Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Developing a full-blown case of 'Franzenfreude' // NPR asks whether the glowing reviews of Jonathan Franzen's new novel are due in part to his gender
Jonathan Franzen has a way of making people mad. When his last novel, The Corrections, was picked by Oprah Winfrey for her book club, Franzen made it known that he was not comfortable with the populist honor — so Oprah withdrew the offer. This time around a couple of best-selling female writers, Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner, have tweeted their disdain for what they see as critical fawning over Franzen's new novel, Freedom.
Weiner has even come up with a phrase to describe her feelings: Franzenfreude. "Schadenfreude is taking pleasure in the pain of others," Weiner says. "Franzenfreude is taking pain in the multiple and copious reviews being showered on Jonathan Franzen."
But her angst is not just about the book — or even about Franzen himself. It's about the establishment choosing one writer and writing about him again and again and again," Weiner says, "while they are ignoring a lot of other worthy writers and, in the case of The New York Times, entire genres of books."
Buildings, a new free iPhone app by Despark Ltd., the people behind the great Open Buildings site, allows you to find, learn about, and share the architecture in your local area and around the world. Like a Wikipedia for architecture, Buildings has a user-generated database of structures. [...]
You can download the free app and start engaging with your city's buildings here.
Leader: Enuma Okoro, professional writer, Raleigh, NC
The arts can play a unique and necessary role in our spiritual formation. They remind us that we are made in the image of a creating God who delights in beauty. As a mirror to the divine, the arts also call us to engage God's work in the world with all our senses and to discover new and deepening ways of paying attention. This Spiritual formation class will focus on the poetry of Mary Oliver and the visual art of Marc Chagall as mediums for spiritual growth. Students will be expected to participate in shared reflections and guided literary and visual artistic practices. But don't worry, you do not require any experience with the arts for this! Class meeting on Fridays 10:00 to 11:15 am.
Enuma has a new book out called Reluctant Pilgrim: A Moody, Somewhat Self-Indulgent Introvert's Search for Spiritual Community. Check it out!
Monday, August 30, 2010
Six weeks had passed since a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti, killing 230,000 people and leaving more than 1.5 million others homeless. But the ground was still shaking in the nation’s rubble-strewn capital, Port-au-Prince, and 87-year-old Préfète Duffaut wasn’t taking any chances. One of the most prominent Haitian artists of the past 50 years was sleeping in a crude tent made of plastic sheeting and salvaged wood, fearful his earthquake-damaged house would collapse at any moment. "My future paintings will be inspired by this terrible tragedy,” he told me. “What I have seen on the streets has given me a lot of ideas and added a lot to my imagination.”
There was an unmistakable look of hope in the old master’s eyes. “Deye mon, gen mon,” a Haitian proverb, is Creole for “beyond the mountains, more mountains.”
Have a favorite picture from your field ed experience this summer? Submit it to New Creation for inclusion in the 2010 "Images from the Field" Photo Exhibit! You don't have to be a professional photographer to send us an image! Please visit http://www.duke.edu/web/newcreation to download submission guidelines and forms, and send a completed form with each submission to firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, September 10. New Creation leaders will print out photos and we'll have a hanging party the following Friday, to which everyone is invited. Can't wait to see your pictures! Feel free to email us at the above address if you have any questions.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
This Tuesday a "Crisis on Campus" emerges // Noted Religion scholar offers a "bold plan for reforming our Colleges and Universities"
In April 2009, influential religion scholar Mark C. Taylor (currently chair of the Religion Department at Columbia University) published one of the most widely read and provocative Op/Ed's in recent memory when his End The University As We Know It appeared in The New York Times.
Due to the passionate response (both for and against) and the wide-readership/discussion which it generated, the publisher Knopf approached Taylor about writing a book-length version of the Op/Ed. Now, on August 31st, that book will drop both online and in stores. The publishing of Crisis on Campus: A Bold Plan for Reforming Our Colleges and Universities looks to be a significant (perhaps even landmark) moment in the on-going discussion of the future(s) of the university and of academic departments.
