Tuesday, November 30, 2010

In New York, @ Union Theological on Dec. 1 // Art, Religion, and Social Justice speaker series continues

Link to main page here // Excerpt regarding December 1st speaker below

The Series' Introductory Statement:

In a world where art is judged by market value, and where MFA programs promote gallery representation more than vocational calling, this series of lectures by visual artists will investigate social justice as a driving motivation. Exploring the social, philosophical and spiritual traditions that offer resources for artists to imagine justice and new visions of human flourishing, these lectures draw on the creative tension of their setting in a historic theological seminary, suggesting a new commonality between art and religion in the shared pursuit of social justice.

December 1st Speaker: Paul Chan

Internationally acclaimed artist Paul Chan lives and works in New York. His work has been exhibited widely in many international shows including: Making Worlds, 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009; Medium Religion, ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2008; Traces du sacrê, Centre Pompidou, Paris, 2008; and Paul Chan: The 7 Lights, Serpentine Gallery, London, and New Museum, New York, 2007–2008; Paul Chan—Lights and Drawings, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.

In November 2007, Chan collaborated with the Classical Theatre of Harlem and Creative Time to stage five free site-specific performances of Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot in two New Orleans neighborhoods that had been destroyed by the flooding caused by the levee breaks during Hurricane Katrina. The performances were part of a larger project, which also included a fund to help local rebuilding and reorganization efforts, plus a series of dinners, lectures, classes, and events that unfolded throughout the city during the fall of 2007. Paul will discuss the organizing and aesthetic ideas around the project and show clips from the performance in the Lower Ninth Ward. He will also talk about the installation of the Godot archive at MoMA (now on exhibit until September 2011).

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Economy is Sacred // From Religion Dispatches

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Gary Laderman

This Christmas, the haunting spector of impending economic calamity will compete with the candlelit nativity scenes representing the glorious birth of Christ.

Indeed in this light, the recent “shellacking” of Democrats—as President Obama put it—in the midterm elections points to an obvious yet underanalyzed dimension of political life today: the economy is sacred, and “free enterprise” is a religious commitment of the highest order to most Americans when the chips are down and the recession is deep. Forget social services, forget education, forget sexual orientation, forget health care, forget the environment, forget the forgettable arts—anything that keeps Americans from their hard-won incomes and dreams of financial freedom in a free market is a disgrace, if not downright devilry.

In what some see as the twilight of the printed book, a London show celebrates iconic book covers

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Gary Moskowitz

At a time when e-readers may be displacing the good, old-fashioned print book, an effort to revive interest in the art of the book cover is taking place in London. The gallery StolenSpace gave a simple task to a group of more than 30 artists, designers, ceramic artists and photographers: design a cover for your favorite book. “We wanted to celebrate the art of the book cover as we feel it is a dying art form,” gallery manager Beth Gregory said. “With the advent of the iPad, it’s now questionable how long the printed novel and its cover will be around. Just like the album cover, it’ll be resigned to a thumbnail in iTunes.”

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The NY Times' 100 Notable Books of 2010

You can view the entire list here. Enjoy! -- Leif

Gaga, Timberlake, Usher to quit Twitter and Facebook on World Aids Day (Dec. 1) for charity

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Mesfin Fekadu

Alicia Keys and Lady Gaga take charity work seriously, and they're going offline to prove it.

Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Usher and other celebrities have joined a new campaign called Digital Life Sacrifice on behalf of Keys' charity, Keep a Child Alive. The entertainers plan to sign off of social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday, which is World AIDS Day. The participants will sign back on when the charity raises $1 million.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Seeing the Lord's Prayer in a New Light // Crossan, the Jesus Seminar and the Lord's Prayer

Full article here // Excerpt below

By Mitchell Landsberg

"Our father …"

Most Christians can fill in the words that follow: " … who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done …"

But wait — let's rewind. John Dominic Crossan, a renowned, if controversial, scholar of Christianity, says the essence of the Lord's Prayer can be found in those first two words, in fact, in the single word "father," which, he believes, encapsulates an entire 1st century worldview lost to modern churchgoers.


