Kathy Riordan

Kathy Riordan
Florida, United States
April 27
One woman's view of life and the universe. Follow @katriord on Twitter.


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SEPTEMBER 30, 2009 1:33AM

It's a Baz Baz Baz Baz (Luhrmannesque) World

Rate: 13 Flag


Australian film director Baz Luhrmann, who took over the paddles from head judge Len Goodman Monday and Tuesday night on ABC's Dancing With the Stars.  Luhrmann's film "Strictly Ballroom" was the inspiration for the reality TV show and its British counterpart.  (photo courtesy Baz Luhrmann)



When head judge Len Goodman couldn't make Dancing With the Stars this week due to commitments in England, the charming curmudgeon-in-chief was replaced by the edgy and eccentric Australian film director,  Baz Luhrmann.

Luhrmann, whose quirky film Strictly Ballroom not only became a cult classic, but also the inspiration for the original British version of Dancing With the Stars, "Strictly Come Dancing," was a ballroom dancer as a child.

Perhaps best known for his Nicole Kidman/Ewan McGregor love letter to Paris nightlife, Moulin Rouge!, Luhrmann inspired the dancers on Week Two of the competition to step out into that steamy, starry corner of the galaxy where Luhrmannesque dreams come true, everything just slightly off-center.


Aaron Carter and his partner, Karina Smirnoff, channel Kermit and Miss Piggy in their jive tribute to The Muppet Show theme.



Debi Mazar and her partner, Maksim Chmerkovskiy, pay homage to Luhrmann in their tango to "El Tango de Roxanne" (from Moulin Rouge!).

Singer Mya and her partner Dmitry Chaplin, lift the lid off a  jive to Touch and Go's "Would You?"

Tom DeLay and his partner, Cheryl Burke, tango to the familiar "Por Una Cabeza" from The Tango Project.

Donny Osmond and his partner, Kym Johnson, nail a jive to "Secret Agent Man."


All Dancing With the Stars videos courtesy ABCNetwork YouTube channel




A Luhrmann Primer:



Original Baz Luhrmann 90's music video to "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen)" (based on a 1997 essay by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich)



Chanel No. 5 perfume ad directed by Luhrmann, starring Nicole Kidman.



 Baz Luhrmann's campaign video for Tourism Australia, "Billabong." 



"Come What May" video for the song from the 2001 Luhrmann film, "Moulin Rouge!" starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor.



 Essential viewing. The final scene from Luhrmann's 1992 cult classic "Strictly Ballroom," an unforgettable, heart-stopping paso doble.

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GAWD! Thank you so much for letting me see my favorite scene from one of my old favorite movies, "Strickly Ballroom!"

I couldn't view any of the other clips because of the "out-of-country" restriction (I live in Bumfuck, Mexico) but I would barf before viewing anything that the old stiff nasty politician does anyway. I've seen clips of his "moves" on the political shows and he makes my butt hurt. And I recall that he sang publically a few years ago. Arrrghhh....how BIG is his fat, late middle-aged ego?

It turns out that it was actually a relief to be spared seeing him "dance."

So, here's a question: He's dancing on a "pressure-fracture" in his foot? He's not moving very gracefully. Was he working for Bush with a "pressure-fracture" of his conscious?

I'm just saying.....

Rated, kiddo, for the real dancing.
Ah, Ginny, that final paso doble scene in Strictly Ballroom always gets to me, too. Killer.

I knew I wasn't alone.
Great Post. I see were "the Hammer" made it through again until next week. When will it end?
It was a cliffhanger, scanner. DeLay had us gasping for air at the end of that tango, and hoping Cheryl had lots of insurance. I give him props for doing as well as he is; it was a serious, studied tango and would have gotten much higher marks if not for the near-drop at the end.

He isn't the first Republican politician to tango to that tune. The Governator did it in "True Lies." Al Pacino probably made it most famous in "Scent of a Woman."
I do not watch this show but am now kicking myself b/c Baz was on and I missed it!!!!!!!!!! Was he good? What was he like?
Ariana, he was a great fill-in judge, and the dancers really stepped up their game. Loved his comments.
OMG, Strictly Ballroom is on my top three list of greatest movies EVER! I can quote at length from it. The "curtain dance" scene makes me faint every time I see it.
I go weak at the knees at that one, too, Jeanette.

