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Skipped Back 10

September 11th, 2005

"Building Devotion: The Saint Monica Project"

I was surprised and pleased to find this article in the most recent issue of Clay Times (Vol. 11, No. 5 Sept/Oct 2005). It's written by the artist, Jim Bell, who was comissioned for a group of nearly life-size statues of Jesus, the holy Family, four saints, and a baptismal font for St. Monica's in Duluth, Georgia. What's amazing about the pieces is that they were made and fired in 25-30" tall sections in the artist's top loading electric kiln and then joined together to be life-size minus shrinkage. The finished sculptures ranged from 500 to 1,000 lbs.

You can't view this article at www.claytimes.com, but I know Barnes & Noble has this magazine and most public libraries probably will too. The article focuses on the building of the sculptures with pictures of four of them, and it's definitely inspiring to see that where there is a will there's usually a way.

September 10th, 2005

Okay, my cousin sent me a ticket (via Fandango) to go watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose and I saw it tonight.

I'm still forming an opinion, but my initial reaction is: really good story, sadly lousy script.

It wasn't cheap, I'll give it that. It was making an earnest attempt to do something, but I can't decide whether it went over lamely into the prosletysing column or if it was actually too chicken-hearted to say what it really wanted to say. Hard call on that.

I do know that the character development was poor, very poor. And that depictions of the faith (as it were) were negligible. You hardly notice that anyone is even Catholic except the guy wearing the collar (an even he doesn't tend to talk like a priest might under the circumstances). The exorcism itself, as expected, is sheer Hollywood, but it's not gratuitous, which surprised me. They really restrained themselves ~ and I think it's because they want the audience to take it more seriously on a lot of other levels.

The conclusion was also, I gotta admit, a little surprising. Just a wee little. For me, that's a huge plus. Mighty huge. So I give it points for that.

Is it a "horror" film? No. The PG-13 rating should alert people to that fact, but evidently people don't pay attention to such things. It's a drama with some skeery elements and clearly engineered to appeal to a broad audience (there's no cussing, no blaspheming, no girls in skimpy underwear, no gratuitous gore). For a movie about demonic possession, this is pretty amazing (and goes to show how much you can suggest without showing in a film).

I'll probably have more thoughts as I process. Right now I'm still digesting.

cross-posted to lookingland and catholicism

September 5th, 2005

book reviews ~

i'm always reviewing books and movies in my journal and often critiquing the representation of the Catholic faith in art. and it occurred to me that i ought to have cross-posted some of my thoughts to this community since books are, after all, a form of media.

anyway, in case anyone's interested, here are my two most recent reviews:

Ann Rinaldi's The Staircase (major thumbs down: read why)

David Guterson's Our Lady of the Forest (big thumbs up)

: D

and now for this week's book:

~ * ~

I was intrigued by Eleanor Updale's Montmorency a while back, but daunted at the price tag for an unknown author. Then I found a copy at Half Price Books for a dollar and snatched it up. I fell immediately in love with it. It's a wonderfully silly romp through the London's Victorian underworld in which a paroled thief who was pieced together by a upstart surgeon begins to lead a dual life: robbing the rich to make himself presentable to London society (and developing a conscience along the way).

I received for my birthday the sequel, Montmorency on the Rocks. Montmorency has established his new life, is no longer stealing, works for government as a spy, but has developed a new problem: a wee drug addiction that's threatening to ruin him. His best friend takes him and his surgeon to Scotland to get clean and they stumble upon a mystery: babies are dying on a remote isle; a whole generation has been wiped out.

On the island (and here's the point of writing this here) is a Catholic priest named Father Michael. Father Michael is a bit eccentric: full of hellfire and damnation, sermonizing about Divine retribution as being the cause of the infant deaths, etc. He strikes a terrifying image and immediately no one trusts him. Curiously, however, you get him away from the pulpit and he's friendly, genial, and loving (though then is even more suspect because he loves the babies so much!) His behavior is so bizarre that is accused of being the baby-killer by the surgeon, and dragged off the island by the police while the islanders throw rocks, hurl insults, and burn his house.

