More on NEA

The following institutions receive funding from the NEA:

Indianapolis Museum of Art
Indiana Repertory Theatre
Young Audiences of Indiana
Indianapolis Arts Center
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Clowes Memorial Hall
Eiteljorg Museum Of American Indian and Western Art
Indianapolis Opera
American Cabaret Theatre

Next time you'll think twice about disproving the NEA's efforts when you're sitting in your concert seats.

The Guitarist

Christopher Parkening's concert was phenomenal. Absolutely the most incredible experience I've ever had. I'm not even very willing to post to what extent I was moved by his performance, some things are best left to yourself. But I will say I have never seen or heard anything so unbelievably intimate or soul-exposing. It was one of the most beautiful things I will ever witness and it will be a memory that will stay with me for a long time. WOW. I got his autograph too.


Greg Garrison and the NEA

On my way to class this morning, I was listening to Greg Garrison's talk show. I came very close to calling in, but I didn't know the number for WIBC and I was already late to class. I usually agree with him on everything, but today he upset me. The NEA. I don't support the NEA's endeavors at all, but I did not appreciate Garrison's comments either. He was carrying on about how increasing funding for the NEA was the worst sin the administration could commit.

Without a doubt, I agree the NEA is not the best organization nor does it promote quality and morality in art. But, as Schaeffer once said that the artists express the times better than any of the disiplines or writers, musicians, philosophers. The root cause isn't with the NEA, but with culture's direction and the reasons behind the grotesque art's production.
Garrison's approach was extremely antagonistic, and denied any consideration of what good the NEA might support and how it could be benificial. It upset me that he would cut down the one instution which provides funding for otherwise struggling artistic endeavors without replacing it with more options. His implication was that funding art was a waste period. (He'd rather spend the money abroad in Iraq.)

I admit I'm still not sure what I think about government funding in the arts. I do think though that it is complete ignorance to dismiss it. Garrison did offer one option that the government can legitimately fund art through education. Last time I checked though, schools are removing art and music programs like they're cutting chocolate from their diet. Does Garrison not understand the importance of art (and I'm using "art" to imply all aspects of "art") and its value on education and society, and simply human nature? In order to talk about government funding in the arts, it would be advantageous for Garrison to do a bit more research first before broadcasting an opinion. While in theory it may not be the ideal for a conservative capitalist, but in practice there would be absolutely no story to Art History without government intervention. The greatest works of art, and particularily music, exist today thanks to government funding.

While I wistfully wish for drastic changes to the NEA, I say kudos to Bush for supporting an instution that can reach all levels of the socio-economic sphere. A society at home has to be worth protecting abroad and art is an important aspect of that society and it should not be overlooked.

On a side note, it is my prayer that Christians would remove themselves from their highly uncomfortable places on their white horses, get to know some real world artists, understand art honestly and do something about it to change it. This is why I'm travelling 2 hours tonight to hear Christopher Parkening, one of the greatest guitarists and one of the very few Christians in the art world.


It's a good day for Starbucks. The temperature high is 6 degrees.
I apologize for any unwanted emails you may have received bearing my address. Yes I know, I am DOOMed.
We learned the grapevine in dance class today. It would be a really cool step if I could do it correctly without tromping my partner's toes.
I'm off to the great wonders of Cedarville University tonight to hear some top notch guitar music and spend some girl power bonding time with the sis. Should be good.


I'm a Princess!

I was 99.5% bent on staying home today because it was too snowy and I didn't want to drive, park at Hinkle, then hike all over campus. I was dreading the cold wind, the wet snow, the slick sidewalks, getting soaked before class, etc... Well, mom comes in at 8:00 and demanding that I wake up and not start skipping class so soon in the semester. She, in the bottomless kindness of her heart, said, "ok, fine, I'll drop you off at school." SO. I went to class. It was BEAUTIFUL. :) Mom's reply to Dad's astonishment of my royal treatment was, "Dale, I'm just as spoiled as she is." It was BEAUTIFUL. Thanks, Mom!
Colin and I dropped by church this afternoon. Stacey and I had an amusing conversation on the attributes of comfy couches:
Stacey: [sigh] They just hug you!
BTW. If you ever want to throw the best, most magnificent dinner party in your life, please call me and Stacey. We are a fab duo and we plan to go into business together some day, cuz we can throw one durn good party! (right, Stac... back me up here...)
Grandma is becoming more and more vocal in our dinner conversations. She increasingly joins in on our political and theological tirades. Tonight at dinner, Grandma, who rarely says anything bad about anyone - even politicians, made a comment about Joe Kernan's eyebrows. She says, and I quote verbatum, "He is one of the ugliest people I've ever seen!" Giggles ensue.


