Monday, August 24, 2009

Notes on a Revolution

Not sure where to begin in broadcasting my enthusiasm for the subversive, life-giving text displayed above. Let's start with samples: "There is absolutely no reason that you, with your flute-rocking skills, cannot be the Ian Anderson of tomorrow,""Every musician since the beginning of time was, at one point, a beginner," "Your voice can be one of the most powerful instruments you ever own (if you choose to use it). And it’s free!," "A lot of things sound good with distortion on them; personally, I believe distortion is the salt of sound effects—it makes everything better." Amid an arsenal of accessibly technical tips on how to get your own act going (helpful even to a 39-year-old male), Jessica Hopper delivers these good news tidings to her growing and determined public. As a musician, a critic, and the music consultant for This American Life, she knows what she's talking about, AND she's coming to GRIMEY's THIS WEDNESDAY at 6:00 in the PM. Have you heard tell of Sister Rosetta Tharpe “the original shredder?” Did you know that Big Mama Thornton wrote "Hound Dog" or that Carol Kaye played bass on the whole of Pet Sounds? Come on out and hear what all's afoot. I'll be there with my ladies and my boys. I end with more Jessica: "You’ve got all the time in the world to edit and/or drive yourself crazy over the details; attempting to get it perfect on the first try (or second or third for that matter) will only trip you up. Self-doubt is something all artists struggle with, but being self-critical while you’re writing may stunt your growth as a lyricist, and you want to be full-size…You don’t have to try to achieve in a system that excludes you/your band. You can make your own system, whatever you want it to be like."

Thanks to Jeff Jones design guru and Rilian Torode artist sage, we will have prints to raise funds for the DPC summer arts program. Check it.

You can buy one riiiiiiiiiiiiiight HERE.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Divine Within: Documenting the Secrets of Childhood

You are cordially invited to the 4th annual children's art show at the Downtown Presbyterian Church featuring the collaborative work of well known Nashville theologians under the age of 12. 
Below is a copy of the press release. If any of you know anyone who wants to do a story on it... there is definitely one here. Hope to see you there. 


Documenting the Secrets of Childhood

At our most artful and receptive moments--Sarah Masen suspects—we all understand that paying close attention to the creative wisdom of a child is every bit as enriching as meditating, reading sacred text, or taking in a good French film. For Masen, the Director of Children’s Education at Downtown Presbyterian Church, moving out of comfort zones and past an easy sentimentality in our openness to what children would show us is probably our best—our only—hope for emotional development. Opening September 5th in collaboration with the first Saturday Art Crawl, The Downtown Presbyterian Church presents: “The Divine Within: Documenting the Secrets of Childhood”. 

This years children’s art show features works of collaboration which tweak the conventional mentor/mentored model. The guiding vision places a child-artist in the role of instructor and a collaborating adult as the recipient of theological instruction afforded by the child. This partnering flips the script on curriculums often associated with churches (Point #1 “You’re a sinner”) and presumes, from the outset, what Masen frequently cites as “the already holy spirit” of the child. Prepare your hearts for illumination. Opening begins at 6:00pm. Light fare will be provided for small and grown wayfarers.


If you would like more information about this show, the participants and origins, or to schedule an interview with Sarah Masen, please call her at (248)505.1476 or email her at







Thursday, August 20, 2009


Biblically, the Holy Spirit names the faithfulness of God to his own creation. Biblically, the Holy Spirit means the militant presence of the Word of God inhering in the life of the whole of creation. Biblically the Holy Spirit is the Word of God at work both historically and existentially, acting incessantly and pervasively to renew the integrity of life in this world. By virtue of this…affirmation of the biblical witness, the false notion—nourished in my childhood in the Episcopal Church—that the Holy Spirit is, somehow, possessed by and enshrined within the sanctuary of the church was at last refuted, and I was freed from it…It was—it is—the biblical sage of the Word of God as Agitator, as the Holy Spirit, that assures me that wheresoever human conscience is alive and active, that is a sign of the saving vitality of the Word of God in history, here and now. 

--William Stringfellow, The Politics of Spirituality

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Wherever men hold unequal power in society, they will strive to maintain it. They will use whatever means are convenient to that end and will seek to justify them by the most plausible arguments they are able to devise. Nevertheless there are possibilities of increasing social justice through the development of mind and reason.”  
Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society 

Due Reverence

“An irrational society accepts injustice because it does not analyze the pretensions made by the powerful and privileged groups of society. Even that portion of society which suffers most from injustice may hold the power, responsible for it, in reverence.” Reinhold Niebuhr, Moral Man and Immoral Society 

Sunday, August 09, 2009

God Bless the History that Doesn't Repeat

It'll take more time than I have before me right now to make a start at saying what I want to say about Dave Bazan's latest. I'll begin by asking everyone to pay heed to "Bless This Mess" which looks to be the first single (and a magnificent intro to the sensibility of the whole album). Then mosey on over to "The Passion of David Bazan" which, for my money, (and at the risk of putting it oddly) bears witness to his witness better than anything I've read (not just because its author was kind enough to quote me profusely). The author, Jessica Hopper, will be praised at length in a future post noting her upcoming Nashville appearance at Grimey's to promote THIS. In the meantime, consider the song. I believe it's an instance of cosmic plainspeak which, as ever, expands the sphere of sanity little by little.