Sunday, December 30, 2007

Anyone Else But You

It's been a whirl wind of a vacation or coming home. I don't know if you can really do both because there seems to be a lacking of usual vacation activities, sand, snorkels, or skis. I did see some snow but that didn't last really long. Being home means a queen sized bed, food that you don't have to pay for, and relatives that ask a lot of questions and mine seem to really want to know the answers. It also means seeing the friends who established your understanding of what makes a friend and what a friendship is supposed to look like.

With that said Christmas evening my best friend since seventh grade (I used to listen to him play Nirvana covers on his guitar during homeroom). We decided that it would be the night that Juno should be watched. Licorice in tow I was on it. Getting there late and only paying $8 to get it and having to sit in the third row, we entered the world of Juno.

Things I Loved about this movie:
1. Ellen Page and Michael Cera are amazing in this film. They are witty, funny, awkward, and nothing shy from being 16.
2. The dialogue is sharp and it seemed that the kids were farther away from Dawson's Creek than most teenage dialogue.
3. The soundtrack couldn't be more perfect to the film. It's like the songs were made for the movie, though farther research it seemed it was found after the movie was shot.
4. It's sweet and charming.
5. Tic Tacs
6. I loved the ending where it reminded me that love is a choice. You choice the person you are with and you choice how you treat the other person and how they are let into your life.
7. My two favorite Television shows have made appearances in which they come to life in new ways.

What I didn't like:

1. Nothing.

Overall the movie is a lovely little guy that has you chuckling and laughing and hoping that you make choices in your life, good or bad, that you can come to the end with and put a smile on your face. Honestly the soundtrack is SO amazing. It's calming and beautiful. Acoustic songs that have a lot of body rather than being sparse and sappy. I loved it. I hope you get to see it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My ears 2007

I think it is pretty much a tradition that I get some sort of gift card that will inevitably draw my attention to the Itunes store. I love the fact that people realize that this is something that I will like and enjoy and know that will be used pretty instantaneously. It made me sit back and relax and spend hours looking at new records and deciding what will be the newest additions to the Itunes library. I enjoy music and the complexities of sounds and moods. I realized today that I really do love stripped down sounds. Something without a lot of layers, fuss, and commotion. I want a lot and I know where I need to head to next to continue building the library that I so want.

I looked through the lists and realized there was a lot of records that I liked this year or was reintroduced to. I spent the summer diving into the Sonic Youth catalogue. I have been getting into noise rock and specifically the work of Jim O'Rourke and wanted to know the roots of such a sound. Who better than Sonic Youth to teach you so. I love the depth of this band but I also realized how some of their records sound very similar but I also realized that I want Kim Gordon to be my best friend.

I spent some time this last month listening to hardcore and metal. I guess I lose myself in the music and feel like I can just let it go when I sit back and let the music take my anger. I paint really well when I am listening to hardcore. Maybe it's because I can't hear the lyrics to well or the double bass pedal is calling my name. I don't know what it is but it makes me happy and calm even though it's all up in my face. I resurrected some old friends Anah Aevia and Every time I Die. I also found myself immersed in Affinity, You and I, Snapcase, and Maylene and the Sons of Disaster. Is the music good? Technically good but it's a hell of a lot of fun.

I got my hands on the We are Scientists record, With Love or Squalor. Wow. I was leary about it at first but then there was a little song that was put on repeat for about two weeks. It's so FUN. I like dance/new wave. There was a lot of talk this year about dance/electronic stuff (how could you not see a list this year without M.I.A, Justice, LCD Soundsystem, or Burial. I like these because they are fun but at the end of the day it's not what does it for me. I like rock, alt-rock, indie-rock, americana, or hip hop. I think coming back to the We are Scientist record is fun for me, in a different way that hardcore is, this gets me on the balls of my feet and shake my booty. I like sassy drums and this does it for me.

There were some great Hip Hop records that I really enjoyed this year. My friend Henry turned me on to Brother Ali. An albino rapper with muslim roots. It's interesting beats and smart lyrics put a smile on my face. I also really really enjoyed El-P's record. I think this came our late last year and I really enjoy it, it's so smart and the mash ups are really worth sitting back and realizing what he did with the songs. I also got my hands on Jay-Z's mellow soul/rap record, American Justice. I was surprised and taken a bit aback by what was on the record. There is not one song that is all in your face or make you want to bounce the shoulders, but it's a classy record. Just like J.

This year I want to take the time and get to know the LA scene a little bit better. It's a huge one and there is always something going on. I hope to find more music and dive head in to new sounds or old sounds remade to sound new. I love music....

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I returned back to the Detroit area for a bit of Christmas festivities as well as celebrating the fact that my twin sister is engaged and getting married in October. I was excited to be back but I didn't realize how safe I would feel now that I am back. It's nice to be surrounded people who really know you and love you even despite your crazy new ideas or schemes. It has been an interesting few days being shuffled around, seeing friends who are like family, seeing children's eyes light up with the thought of Santa, the twinkling lights off a woman's jacket on stage at the church where you first saw what Christ could do with your life, sitting at a party surrounded with people who once knew you better than yourself and now talking jobs, babies, and marriage. Life is interesting once you have your high school prom. It seems as if they groom you for that day and then say well we did our part....

It reminded me of the movie Garden State so I found the best couple of lines from the film:

Andrew Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize that the house that you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of the sudden even though you have some place where you can put your stuff that idea of home is gone.

Sam: I still feel at home in my house.

Andrew Largeman: You'll see when you move out it just sort of happens one day one day and it's just gone. And you can never get it back. It's like you get homesick for a place that doesn't exist. I mean it's like this rite of passage, you know. You won't have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I miss the idea of it. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people who miss the same imaginary place.

I used to really believe this and buy into the thought but I really do have an amazing family that really has moved past who we were, maybe it's that I have finally grown up a bit, or maybe it's that we know that there is another home for you someplace else. I don't know what it all means but I do know that I saw the snow lightly falling through the light beams of my parents Jeep as I drove through quiet streets, some moments the only driver on that lowly stretch of land. It's rare when that happens. I don't know what went through my head but I wanted to hear a song about snow and there it was, Harry Connick Jr. reminding me that he wanted to snuggle by the fire with the one he loved as he declares, "Let It Snow."'s still soft moments remind me that life is often hard and overwhelming but then there are the moments that are good and remind you what it's all about. Life sometimes can surprise you and today it did....for the good. So I will listen to the wind blow the cold snowy air and remember what it was like to be a kid living in metro Detroit and smile because it was lovely.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Top Ten Records of 2007

I have been thinking of this list for about three weeks now. I have talked, pondered, wondered, rated, and debated about this list. I think it is something not only do I like but have been thinking about this since about March. I have been trying to keep records to the side thinking, 'this is something that will be worth talking about now but also again in December.' It's something of a work of passion. I don't know where my life would be without music...