Social [dis]order

Have you ever wondered how intelligent people, when in a social group, will act contrary to the workings of an established system? And how a large group of people, though fully apt to discern the right action as individuals, will blindly follow a leader who directs the opposite. Humans are demoted to the lowly position of sheep who have the reputation of being the dumbest animals in God's creation.

Tonight at church was an amusing example of this situation. Tradition says you stand up to sing; everyone who attends church knows this. But when they are not told to stand, no one does, even though they know they are acting in opposition to what is set format. So instead of standing, as has been done for countless Sundays, they remain sitting while giving not-so-confident side glances at their neighbors to see what they're doing. How can an entire congregation of people not stand simply because one person forgot to tell them to stand? I don't know, but it is amusing to ponder.

It puts dictators into perspective. Guess it just takes one person to give the order.


A spectacle of spectacles

I got new glasses. Let's just say they're unlike anything I've ever worn. Funky. Artsy. Retro. You get the point. Anyways. Feedback has been interesting. Dr. Felice told me I looked "very pretty" with glasses on. He was quite tongue-tied. ;) Dad told me I looked like a 1950s secretary.


13 days and 1/2 hr... late!

Some New Year's Resolutions:

1. No more wasting time on the internet, looking at stupid blogs, googling people I know, etc.
2. Spend more time at home with the family. Even try to bake once a week, or something. Get in touch with my domestic side!
3. Practice more. Lots more. Obviously.
4. Get more involved on campus. Become the person about whom people say, "oh I've heard her name but I've never actually met her." OK, or maybe not. I'll settle for meeting at least 30 new people by Spring Break. OK, make it 50 - shoot high. Let's see two days into the semester, I think I've met around 10.
5. Finish Les Miserables in its original language.
6. Start a Bible study with someone I don't know - yet.
7. Work on all those really bad traits that hinder me from growing. Like balancing passion with common sense and decency! And a lot more other things.
8. Read more books, NOT the required reading list found on a class syllabus. And read more Martha Stewart. I always need my Martha Stewart energy kick.
9. No more wasting time bemoaning the fact that I'm single and that NO [quality] male alive wants me. Nor will I think less of the fact that I'm beautiful, smart, talented...the list goes on... simply because ALL [quality] living males are retards for not wanting me [or are already taken]. Who needs men anyways?
10. Learn something new everyday about life, about people, and about myself.


bouncing ideas

I've been discussing via email with people much smarter than me the topic of original sin and homosexuality that this guy addresses in his blog. Read it and tell me what you think.


Random wishes

Joe, Abby and I had lunch the other day at Houlihans. Joe and I splurged - he got Snickers dessert and I got cappuccino. I highly recommend the cappuccino. Even Joe liked it and he doesn't drink coffee, but then neither do I. Abby got us started on telling our life stories. It was hilarious! She gave us the play-by-play, from preschool to senior prom. Then we got started making our "wish list." Abby said she so many things on that list. For instance she couldn't be interested in a guy if he went to an ice cream store and order plain vanilla. She seemed pretty adamant about it, but I don't care what he orders, as long as he doesn't get pink fluffy stuff. If he got pink fluffy stuff I'd be pretty worried. SO anyways. I'm going to make my list. And yes Joe, I'm going to publish it on my blog. OK maybe not EVERYTHING. (Joe wouldn't tell us what was on his list, in case you were wondering. But then, he has a girl.) So well, keep checking because I'm gonna write that list. Tomorrow. When the Colts kick some Chief _____ till they walk their own Trail of Tears Take Two! But there's a nice little yummy intro for my list.


