As Facebook friends will know, I've been very busy sewing lately, so artRecs might be more infrequent during the summer. To tide you over, I've got a slew of news, tunes and videos, plus two upcoming events. Happy summer!
- June 20: Off the Grid at the Oakland Museum of California. This week, several folks from Christ Church plan to meet up there at 6:30. We'll eat a bit, then maybe take advantage of half-off admission (only $7.50!) to check out the Vinyl show, or wander out into the neighborhood. Try to stop by!
- June 28: Adam Levy house concert in San Francisco, 7 p.m. Email email@example.com to RSVP and get the location. $20. (Note: Levy, who wrote at least one song for Norah Jones, is also giving a songwriting workshop beforehand; it's $30 to take in both.)
- July 12: Birthday Garden Party. Hopefully I'll have potatoes from my grow bins, but either way, I'll have garden-themed favors and maybe a plant-inspired drink or two. 6:30-11.
- Miss the May 8 discussion with NT Wright? You can hear a recording of his conversation about the Psalms with City Church's Scot Sherman. Caleb also shared this Veritas Forum video of Wright discussing technology and theology with Peter Thiel. And for low-fi folks, journalist Jonathan Merritt published a two-part interview with Wright that ranged from inerrancy to sexuality and science.
:: our stuff ::
- John has a new album out with his musical project Half-Handed Cloud. Stream and buy Flying Scroll Flight Control.
- A few weeks ago, I attended an artist dinner hosted by the folks at City Church, during which several people shared work. My favorite pieces: The whimsical, funny short Gunther by Pixar animator Erick Oh, and a beautiful song called "This Bird," a commissioned piece written by Winton White. Both pieces very creatively and effectively flip some common expectations about the world. Artist dinners break for the summer, but should resume in the fall. Let me know if you want to know more.
- An Open Letter to Male Virgins: I didn't plan to write my latest piece for Her.meneutics, but at the encouragement of some writer friends, I finally fleshed out an idea first prompted by a really weird online-dating experience.
:: tunes ::
- First Listens this week: New Phish, a unique Black Sabbath tribute album and a lengthy compilation of new Brazilian music.
- Icelandic band Arstidir was new to me, but this recording of them singing an ancient hymn in a train station was pretty cool. They weren't even busking or doing a formal video shoot, from what I can tell!
- Shortly before Christmas, a friend and I caught a small show at an underground Berkeley music venue, featuring my friend Adam Levy and singer/pianist Jonah Smith. Though both men have many musical talents, my favorite song from their set was a great, soulful cover of James Booker's "Classified." Since them I've learned that Booker was a brilliant but troubled New Orleans pianist who influenced many, including Harry Connick Jr. In an interview with Billboard last year about the new Booker documentary, Connick said, "There are very few pianists who cannot be transcribed. He is one of them."
- Yoshi's San Francisco has been acquired by new owners.
It remains to be seen what the new management means for their music
line-up, but this story also featured some interesting background on the
original Yoshi's at Jack London Square.
:: visual art ::
- The art world's abuzz over news of a different portrait found beneath Picasso's painting The Blue Room.
- Homeless artist gets berth in San Francisco marathon: In one of those old-fashioned journalism success stories, a Chronicle profile of a homeless artist and avid runner
has helped get him into the San Francisco marathon. Stories like this
resonate differently with me since becoming friends with a homeless
woman outside my BART station. Now that I've known her several months, I
spend a lot more time lately wondering if and how her life could
change, and what that would take.
- Party showcases Kurt Vonnegut's drawings: Years ago at an event in New York, I met a woman who held what was arguably many people's dream job: art director for a large magazine. But as we talked, I learned that sculpture was her real passion. Similarly, writing proved more day job than dream job for Kurt Vonnegut -- at least according to this WSJ piece on his recently exhibited drawings. Reminds me of the David Wilcox song off his 1999 record Underneath, it's "Never Enough."
