Archive for April, 2007

Sacred Satire? My Donkey!

April 23, 2007

Miners Club came together again to shoot our second short – a commissioned piece to introduce the satirist Joel Kilpatrick who’s speaking on campus this Thursday. He’s the creator of LarkNews.com and authored Field Guide to Evangelicals (in their natural habitat).

Our production scope on this project was small: just a hand held camera, no lights or microphones. We had a rough script that cut between a family and church mob headed to see Joel. This was largely up to our actors to improv – which they are amazing at.

It was so interesting watch them in action, especially in the family scenes. We’d take four shots and the actors would say something different each time, though it would still be within scope of the script.

Blocking

For example, Suzy walking in to the kitchen talking to her mother started out saying, “Jeepers Mom!” This moved to “Oh Casserole, Mom!” Then “Well Dick Van Dyke Mom!” She had everyone rolling, it was pretty funny!

Still of father/son

The Father/Son scene this had a bit more weight to it as the Father started to play with the dialogue when he reassures his son not be scared in the presence of greatness (i.e. Joel Kilpatrick – mind you this is meant to be satire). “I’ll be there to hold your hand” turned in to, “The spirit of the Lord will be with you and I’ll be there to hold your hand.” to “The Word of God tells us that the spirit of the Lord is with us, and I’ll be there too to hold your hand.”

The words would be so different, and the actors themselves would say, “I don’t know, it just came out!”

It made me think about how we normally talk, and how just a few more or less words completely changes the impact of what we’re saying, though the motivation and thought don’t change inwardly. Huh, interesting…

You can see the short for yourself this Thursday at 7:30pm in Travis Auditorium and be in the presence of greatness, Joel Kilpatrick. Those who are coming for the holy beating, don’t forget your dish for the post-lynching potluck!

Content

April 22, 2007

[Discipleship] is nothing other than being bound to Jesus Christ alone. This means completely breaking through anything preprogrammed, idealistic, or legalistic. No further content is possible because Jesus is the only content. There is no other content besides Jesus. He himself is it. p 59

Sometimes I sense people looking at me, wanting content. It’s the same way I look at others and my RSS feed, looking for content. Something clever, smart or just good to hear. Then the disappointment comes.

I am a shell. Do not look to me, I have no answers, only questions. If you wait for a good day when I’ve taken time to me clean my windows and God can shine through me, then you might get a glimpse Jesus Christ who lives here. Like Bonhoeffer says above in Discipleship He is the only content. I promise that’s what you and I both are after.

Class at the NS today

April 18, 2007

Madonna and Child with Book

My theology and Art class took a break from the classroom and went to the Norton Simon museum today. Mmmm, I love it. Less than 2 miles away, amazing collection, beautiful gardens, and free student admission.

We spent time just looking at a few pieces in-depth, which let me sketch while listening to the dialogue, and occasionally joining in. Above is a sketch of the Madonna and Child with Book by Raphael (yes, the Raphel) in 1502-3.

It may sound heretical, but I’ve had little patience for religious painting after a trip in 2001 to Italy. I felt like if I saw one madonna and child, I’ve seen them all. Give me a Picasso, Matise, Cezanne, Degas, Van Gough, Monet anyday. Artists who are learning to see their world differently and challenging conventions. *sigh* Yet I’m slowly realizing there is immense value in studying this earlier period, and my reading for this class is shedding some light on these paintings for me.

Woman wih book

I was relieved though when we moved wings into the 19-20th century art, and spent the last hour talking about two Picasso pieces. The latter, Woman with a book, I sketched above. I love Picasso. I feel at home looking at his work. Perhaps because I lived for a year and took art classes in the Spanish town, Malaga, where he was born? Who knows, but the range of styles he went through is always an inspiration to me.

Losing touch with beauty

April 18, 2007

Gene Weingarten from the Washington Post poses a very interesting question in the article, Pearls before Breakfast:

Can one of the nation’s great musicians cut through the fog of a D.C. rush hour? Let’s find out.

A world class concert violinist, Joshua Bell, plays in a subway station during morning rush hour. Will anyone notice? Watch the video, almost no one does. The full article about this insightful social experiment is here, and well worth a read. It begs the question:

IF A GREAT MUSICIAN PLAYS GREAT MUSIC BUT NO ONE HEARS . . . WAS HE REALLY ANY GOOD?