Mona Lisa Smile Take 2

Note: I accidently published then deleted my post on this movie before finishing my commentary, and so unfortunately I've lost it and the comment Amy left for me.

Nevertheless, I still believe it's worth $8.50 to see, especially for the homeschooled girl.

Amy, you said "by all appearances it seems like feminist hype" or something along those lines. If you wish to base judgement entirely on appearances than that is the correct assumption you could make. And indeed, that was my assumption and my expectation, before actually paying my $8.50 to see it. Perhaps I had a biased view exiting the movieplex and did not coherently interpret the film, but I don't think it's entirely propoganda like the Wall Street Journal makes it out to be. Yes, you can make the argument that the main character was anti-family/marriage but that really wasn't the point of the film. And there was only one character who hinted at being lesbian. (Actually the gal I saw the movie with didn't even catch the major hint.)

The film reached me on two levels: as a woman and as an artist.

I don't even know how I can sufficiently explain the parallel I saw between the film and my own life situation. In my background, girls were not encouraged (at least in the beginning) to attend college and instead plan their lives around a phantom knight who may or may not knock at their door, but that is a minor detail, because the phantom represents their future. Minus the fact that the film takes place at Wellesley College, a prestigious girl's college (cancelling the whole anti-college aspect), the situation is exactly the same as 1950s culture. The girls in the film base their expectations, their foundations, and their idea of happiness in marriage. They are stuck in the rut of tradition and the traditional expectations their parents place upon them as society's ladies. You simply cannot deny the parallel to many conservative homeschooling communities. There is the expectation, and though some parents may deny it, at least there's sufficient amounts of peer pressure, to marry, have 10 kids, homeschool them, wear large collar blouses, join the local health food co-op, and raise your kids to do exactly the same. It's the "cooking, cleaning, and childbearing" stamp that's placed on many conservative girls growing up, and if they don't conform to the mold, they're cast aside as lesser women. If they dare think outside of the box, much less think for themselves, it's scandalous. But as many of us would agree, that's simply not reality.

The culture Julia Roberts battles when she joins Wellesley faculty as art history professor is the same culture I fight against when I defend myself and my college attendance. We're just 50 years behind schedule.

There is no overt, in-your-face feminism in the film that screams "female dominance." It's simply a challenge to tradition and an honest evalution of what is reality, or rather what is assumed to be reality, and the question of whether a modern woman can find the balance between being individual and being feminine.

The film focuses on several students, but two in particular and their reaction to Julia's teaching and their response to tradition.

Kirsten Dunst plays Betty, the ultimate society lady who makes marrying her goal, with all the bells and whistles too, please. She is the one we all know (and have been once or twice too) who dreams of her wedding day and idolizes the marriage phantom in her mind. Well Betty gets married and discovers it's not all it's cracked up to be. She's slapped with the reality that dreams and true happiness are not synonymous, because she has completely wrapped her feminine identity in marital bliss. But when a girl does not have an accurate understanding of and confidence in who she is as an individual, girl + boy - individual confidence = entangled disaster! This is the sad fate of Betty, who winds up declaring to her appearance driven mother that divorce is the only escape from her unhappy, sticky mess.

Joan, the Julia Stiles character, is another girl who also dreams of getting married one day. That too is her ultimate desire, but her journey there is vastly different from Betty's. The audience can see Joan's growth as a individual thinker and our confidence in her builds as she builds confidence in herself. Julia Roberts encourages her to apply to Yale law school to which Joan is accepted. She's then faced with the choice: boy or Yale? Of course, she chooses the boy, and when she does she makes an enormous stand for the rightness of marriage and challenges Roberts's stereotype of the unintellectual, frill and pearl clad housewife. She's the girl we all cheer for because she's smart, beautiful, and stands before the world and says, "I know I'm smart. I know I'm beautiful. I still just want to get married."

