June 2010 Archives

authentic music post

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Authentic Music: Best or Brilliant? Who is to say?

First thing first. I love music - all kinds, all genres. I love listening to music, talking about it, making it. It is a big part of my life. That said, I find this a difficult topic to address. When thinking about authenticity in music, a person needs to move beyond aesthetic appeal, personal taste, and culture - to accomplish this is impossible. Therefore, I do not believe one person can truly judge for others the authenticity of a piece, not even the artist. When creating music, or any type of art, previous history has to come into play. An artists ideas and influences are a big part of what they choose to create.
There have been many visual artists who have tried to break free of the "idea" of art. To recreate the concept of visual art beyond the concepts of traditional values. The Dadaists were such a group. These people were trying to create an authentic experience. My understanding of music is not as deep, though I do recall several early 20th century musicians experimenting outside the realm of what is typically thought of as music. Are these the only people who have created truly authentic art? Does it need to go this far? Most of the population now view these experimental art forms as hokey or far out. How can musicians and artists connect with their audiences on an "authentic" level?
From my point of view, this authenticity must come from the individual listener, and it is their opinion that gives credibility to the artist from their own point of view. When creating personal "authentic" music it needs to be something created from the artist's own humanistic experience. Now, if this is accomplished for the artist or listener the music will certainly sound the 'best' the art stops simply existing as a song, it becomes an emotional journey. It moves you to feel something beyond sound waves hitting your ear. It engages the brain and causes a much deeper experience.
But one person's best could very easily be another person's worst. We are all different - we therefore appreciate different things. Our own personal experiences, personal cultures, and tastes apply. For example, every single one of my friends adores the genius of Tool. They love the lyrics, the brilliance of the music - it is apparently amazing and wonderful in every single way. I personally think it sounds depressing and awful in most cases. I understand it is supposed to be amazing, but I do not like listening to something so dark. My boyfriend loves to listen to it while driving - it energizes and motivates him, it makes him feel inspired. It just makes me want to go to sleep - I find it so dark and depressing. Different tastes.
One of my guilty pleasures is Madonna. I love her music - especially from the 80's. It gives me energy, makes me happy and inspired. The lyrics mean next to nothing however, "Borderline. Feels like I'm going to loose my mind. You just keep on pushing my love over the borderline." Not terribly deep. She probably didn't write that. Is this authentic music? I love it (Borderline is one of my favorite songs), but does it derive deep from Madonna's soul? Probably not.
So the question of authenticity lies in the person, at that specific time and place in their life. We still try to judge, people still win Grammy's, certain bans get signed others do not, certain music stands the test of time, other music fades away into antiquity. It is the work of some artists that reached out across populations and touches on a grander human theme. It is the work of other artists to meet popular tastes, public image and character comes into play here. So today, at this moment I can discuss my personal opinion of what is authentic and what is not - in my own personal opinion.
I do love the Beatles, Cake, Alanis Morrisette, Depesche Mode, Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zeros, Muse, Ani DiFranco, the work of Thomas Newman and Danny Elfman, Ben Folds, George Winston, Pink Floyd, Regina Spektor and Chavelle to name a few. Really, I could go on forever - but this is a perspective of the wide assortment of musical interests.
Some of these artists I enjoy because of what they have to say. Folk artists such as Ani DiFranco have complex poetry to their lyrics, designed to challenge you. Regina Spektor and Ben Folds are classically trained pianists, also very poetic and technically a very talented musicians. Classic rock artists such as the Beatles and Pink Floyd created music before I was even born. I did not live in the time that they were making music, but I feel a connection to their art. While Chavelle has a hard edge that feeds the more aggressive side of me. Depesche Mode makes me smile with their alien synth sounds, Muse is a larger than life spectacle, Edward Sharp feels soulful and makes me think of summer. Cake is driving music. The great film composers bring a whole range of emotions in their work. George Winston makes me think of my mom. It is all arbitrary really. I could not listen to George Winston at a club, and I could not think of Chavelle when I wanted to relax. None of these artists is truly "authentic" they borrow from others. They do not qualify for every situation in life. They make the music they want to make and they do a good job.
I have myself pretty much figured out, what I am interested in is what others think. I am always surprised to hear people defend their favorite artists. Often, they have a completely different notion of the artist than I have come up with on my own. You can see it in a person's eyes when they talk about their favorite music. They get a far away look in their eyes - that song has illuminated their life in some way.

Assignment 1

An assignment I would be interested in assigning is one similar to one I had done in 8th grade.

The students would be required to investigate a theme (war, friendship, love, money et.c) through music. The songs they pick would become their authentic research on a given topic for a visual arts piece. After picking and listening to their music, the students would be required to write a one page paper discussion the investigation of their theme. How does the music encapsulate the theme? What is the artist trying to say in their work? How do you feel when listening to these songs? What, if any, visual ideas are expressed in the songs? The listening and writing will inform the students in a visual arts piece they themselves will create.

the fake news

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I have heard somewhere that more people recognised the Will Farrell version of George W. Bush than the real one. Why not? He is so much more than the real W. could ever be - So much more likeable, funny, and interesting. Our last assignment had to do with an analysis of the news, reflecting on this made me uneasy. I was overwhelmed - the fake news is already interpreted for us, and who does not love to laugh?

