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August 05, 2008

Traverse City, Michigan
It Was a Musical Thing and You Were Supposed to Dance

I'm in Michigan for the Traverse City Film Festival, informally known as the Stuff Michael Moore Likes Film Festival. As the co-founder, he programs all the films and looms large over the event, now in its fourth year.

I was invited out to screen my video before Werner Herzog's latest documentary, which led to this magnificent marquee.

Matt_harding_marquee

I got up on the stage where Madonna stood the night before, discussing the documentary her ex-nanny made for her about stuff being messed up in Africa. You want to be pleasantly surprised by projects like that -- at least, I do. The reaction from those I spoke to was along the lines of: "It was very nice of her to come to Michigan."

Phil Donahue was also here with his documentary about stuff being messed up in Iraq. I'm told that one was good. I delivered pizza to Phil Donahue once when I was 16. He gave me an $8 tip on a $12 pizza. Phil Donahue is a nice guy.

I was hoping to meet Michael Moore and at least say "hi." We all have our opinions about the guy and you're welcome to yours. I think he's a brave citizen and a great communicator. I've been watching everything he's done since I was 12. Of course I don't always agree with the way he does things, but, well...blah blah blah. You know the rest.

The screening was lots of fun. They were about to project a crummy-looking Beta transfer someone had put together. The projectionist warned me about it a few minutes before the screening. I asked if he could do anything with an HD WMV file. He said "sure," so we ran up to the projection booth and sorted things out with a USB stick.

Always carry a USB stick.

I'd never been in a projection booth. It was neat. And the video looked gorgeous on a 50 foot screen. Honestly, it looked better than at the premiere party and better than in George Lucas' private screening room. The dancers were all enormous. The kids in the Solomon Islands looked like they were going to eat the audience.

I eventually realized that almost everyone at the festival was there to meet Michael Moore, which made me feel icky and lame. There was this party and everyone thought he was going to show up and then he didn't show up. It felt a little like Roger & Me.

I eventually cornered him for a few seconds and introduced myself. He thanked me for volunteering at the festival.

...so then I had to work up the nerve to introduce myself again and explain that I wasn't a volunteer at the festival; that he'd invited me out to show my video. He gave a look of dread as I approached for the second time, then an "Ohhhhhhhh" once he recognized me.

We talked very briefly and I told him a little about my secret master plan and what I'm hoping to do someday. He said he knew how to do what I want to do and he'd be "honored to help."

Hi ho!

I went down to California a couple weeks ago. Stopped in Sunnyvale and visited the Yahoo! campus. They needed a morale boost after some tense times, so they asked me to dance with all the different departments. Some employees actually brought their kids into work.

I gave a talk in their cafeteria while everyone ate lunch. It felt a bit like dinner theater, but apparently that's how they do it.

I met Emotion Eric. Turns out he's a Yahoo employee. We made faces. I went for "bored with a little bit of angry," but I'm nowhere near as expressive. Eric's face is a delicate and precise instrument.

Img_0052

It reminded me of those celebrity golf tournaments where they pair Arnold Palmer with Alice Cooper. I was out of my league.

Anyway, it was an unusual day's work, but I had a good time and I got a lot of nice emails afterward. I'm glad it brightened some peoples' day.

I flew down to LA for all the reasons people go to LA.

...I guess I can talk about it. CAA has taken me on as a client. The process seemed mafia-esque in its straightforward simplicity. I'm a bit stunned and confused. I think they might be too. All I know is it's made my life a whole lot better and I'm a happier person since it happened. All the weird emails I get -- the opportunities that might be great or might be bogus but I just don't have time to follow up -- I can forward them along and they suss it out. No longer my problem. It's given me back a substantial portion of my time and taken something off my plate that I've never enjoyed or been very good at. This odd thing I do was starting to feel like a business, and I don't think it should.

Of course, I'm a grown-up and I still get to steer my own ship. I just don't have to batten any more hatches, or swab the poop deck, or...belay...things.

