I was published as a cover model in D-Sport in November 2012 of last year. And in the interview, they actually asked me who I wanted to challenge to a “dance battle”. I said Justin Timberlake but not as a battle but I wanted to dance with Justin Timberlake.  Then 3 months later, suddenly here I am dancing in a Justin Timberlake video.  My dance agent like put that together.  And it was everything that I had hoped for and even more!  My agency didn’t even tell me, actually, who the artist was.  They just told me:

“Are you available for these dates?

“We just submitted you as a Burlesques Dancer and they want to use you, A-list artist.”

That’s all they said.

Alex:  No Way!

Lynhthy:  Yeah! The choreographers were like we just want to see you freestyle real quick, you know, to get a feel for how your style is.  And they put the song on. And I was like this sounds a lot like Justin Timberlake.  But I am not sure.  So I just danced to it anyways. Then they were like let’s go watch the guys dance upstairs.  And yeah!

Justin Friggin Timberlake!

Alex:  Hahaha!

Lynhthy:  Hahaha, yeah! You have to be kidding me.  I was freaking out! I walked in there and I was dying inside! Like dying!

Alex:  No kidding! That’s wild! They didn’t tell you?

Lynhthy:  Yeah.  It was wild.  I was like you could have warned me!

Alex:  How was his dancing? Oh wait maybe don’t say that.

Lynhthy:  Hahaha Yeah I know. Hot!

Alex:  Amazing!

Lynhthy:  So crazy!

Alex:  I also saw that you have performed with Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg) more than once. 
Lynhthy Nguyen dancing with Snoop Dog
Lynhthy Nguyen dancing with Snoop Lion!
Lynhthy:  Yeah I am a resident performer at a nightclub in Hollywood called AV Night Club and on Mondays, I guess he is like a resident DJ, and comes in once a month, and this is the second time I’ve danced when he is in there. 

Super cool!  Very chill guy.

Alex:  Wow again!  Great Experience!

Lynhthy:  Yeah.

Alex:  What is the hardest part about getting started in the dancing industry? Can you give some advice to dancers who are just starting out professionally?

Lynhthy:  Ok. I think there are a lot of things that is actually difficult about dancing as a career.  But one of them I found at the beginning and I know that a lot of other dancers find is finding representation. Getting an agent.  Yeah for me I didn’t know how to get in and usually it is by referral.  And I didn’t know any professional dancers yet.  So I just went to open auditions. So they just post it up there whoever can come and basically you are in a room with like 400 people wanting it just as bad as you do. And then they choose and maybe sign 10-20 of you.

Alex: Wow! That’s tough.

Lynhthy:  And another thing that is really hard is not having consistent work.  And being the "starving artist" for a while. Until you network and get yourself out there.  It’s tough so a lot of people are going to have side jobs. And you get strayed away from your goals because a lot of people end up serving and that takes up a lot of your time.  And then they get into partying hahaha…

Alex: Hahaha..

Lynhthy:  No really! That’s is valley life right?

Alex:  No no for sure! And in California you have to be super tough!  There are so many people going there.

Lynhthy:  Oh yeah. Definitely.  A lot of people go home. A lot of people don’t stay.  Another thing, for dancers starting out, is to train.  I am just starting to get out of that side job thing.  Honestly it is your profession. It is your art and you should be working on it every single day.  And if you can’t get into class you should be practicing on the side, watching videos, adding to your repertoire. Basically like progressing, you know, and becoming a better artist.  And doing your research, finding choreographers that you admire and want to work with. And then just getting yourself out there.

If they are going to teach a class get there!
If they are going to an event get there.! 
I find it is makes all the difference in the world.

Alex:  Absolutely! Great advice!

Lynhthy:  Oh and another thing, sorry, I know I am giving away too much but…build and maintain a really good relationship with your agent.  Cause they literally make your dreams come true.  If they know you well and know you want it badly enough then they’re gonna put you were you need to be.

Alex: Yes.

Alex: What can we look forward to from Lynhthy Nguyen in the future?

Lynhthy:  A lot! I’m going to Germany this week! I am so excited. This is my first time there. So definitely more international jobs.  My end goal is to be like an Asian Oprah hybrid, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Alex: Oh, Excellent!

Lynhthy:  And I am partnering in a business right now. It’s a start up and dealing with dancing.  It is called Alors on Danse.  We just did our photo shoot with a photographer and hopefully that will all be up and running in the next month or two. 
And one last thing, my mom wants me to get into acting.  So we will see. I definitely want to host, I mean television hosting, and I think they will coincide with each other pretty well.

Alex: Yes definitely.  You have extraordinary energy, passion, intelligence, a fantastic voice, and, of course, a beautiful model with a huge following!

Lynhthy:  Thanks for pushing me to try it!

Alex: I think you would be wonderful on TV!