#10...Panda Bear "Person Pitch"
Brian Wilson's Smile or Pet Sounds fusing together with smart electronic manipulation. Count me in. If you have not hear Deerhoof or Animal Collective this might be a tough record to start with but let me say it is worth the time and energy to understand the tones and textures that surround the record. It's smart and beautiful, somewhat awkward at times but that's what I like about it.

#9...Band of Horses "Cease to Begin"
Not the best record in the world but it had me listening over and over again to some of the tracks that lyrically are so simple. I like a record that reminds me of simple truths like 'the world is a wonderful place' and 'no one is gonna love you more than I do.' Maybe I just want these things in my life so when tight guitar rock tells me that I need to look you in the eye when I walk down the street I want to remember to do that. The record reminds me of my humanity and what we all need.

#8... Explosions in the Sky "All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone"
This band has some of the most beautiful instrumental builds that transport your feelings and desires in only a way that beautiful music can. The cover art and song titles make me feel like I need to rest in the arms of strangers as well as friends. Beautiful and haunting because you need to insert yourself into understanding the emotion. You end up finding about things in the process and see the journey that the music can only tell.

#7 Iron and Wine "The Shepherds Dog"
Oh so good and oh so beautiful. I think at this point I understand why I love Americana and Folk music. There is something about Sam Beam that knows how to write a story and convey it so beautifully. The music is maturing and new ideas and formulas for songs seem to be apparent. It's almost like his voice lulls you to sleep through telling you haunted stories. The layers in the album are thick that lends a hand to making the record that much more beautiful.

#6...The National "Boxer."
The album is good from beginning to end. Paste Magazine has put it as #1, Harp Magazine as #21 for there record reviews. There is no clear consensus on the record to be honest. It's sharp, fun, distinctive. It has a clear throw back to 80s (non-dance) nu wave but a clear direction for it being 2007. I like it. My favorite tracks are Green Gloves and Fake Empire. Strong tracks worth being downloaded.

#5 Kanye West "Graduation."
Gosh this record is so smooth and soulful. I think at first people didn't know what to do with because there was no beat-filled super pop song. The album is strong from beginning to end with great songs like "Good Morning" and "Stronger." The beats are taken from 70s soul and used well to enhance the strong lyrics. I love Kanye. I am glad he is so eclectic and he does what he wants. I am sad about his mom....

#4... Feist "The Reminder."
I can't tell you how many times this record has been played in my home, my car, or my Ipod. There is such an array of emotions that many artists don't know how to touch or even accomplish. She seems like such a strong woman and the music is sad and then makes you laugh. I know that 1 2 3 4 is EVERYWHERE but it's just the tip of the iceberg of what the record contains. From soulful ballads to shaking your shoulders indie pop. Solid record from start to finish.

#3... Ryan Adams "Easy Tiger"
Since I bought the record it hasn't stopped playing. I think this may be Ryan Adams strongest record to date. It's solid, lyrically tight, and musically strong and connected. You can tell he has taken his experiences of past drug/alcohol use to technically good use. A strong note of the past with how you make amends with the the music is so so good. There is something that is incomplete for him and I am interested to see how he continues to write and work with his backing band, The Cardinals.

#2... Radiohead "In Rainbows"
The most accessible record since The Bends. The songs are so simple but so fresh and resonate with me from beginning to end. I am always a bit sad when the record reaches to track ten because I know it's over. I had a fantastic conversation about this record with my friend Wess about how we will talk abut how good this record is but how this band single handed change how we use our money to place value on music. That has to propel the record higher on the list....and it did. Simple and gorgeous. How could you go wrong?

#1...Wilco "Sky Blue Sky"
I LOVE this record. I love it's laid back attitude. There is a feel to this record that has never been on any Wilco record before. There is a feel like things are coming together and things are going to be okay. There is a hope on this record that seemed far from close in A Ghost Was Born. This is my favorite band of all time and to be honest there was a day or so that I didn't think it was going to make it as number one but then I realized that it needed to be because of the strength and clarity it possesses. It's sad that people were disappointed that it wasn't more experimental but why would you want to box a band in? That's why most bands can't put out more than a couple of records. They are forced to stay in a space that they got there in the first place but can't move on. I love Wilco because they explore and take chances. This record is so beautiful. just like the cover art, there seems to be a sense of wonder but also the need of another. It's tight, well made, well recorded, solid. The beginning track of 'Either Way' and concluding with 'On and On and On' are like the perfect bookends of love and relationships. Please buy this record if you haven't yet.

So there it is. Let me know what you think or what your Top 10 is....
soon will be more lists because they are fun and I can avoid doing the things I should be sleep.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Sacred and the Secular

The past five days I haven't been to far attached from my computer. I spent the days writing and wrestling with the topic of the sacred and the secular. Something that I always knew was silly and selfish but I took the quarter and did some reading on it. I finished just moments and I feel good about it. I feel like the writing is pretty strong and I feel like I believe and relate to everything I have written. If you would like to read it you can HERE.

So of course that is about all I will say in regards to this topic but I will talk about music because that is about all I did when I wrote the little paper.....well big paper it is about 15 pages. I made a mix I entitled..."A mix to write a Paper to..."
So here it is:

Christmas Time is Here (Vince Guaraldi) seems to be my theme song as of late
No one is gonna love you (band of horses)
Lousy Reputation (we are scientists)
green gloves (the national)
One True Vine (Wilco--Sky Blue Sky Ep)
Homecoming (Kanye West)
You are Not Alone (Patty Griffin)
First Day of My Life (Bright Eyes)
True Love Waits (Radiohead)
I Taught Myself to Grow Old (Ryan Adams)
Impossible Germany (Wilco)
Ode to the Lrc (band of horses)
1 2 3 4 (Feist)
Sunken Treasure (Jeff Tweedy)
The Sun Also Sets (Ryan Adams)
Lord Leopard (Caribou)
Wonderwall (Ryan Adams)
That Right Ain't Shit (The Books)

So there it is...I put that on shuffle and repeat and just write. I think I listened to at least ten times by now. I would add songs as I would get bored and this is the final list. I love it.

