Friday, April 29, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 7

Day 7: A song that reminds you of a certain event.

I've chosen Tony Bennett's version of "My Favorite Things," which will always remind me of my Christmas tour. Someone acquired a Christmas CD with this song on it. It all started with us just deciding we were going to learn all the lyrics to this song, and somehow progressed to the group of us rewriting the lyrics to be an extremely dark, morbid version. (Opening line: "Blood drops on roses, pulling whiskers off kittens.") One of our hosts even contributed a line. This is the less morbid version in the link.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 6

Day 6: A song that reminds you of somewhere.

Whenever I hear this song, I think of Hardy, my dorm from last year. It was a dorm I absolutely did not belong in (sort of the social butterfly/party girl dorm... yeah, no idea why I was there), but the people there were very nice people and I occasionally get nostalgic about it. For awhile, this song played EVERYWHERE on my floor. Although I am still not in any way a fan of the song, every time I hear it I go, "Aww, Hardy."

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 5

Day 5: A song that reminds you of someone.

This is a tough one, because a LOT of my songs remind me of someone. But I've decided to go with "I'll Get Over It" by Everyday Sunday, which always reminds me of my friend Peach. We discovered this song on one of our tours together, decided we liked it, learned all the lyrics, made up silly motions to go along with it, and ever since then it's been one of "our songs." Whenever we get to meet up, we listen to it, or she'll call me up and sing it to me. Fun stuff. :-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 4

Today's topic: a song that makes you sad.

I decided to go with "Brick" by Ben Folds Five, one of the most heartbreaking melodies I've ever heard. It's about a guy whose high school girlfriend gets an abortion. But the lyrics aren't political or preachy. Wikipedia quotes him as saying, "I didn't really want to write this song from any kind of political standpoint, or make a statement. I just wanted to reflect what it feels like." Wikipedia also refers to it as "the saddest song in the happiest chord" (the song's in the key of D major).

Sunday, April 24, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 3

Day 3: A song that makes you happy.

I've made huge playlists of this, so it was hard to just choose one... so I went with just one of my most recent discoveries: "Thinking 'Bout Somethin'" by Hanson. I'm a sucker for giant dance sequences.

Yes, that is Weird Al playing the tambourine.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 2

My least favorite song.

It's hard to choose one song I despise over all the rest, especially when I am a big believer in guilty pleasures. But I'm pretty sure I can safely choose "All Er Nothin'" from Oklahoma! It's from my least favorite show, I hate the lyrics, I hate the music, I hate the fact that the title of the song is spelled the way the characters would phonetically say the words, and on top of all that, IT'S CATCHY so even by posting this I've gotten it stuck in my head. Now you all have to listen and get it stuck in your heads too to make it worth it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

30 Day Song Challenge: Day 1

Everyone's doing this over at Facebook... and I need something new to post here :-)

Day 1: Your Favorite Song.

It's been my favorite for several years now... and it still never fails to cheer me up. It's Jason Robert Brown, Norbert Leo Butz, fun lyrics, and music that just grabs me. I present "Shiksa Goddess" from The Last 5 Years.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Why I Like Rob Bell

I realized this morning one of the things that I like the most about Rob Bell. (And some other writers considered slightly unorthodox, but I'm focusing on Bell for this blog.) I haven't read Love Wins yet, but I plan to. And I suspect I'll agree with some of it and disagree with some, or maybe agree with his premises but reject his conclusion, or something along those lines. I'm pretty sure I've never agreed with him about everything he wrote.

But I still get a lot out of his books. I enjoy listening to his sermons and watching the NOOMA videos. Not just because he's a charismatic speaker/writer, although that certainly helps. But the content itself is what I'm drawn to.

I grew up in the church. Not only that, but I grew up with parents who did a lot of Bible study on their own and taught it to us kids. I learned lots of Bible verses, I learned all the obscure Bible stories - Mephibosheth, Eutychus, the bears that mauled the kids who mocked Elisha for being bald... I heard a lot of different interpretations of a lot of different verses. I even played a computer game where you had to find the right Bible verses to answer people's statements or questions, like, "God likes the wicked to really suffer for what they've done" (the answer is Ezekiel 18:23).

After an entire childhood of that, you start to hear the same things over and over again, especially if you've grown up in the same church. You can read the sermon title for the day, know the pastor's main points and which verses he's going to use to back it up. It feels like you've heard it all before. In high school I started feeling like a lot of Christian teachers were just there to inform people who didn't know all the rules yet. I'd learned them all. It looked like I'd run out of stuff to learn. I knew this couldn't be quite right, but by the time I was 20 or so, I couldn't remember the last time I had heard a Bible teaching that wasn't just a rehashing of things I already knew.

When I joined New Life Drama Company, things changed for me. I ran into people from a lot of different denominations - not only people whose churches we ministered at, but also people I traveled with. They had new, different ideas I'd never really heard before. New ways of thinking about God, new attitudes toward baptism, new rituals and recitations. I found myself challenged to sift through these new ideas. Sometimes after sifting through them, I agreed, sometimes I didn't... but either way, I was thrilled to be encountering brand-new thoughts.

It was around this time I discovered Rob Bell, recommended to me by other NLDCers. One of my teams read through Velvet Elvis for devotionals. Every time we read part of it, I would find myself with a new possibility of interpretation, a new way to view things. Sometimes I thought and prayed about what he said and decided he was just wrong. But there were also a lot of times where he said out loud some of the things I'd felt God had been showing me in my quiet times as well... Things that I'd been hesitant to accept as being from God because nobody else ever really spoke about these issues. And there were times Bell said things that I thought and thought about and concluded that he was right.

