What is Xanadu?
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People often ask what the name of our program means. You may remember "Xanadu" as the place "where time stops and the magic never ends" in Olivia Newton John's movie by the same name. Although this was not the original inspiration, a few people mentioned it thinking it was.  I eventually checked it out and appreciate their suggestions...
  


In the movie "Xanadu," ONJ plays 'Kira' a muse sent to earth to inspire the struggling artist 'Sonny.'  Together with the help of another older artist 'Danny' who Kira had helped 4 decades ago, but has forgotten because she always forgets about the last person she helped, they build a magical night club/recording studio encircled by a roller rink.  As their relationship develops, Kira and Sonny skate and sing as they turn into animated fairy, bird and fish versions of themselves. Kira has no identification, no appartment or even a phone number. She's still a complete mystery to Sonny but it's the 70's and they both skates really well so they naturally fall in love.

Inspired by Kira, Sonny and Danny now have their new club which is a brilliant blend of the 40's and 80's.  But Kira's work is done and she reluctantly breaks up with Sonny who is heartbroken. Luckily after speaking with her father, greek god Zeus, Kira persuades him into turning her into a regular human free of all her muse responsibilities. Now Kira and Sonny are free to continue dating and skating.

Looking back, that time was probably our golden age.  We really need to bring back roller discos. And I'd almost forgotten how incredibly lovely Olive Newton John is.  There is no denying that ONJ rocks in "Xanadu" and her timeless appeal will surely live on through the ages.  Below are some links to YouTube music video's associated with the movie.  They're very cool and worth checking out.

"Xanadu Ultimate Dance Remix - Remix song "Xanadu" by Kablam. This is really good.

A place where nobody dared to go
The love that we came to know
They call it Xanadu

And now, open your eyes and see
What we have made is real
We are in Xanadu

A million lights are dancing
And there you are, a shooting star
An everlasting world and you're here with me
Eternally... Xanadu....

The love, the dream, the echoes of long ago
You needed the world to know, they are in Xanadu

The dream, the love that came through a million years
That lived on through all the tears
It came to Xanadu

A million lights are dancing and there you are
A shooting star, an everlasting world and you're
Here with me eternally"

"Magic" Great lyrics and ONJ surpasses beauty in this one. From Xanadu soundtrack - my favorite.

Come take my hand
You should know me
I've always been in your mind
You know I will be kind
I'll be guiding you

Building your dream
Has to start now
There's no other road to take
You won't make a mistake
I'll be guiding you

You have to believe we are magic
Nothin' can stand in our way
You have to believe we are magic
Don't let your aim ever stray
And if all your hopes survive
Your destiny will arrive
I'll bring all your dreams alive
For you

Xanadu Megamix  This six minute music video has everything - really - and ONJ wears a Tiger print outfit 2 minutes into it. Meeeow.

 
"Compton Magic" Rap group NWA video sample of ONJ's "Magic." Jarring contrasts.

I added some utube links to Final Fantasy X below because it incorporates beautifully alot of Coleridge's Xanadu imagery in "Kubla Khan."  The movie "Xanadu" is also based on "Kubla Khan."  

Final Fantasy X Trailer

FFX Intro Dome Concert

FFX Zanarkand Dream

FFX Yuna's Fall

FFX Farplane Underground Glen Scene


FFX Yuna's Dance

FFX Lake Scene

FFX Song "1000 words"

FFX Ending

The original inspiration for the name of our program did come from "Kubla Khan," Samuel Coleridge's opium-induced vision written in 1797. It's posted below followed by an analysis. In the 18th century, opium was legal and commonly being used as an analgesic. Of course it was also a highly addictive and often lethal. Coleridge describes his poem as a small fragment of an expansive vision he experienced when he fell asleep right after reading the lines: "Here the Khan Kublai commanded a palace to be built, and a stately garden thereunto. And thus ten miles of fertile ground were inclosed with a wall..."  

He was reading a reference to Marco Polo's description of Zhandu, the summer palace of Kubla Khan
.  Claiming he had the Mandate of Heaven, he had ordered his subjects build him a suitable home. The Khan would retreat there from the warring and turbulences of his empire into his own cloistered reality. The following is the text of Coleridge's poem based on his dream.

Kubla Khan

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
         Down to a sunless sea.
So twice five miles of fertile ground
With walls and towers were girdled round :
And there were gardens bright with sinuous rills,
Where blossomed many an incense-bearing tree;
And here were forests ancient as the hills,
Enfolding sunny spots of greenery.
But oh! that deep romantic chasm which slanted
Down the green hill athwart a cedarn cover!
A savage place! as holy and enchanted
As e'er beneath a waning moon was haunted
By woman wailing for her demon-lover!
And from this chasm, with ceaseless turmoil seething,
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing,
A mighty fountain momently was forced:
Amid whose swift half-intermitted burst
Huge fragments vaulted like rebounding hail,
Or chaffy grain beneath the thresher's flail:
And 'mid these dancing rocks at once and ever
It flung up momently the sacred river.
Five miles meandering with a mazy motion
Through wood and dale the sacred river ran,
Then reached the caverns measureless to man,
And sank in tumult to a lifeless ocean:
And 'mid this tumult Kubla heard from far
Ancestral voices prophesying war!
The shadow of the dome of pleasure
Floated midway on the waves ;
Where was heard the mingled measure
From the fountain and the caves.
It was a miracle of rare device,
A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!
A damsel with a dulcimer
In a vision once I saw :
It was an Abyssinian maid,
And on her dulcimer she played,
Singing of Mount Abora.
Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight 'twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,
That sunny dome! those caves of ice!
And all who heard should see them there,
And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honey-dew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise
For those interested, the following is an analysis of Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" adapted by combining some points from an essay written by "faeri" with some of my own.

