Issue #3: half•alive and Tomioka Dance Club

Gotta dance!

Simone Polanen

Another week, another HB/LB .

This week, we are celebrating dance!


I know what you’re thinking. “Simone has yet to recognize the work of a white man in her newsletter. Does she hate white men?”

And actually, nothing could be farther from the truth. I love white men. I especially love it when they are tall, shockingly thin, wear fuckboi glasses, have really tan calves and really pale thighs, have very dark leg hair that contrasts with their very pale thighs, are generally hairy, are between the ages of 21 and 24, and — this is key — completely ignore my existence. That, for me, is true love.

So when my friend Megana*, who is similarly afflicted, texted the group chat a link with the note, “JIC If you guys want to watch skinny white guys modern dance,” I knew it would be for me.

If you’re going to waste four minutes, why not spend them watching a bunch of cuties in slacks prance around what looks like an abandoned office floor. Then you may realize that spending four minutes watching something that brings you joy actually isn’t a waste and you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself for treating yourself to a lil break.

I think I like this video so much because, while it’s simple, there’s something very sweet about the way these men hold each other and relate to one another. The choreography is very gentle and feminine at moments, and never the butt of the joke. It’s less, “when dudes show any physical affection towards one another, that’s hilarious,” and more “I am building physical intimacy with my bandmate because I love him, and as the saying goes, love is love, even when it’s between two straight** men!”

The band is called half•alive and the song is called still feel.

And yes, they stylize all their text. If you have an issue with that, take it up with them.

This one honestly isn’t that highbrow. I just like it. This whole newsletter is rooted in a fallacy.


When I first saw this next dance video, it blew me all the way away. And then I learned that it was made by a high school dance team. And I just think that from here on out, people who are younger than me shouldn’t have accomplishments. It’s only humane.

The video is impeccable from start to finish. But it will not provide you with answers. Your first thought watching this will be, “What is happening?” And that will never be resolved for you. Just give into the bright colors, the 80s hair, the sparkly blazers and surrender yourself to the full body experience of the Tomioka Dance Club.

I can’t imagine how long it took to rehearse this routine. The only word I can think to describe it is “crispy.” As in, “Damn. That routine is crispy.” Everyone is on point, everyone is committed to the performance. And you thought choreography was for limbs and torsos only? Guess again! The face choreo in this vid slaps harder that the body choreo. It’s an elevation of the art form!

You can watch TDC dance here.

(And for reasons I don’t fully comprehend, this also became a huge meme in Korea. A group of 5 comedians made an incredibly expensive-looking parody. And then that performance was parodied on a different Korean reality TV show. And then on that same show, a group of Japanese pop stars performed a more grounded version of the song, but in the style of doo-wop? I think? I don’t have the pop culture context for the evolution of this work. And I am poorer for it.)

That’s all for this week. I love all you more than you could ever understand!

*Hi Megs! Love you!
** I don’t actually know who the members of this band are attracted to, but the statement still stands. Straight men need representation!