Posted by: Mark Nielsen | June 18, 2008

The Recommenderator

PAPA Fest: People Against Poverty and Apathy Festival — a sort of Burning Man Festival and happening for the progressive Christian, community-oriented set. Happening June 19-22 (this weekend), in Tiskilwa, Illinois. Might be too late to register by now, but see for yourself, or read up on it after the fact. See the website for more details. Barter your heart out. If not for my friend Spencer getting a big L’Arche  service award in Chicago that same weekend, I’d be there in a heartbeat.

Here’s Martin Scorsese’s MySpace site, which I assume is fairly new and is mostly being used to promote his recent Rolling Stones concert flick/rockumentary, Shine a Light. Sure, sites like this are a boldface grab for attention, more marketing than art. But Marty’s such a fascinating guy that I just love to hear him talk or write, even if he is just trying to put butts in the theater seats. The Stones… I can take ’em or leave ’em. But Marty’s my main man.

They Might Be Giants takes over the world: This band still makes great, strange pop music (get the podcast). They do kids’ music and books. They did music video “bumpers” for Disney Channel, and some mighty fine kids’ DVDs. And for a couple of years now, they’ve done the music for a number of Dunkin’ Donuts commercials. The added advantage of having John & John involved with DD is that Rachel Ray just ends up looking that much more stupid and plastic… which I did not think was possible. I may go see The Giants at Milwaukee’s Summerfest next month. Anyone wanna join me?

Why we should never say never: I once mentioned here how the cutesy pictures of cats sprinkled all over the internet are nothing but a stupid, poor use of the technology, and that they show how shallow we are as a culture. Then I saw this cat site  (which I first heard about on Stephanie Miller’s radio show –Thanks, Mama!) Wilford Brimley is a golden god! (And his pal Stephen Colbert ain’t so bad, either.) Cat photo sites are still stupid… but who says brilliant and stupid can’t ride in the same car together once in awhile?

Brilliant, lesser-known foReiGN folk-rock: Kate Rusby (England), Richard Thompson (England), the late Serge Gainsbourg (France), Crowded House (New Zealand),  and Sarah McLachlan (yeah, Canada’s not so foreign, but it’s different and conscientious enough, in Sarah’s case, to merit a mention).

Men’s Rites of Passage: Father Richard Rohr and his male spirituality project is coming to Illinois this summer, August 13-17. Not clear yet if I will be able to make it. It’s a big 4-day commitment. But on the other hand, probably life-changing. Go to MALES website for details.

Wag the Dog & other David Mamet films. Tha man can flat-out write. Hands down, one of the smartest and funniest voices in American theater and film in the past fifty years. And a Chicago product, somewhat. At least he first hit it big here.

The Farrelly brothers’ Rhode Island flicks: Me, Myself and Irene; Stuck on You; and Outside Providence. For a regional (if sometimes silly) look at American culture, there’s none better than the “Something About Mary” brothers. Our smallest state delivers our biggest laughs in the hands of these distinctively odd, occasionally juvenile gentlemen.

Henry Nouwen’s books, in particular The Wounded Healer.

Anything by Kurt Vonnegut, but especially Cat’s Cradle. Here’s a glorious quote from Kurt:

“Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae.”

The end of the internet: 


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