Samuel Coleridge's "Kubla Khan" can be taken at face value as a simple string of imagery from a vivid dream however it is also deceptively complex and meaningful.  The themes, structure, contrasts, rhythm and sound devices all fuse to suggest a deeper, subconscious level of understanding.  The five opening lines sound like a chant or incantation and set a mysterious and supernatural tone from the outset.  It is also here that the reader is being made aware of a hidden 'measureless' depth below the surface that is beyond man's control or even understanding.  Another important theme throughout the poem is that of good versus evil. Coleridge uses intense dream-like imagery to suggest a crucial relationship between the two.

In the first two lines, Coleridge describes the pleasure dome: 'In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree.'  Kubla Khan did not merely order, but decrees that a 'stately pleasure dome' be built. This implies how unnatural the place of Xanadu is.  It is ruled by a person choosing to ignore the unpleasantness found in normal life.  As an opium addict, Coleridge can identify because in a sense he is also retreating into his own world. 

The first stanza depicts the exotic beauty, sacredness and perfection of the man-made dome but with a subtle hint of interference by the river Alph running through it and sinking to a dark depth.   And there are images of a paradise, bright blossoming gardens, followed by references to darker, more evil places. For instance the wailing woman bewitched by her 'demon lover.'  Ideally that should probably not be happening. We see Xanadu is not just paradise but also a savage and ancient place where pure good and pure evil are brought to the fore-front.  Through Coleridge's images we see that the  ideal paradise is threatened by the darkness and disorder to which the river Alph leads.  

The second stanza goes further to depict the savage and untamed violence of life outside of the pleasure dome; the river Alph leads to mighty bursting fountains and huge dancing rocks.  The chaos is personified by the lovers over-come by uncontrollable urges.  The disorder and primitive, tumultuous cycles of nature are mixed with implications of evil.  For instance, although Kubla Khan is striving for a peaceful perfection, he hears his ancestor's voices calling for war.  Xanadu is not ruled by what Kubla Khan or Coleridge want, but rather by the raw, struggling corners of Coleridge's mind.

In the third stanza,  the 'pleasure dome' is shown to be a mystical, 'miracle of rare divice' contradicting the restrictions of realism.  It is described as being made of sun and ice.  Here conflicting sources of heat and cold are fused in perfect harmony.  And either one can symbolize good (miraculous icey pleasure dome, warmth and life giving sun) or death and destruction (sun destroying the dome made of freezing, lethal ice).  Here we see that the opposing life forces are entwined together to prove that beauty and danger cannot be separated from eachother despite what Kubla Khan wants.  

Coleridge is fusing opposites together through out his poem.  Xanadu is idyllic, but also 'savage.'  A peacful sacred river quickly turns tumultous into violent disorder and the threat of war.  'Sunny spots of greenery' in a garden are juxtaposed with a the bleak image of a haunted, waning moon.   The two women in the poem are also a direct contrast to each other.  First the disturbing image the woman wailing and bound to evil bringing the dark side of the supposed paradise clearly to light.   Then the beautiful  Abyssinian maid singing a delightful song.  Are they the same person at different times or from different perspectives?  The poem is a good example of appearances being deceptive.  The pleasure dome may be beautiful with its bright sunny gardens and 'blossoming incense trees,' but it is also the enchanted eye of a violent storm.   The garden is surrounded by savage destruction caused by 'ceaseless turmoil seething.'

Moving towards the closing, the line 'Weave a circle round him thrice,' describes a
pagan ritual for protection.  Here Coleridge attempts to warn and protect  not only the reader, but also himself from the forces of evil and the extent of his imagination: 'Beware!...And close your eyes with holy dread...'  

And in the final stanza we see that Kubla Khan is a self-portrayal of Coleridge himself.  After all, it is he who is struggling to control Xanadu, his own runaway imagination and subconsious mind.  Having 'drunk the milk of paradise' Coleridge conveys how much he longs to return to that dangerous, beautiful eden.

Basically Xanadu, to me, is that place within from where you can make your dreams come true.  We are the creators of our own reality, our own destiny, in large part by the choices we make, and if we are in touch with our inner selves enough, we can find that power to create what we want and make our dreams come true.  Beyond even our wildest imagination. 

We each have the ability to achieve this, I believe.  It comes from knowing ourselves and finding our power in the world, honing our inner skills and being aware of our choices,  following our intuition, and it is born of the Oneness of everything.  That is my belief.

I am wishing you to find your own "Xanadu," and may all your wishes and dreams come true.

"As the World Falls Down"

                                             e-mail: xdbengals@comcast.net

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