amplive remixez radiohead

April 30, 2008

Amplive, DJ from NorCal, made a free download of really great remixez of in rainbows.

Hip hop somehow mixes well with these guys…..

www.onesevensevensix.com/amplive/

 

graciela iturbide

April 30, 2008

I went to the Getty to see Andre Kertesz, but I was equally impressed by this exhibition. Mexican photographer with some really cool indigenous Mexican culture, ceremonies, life, etc., as well as a pretty great glimpse into the life of a family of gang members in East LA in the 80s. I liked how she seemed to truly get into people’s lives and tell their story from the inside. Her compositions were also really original and left a lot to the imagination. I like photos that don’t tell the whole story, but altogether create something more than the sum of their parts. In other words, she created an experience where the “reader” of her photographs was led along a journey that allowed one to imagine more than what was actually there.  At the same time, each picture stands on its own.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is also a poet. This poem, although a few months late for Advent, really illustrates the traditional connection that Christians have always made between Christ’s first coming and his second coming. Maybe I’ll repost this in December, but I thought that it was extremely powerful.

Advent Calendar

He will come like last leaf’s fall.
One night when the November wind
has flayed the trees to bone, and earth
wakes choking on the mould,
the soft shroud’s folding.

He will come like frost.
One morning when the shrinking earth
opens on mist, to find itself
arrested in the net
of alien, sword-set beauty.

He will come like dark.
One evening when the bursting red
December sun draws up the sheet
and penny-masks its eye to yield
the star-snowed fields of sky.

He will come, will come,
will come like crying in the night,
like blood, like breaking,
as the earth writhes to toss him free.
He will come like a child.

-Rowan Williams

blast from the past

April 20, 2008

No wonder I like Sly and the Family Stone.  What a bass line and time signature. Makes me proud to be born in the 70s………

idols

April 20, 2008

Idolatry is the practice of ascribing absolute value to things of relative worth. Under certain circumstances money, patriotism, sexual freedom, moral principles, family loyalty, physical health, social or intellectual preeminence, and so on are fine things to have around, but to make them the standard by which all other values are measured, to make them your masters, to look to them to justify your life and save your soul is sheerest folly.Frederick Buechner
Wishful Thinking

 

“Concepts create idols, only wonder understands anything.” — Gregory of Nyssa

Praise Him

As for idols, they are impotent. Not
one can see or speak or feel

a neighbor’s ache—her dog dead
and child missing below the levee. I read

headlines and feel more
than all the idols that there ever were.

Even the idol that is our idea
of God is impotent—B is not A—

yet God does what he pleases,
the earth what is true to its nature.

We build cities and pay scant attention
to either, then cry foul when the dam breaks.

Idols cannot save, nor theologies.
Only God, and that is no great comfort.

–Brad Davis

anachronism

April 20, 2008

An ignorance of history is one of the most horrible and debilitating aspects of Evangelicalism. Sure, some of us know about the Reformation, but it gets pretty cloudy during the “Middle Ages” and back down to late antiquity. especially after (should I mention his name???) Constantine. Ecumenical councils…..?

Basically, the only Church Father many of us read or care about is Augustine. Then, history goes back to the time of the Bible, and that’s about it. We somehow assume that there’s overwhelming biblical evidence for a certain narrow sola scriptura stance and then take the Reformation formulation of Christianity (at least what we think the Reformers had in mind) and then go on labeling every other form of Christian belief that disagrees with us as “dead tradition” or “works righteousness”.

My question is: What about the 1500 years or so between the closing of the canon, i.e. the writing of the final book of the Bible — Revelation, and 1517, when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the Wittenburg Door? If Jesus had so much confidence in 12 men who would pass his message along for the redemption of the cosmos, primarily in a gathering of people, i.e. the ekklesia — the church, then why do we Evangelicals have so little confidence in this group of people living out its faith in the next few hundred years? We accept some things, such as the canon of scripture, which was finalized a few hundred years later by Athanasius in 367 AD and then by the African synod of Hippo in 393 AD. We also accept the Trinity and the Christological formulations of the first four ecumenical councils, but we don’t accept other things, such as priests, veneration of saints, veneration of Mary, the “real presence” in the eucharist, episcopal authority, etc. I just wonder what the early church would have thought about such picking and choosing. More often than not they simply labeled people who “went it alone” as heretics. I don’t think that being an Evangelical automatically nails you down as a heretic, but I think that an understanding of the way the early church saw itself may lead us to have a greater appreciation for other Christian traditions, especially ones which accept the first seven ecumenical councils as being authoritative.

For the first thousand years of Christianity, there was no question as to what church you belonged to, or which “denomination”. There was the church, and that was it.

