Cat Fight This Feeling: I watch GLOW

So Netflix made a show about women’s wrestling in the 1980s and I am hard-pressed to imagine a concept which would seem, on its face, more custom-made for me. But then I watched the show. So, okay, I watched the whole season (ten episodes, hovering just over thirty minutes each), I was interested enough to want to know what it would do. Let me try to gesture at what really did not work, and also what I enjoyed. Vague spoilers…. Read more

Between the Promise and the Payoff Falls the Shadow: Movie and music reviews

It Comes at Night: This film is incredibly effective at creating tension and dread, and pretty aggressive about refusing to be a “story” in any conventional sense. Did you know that sometimes terrible things happen, due to pileups of bad luck and understandable choices? That is what this movie wants to give you. No character grows or changes (unlike in downer horror flicks like The Descent) and no questions will be answered by the end except, “Who will die?” I… Read more

“The Fading Shadow of the Habsburgs”: Peter Berger

with a lovely tribute. From 2011, but I just found it via people reminiscing about Berger’s life and work: For centuries the Habsburgs cast a gigantic shadow over a large part of Europe. Their empire ended cataclysmically in 1918. The shadow lingered for some decades after that, slowly fading under the blows of later cataclysms. Perhaps the time has now arrived when the shadow will disappear completely. Otto von Habsburg was the eldest son of Charles I, the last emperor… Read more

Oriented to Love Dialogue Seeking Participants

Hey you all. Oriented to Love, which brings people together from a wide range of sexual orientations & theological perspectives for dialogue on lgbt life in the churches, is seeking participants who accept what I suppose we must call the historic Christian sexual ethic w/r/t homosexuality. I did O2L in its first year and got a lot out of it. You can read my extremely scattershot post on the experience here, and A Queer Calling’s post here. If you’re interested,… Read more

Ignatius After Dark: And Other Bright Ideas from the Sick Pilgrim Conference

Last week I headed to sunny South Bend, IN for “Trying to Say ‘God’: Re-enchanting Catholic literature.” Its official sponsor was “the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Scholarship in the Liberal Arts” but a bunch of the organizers were people from the Sick Pilgrim blog/community and that sounds cooler. Anyway, my notes: # Notre Dame in summer is ridiculously lush. I swear whoever planted this rambling campus made it a project to get every kind of tree and just… Read more

“The Smithsonian Goes to Church”: Ivan Plis

has a fun piece on what the Museum of American History says is its very first exhibit on religion: The Smithsonian—with its new religion curator, Peter Manseau—appears to recognize how monumental and daunting a task it is to convey the contents of a society’s soul. Instead, Manseau is at his best taking snapshots of individual lives: a West African slave jotting down all the Islamic teaching he can remember, a fourteen-year-old girl stitching devotional poems in New Jersey, a Massachusetts… Read more

99 Dreams I Have Had, Every One a Red Heifer: I read “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union”

So I finally read Michael Chabon’s novel The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, and in spite of its serious flaws, I was still left with that wonderful feeling, Where have you been all my life? Why didn’t I read this thing sooner? The novel’s delights lie in its setting, its genre, and its prose. The setting is an alternate history in which the state of Israel was never founded, but the United States agreed to resettle Holocaust survivors and other European Jews… Read more

Alone in the Commune: I Review One Scandinavian ’70s Free-Love Flick But…

…then without warning swerve into reviewing another, better one: “The Commune,” the new 1970s period piece from Danish writer/director Thomas Vinterberg, begins when architect Erik (Ulrich Thomsen) inherits a huge house. His own family, with wife Anna (Trine Dyrholm) and daughter Freja (Martha Sophie Wallstrøm Hansen), is too little to fill it, and they can’t afford its upkeep. So they have a sweet, laughing romp-through, the wife and daughter mimicking bird calls from the most distant rooms of the house… Read more

Post-Demon Stress Syndrome: Some horror-flick reviews

Stake Land: A teenage boy and his grizzled mentor travel north through a vampire-ridden, devastated America, picking up vulnerable people, encountering security cordons and emptied towns, and seeking a haven they’ve heard all about on the radio. They forge a found family by killin’ the dead. Also there’s quite lush cinematography and big sweeping shots. If this is starting to sound familiar, you are correct, this is basically 28 States Later. Even the “vampires” are actually zombies with big teeth…. Read more

“The challenges of being both gay and Catholic”: I’m in the Washington Post

reflecting on Fr James Martin’s new book. FWIW I think it’s worth either reading or skipping to the end of this fairly long piece: After the Pulse shooting, Washington area houses of worship held an interfaith vigil. The participants were of every sexual orientation and many beliefs; celibate gay people stood alongside those in same-sex marriages to mourn and pray. Sometimes it can be harder to come together in ordinary times than in the wake of crisis. But our challenge… Read more

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