- Every time I drink coffee I have to remind myself that in 2+ hours I may feel guilty/paranoid and that nothing will actually be wrong it’ll just be that I drank coffee 2 hours ago
- Rapists and serial killers are dangerous and frightening in their own right. But I presume (perhaps wrongly) that everyone (almost without exception) is aware that rape and serial murder is wrong (or at least legally culpable). To me the wretchedness of humanity is more terrifyingly displayed on the comments section of youtube. The debased personality and potential for degradation that men and women hold is exhibited more potently in the unsmiling face of a customer who throws a grand sense of middle class entitlement into a retail employee’s smiling face (or the retail employee who throws the same sense of entitlement into a customer’s wallet). Yet nowhere do I feel the wretchedness of humanity more…
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I Graduated From University Today.
Nevertheless, the weeks leading up to it have been fantastic. I’ve tried to soak up as much of NYC as possible this semester and the last few weeks have included some particularly great experiences.
The opportunity to portray James Agee in a reading of the Agee/Evans project, a new play based on Agee’s novel Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, directed by Obie Award winner Rachel Chavkin.
Cock…No but really you should see it
Trips to museum(s)
Sunrise walks along the Brooklyn Bridge…did you go see cock?
A woman’s attempt to lead me in glossalalia
Boat Ride around the city
(A kind of savory octopus filled zeppole covered in seaweed and fish skin flakes…mad tasty…but seriously you should see Cock)
But one event in particular stood out in this week leading up to graduation which I’d like to share with you now.
my friend Brandon Pfeltz invited me to a Glen Hansard concert.
Hansard is an Irish songwriter famous for his work with his band The Frames, the folk duo The Swell Season, and the movie Once.
Brandon is a huge Hansard fan. He’s seen him 9 times and had recently gotten free tickets to a very small private set that Hansard was performing for about 40 people at the Living Room in the Lower East Side.
I, on the other hand, had never listened to Mr. Hansard’s music and Brandon felt that this would be a prime opportunity for me to become initiated into the musical world of the Irish busker.
He was right.
Personally, “folk music” has always been somewhat of a dirty word to me. Although I often love folk music…local (often working class) music that is isolated from the commercialism or elitism of mainstream music…the genre of “folk music” has always conjured in my mind the American variant of watered down blues and country music which has been Anglicized and intellectualized beyond recognition of it’s emotional and physical roots. No Soul.
So with Hansard sometimes being labeled as “folky” I was unsure of how I would respond.
Well, I have to say…
Loads of Soul.
Seated 5 feet away from Glen Hansard, I experienced one of the most beautiful, energetic, and intimate performances I’ve ever been to.
The room was electric (as they say…who are they?…I don’t know) , but not in a sharp way, more like a low buzz. Surrounded by his close friends (and possibly some family members), Brandon and I later realized we were some of the few members of the audience who were not friends or family of Hansard.
The Last Song
As the set was wrapping up, I felt very content. Pleased that Brandon had invited me to such a performance. Hansard asked us to join him in singing “The Auld Triangle”…the last song.
He then informed us that a buddy of his was going to sing with him.
That buddy, was Bono.
Now in living in New York, I’ve often tried my best not to express excessive excitement over celebrity sightings which occur every so often.
However, I must admit that I was pretty excited to be 5 feet away from Bono as he sang in a room not much bigger than my living room at home. (I quivered a bit…you ever quiver?)
Glen Hansard and Paul Hewson aka Bono
Afterwards I had the pleasure of thanking Glen Hansard for his set and asked if he would mind if I gave him my CD. He was very generous with his time and I think would have allowed for a longer conversation had I prepared anything beyond my simple…”uh…thanks.”
All in all, twas quite the way to end the semester.
And for those of you who are unsatisfied by written word and photographs, thankfully they were filming the performance that evening so I can share the performance itself with you. Enjoy.
Do you know what this is?
It’s a cock of hay…(but seriously, go see Cock.)
“It Could Happen!” – J.P
So I recently posted a video on Facebook.
This Video actually…Go ahead and watch it, I’ll wait.
The video was sent to me by a classmate who knew I was a fan of Dr. Tyson.
I liked the video primarily because it added a certain level of humanity and emotion to a subject (astrophysics) which is usually perceived as cold, logical, and Platonic (or Diotomic) at best if we want to get philosophical.
Upon posting the video, a friend of mine responded by saying that while the video was very compelling aesthetically, it was incorrect because it conflicted with the Biblical description of Creation. This friend was also amazed at the hostile response received on youtube from atheists/agnostics for posting the assertion that the video was a lie due to the conflict of interest with Biblical truth.
I being a follower of Yeshua Ha-Mashiach (Jesus Christ), a believer in the historical accuracy of the Bible, and this being a friend whose wisdom and opinion I respect and have often taken to heart in the past, I felt compelled to answer and convey:
- The context in which Dr. Tyson is most likely coming from in the video.
