Showing posts from July, 2008

Hero of the Week


2 Movie Recoms

This week I saw two films of similar structure, although it was quite coincidental. One was Finnish, The River (Joki; Jarmo Lampela, 2001) about 6 people's lives one Saturday morning. The other was Nine Lives (Rodrigo Garcia, 2005), a collection of vignettes about 9 women and a particular moment in their lives. The former was interesting in that, like Crash and Magnolia , it revolved around one interconnecting event; the latter, while less intentionally connected, was outstanding on two levels: the performances were completely riveting, and the narratives were totally accessible and hardhitting. The last one, entitled "Maggie" with Glenn Close, just about killed me (I won't go into detail for fear of creating a spoiler). It's going to be one of those films I don't forget. Having gone through some of the experiences portrayed myself, the stories were that much more poignant. While it might be labeled a chick flick or feminist by some, see it for the actors

Weird, but You Gotta Watch it

Ok, this may not be your cup of tea either, but check out this very strange but mindboggling Swan Lake (especially after the first 2 minutes).

Doing the Flintstones' running on the spot sound--

*Phew!* This has been a busy week, catching many arts events around town. I caught the penultimate day of an exhibit at AWOL gallery, called The Cookbook , by Vanessa Vaughan, an artist and graphic designer of many talents. I have contacted her asking permission to show one of her pieces called "Faith". Look at her stuff on her site . Fun stuff. Then I heard the Choir of Trinity College Cambridge led by Stephen Layton give a short recital at Trinity Chapel with standard repertoire as well as eastern composers that were new to me. I Was Glad... Things I saw that you can still catch are: The Malcove Collection at UTAC is an astounding treasury of medieval art and artifacts bequeathed to the university. I can't believe I hadn't known about it before. On until August 15, also at UTAC, is Kim Ondaatje's Paintings 1950-1975. She will be of interest to those who like Jack Chambers or Christopher Pratt. At MOCCA is a pretty trippy exhibit entitled Damn Your Eyes: the i
Chartres Cathedral


from Michael J. Wilson's blog, Worth the Fight - The Good Fight Blog , these pearls of wisdom: “There is no better indicator of the spiritual health of our city, its neighborhoods, and the larger region than the state of the arts. The arts deepen our understanding of the human spirit, extend our capacity to comprehend the lives of others, allow us to imagine a more just and humane world. Through their diversity of feeling, their variety of form, their multiplicity of inspiration, the arts make our culture richer and more reflective.” Jonathan Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation
Check out this video from my friend Michael in Chicago's Fight the Good Fight. Desolate Places was created for May 28, national day of prayer for the artist, but you can still watch and pray now! click to enlarge. all graphics and video copyright Michael J. Wilson, The Good Fight.

My New Hildegard of Bingen

This woman is so cool. I can't wait to grow up and be just like Meinrad Craighead .

Well, if the bribe of extra money brings them in, so be it...

the following article is from the New York Times (.com) by Colin Moynihan Swapping Guns for Cash, at Church There was a time, in the 1970s and ’80s that handguns were so coveted on the streets of Kings County, that the borough gave rise to a law enforcement legend known as the Brooklyn Bounce. If you were to throw a gun from a window in Bay Ridge or Bushwick, so the legend went, it would be eagerly grabbed before it had a chance to bounce more than once. Over the last decade or so, violent crime has dropped in Brooklyn, as it has in the rest of New York City, but plenty of guns are still in circulation. So for several hours starting on Saturday morning, six churches in central Brooklyn tried to help remedy that by inviting people to anonymously drop off firearms in exchange for cash cards worth hundreds of dollars. The gun buyback program, which was financed by the New York Police Department and the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, was intended to complement an existing Police Depa



Thought of the Week...

via my church website [source unknown]: Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.


