Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What's Right in the World: Say a Little Prayer

The title of this article just may be an excuse to post a picture of Aretha.
While watching one of the Tigers’ final regular season games in Minnesota, I heard an ambulance siren over the game audio. Instinctively, I said the prayer “Jesus, Mary, Joseph; pray for us.” It was a quick little phrase taught to me in third grade by Sister Mary Getulia (unsure of the spelling, going phonetically here), as a way to offer up a prayer for whoever the emergency vehicle was for.
The seriousness of offering said prayer was reinforced just a year later when the ambulance was for Father Rokowski, the beloved pastor of our church, who suffered a heart attack and later died.
It’s just something I’ve always done. Dave has noted an almost Pavlovian effect: when I hear a siren, I nod my head.
I admit I am not particularly religious. I’ve even broken up with someone over religious differences (Feb angst!) Yet there are some spiritual things I truly connect with and I have my own moral code that is probably inconsistent with my Catholic upbringing. I struggle to see the effectiveness of rote recitation of prayers someone else has written, and saying them repeatedly over a rosary as opposed to a real conversation with God about what's going on in the world. And yet I love the beauty and symbolism of a rosary.
And I love the simple, earnest simplicity of the quick “JMJ” prayer. It’s like wrapping up all your hope, fears and wishes for another person in six simple words.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Why Art Matters: My ArtPrize 13

Guardian Angel, my pick for AP13

Mixed bag at ArtPrize this year. Very few pieces grabbed me by the throat and demanded I love them. On the downside, there was an excess of cut paper, piles of recycled discards reshaped into something, and butterflies. Still, I found a few precious things to love. In the past, I was able to come up with a top 10; I'm not even sure I can come up with that many this year.

Fashion Has Heart: the designers teamed up with veterans and asked, "what was the worst day of your life?" and created designs based on those stories. What was remarkable was even the darkest story had rays of hope and resilience. The resulting work has just as much impact, a unique blend of tough and tender. Janet Champion is a true American hero.

Guardian Angel: Beautifully crafted and upon viewing it, created a sense of serenity and joy. Black wings on canvas painted in acrylic, a mosaic tiled body, a graphite pencil face and a stained glass halo. Pictures simply do NOT do it justice.

EggPrize: Ok, I got angry at first. It appears the EP guys took our From the Book of Geno concept, shrank it down, put art in Easter eggs and charged people for the privilege. But it worked. I got a tiny 3/4" x 1" painting, and it was a thrill of chance missing from our installation. I still defend that it was ours to begin with.

The Shell: Manipulated photography that took me a day or three to realize it was a woman wearing only paint. It was so abstract yet so sensual. The colors were alive, impressive.

Word by the Diatribe: Spoken word poetry transcribed into braille books and performed daily. In an effort to create an artprize piece accessible to the blind, the artists forced the issue of what is art for everyone. They themselves were able to add emotion to their spoken word, and adding an additional layer to their concept. Passionate, I'm glad to have met two of them.

The Transmaid: The only piece of art made out of recycled materials that worked for me. It also crushed my heart. The sculpture depicts a beautiful mermaid cutting her tail in half. How I saw it, the mermaid was destroying her uniqueness to be like everyone else. How often do we do this to ourselves, hide or alter the real us to fit in? And her efforts were grotesquely beautiful, you knew it would end for her badly, no matter what Disney tale she was being told, she was still going to be half woman, half fish. And the use of the recycled elements was beautifully crafted. Loved the hair made out of champagne cork wire cages.

Monsters: Whimsical children's illustrations that were a refreshing departure from the earnest, political entries at the BOB. Sometimes you just need to see a 4-eyed monster with an overbite. Adorable.

Will You Still Need Me: 64 Guan Yin figurines cast in all 64 Crayola crayon colors. For me, it was a mix of old, new and youth. My grandmother had one of these figures, so it made me remember her. The Crayola smell is one of youth, and the figures, arranged so neatly, made me think of the years as the added up.

UPlifting: the only Top 10 piece in my top 9, it is a bronze water fountain sculpture that is simply a celebration of the human form. In figure skating, it is also a level 2 pairs lift since it originates at the waist. It is where my vote went, God I hope the panda made out of tires doesn't win.

Friday, October 4, 2013

October Playlist: Ear Worms

Don't get too entranced with Blurred Lines you fall on the train tracks.

A funny thing happened over the summer: I started posting on facebook the songs that I would wake up listening to in my head, and people began to respond.

Why? I think the ear worm is a blessing and a curse of a phenomena. There's no consistency! It could be a song that has been played ad nausem over the summer, could be a favorite that triggered a memory, could be something out of the archives of your memory you haven't heard in 30 years.

So this is a list of the tunes that buzzed me this summer:

Shout! The Isley Brothers - This is the one that convinced me there's a non-stop Polish wedding reception going in my head.

Prince Ali, Robin Williams from Aladdin - blame judging Basic Skills.

El Paso, Marty Robbins - on dad's birthday. Awesome.

Voices Carry, Til Tuesday - Dave was reading Al Jorgenson's biography in the bathroom and he mentioned this Amiee Mann song was about him.

Josie, Steely Dan - I think the line "When Josie gets home, from school." got lodged up there.

Fast Cars, U2 - considering ice dance, and if I do, I want my free dance to be this.

Dancing Barefoot, Patti Smith - once that bass line infects your brain...

Blurred Lines, Robin Thicke - once that hook infects your brain...

ANY theme song to ANY children's programming - it's intentional, I'm sure.

Dumb Ways to Die, Metro Trains - PSA out of Australia where cute characters do some pretty dumb things. Will loves it. 

Royals, Lorde - New Zealand singer with spooky-pretty eyes, hypnotic voice.