By the way, for those who are asking, 'Baz' Luhrmann's real name is Mark Anthony Luhrmann. No, Baz is not his birth name.
Thanks 2 the PTB 4 the EP. I'm hoping no one misses the rest of these great videos just because it's the Tom DeLay tango featured on the cover--there are some amazing performances, particularly Mya's and Aaron Carter's. And don't miss the Strictly Ballroom end scene if you stop by. Those three videos particularly are don't misses.
This is the only reality show I watch and I'm into it despite myself. I thought Baz really added something to the judging, as opposed to last year's guest appearance by Riverdance king Michael Flately. The dancing is better than ever although the back stories are getting longer and frankly, no more interesting. Tom DeLay continues to creep me out, Aaron and Mya are adorable, Derek's model partner is cute. I'm rooting for Kelly (sp?) Oswald and, much to my surprise, Donny Osmond. I understand now how the Osmonds have been so popular for so many years. They do sweet but stop short of treacly. And they are talented. I mean, I get tired looking at these people rehearse.
Btw, your Luhrmann primer is fabulous researching/reporting. Kathy, you continue to impress.
ARGH! I was SO proud of myself last night for not watching it. I'm really trying to trim down my dance show watching. And look what I miss. I blame you Kathy, since I spent the evening happily setting up a whole new world of Twitter feeds. You are a siren of distraction!
Usually at week two I'd like to jump ahead a month or so into the competition, simply so that the chaff of the cast would already be voted off. However, outside of Carter, Mya and Osmond, the others are so tightly packed that it should be interesting to see who can break through. Dmitry needs to reign in the variety show excesses to his choreography. He's partnered with the most polished dancer of the cast. Just go out and do the routine (see Balas, Mark with Kristi Yamaguchi). Pissing Len off, thereby getting a lower score, is a disservice to your partner.
Thank you SO much for all the clips. I won't watch DWTS, but I do like dancing and the clips (go figure) a Lot. Just a thing I have against "reality" shows in general.

And, most of all, I Love Baz Luhrmann, Love Strictly Ballroom, and for some reason (must have been the timing) am in thrall to Moulin Rouge. I love the time period, loved all the characters, supporting and leads, loved the story, loved the music (Elton John!). It makes me cry every time.

I am just picturing Les Kendall screaming, "Arms, DeLay!"
okay, you got my attention with the Delay video -- kinda like watching a car wreck. BUT YOU MADE MY DAY with the sunscreen video (I've posted it to Facebook) and the last 8 minutes of Strictly Ballroom is the most fun I've had in a while. Thanks very much for all the vids.
Tom DeLay tangos on the Dancing with the Stars and yet another political satirist at The Onion loses his job. It's a tough gig these days, making GOP political figures more bizarrely ridiculous than they already are.
To be honest, I thought Moulin Rouge was one of the worst movies I've ever seen. Maybe therworst.

I hear Mark Sanford will be on soon. He learned how to dance while he was hiking on the Appalachian Trail.

Fun post, Kathy You're so versatile. Wanna dance?. R
Until now, I thought I was one of few who knew about-, and liked so much, Strictly Ballroom. This is a great tribute to Luhrmann. You are a good reporter. Thanks for the links.

Nikki, thanks for the kind words. I agree 100% about Michael Flatley; Baz was a much more interesting guest judge. And hey, those Osmonds.

Sorry, Juliet. Guilty. I see you picked up some interesting follows, including the very valuable @martindave.

Stim, I absolutely agree. There needs to be some separation in the middle of the pack.

Connie, sometimes a clip is all you need. I share your love of Strictly Ballroom.

Jeanette, ha! Exactly.

skeletnwmn, happy to oblige on both counts. 'Sunscreen' and 'Strictly Ballroom' are both don't-misses.

MandyCat, gotta give him props for doing it, though. Poor Onion writer.

john, we felt the same way. The original Moulin Rouge movie was one of my husband's favorites, so he was disappointed in this version, and yes, we almost walked out. I'd probably appreciate it in a different way now. Thanks for the kind words. I try. I envy the dancers on DWTS, but I'm glad I'm not dancing in front of that kind of an audience.
Thanks, Thoth. Strictly Ballroom is one of my all-time favorite movies. Ever. I keep a copy of it right alongside Muriel's Wedding at my summer cottage, drag it out every once in a while to enjoy. It is absolutely my favorite of Baz Luhrmann's films. Thanks for your kind words, and for stopping by.