"The Wikiklesia Project is an experiment in on-line collaborative publishing. The format is virtual, self-organizing, participatory - from purpose to publication in just a few weeks. Wikiklesia may be the world’s first self-perpetuating nomadic business model: raising money for charities - giving voice to emerging writers and artists - generating a continuous stream of new anthologies covering all manner of relevant topics. Nobody remains in control. There is no board of directors. The franchise changes hands as quickly as new projects are created. Can a publishing organization thrive without centralized leadership? Is perpetual, self-organizing book publishing possible? Can literary quality be maintained in a distributed publishing paradigm? We’ve created Wikiklesia to answer these kinds of questions." ( source: ) . I've been reading volume 1 of this ebook, Voices of the Virtual World , and am finding it fascinating reading. Lots of

Mosaics for The Truly Determined

I love those pictures that are done with thousands of tiny pictures of different shades. Check out Robert Silver who does these. Thank God for computers!
The Girl Effect is like tofu; you either love it or hate it. Check out this video .

Austerity, Silence, Faith...What's Not to Love?!?

This week I was blessed to see a wondrous (in the true sense of the word) film called Stellet Licht ( Silent Light) by director Carlos Reygadas (Mexico, 2007). There is so much of interest in it. It is the first film to be made with the dialogue in Plautdietsch, a German dialect used by the Mennonites. It also featured non-professional actors-- this made for extremely interesting energy. Not only is the film cinematically gorgeous, it is aurally stimulating, something I won't try to qualify because I cannot do it justice. I don't know if it was intentional or not, but its climax in particular echoes Carl Dreyer's Ordet (Denmark, 1955) very closely; I am now going to have to re-watch that classic! I read that it was not a religious film but only about a religious community, but I disagree--it is a profoundly religious film about spiritual crisis, redemption and miracles. However, I think it works because it is not preachy or sacchrine, probably because it uses acting neo

Hero of the Week

Oliver Schroer died of cancer this week. I have totally dug this guy ever since I got his cd Camino, which was an audio journal of his pilgrimage experience en route to Santiago de Compostela . The cd records more than just his violin encounters in churches along the way; I'll leave the details for you to discover. Even the cover and booklet are a work of art. I got mine through . Read more about this remarkable musician here . The news of his death sucks, putting it bluntly.

Worthy Endeavours

I wanted to highlight an upcoming festival in 2009 which needs financial commitment now. Nidus Festival ( nidus being Latin for nest) brings together excellent artists at an ecumenical expression of the arts and social justice works. If you can pledge some help now, you can help ensure the success of this topnotch event. Previous ones had performers like Jason Hildebrand , pictured, and whose Prodigal Trilogy I have discussed and promote incessantly. Go here to see the Nidus newsletters. The person involved in Nidus that I know is Douglas Romanow , composer and producer of The Fire Escape recording studio. Check out his websites and production cv! The other cool thing I wanted to promote is the regular get-togethers of Speakeasy , 'a night out for creative types'. You can check out details about themes and how to get to the Gladstone on the website. I am definitely hanging out there on Thursdays next year. The founder of Speakeasy is David Brown, whose encaustics we love, an

Better than Matt's "Dancing"

If you are a Youtube addict, you have likely seen Dancing ad nauseum (I'm not even posting a hyper link for it). However, something worth engaging with is this completely tear-jerker story and short video. There's no real connection to this blog; the closest segue I can come up with is that the lion's name is Christian. Get your kleenex ready .


Please go to an online petition through The Sunday Telegraph to save many at-risk churches in Britain. This is not an over-the-pond issue: if some of the most important church buildings in the world are considered as excess baggage and not worth saving, you can be sure that our heritage buildings are as at risk (it's the "but everybody's doing it" problem). Please show the government there that these buildings matter, if not to Christianity then at least historically. Then perhaps a precedent will be set and Canada might look to other countries' experiences if a similar time arises. Go to the webpage to get familiar with the issues, then sign up via email at . I am not the only non-resident to sign, as you will see in the comments section.

