Katie Roiphe’s essay about the late David Foster Wallace’s syllabuses at Slatefascinates me on two levels. First, that in this digital age, with one click of the button I can access the syllabus of a professor (for a class I never took at a college I never attended). Secondly, the content of the documents themselves are eye-opening, for the assertive way (noted by Roiphe) that Wallace addresses his students. Consider this excerpt:
Students of course love teachers who step out of the formality of academic life, who comment on it, but very few do so as more than theater. Very few commit to it the way David Foster Wallace commits to it. “This does not mean we have to sit around smiling sweetly at one another for three hours a week. … In class you are invited (more like urged) to disagree with one another and with me—and I get to disagree with you—provided we are all respectful of each other and not snide, savage or abusive. … In other words, English 102 is not just a Find-Out-What-The-Teacher-Thinks-And-Regurgitate-It-Back-at-Him course. It’s not like math or physics—there are no right or wrong answers (though there are interesting versus dull, fertile versus barren, plausible versus whacko answers).”
Go read the article, follow the links. It’s fun stuff.
Last night, a brief Twitter exchange between writer Chris Roberson and myself got me to thinking about the early career of one of the Muppets, Rowlf the Dog. As noted in his Wikipedia entry, ‘Rowlf was actually the first true Muppet ‘star’ as a recurring character on The Jimmy Dean Show, first appearing in a show telecast on September 19, 1963.”
Exploring further for online evidence of Rowlf’s role on the shoe, I was fortunate to run across a seven-minute clip of Dean and Rowlf discussing music, courtesy of the always enlightening blog for the ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive. Why would an animation site cover the early work of a Muppet? As noted by the blog: “Animators can learn a lot from puppeteers when it comes to creating a living, breathing character.”
Check out the post, as it is almost as informative as the YouTube clip.
What keeps me coming back to Cayamo is the opportunity to discover different musicians. This past year, one of the new musicians I discovered was Ellis Paul. Part of Paul’s band was an incredible piano and accordion player Radoslav Lorkovic. Over the next several days of the cruise, Lorkovic also turned up jamming with several other musicians. I meant to conduct this interview immediately after the cruise, but life events delayed my intentions. I was glad to finally conduct the email interview this week. Be sure to visit Lorkovic’s Facebook page, as he is indeed an impressive photographer (as we discuss) in addition to his musical prowess. This interview includes a new Talking with Tim milestone, a musician quoting NFL legendary coach Vince Lombardi.
Tim O’Shea: You are currently touring with Ellis Paul, what attracted you to working with Ellis?
Radoslav Lorkovic: Ellis has been a great friend through the years. Music is just a natural part of what is really a great ‘hang’ Being on stage is little different than having a drink at three AM in some ridiculous club laughing. The music, however, is quite serious and precise. It is presented without out the baggage of seriousness. He also plays everything in C sharp–for me the most difficult piano key. It’s a massive exercise in a way.
There are few cultural obsessions that annoy me more than the public’s fascination with finding out the so-called truth about the JFK Assassination. Was the event a tragedy? You bet. But a sure fire way to get me to flip a channel is to be a documentary about the event. There’s only one person that could get me to watch a JFK Assassination-related documentary: Errol Morris. Damn you, New York Times, you sucked me in with this OpDoc.
Here’s hoping Morris dedicates himself to a larger related project on the subject. In the interim, I could watch Tink Thompson tell stories all day long. The man can work a camera.
Given how much of a news junkie I am, it should come as no surprise that I’ve been a longtime reader of media observer Jim Romenesko. So I am glad to see that he now has his own website, where he detailshow his former website host/employer treated him quite badly in his waning weeks.
During 2010, in the wake of the Texas Legislature’s budgetary cuts for arts funding, Sara Hickman, the Texas State Musician of the Year, decided to use her position to raise funds and awareness for the importance of arts education (and the funding of it) for children. More exactly, she spearheaded a collaborative effort–with a variety of Texas artists including Shawn Colvin, Willie Nelson, Rhett Miller, Robert Earl Keen as well as many more–to record a collection of Hickman’s own songs. The project, The Best of Times, was recently released as a two-CD, 38-cut collection by Waterloo Records. All proceeds from the sale of the CD set go directly to the Theatre Action Project, a non-profit that supports unique arts programs for more than 16,000 young people. To fully grasp the drive behind her charitable efforts, I recently email interviewed Hickman.
How did you go about getting all of the many fellow talented people who contributed their musical talents to Best of Times?
I knew I had, at least, a year to start lining up musicians to record for The Best of Times because Willie Nelson, who also recorded for the album, was the State Musician before my position took place. So, I immediately made a “wish list” and began calling/emailing/asking in person. I kept a giant chart on the wall with the names of artists/bands I had contacted, the titles of songs I had sent, if they had responded, if they were in the studio, if they had finished recording, if I had the recording.
I was going to post to a game show sketch (from early this AM) involving Jimmy Fallon, the Muppets & Michael Stipe originally. But then I saw this: Jimmy Fallon as The Doors’ Jim Morrison doing the theme to the old PBS show, Reading Rainbow.
Added bonus, comments include a supposed endorsement by Doors surviving member, John Densmore, as well as someone who appreciates the fact that Fallon’s people reproduced the set from The Doors’ Ed Sullivan Show appearance.
When I started this blog four years ago, I looked forward to fostering an audience that would get into discussions in the comments section. For whatever reason, however, my blog has never generated a great deal of comments. Until recently that is, when I started getting a flood of spam comments.
I have better things to do with my time than filter spam, of course.
So while I appreciate those of you that have commented over the years, the era of comments are over. Unless of course you want to comment on my Tumblr page, or if you are pals with me on Facebook.