The Real News Archive (Archive Home)

August, 2005

August 28, 2005

Kabbalah: Feeling the Spirit of Prayer

This rabbi extols the joy of experiencing an intimate connection to the Almighty.

His core belief is that prayer should be deeply felt, not just read. "The written material is freeze-dried spirituality," he says. To demonstrate how meditation deepens prayer, he closes his eyes, gently sways and slowly utters "Baruch ... ata ...," the words that begin most Jewish prayers. Kabbalah does more than reconnect Jews to God, says Schachter-Shalomi. "My mind can't wrap itself around what the soul knows." Ultimately, Kabbalah attunes them to the world's deeper rhythms and meanings—those that can't be easily seen or measured, only felt. -read entire article-

 

August 21, 2005

A year of dialogue

Article published Aug 21, 2005

GREENSBORO -- Guilford College's upcoming "Year of Spirit and Spirituality" will include public conversations with Nobel Peace Prize winner Bishop Desmond Tutu, author Amy Tan and conservative icon Ralph Reed.

Tutu, author of "Apartheid in the Holy Land," Tan, who wrote the international best-seller "Joy Luck Club," and Reed, former executive director of the powerful Christian Coalition, are part of the Quaker school's effort to spark discussion of faith traditions and issues involving religion that affect everyday life.

The school plans to spend $300,000 on speakers and events -- including a series on science and religion and monthly discussions in which the faculty and staff share their spiritual and vocational journeys.

Various departments have also taken on the year's theme, with the school's art gallery, for example, sponsoring the exhibit "Thresholds: Expressions of Art and Spiritual Life."

At no time in history has dialogue been more important, organizers say.

"Daily headlines scream out the need for civil, open discussion on topics of spirit and spirituality," said Max Carter, director of campus ministry at Guilford College. "...With questions of whether we can allow Muslims to swear on the Quran, what kind of religious impact a Supreme Court nominee might have... if women, gays, lesbians -- fill in the blanks -- can equally be the recipient of the outpouring of God's spiritual gifts."

Other big-name speakers include: Karen Armstrong, a former nun who wrote the tell-all book, "Through the Narrow Gate"; Robert Thurman, the first Westerner ordained a Tibetan Buddhist monk and chairman of religious studies at Columbia University; Bill Moyers, the award-winning broadcast journalist; and Julie Butterfly Hill, the environmental activist who lived in a California redwood tree for 738 days to prevent logging.

Don't overlook lesser-known names or discussions not held in the larger venues, Carter said.

"If people attend only the 'big ticket' events, they'll miss the richest part of the year," he said.

Lon Fendall, for example, is the former chief of staff for Sen. Mark Hatfield and is an expert on peacemaking in the genocidal areas of Africa.

Peter Blood and Annie Patterson are authors of the internationally-acclaimed song book, "Rise up Singing." Niyonu Spann, academic dean at Pendle Hill, the Quaker Center for Study and Contemplation, is a member of the "Tribe One" a cappella group, which promotes social justice through rhythmic music and dance.

Each has a personal story of faith and spirit.

"Students and others are looking for a spiritual dimension to their lives in an age of materialism, conflict and self-centeredness," said Guilford College President Kent Chabotar, who is Catholic. "They want a sense of moral values whether or not they belong to that religion."

For example, the testimonies of the Society of Friends, the Quakers, are spirituality, peace, integrity, community and equality, Chabotar said. "Those are values that Protestants, Muslims, Catholics and other religions can share."

The speakers and forums are not only on the college's campus, but also at such local venues as War Memorial Auditorium and First Presbyterian Church. The year's events also include concerts featuring the Grammy-award winning Indigo Girls and gospel singer Shirley Ceasar.

Contact Nancy H. McLaughlin at 373-7049 or nmclaughlin@news-record.com

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The spiritual journey

By SWAGAT RAJ PANDEY

- Fab model seeks enlightenment', 'model turns Buddhist monk' etc. has become the hot and happening news after the leading newspapers and the popular youth magazines covered the change in life-style of a famous 'ex-model' who recently turned into a Buddhist monk.