I...metaphors...bad.

And yes, I know, I'm a flash in the pan and I'm getting a big head and this will all be over tomorrow, but here's the thing: it's been going on for three years now. It slows down after each video (praise be to Allah), but it hasn't really ever stopped. I've been busy the whole time. It confounds me and it confounds my friends and family, but for whatever reason, people keep on watching the videos and crazy offers keep coming my way.

I made vague reference to meeting with the UN in my last post and some folks blew that out of proportion. Please, journalists, stave your urge to write phrases like "Internet Star Goes Hollywood," cause that's not what this is.

I've met with those kinds of guys. I've smelled the aroma of hucksterism. They're all about trying to figure out how to make money from this thing. I'm not trying to figure out how to make money. That's not an issue. I'm trying to figure out how to fit this into a relatively normal life.

...I say "relatively" because I saw Starbuck at the valet while I was leaving.

The CAA folks have been very low-key and professional. I've seen agencies make a big deal about repping internet people and then that's the last you ever hear about it. These guys aren't screwing around. I like that very much.

Speaking of making my life better, I bought a bike the other day. Holy cow! Air. Grass. Wind. Physical exertion. How could I have been so oblivious to this activity? And the millions of dollars my city has spent to make it easier for me? Bike trails. Greatest thing ever.

Also in the realm of making my life better: laser eye surgery. No more glasses. It was a bit unnerving to watch a blade cut into my eyeball and smell my cornea burning, but it was over very quickly and the improvement was immediate. It's also been getting steadily better in the weeks since.

There's a thing called APOD, or Astronomy Picture of the Day. It's NASA-affiliated and it's been around for about as long as there's been an internet. Every day they show a different picture of a galaxy or nebula or somesuch. On July 22nd, they posted my video.

As you can plainly see, my video is not a photo, nor is it astronomical in nature. The honor was unexpected to say the least. I did not see that coming. It's sort of like baking a cupcake and having it win Motor Trend Car of the Year.

"Okay, so it's not actually a car, but seriously, have you tasted this cupcake? It's soooo delicious!"

People have APOD embedded in their home pages and whatnot, so a lot of folks watched the video that day. It was actually the biggest single day ever for the Vimeo version they linked to. I got a lot of email from smart people.

A cartoonist at the Tampa Tribune named Greg Williams made this comic strip out of one of my recent journal entries. Here's his site.

Blogjam071108_2

I love it. Makes me want to do a whole book like that. Someday. Maybe. When I magically stop being lazy.

Melissa and I got in a car wreck last week. We were coming home from a wedding. I was driving her car. I turned off I-90 and was merging onto I-5 when a car zoomed up behind us and lost control. We felt a bump from behind and had an instant to brace before the car spun around in the left lane and the tail end smashed into my door, hard. We were going at highway speed, but Melissa's Volkswagon GTI held onto the road and we did not smash into the wall of the elevated off-ramp, 100 feet off the ground.

The kid got out of the car and his two friends pulled up behind him in separate vehicles. Total speculation on my part, but I hope he won whatever race he was engaged in for what it's going to cost him in the long-term.

The next day, once we were safe and sound, Melissa and I had to acknowledge that the whole incident was kind of awesome. But I'm going to try to avoid driving after midnight on Saturday nights from now on. I am getting old.

The experience has reinforced my conviction that I am not going to die while visiting mountain gorillas in Uganda or chasing humpback whales in Tonga. I am either going to die in a car accident or from heart disease or cancer.

And so are you. And you, and you, and you.

Here's a thing I liked.

Jay Leno made a gag out of my video a couple weeks ago. He showed me dancing and then said "here's what happened when he went to New York." They showed a guy dressed like me dancing on a subway platform. A bunch of thugs ran in with baseball bats and beat me to the ground.

Way to go, Jay. Champagne comedy.

