April 2004 Archives

Mel Gibson and Melodrama

Having previously seen only 20 minutes of the Gibson film and become bored with it, I finally, saw the entire, 2-DVD,Gibson film about the Christ. It is remarkably like Latin American telenovelas in its use of melodrama and exagerrated character types. I think the deft application of melodrama techniques is what gives this film the dramatic strength when it cannot rely on development of plot, character depth nor incisive dialog. I've heard the Colombian author,Germ�n Rey, talk about the international success of the Latin America telenovela format, mythologizing as it does, the large themes of good and evil. The telenovela manages to subsume the quotidian struggles of a societal group and narrate them in a cohesive story of identity.

Of interest to media-makers: In regards to innovative, ever new and intersting ways of depicting blood and violence, this film is a prolonged version, almost identical in makeup and lighting, to the torture scenes in "Payback" in which Mel Gibson is beaten bloody, including having his toes bludgeoned with a hammer.

The only reason I saw the whole bloody thing is that it's so popular, so many people find it deeply touching, and I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. I would not see it again.



David Bowie is hoping to promote his career by jumping on the mashed-up music bandwagon. He announced a contest, inviting mashers to go at it and mix his music. A transparent self-promotion attempt, this nevertheless can help move forward the discussion about so-called piracy of music by youth.

I'm in meetings in Netherlands

I'm in meetings in Netherlands all day and into the night, so no blogging time. I will point out that during the meeting I ran into a forceful social justice/service program, Caritas in the UK and Wales. When it comes to social justice and action, I like websites that are direct and to the point. Caritas in the UK, Wales Caritas in the UK and wales, is rich with information and easy to access, easy on the eyes. Sarah Lindsell, directs this service agency and the site makes it clear that they are there "to promote the rights of children, families, adults and communities who are marginalized and excluded in society today.

To promote these rights, those with power must be persuaded to act more justly and in a way that serves the common good."

I love the clarity and resolve.

Latinos/as and same sex marriage

There is a lot of legal maneuvering going on in Massachusetts by people opposed to same sex marriage, but it looks like May 17, 2004 will see marriage licenses issued for same sex couples. Hurrah. Lalo Alcaraz has an insightful cartoon about this.


Dance, Poetry, Digital Art

Last night I attended a performance of contemporary dance at the University of Houston's Moores Opera House. The Sandra Organ Dance Company presented one dance that collaborated with musicians and digital artists.
The Moores School of Music Contemporary Ensemble played a stunning piece, "Infinite Heartbeat," by Stuart Greenbaum and during the dance, the backscreen of the stage showed the words of Pablo Neruda's poem, "Poetry." The projection of the poem was designed by Dr. Carlos Sol�s, Information Technology Consultant at Rice University and founder of Obsidian Digital.
Sandra Organ, choreographer of the piece, explains that left and right brain functions are involved in trying to read the poem in the background while focusing visually on the dancers and listening to the music. She (in a local radio interview) says that in a world with MTV, our brain is able to process various and combined stimuli. Her effort is groundbreaking. I was distracted by the words while trying to see the movements, but the disjointed connections between the Neruda words and the movements was compelling and demanded involvement. It was a beautiful and innovative performance and I hope this small Houston company is able to be seen widely.

The poem by Neruda was projected first in English, then in Spanish, well designed and animated so that the words would appear and dissappear with flourish.

Hurrah for collaborative art that opens visions:

Enjoy this from the Poem:
and suddenly I saw
the heavens
and open,
palpitating plantations,
the darkness perforated,
with arrows, fire, and rflowers,
the overpowering night, the universe.

And I, tiny being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
felt myself a pure part
of the abyss.
I wheeled with the stars.
My heart broke loose with the wind.


Make War for Peace????

Last night the PBS NewsHour explored the growing use of civilian contract employees for combat in Iraq. Privatization of military forces is a growing profit industry that currently "operates in about 50 different conflict zones," according to Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution.

The report is a motivation to work for peace because it reveals how clouded our world vision can be when it comes to peace. One of the guests, Doug Brooks, is from the International Peace Operations Association, IPOA. Noone on the program apparently sees the inherent contradiction in the name of his organization. IPOA does not promote peace, it is involved in violence-making as a means to peace.

Peace is not the goal, it is the way.


Fun and Sinister?

How do we distinguish and make choices as we live through "wheat and chaff" situations all the time? Degree zero blogs about the Nina Simone protest song, "I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free" as it is used to sell Coca Cola. As I saw this commercial, I was perhaps not terrified, maybe horrified, certainly deeply saddened. It is like watching a book being burned or beautiful music destroyed.

I ask myself if I am over-reacting to the necessary commodification that goes on all the times with various aspects of our lives, much of which is fun and enjoyable, even enriching. I think in this case it is obscene. I don't know how you react when you watch it. It's the second commercial, "I Wish."

The Passion in South Park

Stewart Hoover posts an essay on the Revealer.org about the Passion at South Park. Great!

Digital Art in New Blog

My friends, Alan and Dermot, bloggin in Ireland, link to a flash movie about the passion, "Ecce Homo." It is nicely open-ended.

The site that Alan and Dermot point to, New Pollution, features a lab with intriguing digital art.

For info about the Catholic Church in Ireland, of all kinds, go to their website. It is a reliable place for in-depth analysis of issues, but also fun and useful items like, monastic Ireland which is a great touring guide, and retreat centers, mass times and jobs! Catholic Ireland.Net also features helpful resources for grieving, and a wonderfully simple and interactive prayer site for children. But I'm not a parent. Tell them if u like it.


Chicano Macho Identity

Found these images about Chicano daily life and the Passion of Christ. The second slide from the top, title unknown, strikes me as a provocative study of Macho sports and Jesus as identity constructions made from our body parts. I'm using this image as a background wallpaper on my computer screen.

Income Tax

As I prepare my durnincometax return, it stresses me that I am helping to finance the war that Bush started based on lies and filthy expansionism. The durnincometax portion that goes to war is 49%, according to the War Resisters League.

Depressing, although I do have some options, depending on my choice to go to jail or not. Short of going to jail, lobbying for a strong Peace Tax is a good thing to do.


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This page is an archive of entries from April 2004 listed from newest to oldest.

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