Glimmers Of Artistic Hope"" I see faint glimmers of hope on the artistic front."
1) Classical Music Listen to what Aaron Jay Kernis, composer of "Newly Drawn Sky, said to Seattle Symphony conductor Gerard Strauss about his aspirations. "I want to write music that is visceral, that is moving, and that is impeccably put together. I don't want classical music to be a passive experience. I want it to have as much of an impact as the best rock concerts." ""This is consistent with a piece in the New York Times by Anthony Tommasini. "Reports about the diminishing relevance of classical music to new generations of Americans addled by pop culture keep coming. Yet in my experience classical music seems in the midst of an unmistakable rebound. Most of the concerts and operas I attended this year drew large, eager and appreciative audiences."
2) Ethan Coen Playwright What to do after some extraordinarily thought-provoking films? Ethan Coen decided to turn his attention to writing a play and Carter Burwell, his musical collaborator, describes what makes Coen's writing work. "It should start with some philosophical premise," Mr. Burwell said. "Then you move on to contrast that with silly, and occasionally cruel, behavior, and end with a punch line. Ethan loves a philosophical paradox, which he usually inflicts on a character ill-prepared intellectually to deal with it. Yet that's also the human condition, and exploring it is a valid form of art."""Exploring the human condition" a valid form of art---hmmm Shakespeare and other seem to have understand that; glad a contemporary writer does.
3) Acting on Broadway Charles Isherwood comments on the current levels of superior performances and collaborative excellence on stage right now in NYC. "Good acting is not contagious, as far as I know. But a visitor sampling the best of Broadway over the holiday season might almost imagine it is, and that it has swept through the city like a virulent flu, infecting people in packs. Everywhere you look, a particular kind of theatrical magic is taking place, as ensemble performances of a rare order are glowing brightly on stages across the theater district."
4) Keira Knightley This British actress is only 22 years old, yet her performances reflect not only talent, but a dedication to learning her craft. As we learn in a recent interview this passion was fueled by her parents example and their vision of theatre as "world-changing." ["Ms. Knightley, who has been acting more or less steadily since she was 7, has been around for what seems like forever and has already amassed the resume of a much older star. the other thing that makes Ms. Knightley seem older than her years is that she is unusually smart and voluble when talking about acting. That's probably because she's been around it all her life. She grew up in the London suburbs, in lefty bohemian circumstances. Her mother is a playwright and novelist; her father, Will Knightley, is a television and theater actor. They were part of the political theater movement in London in the '70s, and they had a sense, she recalled, "that with theater you could change the world." "I suppose that's quite a powerful thing to grow up with," she said. "It was an intoxicating thing to see your father up on stage, and I think as a child you're either going to absolutely take against something like that or completely love it. I always loved it." ""For a while her parents resisted the idea of her getting into the family business as a child, but they gave in on the advice of a teacher who felt that Keira, who was struggling with dyslexia, needed a carrot dangled in front of her if she was ever going to learn to read. "So that was how it started," Ms. Knightley said. "'If she doesn't read, or if the grades don't go up, then she's not going to work.' That was the prize, if you like: At the end of the year I got to audition. And if something starts like that, it becomes such a special thing that you're bound to get obsessed by it.
5) Exploiting Silence. Exploring Sound. [Like film editing, film sound remains a somewhat misunderstood craft, partly because at its best it tends to be imperceptible. Sound editor Skip Lievsay sums it all up: The better we do our job, the less people realize what's going on, Mr. Lievsay said. I think a lot of people think the sound just comes out of the camera. Composer Carter Burwell said of sound in film. "If you ask film composers " and I have " whether they feel there's too much or too little music in the average film, they will all say too much."] These two combine forces in the minimalist "No Country for Old Men."
6) Artists For Whom God is of Central Importance While the work above reflects a cultural commitment to excellence, I am most excited about artists work that grows from deep faith. ""In the preface of "The Pursuit of God" A.W. Tozer said, "In this hour of all-but-universal darkness one cheering gleam appears: within the fold of conservative Christianity there are to be found increasing numbers of persons whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself. They are eager for spiritual realities and will not be put off with words, nor will they be content with correct "interpretations" of truth. They are athirst for God, and they will not be satisfied till they have drunk deep at the Fountain of Living Water." ""This is what I see across the country in grassroots little movements of artists who are single-minded about pursuing God and then making art that that tells the truth unflinchingly and beautifully.
Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.