When the prayer continues with "hallowed be thy name," he said, what it means by "hallowed" is "a fair distribution for all, the justice of an equitable household."

In other words, Crossan said, the prayer is about "distributive justice," about making sure that all are cared for.

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Crossan's book is The Greatest Prayer: Rediscovering the Revolutionary Message of the Lord's Prayer (HarperOne, 2010).

Thursday, November 25, 2010

'Spider-Man' starts to emerge from secrecy // An unprecedented show that may be born premature

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Patrick Healy

We know him, but we may not know him, at least according to the musical’s creators. In their eyes, Peter Parker (and his alter ego, Spider-Man) is a character on a spiritual quest to reconcile human frailty with the possibility of greatness. It’s an idea that so enraptured the director, Julie Taymor, and the composers, Bono and the Edge, of U2, that they have built a $65 million (and counting) show around him, replete with perspective-skewing scenery and flying sequences that are unprecedented for Broadway.

“Peter Parker is the one,” in Ms. Taymor’s words, “who shows us how to soar above our petty selves.”

If he can soar, that is. Four minutes into the Act I rehearsal, a “Spider-Man” crew member announced on his mic, “We’re gonna hold.” It was the first of several pauses to deal with technical glitches, mostly in transitions between scenes. By the dinner break, only 15 minutes of the two-and-a-half-hour show had unfolded. And the first scheduled performance (this Sunday at 6:30 p.m.) was just eight days away.

In the last week, the nervous creators of the show, the most expensive in Broadway history, have begun to see the hand-drawn sketches, the digitally animated videos, the comic-book-inspired costumes come to life — to see “Spider-Man” finally, literally, take flight.

“Creating art that has never been done before is the reason I get out of bed in the morning,” said Bono, leaning forward in Row A on the aisle, as Reeve Carney, playing Spidey, rehearsed onstage. “This feels like it.”

Yet time is running out.

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Thanksgiving, 1621 // Peace, Love, and... Puritanism?

Harvard Divinity's David D. Hall has published a fascinating Op/Ed in the Times this week which forces us to reconsider and re-imagine the Puritans as well as the meaning of Thanksgiving. Also keep in mind Hall's forthcoming book, A Reforming People: Puritanism and the Transformation of public life in New England. Enjoy! -- Leif

Full Op/Ed Here // Excerpt Below

by David D. Hall

To return to the first of these harvest feasts is to return to the puzzling figure of the Puritan, the name borne by most of the English people who came to New England in the early 17th century. What did they hope to gain by coming to the New World, and what values did they seek to practice?

The easy answers simplify and distort. Nathaniel Hawthorne, who came along a couple of centuries later, bears some of the blame for the most repeated of the answers: that Puritans were self-righteous and authoritarian, bent on making everyone conform to a rigid set of rules and ostracizing everyone who disagreed with them. The colonists Hawthorne depicted in “The Scarlet Letter” lacked the human sympathies or “heart” he valued so highly. Over the years, Americans have added to Hawthorne’s unfriendly portrait with references to witch-hunting and harsh treatment of Native Americans.

Contrary to Hawthorne’s assertions of self-righteousness, the colonists hungered to recreate the ethics of love and mutual obligation spelled out in the New Testament. Church members pledged to respect the common good and to care for one another. Celebrating the liberty they had gained by coming to the New World, they echoed St. Paul’s assertion that true liberty was inseparable from the obligation to serve others.

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Rembrandt’s Divinely Inspired Light // An Unheard Cut from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Full article here // Excerpt below

By Nancy Rosenbaum

On stage at Emory University with the Dalai Lama this October, Sacks told a story about Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Palestine. When the First World War broke out, he was stranded in Switzerland and later made his way to England. There he found solace in the company of Rembrandt’s paintings at The National Gallery in London.

In the clip [embedded in the original post] (mp3, 01:31) that never made it into the show, Sacks points out that Rembrandt’s subjects weren’t all that beautiful, but his paintings nevertheless reveal their “inner radiance.” He invites us to find beauty where it’s not immediately obvious, and to expand our perceptions of what’s beautiful.