An excellent place to learn more about the ideas behind the book as well as Taylor's career as a provocateur in fields as disparate as religion, the arts, and educational/pedagogical theory is this January 2010 article from The Chronicle of Higher Education, The Provocations of Mark Taylor. Also of note, particularly regarding Taylor's views on teaching religion, is this 2008 Q & A session with Columbia University Press shortly after he became chair of the Religion Department. -- Leif
From Paste Magazine
It’s been five years since Hurricane Katrina unleashed her fury on New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, and while pain and devastation still lingers, one feared side-effect of the disaster—the disintegration of the Crescent City’s unspeakably valuable music community—hasn’t yet come to pass. Instead, over the past several years, New Orleans music has been lifted up time and time again, both by its own luminaries and by artists from around the world, both in celebration of its own history and also as a means to keep the city itself alive.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
New Creation Asks: Is our plugged-in, digital fixation making us less creative? And what does that mean for today's churches?
Is our plugged-in, digital fixation making us less creative? That's the conclusion that scientists across the country and around the world are coming to in the wake of recent publishings on the subject (see the below excerpt from the recent NY Times article, "Digital Devices Deprive Brain of Needed Downtime").
Just another day at the gym.
As Ms. Bates multitasks, she is also churning her legs in fast loops on an elliptical machine in a downtown fitness center. She is in good company. In gyms and elsewhere, people use phones and other electronic devices to get work done — and as a reliable antidote to boredom.
Cellphones, which in the last few years have become full-fledged computers with high-speed Internet connections, let people relieve the tedium of exercising, the grocery store line, stoplights or lulls in the dinner conversation.
The technology makes the tiniest windows of time entertaining, and potentially productive. But scientists point to an unanticipated side effect: when people keep their brains busy with digital input, they are forfeiting downtime that could allow them to better learn and remember information, or come up with new ideas.
Even children are drawn, viscerally, to "The Figure 5 in Gold," one of the most recognizable works in American Modernism. Painted in 1928, its vibrant red, black and gold fire-engine motif barrels at the viewer, delivering a "Pow!" that Pop artists strived to achieve a few decades later. Somehow, the bold image manages to transmit not only the speed but also the screams of a fire truck weaving its way through a crowded New York street.
On its own, this visual impact might have made Charles Demuth's most famous work into an icon of American art. But "The Figure 5 in Gold" has much more going for it. It's the best work in a genre Demuth created, the "poster portrait." It's a witty homage to his close friend, the poet William Carlos Williams, and a transliteration into paint of his poem, "The Great Figure." It's a decidedly American work made at a time when U.S. artists were just moving beyond European influences. It's a reference to the intertwined relationships among the arts in the 1920s, a moment of cross-pollination that led to American Modernism. And it anticipates Pop art.
by Jeannette Catsoulis
Animator Ryan Larkin uses an artist’s sensibility to illustrate the way people walk. He employs a variety of techniques—line drawing, colour wash, etc.—to catch and reproduce the motion of people afoot. The springing gait of youth, the mincing step of the high-heeled female, the doddering amble of the elderly—all are registered with humour and individuality, to the accompaniment of special sound. Without words.
U2 approached NASA with an idea to include a dialogue between themselves and the crew of the International Space Station in the U2 360 show. NASA astronauts spoke with U2 several times before recording a video segment that U2 incorporated into their concert.
'Working with U2 is atypical for NASA,' said Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA's associate administrator for Space Operations. 'By combining their world tour with the space station's out-of-this-world mission, more people - and different people than our normal target audiences - learned about the International Space Station and the important work we are doing in orbit.'
Looking for the "Black Mamba Boy" // Debut Novel by Nadifa Mohamed chronicles a Somali orphan's odyssey
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
by Ken Carter
Over the past fifteen years there has been a growing appreciation for what has been termed “Americana” or “roots music.” It includes some elements of country and jazz, bluegrass and rock, blues and gospel. [...] The geography of roots music stretches from New Orleans, through the Delta, to Memphis and Nashville and into Appalachia. It is not accidental that these areas are the most poverty-stricken and the most religious in the United States.
Also see this post about Patty Griffin's album Downtown Church, which is the focus of much of Carter's article.
By Julie Bloom
When Mikhail Baryshnikov defected from the Soviet Union in 1974, it was a major news event, drawing world attention to both the ballet dancer and ballet. But he was hardly the only dancer to defect from a Communist country and take up residence in the West in that era. Li Cunxin (pronounced Lee TZWUN-sheen) left his home in rural China and his way of life to pursue ballet in the United States, a journey chronicled in “Mao’s Last Dancer,” a new movie by Bruce Beresford.