In the next couple of days I should have my top 10 of 2007. It's frickin great...some debatable records or placement...You can debate me because I want to know what you until then enjoy the last few days before Christmas.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Conversation with Relevant Magazine

Throughout this quarter I was able to take a Directed Study with Professor, Rob Johnston, about the topic and conversation of the sacred and the secular. I have been putting off the research for sometime in the last couple of weeks. I have felt stuck and didn't know where to go with my reading or my research on the topic. Today I have finally sat down and tried to gather my thoughts. It's hard some days to write a formal paper because I have become a blog writer and to write academically takes a bit of my spunk and sass away.

Throughout the years I have become a dropout of Evangelical Christianity and if I had to put a qualifier around my faith I have found the most connection with the anabaptists (non-violent, communal, peaceful, and freedom). I think about who I am and who I have become in the last years and I have found a lot of joy with my new language to my faith so attacking a conversation with the sacred and secular has been not an easy task but I have come with a new language and have found hope and a future with my analysis as well as courage to speak on an issue that is quite taboo with evangelical Christianity.

To be a part of an Evangelical subculture for some time I have come across a magazine called Relevant. There aim is for twenty something Christians to break stereotypes and encounter culture through a Christian perspective....or so I thought. I made a phone call this morning and talked with a woman at the magazine who helped answer questions regarding their magazine as well as their aims of the magazine.

I had questions regarding their music reviews. In the magazine there are three qualifiers there critique; music, lyrics, and spirituality. Many issues ago they reviewed Explosions in the Sky's "All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone". It is an instrumental record that is utterly beautiful, something that builds and bursts, and has been used frequently on Friday Night Lights (movie as well as television show). the review their critique said the spirituality was N/A. Which for me begged the question what makes something spiritual? Does Jesus have to die on the cross or is the issue tug on the heart and challenge or affirm our own understanding of spiritual?

On the phone call I asked what makes something spiritual? Something bigger than ourselves was my reply. I was also given the understanding (which to be honest shocked me) that they were a 'secular' magazine that talked about God and faith. Well it's interesting to me (as well as something I talked about on the phone) that it's hard for me to believe that when they don't talk about any other faith other than Christianity as well as the advertising is specifically Christian (christian Universities and Seminaries, youth group promotions, Christian companies). It boggles the mind a little bit that it would be anything but secular and again begs a new definition.

My question is what is your qualifier for spirituality? Is their a qualifier? Is the divide even necessary anymore? In the next week this is my quest. To ask these questions, not to come to anyone conclusion, but maybe look and see the damage a division can do or how it may help others see and qualify their faith.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Letting Christmas be Christmas

I remember last year trying very hard to avoid christmas carols, decorating trees or cookies, setting up lights, or be in a ‘christmas like’ spirit. I don’t know what’s different this year, maybe this blog, but I have allowed Christmas to be Christmas. I am trying to remember the beauty of the season, to be with family, to watch children tear into the presents, and to sip wine under the Christmas lights.

I love that I walked by the neighboring apartment doors on Friday, one group of friends was setting up the Christmas tree, while another neighbor was entertaining friends and laughter pouring from the cracks in the door. As I walked through the Target parking lot to purchase tools to make my gifts for others I saw Christmas trees tied to roofs of cars. My imagination saw the little familes inside buying lights and this years ornament to place on the tree together. The family didn’t have to be perfect but I knew that whatever it was I was hoping that it was working, even for just a moment.

I am seeing with new eyes this Advent season. I see the meaning of the community and hope and a chance to take a deep breath and remember that it this time is now…and it’s all happening.

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Milk of Human Kindness

I love to share music and I love getting music. I love going to record stores and just putting my hands over the used vinyl, looking through the shiny cellophane to gaze deeply into the minds of new friends or new ideas. I love music, music magazines, and all things having to do with music. Somewhere in the last month I shuffled around some music from my external hard drive to my itunes and found music that I hadn't heard in a long time and music that I never realized was in my little guy....

What I found was Caribou's "the Milk of Human Kindness' a record that received a lot of great reviews when it came out in 2005. It is a great electronic record fused with 60s folk and some 70s sole. It's smart, eclectic, moving and really great to listen to. I think there is a great variety on the record. At the heart of my liking of music I like records that share a story, have a start and a finish, that in some ways it is a cohesive unit even if explores concepts throughout the record it comes back together. This record is not like that and I still really love how it is all over the place. I like all the layers and the different feelings the record really portrays. It's all over the place but really something I keep going back to. Sometimes there are vocals and sometimes there are just some really great beats being laid down. Love it.

The song, Lord Leopard, is my favorite. It reminds me of the dance sequence parts of bad teen movies (Save the Last Dance or Center Stage, things i hate to love but I do). It should be in a film if it isn't already. I think the song gives me energy every time I hear it. I found a video of the song you should watch it, it is so sweet and kind. Of course it is! Those are the things in life I find myself attracted to. The simple beauties and the simple wonders. Go and download this record, seriously do it, it's so worth it. If you are into this record then take the chance and get the new record, Andorra, seems to have a lot more lyrics then this one but it should be a good one as well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Simple Beauty.

the last couple of weeks have been tough. They at moments are overwhelming and make you sit back and say…huh? I want to move from that space and I wanted to see with new eyes. Today, just for a moment, I remembered how life really can be beautiful…

Someone on the 134 freeway blew up a surgical glove so that it would be a balloon.
let it go.
and as the cars zoomed by it danced in the wind.

At the moment where my car collided with it, the song on my ipod ended and Joanna Newsom’s Bridges and Balloons began to play.
and I smiled,
with my sunglasses on,
the windows rolled down,
and the forgotten sun streaming through my windows,
the hair on my head blowing in the wind.

and I remembered that the simple beauties in life make my heart jump
and I think someone knew that same truth
and blew up the glove.

…lyrics to the song, Bridges and Balloons.
We sailed away on a winter’s day
with fate as malleable as clay;
but ships are fallible, I say,
and the nautical, like all things, fades

And I can recall our caravel:
a little wicker beetle shell
with four fine maste and lateen sails,
its bearings on Cair Paravel

O my love,
O it was a funny little thing
to be the ones to’ve seen.

The sight of bridges and balloons
makes calm canaries irritable;
they caw and claw all afternoon:
“Catenaries and dirigibles
brace and buoy the living-room –
a loom of metal, warp - woof - wimble.”
And a thimbles worth of milky moon
can touch hearts larger than a thimble.

