Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Culture and Causes

Now that the giddiness of a third Stanley Cup for the Penguins has started to fade away, this week offers some good opportunities to take in some culture and rally behind some good causes.

The Barry Tuckwell Institute returns this week to the Mesa State campus, as well as other venues around town. I wrote last year about this unique gathering of professional and amateur French Horn players, under the tutelage of one of the recognized masters of the instrument. A press release and performance schedule is available here. See you on Friday night.

The Reeltime Series at the KAFM Radio Room presents a very unique and engrossing film this coming Thursday night. Sita Sings the Blues is an animated telling of the Indian epic poem Ramayana, interspersed with a modern-day story and peppered with the 20's and 30's-era jazz vocal stylings of Annette Hanshaw.

What is unique about the film is that it was created by one woman on her laptop over the course of 5 years. Nina Paley has also made the film available for download under a Creative Commons license, albeit with some disruptive activity from the more greed-based segments of the entertainment industry.

The film has not only achieved critical acclaim, but is achieving a sort of cult status as one of the centerpieces of the Copyleft and Free Content initiatives. In this context, the film has the potential to contribute significantly to the noble cause of allowing flexibility and openness to be an integral part of the distribution and fair use of creative works.

You can download the film, or watch it via YouTube and other streaming services. I watched a little bit online, and enjoyed what I saw, so I'm going for more on the big screen. Hope to see you there.

The local music scene will be focused on the Hot Tomato Cafe this Saturday, as the Save the Tomato benefit runs from 11 til 9. Come out and support the Cafe's effort to move to a more hospitable location. I heard that about 25 people were outside the Tomato last night to greet the members of the Masonic Lodge as they gathered for their monthly meeting. Good for them...

Perhaps the biggest event to support the fight against the biggest cause is this weekend's Relay For Life at Canyon View Park. I would like to (and probably should) participate more in this; I feel that I missed out on perhaps a fun opportunity this year, as the theme for the various
teams that will be participating is movies.

I was envisioning myself and an unknown group of characters as the cast of The Fisher King, itself a rather unique tale of healing and redemption. I had quite a few laughs to myself seeing this group break out in song, like Robin Williams and his cohorts did: "I like New York in June, how about you?"...

I'll be out there to purchase some of the Relay's signature luminaria, and cheer on the participants, before I go to work in the middle of the night. Late last month I got to see Leslie's daughter Michaela participate in her second survivor's walk at a Relay in the Pittsburgh area. It will be good to honor those who have also survived, as well as those who we will always remember. Be strong, be courageous, be giving..

See you around.

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