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If you haven't read Sacks's book The Dignity of Difference, amend that ASAP. -- Sarah

Wanderer in Bewitching, Fractious Land // Vimukthi Jayasundara's 'Between Two Worlds'

Full article here // Excerpt below

By Jeannette Catsoulis

Riven with violence and haunted by the dead and the missing, “Between Two Worlds” is a hallucinatory experience. The worlds in question could be a number of things — heaven and hell, peace and war, past and present; but in a film this vivid and this oblique, the cumulative thrust of the images is what pulls us through.

Like Mr. Jayasundara’s 2005 feature, “The Forsaken Land,” “Between Two Worlds” is deeply embedded in Sri Lanka’s devastating civil war and the societal fissures that have resulted. Elements of folklore, myth and political symbolism speckle the story (in one scene a man in a Mickey Mouse mask is mercilessly beaten in the middle of a street strewn with smashed television sets), and marauding rebels prowl on the margins.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Jay-Z Deconstructs Himself // 'Decoded,' a Guide to Jay-Z's Life and Lyrics

Full article here // Excerpt below

By Michiko Kakutani

In the summer of 1978, when he was 9 years old and growing up in the Marcy housing projects in Brooklyn, Shawn Carter — a k a Jay-Z — saw a circle of people gathered around a kid named Slate, who was “rhyming, throwing out couplet after couplet like he was in a trance, for a crazy long time — 30 minutes straight off the top of his head, never losing the beat, riding the handclaps” of the folks around him, transformed “like the church ladies touched by the spirit.” Young Shawn felt gravity working on him, “like a planet pulled into orbit by a star”: he went home that night and started writing his own rhymes in a notebook and studying the dictionary.

“Everywhere I went I’d write,” Jay-Z recalls in his compelling new book, “Decoded.” “If I was crossing a street with my friends and a rhyme came to me, I’d break out my binder, spread it on a mailbox or lamppost and write the rhyme before I crossed the street.” If he didn’t have his notebook with him, he’d run to “the corner store, buy something, then find a pen to write it on the back of the brown paper bag.” That became impractical when he was a teenager, working streets up and down the eastern corridor, selling crack, and he says he began to work on memorizing, creating “little corners in my head where I stored rhymes.”

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Muslim Troupe Arrives With Splash and Age-Old Ecumenical Traditions // Music at the White Light Festival

Full article here // Excerpt below

By Steve Smith

Over the course of the White Light Festival at Lincoln Center, the notion of music as a conduit to spirituality has taken a variety of forms: individual contemplation, communal praise, the physical discipline of dance, a rock star’s beatific charisma. With “The Manganiyar Seduction,” which arrived belatedly at the Rose Theater on Monday night after a visa-related delay, came still another facet of spirituality: communion with God achieved in a manner embracing the sensual and the ecstatic.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Giving Thanks Through The Arts // Poetry, Music, Design, Literature, Sculpture and more

Bono once commented upon the irony, as he accepted a Golden Globe award for best song for The Hands That Built America which his band composed for the film Gangs of New York, that "it took an Italian (Martin Scorsese) to make a great film about the Irish."

His quip popped into my head last week as our journey into the season of Thanksgiving (primarily a North American holiday) began and as I discovered an excellent series of posts focusing on Giving Thanks Through The Arts as a way to celebrate Thanksgiving - created and written by the blog Transpositions (of the Scottish university St. Andrews).

While I realize that many of their advanced students are originally from The States, I did find the irony humorous nonetheless. And whether or not you find these excellent posts to contain an element of irony, I am quite sure you'll agree that this series discussing gratitude and/via the arts is refreshing, thoughtful and rather inspiring. The separate posts in this series are listed, chronologically, below. Be sure to check out Transpositions over the coming days to see if more entries are published. And as a preface to these posts I am copying below (in italics) Jim Watkins' introductory statement which accompanied the first of these entries on November 15th. Enjoy! -- Leif

In the days leading up to the American holiday of Thanksgiving, the crew here at Transpositions are going to reflect on various ways that works of art can be a form of giving thanks. All art making, at a very fundamental level, revels in and draws attention to the ‘givenness’ of its materials, and so reminds us that gratitude is the human being’s basic response to the world. Happy Thanksgiving!

