Monday, August 31, 2009

lots of media, not necessarily mixed

I am in a a state of deep pleasure reading Joann Sfar's Rabbi's Cat books in the midst of my days looking for work. Spending a few minutes with his drawings and characters has given me a good frequent dose of inspiration between job searches, cover letters and resume revision.

Sfar is one of those people who seems to go through life in a state of constant inspiration, with multiple projects on the go; in another context this might be discouraging but he has been inspiring me. His characters have a humanity and humor that is very encouraging (and that he puts across in just a few panels).

My French is not so good but I managed to enjoy this video a lot, even though I could not follow a lot of the conversation. He comes across as Marjane Satrapi describes him.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

documentary fiction

I read an article on this couple, here.

I like what I know of their work, as well as their practice of combining documentary and fictional material, which seems to have come up a lot for me recently. The appeal for me is in what fiction adds to the attempt to get at the truth of documentary material. Maya Angelou says, The facts sometimes obscure the truth. When it is done well and honestly, the fictional overlay undoes the obscuring. The science fiction I like best does this really well.

The artistic practice of combining documentary and fiction also came up today reading about Still Walking by Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda. His film Afterlife combines a fictional story about a waystation for the dead with documentary interviews on memory.

Maybe I can find a vocation in a combination of baking, food justice, documentary and fictional film, music, comic books, and hasty sketches.

perfect moment

My lovely, long-missed, friend Andrew singing at Greenbelt.
It made me very happy coming across this.

Calamateur Singing 'Perfect Moment' from Greenbelt Festival on Vimeo.

my first braided loaf

And very tasty it was too.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

jesus and menas and me

The Jesus I need to be reminded of.

I copied this from a 5th Century Egyptian Icon, 'Christ et son ami', which is in The Louvre.

When I came across this (posted by Ian Adamas here) I found it very moving. Drawing the icon helped me meditate on the challenge that Jesus, as friend, presents. A quick bit of internet research revealed that it was originally called 'Christ and Abba Menas'. I have no idea who the abbot Menas was. But the fact that Jesus friend has a name was even more deeply challenging: in the image and the friendship there is an intimacy, a connection, a compassion, an openness that I always need to be reminded of.

The way I have drawn this, it could also be called, 'The long arm of the Lord', which communicates a different theological truth (one that it is equally important for me to grasp).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

food, inc

Went to see Food, Inc. yesterday. I felt quite hopeless about the state of food security for most of the movie and was quite down close to the end. Then it all got a bit more hopeful again. I have been reading about food justice and food security while looking for work and would really like to find a way of working full time on this. Reading about the food crisis, one can not help but agree with Colin Tudge, who has said (something like), If we can get food right then we'll be able to sort out the other stuff.

Here's the trailer for another film with some of Joel Salatin's wisdom:

FRESH trailer from ana joanes on Vimeo.

Sunday, August 23, 2009


David Dark posted the Stringfellow quote. The Wallace Stevens quote, in full, is:
“Individual poets, whatever their imperfections may be, are driven all their lives by that inner companion of the conscience which is, after all, the genius of poetry in their hearts and minds. I speak of a companion of the conscience because to every faithful poet, the faithful poem is an act of conscience.”

The week got away from me. Unfocused again, and I was surprised to find it's almost a whole week since I last posted. What to do? What to do?

Monday, August 17, 2009

more wild things

The NYT review of 'Zeitoun' is here. As I say above, Dave Eggers has never quite hit the promised mark for me (see this for a particularly striking example of the product not matching the promise - though 'the writing has some humor and charm'). But I admire what he has done with his his renown and was really impressed with him the one time I saw him speak.

And that said, I also continue to have high hopes for 'Where the Wild Things Are'. I love this featurette, in which Maurice Sendak extols the artistic virtues of Spike Jonze (and Eggers makes a brief appearance - there's a longer version at the official website):

And here's the newest trailer:

Sunday, August 16, 2009

manu chao

Drawing posted after reading this article.

Another loose ended sort of day.
Soaked hot in the apartment.
An episode of The Wire.
Think I'll try a self portrait next.
Looking for inspiration.
In spite of the last post, waiting to do something.