O my love,
O is was a funny little thing
to be the ones to’ve seen

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Cease to Begin

Before I make my list of best records of 2007 (which of course I am going to be doing) I wanted to comment on Cease to Begin, the new record from Band of Horses. The band started out a few years ago with their breakthrough Record, Everything All the Time, it received huge accolades and Best Record of the Year nods. Hailing from South Carolina and transplanting in Seattle the record was made and distributed through Sub Pop Records. To follow up the big release comes Cease to Begin, their sophomore release, and recording back in their hometown in South Carolina.

I struggle with this band from time to time. I think the riffs and melodies are pretty simple, yet the lyrics and the hooks are something that catches my ears and helps me coming back for more. I think this record is really pretty. It's lyrics include ideas about love and life, even admist the pain and the brokenness. The brokenness of life seems to be pretty adherant yet there seems to be some hope. Hope that there are other people and that the world, that is so often demonized, is actually a beautiful place. I think when I listen to this record I come away feeling hopeful that there is something bigger than me out there protecting and having me see with new eyes.

The album itself is pretty short, about nine songs, and towards the end a lot of the songs start to blend together. Yet there are two songs that I can't stop listening to. The first is "Ode to Lrc" that drops the chorus as:
The town is so small
How could anybody not
Look you in the eyes
The way that you drive by

The world is such a wonderful place
The world is such a wonderful...

Here is a video of the song:

I think I love music that reminds me that life is beautiful or it can be beautiful. That it tugs on some strings that reminds me that I am still alive and that I can have feelings and emotions, not be a robot or a perfected being. I think sometimes life and expectations turn you dull but hearing a record like this one, even for the first three songs, is worth the download. Will this record be on my Top 10...I'm not sure but there is something beautiful about someone singing "No one is going to love you more than I do."

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Christmas Time is Here

I don't normally get excited about the holiday season. I think I like my life manageable and when the holidays come around I get overwhelmed and a bit stressed because the money is tight or this is needed or something falls apart. But this Christmas as everything is already deconstructing a bit I will try something new this holiday season. Consumerism overwhelms me so I am making presents this year and asking others to do the same. So today I will be cleaning my apartment, seeing what I have to dive into new projects and getting rid of the things that sit around and gather dust....

Sufjan is going to kick me into the new season with a reminder of how lovely it is to be with the ones you love and that I love and serve something outside of my control. Spirituality is a beautiful concept, some days it feels like work but this holiday season I want to see with new eyes. If you are also in the Christmas music spirit the Sufjan Christmas album is streaming live from this link. If you are not familiar with Sufjan I want to ask where have you been the last couple of years ( I am sure the stories must be interesting)? But in case you were fighting anaconda in the Amazon Sufjan Stevens is a musician originally from Michagan but has grand orchestral pieces mixed with quirky creative story telling in his lyrics. The music is beautiful and the stories capture you in still soft moments. Please do me the favor and listen, buy, and watch him. He is a true artist and a beautiful, awe-inspiring artist/musician. I love him.

This Christmas I want to see love and hope. I desire to see embrace and beauty. I love Christmas cookies, hot coffee, and late night conversations with lighting lit by the distant Christmas tree. I think that this Christmas will be a moment where I choose to see hope rather than consumerism to fill a need.

I rarely sing Christmas songs but this is one of my favorites and being in California in winter is hard when you know there is snow on the ground in the place where you grew enjoy. ... Chirstmas Time is Here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grace upon grace

Last week was overwhelming, draining, gut smashing, life altering, eye opening. I can think of other adjectives but I think you catch where I might be heading here. It seemed like anything that was holding me together decided to up and leave or break. I wish I was being dramatic but I am not. It was what it was and I have become a better person for it. I will spare the details but I noticed how I much I was trying to control my life. Trying to make sure nothing fell apart and nothing went out of control. When you hold on so tightly that is when it pops and breaks. And break they did....

The hardest part of it all being that I am a student was that my computer died. Something fried. It would only run the fan and not turn on. I had to let it go to the lovely people at apple for a week. It's amazing how I rely so heavily on technology and how it plays such a fantastic role in my life. Just sitting here on my lappie is so lovely as I listen to my ipod and texting friends on my phone. I love it. I am glad it exists in the world. I am also going to praise the amazing people at Apple here for a moment. My computer came back with a complete makeover. It has a new case (the old one was dropped so when you wanted to close the lid you had to shift it to the right and then close it), a new bottom case, a new keyboard, a new display. There is no longer my "Jesus is the Savior, not Christianity" sticker. There are no more scratch marks, hand smudged mouse track pad, the n is now shown once again on my keyboard. I feel really lucky that all this was fixed and now better.

I stepped back this week and realized the grace I have been receiving lately and the beauty of life that I am seeing with new eyes. I guess that was my prayer a while ago and I believe I am seeing with new eyes. I have received meals, flowers, candy, hugs, texts, emails, small notes of unexpectancy. I have been showered with a bit of hope. The grace was unexpected but I am so not going to lie that I needed it. I needed to see visual reminders of God and that there are good people in the world that when you hit the bottom will help pick you up, dust you off, and help you see that today was just kind of shitty and soon again something will be better.

It also doesn't suck when you make a great mixtape!!
Good Woman (Cat Power)
Be Not So Fearful (Jeff Tweedy)
no ones gonna love (band of horses)
Intuition (feist)
The Trapeze Swinger (Iron and Wine)
The Orchids (Califone)
You are Not Alone (Patty Griffin)
Shelter (Ray LaMontagne)
Wonderwall (Ryan Adams)
On and On and On (Wilco)
Rake (Sufjan Stevens)
Much Farther to Go (Rosie Thomas)
Acuff-Rose (Jeff Tweedy)
Your Hand in Mine (Explosions in the Sky)
Ode to the Irc (Band of Horses)

So I hope to be blogging more, getting my homework done, and/or procrastinating more....

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 your computer

Thhis week, like the last two have been overwhelming, mystifying, and has made me slow down and realize what is in the way and what has been missing. I realized that I haven't been to a live show or bought a new CD in months. Many people miht not find this weird..odd..or strange, but to a woman who spends her waking moments with music in her eyes or in my face this is a rare oddity. I think it's almost like a bad caffiene addiction, when you stop you have bad headaches, wierd mood swings, and altered state of being. I think I am going through music withdrawl.

Yesterday I had the rare chance to chat with my friend in New York and we like to swap music or music sites. I feel really lucky to have friends like this. I was just made aware that NPR revamped their site and have a lot of music, concerts, and interviewss ready to listen, and add to a playlist of the concerts on hand. It's live music of great bands right here, right now. I have alrerady taken in Thurston Moore and at this moment listening to a radio set of Band of Horses. The new record is pretty great but there are two songs that I can't stop listening to and they are both played live with some fantastic emotion that I think only a live show can really put across.

