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The Bancroft Brothers Podcast

podcast1I have to admit, I usually tune out podcast recommendations---listening to people talk just puts me to sleep (my college classmates can attest to that). But I'm making an effort to learn to listen, because I spend a LOT of time at my drawing board, and my music just ain't cuttin' it.

So I've begun to explore all that the world of podcasting has to offer---and lo and behold, I find The Bancroft Brothers podcast!

podcast2Tom and Tony Bancroft are twin brothers who went through the legendary CalArts university together and worked at Disney Animation Studios for twelve years. Among their many animation credits are the following: Tony co-directed Mulan and supervised the animation on Pumbaa in The Lion King and Kronk in The Emperor's New Groove; Tom designed and animated Mushu in Mulan and, incidentally, wrote one of my favorite how-to books, Creating Characters with Personality.

If you're an animation geek like I am, you'll love the interviews with animation legends (Andreas Deja! Glen Keane! Pete Docter!) and discussions on the history and future of animation (is 2D animation dead, or just sleeping?).

If you're not, there's still plenty to love here---insight, honesty, and encouragement on maintaining creative discipline and perseverance.

Check out their most popular podcast episode, "Failures, Flubs and Frustrations," in which they discuss some of the most difficult experiences of their careers.

…and now it's your turn. What podcasts do you recommend?

Anything is fair game, but if you share podcasts related to creativity or the arts, I'll compile some of them into a future post.

An Ethic for Aesthetics: The Second Covenant (3 of 6)

[This is part 3 of a series by Walter Wangerin Jr. from his blog, Between Us.] Second Covenant — The covenant with the conventions and the community of my chosen craft. I can be briefer about this covenant, though it has required a lifelong attention. The conventions of my craft are the forms and patterns of literature’s various genres. This covenant was established even before I knew it; I entered an apprenticeship of sorts when I, who read continually, became conscious of the words themselves, and loved what they could do, and started to question how they did it. “Getting it right” in this case means making the words works as best they can. Making the poem a poem indeed---and besides that, a good one, too. Sentences. Lines of verses, the sounds of those lines, the shape of many lines put together according to certain anticipations: sonnets, lyrics, hymns. Alliterations. Dialogue. Descriptions. Suspense. The episodic progress of a narrative. Stories. Novels. Each literary form has its definitions. Click here to read the rest of part 3. Part 2 Part 1

RR Interview: The Rocketboys’ Brandon Kinder

I'm more than a little excited today. I've wanted you to meet Brandon Kinder for a few years now. Brandon calls Austin, Texas, home but grew up in the gritty and grindy city of Memphis, a city we both love. He was raised at the church my family is now a part of in East Memphis and graduated from Harding Academy, the school at which both my wife and I now teach. I remember the first time I heard Brandon's music. It was at a little pub in here in town almost 10 years ago. When I first heard his primary band, The Rocketboys, play I realized I had found a sound I'd been looking for. His vocals, and later his lyrics, struck a chord with me. I caught up with Brandon for dinner at his parents’ house right after a show his solo project, The Wealthy West. Rusty: Thanks for spending some time with me so The Rabbit Room can get to know you. I want to start with an observation and question. You must be a tremendously busy guy! You're the lead singer of The Rocketboys, have your solo project The Wealthy West, help with worship ministry at the church you go to in Austin, have a wife, and spend most days being generally awesome. How hard is it to manage it all?

You Holy Fools (Part 1 of 3)

Two weekends ago I visited an Amish greenhouse with my parents. To get there you have to wind through the back roads of Cadiz, Kentucky --- past the rock quarry where they do all that blasting, past those yellow fields shining-full of canola --- then take a right turn by the big aluminum mail box, and pull your car up the long, crackling gravel driveway that divides a white, two-story farmhouse from three round-top tents full of plants. An eight-year-old boy uses that same driveway for his family's horse wagon. The animal is strong-shouldered but compliant to a gentle command. The child wears a straw hat with a wide brim, and his little bare feet have soles that are black and thick from outdoor wear. He keeps his balance by pushing his arches into the singletree, which leaves his toes free to bounce according to the jostle of lane.

The Wishes of the Fish King

“A pleasure is full grown only when it is remembered.” ― C.S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet Today Doug McKelvey and I launch a Kickstarter for the picture book The Wishes of the Fish King – a lyrical and wonder-filled story told by a father to his two-year-old daughter in hopes that it will help her to remember this magical season of her life. The illustrations are visual reflections of what she hears, and so are a blend of reality and her blossoming imagination. This project is about capturing and communicating that time in a child’s life when reality is fluid and wonder is born.

Proper Introductions: George MacDonald

G.K. Chesterton called him “one of the three or four greatest men of the 19th century.” Madeleine L’Engle said he was the “grandfather of us all—all of us who struggle to come to terms with truth through imagination.” “George MacDonald gives me renewed strength during times of trouble,” she wrote elsewhere, “times when I have seen people tempted to deny God.”

