WARNING: "A Cappella Innovations" = Cult Scam???

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WARNING: "A Cappella Innovations" = Cult Scam???

Postby woodstein2007 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:00 pm

Let me start off by saying that I SERIOUSLY doubt that any of the a cappella people involved in the upcoming "A Cappella Innovations" conference in Albany <www.acappellainnovations.com> are aware of what I'm about to discuss. I'm sure they were just attracted to the idea of attending an interesting sounding conference with some impressive celebrity judges.

I was considering convincing my college group to go, too. I was especially impressed that Edgar Bronfman, Jr. (CEO of Warner Music Group) and Kristin Kreuk (actress from Smallville) would supposedly be attending. I was curious about the conference though, since it seemed to spring up out of nowhere.

I looked on the "contacts" page to see who was in charge. I noticed that one of the names, Clare Bronfman, had the same last name as the Warner guy. "Oh," I thought, "he must be doing a favor for his relative." Curious about the relative, I Googled her. That's when it started to get weird.

Here's a link to a repost of an article from the Albany Times-Union:
<http://www.rickross.com/reference/esp/esp66.html>

Apparently Clare Bronfman is heavily involved with "Nxivm" <www.nxivm.com>, a cult. Her father (a multi-millionaire), has denounced it as such in print, and isn't speaking to her or her sister. Edgar is her half-brother. I couldn't find much info on the other organizer, Siobahn Hotaling, but a Google search of her name did turn up a "siobahn@nxivm.com" e-mail address.

The more I read about "Nxivm" (pronounced like Nexium, the little purple pill), the scarier it got. Here's an article from the New York Post:

<http://www.nypost.com/seven/10012007/news/nationalnews/nxivms_vexing_effect_on_believ.htm>

And here's an article from New York Magazine:

<http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2007/10/all_about_nxivm_the_cultlike_o.html>

They deny they're a cult, but: They're run by a messianic figure named "Vanguard" who got caught running a pyramid scheme and claims to have the highest IQ in the world, and people who have gone through their (expensive) seminars have allegedly ended up killing themselves and/or going insane, thanks to the "break them down and build them back up" tactics and hypnotism...

Why is Kristin Kreuk involved in this? Check out this series of articles at Cult News:

<http://www.cultnews.com/?cat=49>

Apparently she's in the cult, too.

Could the fact that so many people involved are all part of the same scary cult be a coincidence? Am I just a paranoid journalism student with too much time on his hands? I'll leave that up to you.

By the way, the headquarters of Nxivm is in Albany, NY. And the website for the conference was apparently registered just three weeks ago.

<http://www.whois.net/whois_new.cgi?d=acappellainnovations&tld=com>

Not sure why that last bit is significant, it just seemed a little odd to me -- such a big conference, organized so quickly.

Sorry for the anonymous nature of this post -- supposedly Nxivm targets its enemies with legal harrassment and private detectives, and I'd rather avoid that.
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Postby dekesharon » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:20 pm

Huh. Wow. Well then.

I certainly don't know nothin' 'bout no cult.

I do know this: I don't think the a cappella workshops are going to be cult gatherings. Any more than they already are ;)

I also know this: If this guy does have the highest IQ in the world, he should know better than to focus his cult's enrollment on the contemporary a cappella community!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

Minimal media exposure, minimal general public involvement, minimal cred throughout America! Perhaps Scientology is targeting the National Parcheesi Players Association and there's an "obscure societal subculture arms race?"

Whoo boy, this concept makes me laugh.

Anyhoo, I'll be there and if things get ugly, just come stand behind the House Jacks. We're tall, and the other guys are buff (me, well, lanky is beautiful!). We'll have a good time no matter what.

:)

P.S. If it is a cult, and those hot women are all cult members, then you know they're easily impressionable, which is something. I'm just sayin'.

P.P.S. For the record, I'm pretty sure I have the highest IQ in the world, and for $7,500 I promise to give you a bangup 16 day long seminar. Lunches included. Heck, I'll pay for all your food. Sensory deprivation optional.