My computer took a crap last night. I am really bummed and it looks like I can't take it to an apple store until later this weekend, the biggest shopping weekend of the whole year. I hope NPR or my ipod will bring me to the places i need to find a little bit of sanity. So here is to hoping.

Monday, November 19, 2007

A Familie Movie

My first encounter with Danielson was at Calvin College back in the undergrad days. I can't remember the year, but I know the venue, where I was sitting, and encountering the art meets music style of Daniel Smith. He was wearing a tight fitting suit, with blinders around his eyes, antlers on his head, and bells strapped to his ankle. He had an overhead projector with all the lyrics on it and invited everyone to sing along. I had never encountered anything like this at the time and it has ever so impacted my life as it engages with the merging of art, music, and spirituality.

Sunday I had the small chunk of time to snuggle on my couch and remember my experiences with this musical endevor through a musical documentary. I had heard about the documentary a year ago when they first finished the film but I hadn't received the opportunity to watch the documented journey of the Danielson, Brother Danielson, Danielson Familie, of Danielson Sonship. All of these groups are a hybrid of the thoughts, ideas, and vision of Dan Smith. I

If you haven't heard the music take the time to figure it out. I promise it does take time and it's not soothing to the soul but a music journey of merging faith, art, and music. Danielson: A Family Movie (or Make a Joyful Noise Here) follows the ending of the Familie and working towards a new project. The music is passionate. Passionate about a loving Father (God) who is the Creator of all things and enables those who recognize this Spirit to forge in creativity. The music is odd yet rich in what it means to serve, love, care, and give to other people. People want to automatically label things as Christian and leave the conversation with all your preconceptions but that would be shallow and unable to deal with what is real and what is in front of you.

I can tell you a lot about the film but I don't want to. I want to talk about the experience with the film and the movement in my soul that I haven't felt in quite sometime. I work hard to find the spiritual throughout my culture. With Danielson it is the manifestation of the Spirit and what we do when we learn how to die to ourselves and begin to live in the spirit of something bigger than ourselves. Life in the spirit is beautiful if we allow it to not have boundaries or constraints on our life. The creativity astounds me as Danielson Familie wears nurses uniforms and offers the visual reminder that Christ/God/Spirit can offer healing into our lives.

Without Danielson we wouldn't have Sufjan Stevens. Danielson helped produce the Michigan record that was highly acclaimed. Sufjan steals many of the ideas that Daniel Smith had set up and I think that's lovely. He is able to introduce merging of artistic concepts that not only stirs your ears but also your eyes. It's amazing what happens when we connect the music with the art or at least find and contemplate the statements being made on stage. Friends are good for this.

This film made me miss my Michigan community. A community of people who are committed to art (visually and musically) and how we can challenge one another to not only be better artists but better people who live with a spirit inside them that pushes and validates people outside of themselves. I hope to find an art community again. I don't know if that will lead me back to Michigan but I hope it leads me home.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In This World

Monday afternoon I was asked to show a film and follow up with conversation on the fiction documentary In This World. the film is about two boys fleeing their refugee camp in Pakistan because of the wars and bombing in their home of Afghanistan. The conversation is a tough one when you this topic is basically unanswerable. I was trying to find background information on the film and I ran across this quote from the review in the LA Weekly:

The world is full of refugees, and Western countries that have helped create them (as well as those that haven’t) must deal with the fact that to reject them is inhuman, to accept them by the millions is impractical, and to create humanly decent criteria for who qualifies and who doesn’t is all but impossible. That is the West’s dilemma.

The film follows two boys trying to find a better life for themselves. They have to put their lives in the hands of others to get them to their destination of London where they hope to seek asylum. I am going to be honest and say that I haven't really processed through this issue much. It's huge. It almost seems like an impossible conversation. I even had to say that after the movie. It is almost impossible but at least it is something to think about and work our way through new parts of the conversation. Does it move us towards a conversation of non-violence or the conversation of the war? I didn't want to make the conversation a political one but in light of the fact the war is costing America over a trillion dollars it's a worthy conversation to undertake. Imagine if we used a trillion dollars for providing free education? Imagine if we used that trillion for housing? or meal plans? or rebuilding old buildings? or college educations? These are some my thoughts for alternative fundings or at least new solutions to old problems.

I don't think I have the final over arching solutions but I also think as the church body we can be vital into helping create new solutions.

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Squid and the Whale

As I sluggishly get through my day today and especially now to keep my eye lids open as class drones on I realized that I haven't talked about my new Netflix experience as well as partaking in Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale. I finally decided that spending eight dollars a month is worth getting a couple of movies a week and indulging in all that I can with documentaries and Independent films that when I walk into the dreaded Blockbuster I end up being bombarded with bad Hollywood movies and overpriced Jiffy Pop. This has been a fantastic decision and kind of kick myself for not doing this movie in my mailbox thing earlier.

The latest movie watching adventure is The Squid and the Whale. A great film that is obviously influenced by Wes Anderson who was also the producer of the film. The plot reminds me of The Darjeeling Limited and The Royal Tannenbaums with a father estranging himself from his family due to selfish actions and the insistence their way is the best way (sometimes the only way). The film is stylistically lovely and the music looks back to the classic rock diddys (Lou Reed, Loudon Wainwright III).

The film has a simple story (or a simple story that my generation understands so well) of a family divorcing, the children almost forced to choose sides, and the repercussions when you don't know who you intermingles with chaos and pain. I think the story is almost hard to watch at times when you see a nine year old boy masturbating in the library as well as getting drunk on weekdays locked in his bedroom hoping to drink away the understanding that he might just look like his father. The father (Jeff Daniels) is a harsh yet loving father, wanting what he thinks is best for his boys, but sabotaging them at the same time.

There are some great themes of loving yourself, loving who you are becoming, facing your fears, and standing up to the scary present that is slowing becoming your past. The concept of the squid and the whale is only important in theory but a beautiful reconnection of what it means to be loved by your mother and communicating your desires and needs to be loved in return. I think they did a great job showing the expectations of sleeping with the hottest girl and how that can skew your perception of yourself and of others.

