Month: July 2016

Oscar Wilde

 

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Meditation on Makoto Fujimura

Two years ago I had the pleasure and honor to first hear and then meet the great visual artist Makoto Fujimura.

If you haven’t heard of him or seen his work I highly recommend a quick google search. His art, his writings, and his cultural advocacy is beautiful and poignant. He is involved with numerous artistic collaborations to promote artistic endeavors as culturally important and worthy of time and monetary investment.

Also, I highly recommend reading his book, Refractions: A Journey of Faith, Art and Culture, which is a collection of essays that brings together people from a myriad of backgrounds in a conversation about culture and humanity.


Golden Sea
Mineral Pigments and Gold on Kumohada, 80×64″
2011, Collection of Roberta and Howard Ahmanson

 

Anyway, since I heard him speak I have periodically checked his blog, enjoying his musings on literature, historical events, and art.

Among my favorites is Refractions 9: Dances For Life in which he meditates upon the particular challenges of dance that yield a particular passion in dancers. Fujimura then proceeds to advocate the importance of dance in a culture that tends to restrict and neglect the importance of movement. He writes:

Art is inevitably driven to our physicality, and both the potential and limitation of all of our craft will remain hidden in our bodies. In this fast techno culture in which engagement with the movements of our own bodies is restricted, we may be tempted to ignore such an age-old principle of our being. But I suspect that all artists will eventually return to explore the direct connection with the physical and ethereal. I suspect that, in that moment, we will again celebrate the “mother of the arts,” and applaud those who so sacrificially gave their energies, sinews and bodies to the passion endowed to them. In that sense, dancers advocate for our whole humanity as they dance; we, by advocating for them, affirm the gift of physical grace, though limited by time and space, and witness for but a fleeting moment, gravity defied.

As I observe the cheap commercialization of dance and the numerous reports of dance programs being cut in the university, these words hold much hope. Even though current culture does not value dance and sees it primarily as something pretty or entertaining, something to be tossed out when the budget gets tight – despite all this dance still holds value. It is a problem not of the art form but of how our current culture approaches it that renders its voice mute.

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Playlist | Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

 

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”p and p and z
So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

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New Books!

It’s been a very long time since I’ve allowed myself to buy new books. That’s mostly because I have far too many books sitting on my shelf to be read.

However, the other day I caved. I couldn’t help but stop into a little local bookstore that always has great deals on books.

And boy, I’m glad I did. I found one book I’d wanted for a while and a couple that look really interesting and even a few that were a bit risky, all for about the same price as a book from any other bookstore.

I got all these books for just over $10! Needless to say I was very pleased with my find. Now, I just have to find time to read them. And about three dozen others sitting on my shelf.

 

~Hope~

Playlist | Acceptance by Jeff Vandermeer

It is winter in Area X. A new team embarks across the border on a mission to find a member of a previous expedition who may have been left behind. As they press deeper into the unknown—navigating new terrain and new challenges—the threat to the outside world becomes only more daunting.

In the final installment of the Southern Reach Trilogy, the mysteries of Area X may have been solved, but their consequences and implications are no less profound—or terrifying.

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Playlist | The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Before the nightmare, Yeong-hye and her husband lived an ordinary life. But when splintering, blood-soaked images start haunting her thoughts, Yeong-hye decides to purge her mind and renounce eating meat. In a country where societal mores are strictly obeyed, Yeong-hye’s decision to embrace a  the vegetarianmore “plant-like” existence is a shocking act of subversion. And as her passive rebellion manifests in ever more extreme and frightening forms, scandal, abuse, and estrangement begin to send Yeong-hye spiraling deep into the spaces of her fantasy. In a complete metamorphosis of both mind and body, her now dangerous endeavor will take Yeong-hye—impossibly, ecstatically, tragically—far from her once-known self altogether.

A disturbing, yet beautifully composed narrative told in three parts, The Vegetarian is an allegorical novel about modern day South Korea, but also a story of obsession, choice, and our faltering attempts to understand others, from one imprisoned body to another.

 

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A Brief Introduction

To say I’ve been intending to start a blog for a long time is an understatement. For years I’ve toyed with the idea of blogging, have gone so far as to design and name a blog, yet never posted. Mostly because I was afraid of committing to such an endeavor, afraid that I would ultimately fail and it would be one of hundreds of dead blogs scattered across the internet.

However, after years of procrastination, I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to expand myself and part of this is to finally (finally!) start a blog.

So this is the result.

I’ve always loved and been inspired by books and music, and from when I started reading books (truly reading, not just reading for school) I always enjoyed connecting the books I was reading to the songs I would listen to.

That’s what this blog will be about – connecting literature and music. This will come in a variety of formats. Primarily, I will post playlists based on the books I am reading (or have read in the past), but I will also post other book and/or music related information that I find interesting. This can take the form of book reviews or music reviews, news from either industry, academic or media articles that relate, or even my own musings.

I’m excited to start in on this and crossing my fingers that I will hold myself accountable! But, it always helps to have others to keep me motivated, so if you come across this blog and like the content please comment, I love to share my love of music and books with others!

~Hope~