I saw Mad Max: Fury Road again last week and marveled for the third time at its ability to convey incredibly complex action scenes with rare clarity. My wife (and plenty of others) don’t understand my fascination with the film. “What makes this different from Transformers?” she asks. “It’s just two hours of action and explosions.” Well, I think there’s a LOT that elevates it above dreck like Transformers, but below is an interesting contrast.
The first video is about “Bayhem,” a pejorative term given to Michael Bay’s style of filmmaking, and it does a great job of illustrating (part) of why his films are so mind-numbing.
The second is a short example of how George Miller shot and edited Mad Max for maximum clarity.
These two examples of the art of cinema are a lot like the way I often talk about writing: poor writing is overblown and meandering while good writing is succinct and clear.
Following on yesterday’s post, here’s another look at MYTH from NPT’s Arts Break. The world premiere is next Friday night and discounted tickets are available in the Rabbit Room store.
[I came across this fascinating article last week. It’s a conversation between Peter Thiel, the co-co-founder of Paypal, and N. T. Wright, one of my favorite theologians. The topic was the nature of Death and its place in the world and it’s well worth your time to read. Would love to hear your comments. Here’s how it starts. Click through to read the whole thing at Forbes.]
It turns out that Peter Thiel quotes Hamlet.
For Thiel, a line in the play’s second scene throws open the pessimism that runs throughout the tragedy and, in his opinion, our current cultural moment. “Thou know’st ‘tis common; all that lives must die,” says Gertrude to her son, Hamlet. Her words are a cold comfort to the young prince, who is grieving the death of his father. All that lives must die. “At some level it’s a statement about reality. At another level,” Thiel postulates, “it’s a statement about accepting the rottenness that is in Denmark.” Death is a fact of life, Gertrude says. There’s nothing to be done. Get over it.
But Peter Thiel isn’t getting over it.
“Why,” he asks, “must we die?”
On a recent Monday evening in San Francisco, 700 members of the Silicon Valley tech scene swarmed the SF JAZZ Center for something of a fireside chat between Peter Thiel and N.T. Wright, hosted by The Veritas Forum. It’s not unusual for the technorati to show up in droves to hear from the billionaire technologist-philosopher Thiel, who co-founded Paypal, made the first outside investment in Facebook, and co-founded the behemoth private data analytics firm, Palantir (recently valued at $15 billion). He is one of the most successful tech investors in history, and has been called “America’s leading public intellectual” by Fortune magazine. Thiel’s fans have made his new book on entrepreneurship, Zero to One, an instant bestseller. But this Monday night he drew a crowd for an unusual reason: to talk about death and God with one of the world’s leading Christian theologians.
A new Pixar movie is always cause for celebration. But with such a long string of films that are more like soft, huggable security blankets than mere films, I always go into the theater a bit anxious, worried that I’m going to be let down and disillusioned. Sorry, Brave, but you were an itchy blanket that smelled like cheese and Mom threw you out.
Jennifer and I saw Inside Out this weekend and I’m pleased to report that I’ll be hugging it until it’s old, dirty, threadbare, gnawed at the corners, and begging for a biohazard warning. I loved it from the first frame to the last, in fact I didn’t want it to end—and I’m hoping maybe it won’t until we’ve seen a sequel or two because there’s nearly endless potential for further stories.
Go see the movie. Especially if you’re a human. I’d love to hear what everyone else thought of it.
Andrew Osenga is playing a FREE solo show tonight (Thursday) at Judson Baptist Church on Franklin Road in Nashville. Show time is 7:00PM. Come on out!
Earlier this year at North Wind Manor, we began hosting a series of Bible studies taught by singer/songwriter/biblical-ninja Michael Card. Michael has been a joy to learn from; the joy and wonder that inform his approach to teaching Scripture are contagious, and each time he’s been here he’s left me with a new appreciation of some aspect of the Gospel.
For the past couple of months, Michael’s schedule has been full and the North Wind Manor studies have been on hold. But now that life has slowed down a little, we’ve got him back on the schedule. He’ll be here twice this month, on June 11th and June 25th. Both studies will begin at 7pm (please don’t arrive before 630pm) and we ask folks to bring a snack to share with the group. Drinks are on us. There’s no charge but space is limited, so you must RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to come. We’ll respond to confirm and let you know the address.
We’ll also have copies of Mike’s Bible commentaries on hand if you’d like one of your own to study with.
Because some things are far too awesome not to share. December sure does seem like a long way off.
Congratulations to Matthew Clark and Pedro Navas, winners of two tickets each to tonight’s Tokens Show at Lipscomb University. Enjoy the show!
For those who didn’t win, tickets are still available. Check out www.tokensshow.com for more information.
We’ve got a great line-up for tonight’s edition of the Local Show. Andrew Peterson is hosting and he’s invited this great group of songwriters to share the stage.
Leading the pack is a name you’re all familiar with: Rabbit Room alumnus Jason Gray. We’re thrilled to have him at the Local Show for the first time this week.
Next up, the too-young-to-be-so-talented Caleb Chapman (of Colony House) returns.
And finally, an acclaimed songwriter with no less than 12 Dove Awards and 21 #1 hits to her credit, the great Cindy Morgan.
Tickets are available for $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Rabbit Room members can purchase a $5 admission at the door with their membership card. Show time is 7:30pm at The Well coffeehouse on Old Hickory Blvd. Doors open at 7:10pm.
