Tuesday, September 19, 2017

SMALL EVERYDAY ACTIONS



To be Christian does not mean, first of all, "to be someone good," which was the noble but dangerous illusion of the Stoics and the Jansenists. For Thérèse [of Lisieux], because of her inability, it is a question of learning to rely on someone else. Learning to change her point of support, because then one offers to God the one thing he cannot achieve without us, the offering of our freedom. It is not, in the first place, fantasies or even pious ideas that count, but gestures or small everyday actions.

--Fr. Bernard Bro, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: Her Family, Her God, Her Message


STILL GETTING USED TO NEW CAMERA.
I KIND OF LIKE THE "MISTAKES," LIKE THIS ONE. 





Saturday, September 16, 2017

THE RED SHOES



Here's how this week's arts and culture piece begins:

As a child, Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) was poor and forced to work for a living as a tailor’s apprentice. He suffered a lifelong unrequited love for opera singer Jenny Lind. His “fairy tales” are full of orphaned and abandoned children, inanimate objects that suffer human emotions, and allegorical figures — the Ugly Duckling, the Little Mermaid — who speak to humanity’s profound existential loneliness.

“The Red Shoes” is one of Andersen’s more extreme stories. Karen, a girl whose mother has recently died, is taken under the care of a rich old woman with bad eyesight. Karen covets a pair of red patent leather shoes, finagles the old lady into buying them and, without her benefactor’s knowledge, wears them to her confirmation, then to her First Communion.

“When Karen knelt at the altar rails the chalice was put to her lips, she thought only of the red shoes. She seemed to see them floating before her eyes. She forgot to join in the hymn of praise and she forgot to say the Lord’s Prayer.”

Well! Nothing good can come of that.


READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

CELEBRATED ENGLISH CHOREOGRAPHER
MATTHEW BOURNE'S BALLET OPENS THIS WEEK AT THE AHMONSON
IN DOWNTOWN LA.
I WILL BE THERE WITH MY PALS JULIA AND AARON! 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

EXPOSED


"I photograph to find out what something will look like photographed. Basically, that's why I photograph, in the simplest language."
--Garry Winogrand








Friday, September 8, 2017

"LA SORGENTE": TEN NEOCLASSICAL ARIAS BASED ON THE POETRY OF POPE JOHN PAUL II




This week's arts and culture column begins like this:

Mark your calendars for Sunday, Oct. 8, at the John Anson Ford Theatre in Hollywood. On this night at 7:30 p.m. will be the world premiere of Victor Vanacore’s “La Sorgente,” a collection of 10 neoclassical arias based on the poetry of St. Pope John Paul II.

Vanacore is a Grammy-winning composer/arranger who has been at the forefront of classical and pop music for more than 30 years. He’s worked closely with The Jackson Five and Ray Charles, among many others.

The 10 poems featured in the 90-minute “La Sorgente” come from Pope John Paul’s book of meditations, “Trittico Romano: Meditazioni” (“The Roman Triptych: Meditations”), which are widely regarded as his spiritual last testament.

The premiere will feature a 45-piece orchestra, two soprano and four tenor soloists, among them Lisa Eden and Orson Van Gay. Vanacore will also conduct.

He started music early, back in New Haven, Connecticut.

“My parents had a lot of kids. My dad was a machinist, my mother was a homemaker and my aunt would clean an extra day at the convent on Saturdays just so I could go to Catholic school there. I never had to worry about what I was going to become because from the beginning I had perfect pitch. The nuns exposed me to classical and other kinds of music. I had all the Beethoven sonatas done by the fourth grade.”


READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

INDIAN SUMMER READING

FRANCISCO DE ZURBURÁN
THE VIRGIN MARY AS A CHILD, c. 1658-60


"The more I looked at people the more I hated them because I knowed there wasn't any place for me with the kind of people I knowed. I used to wonder why they was here anyhow?  A bunch of goddamned sons of bitches looking for somebody to make fun of...some poor fellow who ain't done nothin' but feed chickens."-

--Charles Starkweather, serial murderer, quoted in Killer Couples: Shocking True Accounts of the World's Deadliest Duos


“Son,’he said,’ ye cannot in your present state understand eternity…But ye can get some likeness of it if ye say that both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective. Not only this valley but all their earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved. Not only the twilight in that town, but all their life on Earth, too, will then be seen by the damned to have been hell. That is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, “No future bliss can make up for it,” not knowing that Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say “Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences”: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin. Both processes begin even before death. The good man’s past begins to change so that his forgiven sins and remembered sorrows take on the quality of Heaven: the bad man’s past already conforms to his badness and is filled only with dreariness. And that is why, at the end of all things, when the sun rises here and the twilight turns to blackness down there, the Blessed will say “We have never lived anywhere except in Heaven, : and the Lost, “We were always in Hell.” And both will speak truly.”

--C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce



Saturday, September 2, 2017

THE MESSENGER: A SONGBIRD DOCUMENTARY

OUTSIDE MY KITCHEN WINDOW,
HOUSE FINCHES AND HUMMINGBIRDS PERCH ON THE
CAMELLIA BRANCHES

This week's arts and culture column begins like this:

“The Messenger” is a 2015 documentary directed and written by Sy Rynard.

According to the press kit’s synopsis, “ ‘The Messenger’ is a visually thrilling ode to the beauty and importance of the imperiled songbird, and what it will mean to all of us on both a global and human level if we lose them.”

This, in other words, is a film for us bird lovers the world over.

Songbirds have been singing for millions of years. No matter the age or civilization, people have always understood birds to be messengers. Their message at the moment is that our planet is ill.

Geese, ducks, herons: none are songbirds. Songbirds are distinguished by their more complicated vocal organ, or syrinx. Songbirds tend to be small and tenacious. Songbirds migrate and 10 billion die each year. No one knows where they go. (But God does: “Not a single sparrow can fall to the ground without your Father knowing it.” Matthew 10:29)

Songbirds are most vulnerable during migration. While trying to refuel, they have to stop down in people’s backyards and parks. This can be perilous. It’s estimated that cats, for example, kill more than 1.4 billion birds a year. Cats are an invasive species, claim the bird lovers, not native or natural to any environment, and have been responsible for the extinction of 32 species of songbirds.

READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.