Entries from January 2010 ↓

Reevaluating the Remnant.

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An announcement: My paper, “Who Really Is the Remnant Church?,” has been published in the Winter 2010 edition of Adventist Today, above, a quarterly journal of progressive Seventh-day Adventist thought.

It’s one of the most gratifying bylines I’ve ever received. Admittedly, I’m not sure how compelling this news, or the document, will be to people who are not Adventists, nor interested in exegetical critiques of SDA theology.

For those who are, though—one, the other, or both—it should prove provocative reading.

Some background information:

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The Dream of the Blue People.

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avatar-james-cameron-interviewjpg-670a6289770f7c9e_largeThroughout his career, writer/director James Cameron, right, has pushed an insistent, technologically-demanding style of filmmaking seemingly up a cliff. From seeing Star Wars, as a 22-year-old truck driver in his native Canada, to becoming creator of the highest-grossing film in history—1997′s $1.8 billion Titanic—he has taken hold of the film industry by sheer force of will. Meanwhile, with each advancing step, the creator has fought off naysayers and second-guessers, each expecting his next outrageous vision to be his final folly.

With the release of his latest work, Avatar, above, however, Cameron has shattered expectations, as well as creative and financial barriers, to make what is, after five weeks, already the second-highest-grossing film in history, with eyes on its older sister’s No. 1 position.

116347_keegan_rebeccaWho is James Cameron, and what makes him the man and artist he is? In her new book, The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron, author Rebecca Keegan, right, works to get inside his life and thinking. By interviewing Cameron, his family, and his numerous collaborators, the journalist gives a detailed, never-before-seen picture of this remarkable, often confounding auteur; the drive behind the driver, so to speak.

Rebecca Keegan is the guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, January 15, at 2 pm ET.

That conversation, though, will be preceeded by a discussion of the crisis in Haiti. This week’s devastating 7.0 earthquake, which killed an estimated 45-50,000 people, deepens the woes of the Western hemisphere’s poorest nation. We’ll examine the disaster, and the forces at work, globally, that keep the country in its troubled state.

You can hear Rebecca Keegan’s thoughts, and others, by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

UPDATE: These are links to the Haiti pieces from which I read during today’s NONFICTION broadcast:

Why We Are Partly Responsible for the Mess that is Haiti by Thomas Fleming

Haiti: the land where children eat mud by Alex von Tunzelmann

Also recommended:

Catastrophe in Haiti by Ashley Smith

Direct to the Dome.

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When the temperature drops, there’s nothing more important than keeping your head, and thus brain, warm. With its deep, oversized thickness, and yummy 80/20, acrylic/wool mix, the Brobdingnagian Hat, above—worn by its talented maker, Yokoo Gibran—should keep your cranium appropriately toasty. Available in a rainbow of chroma. Brobdingnagian Hat, $55 at Yokoo’s shop on Etsy.

Haiti, When the World Changed.

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Homegrown 3D.

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If the success of Avatar and other theatrical spectacles don’t signal that 3D has crossed an important line in the public consciousness, this upcoming HDTV setup from Panasonic, debuted at the recent CES 2010, seems to certify it. As noted on Designboom, the VT25 series, above, out this spring

comes with a set of 3D glasses that create three dimensional images using the LC shutter system. This technology works by darkening and lightening the left and right lenses on the glasses in synch to the display, which  correspondingly shows the right and left eye images. these flashes are so quick that the human eye cannot perceive them and instead creates the illusion of three dimensions. Panasonic also debuted an accompanying 3D blu-ray player and a 3D video camera.

Of course, fifty bucks says the killer app in home 3D will be porn.

[via designboom.com]

Why Are the Media Jumping All Over Harry Reid When Bill Cinton’s Comments Are More Offensive?

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What, exactly, is so controversial about U.S. Senate majority leader Harry Reid’s comments about Obama?