I get a lot of international interview requests and I ignore most of them. It's just too damn hard and there's too damn many. When I went through this two years ago, I said yes to everything because I felt some sort of obligation, like "who the hell am I to say no?" I was also a lot more concerned about my future, so I took everything that came along in the hopes of raising my profile and finding the next big thing.

Nowadays I have a healthier attitude. I realize I have no obligation to these people, and I'm at peace with my middling level of famousness and not at all interested in increasing my famousness for its own sake.

So I generally ignore requests, but I make an exception for Australia. And I make this exception for one reason only: to amuse my friends in Australia. For the last month I've been on a non-stop, antipodean media blitz. Sydney Morning Herald, Courier-Mail, Daily...something-or-other. It's all for Andy and Christie and Adam and Tracy, because it makes them laugh and that is what I'm here for.

It was also pretty fun getting bumped for the Pope.

Let's see, what else has been going on?

I bought myself a present. I finished some photo shoot near Pike Market and found myself wandering into Golden Age Collectibles. As the name implies, they have a spectacular supply of back issues. Tim, the manager, approached and I told him, without really thinking about it, that I felt like buying something frivolous.

"Well, that's pretty much everything in this store."
"Perfect."

I settled on Fantastic Four #48, The Coming of Galactus. First appearance of the Silver Surfer.

Galactusff48

It was a lot of money to spend on a comic book. But it's one of my favorite comics ever and I really like looking at it. It makes me happy. I bought a frame for it. They make special comic book frames that you can order on the internet, because that's the world we live in.

Okay, time to open the mailbag!

Today's mailbag starts out with something that isn't really mail.

Our first actual letter comes from a reader in France who writes...

                    * * * * *

You make too much pollution (plane...) with your trip.

Why not in bike?

                    * * * * *

Umm. Because I can't hold my breath that long.

                    * * * * *

Just like STRIDE did, I have a bussiness proposal for you, but with a difference, it's a lot smaller but you'll leave with quite a few dollars on your pocket.

This is not a ruse, not a chain letter and I dont want any money for you to invest, this is a REAL proposition, please answer to this e-mail or call during bussiness hours.

Its not in the US , but if you call collect and say its for Julio Garcia they will pass the call.

                    * * * * *

Smaller!? Where do I sign?

                    * * * * * 

Will you ever dance on someone’s grave?

                    * * * * *

No, but Jesse Helms' is tempting.

(Yes, I know you're supposed to add an extra 's' at the end of all possessive nouns. There is, however, an exception for ancient proper names that end in 's', like Jesus and Achilles. I would argue that Jesse Helms is, in all ways, ancient. See how smart I am?)

                    * * * * *

I recently watched your video, it was on APOD, the description included "few people are able to watch this without smiling."

I just thought, regardless of the fact you did not make that statement, that I did neither laugh, nor enjoy your video.

                    * * * * *

Wow. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you didn't enjoy my video.

(Okay, so then the guy wrote back and he felt really bad and apologized, which was not necessary, cause I just thought it was a funny thing to send an email about.)

                    * * * * *

Get a FUCKING JOB matt!!!

Goody for you.

You're a young clueless rich kid who travels the world doing a bad dance move. Do something productive in society other than wasting your daddy's hard earned money.

You need alot of character development and wisdom.

                    * * * * *

Yeah, well...you also should...work on your character development...and wisdom...too.

And I will work on my comebacks.

                    * * * * *

One small comment is: I really don’t like the underwater scene, it’s so touristy commercial and doesn’t really fit with the rest.

                    * * * * *

Really? Swimming with a humpback whale is touristy? Wow. I would like to travel with you, cause wherever you're going must be awesome. Please book me on your giant-squid-wrestling holiday package.

                    * * * * *

I do motivational speaking and teaching for a living. The best part of my job is that’s it’s not a job.

I love touching people and even if in the smallest way, I can make their life better, than it’s a great day!

                    * * * * *

Might wanna rephrase that, pal.