Friday, August 14, 2009

artists making art

I love this, on skateboarding legend Andy Kessler:
This is who he was and how he’ll be remembered, as a man who understood the abiding and cathartic power of resilience. You don’t give in. You take every run — on the ramp, with recovery, at City Hall. It has everything and nothing to do with skateboarding which, at its essence, is the act of focusing so intensely on the body that you feel liberated from your physical form. Think not of swimming in a pool, but of becoming the ocean itself. Think not of flying, but of floating in a place where the ground or gravity has never existed — a place where, at long last, there is no irony, no pain or struggle, where there’s no such thing as falling.

And I love the quote, with the drawing, on Cezanne (as well as the bonus quote from Mr. Fukuoka).

Because of these and because, to paraphrase Mike Yaconelli, doing something is better than not doing something, I am encouraged.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

seemingly random

Wanted to post the pictures. Pages from yesterday. Have not had so many thoughts since the last post.
I've been catching up with some reading (articles flagged over the past year that I never made it to, among other things). My goal is trying to think, in my own unstructured way, about the state of the world, what I want to do in it. This often leads to fretting about the state of the world. But there is also always an underlying wonder in it all. A tension. A now and a not yet. Thin places. Hope where there was none before. Always this involves a person taking action. Often the action can be quite wee. But enough. Do you know what I mean?
How do I/we contribute to the wonder? To the kingdom coming?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

kitchen gardens

I like Ian Frazier's sketches from his trip to Siberia. There is a nice one of a house with a kitchen garden.

His articles in The New Yorker, along with Simon Roberts's photos, are giving me wanderlust.

Friday, August 7, 2009


Spent some time this afternoon reading a couple of posts on the artist Makoto Fujimara's blog. I particularly liked his reflections on collaborating with Susie Ibarra and on the value of art. Here are some of the things that struck me.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

tha magic of going to film

I've been quite disheartened this week, trying to think about jobs, careers and what might really be a right thing to do next. I feel pretty leaden most days and really wonder when I will have the imagination or even gumption to work on something new and passion-inducing and somehow useful.

A bright spot was coming across an article on a rolling film festival organized by Tilda Swinton, the actress, and Mark Cousins, the film critic and festival reviver. And I love this clip of Mr. Cousins talking about the wonders of bringing a West Bengali cinema to the Edinburgh International Film Festival.

This reminded me of the mobile solar powered cinema that used to travel to Greenbelt every year. Maybe it will be there this year. Anyway, I thought, why can't I do something like that?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

engaged piety

I've been thinking and talking about interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary projects over the past few days. Earlier in the week I bemoaned the unnecessary narrowness of some academic projects. (Maybe I was being uncharitable (bitter?) in this bemoaning.) I like writers and academics, thinkers, artists, who bring together a lot of different interests in their work - no matter how narrowly focused the work itself might actually be.
This came up in Wendell Berry's preface to The One-Straw Revolution: 'It is exactly because of such habitual expectations - because we have learned to expect people to be specialists and books to have only one subject - that we are in need of 'The One-Straw Revolution'.'

And I also read Michael Massing's NYRB piece this week on the best of political blogging; from this I got the idea of the blogger as a filter uniquely processing (and adding value to) multiple sources. Massing on Andrew Sullivan: 'But as a regular reading of his posts shows, his multiple links to a wide array of sources, processed through his idiosyncratic gay-Catholic-Thatcherite-turned-libertarian-radical mind, produces an engaging and original take on the world. A dramatic demonstration of this occured just after the Iranian elections...'

The necessity of bringing some disciplined (or multi-disciplined) thought and imagination to filter through all that one comes across is important. (David Dark has this great quote from Cornel West on his site at the moment: 'Piety ought to be inseparable from critical thinking'.) Equally important and pressing, I think, is the ability in thinking through all the different things one encounters to turn them into something else - a new piece of writing, a piece of art, a cartoon, a link on a blog, something. At least, I feel the need to do this a lot more systematically for myself.

My friend Richard asked what was wonderful about the gapingvoid quote from a couple of posts ago (in a way that reminded me of one of our teachers - but that is another story). The wonderful thing is that the author of the gapingvoid posts has in his cartoons a medium through which he can filter, synthesize, and think critically about the world, making a new new thing as he goes.