In The Beginning Is The Icon // A Review by Transpositions contributor Jim Watkins

Over at the splendid site Transpositions, Jim Watkins has written an excellent and erudite review of Sigurd Bergmann's In The Beginning is the Icon: A Liberative Theology of Images, Visual Arts and Culture. Enjoy! -- Leif

Full Review Here // Excerpt Below

A review of In The Beginning is the Icon: a Liberative Theology of Images, Visual Arts and Culture by Sigurd Bergmann, translated by Anja K. Angelsen (London: Equinox, 2009). [originally published in Swedish in 2003]

In his foreward, Nicholas Wolterstorff declares that Bergmann’s book “is a breakthrough in theological aesthetics.” This is a remarkable endorsement from a scholar who has contributed so much to the contemporary landscape of theological aesthetics. It seems to me that Wolterstorff’s assessment is, on the whole, accurate. Bergmann does actually bring a great deal of originality to the conversation between theology and the arts, and he also widens the scope of the conversation considerably by drawing on voices from philosophy and anthropology rarely heard in a work like this. Furthermore, Bergmann draws our attention to interesting works of art that would not be considered as part of the normal “canon” of high western art.

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One Drawing/Painting for Every Page of Moby-Dick // Matt Kish illustrates the Great American Novel

Well, this is something you surely don't discover every day. Matt Kish created a blog in August 2009 devoted to publishing (at a rate of about one per day) an original drawing/painting for each page of the great American novel Moby-Dick. As of today (Nov. 22) he's on page 451 which means, regardless of which edition he's reading, he's nearing the conclusion of his Ishmaelian journey. Start from the beginning by clicking here. Enjoy! -- Leif

Monday, November 22, 2010

Kanye West Gets 'Twisted,' But Misses The Beauty // West's Newest Release on All Things Considered

Full article here // Excerpt below

By Oliver Wang

On Monday one of the most anticipated — and most leaked — albums of the year hits stores: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy by Kanye West. The rapper began releasing several of its songs on his own website since the late summer, and he even produced a 35-minute music video to go with it. Now, the final, complete album is in the offing.

A friend recently claimed that West is the only famous rapper who still matters. I'd imagine fans of Jay-Z, Snoop Dogg or Lil Wayne might take issue with that opinion, but it's doubtful that any of those MCs ever merited a mention in a presidential memoir. As West himself might ask, should any rapper have all that power?

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Mark Twain auto-biography flying off shelves

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Julie Bosman

When editors at the University of California Press pondered the possible demand for “Autobiography of Mark Twain,” a $35, four-pound, 500,000-word doorstopper of a memoir, they kept their expectations modest with a planned print run of 7,500 copies.

Now it is a smash hit across the country, landing on best-seller lists and going back to press six times, for a total print run — so far — of 275,000. The publisher cannot print copies quickly enough, leaving some bookstores and online retailers stranded without copies just as the holiday shopping season begins.

State of the Arts // As Film goes 3-D, Theater goes 2-D

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Ben Brantley

One great and glorious advantage that the theater used to have over the movies was the third dimension. You knew that when you watched actors on stage that they were just as fully rounded – physically, I mean – as the people in the lobby at intermission.

In the past few years, though, filmmakers have been co-opting the third dimension for themselves. Once James Cameron’s “Avatar” broke box office records with the help of silly-looking 3-D glasses, what had been a novelty (and a punch line) in the 1950s started to be taken very seriously.

Now, as if from some perverse competitive spirit, the theater has decided to step back into two dimensions, in a big way. True, actors remain irreducibly of flesh and blood. But that doesn’t mean that what’s around them has to share their unchangeable spatial identities. In scenic design these days, the biggest thing in the theater is film.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blue Grass + Punk Rock + The UMC = ?!? // Faith and Leadership interviews Seth Avett of The Avett Brothers

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Faith & Leadership staff

The Avett Brothers have been described as “grunge grass,” “punk grass” and “Roert E. Lee playing with the Ramones.” Their high-energy performances have scandalized bluegrass purists but delighted fans: they were identified by Rolling Stone as a band to watch in 2009 and have appeared this year on David Letterman’s and Jimmy Kimmel’s shows.

