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Scorsese on his film Silence and OKNOTOK

American Magazine has a nice little write up about an event at The Catholic Media Convention up in Quebec City where Martin Scorsese received a lifetime achievement award for excellence in filmmaking from Signis and the Catholic Press Association. Before he got his award they screened his latest film Silence. After which Scorsese answered some questions and reflected on his years of working in film. If you are a fan of his works it is a quick read. It was interesting to read a little of what was behind some of the decision in the film and there is some cool information about The Last Temptation of Christ as well.  Way back in December when the film was released Scorsese and Fr James Martin SJ sat down and talked about faith and the film. If you haven’t read that it is worth the read.

In completely unrelated news the Radiohead re-release of OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997-2017 is now out digitally. The reissue includes a remastered version of OK Computer with a bonus disc which includes eight B-sides and three previously unreleased tracks: “I Promise,” “Man of War”, and “Lift”. Now if you are a big Radiohead fan you might as well get this just for the bonus stuff especially if you spring for the boxed edition. Otherwise it is a pretty amazing album even 20 years later the bonus disc offers some interesting new songs as well. Now the biggest question here is if you should put down money to buy an album you already own, I’d call it a solid maybe right now give me a couple more listens to the bonus disc before I decide. It is available to listen to on Spotify and I guess other streaming music places.

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Han Solo movie directors gone

This has to be one of the weirdest stories that I’ve seen recently the Han Solo film being only like 3 week away from finishing filming and the directors leave. Now according to several sources Phil Lord and Christopher Miller have left the project, being fired because of creative differences. As Kathleen Kennedy stated in an official statement “Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are talented filmmakers who have assembled an incredible cast and crew, but it’s become clear that we had different creative visions on this film, and we’ve decided to part ways. A new director will be announced soon.” Lord and Miller are the guys behind the cartoon Clone High, the Jump Street movies and the animated films The Lego Movie as well as Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. According to The Hollywood Reporter they were fired for going “off-script” and not really making Lawrence Kasdan the screenwriter, who knows Han Solo better than just about anyone, happy with their decisions. Hopefully this can be figured out quickly and that this doesn’t delay the release until December of 2018.

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Summer begins

As Summer begins let’s begin with a simple poem.

Summer Song by William Carlos Williams

Wanderer moon
smiling a
faintly ironical smile
at this
brilliant, dew-moistened
summer morning,—
a detached
sleepily indifferent
smile, a
wanderer’s smile,—
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
sky-blue
where would they carry me?

While I was looking up this poem there were several websites that were already trying to crown a “Song of the Summer.” Sure the season of Summer began on Memorial Day but we’ve still got more than half the summer left so how can we decide what the song is now. Billboard offers the top 10 list since 1958 but this really is a new thing. The Huffington Post offers their own suggestions as to what it might be and even has some guidelines as how to pick the song which includes what has to be my favorite “rule” “by the end of Summer, the entire world must never want to hear it again.” If you don’t care what the song of this Summer is TimeoutNY offers a playlist of the top 50 best songs about summer, this is by far a list that I would fire up at any summertime party.

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Theatre and Politics

These are two things that go together and have been since the beginnings. The Ancient Greeks had The Trojan Women and Lysistrata which were commentaries on events that the Greeks faced during the Peloponnesian War. Shakespeare did a great job at working politics into his works as well. This was transformed by the Soviets into Agitprop (Agitation propaganda). Politics have always been an influence to playwrights and still inspires directors today.

So when the news that the New York City’s Public Theatre’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar was using Donald Trump as a model for their Julius Caesar. I didn’t think it was out of line over the year many a President has been taken as a way for the audience to relate with the story. As Michael Kahn, Director of the Shakespeare Theatre Company in DC, notes in a Time article it is pretty hard to avoid mixing contemporary politics and Shakespeare together. It was a lens for us to look at the story and society has been doing it since at least a 1937 Orson Welles production where Caesar has fascist overtones, and over the years he’s been interpreted into just about every major political figure. Julius Caesar isn’t about the assassination or saying it is a good thing, Caesar even dies halfway through the play making Brutus perhaps the main character in the play.

Now we need to be able to live in a world where we are not walking on egg shells all the time and this seems to be what is happening in the world today. Everyone is on edge and ready to snap at the smallest problem. Yet if we look at other shows and even movies we can get to similar interpretation like how the upcoming film Geostorm, a film coming out this October, is a response to Trump withdrawal from the Paris Agreement.

