A Cappella Innovations

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Postby acageek » Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:39 am

AMalkoff wrote:
livingfiction wrote:
dherriges wrote:Also:
-On the other hand, bringing that up in order to discredit legitimate concerns about the event and its organizers' motives is ridiculous. That's a textbook example of an ad hominem attack.


True, unless the ones doing the attacking, and the ones doing the vandalism are the same.


well, as long as y'all continue with the cryptic commentary and pronouncements about these goings-on, we have no idea what you're talking about, and you lack legitimacy.

and sure, dismiss the original posters if you will. the other concerns from many others of us (many of whom are not posting here) should NOT be dismissed.


So, I don't know a lot about what all this A Cappella Innovations and NXIVM (weird spelling) is all about, but in reading this thread I see people who are on the side of "THIS IS A CULT," those in the middle, and those who really support the event.

Seems to me like the opponents of the event and its activities are having a hard time accepting that there are multiple perspectives from which to view the issue.

I mean come on, every one of the posters you are accusing here has said, "this is my perspective on the event, limited as it may be, so I will speak to what I know and let others, who know about them, address other points that need to be."

The organizers of the event will need to stand up and say what is what in order to put any of this to bed, but to say anyone is being cryptic or dismissive when they openly admit to having less than all the answers is simply ridiculous.
Last edited by acageek on Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby mcbc » Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:04 am

acageek wrote:The organizers of the event will need to stand up and say what is what in order to put any of this to bed, but to say anyone is being cryptic or dismissive when they openly admit to having less than all the answers is retarded.


Um OK then I guess call me Rain Man. OK before the thread gets hijacked by talk of poo and urine, I'll say one thing. I'm just erring on the side of caution which I think is smart to do given the level that the rumors and innuendo has risen to. And so far, the best answer given (smart people don't fall for cult traps) is piss poor.

Speaking of urine, someone offline mentioned this to me ... to alleged defacators: who the heck does that to rooms purchased by an alleged cult??? Seriously, it's like the start of a really bad horror movie.
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Postby mikex » Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:30 am

acageek wrote:
So, I don't know a lot about what all this A Cappella Innovations and NXIVM (weird spelling) is all about, but in reading this thread I see people who are on the side of "THIS IS A CULT," those in the middle, and those who really support the event.

Seems to me like the opponents of the event and its activities are having a hard time accepting that there are multiple perspectives from which to view the issue.

I mean come on, every one of the posters you are accusing here has said, "this is my perspective on the event, limited as it may be, so I will speak to what I know and let others, who know about them, address other points that need to be."

The organizers of the event will need to stand up and say what is what in order to put any of this to bed, but to say anyone is being cryptic or dismissive when they openly admit to having less than all the answers is retarded.


Let me go on record and say while I didn't attend the event, I have been contacted by A Cappella Innovations for other reasons, related and unrelated.

I personally think the event is a great idea, and the fact that a group is trying to provide a service to the community, is a great thing both for improving the quality of groups and help with exposure of the genre.

However, from what I've heard and read, we need to be objective and look to see if its possible that a group is trying to organize an event for reasons other than supporting a cappella. And the fact that it is well documented that the leader of this event is associated with less than sparkling activities, should be an indication that this is more than what it seems.

Don't get me wrong, I am all for people breaking out into the community and trying to improve the art-form we all love. But again, we must remain objective in our attitudes and efforts.

The most important thing right now is the distribution of correct information, from the actual experiences of the groups and organizers, to the thoughts and opinions of the participants. This information should be available to any of the groups who will possibly attend the event in the future, in order to objectify and make their own decisions on attending.

That is why I encourage any group or individual who wants to remain anonymous to contact myself, or if they approve, one of the CASA board members. I personally will listen to your concerns and will try to create a consistent picture of the events that transpired.

At this juncture we must consider the facts: This organization is led by an individual whom hasn't had the best track record. The organization performed actions which were borderline inappropriate, and should be very clear next time on what will be required from groups BEFORE they attend the event. Lastly, the organization should be very careful not to encroach on the rights of the participants, as it might lead to legal issues in the future.

The participants should in the future be aware that while what the organization did or said might have not been a popular way of proceeding, the event is still organized and run by that organization. The participants should next time decide on whether or not to leave the event if they feel uncomfortable or mislead and not react negatively to the situation by means of vandalism.

There are many unknowns to this situation, and hopefully the community can look objectively at the situation and make a determination whether or not to support such activities in the future.