Full article here // Excerpt below
By Daniel Kreps
Bob Dylan, who has been painting since the 1960s (he created the cover of the Band's Music From Big Pink) will have new paintings and drawings on display at Denmark's Statens Museum for Kunst September 4th through January 30th.
By Daniel J. Wakin
Direct medical evidence? None. Autopsy? Not performed. Medical records? Nowhere to be found. Corpse? Disappeared.
Yet according to a recent article in an academic journal, researchers have posited at least 118 causes of death for Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.A modest industry of medical speculation has grown up around the subject, evidence of our fascination with what cut down great creative artists in history.
By Patricia Cohen
For professors, publishing in elite journals is an unavoidable part of university life. The grueling process of subjecting work to the up-or-down judgment of credentialed scholarly peers has been a cornerstone of academic culture since at least the mid-20th century.
Now some humanities scholars have begun to challenge the monopoly that peer review has on admission to career-making journals and, as a consequence, to the charmed circle of tenured academe.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
By Trent Gilliss
Over at The Walrus Blog, David Rusack writes a smart and creative reflection on how his training in a specific martial art form of tai chi (Chen-style chuan) has provided a structure that allows him to see with better-informed eyes the parallels with religious traditions and that “the point of the practice is in its form, not its content.”
By Dennis Lim
“Our Beloved Month of August,” by the director Miguel Gomes, is at once a musical, a travelogue, a quasi-incestuous family melodrama, an ethnographic portrait of Portuguese folk traditions and an account of its own chaotic production. As he tells it, Mr. Gomes ventured into rural central Portugal a few years ago to make a fictional film against the backdrop of the region’s summer music festivals.
By Alice Rawsthorn
Why would you study design if you weren’t planning to become a designer? Especially if you were a high school student in a depressed rural area of the United States, like Bertie County, one of the poorest counties in North Carolina, where 80 percent of students live in poverty, and your best chance of employment will be a low-skilled job in agriculture or biotechnology.
By Erik Piepenburg
ACTORS covet them. Producers dream of them. Marvin Hamlisch even composed a musical about one. On Broadway, the word “lines” means different things to different people.
Hirschfeld, whose artwork was synonymous with theater coverage in The New York Times for decades, was an exhaustive chronicler of almost every Broadway show and personality of the 20th century. Gish, Gielgud, Minnelli, Streisand — he drew everyone, and everyone wanted to be drawn by him.
By Joseph Brannigan Lynch
Acclaimed early-20th-century composer George Gershwin’s estate has asked onetime Beach Boys mastermind Brian Wilson to try his hand at finishing some rare, unfinished Gershwin compositions. The completed songs—along with covers of Gershwin classics—will appear on the scruffy pop genius’s next solo album, to be released through a Walt Disney Records imprint.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
For Pianist, Software Is Replacing Sonatas // Robert Taub's MuseAmi Creates Music Software, Even for iPad
By James Barron
The pianist Robert Taub was puttering around the house one afternoon in 2004 while his teen-age daughter was practicing for a violin lesson — a Schubert sonatina in A minor. His assessment of her playing was diplomatic: “She needed to be reminded about notes and rhythms.”
What followed was a brainstorm that explains why Mr. Taub — who made his reputation playing two distinctly different B’s, Beethoven and Milton Babbitt — has put his performing on hold, and why “software entrepreneur” now tops his résumé.
Improvox is Taub's new iPad application, which he developed when trying to teach his children music. (Source)
By Art Works
Poet, dancer, trapezist—Holly Bass is a bonafide Washington, DC multihyphenate. In this audio blog, Bass shares her take on living the artist’s life in the nation’s capital (and recites “Black Broadway,” her ode to the District’s famous U Street neighborhood).
Full article here // Excerpt below
By Eric Nelson
Serving as a spokesperson for Christian Science, much of my time is spent correcting inaccuracies and misconceptions about my faith that appear in the daily press and, rarely but occasionally, the entertainment media. In one particular instance, however, I was pleased to find that few such corrections were necessary thanks, in no small measure, to the performance of one woman in Jamie Pachino’s stage play, “Splitting Infinity.”
Saturday, August 21, 2010
By David Fricke
Rolling Stone: The setlist in Turin was interesting in that two of the new songs you played, "Return of the Sting Ray Guitar" and "Glastonbury," were total blinders: profane rock & roll kicks in between the spiritual-ambition parts of the show. Then there was "North Star," an unfinished acoustic ballad.