I walked away from the film with a bit of hope and knowing that the pain continues to bring you closer to a new reality but a reality that you are not perfect and it is okay not to be.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Joanna with her orchestra

With an opportunity to sit in the beautifully designed Walt Disney Concert Hall, with a twenty eight piece orchestra, a mandolin, and percussionist, my friend Erika and I was transferred into the world of Joanna Newsom. The night was filled with the beautiful, breathtaking music from the harpist, avant-garde folk stylings of Joanna. The night began with the orchestra backing her to the 2005 Y's record. The record is beautiful and haunting. Almost stepping into what it might have been to live in medieval times. I love the record because of a lot of reasons. The music is beautiful, how could it not when you have an orchestral arrangement by Van Dyke Parks (think Brian Wilson's Smile and Pet Sounds) and recorded and produced by Jim O'Rourke (Sonic Youth, Wilco) and Steve Albini (master behind Nirvana's In Utero and The Pixie's Surfer Rosa). We were treated to the record from beginning to end, only to take breaks in between tracks to sip water and thank the audience for being there. The music was gorgeous and very much like the album, the only new additions were from the mandolin/banjo player and well versed percussionist.

The second half was an array of songs from her first full length The Milk-Eyed Mendor. What I loved about these songs is that she totally rearranged and added depth and scope to the already established songs. The songs were given perspectives and with the sound as it is in this concert hall it was a breath of fresh air and a new sense of how one can approach her songs. She is quirky little lady, you can sense that she knows what she wants and has a great personality to back it up. What I loved about the night was the use of instruments that colored and envisioned the evening. I keep thinking about the percussionist who had no boundaries around his instruments. There was no snare drum or drum sticks but a bass drum that was used like a rock bass drum (hence with pedal) but more often used with mallets or with his hands. No part of the drum was off limits as he knew how to use the head to vary sounds. The mandolin player would add his breath of knowledge and challenge the orchestra with what he could add to the beautiful full sound.

The only critique of the night was that I wanted it louder...not 'turn it to eleven' sound but I didn't think it needed the dainty undertones as it was awarded by the sound engineer. Other than that I was amazed by the work of Joanna Newsom herself. Her voice has matured with the time she has played and her skills on the harp is magnificent. I don't have a lot of background on the harp but it was lovely to be a part of.

The night was magnificent from beginning to end. I had a wonderful evening with a wonderful friend. We both had fancy new dresses on and cute new boots. I can't say enough of what a lovely evening I had with some of the most intriguing scope of sound i have heard in quite some time. One of my favorite songs is entitled Peach, Plum, Pear from her fist full length. You can see a past live show below. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Top 5 Favorite Songs

I was asked tonight what my all time top five favorite songs were. Within moments I had three, a couple more i had the fourth, and the firth I am sure will be developed by the end of this post. The act of the favorite song is different than the all time top five favorite bands or the all time top five favorite albums. These three are ENTIRELY different categories and entirely different bags all together. I think music really relates to your soul and your feelings. I think the songs move you into a new space entirely or you will never get sick of them.

You can not judge someone for their favorite songs. This is different than the band...that is a matter of wholistic taste. Some of the worst bands can write a song that can change your life. It does not make them a great band or even a great songwriter. It just means they wrote something that changed your life.

My top 5...
Your Hand in Mine --Explosions in the Sky
(this song is utterly beautiful and the best song to think to as well as to drive to)

Sunken Treasure-- Jeff Tweedy
(This would be from the solo DVD and not from Being There Disc One. There IS a difference. I like this version better because of the openness and space that you can feel from the recording as well as the raw emotion).

Damnit-- Blink 182
(I am sure I just lost some points with some people but I am definitely okay with this. I remember when I was a kid in high school and hearing this song for the first time. I was sitting in my parents living room on the forest green couch. the video was illy and that beat was something I couldn't get out of my head. Let's just say that this song may have launched my love for music.)

Dreams--The Cranberries
(This song is beautiful and driving. It some how keeps me hopeful for something bigger than myself. I see a lot of simplicity and beauty and a whole lot of life. Call me crazy but then again I LOVE it.)

The fifth song is usually hard for me or the fifth of anything. It's the last straw or the icing on the cake but it is hard but if I cam going to choose one it will have to be....

The Trapeze Swinger--Iron and Wine
(It goes on all my mix tapes within the last year or so. There is something so beautiful about the line "I heard from someone you're still pretty" and this song has opened the door to some really beautiful conversations.)

If there are some Runners Up they would be
Wonderwall-- Ryan Adams cover of Oasis. Simple. Beautiful. Breath taking. Took something and made it beautiful.

That's When I reach for My Revolver--Mission of Buurma. Freaking Amazing

Sufjan Stevens--Chicago. The acoustic version live at Calvin College. It is so stripped down and is the back bone to all the other versions he has done. It is beautiful and i remember the first time I heard it it brought a tear to my eye.

So these are my thoughts. I would love to hear your list if you have one....

Monday, November 5, 2007

if you want to be alive.

You have to learn how to die...
if you want to want to be alive.
I got the opportunity this weekend to spend time in New York City. This in itself took almost two years to accomplish and extra hours spent serving mint mochas and pineapple soy smoothies. The weekend was short, a whirlwind of subway rides, blocks of high rise buildings, and the feel on your skin that the weather was changing from the final moments of summer to the crisp air of fall.

The city is breathtaking in the way that it is constantly moving and never stopping. That it works for the pedestrian rather than the automobile. It's interesting to be within a space that honors public, communal ways of movement rather than DEtroit or Los Angeles that works individually with the individual car moving one person at a time. It removes the sense of the private and moves you into peoples lives and conversations until you come to the next stop. These stories get off and the new stories of meaning and purpose walk into your life for a moment.

You can get lost in a space like this. Not so much in the physical sense but just the stories of life. Watching people move forward to their destination or in some ways get lost in the shuffle and just follow the person one step ahead of you. I think going to the city gave me a new appreciation of what it means to live, how I am living my life, and what I can be doing with my time rather than sitting at home some nights instead of exploring what is right here around me. Granted LA is not New York. There is a different identity here on the west coast (less European and hip hop infusion and more Beach Boys meets plastic surgery).

There were moments where I felt like when I was in London. When I went to Europe I feel in love with the culture, the way of life, the people. I could speak the language and for the first time my dress wasn't odd it was basically normal. It's not that I have bad taste, it's just that I don't wear polo shirts and khaki pants. I think dress and fashion is a lot of fun, something that can motivate you for the rest of the day and put you into a great mood. I think it expresses somewhat of an identity and says what you think of culture and what you think of the quote on quote popular. Though I live in LA I still got off the train and looked like I stepped into Hipster Land. Which it was and was fantastic.