- I thought this analysis of the new World Trade Center memorial's dual purpose was interesting. But at the same time, it seems like most memorials must balance respect for those died with service to those who visit. I suppose this memorial feels different because of the scale of the loss, its recency, and how personally so many people experienced the event.
- Manga edition fuels debate over radiation around Fukushima.
- If you're into vintage photography, this rare set of photos documents a 1939 honeymoon in England. Learn more about the series on the blog where it originally appeared.
- Meet the Patels: This documentary of "semi-arranged marriage" looks promising, from the Wall Street Journal's write-up. I'm not sure if or when it opens here.
- I don't know if I'll see it or not, but the New York Times review of The Immigrant, with Joaquin Phoenix and Marion Cotillard, sounds intriguing.
- Christians can have a knee-jerk reaction to certain abortion stories, but I thought Christianity Today's Katelyn Beaty gave a very even-handed review to indie "abortion comedy" Obvious Child, though I still find the name a bit strange.
- I'm a bit late to this, but Jimmy Fallon's had a really funny recurring skit with various guests, in which each pretends they once worked with him on a Canadian soap opera called Jacob's Patience. Each time, the guest insisted on using mannequin arms, a requirement extended to all cast members. Hilarity ensues.
- Steve Carell and Justin Timberlake introduce Jimmy to his suit options at a Florida haberdashery
- In part 2, they talk Jimmy into a custom-made suit, serve him a drink and show him how to tie a tie.
- Seth Rogen sells Jimmy some pot and prepares a batch of pot brownies
- While the brownies bake, Seth and Jimmy (attempt to) jam on guitar and bongo drums
As Her.meneutics editor Kate Minnicks wrote for the June issue of Christianity Today, skits like these are just one way Jimmy's bring fun and joy back to comedy.
:: poetry ::
- This profile of a rising, often bawdy, poet from the Midwest doesn't just introduce a fascinating person, it features some really tremendous writing.
- Aaron Belz, whom I've mentioned here before, has a new collection out called Glitter Bomb. Get a taste of his frequently comic works on his website.
- I'm not sure if there's more to this, but writer Sherman Alexie has a nice "ode to gray" on his poetry page.
- Quite possibly the best poetry I've read recently came from Marilyn Nelson's wonderful biography of George Washington Carver. I love the creative structural approach she took and, in Nelson's hands, poetry proves a wonderful prism for recounting someone's life. I can't say enough good things about the book.
:: reading/food for thought ::
- The forthcoming Marilyn Robinson novel, Lila, will fill in part of Gilead's backstory. You can preorder the book on Amazon. It's due out in October -- which gives you (and me) enough time to read Gilead if you haven't yet.
- The winner of a major literary prize for women suffered years of rejection by publishers who thought her "experimental" book too difficult to sell. One reviewer called debut novelist Eimear McBride "Edna O'Brien meets James Joyce." The Guardian's Ann Enright dubbed A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing an "instant classic." Read more reviews.
- I'm partial to handwriting anyway, but this recent piece rounding up several studies on the neurological activity associated with writing by hand vs. typing suggests that cursive could still provide important benefits even in the digital age.
- I've never eaten there, but long-time San Francisco restaurant Fleur de Lis will close at the end of June. Apparently it was one of the first "chef-driven restaurants" and an early adopter of all-veg entrees on the menu. They're accepting reservations through June 28, if anyone wants to check them out before the serve their final meal.
- After Maya Angelou's death, it seemed like most sites published not one but several tributes. This may be the only one to include her cornbread salad recipe. Angelou's love of cooking also infused some of her poetry.
- A group called San Francisco Heritage recently added 25 establishments to its list of "legacy" bars and restaurants, bringing the list to 100. I think I've been to about 17, thanks to a recent visit to Hi Dive (formerly Boondocks, whose building dates to the 1930s). Maybe this will be the year I finally visit Tadich Grill...
- I've yet to try it, but this recipe for persian rice with dates, lentils and raisins looks very promising -- plus a good way to get more lentils in your diet.