- Why Tyson’s key points about the stars and creation don’t necessarily have to conflict with the Biblical model for Creation.
- An explanation for cogent hostility in discussions concerning “science” and “spirituality”
This was what I wrote:
“I re-watched the video and I can’t say I saw or heard any point in which Tyson called G-d a liar or alluded to the errancy of the Bible. He said that the astrophysical evidence which he has either discovered (in some instances) or been presented with (at other times) exhibits that the atoms that make up the building blocks of life as we know it can be found in the thermonuclear active core of stars. To Tyson, who I’m sure follows the 2nd law of thermodynamics which states that (paraphrasing) “order tends to disorder”, it would make sense that the only way in which atoms could be scattered into the universe in order to form larger more complex molecules to in turn create complex forms of life, would be from a molecularly rich star exploding its guts all over the place.
Due to the fact that this process
(the exploding star guts process)
has been shown to create complex molecules from gas clouds (made up of dust essentially), most scientists see this as a very plausible way in which life was created. But since they haven’t actually seen cats, dogs, and humans created in this way, they deduce that it just takes a very long time. So to Tyson, the scientific data that has been gathered either by him or other astrophysicists seems to point fairly logically in the direction of stars being the source for the building blocks of life.
So now on to the Bible.
The Bible says that the stars were made before men and women. Before birds and fish. Before vegetation. Before much of the complex life on Earth. It states that the stars were created on the fourth day as you said. This does not, however, mean that G-d did not necessarily use atoms from stars which I presume he can pull apart if he so chooses, in order to form molecular gas/dust clouds and from that dust, which he had used to build complex forms of life on Earth already, created Adam. Now I clearly cannot say dogmatically that this is what went down. But it doesn’t seem a completely absurd or Biblically inaccurate idea.
As far as time goes…
there is an issue. But if G-d is sovereign and omnipotent and the Creator of the “scientific” world, than it makes sense that he could speed certain elements of the Big Bang up (which he could have caused since it would seem that the “Bang” would cause a lot of energy/light (which He “let there be…”). As far as the age of the universe…all I can say is I don’t know enough about how scientists have gone about that to either defend it or criticize it. But from what I’ve heard or learned this far…
it doesn’t seem like they’re 100% sure on that anyway.
So I’m not saying that Neil deGrasse Tyson is completely correct in all of his beliefs about the universe. But this particular insight which is based on a large amount of empirical evidence doesn’t seem to be overly far fetched or at odds with Biblical truth. Maybe just a bit unfinished…
just like that whole world being flat thing.
As far as the angry non-Christian thing goes.
How would/do you react when non-Christians post comments on your blog stating that the Bible is untrue? I’m not saying that you become vulgar or unaccepting of them, but merely drawing a similarity between your faith in a G-d who you have a personal relationship with and discern information and truth from through the Bible, through other Christians, through Church tradition, and possibly every once in awhile through an explicit voice and the faith which many non-Christians have in science which is often largely based on logical equations that seem to makes sense, friends who may be scientists or studious in that area, teachings in school, and every once in awhile cold hard explicit empirical data.
Now I’m definitely NOT justifying the abuse of Christians and freedom of religion or belief by non-Christians who merely want to hurt or ridicule Believers. And I’m definitely NOT saying that a faith in science constructed by man is as meaningful or as accurate as a faith in a relationship and reality which G-d has setup. What I AM saying is that it’s possible that many non-Christians are hurt by the bluntness of being told their faith is a lie and completely useless in the same way that you are hurt and taken aback by the rejection of your faith and joy you have in Yeshua of Nazareth.
So anyway, I’m not saying that we have to compromise the truth with which we have been so privileged as to be given by the Creator of the universe. But if G-d is as sovereign and omnipotent as we believe, than he doesn’t need our defending. It seems that He would merely desire us to live his truth as best we can by loving him, loving our neighbor, and THEN trying to discern his true meaning in the rest of his Word through the Holy Spirit. Therefore, I don’t see the harm in stopping to consider the possibility of the coalescence of certain scientific and scriptural thought in order to draw scientific minded people to logical truth which G-d has revealed, as long as the scientific thought has not clearly been provided in order to maliciously undermine and blaspheme the truth of Yeshua of Nazareth the Son of G-d.”
So what I was trying to say more or less
I probably erred on the side of saying more, come to think of it
was that if we believe (as allegedly most Americans do) that spirituality not only exists but actually occurs in this present world that we live in. Than Science and Spirituality shouldn’t necessarily have to be discussed philosophically as though they are mutually exclusive.
After all, both are largely faith based considering most of us haven’t personally conducted scientific studies on the Big Bang or learned Greek, Latin, Hebrew, and Aramaic to read the oldest manuscripts of the Bible. Yet both science and scripture are believed by many to describe how the Universe operates.
Isn’t it possible that what we label “spiritual” could potentially just be on a molecular level which we can’t understand or perceive at this point. That doesn’t make it unreal or unquantifiable. It just means that WE can’t quantify it right NOW.
