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.
Edit: The free tickets have been claimed.
Behold! We’ve got two free tickets for tomorrow night’s house show at North Wind Manor. Jeremy Casella will be here playing a full show, with Andrew Osenga as a special guest. The tickets are available to the first two people (or the first couple) who has never before been to a show at the Manor. Just email me at [email protected] to claim them. If you’ve been before, you’re welcome to claim one to bring along a friend who hasn’t.
There are still a handful of tickets left for the rest of you. Just $12 each (or $8 if you’re a Rabbit Room member—check your emails members) Click here for details.
I’m stealing this from Dave Bruno’s blog because it’s awesome and he forgot to post it here. Carve out a few minutes this evening, click the link below, and read Dr. King’s sermon, “Paul’s Letter to American Christians.” Happy MLK Day.
Tonight’s Bible study with Michael Card is filled up, but we’ve got another treat for you coming up next weekend. We’re pleased to announce our latest house show. On January 24th @ 7pm Jeremy Casella (and maybe a special guest or two) will be here at the manor to play songs from last year’s brilliant Death in Reverse album (and other stuff too). If you aren’t familiar with Jeremy’s music, you need to be. He’s got one of the best voices in town and a songwriting knack for U2-style anthemic melodies that get stuck in your head in the best way. Death in Reverse is one of my top 3 favorite albums of 2014. Don’t miss this show.
Tickets are $12 and limited to 30 seats. We ask that everyone bring a snack to share with the group. Drinks are on us. Click here to secure your spot. We’ll see you at the door!
FULL! Both January dates are now full. We’ll start taking RSVPs for February later this month.
We’re kicking 2015 off in style. Mike will be at North Wind Manor at 7:00pm on January 13th and 27th for the first two sessions of a series he’ll be leading on the life of Jesus.
We’ll be making his Gospel commentaries available soon in the Rabbit Room store, and they’ll serve as fine companions to the discussions he’ll be leading.
These events are open to everyone, free of charge, but we’re limited by space, so if you’d like to attend please RSVP to [email protected] (we’ll respond with directions). We also encourage everyone to bring a snack to share. Drinks are on us.
We’ve been waiting a long time to make this announcement. When Walt Wangerin spoke at our first-ever Hutchmoot we had no idea that it marked the beginning of an ongoing friendship. In the years since, it’s been a joy to get to know him and work with him. He’s contributed short stories to each volume of the Molehill (including volume 3, out any day now), and we’re incredibly humbled and overjoyed to be able to announce the forthcoming publication by Rabbit Room Press of his new memoir: Everlasting Is the Past.
In this new memoir, he invites the reader into the past to experience his loss of faith as a young seminarian, his struggle to find a place for his chosen vocation amid a storm of doubts, and his eventual renewal in the arms of an inner-city church called Grace. With his inimitable style and keen eye for detail, Walt remembers his own story and gives it to us as an everlasting testament to the faithfulness of God.
The book will be available everywhere this spring, but it’s available for pre-order now through the Rabbit Room store.
Here’s a first look at the cover. Design by Chris Tobias. Illustration by Jamin Still.
This week I’m putting the finishing touches on the new edition of The Molehill. Once again, we’ve got a great mix of shorts for you to feast your eyes on–stuff like a ghost story from Lanier Ivester, a folk tale by Walt Wangerin, Jr., new poetry by Luci Shaw, a new story and illustrations by Jamin Still, a new collaborative work from cartoonist Jonny Jimison and poet Jen Rose Yokel, an art heist by Russ Ramsey, recipes by Lewis Graham, and a lot more.
Special thanks to Jason McFarland for the cover design!
Preorders are now open. We plan to have these shipped in time for reading by the fire on Christmas Day. Remember that if you have a 2014 or 2015 membership, this edition of The Molehill will be mailed to you free of charge as soon as they arrive from the printer. Not a member? Click here for more information.
For the past two years, we’ve offered Rabbit Room memberships to our readers, and a whole lot of you have put your membership benefits to good use. For some strange reason, though, we began by offering memberships in May, which meant that the 2014 benefits were good from May of 2014 until May of 2015 which, if you think about it, really makes it a half of a 2014 membership and half of a 2015 membership—or something. Weird.