Bono: Music is a sacrament for us. In that song ["North Star"], I thought, "It's okay to write a love song for the universe." "Glastonbury" was very funny that night-- we did a version of that we knew we nailed, and then something happened at the end, I got lost a little bit [grins]. Edge had been hanging out with Jimmy Page [the two guitarists co-starred in the documentary It Might Get Loud], and you can't help but have that rub off. So now it's Willie Dixon, all those blues guys. Edge had this big riff. But I hear "Glastonbury" like the Chemical Brothers, the Prodigy.
The song is about going to this music festival. [U2 were scheduled to headline at the British festival -- Bono's surgery forced them to cancel.] It's a pilgrimage. It also turns out there's a white flower that twice yearly blooms at Glastonbury. And the mythology of Glastonbury goes back to Joesph of Arimathea -- he's the guy who helped take the body of Jesus down from the cross. He is also said to have gone to Britain, to Glastonbury, where he put his staff in the ground. This big tree at Glastonbury, with this white flower, is supposed to come from that. [Bono recites part of the lyrics to U2's song: "Came to find a flowering rose/The flowering rose of Glastonbury".] And he's supposed to have brought the cup from the Last Supper, the Holy Grail.
"Was being born black, gay and poor a 'burden'?" // Book review: 'The Cross of Redemption' by James Baldwin
Full article here // Excerpt below
By Lynell George
Not infrequently, James Baldwin found himself quite publicly fielding a deeply presuming question. Though versions varied over time, the rough paraphrase was this: "Was being born black, gay and poor a 'burden'?" Did he ever wonder, "Why me?"
A dynamic, trailblazing presence on erudite TV chat shows as well as a de facto talking head booked to parse the complex territory of the Negro Problem, Baldwin was always ready with the not-so-inscrutable smile, then the ice-water answer: "No. I thought I'd hit the jackpot."
The Cross of Redemption: Uncollected Writings, edited by Randall Kenan, will be released on August 24, 2010.
By Verlyn Klinkenborg
I met Frank Kermode, who died Tuesday at age 90, more than 20 years ago over coffee at Columbia University, where he was teaching. I had come to propose writing a profile about him, a project that went nowhere mainly because the magazine I had hoped to write for didn’t write about literary critics in those days. Kermode didn’t dismiss the idea, and so I heard, that afternoon, about the Isle of Man, where he was born in “a herringless winter,” as he later wrote.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
By Edward Rothstein
We know well the hazards latent in the sea. For months, we have watched millions of barrels of oil erupting from the ocean floor, just after its explosive force claimed the lives of 11 workers who toiled on precarious platforms perched above the waves. We have also, in recent years, watched waters engulf the shores and dwellings of New Orleans, wreaking havoc as in ancient tales.
But it is doubtful that we take the ocean really seriously — as seriously, that is, as the people who wrote the books and pamphlets, drew the maps and learned the ropes and knots on display in an exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library here did.
By Jonathan Schultz
The shot, one of dozens on display at New York’s Leo Koenig Inc. Projekte gallery, was taken in 1972 by Arnold Odermatt, the official police photographer of Nidwalden, Switzerland. From 1948 until his 1990 retirement, Mr. Odermatt documented with a master lensman’s eye the aftermath of vehicular accidents within his canton — that is, his state within the federal state of Switzerland. His talent was later recognized by a Swiss curator, Harald Szeemann, who secured Mr. Odermatt’s oeuvre a showing at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001.
By Jeff Lunden
Digital technology has made it possible for users to share perfect copies of audio and video files over the Internet, skirting copyright laws. And, as Tony Award-winning songwriter Jason Robert Brown discovered recently, even sheet music isn't immune. When he published correspondence about the issue between a teenage fan and himself on his blog, he unleashed what he has called a "firestorm" of responses.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
By Mark Oppenheimer
Traveling the latitude that describes the borderland of Islam and Christianity in much of Asia and Africa, where warlords, missionaries, aid workers and profiteers battle for oil as well as for souls, Ms. Griswold dodges attack dogs in Nigeria, leaves an office building in Somalia hours before it is hit by a suicide bomber and departs the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, on the island of Java, the morning before an earthquake that killed 5,000 people.
