Arimathea
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In Greek mythology, the muses were the daughters of Zeus the king of the gods and Mnemosyne the goddess of memory. The muses inspired men to create what we commonly call the fine arts. In this digital realm, you will find music of both high and low culture, from literature to the visual arts to what we narrowly call music in English. Enjoy and be grateful for being human; for the muses have richly blessed our race.
Monday, November 29, A.D. 2010
Pale Blue Eyes

I present my favorite song by the Velvet Underground, “Pale Blue Eyes,” from their eponymously named album:

Unfortunately, I have not found a good fan video for the song.

Incidentally, “Pale Blue Eyes” ties as my favorite song about adultery with “Lyin’ Eyes” by the Eagles. They are both miserably beautiful in their own sorrowful ways.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, November 29, Anno Domini 2010
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Tuesday, November 23, A.D. 2010
Another Sunny Day

Here is an odd fan video for Belle and Sebastian’s “Another Sunny Day” from The Life Pursuit:

Don’t they look cheery?

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, November 23, Anno Domini 2010
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Saturday, November 20, A.D. 2010
Burqa Band

I suppose that I do not have my finger on the Sharia pulse of Mohammedan pop culture. I only recently discovered the Burqa Band—a women’s band from Kabul who perform, fittingly (or, well, not so fittingly) in burqas. Here is a German news segment that features the band’s “Burqa Blue”:

Not bad—weird cultural juxtaposition, funny, subversive lyrics, and a quirky tune. Someone on N.R.O. called them a TaliBand. Maybe, but wouldn’t an indie band from Afghanistan be “cave rock”?

Posted by Joseph on Saturday, November 20, Anno Domini 2010
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Friday, November 12, A.D. 2010
I’m Sticking with You

You may have read of Moe Tucker’s political foray during the campaign. The drummer for the Velvet Underground has evidently graduated from teen rebellion to Tea Party rebellion. You can see the news story on a Tea Party event last year wherein Tucker resurfaced. It was the day the music died, as fans of the band learnt that the Maureen Tucker in the news story was indeed Moe the drummer. Last month, Mike Appelstein interviewed Tucker about her turn right: “Moe Tucker of the Velvet Underground Sets the Record Straight.” Tucker states the not so obvious obvious:

No country can provide all things for all citizens. There comes a point where it just isn’t possible, and it’s proven to be a failure everywhere it’s been tried. I am not oblivious to the plight of the poor, but I don’t see any reason/sense to the idea that everyone has to have everything, especially when the economy is so bad. I see that philosophy as merely a ploy to control. . . .

What are your feelings about the online reactions? Many people seem upset or outraged.

I’m stunned that so many people who call themselves liberal yet are completely intolerant. I thought liberals loved everyone: the poor, the immigrant, the gays, the handicapped, the minorities, dogs, cats, all eye colors, all hair colors! Peace, love, bull! Curious they have no tolerance whatsoever for anyone who doesn’t think exactly as they do. You disagree and you’re immediately called a fool, a Nazi, a racist. That’s pretty f’d up!! I would never judge someone based on their political views. Their honesty, integrity, kindness to others, generosity? Yes. Politics? No!

Tucker is remarkably coherent and sensible for a rock star. I suppose that three decades of normal life is good for the soul.

To honor Tucker, here is a silly but charming fan video for the Velvet Underground’s “I’m Sticking with You”:

Thanks, Moe.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, November 12, Anno Domini 2010
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Tuesday, November 9, A.D. 2010
Random Acts of Culture

On What Does the Prayer Really Say, Fr. Z. posted a story from Philadelphia that I found quite moving. Evidently, the Knight Foundation is sponsoring “Random Acts of Culture” throughout the country, where the arts are taken to the people. A few weeks ago, a Random Act of Culture occurred at a mall in Philadelphia. Hundreds of choristers covertly dispersed themselves throughout the mall to wait for the organist’s cue, whereupon they all broke into the “Hallelujah” chorus of Handel’s Messiah. There were camera crews ready to capture the moment and the reactions of the innocent. It is pretty awesome.

I think that this is a worthwhile use of foundation money. So much that such organizations do is wicked and counterproductive, fulfilling O’Sullivan’s First Law and becoming funding streams for America’s internal enemies. Consider, for example, the egregious work of the Ford Foundation, which would surely horrify poor old Henry.

What we see in the Philly video, however, is an invasion of transcendence into the marketplace. What makes it even better is that the song is among the English world’s greatest doxologies. In the midst of secular, consumerist, multicultural, post-Christian America, we see how people react to an explosion of Western Christian and, indeed, universal beauty. The more that this occurs, the more people will realize that our civilization is worth fighting and living for.

Posted by Joseph on Tuesday, November 9, Anno Domini 2010
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Friday, November 5, A.D. 2010
The Blues Are Still Blue

Here is “The Blues Are Still Blue” by Belle and Sebastian from The Life Pursuit:

Oddly, I have never found the laundromat that interesting.

Posted by Joseph on Friday, November 5, Anno Domini 2010
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Thursday, November 4, A.D. 2010
Lezginka

My favorite part of Aram Khachaturian’s Gayaneh is the Lezghinka dance. Here it is performed by Chilean students in the Orquesta Sinfónica Nacional Juvenil:

Armenian Dionysian is what I would call it. Moreover, I think that the Chilean kids did a pretty good job.

Posted by Joseph on Thursday, November 4, Anno Domini 2010
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Monday, November 1, A.D. 2010
Shakespeare in the Original

University of Kansas theater professor Paul Meier is staging A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the original accent of the bard’s age: “Professor’s research allows audience to hear Shakespeare’s words in his own accent.”

So what will the KU audiences hear when they attend this production?

“American audiences will hear an accent and style surprisingly like their own in its informality and strong r-colored vowels,” Meier said. “The original pronunciation performance strongly contrasts with the notions of precise and polished delivery created by John Gielgud, Laurence Olivier and their colleagues from the 20th century British theater.”

Meier said audiences will hear word play and rhymes that “haven’t worked for several hundred years (love/prove, eyes/qualities, etc.) magically restored, as Bottom, Puck and company wind the language clock back to 1595.”

“The audience will hear rough and surprisingly vernacular diction, they will hear echoes of Irish, New England and Cockney that survive to this day as ‘dialect fossils.’ And they will be delighted by how very understandable the language is, despite the intervening centuries.”

I do not know enough about the linguistic and literary research to judge whether such is convincing, but it appears reasonable. Meier argues that sixteenth century English English resembles the colonial accents of the Anglophone world more than the standard British English of today, and by that I mean the Queen’s English, too, not simply chav. When I studied early modern French literature in undergrad, we learnt that modern Québécois is much closer to the Parisian accent of Molière’s stage than contemporary standard French. Settler populations tend to conserve dialects better.

Posted by Joseph on Monday, November 1, Anno Domini 2010
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