All I can say is that I was inspired and hopeful for the future. When I returned back home to California I did feel a sense of home. So all that to say I am not packing my bags tomorrow but acknowledging that there is a lot to live and a lot of places to learn.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Darjeeling Limited

Yesterday I was exhausted from the Halloween schananagins and decided that the time was finally now to encounter and embrace the new Wes Anderson movie. I have had a love affair with this director since I encountered the imagination and brokenness in Rushmore. I remember like it was yesterday seeing The Royal Tannenbaums, and being wide wide a few Christmas vacations stepping into the underwater world of The Life Aquatic. Anderson has the ability to transform the mundane into something other. It puts this little smile in my heart when the not common man encounters the normal and prevail.

Often times I get a response from people that they are not the biggest fans of Anderson; they just don't get it. There is something about confronting our brokenness, confronting the pain of what the American dream promised and then it doesn't work out. Those who have had a great family life might not understand the pain and turmoil of the family is a bit dysfunctional, something that Anderson has yet to escape in the exploration of the question. Darjeeling is no different as there are three brothers who don't really trust each other and try to get the most out of a journey for their runaway mother about a year after their father dies. The quest is to get the most out of the adventure, seek spirituality, and seek a way for the brothers to get along.

Interesting that Anderson would center this film on the spiritual quest, which I think is a touchy subject for some, but brought up some new truths for me. I think the film addresses our desire for an instant gratification, saying that I prayed for something to happen and why fourteen minutes later we don't see a response. They pray to anything, use anything, and seek for a spiritual result. What they turn to is a need for consumer goods, sex, or control. Each were the filler for the thing that they wanted more was coming to a healing space.

There is a beautiful scene where Owen Wilson takes off above bandages, he is utterly wrecked, gashes on his face still raw. He looks straight into the mirror and says...."I'm not healed yet." Wow, did that strike a chord with my own brokenness and the need to continually healed. I have taken the bandages off but yet the wounds are not as fresh but they still ooze from time to time.

Other than the story the colors were amazing, the music was superb, and the editing was spot on. The film was beautiful. It was interesting to read this article thought it held no real life situations though spent some time talking about the pain of Owen Wilson during the time of the filming (he attempted suicide), finding joy in small moments. If that doesn't seem like real life to me than mine must be fake. I have a lot of new thoughts on the theological meaning with our culture and how we want to deny it all. I will come back to this hopefully soon. Until then go see this movie. It will be worth the time.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

To paint. To create. To make something from nothing or really something else.

It's interesting to ask the question of why do we create art? I think it's such a healing expression of who we are and who we are becoming. In some ways it solidifies ideas new and old as well as coming to a new understanding. The process for creating is often times an individual act. On Friday my friend Glo and I dared to ask what it would mean to create in community? I thought about who might show up and why someone would want to create with somebody else? It was an interesting outcome of maybe less than ten people showing up to share why they do art and create together. There is a sense that you can let go and hear what others have to say about your work but also ask questions and allowing yourself to go to those places.

It left me wondering if art creates freedom? When we put ourselves in the work are we displaying our intermost thoughts like a picture journal with limited words and actions? Those questions are left to an individual to respond. Yet, when there is a seminary-worth of people and a limited number of people who respond are we limited as well in our creative responses? Many people I know feel like they can't do art because they can't either. I think we can't limit ourselves at our limitations. I hate exercising but I can't let that stop me. I need to get creative and try something that is fun but also worth working the muscles that need to be stretched and pulled. Why are we afraid to create? I think just giving it a try loses nothing...

Monday, October 22, 2007

what youth culture can do to help us remember....

When I was 18 I decided that my life goal was to be a youth pastor. I thought that this would be a really great decision. Serving the Lord, helping kids, loving has caused more trials than I originally thoughts, but that is a different blog. In the quest of youth ministry I feel in love with popular culture and in turn youth culture. I loved watching shows on the N like Degrassi: the Next Generation. I used to watch the first generation after school. I learned great life examples of why you shouldn't take acid (spiders!) and what happens when you have sex (becoming pregnant)....I found myself this Saturday, exhausted from work, in front of my television watching the show in syndication. It's a lovely little teen drama with interwoven relationships, pregnancy, abortion, eating disorders, and rebellion. Life seems so simple in the show or really, drama, heartache, pain. All the things that makes a teenager...

Teen culture is interesting. I love the questioning. I love the life experiences. I love the rebellion and questioning. Life isn't black and white though often it is processed that way. The show always leaves in suspension and i love how youth culture is always dated by the latest fashions and trends. What is great about the show it doesn't shy away from the hard questions and doesn't limit the love or the struggling with the conclusions.

With the prompt of Degrassi I decided to revisit The Adventures of Pete and Pete. A fabulous show that was on Nickelodeon when I was a middle school student. There are two brothers named Pete and they live in a universe that I believe hipsters currently live their life. There is desire for freedom but also the questioning of life and relationships and asking what is the purpose. What I loved is the show usually brought global issues like the hole in the ozone or the commercialization of christmas, or the need for math word problems. What was great about the show (which is quite a bit) is that they had so many great actors who are a bit quirky join them in their world. Steve Buschemi was Ellens dad, Jeanne Garafolo was a poetry teacher, Iggy Pop was Nona's dad. I mean come on what other show has managed to do that?!
I guess that I relate to the show because it seems that it raises issues that we still deal with. Issues that seem so important to living and what it means to live is to make the most of the opportunities that present themselves. To live almost in a world that is full of creativity, a great group of friends, and to question why we don't all have superhuman best friends named Artie, the strongest man in the world.

I guess I still live in that space where you can dream big and live in your imagination. Not the kind that reality is replaced but the kind of world where you can laugh at yourself but also turn back time and live in the same hour again. I don't know about you but that sounds like fun to me!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus

I took an hour this afternoon to watch this documentary entitled Searching for the Wrong Eyed Jesus. A documentary about following the musician Jim White and the culture of the south. Focusing largely on the oddities of faith and following the goodness or the blood of Christ. If you have seen the movie Saved (Mandy Moore, Maculey Culkin) it sets up an interesting fictional portrayal about the Evangelical Right. This documentary has no fictional portrayals but stories of the inhabitants of a deep south. There are moments where you have to question to yourself if this can actually be real? There seems only two ways of living, well maybe three, either you go to church or you live in evil. Or you accept Jesus in your heart and then on sundays you go back to the Pentecostal based church and repent for your deeds. The religion seems to be religion, follow the rules, accept Jesus, live your life.

