Wednesday, April 29, 2009

if i were reviewing this film: easter promises

this was meant to be the first in a three part series devoted to films featuring wicked knives scenes, but now it's not.

eastern promises is a deceptively simple film that reveals itself to be more of a character study than the mystery that one might expect from the trailer. it is also a film that shows no mercy on its viewers. if you like brutality, bloodshed, and naked knife fights, this is the film for you. given the plot--the story of a russian crime syndicate doesn't mind killing people--eastern promises should be harsh; the characters and their crimes should make us uncomfortable, but i really do think that to some degree david cronenberg, the film's director, just likes to make audiences squirm. i've also heard that there might be an eastern promises II soon, so beware.

rating: 13 out of 17

Friday, April 24, 2009

find john wilkes booth! donate to TOJ!

one thing i hate about traveling cheap is the luggage. it seems that at some point during almost all of my trips i find myself saddled with a bulky bags, trying to maneuver my way through tight spaces, twist myself into comfortable positions, or just fit in.

this bothersome aftermath of travel penury was the chief narrative device of the travel essay i posted here a few years back, so i'll spare you another essay on the subject. however, when beth and i visited indiana university at bloomington this spring, we found ourselves in that familiar big-bag position. and so, rather than visiting the famous lilly library together, we went in shifts--i ran off in the direction of the library while beth drank her coffee and watched our bags (and almost vice versa).

unfortunately, this meant that (1) we had half as much time to view the exhibits as we would have under normal circumstances--by the time beth signed the necessary security forms, entered an air-lock or three, and gazed at a page of scribblings by thoreau (?), it was time to go--and (2) i was without my tour guide (i.e., beth), so i really didn't know what i was supposed to be looking at.

thus, like most touristy folk at indiana u who wander into the lilly, i was clueless to the wonderful treasures in the vaults below. so i ran through an exhibit on lincoln. and it may have been interesting, but i was in skim-mode--perhaps the displays were bringing back unwelcome memories of my college paper on the fellow.

still, i did like this wanted poster. it seems almost like a fiction, that there was a day and age when wanted posters were the stuff of reality, not spaghetti westerns and disney theme parks, that the government really depended upon the people to mete out justice. and look at all that small type. i daresay that if presidents were assassinated in our modern era, no one would take the time to read that print. this poster cries out for a good graphic designer.

so what meaning can a poster like this convey to us today? how might its text serve us here and now?

i believe that if you look closely, you might see a simple message embedded in that poster. you might see a message from the abolitionists, the government, and all people of justice, a message just for you.

and it is this:

until june '09, when you donate to the other journal, your donation of $25,000 plus your employer's matching contribution of $25,000 will be matched by an anonymous mars hill graduate school donor for a total donation of $100,000!* perhaps your employer isn't into philanthropy; in that case, your donation of $25,000 will be matched by an anonymous mars hill graduate school donor for a total donation of $50,000!** or perhaps you'd prefer to scrape a few zeroes off that figure--fine! the donor will match any contribution, large or small!*** it's a lot easier than catching a murderer, especially a man whose been dead for over one hundred years. so click the link! donate now!

and when you donate, be sure to select "the other journal" in the designation field: or

photo: andrew david. "catch booth! give money!" lilly library, indiana university, bloomington, indiana.

*the donor will only match $25,000 in total donations, so if you really donate 25k, the donor won't match your employer's contribution.

** the donor will only match $25,000 in total donations, so if other donors have already given to mars hill, the matching donor, will only match your donor up to the mark of $25,000.

*** the donor will only match $25,000 in total donations, so if you donate $25,001, the maximum he will match is $25,000.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

beauty and aethetics

wednesday will be the debut of the other journal's issue on aesthetics. i preferred to name the issue "Beauty," but i was editorally outranked. still, in some sense i had the last word--

during the last fifty minutes of work today, i was comissioned to write the introduction for the issue. and so i escaped the cramped quarters of our subway-sandwich-smelling office (take that however you wish), squatted in a sun-soaked room overlooking elliot bay (take that squat in the pioneer sense, not the awkward physical exertion sense), and composed a few paragraphs that used Augustine (seen here blasting away at an unarmed man in yellow pants) as a lens for alluding to the various pieces we'll be publishing this issue. i don't know that the paragraphs are worthy of much attention (they are, after all, very short), but i'm happy to report that i got away with avoiding even a single mention of the word aesthetics.

as for the issue itself, we'll begin by publishing several interesting meditations on art, some nature-centric pieces, and of course, some poetry. however, i am especially excited to publish a chapter from jesus girls by jessie van eerden and interviews with greg wolfe and scott cairns.

read my introduction here:

stay tuned to the latest content from the aesthetics issue here:

photo: andrew david. "isn't it beautiful how the monk is handy with a shotgun?" the art institute of chicago, chicago, il (4/09). i'm not certain of the name of the painting or painter, but it was in a series of six or so that illustrated a sequence of the yellow-pant fellow attempting rob the monastery and being outwitted/shot by this monk man. according to the placard at the museum, the paintings were based on a real historical event, but the non-nonviolent priest was not augustine.