The majority of the society believed, and still does, that monk, priests, and other followers of different religious sects are the people secluded from worldly atmosphere and living in a world that has a different understanding of life. It is believed that the only concern and way of life they follow is of complete devotion to God or the Holy Spirit all the while meditating or indulging in various rituals. However, Ani Choying Dolma, the "Chinnalata-award-wining singer" for the super-duper hit song 'phulko aankhama', has revolutionized the perception of the society towards monks all for good reasons.

Her lives no longer depicts isolation but examples of social action and spreading of messages of peace, integrity and love not only through her words but with laudatory examples as well.

I understand, being a monk is a transformation; a form of complete devotion and a commitment towards social justice and humanity. However, I couldn't control my mind crossing the horizons of wilderness and pondering as I overheard a conversation between two girls in the micro. They were commenting on the abovementioned 'ex-model' and referring to her change of life-style as 'change of profession'. I am utterly confused.

Is being a monk a change of profession? Certainly not! But the questions don't end there. After the much-publicized news of the above-mentioned model-turned-monk, many of my friends have expressed their desire to become a monk if they fail their exams this time or aren't able to find a decent job soon.

It's true that the spiritual journey begins when we start getting frustrated with the external world. We tend to go inside ourselves when outside is not satisfying us. However, mere incapability to cope with the worldly pressures can't be the sole reason to be a monk per se. Besides, actions of such caliber would be nothing else than a mere escape from the responsibilities and pressures when the going gets tough. Moreover, fending off social obligations and escaping from the social responsibilities feigning the desire for enlightenment would be a demeaning attitude.

According to the Buddhist philosophy, the source of enlightenment is the zafu- the cushion where the devotee sits while meditating- emphasizing that the source of salvation is within us. At this point, I'd like to borrow the lines of Hermann Hesse from his novel "Siddhartha" which reads -"If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha" expressing that Buddha-meaning the enlightened one- is within us and hence we need not search for it outside us.

In reality "We are already enlightened, but we don't realize it" and that can rightly be justified, pondered, analyzed and realized as St. Aristotle philosophizes that "we often have the courage to journey over mountains, deserts and oceans yet we lack the courage to journey within ourselves."

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For 'cabaret cantor,' music and spirituality mix

08/15/05
By Linda Strowbridge

Leaving her doctor's office, Cantor Nancy Ginsberg was relieved that she would have just enough time to sing at a man's funeral before she was admitted to the hospital.

He wasn't a relative or a lifelong friend. He wasn't even a member of her synagogue, Har Sinai in Owings Mills, where she sings as a cantor and leads the congregation in prayer. But his daughter had called Ginsberg out of the blue one day a few months earlier. She had been greatly impressed by Ginsberg at an event and wanted to know if the cantor would visit her old and gravely ill father.

After that first visit, Ginsberg called regularly to check up on both father and daughter.

The news of his death arrived at the worst possible time - Ginsberg was nine months pregnant and in labor. Between contractions, she explained to the daughter why she wouldn't be able to do the funeral and gave the woman the name of a rabbi she should call for assistance.

The contractions, however, stopped. And when Ginsberg's doctor scheduled her for a cesarean section later that week, she quickly called the daughter to announce that she would sing at the funeral after all.

So at 10 o'clock on a May morning, Ginsberg arrived at the Sol Levinson & Bros. Funeral Home. She performed the service "and then I said, 'I have to go have a baby now.'"

Michael - the miracle child she had hoped for after several miscarriages - arrived at 4:17 p.m.

"I didn't have to think twice about doing that funeral," Ginsberg said.

"That woman will never forget that, and I will never forget that because I have touched her life, and she has touched me."

It's those kinds of moments that convince Ginsberg she made the right career choice.

You see, Ginsberg abandoned a blossoming career as an opera singer in Italy and sidelined her passion for singing cabaret in New York City to be a cantor.

"One of the reasons that I became a cantor is that it allowed me to do so many more things than if I was an opera singer or sang on Broadway.

"It has allowed me to touch more people's lives," Ginsberg said. -read entire story-

~ ~ ~

Carpool Spirituality

Travel time is prime time for lessons about God and values

A brief history of quality time:

Ancient nomads sat around the campfire, telling stories and passing along oral traditions to the next generation.

