Reva Williams, at what is alleged to be the greatest bar in the history of time. As is always the case, Sarah has new songs, and it will be a very rich time. I don't know how to publish someone else's instagram images, but I end with a shot of her preparing for a radio appearance. The girl is out and about. Stay tuned.
Sunday, February 24, 2013
incredibly thorough Thom Yorke interview got me thinking about the way particular thinkers and artists came together for me in the late nineties and early aughts. There was a season in which I'd buy and read anything associated with Radical Orthodoxy with the same fervor I'd once reserved for folks like John Byrne and Alan Moore. As is often the case now, I found it difficult to grasp an awful lot of it, but I'd dutifully mark and transcribe whatever struck me as interesting in the hope that it might prove helpful later on. I don't know that anyone who's read Everyday Apocalypse loved it enough to scour the footnotes and journey over toward John Milbank's Theology and Social Theory, but I doubt I'd have ever thought to argue that there isn't a secular molecule in the universe if he hadn't given me "Once, there was no 'secular.'" Within a few days of the September 11th attacks, it was announced that our government's military response would be called Operation Infinite Justice at about the same time I'd underlined the phrase "nontotalizing metanarrative" in Milbank's volume. I e-mailed him to remark that we could do with more of such ways of viewing the world in our radioactive days, and he e-mailed back with one word: "Exactly." This was all the affirmation a young high school English teacher required. Throw in William Cavanaugh's Torture and Eucharist ("The distinction between politics and religion was not discovered but invented") and I had a way of talking about pretty much everything.
Which brings me to D. Stephen Long. I'd do my darnedest to appropriate the insights of Richard King and Jeremy Carrette's Selling Spirituality and David Loy's Buddhist economics before realizing I'd gleaned similar wisdom via his Divine Economy earlier this century. Long turned me on to Michael Budde who observed how that which passes (or is advertised) as Christian "often has as much to do with the life and message of Jesus as a GM Pontiac has with real Native Americans--nothing except a claimed, mostly imaginary, continuity of name." And Long himself gave me gems like this: "The market as salvific institution is and must be heretical." There's so much more to say, but I'm up against deadline as Longs appears among us tomorrow (see above). If you're unsure as to how to get to Neely, e-mail me and I'll meet you somewhere near Belmont beforehand. This is all.
What these concerns have to do with Radiohead (or James Joyce or Ursula Le Guin or David Lynch) has been a driving question in everything I've written since, and this morning's Guardian interview almost felt like a checklist. Yorke:
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
"You always say that when we drive by the Whiskey Kitchen," she remarked.
And this is completely true. It's where 12th Avenue approaches Broadway. We're out of "the Gulch" and approaching Virago and an abandoned McDonalds that says "Closed for Remodeling" and isn't. My proprietary feelings for Nashville kick in right about then. What's going on here, place that formed and forms me? How are we feeling? Are we at the end of our tether?
My Nashville is often a kind of alternative universe in which all my genius friends are incredibly famous. Communal touchstones. Local visionaries through whom I'm able to see the world. A couple of them had a "big label" moment in the late 20th century as the Evinrudes. Think Philip K. Dick and Eudora Welty and songs like "Jimmy's On Crack (And I Don't Care)". They're Brian Reed and Sherry Cothran. They've kept right on thriving at every turn to the delight of anyone nearby. They've both in bands with Sarah. And THIS FRIDAY NIGHT,they're going for it again with Evinrudes tunes aplenty alongside a few of their own songs, Brian within the entity called Rosy Gears ("Scarface the Pitbull," "Demon from Hell," "Lily White") and Sherry eponymously.
What's more, there's the matter of Bulb (J. Todd Greene, Tony Doling, Randall Lancaster, Jake Larson, Sarah, and Brian) who haven't opened for the Evinrudes in over thirteen years and who just recently finished what I believe to be their twenty-third album. It seems to me (and I imagine there are at least eleven people who would agree) that if Nashville has a William Blake, Bulb is it. One might prepare a little by considering this. An EP featuring the latest goodness produced and mixed by the endlessly inventive conjurer and wordsmith Chris Leonard will be on offer.
AND we have a young fellow I occasionally spy at Bongo Java re-reading Lost in the Cosmos. After a years-long hiatus from Bulb-related phenomena, the alluring, enigmatic, hypnotist collector Max Perkins is scheduled to reappear.
It's a 12th and Porter situation past the sad McDonalds on the other side of Broadway. Doors open at 8PM. Tell the people. Nashville happens.
Monday, December 24, 2012
All apologies for the largely inactive blog. Among the resolutions for next month are some kind of redesign and posts a-plenty. I mean it, I think.
