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Indie rock singer/songwriter Kirsten DeHaan performing "1984" from her newly released EP 'Thorns On A Crown.' DeHaan played at The Colony Cafe in Woodstock, NY on the closing night (October 4, 2009) of Woodstock's 40th Anniversary Film Festival.

["1984" skillfully maneuvers its way from beginning to end as DeHaan puts her vocal range along with a knack for soothing tones to good use, singing in a soft, but gutsy manner. The guitar playing over a catchy beat works well with her voice to produce a sultry and graceful fusion of folk and rock.]

http://www.kdlocal.com
http://kirstendehaan.musicdish.net

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posted on 05.31.09

Artists


Categories

Visual Arts

Themes

Tragic
Dark
Self Reflection
Bright

Tags

Anonymous
Secret
Frank Warren
Postcards

http://postsecret.blogspot.com/


 


The simple concept of the project was that completely anonymous people decorate a postcard and portray a secret that they had never previously revealed. No restrictions are made on the content of the secret; only that it must be completely truthful and must never have been spoken before. Entries range from admissions of sexual misconduct and criminal activity to confessions of secret desires, embarrassing habits, hopes and dreams.


Since Frank Warren created the website on January 1, 2005, PostSecret has collected and displayed upwards of 2,500 original pieces of art from people across the United States and around the world.


The site, which started as an experiment on Blogspot, was updated every Sunday with 10 new secrets, all of which share a relatively constant style, giving the artists who participate some guidelines on how their secrets should be represented. It recently began posting approximately 20 new pieces each Sunday after a week where Frank Warren mysteriously did not post any new secrets for one week.


From June 24 to July 3, 2007, the "Comments" section of the site was enabled. While a comments feature is frequently present on blogs, it had been previously absent from the PostSecret site. Many visitors viewed the presence of a comments section as out of character for the site, which was previously distinguished as a non-judgmental space for participants to reveal personal secrets. Many visitors felt that the new section contradicted the purpose of the site, as evidenced in numerous comments criticizing a postcard in which the author claims to have fed bleach to his/her cat.


In October 2007, the PostSecret Community was launched (www.postsecretcommunity.com). Since its inception, more than 39,000 people have registered for the online discussion forum. Questions have been raised about how the forum affects the anonymity of the PostSecret project, but for those involved on the Community board, there seems to be a positive response of people who haven't sent in a postcard or haven't seen their secret on the site sharing their secrets with other PostSecret fans.


Frank Warren is currently hosting events at numerous colleges to speak about the many different secrets of today's society. An art exhibition--also currently traveling the country--showcases many of the hundreds of thousands of secrets Warren has received.


The site encourages others to create and send in your postcards; Postcards to be sent into PostSecret are addressed to:


Post Secret
13345 Copper Ridge Rd
Germantown, Maryland 20874

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posted on 05.29.09

Artists

Pixar

Categories

Film
Animation

Themes

Funny
Joyful

Tags

Disney
Pixar
Presto

Presto is directed by Doug Sweetland, the animator who’s worked on every Pixar feature up to Ratatoullie, as well as the short film Boundin'. This is Sweetland’s directorial debut. He pitched and sold the storyline about an amiable turn of the century magician and his reluctant rabbit. But he found that his original vision grew into something quite unexpected.


 


The film is about Presto, the magician, and Alec, his rabbit in a hat who plots revenge against the overbearing and cruel magician. While the rabbit in a hat trick brings Presto great fame and fortune, Alec is left to languish in a cage, a carrot just out of reach.


Alec is decides not to take Presto’s abuse any longer and rebels giving the magician a taste of his own mean spirited medicine. The rabbit is determined to get the last laugh at the expense of his demanding employer. The film is filled with slapstick, magic hats, vaudevillian antics, all in five minutes of screen time. Presto is tormented in a variety of ways, including being attacked by a ladder, electrocuted, thrown to the rafters and having his clothes torn off among other comic tortures. The audience that had come for a magic show finds all of this uproariously funny and I suspect we will too.


 


-Robin Ruinsky

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"I kind of spilled blood all over this project," Amy Speace says of her new album The Killer In Me, which marks a quantum creative leap from the artist's 2006 breakthrough effort Songs For Bright Street.  While that release won her widespread critical acclaim and a loyal international fan base, The Killer In Me finds the New York-based singer/songwriter forging into deeper, darker lyrical and musical terrain, borne largely out of her self-imposed isolation during the final separation of her long marriage.  

         "This is the record that I needed to make," Speace states.  "In many ways, it was the hardest thing I've ever done. And in some ways, it was the easiest.  Writing the songs was emotionally difficult, deep and intense--it was kind of an exorcism. But in the end, the songs flowed pretty quickly. You write the things that you’re afraid to say out loud.”

        The Killer In Me's 12 soul-baring new songs maintain the effortless melodic appeal of her prior work, while delivering complex emotional insights that give the album startling intimacy and resonance. "The Killer In Me" chronicles a strangled co-dependent relationship, while "Haven't Learned A Thing" offers absolution for the continuing struggle in the attempt to connect with another and never getting it completely right. “This Love” speaks to the hope and uncertainty that comes with the onset of a new relationship. The album covers more terrain than romantic relationships, closing with “Piece By Piece,” written as a prayer to her father, wishing him peace and love after the death of his brother.

        Most of the album was written in the rural isolation of a rented cabin in the Catskills after her final separation from her husband. "It was just me, some books, my journals, my guitar and the songs, with no phone and no TV," she explains.  "I spent a lot of time reading and hiking and chopping wood for the stove, and wrote the songs that form the emotional center of this album.”  