#560 God Whose Almighty Hand

"...bring on your redeeming wing...sight to the inly blind..." John Marriott, 1780-1825

Things for Recom

Many other things to recommend for perusal this week: I have mentioned Image Journal: Art, Faith & Mystery before, but thought it was worth picking up again. However, a writer friend steered me towards The Other Journal too, which features discussions about theology and art from many perspectives. This online journal is open to non-scholarly submissions as well, so check out their guidelines and thematic sections. I'm a new convert! A blog whose title appealed to me-- Life is a Journal: Self Help for Lazy People --comes out of Ireland and is both worth a snort and some consideration. From the nakedpastor comes this little gem, 10 Little Pieces of Advice to Take or Leave . No comment needed. In terms of cyber places you can contribute to, I wanted to revisit something I mentioned last year but had so many technical issues with, I basically abandoned the recom. On an optimistic whim I decided to retry joining Collection X , an online experiment as part of Virtual Museum Canada .

Opera on the Rocks

Have you been promising yourself--or your partner--that yeah, one day you'll go to the opera but up til now, like Norm in Cheers, you really haven't been able to get your rear off a bar stool and actually go? Well, now you have no more excuses! Opera AND a pint! The Ambient Opera Society , as part of the Fringe , is presenting 'guerilla opera'--stories unfolding on barstools amongst the audience at the Pauper's Pub. It stars some of my faves from modern opera companies such as Neil Aronoff, Neema Bickersteth, Jessica Lloyd and Keith Klassen, and David Ogborn's music is set to libretto by Leanna Brodie, Dave Carley, Lisa Codrington and Krista Dalby. I liked their use of space and the atmosphere is intimate yet professional. The content is very Canadian and very funny (and not intended for children). Don't miss it--you'll love it no matter what your musical or theatrical preferences are. Tickets are $10, there's food and of course drink available, and
I would like to mention again an exhibit that I discussed earlier called Sacred Space at Harbourfront (235 Queen's Quay West). The gallery has contributions by architectural firms that allow us to interactively explore the meaning of sacred space. It is AWESOME. And free, which is always a bonus. Atheists, run not. There is nothing religious per se about this experience, unless one wants it to be. Highly recommend it. Sacred Space , unlike the Power Plant which always seems to be closed, is open til 8pm many nights and runs through September 7th.


As per my priest's sermon today about keeping things simple, I share a charming piece about the two little sons of a New Yorker who LOVE the subway. With delightful images and clever text, Christoph Niemann tells of his underground adventures with his family. It was very nostalgic for me, former author of all affordable children's entertainment. People used to laugh that my kids could enjoy something so simple. But that's where their little heads should be, shouldn't it? See The Boys and the Subway here. There's a link to his other websites too.

Add 25 to 1927

A 'new' director's cut of Fritz Lang's original Metropolis has surfaced in Buenos Aires after years of rumours of its existence. The film needs extensive restoration, but I know some cinephiles who will be waiting impatiently for its release!

Another Thing A Long Time Coming

John Cage's 1985 organ piece As Long As Possible is being played exactly like that in a church in Germany--they're up to the sixth chord after 8 years!!! My kind of organ concert! As the composer wasn't explicit about how long was long, town officials decided to guestimate 639 years. So we won't hear the final chord in 2640. Maybe they should rename it The Tortoise's Fugue.

Who's the Expert?

The Brooklyn Museum is asking questions about who exactly are the art experts--the viewing public or the critics? In Click! A Crowd-Curated Exhibition , variables are manipulated so that the public makes relatively unbiased selections about what they consider the best of the show. Personally, I wasn't that impressed with the images I saw online, but I find the exercise fascinating. The exhibit is on view through Aug. 10 at the Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, at Prospect Park, (718) 638-5000.

Hero of the Week

When asked what he thought of western civilization, Mahatma Gandhi replied, 'I think it would be a good idea'.

Triptych of the Realms

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