The four-man ensemble includes the two actual Avett brothers, Scott and Seth, as well as bassist Bob Crawford and cellist Joe Kwon.Kwon and the Avetts all grew up in small United Methodist churches in North Carolina. Clegg Avett, the Avetts’ grandfather, was a Methodist minister in western North Carolina.

In live performances they throw themselves around the stage, as Esquire magazine says, “in the best campfire, hootenanny sing-along tradition.” Yet their songwriting has the delicacy and truth of the very best sermons. Faith & Leadership’s Jason Byassee interviewed Seth Avett by e-mail about tradition and innovation, handling success, being both playful and serious, and the church. The following is an edited version of the interview.

Click here to read the interview

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

More than "Just Kids" // Rocker Patti Smith wins National Book Award

Full Article Here // Excerpt Here

by Julie Bosman

The rock musician Patti Smith won the National Book Award for nonfiction on Wednesday night for “Just Kids,” a sweetly evocative memoir of her relationship with the artist Robert Mapplethorpe and the romantic days of bohemian New York.

Accepting the award to wild applause and cheers, Ms. Smith — clearly the favorite of the night — choked up slightly as she recalled her days working as a clerk in the Scribner bookstore as a young woman. “I dreamed of having a book of my own, of writing one that I could put on a shelf,” she said. “Please, no matter how we advance technologically, please don’t abandon the book. There is nothing in our material world more beautiful than the book.”


Activist Artist Goes on Trial in Beijing

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Andrew Jacobs

BEIJING — In a case that has galvanized the Chinese arts community, a prominent artist who helped lead a short-lived demonstration along the nation’s most politically hallowed thoroughfare went on trial Wednesday on assault charges that supporters say are aimed at punishing him for his political activism.

A Poet Well Versed in Grief

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Mary Plummer

Born to a family who ran a funeral home in small-town Michigan, the poet Thomas Lynch began pondering aging and death at a young age, as a child leafing through the gory pages of his father’s mortician texts.

A National Book Award finalist, for “Undertaking: Life Studies From the Dismal Trade,” and the subject of a 2007 “Frontline” documentary, Mr. Lynch has just published his fourth collection of poems, “Walking Papers.” It is a pilgrimage of sorts through growing old and facing death — subjects that caregivers know all too well. His upfront, unvarnished style is likely to resonate with many who have come face to face with life’s most important questions.

In the book’s title poem, Mr. Lynch advises an ailing friend to put aside his lab reports and explore a different type of medicine:

I say clean your plate and say your prayers,
go out for a long walk after supper
and listen for the voice that sounds like you
talking to yourself, you know the one:
contrapuntal, measured to footfall, true
to your own metabolism. Listen –
inspiration, expiration, it’s all the same,
the sigh of creation and its ceasing -
whatever’s going to happen’s going to happen.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Destroyed Apple products as Works of Visual Art

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by The LA Times staff

When does an iPhone or an iPad cease to be a mere consumer gadget and enter the rarefied world of visual art? How about when someone willfully destroys it, turning it into an abstract, brutalized husk of its former self?

A series of smashed, mangled, shot up and melted Apple products are the subject of a recent photography project by a San Francisco-area graphic designer who said he's trying to make people think about their relationship with these universally beloved gadgets.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

'Battle Hymn Of The Republic' // The Other National Anthem

Full article here // Excerpt below

By NPR Staff

Next year marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. There is no song that more vividly evokes that conflict than "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Julia Ward Howe wrote the famous words­ "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" in 1861. Since then, the song's become a kind of second national anthem.

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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thursday at Duke // "Sufi Verses for the Heart and Soul"

On Thursday, November 11th, the Duke Islamic Studies Center and Center for Islamic Life present the poetry of the medieval Sufi mystical poet Rumi in the Nelson Music Room (East Duke Bldg. 201) at 7:00 pm. The program is called "Sufi Verses for the Heart and Soul." English and Persian spoken word will be accompanied by music. For more information, contact Lauren Braun 919-668-1955 or email disc@duke.edu.