It’s an old epistemological debate, older, actually, than the koan about the tree in the forest. Plato weighed in on it, and philosophers for two millennia afterward: What is beauty? Is it a measurable fact (Gottfried Leibniz), or merely an opinion (David Hume), or is it a little of each, colored by the immediate state of mind of the observer (Immanuel Kant)?

Weingarten rests on Kant, context matters (in this case the am commute vs. concert hall), yet he admits this breaks down when he interviews the few commuters that did stop. They sensed the artistry and beauty to the music enough to postpone their morning commute a few minutes to listen. Yet most walked by like drones, and it strikes a nerve.

The great business mind and blogger Seth Green (author of The Purple Cow) makes the distrubing point that the rest of us would probably ignore him too.

Hmm … it is disturbing. Are we so immersed in efficiency, calculability, predictability and control (i.e. George Ritzer and his McDonalization thesis) that we have no room for art when it’s not pre-programed in? As Weingarten quotes in his article:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

— from “Leisure,” by W.H. Davies

Ellen Anderson Art

April 8, 2007

Floral

My good friend Ellen will be featured the next issue of the British House and Home Ideas Magazine. We quickly became friends after she invited me over for tea while I was studying in England at Norwich School of Art and Design. She studied illustration graduating in 2000. She has pursed her work since then living around London. I’m not sure if House and Home Ideas Magazine will be on stands in the US, but check out her website, Ellen Anderson Art for more of her work. Way to go Ellen!

Whispers

April 8, 2007

Lately my prayers have been whispers.

Short.
To the point.
Intimate.
Raw.

I believe these prayers dear to God. Different of course from the as the ornate collects and other liturgy in the common book of prayer, yet just as true. I am broken, trying to move close to God, but his glory is intimidating. I’m at his feet with ashamed whispers.

But he hears.
He is my Father.
Abba.
Daddy.

Brendan Manning’s words ring in my ears: God loves me as I am, not as I should be. I notice evidence of my Abba responding in my life through circumstances, friends, peace in my heart.

My jaw drops.
Amazement.
I look around,
Did you notice that?
I did.
I know I did,
but it’s fleeting.
It’s … mystical, spiritual, bizarre
when you know that you’ve been heard,
really heard,
by the divine.

Rejoice!
God heard me.
God hears you.
God hears our whispered prayers.

May this resound today of all days. May you draw close to the source to celebrate LIFE, even (especially) among the whispers of your soul.

Admonition, a Miners Club Production

April 5, 2007

Cast/crew who could make the screening

Miners Club Productions (missing J.J. and Anna above) at the premiere of our short film Admonition at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA. Hmm…

We just had a much better screening on Fuller’s campus this Monday morning. Will Stoller Lee, Fuller’s Colorado Extension Director (and logistical force behind the Sundance course), gave a devotional on Deuteronomy 30:16 to kick off a gathering of extension directors. He invited us to show our film, based on this passage. Afterwards he facilitated a Q&A for the cast and crew (this group above), followed by the last 15 minutes dedicated to prayer around the themes in the film.

I think the group was pretty encouraged (I know I was) by the positive response from fellow theologians who appreciated the subtile approach we took to framing theme: live, really live, live exuberantly (the Message’s version of Moses’ call to Israelites before they went into the promised land)! This was a relief since we’d gotten neutral to lukewarm reception from the 168 festival.

I think after our experience at Sundance, our group assumed that “Christian filmmaking” like any Christian art, needs to be pushed out of its boundaries into the world where people (Christians and non Christians) are waiting to hear about hope the Gospel offers in relevant ways. We are not Christian artists, but an artists who are Christian.

We will be screening again during Arts Fest week on Fuller’s Campus. We’re in the Fusion lineup Friday night, April 27th. I’m also hoping the film will be online shortly, I’ll be sure to post it or a link here.

Joshua Tree Niche

April 5, 2007

Found my spot

I hit up Joshua Tree with friends a few weekends ago the Sunday before spring quarter started. We had a little picnic and stayed around the same area for a few hours – perfect for painting, reading, laying around and exploring to find little niches like this one.