I won't tell you how this book ends, but I couldn't put it down. I so love the characters (Montmorency and Doctor Farcett are just adorable) and Updale's vivid landscapes and just the wacky fun of such a silly bunch of Londoners trying to solve crimes (there's a second mystery about a train station bomber that is equally compelling and surprising running alongside the baby-killer story). I find the books so endearing that I was wracked with fear that Updale would make a Catholic priest a baby-killer. As I turned each page, I kept thinking: "no! it can't be! there's always a twist! there has to be a twist!" but I was really afraid she'd turn out to be hateful.

In the end Updale vindicated herself in an wonderfully unexpected way ~ there was, indeed a twist (and one which I didn't see coming!) That's the way to write a mystery!

If I had twelve thumbs, they would all be up. This sequel was every bit as good as the original and in some ways even better (so many wonderful reversals!). I can't wait for the next one due out this spring.

: D

cross-posted to lookingland

August 30th, 2005

Modern Day Saints

I'm teaching a confirmation class to some ninth graders this year, and one of our segments is on modern day saints. Some of the other teachers and I would like to show a movie that would spark discussion of what would make a modern day saint. Anyone have any suggestions?

The ones offered up in our meeting were Swing Kids (which I think is only a meh choice, though a good movie) and Hotel Rwanda.

Thanks for your help!

August 24th, 2005


little puff
Hi everybody,
My name's Jenny. I'm a recent college graduate with a degree in ceramics and a Catholic convert.

I've done a little bit of religious art like some of those holy water fonts that hang on a wall for friends and I suppose my Ukranian Easter eggs because they have a lot of cross symbolism...and they're Easter eggs! Here's a link to pictures of some of the fonts and eggs (clicky)  -  click on "pictures of earlier pieces" and there is also a link to my senior show on the main page.

I would really like to do more Catholic art. Right now my life is kind of frustrating - although I am very happy to have gotten married recently, I will be the only income until my husband finishes school and so I'm just marking time at a crappy job, and hoping we can scrape together $69 for me to take a ceramics class at the community college so I can have studio acess again.

Thanks for this community - it looks to be stimulating and enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to seeing everyone's work and talking about it!

August 14th, 2005

In my internet research travels looking for pictures of Nord-Pas-de-Calais in the 19th century, I came upon this cool painting by Jules Breton ~ Bénédiction des blés en Artois ~ 1857.

Unfortunately it's a big painting, so reduced like this it's hard to appreciate all the little details. But I thought it was cool for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact of it being a Blessing of the Corn ~ something you don't see in this day and age.

: D

You can see an enlargement at this French website here <~ (you have to click on the little magnifying glass at the leftside above the picture)

x-posted to catholicism

July 10th, 2005

(no subject)

Allright, let's get the community moving...

First a group intro for everyone to take part in...

If you are involved in a media project, what is it? What type of media are you involved in? Or what was your last christian media project? Basically introduce yourself and your own interests in catholic/christian media. :)

May 14th, 2005

(no subject)

Welcome to the Catholic Media community. I thought I'd post a first entry for an introduction. I am the creator and one of the mods here. I started this community for people to discuss ways to inspire other catholics in their faith through the use of media. Some questions to ask and for us to think about and post entries on might be:

How are some ways that we can utilize writing, movies, music, and visual art to reach and inspire our fellow catholics?

Which movies, books, and music would you recommend to other catholics? Which were inspirational to your own spiritual growth?

How should a christian "entertainer" live in an increasingly secular and "immoral" industry? How best should one preserve themselves from temptations in such an industry?

What ideas do you have about media projects? Is there anything that you would want help on or ideas or feedback about?

I am sure these and numerous other questions remain to be asked and answered. I look forward to the discussions and the community I hope this group will foster on livejournal. :)

God bless!

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