The music in the film is fabulous. The premise was surrounded by the fact the film makers received a Christmas gift of Jim White's Mysterious Tale of how I Shouter Wrong Eyed Jesus! The music is deep south, found on the swamps, and nothing to do with metal. On a deeper look there is the music from 16 Horsepower and the Handsome Family. The movie is interwoven with the music of the south, deep dark , mysterious, and oddly creepy.

I really loved this film because it is awkward and tough to swallow. There is a tough understanding of those who live in the small towns with nothing but tradition, a church, a jail, and an auto shop. If you are lucky a McDonald's or a KFC. Life seems to be small and simple and narrated by Jim White's view of the south. Something that he grew to love and find beauty in. There are moments where you wouldn't think that someone could live in these spaces but there they are in their lives and their understandings of how they got there and why they stayed. Sometimes shocking and sometimes you just have to laugh. Like when the old man shares a story of how when he was a young lad the family received a Sears Roebuck catalogue, inside all they saw was perfection, what they saw were people without fingers, sores, and brokenness. Within hours the catalogue was filled with no longer perfection but stories of disillusionment, chaos, love, incest, and relationships.

Overall the movie is worth seeing. The colors are dark, thought the shots and movements of the musicians are worth enduring the crazy south interpretation of faith and being saved. Beautiful snapshot of something that is not a universal idea but still someones way of life.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

In Rainbows

My junior year of college I had the chance to see a laser light show of Radiohead's Ok Computer at the Grand Rapids Conservatory. It was really interesting and I remember that night really falling in love with what Radiohead offered sonically. Years later I feel asleep to Kid A and remembering oddly falling in love with Amnesiac. Now I am not really surprised as I love sonic noise and how you can manipulate noise to add texture or a message to the music. On Thursday I finally took the time to erase some space from my limited hard drive to make room for In Rainbows, the latest record from Radiohead

In Rainbows is a beautiful record. It is only ten songs, low quality MP3s, but from what I have been reading it seems as if it is just a tastey treat to wet the palate before the full length box set comes out in December. The record itself is a step back from the noise exploration and is VERY accessible. If you didn't like Amnesiac or Hail to the Thief (this one might just be a favorite of mine) this can bring you back to the Ok Computer days. It is very easy to listen to and is very distinctly Radiohead. Simple driving beats, multiple guitar parts, string emphasis, and beautiful simple drum parts. Everyone that I have talked to about this record can't stop listening. They just keep hitting play when the Ipod finishes off with 'Videotape.'

What's interesting about this one is that there is no cover art or liner notes. A friend directed me to this blog that has different designs for each record. This design is my favorite. Pablo Honey is fun and Amnesiac is fantastic (I think it's because I have a thing for library cards. The meaning behind this is still being determined.)

The reason there is so much talk about the album doesn't have much to do with the music per say but how the album is being distributed. You can't find it on itunes or going to the local Best Buy, you can only find it to download at their website and you are able to set your own price. I am intrigued to find out people don't want to pay for the record but get it for free. Others I have read have paid up to $300 for it. For me I just laugh because it is a huge middle finger to record companies and the market that jacks up the price for art (this is a whole other conversation!) that almost every single time the musicians never receive a penny for the music they made. It is often on the tour and the merchandise purchased at said concert. It's an interesting conversation. One I hope to hear what people are saying and what the outcome financially for the men in Radiohead. If you are interested in finding out what others are paying there is a survey you can take to see what others have paid for in rainbows.

Take the time to check it out if you haven't yet. You might not pay a thing but remember that this time the artist is getting the money for something they have made.

Friday, October 12, 2007

at the window.

As I am sitting here trying to do my homework I watch life walk by these windows. Life that is dressed in flower print dresses, t-shirts that explain college attendance or how they enjoyed their vacation in St. Barts or some other tropical paradise with over priced beers and assortments of beaded wares that you can return home to your children who are begging for your return and the material wares. I see brokenness and joy as just the last hour has displayed the faces of those walking by the window. .Kids skating on their skateboards, lunches in brown paper bags, and I wondered what those who may have sat at this window years ago would have seen and those who sit here 20 years from now what their eyes will process.

What will have changed?
Will there be long-haird Mexican teenagers skating to the Arco? Or will the Arco be replaced with high rise apartments. The gas station being sold because their is a car that runs on water or on dandelions? The need for such a place might be archaic. Or will we all be walking because everything in the city seems to work together? Will the suburbs be the new city squares?

Will the elderly ladies still be wearing back pocketless pants with elisto waistbands? Will our dress still communicate our desires and purposes? Will men find the cure for the elusive polo shirt, stone washed jeans, and baseball hats that communicate ether a team or honking for America?

I don't know where the thoughts have sprung from. Maybe it's sitting with the new Radiohead (in Rainbows) that is so simple and elegant and doesn't push forward but allows the door for noise and simplicity to intertwine. Beautiful isn't it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Women and the Body

I have been lucky this quarter to have two directed readings. A directed reading is doing a lot of reading and than working one on one with a professor to talk about the reading. It's fantastic because than I don't have to go to class!! As of now I am working with the concepts of body, theology, and advertising. The other is the Christian perspective to divide the secular from the sacred. The two are starting to merge themselves together which couldn't make me happier.

Women's issues and the church are rarely merged together and when they are they have a specific women's ministry that usually talks about domestic home issues or raising children. I usually don't fit in that category because I am a horrible domestic and my womb is not full or have ever been full with children. Me aside, the issues I have been reading about has made me look at the world around me, and specifically women on television, a bit differently.

I am getting over being sick so Sunday evening I spent the day with books and my couch. It was a lovely day but I need distraction and hence the glory of television. The public kind...I don't receive or pay for cable. The portrayal of women are interesting. I think the jog is up on the fact that thin is in and there is only one certain kind of woman so they (as in the TV people) will put brown hair white woman, black woman, or hispanic woman in the place of the enduring blonde but the issues stay the same. Who is prettier, what is the woman doing, where is she working, what are the main issues? Often times I see the women dealing with petty things (or what I what I see is petty) like getting their hair done, nails re-polished. The issue is who is the man in their life. Beauty and the Geek, Americas Next Top Model, Deal or No Deal...what is the common function of the show? What are these women doing? and how are they succeeding? Across the line women are paid to be beautiful..

In one of my books I read the phrase, something of which I will paraphrase, as women have in the past not had authority with their words so their authority has been moved over to their body. Their body is what gave them power. Are we manipulating the body still today? Are we still finding the authority or even worth in a woman for the look of their body or the work of their hands, the brilliance of their thoughts? and when a woman is brilliant she is usually white, thin, and characteristically pretty.

Are we really moving forward with women's issues or are we stagnant? I will let you be the judge.