Lynhthy:  Aww thanks!

Alex: What type of acting would you like to do?

Lynhthy:  I love comedies. I just think comedy would be really fun, you know.

Alex: Yep.  How can the readers best follow your career?



Alex:  Anything you would like to add?

Lynhthy:  Thank you for doing this feature. I am so grateful. 

Alex:  No, No. The pleasure was all mine. 

Lynhthy:  And thank you to my fans and the Celebrity English Readership.  Without the fans, I wouldn’t be out there.  So thank you very much!  And my final words, I love my mom and dad!

Alex:  Thank you very much for taking the time to do an interview for Celebrity English!  You are already awesome and I think you are going to continue to soar even higher!  Best of luck in Germany!

Lynhthy  is the girl dancing with  Justin Timberlake, 1st Showgirl off stage, & 3rd Burlesque Dancer farthest right side!

Language Learning Section – Natural Language 
Vocabulary Boost!

Vocabulary Theme: Dancing

Instructions: First, try to write down the meanings or ideas for each expression.  Next, try to guess the meaning from the context. Then ask a friend or classmate.  Finally, check out the expressions on the Internet.  If you aren't successful, the definitions are posted below. 

(dance)scholarship =

Ballet =

Tap =

Jazz =

Contemporary =

Modern =

Hip Hop =

aspire =

(dance) pieces =

amazing =

inspiring =

talented artists =

positive atmosphere =

obsessed =

burlesque =

showgirl =

dream come true =

dance battle =

dance agent =

A-list =

choreographers =

freestyle (dance) =

performer =

by referral =

open auditions =

starving artist =

repertoire =

progressing =

admire =  

Vocabulary Definitions

(dance) scholarship = a grant-in-aid to a student (as by a college or foundation).

Ballet = a theatrical art form using dancing, music, and scenery to convey a story, theme, or atmosphere.

Tap = Tap dance is a step dance tapped out audibly by means of shoes with hard soles or soles and heels to which taps have been added.

Jazz = Jazz dance is a classification shared by a broad range of dance styles. Before the 1950s, jazz dance referred to dance styles that originated from African American vernacular dance. In the 1950s, a new genre of jazz dance — modern jazz dance — emerged, with roots in Caribbean traditional dance. Every individual style of jazz dance has roots traceable to one of these two distinct origins.

Contemporary = Contemporary dance is the exploration of the total movement potential of the body. It differs from commercial or competitive dance in that it is not bound by set standards, as well as defined styles such as ballet or Jazz dance. Instead, it seeks to express a personalized vision, often through experimentation and collaboration for the development of new, more individualized approaches to the moving body and choreographic possibilities. It can use elements of non-western dance cultures, for example, elements from African dance such as bent knees, or elements from the Japanese contemporary dance Butoh.

Modern = Modern dance is a term usually referring to 20th-century concert dance, although it
has also been applied to a category of 20th-century ballroom dances. Modern dance refused classical ballet's stress on feet as the primary catalyst for dance movements. It, instead, put stress on torso employing such elements as contact-release, floor work, fall and recovery, and improvisation. It was usually performed in bare feet, often with non-traditional costuming.

Hip Hop = Hip-hop dance refers to street dance styles primarily performed to hip-hop music or that have evolved as part of hip-hop culture. It includes a wide range of styles primarily breaking, locking, and popping which were created in the 1970s and made popular by dance crews in the United States.

aspire = o seek to attain or accomplish a particular goal <aspired to a career in medicine>.

(dance) pieces = performances.

amazing = causing great surprise or wonder : causing amazement.

inspiring =  causing people to want to do or create something or to lead better lives.

talented artists = talented: having a special ability to do something well. artist: a person who creates art; a skilled performer. 

positive atmosphere = positive: good or useful; good; showing or expressing support.
atmosphere: the particular way a place or situation makes you feel.

obsessed = to haunt or excessively preoccupy the mind of <was obsessed with the idea>; to think about something a lot.

burlesque = origin of the word: the word derives from the Italian burlesco, which itself derives from the Italian burla – a joke, ridicule or mockery an artistic composition, especially literary or dramaticthat, for the sake of laughter, vulgarizes lofty material or treats ordinary material with mock dignity. burlesque dancer entertains in this genre.  As derived from literature and theatre, "burlesque" was used, and is still used, in music to indicate a bright or high-spirited mood, sometimes in contrast to seriousness.

showgirl = A showgirl is a dancer or performer in a stage entertainment show.

dream come true = something that has been desired for a long time that has happened.

dance battle = or dance off: an informal competition where two (or more) people oppose each other and dance until one is declared the winner, usually by mutual consent. The dancing usually takes place in sequence where one person/team will dance then the opposite team will dance after there "slot" similar to a rap battle but without the rap replaced by dance.

dance agent = a business representative (as of an athlete or entertainer).

