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Friday, May 31, 2013

The Internet, Our Brains and the Possibilities, Pro and Con


Is it true the Internet is affecting how we think? 

Here is a great and brief exploration of the question by Nicholas Carr, a writer who I just learned has written a new book, The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing To Our Brains. The link below is to the short video.

 What the Internet Is Doing To Your Brain
As I prepared to start this post, I received an email which I naturally stopped to read. Then I wandered around on the blog and scanned my posts to discover a piece of information about a birding expedition that I wanted to send family who are about to vacation in South Padre.  Then I lost track of what I was doing for a moment before I remembered I was going to write a blog entry. 

And this is a relaxed, easy day. What does my brain look like preparing to face a room full of students who mistook my class as an easy A?

What do you think of this video? I confess I struggle with some of the ideas, particularly the idea that deep, contemplative thinking is required to create works of art. It may be useful at times and for some people, but there are other ways to create. I am a proponent of group projects and know of the value of brain storming with colleagues and working with one or more partners.  

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fifty years together as artists and friends

This ARTS segment was recorded in early April at Brackenridge Park by Sergio Gonzalez, directed and written by me, and edited by David Bibbs. 

The challenge for me was to give each of these artists their due time in a brief documentary segment. That would be about two to three minutes for each person--not enough time to include very much, so I decided to focus on their craft, not personal or even group histories. I hoped 50 years together would say it all!

I was inspired one morning about a day or two before our scheduled shoot, while doing Buteyko breathing exercises, to devise a shot list that would allow me to "frame" the artists with unloading from a vehicle and use those shots of arriving and departing the park as an open and close. 

Thinking visually was challenging, but our KLRN TV (PBS) Executive Producer, Julie Coan's suggestion for our team to study the work of award winning videographer and to read Al Tomkins' Aim For The Heart, Write, Shoot, Report and Produce for TV and Multimedia
really helped to fire up my thinking: I would end each artist's mini-profile with a close up of his signature. 

The shooting was wonderful, the location couldn't be beat, and the music and editing were fabulous. The interviews were succinct and clear about the challenges watercolor painting poses to the artist. 

Not everything worked as I planned, however hard I worked on my shot list. I tried and tried to get the artists to send images of their final work of the pieces they started for us that day to show each of the completed versions, but technology barriers were too many to overcome. 

I'm so proud of this piece! It's great to see inspiration through to completion, but it's never quite like you might envision things. I totally agree with the artist, Clay McGoughy as he taps his temple, "You should see what I see in here!"

San Antonio's Watercolor Gang

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Spurs, The Cowboys, The Eagles and the Movie

Silver Linings Playbook was a good movie to see around this time of year when the San Antonio Spurs are performing their annual ritual of teasing the city with playoff action that has many fans battling something bordering mental illness. 

The film, which deals in a small way with mental health, and touches on our culture's tendency to solve all problems with medication, depicts in an amazingly tender and rare way how fathers and sons treat each other, resemble each other and love each other.

In the film I learned about the value and nature of sports, the passion and emotion that we are allowed to express through our surrogate sports persona-avatars. The steam we are allowed to vent with their wins and losses. 

You have got to give credit to an award-winning movie about ballroom dancing and football. That's a movie for everybody. The love story's ballroom contest is itself a contender for the funniest dance move in cinema history.