This Weekend in Houston: Scott Cairns, Jason Harrod, Doug TenNapel, and Me!

Dear Writers, Artists, Teachers, and Students, HBU’s annual Writers Conference takes place this year on Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11. We have some amazing speakers again, headlined by award-winning poet Scott Cairns. In addition to Mr. Cairns, we’re featuring a number of other high-profile speakers, including current Emmy Award nominee Doug TenNapel (see attached flyer for more). To register, and to view our schedule and list of speakers, visit the site: hbu.edu/WritersConference. A new feature this year is the opportunity for educators to receive TEA-recognized Continuing Professional… Read more

In Preparation for Mother’s Day: U2, Over the Rhine, Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent, and More

In 2006, when U2’s Bono guest-edited an issue of The Independent, he interviewed comedian Eddie Izzard, and they explored questions about the influences of their mothers over their own desire for the affections of their audiences. Bono has, of course, sung about this. In “Mofo,” rock’n’roll becomes his surrogate mother — a source of identity and inspiration as well as a channel for his cries to his absent mother. And then, in the recent Songs of Innocence, he sings about… Read more

Off-Duty Angel: A Few Thoughts on Easter

I heard this somewhere. It stuck. I think about it often, especially at Easter. I think it’s true. The story goes like so… (more…) Read more

Wearing God — Lauren Winner’s New Book is Full of Surprises About God

Did you know that the Bible describes God as a “laboring woman”? How often do you think of God as someone who smells things? Do smells really make a difference for God? If so, what does that mean? How often do you look at a piece of bread and think of God? And while we’re on the subject of bread — is white bread really appropriate for communion? These are just a few of the subjects explored in the new book… Read more

How to Get “Let It Go” Out of Your Head: The Hadestown Cure

I’ve spelled out some reasons why I think “Let It Go” caught on, and some reasons why we should question its widespread popularity. I’ve also recommended an alternative. Read more

Looking Elsewhere: MFA Adventures, April Foolishness, and More

From April Fool’s antics to coming attractions, this installment of “Looking Elsewhere” is loaded with goodness. Read more

Smelly Soapbox

Soap A makes your hands smell fruity and fresh. Soap B has no scent at all. Which one makes your hands cleaner? And what does this have to do with movies? Read more

Song of the Sea (2014): A Conversation With Animator and Author Ken Priebe

The Secret of Kells is gorgeous, dramatic, funny, moving, alive with mystery, and bursting with details that continue to emerge viewing after viewing. It’s no surprise that it took so many years for Tomm Moore and his team to come up with another feature-length film: Song of the Sea. Read more

3 Jeffs & the Truth: Foxcatcher

In which three film enthusiasts — all named Jeff — discuss and debate Foxcatcher. Read more

Taylor Swift, Nirvana, Andrew Peterson, and Bob Dylan All Appear in This Headline

Imagine that your favorite band tries on a new sound, or a new look. Imagine that fans are not happy, and they complain about it. Imagine that the band decides to push back… in song. It’s happened before. It’s happened quite frequently, actually. Taylor Swift, Bob Dylan, The Decemberists, and U2 have all answered their fans and critics in song.  (more…) Read more