                    * * * * *

I've seen your videos and I loved them, but I was kinda disappointed when I didn't see you in my country, Saudi Arabia. You might not like it if you come, but you'll be happy filling you car tank by $8 only :P  There is also nothing to see as a tourist, but you'll enjoy our food.

I advice you not to come in Summer, because you might melt... maybe even evaporate :P

                    * * * * *

I cannot wait to go to Saudi Arabia.

                    * * * * *

I think i found that you are an allian; 3 REASON:

1. You never want to tell every one how much your trip cost because the mother ship took you around the world!!

2. You did all this dancing for people to download the clip so people who watch them will looses their mind, after they watch the clip they will be mind control by you!!!

3. You are not human, because nobody in this world dance like you. This is definately a dance from another planet!!!

                    * * * * *

Curses! Mlorksplack, prepare the escape pod!

                    * * * * *

Thanks for costing me my sleep.

2:45am last night my phone rings - it's my ex-wife - talk about scary.

Anyway, "you have to go to your computer and watch this video... WHERE THE HELL IS MATT".

So off I go - after considerable coaxing - it was worth it Matt.

                    * * * * *

Wow. This may be the first time I've been used to justify a booty call.

                    * * * * *

Earlier tonight, I had to tell my patient that his chemotherapy wasn't working. The nurses love him because he is always polite and kind, even when he is hurting. I think that his nurse was more upset than he was. He is the kind of guy that treats all of the staff with respect, especially the ones that other people forget, like the housekeepers. His lymphoma has progressed and it is constricting the main vein from the lower half of his body, making it difficult for blood to get back to his heart. His legs are swelling and it's getting harder to breathe each day.

I was pretty depressed when I got home and I went to the video section of my home page to look at some of the news reports of the day before I went to sleep. I don't know why I clicked on a video named "Dancing Matt." I really don't know why I am emailing you other than to tell you that when I watched the part of the video where people from all over the world started dancing with you, somehow I felt better.

                    * * * * *

This is one of those emails that I don't know how to respond to. I just kind of stare wide-eyed at the screen. I'm going to post a few more and keep my mouth shut from now on...

                    * * * * *

I’m a relief and development worker and I’ve worked in a lot of places, having just spent three weeks in Iraq. I’ve travelled to a lot of places too and seen a lot of death and destruction and beauty and light. Somewhere about the tenth or twelth dead body you see get eaten by wild dogs, you sorta just block things out. I can’t remember when I’ve spontaneously cried at something so simple and yet so inscrutably charming. I just felt myself overwhelmed with emotion watching this video. It was a great feeling.

Take care of yoruself, enjoy your life, you’ve helped me to enjoy mine again.

                    * * * * *

I am someone who lives with moderate depression. I've done the therapy/medication route and they definitely help. But recently I've been in a low place again -- somewhere these treatments don't quite reach. I always come back, but it usually has to play itself out.

Yesterday, someone very close to me sent me your video ... and I pretty much cried all the way through. But good tears! Really good tears. Watching your adventure and getting another view of this beautiful world managed to somehow take weight off my shoulders for a bit.

One of the toughest things about depression for me is the inexplicable sense of being totally alone even in a crowd of people. What you've created here opened my eyes to a new perspective. No, I'm not "cured," but I am happier today than yesterday because I was reminded that we are not alone. We just have to choose to join the dance or stand alone.

                    * * * * *

On September 11th I was fortunate enough to be 7 1/2 months pregnant with my first daughter and at home for a doctor's appointment, had I not been, I would have been on the 101st floor of the first tower that was hit that morning sitting at my desk.

In the almost 8 years since that day I have lost a lot of my faith in humanity. I never returned to any job, fearing that I would make new friends only to loose them, yet again, in some horrific way, nor have I made any attempts in general everyday life to make new friends for the same reason.