Pioneers gathered their children at the hearth to read the Bible and say prayers.And now, modern parents impart spiritual values from the driver's seat of the minivan, as they transport youngsters to school, sports and other activities.

"That's my quality time with my kids," said Cindy Hammons, a mother of three in Tioga, Texas, about 50 miles north of Dallas in Grayson County.

At home, laundry, cooking and other chores beckon. But in the car, "you have the time to give them that conversation. You know you have a set amount of time to talk with them."

The Rev. Marsha Engle Middleton sings Christian children's songs with her 3-year-old daughter, Hannah Beth Middleton, while running errands.

Mimi Doe, an author and founder of the Web site SpiritualParenting.com, said making good use of car time is a must. "People are so frantic," she said. "Many find the only time they're together is in the car, en route to some activity."

The Rev. Jill Jackson-Sears, pastor of Inglewood United Methodist Church in Grand Prairie, said she and her two young children like to sing hymns together in the car – a tradition her toddler initiated.

"We probably wouldn't do it any other place," she said.

Ms. Jackson-Sears spends two to three hours a day in the car, shuttling between home, child care and her office.

According to a 2003 study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, children 5 and younger spent an average of 65 minutes a day in the car. (Until that survey, the department kept no such statistics for youngsters. That changed when experts began to suspect that parents transporting kids were contributing significantly to traffic congestion.)

And a University of Michigan study showed that while parents are spending slightly more time with their kids than 20 years ago, much of that additional time is in the car.

So some parents devise creative strategies for turning car time into devotional time. -read entire story-

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August 14, 2005

Spirit Of The Buffalo Horn

It's a form of artwork with a long history in the Lakota culture. Buffalo horn art can even be traced back to Crazy Horse. Despite this, the practice of using buffalo horns to make art pieces had nearly died out. But it is coming back, thanks to a man on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Kevin Pourier creates masterpieces...from shiny black earrings to polished spoons. But it's what the Oglala man uses to create artwork that amazes people.

Artist Kevin Pourier said, "It's carved buffalo horn. I'm a buffalo horn artist."

Ever since he was a child, the 46-year old has had the skills to carve. But he never pursued this passion. Instead, life became hard.

Pourier said, "I didn't think I was going to live over 30 years old and so I road hard and partied hard and was into everything that I could do, drugs and alcohol."

While living with friends in the late 1980's, Pourier saw something that reminded him of his happy childhood. His friends were carving.

Pourier said, "About a year later, I started carving deer antler and then I switched to buffalo horn for some reason. The shine of the buffalo horn was some much beautiful than the deer antler."



And it was that shine that ended up lighting his way to a new life. Through every intricate detail he carves, he is getting in touch with his spirituality.

Pourier said, "The buffalo spirit lives in the horn cap. Our work has spirit."

It's a spiritual journey and skill that's been a part of his culture for hundreds of years.

Pourier said, "These are things that my ancestors made. There's artist probably on every reservation that paint and draw on buffalo hides. I know artist that make things out of buffalo ribs and it's just carrying on that way of not wasting anything."

His art helped him find peace in his life. The carvings began to get noticed in the art world. He was even profiled in several national magazines. The amount of time it takes Pourier to complete each art piece varies. For a pair of earrings, it takes him about day to make them. But when it comes to his buffalo spoons, it takes nearly half year to make them.

Pourier said, "What I do is no one else does and that's what's the coolest thing about this buffalo horn is that I'm unclassifyable when I go to a show. I'm the only one there with the type of art that I do."

Today, Pourier is a regular in the art scene, travelling across the nation with his artwork.
His work always surprises people.

Pourier said, "For six to seven years, we had to educate curators, judge after judge after judge, curators on what they were looking at."

And Pourier has experienced a transformation himself. Just as he's brought out the beauty in worn out buffalo horns, he has also found the beauty in his own life.

Pourier said, "It has that spirit and I believe that's why these good things have been happening because we treat our material with respect. This is a carrying on of tradition and it has a spirit. That's why we keep doing it."

Pourier is preparing for a large art show that will take place in two weeks in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Then he's off to showcase his buffalo horn art pieces at a show in New York City in September.