But before the year concludes, I'd like to thank everyone who purchased copies of Howard Thurman and James Baldwin's work for my students in the Tennessee Prison for Women. They were awfully appreciative, and it was a deep pleasure to tell each of them that the books came from folks on "the outside" who'd heard what we were up to and wanted to get involved. I wouldn't have guessed that so many people I have yet to meet personally would respond so quickly to my summons. Color me moved and deeply gratified.
In other news, this past semester was the busiest and most enlivening yet in all my years of attempting to involve myself in the work of education. Six classes, three universities, one hundred and twenty-two students. Four of the classes were at Belmont where I was asked to contribute a short meditation for their Advent Calendar. I drop it upon you now one day late.
Psalms 80, 146, 147
Standing outside a Middle Tennessee Best Buy having braved the crowd to secure some items on a very well-publicized, Here-Comes-Christmas sale day, I watched a woman approach the entrance with a tired look of determination. “Gotta get in the spirit,” I heard her whisper to herself. I wished her well in my heart and wondered how she might respond if I was to ask her to name and specifically describe the spirit to which she referred. If it was indeed the spirit of Christmas she hoped to summon to her aid, how had it come to this? Would her beleaguered vision of the season be at all recognizable to its ancient sources? Might some within the Jesus movement view this particular spirit as alarmingly unclean?
In a manner befitting the mindset of the weary and heavy-laden among us who feel as though we’ve shopped until we’ve dropped, our Advent reading very helpfully includes oft-repeated prayers for restoration and salvation (Psalm 80). And while we’re exactly right to envision God’s affectionate purposes to include a deep compassion for us in the specifics of our distracted mindsets, we’re nevertheless directed to situate our visions of God’s deliverance squarely among the people who dwell on the less cheery end of the supply chain that occasions our everyday low prices. Ever attentive to the facts on the ground, Isaiah keeps it explicit: “The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord, and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy one of Israel” (29:19).
The goodness of this news, an inescapably social goodness not to be spiritualized or privatized away, can get to feeling very far away as we expend mental energies worrying over whether our phones have been recharged or the package will arrive on time. Mother Mary, lyrical reactionary, only makes things worse: “He has brought the powerful down from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly…and sent the rich empty away” (Luke 1:52-53) How might we get on the right side of this gospel and not be among the self-justifying proud who find themselves hopelessly “scattered in the imagination of their hearts” (51) by these tidings of comfort and joy? We might begin to do so by allowing ourselves to be made uncomfortable by the ways in which the coming kingdom made known in these texts crosses the lines we’ve drawn and questions the economies we sustain. May our spirits be enlivened and sobered by God’s good news.
Thursday, August 02, 2012
PPIF: Why Follicle Stimulation & the Multiverse?
FH: Because the phenomenon of follicle stimulation as an industry (the literal stimulation of hair, hair re-growth, hair grafting) and our investment in it illustrates the pretty solid scientific theory concerning the existence of other realities, something akin to what Einstein calls "spooky action at a distance." It's all around us.
PPIF: Are these realities observable?
FH: (laughs) The observer can only ride one reality at a time, but this doesn’t mean that a person can’t traverse the multiverse and somehow spiritually evolve. I'd say it's what we all desire, but many of us spend years doing it very badly.
PPIF: Our immortality projects.
FH: Exactly--wait--I mean...Exactamundo.
PPIF: How does the universality of this desire show up in our craving for technology?
FH: I'd say I'm fully convinced that modern technology (a smart phone, for instance) is a singularity device. And it's becoming obvious to everyone that the desire to stay in constant contact reveals our deep desire to live eternally. It might be a Tower of Babel, but the desire isn't anything to be ashamed of. When we come clean with it, we might even crave less crazily, learn to joke about it even. When we can't joke, we're pretty well done for.
PPIF: One thing I love about talking to you is the way you casually refuse the popular distinctions between religion and science. It's like you don't even know you're doing it. Could you comment on that?
FH: Faith and science are closer than any brothers, no mutual exclusivity between them, they fulfill one another. Science came not to abolish faith but to fulfill it.
Follicle Stimulation & the Multiverse will occur as part of the Art Crawl this Saturday night at the Bank Gallery which is located at 226 Third Avenue North in downtown Nashville. At 10:00, the band most commonly referred to as Bulb will perform preceded by one Will Marsh.
Monday, July 23, 2012
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Travel correspondent, Peter Dark, interviewed mini-van driver, David Dark, while on his way to Detroit City for this month's post. As will happen on an eight hour journey north, J.R.R Tolkien came up.
PD: So who is "The Lord of The Ring" anyway?
DD: No one. You don't have power, power has you.