After going from having too many friends to count to being able to count them on one hand in the span of a few hours, it doesn't give you a lot of hope or ambition to start over. In a nutshell, I have just been plain scared to get involved again in caring for someone for fear that they won’t be there the next day when I wake up.

Then I saw your video, Matt, and the feeling that came over me is indescribable. I wish I could put it into words, but I can't. For those 4 brief minutes I can feel myself believing that people are actually "good". it made me feel hopeful again. I thank you for giving me a shred of the innocence that I had on September 10th back, I have been needing it.

                    * * * * *

On my way home from work, I stopped off to see Kamila and Ali, a nice Iraqi couple who arrived here with their four children about a month ago. I work in the area of refugee resettlement. At times, my work inspires me, especially on the days when I know that what I do is inherently worthwhile. On other days, it’s a struggle to get out of bed knowing I am going to face another day of watching people struggle to start over, or knowing that another war criminal got away with it, or hearing yet another horrific story about the evil things people do to one another in the name of war. Some days, it hurts to be human. Most days, though, I just marvel at the ability of the refugees to keep moving forward despite the heartbreaking losses they’ve endured. They inspire me.

Earlier this week, Radovan Karadzic was captured in Serbia. That should have made me happy, but instead it just made me remember all of the Bosnians I had worked with back in the late 1990s. They had been tortured, they had seen their families slaughtered, and at the time, they were nothing less than stunned by the sudden loss of their comfortable, middle-class lives. They told me stories that gave me nightmares for years.

Our current students are coming out of the refugee camps on the border of Thailand and Burma. The Karen are possibly the sweetest people I have ever met. Many of them have suffered terribly, and yet, they are ready to move on with their lives. We also have Nepalese students who lived in Bhutan but were forced to leave and were left, in effect, stateless. My other students are Somali, Eritrean, and Ethiopian. All in all, the Somalis might have the most jarring memories to process. They tend to do this in a place where they comfortable, and that is often in the classroom, speaking in hushed tones beside their teacher. I have insomnia.

Today was a day I felt discouraged and out of faith. I saw more that was grim than wasn’t. When I came home from Kamila and Ali’s apartment, I turned on my laptop and remembered that I still had a video to watch, although I had no idea what it was about. I clicked ‘play’ and just knew immediately I was going to like it. About 20 seconds into the video, I just started to cry. Serious, embarrassing weeping. Your video didn’t make me sad, Matt. Your video chipped something hard and sharp off of my heart and stopped it from hurting. that was a surprise. Your video showed another side of people

                   * * * * *

I watched your video and it brought me much joy, brought up some memories, and curiously I began to weep. Later I realized it brought back memories of my youth in Cuba, where we danced in the street very often. As an adolescent I was put in a prison camp, called UMAP.

Late at night, on a few precious occasions when guards and inmates were asleep, I would get up from my hammock and quietly do a dance similar to yours. These were brief moments of freedom, of joy, of hope of getting out of there, of being connected to the rest of humanity. This, you do all over the world. I eventually left Cuba, and at almost age 60 my memories of those days are intact. I checked your blog and noticed you have not been in Cuba. I hope you can go there some day, and bring your joyful dance to my native land.—a side I don’t see too often.

                    * * * * *

Dear Matt, in the last four years both of my parents have died, Katrina damaged my home greatly, gone through a bitter divorce and have been diagnosed with cancer, so sometimes I feel a little down. But yesterday I saw your video for the first time and laughed so hard I feel off my chair with tears in my eyes. Thank you for making me smile and laugh.

                    * * * * *

My husband is a Navy pilot and has flown hundreds of missions in the Middle East since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan started. When he saw your video for the first time last week, he saw you in front of the Kuwait towers dancing with the dog and go really quiet. Later he shared that he was so happy to see those towers in a peaceful and joyful context. To him they were a navigation aid that took him from the aircraft carrier and into a warzone day after day. To see them again, and to see you dancing with a dog (he is a huge dog lover) just really made him feel better about the memory of those towers.

