Thursday, May 29, 2008

Excellent Speakers Coming to Guilford College

Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, and Sir Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses, and the new Enchantress of Florence (released May 27, 2008) are two of the speakers coming to Greensboro next fall via the Bryan Series at Guilford College. Get in line to buy tickets, behind me!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Progressive Rhymes

I first stumbled upon Flobots when I was listening to a late night talk-radio show. They are a hip-hop group based out of Denver. I found them interesting because they seemed to break the stereotypes of typical hip-hop groups. There are six members of the group. There are two emcees, one bassist, one drummer, one guitarist, and one viola player.

I also found it intriguing that the group was a multi-racial, and multi-gender group. The band has just recently signed with Universal Republic Records, and have just released an official video for their first single "Handlebars." They have many other very powerful songs such as "Stand Up" and "Iraq Rap."

I really admire this group because of their progressive stance. I feel like they are addressing issues that most hip-hop/rap groups or artists are not. I strongly advise you to check out this group. Feel their rhythms, listen to their rhymes, but most of all hear their message.

Guest Blogger,
Reid Drake

"Stand Up" by Flobots

Kevin Sites' In the Hot Zone Book and DVD

My Memorial holiday was spent in bed, sick. I was too ill with a head cold (yes, I'm a wimp) to move around, but not sick enough to just sleep. So I wrapped my head in pillows to press against a dull headache and read most of Kevin's book "In the Hot Zone." A fitting memorial day activity.

David spent a year covering all the world's war zones. The documentary DVD that accompanied the book (a pretty cool mixing of mediums that convinced me to buy the book) is almost overwhelming in its' imagery. What makes the book a valuable addition is all the background information it includes. We not only "see" the African women who have been raped by insurgents but learn of Kevin's struggle over whether to show their faces. (He does not.)

The reason I am posting this book here is because of the way Kevin mentions art throughout the book. Whether a Haitian cutting beauty from an oil drum can, or a couple painting idyllic landscapes inside a bombed out apartment building, Kevin peppers his retelling of all the misery he saw with acts of creation. Not mentioned in the documentary, they are a counter to the act of destruction. It's not an even draw but it does show the power of art to heal, provide hope, and save us from our worst selves.

This weekend some friends gave me a new bumper sticker that says "Make Art, Not War." I smiled when I first saw it and thought immediately of Kevin and his project.
I will display it with conviction strengthened by the art Kevin has given us in his writing and documentary. Visit his site.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

5 Notes, just 5 notes.......

My great-grand mother used to hide my great-grand father's banjo telling him that it was "darky-music". He would always find it and keep playing. I think my great-grandfather understood in his soul what Wintley Phipps is saying in this video.

Check out this You Tube video and see what pathos can be packed into 5 simple notes, just the black keys on the piano.

Click on green title above to view video.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Running the numbers

The above depicts 65,000 cigarettes, equal to the number of American teenagers under age eighteen who become addicted to cigarettes every month.

Viewing Chris Jordan's series of works called Running the Numbers inspired awe then anger in this viewer. As Chris says in his artist statment these works should be seen in person.

Click on above title to view Jordan's website.