The Whitney Awards, Irreantum submissions and an Angolan artist

A quick look at the Whitney Awards

By now, I’m sure all of AMV’s readers have seen the announcement of this year’s finalists for the Whitney Awards. Congratulations to AMV’s Jonathan Langford for being selected as a finalist in the General Fiction category. He is also eligible for the best novel by a new author award. Full disclosure: I am not a Whitney voter. I believe Theric is. I don’t know if anybody else associated with AMV is. Updated disclosure, 3/21/2010: Rob Wells convinced me to be a Whitney Awards voter. I will be for sure voting in the Speculative Fiction and Historical Fiction categories. It is also quite likely that I will be able to finish reading the novels in the General Fiction category, as well.

I’ve compiled a quick breakdown of who published the finalists. It’s a pretty decent mix, actually: Continue reading “The Whitney Awards, Irreantum submissions and an Angolan artist”

An interview with Mormon musicologist Jeremy Grimshaw

Yesterday, I posted an excerpt from Jeremy Grimshaw’s new book The Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers, which is available from Mormon Artists Group. Younger denizens of the Bloggernacle might not recognize Jeremy’s name, but he started an excellent blog focused on Mormon culture called Orson’s Telescope way back in February, 2004. He brought sharp writing and humorous commentary to the mix and I became a major fan. Sadly, but understandably, he had to shut the blog down just a little over a year later to focus on his dissertation. The attempt at discipline must have worked because now he’s an Assistant Professor of Music at BYU.  In the following interview, we talk about his new book, his work on Mormon minimalist composer La Monte Young (which AMV has featured before), and a couple of other topics.

So last the Bloggernacle was really aware of Jeremy Grimshaw was when you shut down your excellent blog Orson’s Telescope to focus on your dissertation. Catch us up briefly — how did you get from there to where you are now?

I completed by Ph.D. in musicology with emphases in American experimental music and world music.  Out of grad school, I taught for two years at Denison University, a small, wonderful liberal arts college in central Ohio. I never really anticipated returning to Utah, at least not so quickly, but some curricular changes at BYU resulted in the creation of a new position. Next thing I knew, I was in Provo.

Some of our newer AMV readers may not be familiar with your work. Can you re-explain your studies and analysis of the work of La Monte Young?

Although his is not a household name, except perhaps in certain circles, La Monte Young is one of the most important American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. As an central figure in the New York scene of the 1960s, he curated a famous experimental concert series at Yoko Ono’s loft, collaborated with Andy Warhol, was a mentor to founding members of the Velvet Underground, and became the patriarch of the minimalist movement in music.  He became known for such works as his monumental 6-hour composition for alternately tuned piano, The Well-Tuned Piano, and the ongoing electronic installation known as the Dream House, which he created with his wife, the visual artist Marian Zazeela. Brian Eno, the electronic composer and producer for Talking Heads, U2, and David Bowie, calls him “the granddaddy of us all.”

An excerpt from The Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers

Last week Mormon Artists Group announced the availability of a fine edition version of BYU Assistant Professor of Music Jeremy Grimshaw’s The Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers, an account of his trip to the island to study gamelan music and subsequent efforts to start a gamelan orchestra in Utah. I’m pleased to bring you the following excerpt from the book. Tomorrow I’ll post a Q&A with Jeremy.

The fine edition version is limited to 25 copies and costs $125. You can purchase it (and read more about it) at (for some reason the website doesn’t do direct links to its pages — so click on “Works” when the page loads and then The Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers). Other editions of this title may become available in the future. Mormon Artists Group fine editions almost always sell out so if this does interest you and is within  your means, act quickly.

From the section on unpacking the gamelan instruments when they arrive in Provo.


When the instruments arrived, I couldn’t help but notice that the unpacking party was a kind of music of its own: a polyphonic chorus of hammering, the groan of boards being forced out of square, nails squealing at the pull of crowbars. The twenty-one crates, some of them as big as refrigerators and all of them sturdy enough to protect their heavy, precious cargo on the nine thousand mile, three month- long journey from Bali, Indonesia, to Provo, Utah, put up quite a fight before giving up their contents. Continue reading “An excerpt from The Island of Bali is Littered with Prayers”