~ ~ ~

`Voyage' sets Muslim dad, son on road to Mecca
By Michael Wilmington
Tribune movie critic

August 12 2005

"Le Grand Voyage" is a road movie of an especially refreshing and, finally, uplifting kind. A French/Moroccan film by the young Moroccan writer-director Ismael Ferroukhi, making his feature debut, it's about a journey to Mecca by Reda (Nicolas Cazale), a young Frenchman of Moroccan descent, and his stern traditionalist father (Mohamed Majd). Reda is a breezy, leather-jacketed bound-for-college guy who's been pretty Westernized, with a casual attitude and sometimes hedonistic traits that rile his strict Muslim father. The conflicts begin almost immediately.

Like most road films, this one--following the quarreling twosome from France to Saudi Arabia--sets its protagonists against picturesque backdrops and surrounds them with colorful characters they meet in transit. And like many of the best, it becomes an emotional and spiritual journey, particularly one of reconciliation between warring generations, as well as a physical one.

But "Voyage " is also notable for the way it depicts Islamic culture and people, presenting what director Ferroukhi calls "the other 97 percent." "I really wanted to rehumanize a community with [its] reputation sullied by an extreme minority, which uses the religion for political ends," he says. Ferroukhi does put a human face on his community and on his odd-couple father and son. His film, winner of the best first feature prize at the Venice Film Festival, has salty humor and warming compassion. (In French and Arabic with English subtitles.)

`Le Grand Voyage' (star)(star)(star)1/2 (France/Morocco, Ismael Ferroukhi, 2004). Various times, Fri.-Thu. Facets Cinematheque, 1517 W. Fullerton Ave. Call 312-281-4114 or visit www.facets.org/cinematheque.

~ ~ ~

The spiritual journey

By SWAGAT RAJ PANDEY

- Fab model seeks enlightenment', 'model turns Buddhist monk' etc. has become the hot and happening news after the leading newspapers and the popular youth magazines covered the change in life-style of a famous 'ex-model' who recently turned into a Buddhist monk.

The majority of the society believed, and still does, that monk, priests, and other followers of different religious sects are the people secluded from worldly atmosphere and living in a world that has a different understanding of life. It is believed that the only concern and way of life they follow is of complete devotion to God or the Holy Spirit all the while meditating or indulging in various rituals. However, Ani Choying Dolma, the "Chinnalata-award-wining singer" for the super-duper hit song 'phulko aankhama', has revolutionized the perception of the society towards monks all for good reasons.

Her lives no longer depicts isolation but examples of social action and spreading of messages of peace, integrity and love not only through her words but with laudatory examples as well.

I understand, being a monk is a transformation; a form of complete devotion and a commitment towards social justice and humanity. However, I couldn't control my mind crossing the horizons of wilderness and pondering as I overheard a conversation between two girls in the micro. They were commenting on the abovementioned 'ex-model' and referring to her change of life-style as 'change of profession'. I am utterly confused.

Is being a monk a change of profession? Certainly not! But the questions don't end there. After the much-publicized news of the above-mentioned model-turned-monk, many of my friends have expressed their desire to become a monk if they fail their exams this time or aren't able to find a decent job soon.

It's true that the spiritual journey begins when we start getting frustrated with the external world. We tend to go inside ourselves when outside is not satisfying us. However, mere incapability to cope with the worldly pressures can't be the sole reason to be a monk per se. Besides, actions of such caliber would be nothing else than a mere escape from the responsibilities and pressures when the going gets tough. Moreover, fending off social obligations and escaping from the social responsibilities feigning the desire for enlightenment would be a demeaning attitude.

According to the Buddhist philosophy, the source of enlightenment is the zafu- the cushion where the devotee sits while meditating- emphasizing that the source of salvation is within us. At this point, I'd like to borrow the lines of Hermann Hesse from his novel "Siddhartha" which reads -"If you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha" expressing that Buddha-meaning the enlightened one- is within us and hence we need not search for it outside us.

In reality "We are already enlightened, but we don't realize it" and that can rightly be justified, pondered, analyzed and realized as St. Aristotle philosophizes that "we often have the courage to journey over mountains, deserts and oceans yet we lack the courage to journey within ourselves."