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Synod 2018

The Fifteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is meeting next year at the Vatican to discuss the topic of Young people, faith and vocational discernment. Earlier this week the Vatican released an online questionnaire so that the young can voice their opinions on the state of the Church. If you’ve got some time fill it out. It doesn’t matter what religion you are as The Vatican just wants to take the pulse of the youth of the world. This  is your chance to voice your opinions about the Church and hopefully the Bishops will listen and do something about it.

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Fatima 100 (June)

A couple of days ago was 13 June this was the second appearance of Mary to the children in Fatima. This time around according to the writings of Lucia, Mary appeared and told the children to continue praying the Rosary everyday but to add a prayer after each decade “O My Jesus, forgive us our sins , save us from the fire of hell. Take all souls to heaven, especially those who are most in need. ” Mary also asked to learn to read and write. The children asked if they would make it to heaven and Mary responded that Jacinta and Francisco will come soon, but Lucia will remain a little longer, for there is more for Lucia to establish devotion in the world to my Immaculate Heart.

Let us all take out a rosary and pray it at least once a month since it is not that much to ask of all of us.

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Baking in Space?!

Alright when I first saw this I was intrigued, baking and space don’t seem like they would mix. However if bread, real bread not just tortillas can be made in Space. that would be the biggest thing since sliced bread. According to the article the real bread has been banned from space travel since Gemini 3 when Gus Grissom and John Young ate a corned beef sandwich which young had smuggled on to the flight. Taking bites of the sandwich there were a bunch of crumbs which wrecked havoc with electronics. Grissom and Young were reprimanded when they landed and the closest thing to bread to fly since have been tortillas. The first step is going to be bringing pre-baked bread into space to see if bread might have a different structure if baked in space, no one really know much about this. It seems like they will be using two different types of oven to make the bread during this experimental phase, but bringing a standard oven won’t work in space as the ISS oven would have to work on only 250 watts, so it would be something akin to like an old school Easy-Bake oven which worked with a 100 watt light bulb. The other oven they are talking about using is a vacuum oven where the pressure in the oven is lowered so that things can be cooked at a lower temperature. Perhaps it would be a combination of the two.  This mission won’t be happening until April 2018 so there is a bunch of time between now and then.  It sounds really cool and could lead to some interesting development not only in space but on earth as well.

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The Visitation

The second Joyful Mystery is when Mary goes and visits her cousin Elizabeth. This story can be found in Luke’s Gospel 1: 39=56. In the Western churches the feast is celebrated on 31 May and the Eastern churches celebrates it on 30 March.  The fruit associated with this mystery is love of neighbor, since at the Annunciation Mary learned that Elizabeth was with child. When Mary arrived Elizabeth was about six months pregnant and Mary stayed for three months. Sure, Mary and Elizabeth were family but the general idea of love of neighbor, going out on a mission of charity, would be a wonderful thing if we could all do something like this. These are sort of outlined by the works of mercy, as how to love your neighbor. Let us all be able to stir the spirit within our neighbors like Mary did for Elizabeth when she her the voice of Mary the babe leapt in her womb. We need to bring love into the world all too often we are surrounded by hate in the world and that is never fun.

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71st Tony Awards recap

First off it’s great that theater gets a night of the year but it would be great if like the local theater awards were televised as you are more likely to see something near you and like PBS could air them. Yes it’s great that NYC gets the top billing and is broadcast on national television so we get a glimpse of what new is happening on Broadway. Secondly, I think I’ve got to see Kevin Spacey’s Bobby Darin movie Beyond the Sea since who knew Spacey could sing.

This year was sort of like last year with one show winning most of the musical awards this year it was Pasek and Paul’s Dear Evan Hansen. Pasek and Paul are halfway to an EGOT now having also won the Oscar earlier this year. With what looks like a sure bet for a Grammy in the fall the only thing that is up in the air is an Emmy. Only time will tell. I for one would like it if we can get a year when more than one show can win. Evan Hansen is a story of high school, teen life, social media, mental disorder and suicide so it doesn’t interest me all that much perhaps a song or two were good. I didn’t think this was the strongest show of the season but you don’t have to like every Best musical winner. So Evan Hansen took home six awards the top ones musical, book, score, orchestration, Ben Platt, and featured actress. Great Comet took home two of the three design awards (lighting/scenic). Hello Dolly took home three (revival/Bette Midler/costumes), Come From Away took home best director and Bandstand took home one for Choreography. Hopefully, Tim Minchin and Dave Malloy have several more opportunities to take home an award in the coming years.