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It Was a Musical Thing and You Were Supposed to Dance
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Comments

You give the most epicly awesome updates of any blogger I know.

Wow! That's a lot of data in a single post... will need time to process...
So it means you haven't been hibernating all this time after all. :)

Great picture you've got of the marquee at the festival. You don't see that everyday.

The first time I saw that video of Alan Watts speech, I thought to myself -"that is exactly about Matt Harding". Good thing you enjoyed that as well.

This has been a pleasure to read. I like the animated video, and even some of the absurd comments people send cannot diminish the light and hope you share. I'm glad you and Melissa are okay. I'm glad you travel and blog and make appearances, because you are making the world a better place. Hmmm... reminds me of a movie I saw recently: "The Man Who Planted Trees." You are planting hope and joy, and it's spreading. Thank you.

I'm glad the beautiful emails you get far outweigh the nasty ones.. and that your skin is thick enough after all this time to let it roll off your back. You're doing an amazing thing.

. . . it's true, your video does bring on this joyful, hopeful sort of weeping. i've seen your latest video a dozen times and each time my heart yaws open yet again. and each time it takes me by surprise, because i can't quite wrap my mind around why . . . but as the video finishes, i feel this sense of hope, as a global family, that we all like to dance, that there is goodness in us . . .

and your blog is so wonderful . . . you give such great posts . . . thank you so much for packing so much into them . . . they really do feel like an extension of the videos, a way to keep connected into that wonderful openness that is the dancing :)

You are right; there isn't much to be said after those touching emails you received.

You are a great writer with a wonderful sense of humor. Thanks for sharing your story. You said in the interview that you started this all as a goof. I loved that. It is the unintentional moments that can touch us the most, when you are doing something because you enjoy it and you want to please yourself. Thanks!

YEAH! A new update! You haven't fallen off the face of the earth! YEAH!

Luchy

Oh, how we all love to...belay...things. The cupcake metaphor was spot on though, not to mention funny as hell.

Congrats on teaming up with CAA. Sounds like a win-win for both of you.

The education video reminded me of Ken Robinson's talk at TED a few years back. He deals more with the bleeding of creativity, but he makes a good point that our current system does nothing but churn out college professors.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

I don't know how you read those e-mails. They're not even written to me and yet I get uncomfortable reading them, like I'm not really worthy of the words. If all that praise was being directed towards me, I really don't think I could handle it.

Oh, and the pure fact that you admit the wreck was awesome proves you are not getting old. =)

Hey Matt, great update, I was beginning to believe you had run off somewhere without us. Great emails, thanks for sharing. The feeling is the same with most poeple who watch. I sent it to a friend who works at Air Canada in Toronto, she played it and she said the next thing she knew every person in the (command center or whatever it is)room was watching and dancing around the room, they all loved. I watch it every day as an attitude adjustment! I've sent it all over the place and have yet to have anyone say they didn't like it.


Now that you have official representation....a good thing for you and your life.....please don't leave us!

Glad to hear you got a bicycle and are using it, enjoying the outdoors in your own neighborhood.

Loved the Alan Watts video, it's so true!

Happy also that you and Melissa did not get hurt in the accident!

Thanks for the update, really happy to hear from you. Can't wait to find out what your next project will be.

Namaste,

Rosemarie (one of your LA Dancers!) by the way do you know how cool it is to have been part of that video? It's super cool!!

once again...great update. Love the 'life is like music' video. Too bad you got bumped for the Pope in AU though :)

Sounds like life is good: a new agent, a new comic book, a new bike, new vision, and a new lease on life after escaping a car accident uninjured. And perhaps most significant, a new master plan--though I'm guessing serendipity will still play a major role.

You didn't mention appearing on Jimmy Kimmel while in L.A., but there you were!

Great, great entry. I missed hearing from/about you. :)

You provide a portal to the good side of humanity. Keep it up.