~ ~ ~

The five spiritual losses: Modern civilization comes with a price

Stephen Ruppenthal, PhD

The times we live in are full of wealth and opportunities so great that a king or queen of olden times could only have envied them. Housing prices are shooting up to unbelievable highs all over the world, creating millionaires out of ordinary folk.

On our computers, we can be in touch with people tens of thousands miles away at the touch of a mouse. Modern agricultural machinery helps yield such bumper crops that that the world is awash in food. But do we feel richer? If anything, it is the pain of loss that gnaws at people, rather than our feeling the fullness of inward contentment. I would like to talk about the five ways in which people most feel the sting of loss, and how all of us can actively effect a remarkable spiritual transformation of such deficits into strength that can build a better world: -read entire article-

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FIRST CHURCH OF THE HIGHER ELEVATIONS

ERIC WHITNEY: Time now for a book review. We've called on Ed Quillen, columnist for the Denver Post and Co-Publisher of Colorado Central magazine to select a work by a local author. His pick: First Church of the Higher Elevations by Peter Anderson.

ED QUILLEN: Mountains seem to inspire one of two human reactions. One is greed, as in "how quickly can we mine, log, graze, or subdivide this range." And the other is reverence, as in Psalm 121, "I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help."

In this collection of essays, Crestone writer and editor Peter Anderson is blessedly free of greed, but his intense reverence for mountains is often punctuated by everyday worldliness. For instance, he plans a forty-day sojourn into the Henry Mountains of Utah, but cuts it to thirty-six days because he wants to see the NBA finals.

It's this sort of mixture of the supernal with the mundane that I found most engaging in this baker's dozen of contemplative pieces, all of them connected to spirituality and mountains. If there were too much mundane, it would read like a guidebook. If there were too much spirituality, it might read like a sermon, or wander off into those new-age ethereal realms beyond the comprehension of prosaic sorts like myself.

But Anderson finds the right balance. In First Church of the Higher Elevations, he prays and fasts for thirty-six days in the wilderness, works at an agricultural monastery, patronizes a sweat lodge, befriends a priest fond of Yukon Jack whiskey, and tracks down the history of "The Hermit" of Las Vegas, New Mexico, who was reputed to be able to heal the sick. Anderson explores realms beyond and within himself: "Why solitude?" he asks. "It isn't about seeking any great mystical insight or developing some out-of-the-ordinary contemplative skill. It just helps me to listen for an interior voice that is authentic and true and more likely to be found in stillness than in the chaotic mix of voices I usually hear, inwardly and outwardly, in the great flow of the day-to-day. It gives me a chance to eddy out-to spend a little time in the 'still water' where reflection is possible. I don't think Jesus walked into the desert because he expected to find God there; I think he went into solitude so that he could hear more clearly the Inward Teacher that dwells in all of us."

Anderson writes mostly from the Quaker tradition of individual inspiration amid a community of fellow believers. But he also draws on secular sources as he treks across the mountains of Colorado and Utah. He cites John Muir, Jimi Hendrix, and B.B. King. And he has a keen eye for the world around him: "As the mid-day glare obscured the canyons out east of the range, flies buzz through rising heat and winged grasshoppers crackle up then crash in their jerky mate-seeking flight. Even now, in mid-June, the sun is bright enough and strong enough to have me longing for shelter and shade and a camp near running water. But I have been looking for a while now, covering much of this alpine basin without finding that place, and the prospects are beginning to look a little grim."

Anderson is a fluid and graceful writer, but this book is not for fast reading; these essays deserve time for contemplation. In fact, this book just might be the perfect companion on the next multi-day hike you take in order to get away from it all-and ponder your own place in this world.

WHITNEY: You can read more book reviews by Ed Quillen and Martha Quillen at www.cozine.com

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Essay initiative to challenge students in philosophical, spiritual thought

Chancellor to announce project at fall convocation

By STEPHANIE HAMMON / Aggie Staff Writer

In an effort to spark more meaningful thinking and active listening among UC Davis community members, Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef is promoting a new campuswide initiative titled “My Personal Compass.”

For this project, students, faculty, staff and others affiliated with the town and the campus are encouraged to think about what truly matters to them in life — what is at their core essence.

They are then asked to write a 350-word-maximum essay about their thoughts. The essays can be on any philosophical, spiritual, political or civic belief that a person feels strongly about.

