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March 2006
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Going to an Art Museum

I am reading this book Art for Dummys and honestly, it has been great...Living in a city like this, I am very intimated by the incredible culture of art that surrounds me all the time.  When I hear some of my artist friends talking about different painters, sculptors, and photographers, I want to at least have something to offer the conversation!  I love art, but have not been exposed to it like I am now and I want to know so much more! Thomas Hoving, the author of Art for Dummys, was a former director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art here in New York.  In one of the early chapters, he talks about the basics of actually going to a museum.  He says to find the gift shop first and buy postcards. Postcards will have the works of art that you will want to see.  Flash these cards at a guard and ask for directions to them.  He also encourages you to listen to a CD of music that was created during the same period as the art you are viewing.  Those are a couple of tidbits I have picked up and I am looking forward to using them when I visit the MoMA very soon.  Back to my book...

Socrates in the City - Beyond Narnia

Last night, I attended an event called Socrates in the City. This is a forum where "people can begin a dialogue on 'Life, God, and other small topics' by hearing a notable thinker and writer...".  This was the first event like this sponsored by SITC and the forum's founder, Eric Metaxas.  We watched the Broadway premiere screening of "Beyond Narnia" that I mentioned last week.  The event was held at the historic Lamb's Theatre on 44th Street. After we viewed the film, there was a panel discussion with the writer/director Norman Stone, Anton Rodgers  (who played Lewis in the film), a Lewis historian, Dr. Thomas Howard, and Bel Kaufman who was a personal friend of Lewis's wife, Joy Davidman.  They talked about the amazing relationship between Lewis and his wife, Joy.  Bel commented on how much of a rebel Joy was in her day when she attended Hunter College, a school for all women at that time.  The most interesting part of the evening was the last question which was in reference to the Santa Clause figure in The Lion, The Witch , and the Wardrobe. The Lewis actor, Mr. Rodgers, and the Lewis expert, Dr. Howard had very different opinions.  Rodgers believed that Lewis inserted this figure because this book was written for children.  Dr. Howard believes that this figure is a contradiction to the story and from a literary perspective feels that it is not consistent with the story.  I have wondered myself about the Santa Clause figure.  But, I believe that Mr. Rodgers is correct in that a 7 year old would mix Santa into this story.  Since Lewis wrote these stories from the perspective of how a child would see Narnia, that makes more sense to me.  The film is excellent - it gives you the beginning to end story of Lewis's life.  It needs to be a definite addition to your DVD library.

United 93

I ushered last night at the Tribecca Film Festival for the theater for families of 9/11 to view United 93.  Robert DeNiro, founder of the festival, welcomed the families to the showing and introduced the film's writer/director/producer, Paul Greengrass and others associated with the making of the film.  When I saw the trailer for it recently on TV, I did not want to see it.  But, I watched it last night and I am glad that I did.  Mr. Greengrass did a tremendous job of telling the story, but at the same time, he did not overwhelm us with images that frankly, we can't get out of our heads anyway without having to see them again on the big screen.  It is rated R for violence and I agree with that rating.  However, if you have read any of the stories from families of the heroes of Flight 93 (i.e.  - Lisa Beamer's book Let's Roll), you feel connected to them and it was griping to see them portrayed.  Whether you agree or not with this movie even being made, you need to see this film.

Tribecca Film Festival

So tomorrow I start my volunteer schedule for the 5th Annual Tribecca Film Festival here in Manhattan.  I am pumped!  I am working in special events .  I am scheduled to work 5 different slots over the next 2 weeks.  I will be blogging here for the next couple of weeks about different films that I see or hear about that are coming out this year.  I am so excited!  More to come...

DaVinci Code reflections

So, I finished The DaVinci Code last night...yes, I am one of the few people left in the world that had not read it..(to be honest, I am just cheap and I have been waiting for the paperback to come out which did at the end of March).  If you haven't heard enough talk from people about this book, then keep reading...As an avid fiction reader, I enjoyed it.  It kept me engaged the whole way.  As a Christian, I had every swing of emotion..anger, frustration, humor (sometimes, I just had to laugh at the absurdity of the claims in the plot!), concern for people who are not very well read on the authenticity of Christ that this may confuse them, excitement at the conversations that I hope to have with people when the movie comes out.  Overall, it tweaked my interest! I am not fearful of what I know to be true - that somehow learning more and discovery will negate what I know and believe.  I am fearful of what is unexplored.  This book gives me the opportunity to engage in conversation about why I believe that Jesus is who He claims to challenges me to put feet to my motivates me to share the truth.  By the way, doesn't the first page say this is a work of fiction? 

Getting her hands dirty

I normally blog about my family on our cullenhouse blog, but this is such a big deal to me as a creative person.  My daughter has not been a fan of getting her hands dirty in anyway, shape or form.  Yes, that may seem normal since she is a girl, however, her mother could not be more opposite!  Anyway, we go to a weekly art and music class at the Children's Museum of Manhattan and I do some art projects here at the house, but not with a lot of luck.  Well, yesterday, Sydney decided that fingerpaint rocks!  She played and designed stuff for almost an hour!  We had a blast!  Todd came home and just laughed at the 2 of us with paint and glitter everywhere!

"I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn't say any other way.. things I had no words for."   - George O'Keeffe"

It's National Poetry Month

Since April is National Poetry month, I want to share a poem with you from a poet that I have been recently introduced to in the last few months.  In light of so much controversy about the claims of Jesus lately, I thought this would be fitting...