Rapper Finds a New Life in Orthodox Judaism

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Dina Kraft

JERUSALEM — The tall man in the velvet fedora and knee-length black jacket with ritual fringes peeking out takes long, swift strides toward the Western Wall. It’s late in the day, and he does not want to miss afternoon prayers at Judaism’s holiest site. “We have to get there before the sun goes down,” he says, his stare fixed behind a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses, the first clue that this is no ordinary Jewish man of God.

It’s the rapper Shyne, the Sean Combs protégé who served almost nine years in New York prisons for opening fire in a nightclub in 1999 during an evening out with Mr. Combs and his girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Lopez. “My entire life screams that I have a Jewish neshama,” he said, using the Hebrew word for soul. Living as Moses Levi, an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem (he legally changed his name from Jamal Barrow), he shuttles between sessions of Talmud study with some of the most religiously stringent rabbis in the city and preparations for a musical comeback.

A Life After Death Double Feature // Eastwood's "Hereafter" and Noe's "Enter the Void"

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Jay Michaelson

Two very different films about what happens after we die are in the theaters right now: Clint Eastwood’s gentle Hereafter and Gaspar Noe’s raw, hallucinatory Enter the Void. While covering the same cosmological territory, the films couldn’t be more different, stylistically, thematically, and religiously.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Today at Duke // Faith & Fiction: Writing Creatively

Tuesday, November 9, 2010
12:20pm - 1:20pm
0014 Westbrook
Writing Workshop

The Duke Divinity School Center for Theology, Writing & Media will hold a brown bag seminar led by experienced author Susan Ketchin on “Faith & Fiction: Writing Creatively.”

Saul Bellow's "Letters" // Dispatches and Details from a Life in Literature

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by Michiko Kakutani

Herzog, the title character of Saul Bellow’s 1964 novel, is famously a writer of letters he never sends, letters to friends, rivals, relatives and strangers; letters that satisfy his craving “to explain, to have it out, to justify, to put in perspective, to clarify, to make amends.” The letters are, by turns, cranky, coruscating, clever and cerebral: the outpourings of a man overflowing with ideas and grievances, and reeling from the complications of his life and the stubborn mystifications of the world around him. The real-life letters of Herzog’s creator turn out to be just as arresting, seizing the reader by the lapels and refusing to let go.

Elvis Costello on music, religion and the act of writing songs

Full article here // Excerpt below

By J. D. Considine

With a cover showing a cartoon wolf in robber-baron garb, running off with a carpet bag spilling cash, it’s not too hard to guess whose ox is being gored on National Ransom, the title track of Elvis Costello’s latest album, out Tuesday. And even though some of the songs are imbued with the sweetness of bluegrass and gospel, there’s plenty of the satirical bite that made Costello a new-wave icon.


There are a number of songs addressing religion on the album, but they don’t seem anti-religious so much as opposed to the abuse of religion.

I’m suspicious of people who think they know what God knows. Myself, I actually think that’s blasphemy.

I once sat on the steps of a church with an Orthodox Ethiopian boy. And he said, ‘Are you Orthodox?’ And I said, ‘No.’ And he said, ‘I’m so sorry.’ And I thought that was very beautiful, that he thought it was more a sorrowful thing, than he hated me because I wasn’t what he was, you know?

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Monday, November 8, 2010

The Varieties of Religious Experience [in Indie Rock] // From Religion Dispatches

Full Article Here // Excerpt Below

by S. Brent Plate

Religion has returned to the arts, philosophy, politics, and, by extension, the news media that reports on them. More broadly, contemporary Western societies may have entered a period of what philosopher Jürgen Habermas calls “post-secular,” which is to say that, in a sense, religion has been there all along. If philosophers, politicians, and artists want to talk about religion, fine—but for God’s sake, alt-rockers too?!

Alternative rock, with its default anti-establishment stance (whether feigned or forthright) has not been the typical go-to place for sincere religious music. That may be changing. Though stylistically diverse, several recent releases show a unique motif: treating religious histories and sacred texts as fonts of wisdom, experience, and poetry.

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