Everywhere Ms. Griswold travels, Christianity and Islam are debased by their own practitioners. In Khartoum she sees the evangelist Franklin Graham (Billy Graham’s son) visit a 4-month-old girl in the hospital who is dying of a congenital heart defect; he gives her mother a gift box that contains a pamphlet encouraging her to repent and come to Jesus. In Malaysia the government pays isolated villagers who cling to their indigenous beliefs the equivalent of several dollars to convert to Islam.
Full article here // Excerpt below
By Joel Weickgenant
In Charlotte Salomon’s art, text and image meet in an exuberant burst of joy and anguish. Brooding, fluid figures are drawn with a line that seems ready to disappear into the vortex of color on the page. Tight columns of text are piled one atop the other like hieroglyphs in an Egyptian relic. An exhibition at the Jewish Historical Museum of early gouaches by the artist, who was killed at Auschwitz during World War II, examines this mix of text and image, and the explicitly lyrical nature of her work.
By Ben Sisario
IN January 1992, Nirvana’s “Nevermind” replaced Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” as No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, and the S-word began to fly, from critics, old fans and anyone else whose favorite underground band had been scrubbed and neutered on its way to the top: “sellout.”
Off the Wall: One of a Kind Artists' Books by John Davis and Susan Leeb
This collection is what results when two people who usually work in two-dimensional, wall-mounted media, (printmaking and photography) take their work off the wall and turn it into three-dimensional books (loosely defined). These objects fold, move, pop-up and do other things that books are not typically expected to do. The successful integration of content and structure is one of their principal objectives.
The show will remain up through the end of August.
Foyer gallery hours are Weds 4-6pm and by appt. 949 4847.
BCAC members will have work for show and sale in their studios.
- Venue: Bull City Arts Collaborative
- Date: 08/20/2010
- Time: 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
August 25, 2010
8:30 - 10:30 PM
Opening Event and DJ Party
Be the first to see "The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl," the groundbreaking exhibition that explores the culture of vinyl records through 50 years of contemporary art. Celebrate with artists William Cordova, Harrison Haynes, Taiyo Kimura, Tim Lee, David McConnell, Mingering Mike, 9th Wonder, Fatimah Tuggar and Lyota Yagi. Listen to records with New York-based DJs Piotr Orlov and Dave Tompkins, who contributed essays to the exhibition catalogue. See work by 41 artists, including a 16-foot canoe made of red 45s by Satch Hoyt, colorful buttons made of melted down Billie Holiday records by Dario Robleto and Mark Soo's 3D recreation of Sun Records studio in 1954 Memphis.
More information here.
Full article here // Excerpt below
By Larry Rohter
For decades jazz cognoscenti have talked reverently of “the Savory Collection.” Recorded from radio broadcasts in the late 1930s by an audio engineer named William Savory, it was known to include extended live performances by some of the most honored names in jazz — but only a handful of people had ever heard even the smallest fraction of that music, adding to its mystique.
By John Collins Rudolf
For the past six years the Australian photographer Murray Fredericks has journeyed across the lake bed (it fills completely only about once every 100 years), camping alone on the salt flats for as much as five weeks at a time. He collected the photographs from these expeditions for display in “Salt,” a stunning 2006 gallery show in London, Sydney, Paris and Shanghai.
By Kate Moos
Our pal, Future Tense host John Moe, agreed to interview Krista and get at the basic questions: Why the change? Why Being? What does it all mean? In this video, our inimitable host takes on these questions with passion, intelligence, and grace.
By Richard B. Hays
A small church in Gainesville, Fla., (ironically called Dove World Outreach Center) has announced plans to burn copies of the Quran on Sept. 11, in vengeful commemoration of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington nine years ago. This news item happened to reach me while I was attending a conference in Berlin, Germany - and for that reason it struck me with special force.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
By Alastair Macauley
“DEAR friends,” the retired ballerina Gelsey Kirkland wrote in an open letter on the Web site for the new Gelsey Kirkland Academy of Classical Ballet (gelseykirklandballet.org), “I have come to believe over the years that the future of ballet lies in the art of dramatic storytelling, drawing on the wellsprings of classical tradition.” The school’s mission statement underscores this belief: “To encourage a renaissance of dramatic storytelling in ballet by providing specialized training for gifted students and by establishing a classically oriented studio company capable of creating new dramatic works.”