And remember, you could say quite a few benign organizations are cults, take the a cappella community for example, from an uneducated and subjective point of view on the situation an individual could very well think that. So just try to remain objective through all of this and trust the facts, not necessarily the opinions.
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Postby AMalkoff » Wed Apr 09, 2008 7:59 am

acageek wrote:The organizers of the event will need to stand up and say what is what in order to put any of this to bed, but to say anyone is being cryptic or dismissive when they openly admit to having less than all the answers is retarded.


would appreciate not being called "retarded" when my concern here is the for the good of the community. that's uncalled for. but i'll bow out from here on in.
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Postby Amanda Newman » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:41 am

I am amazed this conversation has gone on as long as it has, and that people are even calling the organizers of this event and NXIVM to give their side of the story.

If an event is thrown by a known cult, you don't go, no matter how good the music is. It's like letting your kids trick-or-treat at a known sex offender's house because he gives out the best candy.

I mean, come on people.
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Postby Amanda Newman » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:43 am

Regarding the Crosbys, I will note that last year, after not placing at finals, they threw a hissy fit and trashed their dressing room, doing literally thousands of dollars of physical and structural damage. We're not just talking garbage strewn around the room -- we're talking holes punched in the walls.

Fortunately for them, Alice Tully Hall was scheduled for complete renovation the next week.
Last edited by Amanda Newman on Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:51 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby borski » Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:49 am

Amanda Grish wrote:I am amazed this conversation has gone on as long as it has, and that people are even calling the organizers of this event and NXIVM to give their side of the story.

If an event is thrown by a known cult, you don't go, no matter how good the music is. It's like letting your kids trick-or-treat at a known sex offender's house because he gives out the best candy.

I mean, come on people.


Everything's a known cult, including this wonderful a cappella community we have here. This is an incredibly narrow-minded view, in my opinion. Being safe is important, but the fact that there have been two great events with some issues and a lot of a cappella genius at the shows (presumably who aren't in NXIVM) should mean something. I don't mean any offense by that, so please don't take it as such. All I mean is that there are plenty of organizations that have been called cults that have had absolutely good intentions.

On the other hand, nobody has stepped up and answered the call, so my faith is steadily dwindling. Personally, if anyone asks me for my SS, they can shove off. In addition, I'm way too arrogant of a prick to bow down to anyone or demean myself in any way. In this respect, my arrogance and (over?) self-confidence is a good thing. :)
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Postby mcbc » Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:02 am

And ... Group-think 1, me 0 :)

I know that everyone here on RARB is ubersmart, went to the best schools, listens to NPR and can recite lines from Frasier backwards. But in the handful of college groups that attended, maybe there's one or perhaps one per group that is susceptible to obvious ploys that a cult might employ. Or maybe there's a group that *shock* doesn't read RARB and has no idea about this. I can name one right now.

So I guess we are collectively saying f the feebleminded. If they are dumb enough to give away their SOS, maybe exchange cell phone numbers w/ some random (but hot) employee of the org then they deserve what they get. As long as I can see a little Fork, fork the rest.

So to borrow Amanda's analogy (and twisting it and spinning it like I'm prone to do) ... some people in this thread are saying ... I'm going to let my kids eat, enjoy and brag about the awesome sex offender candy but I'm not going to say a word to the next kid skipping up to the sex offender's door. It would be "retarded" to say something. Sucks to be him or her.

PS And if that really was Alison Mack that posted, then umm hi! I luv you. I'm a big fan and I would be honored if you ever wanted to listen to my group.
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Postby playdeep » Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:14 am

It was Allison. She and I spoke after her post. She is really a wonderful person who truly cares about others. One of the things I enjoy about her Nicki and Kris is that they didnt only want to make a difference in film, but rather be open to other ways they could explore and use talents and their success in the past to build more opportunity in other areas. This is one reason they are branching out from acting and are pursuing other goals and interests.

They are very interested in helping people come together and build solid and meaningful relationships. Talk to any one of them and you will see how they are interested in everyone whom they meet and pay close attention when you are speaking with them no matter the distractions. Classy. I look forward to seeing them continually be advocates of vocal music and applaud them in choosing acappella since there are many other causes they could have chosen to spend their time on.
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Postby kevin47 » Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:30 am

What the hell is going on? This thread is like the screenplay for a Paul Thomas Anderson film.