Though that is kinda the definition of “unscientific” isn’t it? Or are we just “spiritualizing” too much? Maybe “philosophizing” is more like it. Hmm, semantics? What were we talking about again?
Dr. Tyson? Time for your rebuttal.
Modern Philosophy, Spanish, Forensic Chemistry, Directing Class, Business of Acting, Community Service Class, Auditions, Callbacks, CastingSchedulingProductionMeetingsANDREADTHROUGHSANDHIGHSCHOOLMENTORINGANDANDAND
“WE DON’T HAVE TIME FOR THIS!”
– Jack Bauer in Every Episode of 24
While the busy-ness of life has been hectic and my high school self would be terrified at such a future…I’m finally coming to grips with being behind in life as a state of being.
Now this isn’t to say I’m working all the time…
Far From It
But being ok with not having every single thing done on my Lifetime To-Do List by the end of weekend is not such a bad deal.
I’ve never viewed myself as a type A personality (and I still don’t). However, I have realized something recently:
When I’m busy…I get more work done.
For those of you who were completely unimpressed and “in the know” about this revelation (I’m sure there are many of you), I figured I’d share with you one of the things I was doing this weekend when I could have also been doing homework, or recording, or preparing for a mentoring session, or… you get the idea.
Casting The Gambler
Auditions started for The Gambler Thursday. If you haven’t been following, The Gambler is a show which I’ve adapted from Dostoevsky’s novel of the same name, and which I’m directing through a University-based theatre company this November.
The whole process has been a great learning experience. From putting together a production team (stage manager, lighting designer, etc…) to scheduling auditions. These pre-show responsibilities alone have been excellent teachers in delegation, organization, and chilling out amidst craziness. A big part of the “chilling out” part was really aided by having Deanna, my Assistant Director/Girlfriend (yeah I’ll let you know how that turns out) and Lizzy, my Stage Manager, doing so much prep work, helping me organize auditions, and clarify my intentions to my production team. Collaboration is definitely the name of the game right now.
The Big Picture
As an actor, it’s really easy to think of an audition as all about you. This self awareness quickly can lead to terror when we consider it as a selection or rejection of our entire personality and talent.
What was enlightening about being on the other side of the table is that…it’s all about what the director needs…and sometimes…he/she just doesn’t need us. And it’s our job as the actor to be indispensable. And to be ok with the fact that sometimes…we’re not.
There were plenty of actors that were really talented and who I really would’ve liked to work with. But I just didn’t need their specific talents for the project I was working on. But funny enough…the very day I cast my show…some of those same actors were approached by other directors and those actors were hired for jobs in which they’re specific talents were needed.
So Now What
Well now that I’ve written the script, cast the show, and assembled a production team…what’s next?
Rehearsals, Rehearsals, Rehearsals.
I’m terrified and excited to begin taking even more time out of the week to meet with a bunch of people in a room to read words aloud which will eventually be recited by memory to another group of people for their entertainment. Sounds awesome doesn’t it?
Well trust me when I say…
It might be.
Heavy Stuff Mr. Oliver
is it really veritable
or just parenthetical
hop stop skip stamps
laced with your whiskers
wear on my mind
made heavy with humidity
and drunk with sobriety
everything in moderation
but your teachings
they should be avoided altogether
along with cartesian porkstuffs
wait…it’s too Dead
Copyright © 2011 by George Scholes Robson V
As I write this I’m sitting in my hotel room listening to Handel and I’ve been in P-town preparing and performing in the Tennessee Williams Fest for almost a week now. The days seem to run together. It feels as though it’s all been one really long day, ranging from fun and fantastic, to exhausting and frustrating. As usual I’ve had the manic bi-polar reaction to artistic output throughout the week.
I hate all the minutiae and tediousness of commuting and prep work and trying to please the perfectionist in me and I ask myself:
“WHY DO I DELUDE MYSELF INTO THINKING I ENJOY THIS!”
This being, composing music/acting/anything that isn’t an easy straightforward boring desk job.
But also as usual, the very minute an audience is added to the picture…BANG…
ECSTASY!…Oops wrong picture…
That’s the one.
I start thinking, “This is wonderful, I could do this every day, this is such a beautiful day, I’m invincible! Leaping over buildings in a single bound!”
Either way, during both of these moods, one thing has remained constant: A warm familial support from the cast. I probably wouldn’t have been able to perform anywhere near the level I’ve been performing or continue to use my creative juices without the encouragement and support from the cast.
Two things make me work more than anything else…Anger and Encouragement. While Anger is excellent at getting me to produce, it can also become exhausting and paralyzing after the burst of creativity. Encouragement is a longer lasting and more stable catalyst for creativity and I’ve had no short supply of it here.
Aside from that, there have been some gorgeous days (such as the one in the photo at the beginning of this post) and I’ve had some wonderful time to skip rocks and pray and relax along the Atlantic.
and then in a few more days…on to the next project…