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The Late Movies: Leslie Hall, Rap Queen of Iowa

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Leslie Hall is what Wikipedia describes as "an American satirical rap artist and front-woman for the band Leslie and the Ly's and the operator of what is best described as a 'gem sweater museum.'" I asked around and was told by THREE friends, "Oh yeah, Leslie's kind of famous." She's been on Yo Gabba Gabba!! Looking at her videos, I'm stunned that we haven't given her the Late Movies treatment yet. So strap yourselves in, stuff's about to get awesome.

"Tight Pants / Body Rolls"

This video is remarkable for at least three reasons: the surprisingly elaborate green-screen work, the impressive costumes, and an actually catchy song. Leslie describes the song as follows (I've reproduced the typos and punctuation verbatim -- it's all part of the awesomeness):

Watch out.. this song is about forest people who dance in tight clothes. be sure to stick around for about 2:18 those are slow motion body rolls. study those abs.. i'm isolating and really getting good for live show entertainment i plan to bring it. I'd like to comment on my skin tone. That is Iowa see-through skin. while indoors watching tv and crafting you tend to form a shade of pink - white- then pale - then followed by a clearness with blue veins running every which way. The costome seen in this video is my mom's KILL BILL insperationed. Because its been playing on tv latley. she had to get a colonoscapy and so she watched them and relized maybe I had the power to kill bill. ( in dance form of course).

Apparently you can buy the song from iTunes or on CD.

"Gravel In My Shoe - BACK 2 BACK PALZ"

Not a rap, but kind of wonderful. The lines delivered by the "Ly's" are truly impressive. Example: "I'm lookin' online and I'll see what I find. And I hope he's better than you because you make me miserable."

"How We Go Out Version 2"

Sort of like an alternate-universe version of Salt 'N Pepa, in which they're from Ames, Iowa. Sample lyrics: "On the way to the club we pass a Dairy Queen / You stop cause it you know it means so much to me / We take the back seats out of your mini van / Now we roll like a hummer or a full size sedan."

"Zombie Killer Revisited" (ft. Elvira)

With guest vocals from Elvira, and cameos in the video from Mark Borchardt and Mike Schank, from the documentary American Movie.

"Craft Talk"

For the craft people in the house.

"Razzle Dazzle Dancey Dance" (Yo Gabba Gabba)

Leslie teaches us a dancey dance involving "glitter hands." Which in my day were called "jazz hands." But in my day, we didn't have half as much razzle nor dazzle.

Lots More Videos

Check out her YouTube channel. Warning: you might be at it all day.

Her Website

You owe it to yourself to check out the official website for the band as well as Leslie Hall's other official website, which feature such gems as Weddings in Iowa By Leslie, a series of wedding packages. Don't think, just click. Trust me.

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Animals
Australian Charity Releases Album of Cat-Themed Ballads to Promote Feline Welfare
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An Australian animal charity is helping save the nation’s kitties one torch song at a time, releasing a feline-focused musical album that educates pet owners about how to properly care for their cats.

Around 35,000 cats end up in pounds, shelters, and rescue programs every year in the Australian state of New South Wales, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Microchipping and fixing cats, along with keeping closer tabs on them, could help reduce this number. To get this message out, the RSPCA’s New South Wales chapter created Cat Ballads: Music To Improve The Lives Of Cats.

The five-track recording is campy and fur-filled, with titles like "Desex Me Before I Do Something Crazy" and "Meow Meow." But songs like “I Need You” might tug the heartstrings of ailurophiles with lyrics like “I guess that’s goodbye then/but you’ve done this before/the window's wide open/and so’s the back door/you might think I’m independent/but you’d be wrong.” There's also a special version of the song that's specifically designed for cats’ ears, featuring purring, bird tweets, and other feline-friendly noises.

Together, the tunes remind us how vulnerable our kitties really are, and provide a timely reminder for cat owners to be responsible parents to their furry friends.

“The Cat Ballads campaign coincides with kitten season, which is when our shelters receive a significantly higher number of unwanted kittens as the seasons change,” Dr. Jade Norris, a veterinary scientist with the RSPCA, tells Mental Floss. “Desexing cats is a critical strategy to reduce unwanted kittens.”

Listen to a song from Cat Ballads below, and visit the project’s website for the full rundown.

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technology
ABBA Is Going on Tour—As Holograms
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Missed your chance to watch ABBA perform live at the peak of their popularity? You’re in luck: Fans will soon be able to see the group in concert in all their chart-topping, 1970s glory—or rather, they’ll be able to see their holograms. As Mashable reports, a virtual version of the Swedish pop band is getting ready to go on tour.

ABBA split up in 1982, and the band hasn't been on tour since. (Though they did get together for a surprise reunion performance in 2016.) All four members of ABBA are still alive, but apparently not up for reentering the concert circuit when they can earn money on a holographic tour from the comfort of their homes.

The musicians of ABBA have already had the necessary measurements taken to bring their digital selves to life. The final holograms will resemble the band in the late 1970s, with their images projected in front of physical performers. Part of the show will be played live, but the main vocals will be lifted from original ABBA records and recordings of their 1977 Australian tour.

ABBA won’t be the first musical act to perform via hologram. Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Dean Martin have all been revived using the technology, but this may be one of the first times computerized avatars are standing in for big-name performers who are still around. ABBA super-fans will find out if “SOS” still sounds as catchy from the mouths of holograms when the tour launches in 2019.

[h/t Mashable]

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