Maybe it’s not the Bible alone (Protestant) or the Bible + Tradition (Catholic), but something closer to the Bible interpreted through tradition (Orthodox).

I don’t know, just some thoughts as I struggle to understand the fullness of my Evangelical faith. This article represents Robert Webber’s answer to my problem. People like him give me hope for Evangelicalism.

“The only alternative to Tradition is bad tradition” — Jaroslav Pelikan. I’m tired of bad tradtion.

radiohead podcasts

April 14, 2008

I’ve got a lot to say about Radiohead, which I’ll save for later. I just think this video really rocks. It’s such a cool perspective, and the bicycle helmets are genius. This podcast has some different takes on their new album, In Rainbows.

andre kertesz

April 14, 2008

I was fortunate to catch this exhibit in its last few days at the Getty Center in LA.

I’m blown away by what he did so long before people like Henri Cartier-Bresson or Robert Capa pioneered photojournalistic, “decisive-moment” photography. Kertesz was doing stuff in the 1920s that many people didn’t catch on to until the 1950s and 60s. Then he kept going. The cool thing about this exhibit was that it captured 70 years of his work. He just never stopped photographing.

(Side note: That’s something that’s always bugged me about Cartier-Bresson. For being such a foundational figure in photography, he just gave it up for something like the last 20 or 30 years of his life. That seems like a betrayal to me. A real artist, to me, is someone who can’t not do their art, and who keeps growing throughout his or her life. Cartier-Bresson disappoints me in that he seems a bit arrogant and opinionated. Also, some of his stuff, I think, just is pretty boring. I mean sure, he’s amazing with a lot of stuff, and I’m sure I’ll do a blog on him eventually, but I think he is sometimes overrated.)

Anyway, Kertesz, as a Jewish immigrant to New York from Hungary via the Paris 1930s art scene, never lost his medium of photography as a means of interpreting his life experiences. One especially poignant aspect of this is the death of his wife, and how he uses certain still-life objects in his apartment as subjects to photograph. Another aspect of Kertesz’s life and photographic journey is his feeling of alienation as an immigrant, alone in a new land, represented by his famous photo, “Lost Cloud”.

Another observation is his use of downward-looking perspective. He has such a great vantage point from his NYC apartment and finds great ways to photograph life happening below. However, this is something that started much earlier in his photographic career. I wonder if there’s any meaning to it, or if it just shows a certain unexplainable fascination with a certain angle. Regardless, Kertesz never fails to inspire me as a photographer.

Finally, Kertesz was constantly re-evaluating his work. I really respect that. It shows a certain atemporal aspect of his interpretation. He wasn’t afraid to crop out stuff, even drastically. His work was never a finished product. Most of his shots were cropped afterwards. In one really dramatic instance, he took a picture with his wife which showed his and her full bodies in a normal studio pose with his arm around her. Some decades later, he went back and cropped the picture down to half of her face and only his hand showing, which produced a dramatic new effect.

Also, chance played a role, too. One glass-plate negative was shattered with a hole directly through the center of a cityscape in Paris that he had photographed years earlier. Instead of seeing it as an unfortunate waste of a negative, Kertesz printed it as one of his prized photographs. Here it is:

Broken Plate:

The above shot was taken in 1917!

Lost Cloud, below:

Classic example of his use of perspective:

pride

April 11, 2008

I never verbalize it.

But it’s often on the tip of my tongue,

or in the recesses of my mind.

.

Somehow I translate it.

In the tongue and appearance of self-deprecation,

I almost wholly convince myself.

.

And I really try to mean it.

The tongue of flame grows higher and burns white-hot,

but I never admit it.

.

At least not until I’m cornered

and there’s no way out but to face it.

into hell and out again

April 10, 2008

The following poem is based on this icon:

Into Hell and Out Again

In this Byzantine-inflected icon
of the Resurrection, the murdered Christ
is still in Hell, the chief issue being

that this Resurrection is of our agéd
parents and all their poor relations. We
find Him as we might expect, radiant

in spotless white, standing straight, but leaning
back against the weight of lifting them. Long
tradition has Him standing upon two

crossed boards—the very gates of Hell—and He,
by standing thus, has undone Death by Death,
we say, and saying nearly apprehend.

This all—the lifting of the dead, the death
of Death, His stretching here between two realms—
looks like real work, necessary, not pleasant

but almost matter-of-factly undertaken.
We witness here a little sheepishness
which death has taught both Mom and Dad; they reach

Christ’s proffered hands and everything about
their affect speaks centuries of drowning
in that abysmal crypt. Are they quite awake?

Odd—motionless as they must be in our
tableau outside of Time, we almost see
their hurry. And isn’t that their shame

which falls away? They have yet to enter bliss,
but they rise up, eager and a little shocked
to find their bodies capable of this.

by Scott Cairns