But because we as people identify so much more with comedy and sketches of reality rather than the real thing, these people who create these "fake news" programs hold real sway. Jon Stewart's apperance on Crossfire was a prime example of this. He was hounded for his journalistic discrepancies, who he has on his show holds some sort of sway according to some experts.


My students could most certainly be prompted to think in this way. The idea of the character sketch could be taken into the visual arts rhelm in a number of ways. The first with the fake news idea. Students could develop their own spin on any current issue. What would any pop artist have to say about the oil spill for example? An investigation into the real lives of people in the media, and their feelings on any issue are written in magazines and recorded on soundbites. It would be interesting to investigate what popular idols really think of the world issues.

Another route would involve a art history investigation of the political cartoon. It would be a wonderful tie in into this issue. Political cartoons are one of the first modern cartooning artforms, and they are a serious influence in our culture. Students could investigate this real news/fake news under the context of the political cartoon. The artistic liberty allowed in this reguard offers a great interdiscipliary investigation into history, politics, current events, media, art, and literature.

The News. Do YOU like this show?

Chanel 5 News at 5

Headline: Out of Luck: Tom Petter's victims will not get a dime. ( 190 seconds)
News: Judge claims that there is not enough evidence and resources to give the victims what they claim.

News: Drunk Driver will pay for child's death - up to 10 years in prison (30 seconds).

News: Shuttle Bus driver deadly beating suspects identified (30 seconds)

News: Push to reinvest in Minneapolis Ford Plant (30 seconds)

Feature Entertainment: 4th of July Fireworks fate in various Twin Cities suburbs (120 seconds).

Feature News: City of Minneapolis response to rise in violent crime committed by adults (120 seconds)

News: Conservative group to block a lawsuit for approval of gay marriage (60 seconds)

Sports: The umpire stealing the ball players perfect game with a bad call. (120 seconds)

Coming Up: Sports MN Twins, Renewable energy laws - create or take away jobs? Weather. Pleges for Lunchbox for kids (45 seconds)

Ads: Sports, Como Park Zoo sponsor, Schneiderman's furniture ad, Education Union MN congratulations for students, Comcast TV, Dairy Queen ice cream cake, Subaru, Becker Furniture memorial sale (210 seconds)

Entertainment: Polar Bear Odyssey, Como Zoo (30 seconds)

Feature News: Against the Green Movement, climate change skeptics law makers, renewable energy (150 seconds)

Consumer Health News: Raw Milk illness (30 seconds)

Consumer Health: Help Lunchbox for kids fundraiser (30 seconds)

Weather: severe thunderstorm stuff. Well behaved students at Stillwater High. Highs and lows for tonight and tomorrow. Weeks view of highs and lows. (180 seconds).

Sports: MN Twins bad call. The Umpire/ perfect game bad call up next. (15 seconds)

Ads: Bachman's garden sale, Slumberland's memorial sale. Appliance Liquidation at Minnesota State Fair, Quest, Political Ad for Matt Entanza: stop cutting stuff (burn on Mississippi, they make bad choices down there) - improve schools - economy - jobs, Love 105 FM, Pleasureland RV center, Slumberland's memorial sale again. (210 seconds)

Sports: Umpire Bad call (60 seconds), Twins bad call? (45 seconds), Twins minor league prospects (30 seconds), MN Wild coach (15 seconds).

Coming Up: Deadly Crash Charges (15 Seconds), Governor's Race Ad Campaign (15 seconds)

Ads: KS95, Champion Home Improvement (Energy efficient), ABC New Summer Season Show Rookie Blue, HOM's Memorial Day Tent Sale (ends Tuesday), Metro Concrete Raising.


Here is what Twin Cities news reporters think is important for us to know about. Many people have died for many reasons, people lost a lot of money that they will never see again, an Umpire made a bad call, your law makers think that investing time and money into renewable energy is a waste of time and energy, and you may not see any fireworks on the 4th of July in your city. Bummer. On the upside Polar Bears are cute, and you can help kids eat lunch for 2 weeks for only $20. Also there are a lot of furniture sales going on. and people randomly like schools and school age kids. So it's not all bad. So people are concerned about the increasing reports of violence, but the city is doing something about it. People lost all of their money, but you can hate the judge for that. An Umpire ruined someone's perfect game, but he feels really bad about it. Renewable energy is the fastest growing job market, but some people think that is hippie hogwash, cities may cut back on their fireworks shows, but don't worry - there are a lot of cities. And you can feel great because there are polar bears to watch, kids to feed for pennies, and kids are not as misbehaving as you can imagine - the rise is in adult crime, not juvenile crime, kids have places to go and things to do that don't involve felonies or misdemeanors.
It's 5 PM, we are all getting ready for dinner. We all just got home from work. We don't want to feel to bad, or get to excited right? It seems like we all should just kind of feel . . . Blah. Stuff can be bad, but people are working on fixing it. If they can't there is always someone they can make you hate about it. Stuff can be good focus on that. There is so much stuff going on here - how can you ever keep up? There really is not much you as a consumer can do, except shop at Slumberland, or HOM, or Becker. You can buy an RV or switch from Quest to Comcast, or from Comcast to Quest. You can eat an ice cream cake while you think about voting. After all, we don't suck as much as Mississippi.

