Inspire Friday Issue No. 32

Dancing on skyscrapers, an interspecies symphony, a rare blanket octopus, can’t-miss stargazing events, and more…

Dancing on skyscrapers. This week’s video offers a quick peek at the unusual art of Bandaloop—artists who take traditional dancing and quite literally flip it on its side. This beautiful, aerial style of dance is performed on the side of buildings and can be seen in our film America’s Musical Journey (now streaming on YouTube). We imagine this is what dancing among the clouds must be like. Watch here.

An interspecies symphony. Musician David Rothenberg hears the sounds of nature differently from you and me. Whether it’s chirping crickets, bellowing whales or croaking frogs, he hears a symphony of beautiful sounds and adds to that with his own musical talents. Watch here.

A blanket octopus unfurls. This short clip was caught in the Lembeh Strait in Indonesia during a blackwater night dive and features a female blanket octopus unfurling her blanket-like webbed membrane in a display rarely caught on camera. We’re mesmerized. Read more.

An inspiring call to action. This year’s 2021 Caldecott Medal winner for most distinguished picture book for children is We Are Water Protectors, illustrated by Michaela Goade and written by Carole Lindstrom. Called “powerful” by The New York Times, this lyrical story is an inspiring call to action for defending Earth’s natural resources. A message both adults and children can embrace. Available here

10 can’t-miss stargazing events for 2021. While most of the world is still under lockdown, nature provides a safe way to reconnect with the Earth and all its natural beauty. National Geographic put together a list of 10 spectacular stargazing events this year, so mark your calendars and grab your blankets, binoculars, and telescopes. These shows, unlike most events this past year, will not be canceled. Read more.

Every week, MFF president Shaun MacGillivray shares what is inspiring him now, his favorite book recommendations, podcasts, articles, short films, docs, quotes, trends, innovative companies, people, and entrepreneurial stories.

The two great minds behind Square. “I really loved this biography by Jim McKelvey, the co-founder of Square, a start-up that allows small merchants to take credit card payments on mobile devices, making them more affordable. The book features tips and best practices centered around how McKelvey and Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, built Square and their mindset. I personally think Square is an incredible company with a lot of growth ahead.” Available here.

How to live better. “I read this influential book for similar reasons why I read a lot of self-help books. It puts you in a different mindset and helps remind you what really matters.” Available here.

And for further inspiring reading recommendations…
Visit Shaun’s “Never Stop Learning” reading list.

Finding a star. “In 1977, just after Jim died, we took on a number of national television commercials to produce and direct in order to bring in income to stabilize the future of the company. These were high-profile commercials so they paid well. They also got our team out in the field on a year-round basis, enabling us to stay busy and avoid thinking about the loss of Jim. The first commercial we did for Ford Thunderbird, brought to us by the J Walter Thompson agency in New York, required that I find a young actress to play the role of a driver. She was to take off in her Thunderbird from an airport runway and sail into the sky. The idea was that the car rode so smoothly it felt like flying. After interviewing about 100 women in Hollywood, I chose an actress named Cheryl Ladd. At the time, she was an up-and-comer and had not yet been selected to play one of Charlie’s Angels on television. The first thing she said to me when we begin filming was, ‘Greg, you have to make me look beautiful.’ I really worked hard on the lighting, and she thanked me for it in the end. The commercial was a hit and became one of the 10 most viewed that year. It was shown on every football game on national TV during prime time that year, and Cheryl, who was a member of the Screen Actors Guild, literally made a fortune. She was a very sweet person, and every year she would send me a wonderful note to thank me. We made one or two more commercials with her for Thunderbird before she went on to the big time.” —Greg MacGillivray


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