GOOD

Metalhead Ballerinas Rock the U.K.

Brutal Ballet slayed U.K. audiences last week with the debut of original choreography set to a metal cover of the Game of Thrones themesong.

Bridie Mayfield is a ballerina, she’s also more metal than you.


The dancer and choreographer is the founder of Brutal Ballet, a death metal ballet company. Should you harbor any preconceived notions about what a ballerina looks like, banish them immediately. Mayfield’s lean, tatted arms and her death metal dances will destroy any pink-hued visions of tutu-wearing princesses you may currently hold. She’s been dancing since she was two years old and in 2008, she finally put her two favorite pastimes—dancing and heavy metal—together.

“I’ve always kind of choreographed to metal in my head, but I never thought it would be accepted so I never thought anything of it,” says Mayfield. “I just thought, ‘oh, no one’s going to accept that!’ Metalheads are so diehard and passionate about it and they’d probably think I was just killing their art by doing it.”

And then Mayfield discovered Ballet Deviare, a New York-based company that used metal as the soundtrack to their original compositions. It inspired her to start Brutal Ballet in her hometown of Brisbane, Australia. But Australia’s audiences weren’t filling the seats, while Europe seemed to offer a bigger stage. So, three months ago, the death metal ballerina moved her company to the U.K. Just this week, they showed up at TitanCon, a science fiction and fantasy convention based in Belfast, and debuted a sensational piece choreographed to a death-metal cover of the Game of Thrones’ theme song, by the band Lizzard Wizard. GoT stars Eugene Simon (Lancel Lannister), Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon), and Aimee Richardson (Myrcella Baratheon) were in the audience watching.

“They were getting photos with us, rather than us getting photos with them,” says Mayfield.

The dance has made the internet rounds—they were profiled by the BBC, and written about on the A.V. Club and io9. The Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, an international dance instruction examination board based in London, even tweeted their approval.

“I never thought we’d be accepted by anybody from the dance world. Because we haven’t been so far. They kind of look at us go, ‘well, that one’s covered in tattoos and that one doesn’t have the perfect body parts,’” says Mayfield. “We’re kind of the rebel ballerinas.”

Mayfield says the hardest about running the company is finding dancers. It’s already difficult to find hard-working ballerinas, and dancers willing to perform to metal music are even more rare. But Brutal Ballet’s choreography doesn’t stray too far from the classical form.

“They [the dancers] have been really surprised by how classical it is and we haven’t really changed anything but the music,” says Mayfield.

Not only are Brutal’s ballerinas learning to consider different musical forms, but the company is introducing ballet to non-traditional audiences as well. Classical ballet tends to conjure elitist connotations, to the detriment of building a larger, younger fanbase. At the other end of the cultural spectrum, metal, too, is frequently regarded as intimidating and inaccessible. But combined, these two fringe cultures not only merge audiences, they appeal to people outside either community as well.

“It’s taken [ballet] away from being entertainment of the high society and it’s sort of introduced it to the general public,” says Mayfield. “People who aren’t metal heads and who aren’t ballet community people—they really like it.”

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via Collection of the New-York Historical Society / Wikimedia Commons

Fredrick Douglass was born into slavery in 1818. At the age of 10 he was given to the Auld family.

As a child, he worked as a house slave and was able to learn to read and write, and he attempted to teach his fellow slaves the same skills.

At the age of 15, he was given to Thomas Auld, a cruel man who beat and starved his slaves and thwarted any opportunity for them to practice their faith or to learn to read or write.

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On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Communities
via Chela Horsdal / Twitter

Amazon's "The Man in the High Castle" debuted the first episode of its final season last week.

The show is loosely based on an alternative history novel by Philip K. Dick that postulates what would happen if Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan controlled the United States after being victorious in World War II.

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Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

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In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

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Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

Lifestyle

Oh, irony. You are having quite a day.

The Italian region of Veneto, which includes the city of Venice, is currently experiencing historic flooding. Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro has stated that the flooding is a direct result of climate change, with the tide measuring the highest level in 50 years. The city (which is actually a collection of 100 islands in a lagoon—hence its famous canal streets), is no stranger to regular flooding, but is currently on the brink of declaring a state of emergency as waters refuse to recede.

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