(sucks thumb and huddles in a corner)
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Postby matthewnym » Wed Apr 09, 2008 11:57 am

I have to say that I think we've inadvertently stumbled upon the ultimate truth about a cappella:

NXIVM is the nefarious, nameless force that for years has caused the X-Chords to be robbed in every a cappella competition.
Last edited by matthewnym on Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby jamesq84 » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:01 pm

I have to say that I think we've inadvertently stumbled upon the ultimate truth about a cappella:

NVIXM is the nefarious, nameless force that for years has caused the X-Chords to be robbed in every a cappella competition.



By FAR the best post of this thread . . .
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Postby Box_Beatin_Lady » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:10 pm

I'm glad RARB time-stamps our posts, so I have documented evidence of the exact day and time Amanda Grish became my hero. Hearts and bunnies to you for a most excellent analogy, Madame Grish. :)

And also, yeah yeah yeah, cult stuff. We talked about this last time, a lot. Boo cults. Unless they have my address, in which case, yay cults! Seriously though, if you're uncomfy with something about it, don't go. If you have a strong will and the ability to form the word "no" (groups with arrangements of "Apologize" should have this one mastered, so that's a good 90% of us since I'm in one of those many groups), and you want to see what it's about, that's your call. Since I didn't hear anything about powdered drink mix or Nikes, I don't think we've reached mother-ship level here, but it does seem like there's a definitely shady element. To each his/her/transgenered-person's own, I say.

But much more importantly, when do we get to the part where we talk about the Rock of Love 2 scene reinactment that occured (aka the alleged Woodstock of Bodily Fluids)???
My lip gloss does nothing. Damn it.

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Postby The Crosbys » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:24 pm

We’re already addressing this privately with the festival organizers and other prominent members of the a cappella community, but since accusations have been directed at us, we’ll set the record straight here as well. First, we’d like to apologize for the controversy caused by our actions this past weekend. The last thing we wanted to do was unduly alarm any members of the a cappella community who organized or attended A Cappella Innovations. We heard rumors about NXIVM from other groups Friday night, and we became more concerned when we researched its sponsor early Saturday morning. In an ill-conceived attempt to learn the truth, we bombarded Allison Mack and Nicki Clyne with questions at the after-party in Troy. Our approach was brash and antagonistic, and we completely understand that Allison and Nicki may have felt harassed and uncomfortable. We are sincerely sorry if either of them felt threatened.

We also want to apologize more generally for immediately jumping to conclusions about the motives of Keith Raniere and NXIVM. We’re very concerned that they weren’t forthcoming with their sponsorship, but we’d definitely appreciate hearing their side of the issue. Also, other people have pointed out that the groups did receive constructive feedback, and we should note that there were positive aspects of the festival. As you may know, we attended last semester, and benefited greatly from the planned events, along with the generosity and kindness of those organizing it.

Finally, we want to address the accusations of vandalism in the hotel. After the party in Troy, we came back to the hotel and continued to hang out with two other groups. People from multiple groups were moving between three or four different rooms, and we were louder than we should have been, but no one we’ve talked to committed or saw any acts of vandalism (throwing feces, urine, spraying fire extinguishers – none of us has any idea where these rumors came from). When we checked out Sunday, one of the two Crosby rooms was left in despicable condition, as Ben put it (e.g. cans, half-eaten fast food and wrappers everywhere). The guys who slept in this room were very angry with the way the weekend had gone, and they initially told the rest of us that they had cleaned everything up. We’re mortified that this is the last impression we made; regardless of the issues we had, retaliation like this obviously isn’t acceptable, and we’re discussing how to discipline the members who were involved. It’s really unfortunate that we’ve distracted people from the other aspects of the weekend, because we think there’s still a lot to learn.
Thanks very much for hearing us out,
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Postby Clare » Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:38 pm

I am deeply offended by the conduct of certain individuals in this community.

Please forgive my writing as I explain my experiences. I am the organizer of A Cappella Innovations AND Keith Raniere is a dear friend of mine AND I am deeply committed to NXIVM.

First, I know the people who back Rick Ross to fabricate the cult controversy through a carefully funded, politically orchestrated campaign of media and law.