I’ve got a crazy idea, and I need your help. We want a new Rabbit Room t-shirt, but we want to give all of you a chance to design it. So here’s what I’m thinking. Design submissions are open from now until April 27th. Submit anything you like, but let’s set a basic theme of “Music” for this shirt. Take that and run with it in any direction you want. Your design can be text-based, or illustrated, or anything at all. Be creative. Don’t overthink it. Just have fun.
On May 1st, we’ll reveal our favorite and take orders for a limited time (2 weeks only). The winner gets a free shirt and some credit in the RR store. If all goes well, we’ll do this every month and you can stockpile a whole wardrobe of community-designed clothing. Fun, right?
Click through for details.
The newest issue of The Molehill contains a couple of truly unique pieces of history. The first is an original, previously-unpublished essay by the great G. K. Chesterton, and you’ll have to pick up a copy of the book to read that one. But the other is this bit of literary treasure discovered by Jonathan Rogers while doing research via microfilm in the Vanderbilt library. It’s a hand-written poem he found in the margin of a sixteenth-century manuscript by a Sir Richard Roland, Second Earl of Astley. Apparently it has never been published (at least not until we published it in The Molehill Vol. 3), so this is a poem that few living eyes but yours, dear reader, have ever seen.
“Never, Sweeting, Could I Play Thee False”
Never, sweeting, could I play thee false,
E’en until the day we both should die—
Verily, till we go to our vaults.
Ever was there lover true as I?
Rocks may split, the mountains all remove,
Gone away the rivers, all run dry.
Only I will love still, still unmoved.
Never was there lover true as I.
Never, sweeting, could I make thee weep.
Away, away with each old love thou ruest.
Give me thy heart, and my heart thou canst keep.
I of every lover am the truest.
Verses sometimes lie; I never do.
Eye me, and the soul of truth thou viewest.
Yew bow never shot a shaft so true.
Of every lover, dear, I am the truest.
Until the end I plight my troth, forsooth.
Upon my hoary age, upon thy youth…
Prithee, hast thou ever known such truth?
We’re headed into the Texas wilderness this week to convene the Rabbit Room Retreat @ Laity Lodge and we wish all of you could come with us. This year our guest speaker is Dr. Ralph Wood, author of The Gospel According to Tolkien, Flannery O’Connor and the Christ-haunted South, and Chesterton: The Nightmare Goodness of God.
As you can tell from that remarkable list, Dr. Wood will be right at home in the Rabbit Room crowd. Dr. Wood has served as the Baylor University’s Professor of Theology and Literature since 1998 and comes to us bearing a lifetime of scholarship and wisdom. He’s an engaging speaker, a sage theologian, and a kind man. We look forward to introducing him to many of you this week at Laity Lodge.
For more information about the Rabbit Room Retreat at Laity Lodge, visit the website at Hutchmoot.com. Those not able to attend may want to join us in absentia by enjoying some of Dr. Wood’s work, which is now available in the Rabbit Room store.
Charles Williams is one of those guys who seems to be perpetually on my “Read This Next!” shelf. Almost every time I talk with Lanier Ivester there comes a point in the conversation when her chin drops and her mouth hangs wide open for three or four minutes while she processes the information that I have not yet read The Place of the Lion. Sorry, Lanier, it’s still true. He’s still the Inkling about which I haven’t one.
I know there are a lot of others out there in my position and today I’m here to help. Part of the problem is that his books are hard to find, but I just heard that Open Road Media has now published ebooks of seven of Williams’ titles, including War in Heaven, and Descent into Hell. If you’re the e-reading type, check them out. If Lanier buys me a Kindle, I promise to read The Place of the Lion immediately.
Last year, right at the last minute, I heard the strange tale of Matthew Perryman Jones teaming up with the Nashville Ballet for a live-music and dance performance called “. . . but the flowers have yet to come.” I have to confess that ballet is something I tend to view with a narrowed eye, but I didn’t want to pass up the chance to see Matthew performing live, so I snatched up a couple of tickets. It didn’t hurt that taking my wife to the ballet made for a great Valentine’s Day date. As it turned out, I got way more than I bargained for. The show began with two other dance performances, one of which was an interpretation of Anton Checkov’s relationship with his wife through letters and was incredible—alone worth the price of admission.
The main attraction, though, was the Perryman Jones performance. Matthew and a full band played some of my favorite songs off both the new album and the previous, while the Nashville Ballet took the main stage. I’m no good at knowing what I’m looking at when I watch dance, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. If you know Matthew’s music, you know it’s bittersweet and full of longing, frustration, and passion. The dance captures those feelings perfectly. I was mesmerized. I was also shocked at how much work and creativity had gone into a production that only saw three or four lightly attended performances. It just seemed wrong for that many people to work so hard at something only to have it enjoyed so briefly.
So it was with considerable excitement that I heard the show was coming back this Valentine’s Day weekend. There are only three performances: February 13th, 14th, and 15th. If you are in Nashville and need something awesome to do for Valentine’s Day. This is it. Check out the “Making of” and teaser videos below. Don’t miss it.
Rabbit Room Press is now making available two original plays by National Book Award-winner Walter Wangerin Jr.
These are “mystery plays,” but don’t confuse that term with “plays about Sherlock Holmes.” Click the link for more information, but mystery plays are a venerable tradition of presenting Bible stories in the form of stage drama. Rachel Weeping for Her Children is written for Epiphany and tells the story of Herod and the Magi. The second is written for Palm Sunday: The Way of the Cross (The Cry of the Whole Congregation), and it draws the entire audience into the story. If either of these sound familiar it might be because you’ve seen them before. They’ve been performed all over the country.
Both of these plays are now available in the Rabbit Room store.