A-list = a list or group of individuals of the highest level of society, excellence, or

choreographers = Choreography is the art of designing sequences of movements in which motion, form, or both are specified. Choreography may also refer to the design itself. The word choreography literally means "dance-writing" from the Greek words "χορεία" (circular dance, see choreia) and "γραφή" (writing). A choreographer is one who creates choreographies by practicing  the art of choreography.

freestyle (dance) = the process of spontaneously creating movement. Development of improvised movement material is facilitated through a variety of creative explorations including body mapping through body mind centering, levels, shape and dynamics (see Laban Movement Analysis), sensory experiences through touch or contact improvisation, and perceptual schema. Dance improvisation is not only about creating new movement but is also defined as freeing the body from habitual movement patterns (see Postmodern dance and Judson Dance Theater).

performer = an entertainer who performs a dramatic or musical work for an audience.

by referral = an act of referring someone or something for consultation, review, or further action.

open auditions = 'Open Audition' means that anyone can apply or go to and try. A trial
performance, as by an actor, dancer, or musician, to demonstrate suitability or skill.

starving artist = A starving artist is an artist who sacrifices material well-being in order to focus on their artwork. They typically live on minimum expenses, either for a lack of business or because all their disposable income goes toward art projects.
Some starving artists desire mainstream success but have difficulty due to the high barriers to entry in art such as visual arts, the film industry, and theater. These artists frequently take temporary positions (such as waitering or other service industry jobs) while they focus their attention on breaking through in their preferred field.

repertoire = a list or supply of dramas, operas, pieces, or parts that a company or person is prepared to perform.

progressing = a forward or onward movement (as to an objective or to a goal); advance.

admire =  to feel respect or approval for (someone or something).

See you next week!  And to all my German friends out there, please go check out Lynhthy in Germany at  Link:  Asian United 2013


Lynhthy Nguyen Updates!

 June 2013
The Amazing Lynhthy Nguyen performing with Snoop Dogg at Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards!

 March 2014

Lynhthy Nguyen + Gene Simmons + Paul Stanley+ LA +KISS
My bosses #rock!  Gene Simmons Paul Stanley LA KISS
(TWITTER @Lynhthy)

 May 2014
  Lynhthy Nguyen dancer in Rage the Night Away video by Steve AokiLynhthy Nguyen and Steve Aoki during Rage the Night away video shoot
rocking dancer in feat. Waka Flocka Flame - Rage The Night Away: via @YouTube #Aoki #Waka #MTV

July 2014

#LAKISSGIRL #RollingStone #magazine feature

 August 2014
Beyonce and Lynhthy Nguyen
Linty is the dancer with her head on Beyonce's lap!
So Fabulous! Lynhthy Nguyen is on Fire (again)! #Beyonce #VMAs #BeyMAs #MTV #lynhthynguyen #dancelife

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Sunday, 12 May 2013

Celebrities and their Mothers!

Happy Mother's Day! Mother's Day is celebrated on the second Sunday of May in North America!  Like in many countries, Mother's Day involves small celebrations and gift-giving to your mother, grandmother, or other important female figures in your family. Let's take a look at some big name Celebrity guys who love their Moms!

Matt Damon and his Mom


Tom Cruise and his Mom

Justin Bieber and his Mom

Will Smith and his Mom

Brad Pitt and his Mom

Best Wishes to Moms Around the world!
Alex Graham

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Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Iron Man 3 is Out!

Iron Man 3 Action
Iron Man 3 just hit the US movie theaters last week!   Iron Man 3 stars Robert Downey Jr, as Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) and Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.  Under the direction of Shane Black, Iron Man 3 made the second largest North American debut with $175.3m.

Iron Man 3 is a 2013 American action adventure superhero film featuring the Marvel Comic’s character Iron Man.   

Filming Location
Filmed mostly in North Carolina, with additional shooting in Florida, China and Los Angeles. 

Visual Effects
The film's visual effects were handled by a number of companies, including Scanline VFX, Digital Domain, and Weta Digital.   

Brian Tyler was the primary composer of the music for Iron Man 3. The score was recorded with the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

The reviews have been pretty good!

77% average on the Tomatometer with 83% approval rate!
~Rotten Tomatoes~

“Comic-strip superhero movies are not exactly noted for intelligence, wit or humour. Iron Man 3 is the welcome exception!” 
~Dailymail, UK~

“‘Iron Man 3’ review: Robert Downey Jr. becomes the latest lethal weapon!”  
~The Verge~

"Iron Man 3  Current Score: 3.7.5 
~Kids in Mind~

Insider Knowledge
Recently Robert Downey Jr. and Gwyneth Paltrow were on OMG Insider! It is easy to see why audiences love these two!

Besties? How well do they know each other?


 Language Learning Section
 Listening Practice: How well do they know each other?