Here are some references relating to Rick Ross:
Here is what Rick Ross believes is acceptable conduct:
http://realrickross.blogspot.com/2008/04/jason-scott-18-years-old-testimony.html
Here is the judge’s opinion of Rick Ross in that case:
http://realrickross.blogspot.com/2008/04/jason-scott-vs-rick-ross.html
Here is an excerpt of a psychiatrist’s opinion of Rick Ross:
http://realrickross.blogspot.com/2008/04/rick-ross-mental-instability.html
Here is Rick Ross’s past criminal history:
http://realrickross.blogspot.com/2008/04/rick-ross-criminal-history-timeline.html
Here is an article in a reputable news source about Rick Ross:
http://realrickross.blogspot.com/2008/04/rick-ross-from-nation.html

These references are difficult, but not impossible, to find on the internet because of political protection. Keith tends not to talk about his achievements and has always kept very quiet about the people he knows. Is he money driven? Although his past businesses have put him in a profit position of over $1 million dollars a month, he did not take this money and lives in the same house he has for the last 20 years: an $80k (purchase price) condominium in a small suburban neighborhood. He lives a very simple, modest life where he teaches voice, piano and invents—he also coaches some to the top people in the world. Is he power hungry? I have worked with him on the AI festivals and my sister is on the executive board of Nxivm. Keith is respected but often can be convinced to change his mind and is at times outvoted. He is both rational and compromising.

Having watched Keith’s life for the past 5 years (and I know others who have known him for as long as 30 years—Karen Unterreiner, one of the facilitators at the festival) he is neither money driven nor power driven and always strives to do the right thing.

Here are some facts about Keith Raniere:
This is the preface to Keith Raniere’s book from a prominent academic. Keith’s articles have been featured in each edition of Luis Todd’s journal for the past several years and there was a complete edition devoted to Keith. Here is the foreword to Keith’s book: http://www.acappellainnovations.com/luistodd.html

Here is more information on Keith:

He is noted as one of the 3 top problem solvers in the world and was in the Guinness book under highest IQ, 1989.

Because of Keith Raniere and his creations:
Nancy Salzman, my sister and I had a personal meeting last month with the Dalai Lama on Keith’s ethics program and children’s school. We will have a second meeting with the Dalai Lama this week.
Nancy Salzman served in Keith’s stead to head the international conference on bioethics for Mexico. (Remember, Nancy is Allegedly the “cult” head right under Keith.)
Some people who have taken Nxivm programs: Sheila Johnson (co-founder of black entertainment network), Sir Richard Branson, Dr. Ivan Misner (CEO of BNI, see youtube video@4:00mins http://youtube.com/watch?v=rguyMM3oh3Y&feature=related and also read http://www.bnipodcast.com/2007/10/03/episode-025-the-butterfly-effect/ this references a Nxivm training we did on Necker Island), Royalty from several countries, Stephen Cooper, CEO of Enron hired to rectify past ethical problems, Members of 3 past first families of Mexico, many prominent actors, musicians, and athletes. Do you think a recommendation from Keith Raniere could help A cappella? How do you think we “pull in” the funding and experts? Do you really think such business people and royalty would be involved if Nxivm was a cult? Do you think Keith needs to recruit college students?


Now it is everyone’s choice who to believe Ross (see above) or Raniere (see above.) In the case of people who have attended AI and met me, Siobahn, Keith, Nancy, Lauren, Mark, Karen etc. they have additional data. By continuing to spread the Ross propaganda you support Ross, a criminal. I think most people would not want to do that. I guess we will see if people continue to further his position.

In case some of you did not know, I was ranked 12th in the US and 80th in the world for equestrian show jumping. I came to Keith for help in riding. Keith does not ride nor does he know anything about riding proper. His method of analysis rapidly uncovered things that the best riding coaches of the world could not see. My results were unprecedented.

Keith has done similar things for world class soccer players, musicians, business people, actors, dancers, scientists, weight-lifters and singers. Just because he is approachable and non-assuming do not assume he is not extraordinary.

Is NXIVM a cult? Is Keith a “cult” leader? I think not. Of course some people who have already “dug-in” their heals will not want to really consider this information. Nxivm is an ethics and critical thinking education program of international distinction and repute. It is not a “cult” by any definition. The prominent people of the world know this. If one believed individuals such as Rick Ross, they would think Oprah, the Pentecostal Churches, Mormon Churches, Amway, Waldorf schools etc. etc. etc. are all “cults.” Just remember, media likes a controversy and no media had called Nxivm a “cult” until Rick Ross created the controversy.

One last note: If you believe the Kristin Snyder suicide story you should probably examine it more closely!

Ancient Chinese proverb – If you believe everything you read, better not read.

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