Sunday, June 29, 2008

Discovery of the Day: The Rape of Europa

Having the day off work and all of my friends tied up with other things, I decided to go see a movie and get out of the heat and storms here in Ohio. I checked what was playing at my local theater and lo and behold, could it be? Were they really playing a documentary? Instead of just blockbuster with action stars? Say no more. I purchased my ticket and sat in the theater (with one old lady as company) to watch the fantastic documentary "The Rape of Europa". Completely worth my $7...though I could have foregone the $5 small popcorn. The documentary discussed how much art played a factor in World War II. From Hitler's plan of attack against countries in an effort to obtain important pieces of art to start his own museum to the Allies strategically planning counterattacks in an effort to avoid (many times unsuccessfully) destroying the amazing art and architecture of Europe.

I found this documentary particularly interesting because I just finished reading an equally fantastic book "The Book Thief" by Markus Zusak. This book, geared to young adults but a must read for everyone, looks at a young German girl named Liesel in World War II. In an effort to make sense of the world around her, Liesel looks to books and words to find explanation and inspritation. And ultimately hope in often hopeless times. When it comes down to it, art in all of it's manifestations is man's expression of inspiration and hope. At times of war, it is easy to forget the importance of art. Who cares about a painting when you are starving? When people are dying around you? And is an underlying theme of our humanity. Without our words, our paintings, our architecture, our sense of beauty are we even human at all?

It's a fascinating subject. One I've had many a shouting match with my "survival is key!" ex-Marine father. I urge you to watch the documentary and read the book. How important is art to you? Or more important, the ability to express yourself artistically? What would you do if your rights were taken away?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Discovery of the Day: Dancing Brings People Together!

So this guy Matt that you see in the above clip scored the sweetest jobs of sweetest jobs. Someone paid him to travel around the world and video record himself dancing horribly with people. That's right. He got PAID to travel and dance HORRIBLY. With people who were equally as horrible. The result being one of the best clips to ever hit YouTube. There is something so universal about horrible dancing that no matter where in the world you are it elicits a smile and laughter. You can't help it. (OK...that guy in North Korea didn't look too happy but we'll forget that.) In today's age where it's easy to get caught up in politics, the bad economy, and all the ways that one guy is different from the next it's refreshing to see something so universally simple.

I particularly love that I found this clip today because this afternoon I attended a friend's chorus recital. That chours just happened to be a gay men's chorus. The author Armisted Maupin gave excerpt readings throughout while the 80+ chorus chimed in with song and dance. At the end, Maupin announced that his writings were based on his own life and struggle. And he shared that he himself had gotten married to his partner in Canada last year because it was not recognized here in the US. As of a few weeks ago, that marriage HAS been recognized in California. The audience wildly applauded. The men on stage wildly applauded. As I sat there, I truly wished that anyone who ever opposed equal rights for gay people could be there in that audience. When it comes down to it, those men on stage just want what we all do: happiness. And oh yeah, they WILL dance and sing! I for one hope they keep on dancing. I may be one straight girl but I'm ready to drop my horrible dance moves any time!! So do your thing, whatever that may be.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Discovery of the Day: My Brightest Diamond

I discovered "My Brightest Diamond" online today while I was listening to "The Hype Machine." The singer has a very distincitve voice. She reminds me slightly of Tori Amos. That same off kilter, wood nimph vibe going on. Very much girl in a fairy tale which is nice once in a while. We all need to escape sometimes.

Speaking of which today I had a vacation day and escaped myself into the woods. Mind you I did NOT have on a pair of fairy wings nor did I have a guy with bull horns chasing me...though that would have been a good story on Monday. After spending the morning running around I realized that I just could not deal with people today. So I grabbed a book and my camera and spent a lovely afternoon surrounded by trees and birds and breeze. There are times when nothing else can compare. If only to refuel before you jump back into the wilderness of modern life.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Discovery of the Day: Lee Iacocca is Pissed

I just finished reading Lee Iacocca's book "Where Have All the Leaders Gone" on the suggestion of a friend of mine. Quite frankly I don't think I would have picked up any book purposefully that has a picture of a rich old man smoking a big honking cigar on the cover of it if it hadn't been recommended. I have to say, I was pretty surprised at how pissed Lee Iacocca seems to be at the present time. Despite my preconceived notion of rich white men, Iacocca lambasts Bush and all of his cronies more or less calling them dimwits of the highest order. So right there he kind of won me over. He then goes on to lambast a whole list of folks including industry leaders, all manner of politicians, and the general public. His premise is that we HAVE NO leaders today. We live in a world where those in charge seem more interested in their own self interest and promoting a false sense of security. This can be seen not only with the handling of the war but also with the way we push children through the education system telling them "it's okay" before shoving their illiterate minds out the door to fend for themselves. As we sit back and remain complacent, other nations are rising to take the place that the United States once had as a leading nation.

The more I read and the more information I find on the internet and tv I can't help but to feel that the turning point for the United States happened a long time ago. We have become apathetic AND narcissistic. A deadly combo. It's not just the's society as a whole. We expect to have everything and not work for it and that's that. Someone else fix the problem. We'll be chilling waiting for the reward. I'm thinking the big payday ain't coming.

Even if political change is possible in the near future, will that be enough if we don't have strong leaders throughout the community on many levels to make sure that our society is pointed in the right direction? Time will tell. But in the meantime, I'd say the time for apathy is over. So get up and start moving in some direction, any direction. If nothing else, at least it will burn some calories.