A book by someone I can always agree with, a book that makes sense, a book that is easy to decipher and understand, is not a book that is going to change my life. For example, the Bible isn't easy. The Bible frequently doesn't make sense. And while I don't necessarily disagree with the Bible, I have to wrestle with it because there are things it says that I don't like. (And not in an "I don't want my sin to be sin" way. More in a "God, why would you SAY that?" kind of way.)

The art that has changed my life was stuff I've had to fight through. Plays like Equus and, most recently, Angels in America have hurt me, pushed me, kept me up late at night because I'm thinking, "But that's not okay." Rob Bell's books have done the same thing. I've had to think through the things he says, because they're thoughts that I haven't heard expressed very often in my Christian experience. Are they unexpressed because they're wrong? Possibly. But with all the God there is, my particular denomination or sect of Christianity can't have every single one of the answers. That's just crazy, to think that my interpretation is the special inerrant one and that everyone else on the planet is wrong. So I take in new interpretations, new thoughts, new attitudes that I've never considered before... and I consider them.

I'd rather wrestle through a book I don't understand to gain new understanding than smile and nod through one that repeats everything I already believe. Even if the new understanding is knowing why I disagree with the book.

Since NLDC, I've gone out of my way to read a lot more by people from all sorts of different groups, both Christian and non-Christian. With some of what they say, I've already considered it and disagree with their conclusion. With some, I've already considered it and come to the same conclusion as they have. And with some (and this is the most exciting), I have absolutely no idea because I haven't even heard any thoughts on this before. And I have a new thought to wrestle with, a new possibility to pray about.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Silly Picture Saturday!

After a long day of Guys and Dolls tech, here are some silly pictures to cheer me (and hopefully you) up.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Hannah Movie Awards: March 2011

For the past couple years, I've been trying to keep a consistent record and write mini reviews for all the new movies I see. I thought I would have some fun with that and at the end of every month, do a little awards post. But as far as deciding how these awards are given out, they have to be referencing things I said in my reviews.

That's a really awkward way of saying it, because it's 2:17 in the morning and I really should be sleeping, but for example, if I mentioned that a movie was "fun" in 3 different movie reviews from March, those three movies are all nominated for the "Most Fun" category. This means I will have slightly different categories each month. Then I'll make an actual decision on which was the most fun out of those 3. Any category with only one nominee gets no award handed out, because that is no fun.

This is probably going to be more for my entertainment than anyone else's. But if nothing else, maybe I can use it to recommend some movies to people. So let's see what oh so prestigious Hannah Awards we can hand out.

I saw 24 movies this month, but I know a few of them didn't get nominated for anything because there was just nothing redeeming in them.

Best Acting
(This is best acting throughout the cast - best actors and actresses have their own categories)
- Quills
- Talk Radio
- Interiors

Those are some pretty interesting ensemble casts. But looking back on them, the one that stands out the most to me as far as acting was Talk Radio. Eric Bogosian was really really good, and he had a really good supporting cast.

Best Actor
- Geoffrey Rush (Quills)
- Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver)
- David Tennant (Hamlet)
- Walter Matthau (I'm Not Rappaport)
- Shawn Hatosy (Borstal Boy)
- Robert Downey Jr (Chaplin)
- Paul Newman (Cool Hand Luke)

Holy cow. That's a pretty long list. There are some classic performances in here, as well as some that were just plain fun, and one that was the only high point of a not-very-good movie. This is really tough for me, actually. I really want to give it to Tennant, just because I loved his Hamlet, but I'm pretty sure I would have to denounce my claim of liking movies if I didn't go with De Niro on this one. Not that he doesn't deserve it.

Best Characters
- Talk Radio
- Single White Female
- The Grapes of Wrath

Like there's any contest here. The Grapes of Wrath takes it. It even being in the same category as Single White Female is amusing to me.

Most Enjoyed Watching
- Taxi Driver
- Wayne's World

With just two nominees, it becomes a lot like a FlickChart battle. Wayne's World was funnier (good for it, being a comedy and all), which you'd think might mean more enjoyable, but it had a lot of "eh" moments. Taxi Driver was far more consistent. So it gets the award.

Most Fascinating
- Quills
- Catfish

I've been having problems lately with watching movies all in one sitting on my own. I get antsy, get up and get a snack, check my Facebook, and come back. But I didn't do that once while watching Catfish. It totally gets this one.

Most Fun
- As It Is In Heaven
- The Witches of Eastwick

That's a silly one. I described As It Is In Heaven as "fun" when "pleasant" would have been far more accurate. Witches of Eastwick is so much more fun. Even when it goes crazy at the end.

Favorite Scene
- The Grapes of Wrath: Ma wants to share their food with the starving children
- Chaplin: Opening, where Chaplin removes his makeup
- The Meaning of Life: The "marching up and down the square" sketch

Wow, those are three pretty different scenes. Heh. Since these awards are doled out solely by me and I'm allowed to use my biased personal preferences, I am going to go ahead and give it to Chaplin. It drew me into the movie instantly as a scene and just... struck me. Most likely because I'm involved in performing arts stuff. But it was such an oddly gripping scene for just being a quiet opening to music.

This concludes the Hannah Awards for March 2011.

Some weird awards that had a single nominee: Most Entertainingly Terrible (Hamlet 2), Best Line (Cool Hand Luke - and it wasn't "failure to communicate," it was "I can eat fifty eggs") and Most Surprising (Wayne's World). Who knows? Maybe some of these will show up in the future.