"If Jesus Was Born Today"

If Jesus was born today
it would be in a downtown motel
marked by a helicopter's flashing bulb.
A traffic warden, working late,
would be the first upon the scene.
Later, at the expense of a TV network,
an eminent sociologist,
the host of a chat show
and a controversial author
would arrive with their good wishes
-the whole occasion to be filmed as part of the
'Is This The Son Of God?' one hour special.
Childhood would be a blur of photographs and speculation
dwindling by his late teens into
'Where Is He Now?' features in Sunday magazines.

If Jesus was thirty today
they wouldn't really care about the public ministry,
they'd be too busy investigating His finances
and trying to prove He had Church or Mafia connections.
The miracles would be explained by
an eminent and controversial magician,
His claims to be God's Son recognised as
excellent examples of Spoken English
and immediately incorporated into
the O-Level syllabus,
His sinless perfection considered by moral philosophers
as, OK, but a bit repressive.

If Jesus was thirty-one today
He'd be the fly in everyone's ointment-
the sort of controversial person who
stands no chance of eminence.
Communists would expel Him, capitalists
would exploit Him or have Him
smeared by people who know a thing or two about God.
Doctors would accuse Him of quackery,
soldiers would accuse Him of cowardice,
theologians would take Him aside and try
to persuade Him of His non-existence.

If Jesus was thirty-two today we'd have to
end it all. Heretic, fundamentalist, literalist,
puritan, pacifist, non-conformist, we'd take Him
away and quietly end the argument.
But the argument would rumble in the ground
at the end of three days and would break out
and walk around as though death was some bug,
saying 'I am the resurrection and the life...
No man cometh to the Father but by me'.
While the magicians researched new explanations
and the semanticists wondered exactly what
He meant by 'I' and 'No man' there would be those
who stand around amused, asking for something called proof.

Steve Turner

Cultural Awareness

This is an excerpt from an essay by IAM founder, Makato Fujimura.  You can receive these essays by becoming a member of IAM at  Let your creative spirit be encouraged!

"Artists are able to see the world with their “innocent” eye. Their skills and expressive language allow them to integrate child-like observation with the sophisticated skill set garnered by their experience.   I use quotation marks around “innocent” because we can be seduced into thinking that all experience that is naïve could be meaningful.  While I do not think that a child is given a pure vision, I do believe that we learn, and we are teaching our children, to be uncreative.

As children, we are naturally curious, stopping to pick up beautiful leaves, interesting stones, getting our hands dirty and constantly creating (making a mess, as we adults like to call it).  Our education and culture devalues this very human process, by strictly defining success as measurable and contained.  We tell our children to stop wasting time creating and learn to fill out boxes of standardized exams.  We tell them that their friendship has links to their performance, and status in schools.  We ask them to think seriously about their future, and educate them to prepare for the Information Age, which has already passed us. If we are to lead the Creative Age, we must start by acknowledging that children have much to teach us."

"Business circles are paying more credence to creativity and vision, combining design with the infrastructure of business enterprises (see, for example, <> ) : by being aware of the cultural conditions, one can forecast the future trends and anticipate them.  But this gift of awareness can go beyond the black and white world of profit:  it is given so that business itself can be transformed into something more human, and empowering to those who participate: in short, a beautiful business."

"Christians (like most institutions of our day) tend to avoid culture, especially the front-line culture, and avoid engagement out of fear.  But a Biblical mandate begins with God creating the universe, and declaring about every aspect, “It is Good.”  We need to learn to love our world, and to discern what is beneficial and what harms.  Our engagement with culture begins with stewarding our culture, and taking responsibility for her.  We need to wrestle, and dig deeply, sharpening our cultural awareness to discover the deeper mines of precious stones embedded deep beneath the layers of cultural dust."

Artists moving out

From Brewing culture...I have witnessed this with new friends that I have met in the city..this is really happening...

1518a "New York’s preeminence as a creative capital could soon be in jeopardy, as emerging artists—an essential component of the city’s cultural sector—are being priced out of the city. According to a recent report, the city's creative sector—comprised of artists, photographers, designers, composers and writers—is facing increasing economic uncertainty related to a lack of stable employment. Over 40 percent report making less than $35,000 last year, half have little to no personal savings, and over a third lack proper health insurance. Ninety percent cited "unstable income" as the major disadvantage of their chosen profession. All these factors, the study suggests, means that the city’s creative class—including its emerging artists—may leave New York in favor of cities with a "lower cost of living and developing creative centers.” Filmmaker and video artist Matt Sheridan Smith, who has been splitting his time between New York and Berlin for the last four years, is intimately familiar with the problem. “In terms of creative production, New York seems to be getting more and more untenable. I can make enough money to produce bigger works here, but then I don't have enough money left over to live,” Smith says. Many of the financial woes of New York’s cultural sector boil down to the simple question of real estate: the lack of affordable apartments and artist studios, even in the “cheap” fringes of the city."

Six Posts in Sixty Seconds, gives you the latest on BC, as well as some "creative space" for contemplation and conversation about life's deepest, most defining questions.


Narnia fans

Cslewis_beyondnarnia If you loved Narnia like I did and you didn't see this on the Hallmark channel back in November, it is out on DVD now!

C.S. Lewis: Beyond Narnia,” which was released on DVD by Gaiam March 28, is a masterful portrayal of the life of C.S. Lewis and his heart behind the creation of Narnia and so many other stories. The one-hour docudrama, which was filmed in many of the actual locations in England where Lewis studied, lived, and worked, is a dramatic reenactment of his life.