         "The situation," she continues, "forced me to sit with a lot of silence, fear and confusion and make a kind of peace with them by writing songs to keep from going crazy.  That's when the album started making sense to me and became a whole different thing.  Something shifted when I realized what was going on in the world outside mirrored what was going on inside of me, and I wanted to write songs that bridged that divide.”

        Speace recorded The Killer In Me with her longtime producer and lead guitarist James Mastro, of Bongos/Health and Happiness Show fame, and her longstanding live band the Tearjerks, comprised of guitarist Rich Feridun, bassist Matt Lindsey and drummer Jagoda.  The sessions took place at alt-pop legend Mitch Easter's Fidelitorium studio in North Carolina, with Easter lending his talents as engineer.  Also on board is English rock icon Ian Hunter, who adds his distinctive vocals to a pair of songs.

        Born in Baltimore and raised in small-town Pennsylvania, Speace initially had her sights set on a career as a playwright/actor, graduating from Amherst College and toured with the prestigious National Shakespeare Company.  After moving to New York, she had roles in various off-Broadway productions and independent films, ran her own theater company, and taught Shakespeare in the New York City school system.  After teaching herself to play guitar, she began setting her poetry to music, and quickly found songwriting to be the most creatively fulfilling thing she'd ever done.  She soon began performing as half of the female duo Edith O. Speace made her solo debut with the 2002 release Fable, recorded with $5000 donated by fans and released on her own Twangirl label.  Giving up her hard-won acting career to become a full-time musician, she hopped into her car and hit the road, booking herself into every club, café and college that would have her.  After catching a performance at the SXSW music-industry festival, Judy Collins' manager brought Speace to the attention of Collins, who signed her to her Wildflower label. Her debut for the label, Songs For Bright Street, received warm praise from critics, including those in Europe, which has enabled her to build a strong touring base there.

        Reflecting on making The Killer In Me, Speace concludes, "I got into music with my eyes wide open, having already been doing something else.  I knew that the kind of music I wanted to make might be outside the realm of what's on the radio, but I didn't care. I just wanted to make something that's real. I’m as proud of this album as I am anything I’ve ever done."

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Artists


Categories

Fiction
Nonfiction

Themes


Tags


Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission To Promote Peace... One School At A Time


(Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin)


I just finished this one a few days ago. The true story of Greg Mortenson's failed attempt to climb K2, the world's second tallest mountain, led him to an inspiring victory nonetheless. Having built roots in Pakistan, Mortenson promised a small Pakistani town that he would construct its first fully functioning school that has since transformed into the Central Asia Institute. The CAI has built more than fifty schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, providing education to all children, especially girls. Mortenson's project interplays with the post-9/11 mentality of Americans, to which Mortneson states, "We need to understand that this is a war that will ultimately be won with books, not bombs."


 


 



Smack


(Melvin Burgess)


I had no business reading this book when I was fourteen, but what's done is done. Burgess illustrates a harrowing plot of teenagers, Tar and Gemma, on a downward spiral into drug addiction. There is no preaching within the pages of this book, no teachings of right from wrong, no guidance to the moral high ground, no "stay away from drugs" - just truth. It is as Gemma says, "You take more and more, and more often. Then you get sick of it and give it up for a few days. And that's the really nasty thing because then, when you're clean, that's when it works so well." Amazing writing.


 


 



Everything Is Illuminated


(Jonathan Safran Foer)


I could tell you that this novel is about the Holocaust (which it is) but that simplified description woulf not do Foer's work justice. A young Jewish man, conveniently named Jonathan Safran Foer makes his way to the Ukraine with the mission of finding the woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis. His search party is comprised of his translator, Alex, Alex's grandfather, and their dog, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr. Throughout his story, Foer mixes ethnic comedy with tragedy, and history with suspense. If it sounds eccentric, then you're following along just fine. Pretty impressive for his first novel.


 


 



Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close


(Jonathan Safran Foer)


After discovering Foer had written a second novel, I bought it immediately. The only way I am able to reflect on this brilliant story of nine-year-old Oskar Schell is to consider that - despite Foer's classification - this novel is not fiction, but a true account of a boy's struggle to put together the pieces of his father's untimely death on September 11, 2001. The reason for this is that I do not believe a fiction story should provide so much truth. I know Foer's novel is someone's reality. Oskar is a whimsical and ambitious kid who comes across a key amongst his father's possessions and is thus determined to find the lock it opens. For also brings in the subplot of Oskar's grandfather, who survived bombings in World War II. His plot line may not appear as decorative as Oskar's, but they come face to face at the end for a conclusion that will make your heart sink.


 


 



Pieces


(Stephen Chbosky)


You may already know Stephen Chbosky as the author of The Perks of Being A Wallflower, and although he did not write this compilation book, it is still very much worth reading. Pieces is a unique collection of short stories by aspiring writers from our generation. Read this for exciting moments of discovery and you will get a wonderful glimpse into the future of fiction writers.

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“Very interesting take on Jonathan Safran Foer's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close". It's one of my favourites, not only for the story itself, but because of the way Foer is able to succinctly convey such genuine emotion and feeling. He allows you to see, through Oskar, the world in a completely different light. I believe fiction allows for the blurring of lines between what we perceive as truth and that which is necessary ro create a remarkable story, ie. imagination and fabrications. Foer's work has indeed done its job when we stop to question just how true to life it actually is. ”
Posted over 5 years ago
Jess Wilson replies:
“Thank you for commenting, and I agree. Have you read Foer's other book?”
Posted over 5 years ago
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