In case you haven’t been following the Mormon Poetry Slam at home and have an interest in Mormon poetry (I mean, who doesn’t, right?), here’s an update (which I initially posted here):
The final performance in the slam—which I’ve been hosting on FireinthePasture.org and which as far as I know is the first online competition of its kind—posted last Friday. (You can find the event archive here). Now it’s time to determine the winner of the Audience Choice Award and we need your help with that because, well, the participants need the audience to vote. So, if you would: Take several minutes to consider the slam performances, then vote for your favorite before Wednesday’s end (voting rules are outlined below). For your consideration and reviewing pleasure, here are the fourteen entries, listed in order of appearance: Continue reading “Wrapping up the #MormonPoetrySlam”
On December 12, I received my copy of the two-volume Mormons and Popular Culture in the mail. know it’s not out until the 31st, but Praeger‘s the sort of classy joint that hooks the contributor up before the general population. I think this is the first time in my career I’ve received a copy of my work before the general public. . . .
Anyway, the two-volume work covers the gamut from film to football, with surveys on everything from comics to historical sites and closeups on folks from Stephenie Meyer to Glenn Beck. Some of the essays are versions of ones we know like Randy Astle’s work on cinema and some are utterly new. I mean—did you know about Rose Marie Reid? Continue reading “Mormons and Popular Culture: The Global Influence of an American Phenomenon edited by J.Michael Hunter– coming soon to a university (but probably not a personal) library near you”
I’m late in saying this, but it still should be said: if you haven’t already, I’d recommend reading Randy Astle’s presentation from the November 2010 Mormon Media Studies symposium. What Randy does is take a look at the major schools of film criticism and then propose the method he thinks is most amenable to a Mormon worldview *and* that a Mormon worldview can enrich as a theory of how film operates. I don’t want to discourage readers from clicking through to his presentation so I won’t reveal what that is, but I will quote what he has to say about the importance of criticism.
Spencer W. Kimball’s “The Gospel Vision of the Arts” is admittedly ubiquitous in discussions of Mormon art and media, and it is usually cited for his predictions of remarkable future accomplishments, for instance that Mormon-themed “masterpieces should run for months in every movie theater, cover every part of the globe in the tongue of the people, written by great artists, purified by the best critics.” But while LDS filmmakers, in this case, have reason to rejoice in this prophetic benediction, it is my firm belief that the most important point is the final one, that the best critics must purify our films and, by extension, other media.
The latest (v. 42, no. 4) issue of Dialogue features another important Mormon film article by Randy Astle* titled “What Is Mormon Cinema? Defining the Genre.” Astle pulls together work by Mormon (Preston Hunter) and non-Mormon film critics (Hamid Naficy, Rick Altman) in an attempt to position Mormon film as somewhere (Astle says “positioned in the interstices”) between genre and ethnic cinema.
The article is available via a subscription to Dialogue, but Randy has generously allowed me to excerpt a few passages here at AMV. To start out with I want to present his basic summary of the second point of his two-part purpose for the article (the first is to offer up the case for “approaching Mormon film from a taxonomical perspective” — I’m going to assume that most of AMV’s readers already believe in the merits of such an approach, or at least allow that such an approach can be a useful exercise in literary criticism). Continue reading “Randy Astle on “What is Mormon Cinema?””
This fall will see a flurry of minor but important developments in the evolution of Mormon cinema. I don’t know how things look on the ground in Utah (there were a few movies this year whose release dates came and went and didn’t blip my radar at all), but as far as I can tell we’re in a quiet period for the field so I’m pleased to see this much activity.
Here are the headlines: Randy Astle has started a networking site for filmmakers; Christian Vuissa’s new film is coming out this fall; the indie film “White on Rice,” by Mormon David Boyle, is gaining some buzz; and the Audience Alliance’s first film “Broken Hill” will test Kieth Merrill’s hope for a family-friendly alternative to Hollywood.
Full details after the jump. Continue reading “Four pieces of Mormon cinema news”