An Ethic for Aesthetics

Walt Wangerin is working on a great series of posts at his blog. They make for a fascinating window into the mind of a world-class writer. He's laying out his case for craft and it's worth paying attention to. Here's an excerpt:

As far as I am concerned, art occurs. It happens. It is always an event rather than an object — though it is by means of objects that art takes place. The painting, then, that hangs in a nighttime darkness on the museum wall is not itself art. It is a medium for art. When the light comes on, when a viewer steps before the shapes, the textures, and the colors composed upon the canvas, when the viewer enters the thing by playing her sight from part to part of the painting — that progressing event is art. Likewise, when this post is closed and unread, it has the potential to become art, but it still awaits the moment of its happening. It waits for a reader. It waits for you. Art is its own peculiar form of human communication.
  Read the full article at his blog via the links below. An Ethic for Aesthetics (Intro) An Ethic for Aesthetics: What Is Art? (1/6) An Ethic for Aesthetics: The First Covenant (2/6)

The River Fox Chapter Seven: Tombow Love You!

[Fantasy adventure and slapstick cartoon humor. Martin runs from dragons and bandits, while Marco tries to break out of a desert camp.  The River Fox, volume two of The Dragon Lord Saga is now premiering one episode a week at Webtoons (also check out volume one, Martin & Marco).] 7

The Psalms

If you haven't watched this yet, take 20 minutes out of your day and enjoy this conversation between two icons. They discuss the effect the Psalms have had on them, including great thoughts about the importance of art and the need for approaching art with honesty. If nothing else, it's worth it just for Eugene Peterson's infectious smile and his introduction to the mash pit.

To My Girls, On Your Baptism

To my beautiful daughters, Last night in our church, surrounded by so many of the people we love, I watched you stand up together and publicly share your faith in Christ. I'm not embarrassed to admit that I cried. Not just last night but countless times over the past week. I cried again this morning as the reality of it hit me. You know that I cry easily and often. It's been that way for a long time. Happy things. Sad things. Beautiful things. They all make me cry. You've been around me for long enough to know that. However,  as I reflect on what took place last night, I want to take a moment to explain why the emotion that has overwhelmed me this week has a deeper root than I suspect you fully understand.

The Heartfelt Hilarity of Olan Rogers

The advent of YouTube in 2005 created an unprecedented opportunity for average people to create content and share it with the world. Of course, a lot of people took this opportunity to just create cat videos (and where would we be without them). Ten years later though, it has led to the rise of a new kind of entrepreneur and celebrity—the YouTube star. These are creative people who have found a niche and created a following, sometimes of millions of subscribers, by producing regular content of some form, whether that's makeup tutorials, video-game playthroughs, or humorous vlogs. A rare group of these people have even become successful millionaires, as companies have tapped the advertising potential of their large audiences. My favorite YouTuber isn't one of these millionaires. He only has about 840,000 subscribers---which is a pittance considering that the top channel on YouTube has 43 million subscribers. He also doesn't take advertising deals just for the sake of earning money off his fan base. His name is Olan Rogers.

New Music from Eric Peters

Eric Peters' new record, Far Side of the Sea, is rounding third and almost home. Last night Eric surprised the unsuspecting public by streaming a track from the new record on his website. This is 100% new material and it sounds fantastic! If you're a fan of Eric's work, you'll be delighted by the musical evolution evident in this track. We can't wait to hear the rest. How long do we have to wait, Eric? Click here to visit his website and stream the song.

2nd Annual Shakespeare Celebration

Looking for a good way to spend your weekend? The Center for Faith & Culture at Aquinas College is presenting the 2nd Annual Shakespeare Celebration on Saturday, April 23---a full day of talks and performances, featuring Dale Ahlquist, Joseph Pearce, Kevin O’Brien and Theater of the Word, Dr. Aaron Urbanczyk, and the drama clubs of St. Cecilia Academy and Father Ryan High School. Click here for more information and the full schedule of events.

Liturgy in the Garden (Thoughts from the Festival of Faith & Writing)

We planted a new garden this year. We tried once before at another house, but the yard was nearly all in the shade. We spent months worrying over it and weeding it, until it all paid off when we harvested four pieces of okra and a cherry tomato. Lesson learned: Don’t plant a garden in the shade. I learn most things the hard way; gardening is no different. But this year we found a nice sunny spot, fenced it in to keep the deer and chickens out, and built seven raised beds. Big hopes. I mentioned deer and chickens—but let me be thorough. We have seven hens (Babs, Clementine, Henrietta, Wynona, Goodness, Mercy, and Early) and two roosters (Tom Bombadil and Shirley (Yes Shirley. Don’t ask.)), in addition to our three guineas (the Swat Team), six ducks (Mr. & Mrs. Meatball, Mrs. Waddlesworth, Mrs. McGillicutty, The Colonel, and Miss Peggy), dog (Penny), and a rabbit (Gus McCrae). Yes, we own a rabbit; no, I can’t explain why (Jennifer’s defense will no doubt entail a measuring of the exponential increase in cuteness when multiplied by a factor of cuddliness). If you count all that up, you’ll find we have twenty critters in our little parish.

Mouse Guard

Welcome to the Mouse Territories. Blacksmiths, masons, healers, and craftsmice ply their trades in grand cities and small townships, from the libraries of Lockhaven to the homey inn in Barkstone. But who seeks out the safe ways from village to village? Who patrols the borders and defends the paths from savage beasts and the weasel armies? The Guard. Mouse Guard is a graphic novel series by David Peterson, published by Archaia comics. The series has won four Eisners and hit the New York Times bestseller list, as well as garnering the greatest award of all: a cult following of loyal fans. I am one of those fans, and a recent rereading of the series gave me a new appreciation for the power and artistry at work here.