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

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Postby borski » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:20 pm

...is this for real?

Resonance was on board to go; should we back out? Deke, save us with your mighty jacks! :p
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Postby bstevens » Mon Nov 12, 2007 7:50 pm

DekeSharon wrote:Huh. Wow. Well then.
Anyhoo, I'll be there and if things get ugly, just come stand behind the House Jacks. We're tall, and the other guys are buff (me, well, lanky is beautiful!). We'll have a good time no matter what.

P.S. If it is a cult, and those hot women are all cult members, then you know they're easily impressionable, which is something. I'm just sayin'.


Deke, I'll make a deal with you: you let me join the House Jacks Fight Club (Jeet Kune Do, baby!) and I'll teach you how to say "I love you, [actress' name]" in eleven languages.
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Postby dekesharon » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:00 pm

It's a deal.

But I already know how to say "So sorry, I'm married... but I'm definitely going to be 'googling' you" in English, and that's all that really matters ;)

- Deke Sharon • 800.579.9305 • http://www.dekesharon.com

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Postby borski » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:03 pm

So I don't know...is this even worth it? I mean...I'd rather not lead my fellow group members right into the hands of a cultish death trap and be forced to sit through mind-numbing videos about Vanguard the Great or whatever. Also sensory deprivation sucks; I've been there.

Thoughts? I'm getting told we should back out, but I don't know.
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Postby RnBMrE » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:17 pm

DekeSharon wrote:P.P.S. For the record, I'm pretty sure I have the highest IQ in the world, and for $7,500 I promise to give you a bangup 16 day long seminar. Lunches included. Heck, I'll pay for all your food. Sensory deprivation optional.


Deke Sharon Bible, huh? The Vanguard characteristics, whether openly stated or not, are beginning to align themselves more and more clearly. Hmm.... :-D

Matt Emery CASA Director of Communications Three-time Recipient of RARB "Post of the Year" Title

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Postby Gerrware » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:14 pm

I saw Nxivm come up when I dropped a quick google search, but I figured it was some business venture. Never connected it to cults.

Thanks a lot for the heads up, just helps to know sometimes. Time to ask some questions?
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Postby borski » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:34 pm

Who's up for a conference call with Siobahn tomorrow morning? ;)
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Postby Jimmy » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:43 pm

That's pretty bizarre. Cult or no, the organizers of this thing don't seem to be the most aca-savvy people in the world:
A Cappella Innovations Website wrote:All instruments, percussive sounds, echoes, electronic sounds, and sound effects are made only with sounds from the human voice and body. The exception to this is the occasional addition of reverb, which simulates a room dynamic. The effect of reverb could be achieved without electronics in the appropriate setting.

Clearly these folks did not see Fork perform this weekend.

Site doesn't have any info about tickets or registration- just curious as to how much they are charging?
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Postby H.F. » Mon Nov 12, 2007 9:49 pm

It's free. Or rather, they aren't charging groups to attend.
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Postby Gerrware » Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:10 pm

H.F. wrote:It's free. Or rather, they aren't charging groups to attend.


I've got an email exchange with Clare supporting that there is no cost to participation in any way.
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Postby borski » Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:17 pm

Gerrware is right, they're not charging groups to attend.

Siobahn emailed me with regards to some rental rates and I sent Siobahn a link to this thread in hopes that she will attempt to clear things up; we'll see what happens. (I didn't feel too bad about it since I know they've read RARB and posted on it before).
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Postby sahjahpah » Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:19 pm

Ooh! A lima bean that looks just like a pitchpipe! I'll put it with the others!
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Postby Jimmy » Mon Nov 12, 2007 10:22 pm

If they are indeed putting this on because they want to advance a cappella as an art form, that's a pretty hefty donation by these folks to the groups that attend. This venue looks pretty swanky and must cost a fortune to rent for 2 nights (considering our on-campus performing arts center runs $5,000+), and I doubt that the House Jacks or anyone else is doing this for free. Either they are some very generous people who are very into a cappella, or there's something else going on....
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