So this year we’re setting things right. Memberships for 2015 are on sale now and they will be good for the entire duration of 2015. It just makes sense.
So what are the benefits of Rabbit Room membership? I’m glad you asked. Read on:
—A free copy of the Molehill, vol. 3, which should be shipping before Christmas
—A free download of the Hutchmoot 2014 audio archive (that’s over 18 hours of audio!)
—A free 2015 Certified Member mug only available via membership (ships as soon as they come off the potter’s wheel—which may or may not be before Christmas.)
—deep and abiding satisfaction
—15% off of all purchases in the Rabbit Room store (we’ll email your membership ID right away so that you can use it in the Rabbit Room store during the holiday season.)
—A nifty membership card that you can flash at certain Rabbit Room events (like the Local Show) to get free or discounted admission rates
—powers of tremendous insight
That’s a good bunch of stuff, but some of you are asking yourselves, “Wait a minute, I just bought my 2014 membership a few months ago, does that mean I’m getting short-changed?”
Happily, the answer is no. In order to get the membership schedule on track, we’re extending all 2014 memberships until the end of 2015. So technically, you’re getting long-changed. You can still purchase the Hutchmoot 2014 audio archive separately by clicking here. And your copy of the Molehill will be on its way soon.
So that’s the deal. From here on out, each November you’ll be able to renew your membership for the following year, and that means you’ll always have access to the Hutchmoot archive for current year.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales coming up? Yep, we’ve got some of that too. Stay tuned.
Assignments have been sent!
It’s time once again for the Rabbit Room Christmas Exchange. Click through for full details. Assignments have been sent. Check your email and have fun. If you expected an assignment and did not receive one, please email me at [email protected]
Here’s a little taste of what might be going on at North Wind Manor this Saturday night during our Julie Lee & Friends (Sarah Masen Dark, Corrie Covell, and Ron Block) house concert. The first is Julie and Ron Block playing “Battlefield” at Nashville’s own Belcourt Theater. The second, from Under the Radar, is Sarah Masen singing “The Human Scale” backed by Julie Lee and Corrie Covell.
There are just a few tickets left and they are available here.
Next Saturday night we’re hosting a house concert for Julie Lee at North Wind Manor. We told you last week that Julie would be joined by Corrie Covell and Sarah Masen Dark, and this week were happy to announce that Ron Block will be joining in as well. We can’t wait to have you over for the evening. Bring a snack and enjoy the music (and the company). There are only about 20 tickets remaining and they’re available here.
Unfamiliar with Julie’s music? Check out this video of her performing the title track from her most recent album, Till & Mule.
And don’t forget about Rich Mullins Cover Night at next week’s Local Show. Tickets here.
On Saturday, October 25th, we’re hosting Julie Lee for an intimate house show at North Wind Manor. There are only 30 seats available. She’ll be joined by Sarah Masen Dark and Corrie Covell. This is going to be an awesome show, and if you aren’t familiar with Julie’s music, you are in for a real treat. You’re all invited. Please bring a snack to share—we’ve got the drinks and music under control.
What: Julie Lee—with Sarah Masen Dark and Corrie Covell
When: The show starts at 7:30pm on October 25th. Doors open at 7:00pm
Where: North Wind Manor, Nashville, Tennessee
Why: Because you love great music
Click here for your tickets. Rabbit Room members, don’t forget to use your member discount.
I know it’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally time to announce this year’s special Hutchmoot concert. Jill Phillips is both one of Nashville’s best songwriters and one of its most extraordinary vocalists, and she’s been working on a new record for most of the past year. There’s no firm release date yet, but I can tell you for 100% certain that on Friday night, October 10th, at Hutchmoot 2014, folks will be treated to a full evening of Jill and a stellar band of players performing the songs from the new record (and more). If you’ve only seen Jill perform solo, you’re in for a special night—prepare to be blown away.
The new album is called Mortar and Stone and those who have heard the new material know this record is going to be yet another fantastic collection in Jill’s line-up of classics. We couldn’t be more delighted to have Jill play such a big part in this year’s moot.
Don’t have tickets to Hutchmoot? You can also see Jill (along with Andy Gullahorn, Jeremy Casella, and Andrew Osenga) tonight at The Local Show (tickets available here).