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Soul Power.

mick-jagger-by-albert-watsonAlbert Watson, Jagger/Leopard, 1992

Like a lot of legendary photographs, Albert Watson’s portrait of the Rolling Stones’s Mick Jagger, above, begins with another concept that isn’t working out.

Says the renowned lensman,

The original idea for the shooting was to have Mick Jagger driving a Corvette, with the leopard in the passenger seat. The big cat, a wild animal, seemed to suit Jagger, who likes to jump around a lot onstage, of course. However, putting the leopard in the car with him ended up being so dangerous that we had to build a partition. So, while we were waiting, I thought, “Let me try a quick double exposure with the leopard.” I shot the leopard first and drew its eyes and nose on the viewfinder of the camera. Then I rewound the film and photographed Jagger, fitting his eyes and nose over the eyes and nose of the leopard on the viewfinder so they matched. I didn’t think it would work, and I almost threw out the film. But of the twelve shots, four of them matched, and this was the best of the four that worked.

What’s amazing about the image is how, by combining the two subjects, Watson suggests a deeper truth about Jagger, inflecting his almost feline, preening aura; his famed, virtually predatory libido. I happen to think Watson’s creation story is nonsense, or, at best, incomplete. For example, did the leopard’s pupils and Jagger’s somehow match perfectly, or were the rock star’s orbs stripped in, later?

tina-turner-by-diltz-lo-resWhat’s without contest, however, is that this is an amazing photographic image. So is this 1985 photo by Henry Diltz of Tina Turner at LA’s Universal Amphitheater, right. Both do what photography does best: Isolate the moment with verity; freezing it so that we may contemplate and examine it in a way that is impossible in life.

Jagger’s and Turner’s are two of over 200 images to be found in curator and photo historian Gail Buckland‘s Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History, 1955-Present, in which Watson’s recollection appears. (As well, an eponymous companion exhibit is at the Brooklyn Museum through January 31, after which it travels to Worcester MA, Memphis TN, Akron OH, and Columbia SC.)

Gail Buckland is a guest today on my WBAI-NY / 99.5 FM radio show, NONFICTION, this afternoon, Friday, January 8, at 2 pm ET.

a-42-9We’ll also be speaking with photog Sue Kwon, whose Street Level: New York Photographs 1987-2007 documents the seething energy of the metropolis in which she lives from a personal p.o.v. Kwon works by getting close to the people and cultures that fill the city, working at eye level, crafting typically black and white images of the sights that meter daily life of the five boroughs; for example, this image, above, of Black Israelite proselytizers.

You can hear both Gail Buckland’s and Sue Kwon’s ideas by tuning in at 2 pm. If you’re outside of the New York tri-state, check out our live stream on the web. If you miss the live show, dig into our archives for up to 90 days after broadcast.

‘Til the Break of Dawn: Daybreakers‘s Vampires Bring the Ruckus.

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I saw the new vampire flick, Daybreakers, last night, and, yo: It is a trip.

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Lyrical Literacy: Asheru’s H.E.L.P. Fuses the Power of Hip-Hop with Learning to Truly Spark Heads.

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In this recent clip, above, Gabriel “Asheru” Benn, D.C.-based educator and founder of Educational Lyrics, talks about H.E.L.P.—Hip-Hop Educational Literacy Program. H.E.L.P. uses music to teach reading to schoolchildren, utilizing hip-hop’s currency to make ideas stick.

That’s an area in which Mr. Benn has some authority, by the way, as his mind-spinning flow on the theme from The Boondocks proves with each episode, below. Study hard, kids.

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Pleasant Dreams.

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The Body Double English Rose Duvet Cover Bedding Set, above, will make people who stumble into your lair think that you’re stretched out there, buck naked, and covered in ruby-red roses. That is, unless, like most of Earth’s women, you’re brown. Or you’re a guy. Double-sized w/ two pillowcases. Machine-washable, 50/50 cotton-poly. $40.

[via 1designperday.com]