Walk with me on a short tour of art through a parish hall in Rochester Hills, MI.
These first two pieces are by Franciscan friar Robert Lentz. About his work, his site says:
They are filled with bright colors and often depict contemporary subjects. While always striving to remain true to the essence of Byzantine iconography, he adapts traditional conventions in order to minister better to the emerging Church. His icons remain transcendent expressions of the ancient Christian Tradition, and they invite us into communion with God and the saints.
As you might imagine, some Christian and Catholic communities just can’t get with these kinds of adaptations. Others can. I love them, of course for the remix sensibility at work in them but also for the deliberate, contemporary stance they seem to take on issues of justice – and the nod to faith communities that should play an active role in fighting these injustices, if these communities are worth any of our time at all.
This final piece was done by someone in the congregation – I’m not sure who. But whoever it is, it seems they know the truth of Helvetica: that’s it’s the greatest font in the western world. This would be the font to keep the devil away.
Since the art tour above brought us to church, and Eminem released an album this week, here’s a confession: I’ve never listened to a full Eminem album. There, I said it.
Listening: I forced myself into a Sada Baby binge this week on account of my two writing deadlines. Not for some type of motivation but because he was at the center of the youth listening practices in the two pieces. It’ll make more sense when they come out. But this isn’t a recommendation, and it’s surely not how one celebrates Sade’s birthday week. So to cleanse my ears, I pressed play on Paul Nice’s Sade Blends, one of my favorite modern mixtape projects. These are not mash-ups. (I’ve always hated that term, anyway.) They are blends in the DJ Ron G sense of the term: beats layered underneath Sade’s tracks. I need to get this album back in the regular rotation. Bonus: if you want to start an argument with people, here’s a list of 73 Sade songs ranked from best to worst.
Writing: Mostly final edits on two pieces – once academic, one more popular for a blog – from the youth sound/beatmaking work I do in Pontiac. I’ve been able to connect some of the useful ideas from sound studies into these pieces, and that always feels good – making some ideas useful from another field that you took time to read and understand. I struggled with the ending of the blog piece, feeling the impulse to clean up the mess I had made earlier in the piece with some neat recommendations – but not really wanting to because I think the piece is about the mess. I got some feedback from friends, and I think I might have stuck the landing.
Reading: Mostly shallow reading around the Sounding Out! blog to make some last, final connections to my piece that will come out on it. I enjoyed Shakira Holt’s piece “Deep Listening as Philogynoir: Playlists, Black Girl Idiom, and Love” where she turns the critical lens on herself for the ways she censors and silences the Black girls she works with. I like her phrasing here:
However outré, daring, or trouble-making I may fancy myself as a scholar and thinker, when placed within the K-12 context, I am, it turns out, your average, workaday campus censor. I hypocritically feign alarm at cussing. I fake-clear my throat with loud ahems whenever that blue talk ventures into the X-rated.
I’ll definitely be using this piece next time I teach an undergraduate teacher education class.