"[...] discussing the documentary her ex-nanny made for her about stuff being messed up in Africa. You want to be pleasantly surprised by projects like that -- at least, I do. The reaction from those I spoke to was along the lines of: "It was very nice of her to come to Michigan.""

Hilarious!! Never mind the message, the important thing is that the celebrity came to our town...

That said, one of the things that most enthralls me in your film is that the many, many towns and places you danced in are precisely what make up the message - the universality of joy.

Heartfelt thanks.

Antoine Cassar
http://muzajk.info

thank you for sharing your emails with us. lately i have really been questioning my future and what i want to do with it. i wish i could say you've given me answers but you certainly prod me into thinking. so thanks :)
still wish id have gone to dc to dance with you :-6

you keep mentioning that you dont know why ppl love your stuff and here it is in a nutshell, at least from my point of view...the smiling, it just warms my heart when i see all those people who are obviously strangers having fun and smiling with you when you do your goofy dance

Okay, first let me just wipe the tears out of my eyes as I finish reading the letters. WOW...the fact that your video is touching so many lives in a positive way is just thrilling. I guess it is true when they say that it only takes a spark to get a fire going.

Thanks Matt for taking the time to do this. I too traveled for a while and tried to keep everyone informed via blog and photos, so I know that it takes time to recap days and download it all. You do an awesome job of it, while giving us a peak into what goes on in your brain. Fascinating. I really like your sense of humor and LOVE what you are doing with your life. It must just be surreal.

Anyway....keep doing what you are doing and keep at bay the neigh sayers and the people who try and capitalize on your vision. Just go with the flow and enjoy every minute of it!

What to say. Amazing is a word. I found you by clicking on a link signed by one of my BlogBlast For Peace readers. When I noticed the Papua tribe at the front of the paused video I was intrigued. And then I saw a guy dance.
And dance. And dance. And dance....and couldn't stop watching. Or smiling.

Thank you for bringing the world a little closer together today. I will post about this on my blog. You seriously rock.

Mimi Lenox

I got handed a free sample of Stride Gum today down at the waterfront. I said to the guy, "Hey, you're the "Where the hell is Matt?" guys!" He looked at me like I was speaking Mandarin, and then said, "Oh, you mean the Stride people." Well, yes, you're wearing a Stride shirt and hat and handing out their product, so I thought I meant you, but I guess you just got hired for the day. And given a shirt and hat.

Anyway, thought you'd know that, well, product placement works ;)

Blah blah blah, Matt is awesome.

I want to give a bump to the above linked video.

http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

Excellent speech.

WOW.

Hope Melissa doesn't mind when I say I LOVE YOU! :-) (in an "I'm old enough to be your mom" kind of way, of course ;-) )

As others have said, I can happily watch your videos over and over - and I always think, you're so amazing, look at you, how you inspire and move, and bring people together. Oh, and I bought the music on Amazon :-)

Thank you!

Muito sucesso...Isto é só o começo.

I was sad to be on a business trip in Buenos Aires when you visited us at Yahoo! Everyone was so excited you were there. (Also sad: I was at Yahoo! when you were in Buenos Aires.)

Keep up the great work!

I love your video, Matt. I cannot watch it enough. My sister sent it to me while I was watching the olympics the other day, and it just completed my vision of how the world CAN really get along with everyone in it. Just put aside our differences, laugh, love, & DANCE TOGETHER! Why has it been so hard for all of us to live in harmony and love one another? Music is the universal language for all the different people in this world. Thank you so very much for making these videos. They have really touched me deeply and make me believe in our world once again. THANK YOU!!!! =^_^=

Matt, congratulations on being an inspiration to so many. (and for having such a great attitude about the rest of them.)

Well done, and thank-you!

Warmest,

Carrie And Jonathan
http://www.CarrieAndJonathan.com

I plan on showing your dance to my third grade music students. And yes, I still tear up when I see it.