“With this project, we are hoping people will be more open to presenting their own thoughts,” said Maril Stratton, assistant chancellor for communications, who is involved with the project. “We hope people will listen more keenly and accurately to what others are saying.”

Stratton said that the Chancellor anticipates the project will also incite people’s thought processes and challenge them to think about other perspectives.

This is not a contest to see who can write the best essay; it is merely a project to get people thinking, writing and listening. As such, there are no winners or losers.

All submitted essays will be posted on a special website created for the initiative.

Additionally, selected essays are expected to appear in future issues of Dateline, UCD’s faculty-staff publication.

“My Personal Compass” is modeled after the National Public Radio program “I Believe.” The NPR show encourages people to think about a wide variety of subjects and consider varying perspectives on the matter.

According to Stratton, the Chancellor feels very passionate about this project.

“The ideas of extending yourself and having new thoughts and understandings have always been of great importance to him,” said Stratton. “He likes people to learn to appreciate differences.”

Vanderhoef will officially announce the start of the “My Personal Compass” initiative on Sept. 28 at the annual fall convocation. He is hoping for some early essay submissions to read as an example at the event.

This year’s convocation’s theme is “Stretching Boundaries of Thought and Experience,” serving as an opportunity for faculty, staff and community members to come together to hear from the Chancellor and begin the academic year.

The event will take place at 11 a.m. in the Mondavi Center’s Jackson Hall.

Stratton said the “My Personal Compass” initiative ties in well with this year’s theme.

Early bird essayists wishing to have their piece considered for reading at the fall convocation can send their essays to mypersonalcompass@ucdavis.edu by Sept. 6.

“Hopefully a lot of people will be intrigued and inspired and will take the time to write an essay,” said Stratton.

STEPHANIE HAMMON can be reached at campus@californiaaggie.com.

August 7, 2005

Beat classic gets on the road at last

Francis Ford Coppola is finally to produce a film of On The Road, Jack Kerouac's Beat generation classic, 37 years after he bought the movie rights.

A script is being prepared by Walter Salles and Jose Riviera, who made The Motorcycle Diaries, a road film about the trip through South America by the revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara in the early 1950s.

Kerouac's 1957 novel has a similar theme, the story of a sleep-deprived, hitch-hiking journey across America.

The writer, who died at 47 with $91 in his bank account, depicted himself as Sal Paradise, who links up with Dean Moriarty, a fast-talking womaniser he idolises for his zest for life.

Billy Crudup is to play the Kerouac character, possibly with Colin Farrell as Moriarty. But the roles of Carlo Marx, based on Allen Ginsberg, and Old Bull Lee, the William Burroughs character, are yet to be filled.

The original manuscript of the book, on a scroll 120ft long, was sold at auction for $2.4 million. Coppola secured the film rights in 1968 as a rising young director, before making The Godfather and Apocalpyse Now.

He initially wanted to shoot it in black and white on 16mm film. Michael Herr, who wrote the narration for Apocalypse Now, worked on a screenplay.

Barry Gifford, who wrote Wild at Heart, tried to complete another script.

Then Russell Banks, author of The Sweet Thereafter, said during a visit to the Edinburgh festival that his screenplay had been approved by the producer. But he later heard that Coppola changed his mind.

With Salles aboard, the project finally looks ready for production. The Brazilian-born director is seen as an ideal choice for the picture. -read entire story-

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Recovering alcoholic uses his pain to heal others

The art used in the projects -- a haunting scene of dark hues -- also carries a message of hope for those who are struggling. In the midst of darkness, the bird can still soar high above the shoreline's sands.

This is the story of an otherwise ordinary Michigan man, retired Michigan State University agriculture professor Robert LaPrad, whose amazing spiritual journey is marked by three shorelines.

I was virtually forced into meeting him. I walked into our Detroit office last week to find one of his paintings blocking access to my desk. As it turned out, one of LaPrad's friends had -- without his knowledge -- delivered the painting, betting it would make me want to write about him.

It was a perfect start to LaPrad's story, because he insists that most people don't choose the experiences that shape their lives. The important question, LaPrad told me when I drove up to his Lansing home to return his painting, is how we behave when confronted with an unexpected shore.