The film is not about feminism, it's about the journey girls take to discover themselves, their dreams and their potential, and what they have to do when faced with tradition. Sometimes tradition is a good thing, and sometimes tradition is simply tradition. It's a film which says it's OK to think outside the established box. Sometimes a girl has to look beyond it to discover and define what really makes her clock tick as a person. Without examination, ideals, tradition, and expectation are like a rainbow, which no doubt is very beautiful at first sight. But how is a girl going to know that the pot of gold really doesn't exist at the end of it if she doesn't get up and do a little exploration on her own. That funny little leprachaun certainly isn't going to divulge the secret!

I truly wish all homeschooled girls could see this film. When my ideas and opinions are scoffed at because I'm a girl, my blood boils inside of me. My chest tightens and I can't breathe. This film touched the release button on all those emotions and stifled thoughts that are often kept bottled up and like champagne, they burst in a stream when freed from pressure. I wanted to walk, no run, out of there and yell, "Yes, I'm right! I am not a horrible person! IT'S OK TO THINK! IT'S OK TO HAVE AN OPINION! AND YES, IT'S OK TO MARRY!!"

Maybe the finding the balance between the two types of womanhood is more elusive than I imagine. Maybe Joan is the unattainable heroine. I don't know, but finding it is worth a try. I want more than anything to be a wife and mother, because I won't deny that is where I can be most fulfilled as a woman. But I wouldn't trade my individuality and the experiences I've had that have taught me to think and to stand on my own for all the glitzy kitchens in all the world! Even if it had granite countertops!

I encourage girls to see the film, but only if they'll see it with the open mind that it might actually apply to their 21st century lives. Yes, it's foolish to absorb it all and to not sift out the bad from the good. But I think it's worse to toss good out because the cover smells badly. Please let me know what you think of the film, I'd love to hear your take.

Oh and the artistic aspect of the film is equally stimulating and touches the core of my passion, but I think I'll save that for another day.


More on getting older

Diane Keaton is 58 years old. I seriously hope I look that good at 58. Really. Have you ever seen such an adorable personality or lively spunk in a 58 year old? I'm not recommending her latest film, Something's Gotta Give, but I am commenting that she is the sole rewarding factor in it, and that she is gorgeous and makes menopause look like a cinch.

I've been wasting time again on the internet. BAH! DURN! I hate it when I do that, because so often you don't realize you're doing it until you glance at the clock and SHOOT! BAM! DURN! MY mental calculator is quickly adding up the minutes I just spent when I could have been doing something more productive on this last Monday of Christmas break. But, to my surprise, I find myself mentioned on a complete stranger's blog. No idea who she is, but it's nice to know that maybe I don't just write to an empty void in the "ether" as Christy said today. Perhaps it's a smaller world than I once thought it was.


Growing pains

As I was cleaning out my closet today and discarding clothes I don't often wear, I discovered something frightful. I'm getting an old body, or better "more mature." The pants my mother altered to fit my 20 inch waist at skinny 16 no longer close properly. Yikes! This is dreadfully disheartening. "If only I could fit into college jeans" takes on new meaning...


Happy New Year!

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne? And days of auld lang syne, my dear,
And days of auld lang syne.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And days of auld lang syne?

We twa hae run aboot the braes
And pu'd the gowans fine.
We've wandered mony a weary foot,
Sin' auld lang syne.
Sin' auld lang syne, my dear,
Sin' auld lang syne,
We've wandered mony a weary foot,
Sin' auld ang syne.
We twa hae sported i' the burn,
From morning sun till dine,
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

Sin' auld lang syne, my dear,
Sin' auld lang syne.
But seas between us braid hae roared
Sin' auld lang syne.

And ther's a hand, my trusty friend,
And gie's a hand o' thine;
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

I'm not sure which I should be amused by -- either the fact that my Dad actually printed his kids' blog URLs in the annual Christmas newsletter, or that someone actually noticed and took the time to surf the web! :)

In any case, I guess it worked.
Mrs. Smith (at least I assume "Susan" was Mrs. Smith... I don't know any other Susans), I'm glad you found the blog. Mom's email is dlkoons@aol.com. Have a Happy New Year!