So you did it again, Matt. Made me cry in a public place. The first time was from watching the video at work in Guatemala the day it came out and the second was by posting all those amazing e-mails in your latest post (I'm currently in a coffee shop). I feel almost inadequate following those stories, but I feel you should know that you have been a great source of inspiration and restorer of faith in humanity for me also. And just think, that wasn't even your intention!
I was living and working in Guatemala when I stumbled across your page almost two years ago. There were times I felt very alone there and while I learned to appreciate the cultural differences for what they were, I also greatly missed my family in the states and the peace of mind that comes with known variables. I was thrilled when you announced you would be going through Central America making this last video, but alas, plans were foiled; darned Brazil and their US citizen visa policy!
I am currently starting grad school in Arizona and while the transition period is mostly over, you, your posts and your journals have been a constant source of connection to the world and a wonderful reminder that people are inherently good. Thank you.

Life is so beautifull !!!

Thanks for remember me :)

Congratulations from Brazil,

Hey Matt,

Having recently discovered your "work" I'm not surprised at the huge positive impact you're making around the globe - keep up the great work and enjoy each day for what it brings!

Glad to read you have an affinity for us Aussies too. As you would know, it ain't called "the lucky country" for nothing!

All the best,
Alex
;)

I just want to say thanks for all that you do. I know you're a regular guy ... but, to many of us other regular people, you've helped us realize that we're here to enjoy the world around us and regardless of the sincerely dreadful things that happen in everyday life ... you can always choose to dance! So because of you're vacation 'goof' we all can enjoy life a little bit more. You're gift is laughter and smiles and helping others realize that they too can do a little dance and bring a little happiness to someones heart! It's funny I can't watch your videos or read your blogs without crying happy tears and counting all my blessings.

thanks again!
Heather -Austin,TX-
(and thanks for dancing in Austin!! rock on Stevie Ray Vaughn statue! )

Big post, but lots of good there to digest. Its good, Matt - its all good and I hope this wave you're on lasts a good long time. The world needs it and you're providing it - just a simple reminder that no matter who or where we are, dancing is unifying and it reminds us that we're really all in this together.

Wow.
Just Wow.

Someone posted your video on DailyKos, in a diary written by an Italian who was inspired to get up at 3am to watch Obama's speech live. I'd seen it before, months ago, but I watched it again.

and cried again.

And then I come here and read this post, with the amazing messages at the end, and I'm crying again.

I think you should be sponsored by a tissue company!

Let me get this straight---you do videos of you dancing some silly dance and THAT gets you on tv and at big high priced things??? You must be kidding-right? People actually LIKE seeing you dance???!!!! You do not contribute one single thing to this world--gum pays for your traveling ---you have no job yet you are famous???!!! Lord--what has this world come to???

LOL ydnas,

I have spent a long lifetime working very hard, raising 6 wonderful children, being paid reasonably well, adding 5 advanced degrees to my name, and earning the respect and admiration of my peers. As my days get short, I can say without a shred of doubt that I am a good person and the world is a better for my having been here.

I can also say, without a shred of doubt, that in only 3 years Matt and Melissa have done ~MORE~ to make the world a better place.

So WhoTheHellIsYdnas?

hey matt why u come to indonesia theres alot things in here you could see like bali,borobudur temple and a lot of people love to dance with u

By posting these comments, you are bringing people together; much like you have with your videos. For a fellow who described himself as an "itinerant deadbeat", you seem to me to be doing great honor to the spark of life you were given.

I just watched your video and I'm insanely jealous... well maybe not insanely.. Any change of starting a dance with matt caravan/caraplane...

Add me to the list of depressed people who have gotten relief from your videos! They are like shots of Joy into the veins, and without terrible side-effects! THANK YOU.

Thank you for what you've done. Thank you for enjoying yourself, and dancing with spontaneity and joy and an open heart, and inviting the world to join in, one person at a time. I hope you get to visit some of your favorite places again soon. I hope you always have the same joy in dancing that I see now.

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