On June 6, 1944, LaPrad was an 18-year-old Detroiter, drafted into the Army and caught up in a stomach-turning ride toward Omaha Beach, the horrific D-Day scene depicted in "Saving Private Ryan."

"That movie is about as close to what happened as we're likely to see," LaPrad told me. "We lost two-thirds of our company. It was so bad that most of us who survived didn't talk about it for 50 years."

Slowly, he lifted the lid off a box containing the Silver Star he was awarded for his decision that day to leave relative safety on the beach to save the life of a wounded man who was drowning in the churning waves.

"But, in France, I drank a lot," LaPrad told me. "We'd use a machine gun, blow holes in kegs of wine and fill up."

Alcoholism, a disorder that runs in LaPrad's family, is the force that eventually pushed him to other shores. -read entire article-

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The Oneness of Breath and Music

Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur's autobiography, Rasa Yatra: My Journey in Music, is important not only because it tells us the musical journey of a genius, but also because it contains comments on other musical stalwarts that could act as the catalyst for a mature debate towards a non-hagiographical understanding of music and musicians.
...
After the formal initiation ceremony, Ustad Manji Khan Saheb taught Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur to sing raga Bhimpalas. In many ways, this rendition "marked" Mansur for life. It set a standard that went beyond the technical nuances of rendering a raga. "Each note beckoned the next note with open arms and one merged into the other", says Pandit Mansur, invoking a deeply sensuous imagery. What was so distinctive about Manji Khan Saheb's singing was the total fusion of "breath and music", to the extent that there was little distinction between the two. Listening to his guru, he realised that "deep within the conscience of an artiste, music has no beginning and no end". The movement of melody, he says, is within the "being" of a singer. In other words, limitations of the body had been transcended and the fusion of breath and music had conspired to create supreme joy.

Pandit Mallikarjun Mansur's autobiography is full of such insights. The Great Master of the Jaipur gharana style of singing was also a deeply thoughtful man. While his autobiography, admirably translated by his son and musical heir, Pandit Rajshekhar Mansur, is titled Rasa Yatra, it is also Pandit Mansur's adhyaatma yatra or spiritual journey. Music and spirituality run like parallel streams in his narrative. He invokes the memory of spiritual mentors with the same devotion as he speaks of his gurus. Therefore, the Arabavi Mahanta Shivayogi's exhortation that total surrender was the highest form of worship became an article of faith in life as well as for music. -read entire article-

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Schirmer's paintings exude spirituality, luminosity
By Staff

ROCKLAND (Aug 2): Rockland artist Phil Schirmer will present a collection of new paintings in egg tempera at the Nan Mulford Gallery, 313 Main Street, opening Wednesday, Aug. 10. The exhibit will extend through Sunday, Sept. 11. An artist’s reception, to which the public is cordially invited, will be held 5–7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10.


Phil Schirmer, Right Now, egg tempera on panel, 2005, 21” x 27 (Image courtesy of Nan Mulford Gallery)

Schirmer has painted in egg tempera, an ancient and painstaking technique, for 25 years. He teaches the technique at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, and his work is widely and enthusiastically collected. Because of the time-consuming nature of the medium, his output is limited; his last show at the Nan Mulford Gallery was two summers ago.

The egg tempera technique, characterized by a subdued luminosity and a sense of enduring calm, is particularly appropriate to Schirmer’s subjects, the granite ledges, evergreens, stone walls, and weathered structures of the Maine coastline. The paintings possess a profound yet elusive spirituality.

The 10 paintings in the exhibit include Right Now, the portrait of a magnificent evergreen whose monumentality is seen primarily in the shadow it casts across an empty field. Another painting, Boss, is a larger-than-life-size homage to a fully realized herring gull, complete with attitude. A third painting shows a beached boat mooring with Rockport’s Indian Island light in the background. Several more are studies of granite rocks or beach stones. Rebel presents a flourishing tree growing triumphantly from a stone breakwater.

The exhibit may be previewed on the gallery website, nanmulfordgallery.com. Also on view at the Nan Mulford Gallery is the work of more than 40 artists in all media.

Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 12–5 p.m. The gallery is also open Wednesdays until 8 p.m. For further information, contact the gallery at 594-8481.