In art, we research a lot. Most kids think, I found this on Wikipedia so it's correct. I think it would be interesting to assign them to research a topic from multiple angles. In this assignment, each student would research a news story. However, they would be required to research it from multiple angles. I think that the Anti - Alternative energy conference would yield interesting results. Recently, the BP oil spill would be a great story to look into with multiple angles.
Each student would do research on their topic and record the information in a visual art piece. The piece would be split into several different artworks, each depicting the same story from a different source in a different media. I would be interested in the results each student would come up with. It would be beneficial to the students investigation in media to consider the different slants from different sources.

Posting for May 31st. Finally could logon to Uthink.

Dear Superintendent __________.

As a visual arts teacher, I believe the study of media culture is incredibly important for the development of our students. They are middle school age children who are beginning to form their own ideas of identity. They are especially susceptible to the messages of the media while they try to figure out what they value, who to look up to, and who they want to become.
As you may remember, Northview Junior High is predominantly minorities and achieves low test scores regularly. The problems the school faces will hardly be fixed by a back to basics approach. It is a matter of community, poverty, values in education, and a system that does not work.
Whatever we as a group are doing for these kids is not working. They do not understand themselves as students willing and capable of learning. The believe that they will fail, and often they do.
This brings me back to the media arts issue. Why do these students view themselves this way? Why do they not value their education? Why are they not learning? I believe that pushing the basics will only serve to alienate these children even more. They need to be able to learn in a different way. They need to see themselves in a different way. Understanding the media, and being able to analyze the messages they are bombarded with thousands of times daily, is a vital skill to acquire. Instead of being told what to do, wear, eat, and think they can begin to make up their own minds. Here they develop the critical thinking skills needed to be successful learners.
Not every person is meant to be a mathematician or a scientist. But every person is required to think and learn. Now, we know that people learn in different ways. Perhaps a curriculum that is diversified to incorporate many different types of instruction and medium would allow for a more rounded group of learners. Through the lens of media studies and visual art, students learn to apply math, language, and scientific concepts in a more hands on or visual world. For those who are concrete learners, media studies is the perfect method of instruction.
For the sake of the diverse learners of the world. Please rethink your position.
Lisa Gatzke
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
A scene from the film Avatar.
The scene begins with a long shot of helicopter over a rainforest. The scene then cuts to medium shots of each character as some conversation takes place. From inside the helicopter we see the rocks in the distance. A few more shots of the helicopter moving through the sky, with CG floating rocks. The view is fantastical, the rocks float through plain air, with the helicopter navigating through. The shots move from one angle to another, both above and below the helicopter giving a sense of height. Then a close up of a character for some dialogue. The helicopter sets down, and then scene transitions to the characters entering a scientific trailer. The scene is quick and exciting, with lots of angled shots and adventure music. The dialogue is light, adding to the adventure of it all.
 
I would show this to a class who might be working on a fictionalized environment. The laws of gravity and nature do not apply in this scene, but the camera work still need to make natural sense. Much of the camera work is "virtual camera" only the inside of the helicopter is shot in real time. I would have my students draw a "map" of the floating mountains, and place X's where the scene was shot from. Here they could get a sense of realistic shot angles, in an unreal/ virtual environment. With this map in mind, I would then ask the students to create their own imaginary scene, describing their extreme environment, and where they would place their virtual camera.
 
 
 

Commercial - Betty White Snickers
Quick moves
Extreme Ariel Long shot of a football scene. Cut into two men tackling each other in the foreground.Out of focus is Betty White running. Cut to medium shot of a man about to throw football. Betty is running toward the open. Man throws ball. Batty gets tackled to the ground. Close up on her covered in mud. In huddle medium shot of men. Cut to medium shot of "Betty White."
Man - "Mike, what is your deal man?'
Betty - "Oh, come on man, you've been riding me all day!"
Man - Cut to meduim shot of man, and other players in the background. Behind shot of Betty. " You're playing like Betty White out there!"
Betty - cut back to Betty. "That's not what your girlfriend says!"
Girls runs in from behind "Baby, Baby!"
Cut to men in huddle
Cut back to Betty out of focus from behind in the foreground, girl in the middle ground in focus.
"Eat a Snickers"
Cut to Betty unwrapping and eating the Snickers
Cut to girl doing some sort of weird head nod. "Better?"
Cut to Betty who has turned into a man. "Better."
Cut to shot of the football being hiked on the field.
Cut to Betty/Man who is open. "I'm open!"
Cut to Abe Vigoda getting tackled.
Cut to close up on the ground "that hurt"
Black screen reads and is read " you're not you when you are hungry"
"Snickers satisfies"

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