Thirty years ago this summer, President Spencer W. Kimball gave us his “Gospel Vision of the Arts”:
So maybe I missed something, but I’m pretty sure that one genre the Saints haven’t touched is black comedy. I’m not much of a narrative writer, though, so think of the following as sitting on little scraps of paper on a rickety table in my front yard with a hand-lettered cardboard sign next to them reading ‘Free to a Good Home.’
When I look at my life and pick out its most significant spiritual events, one that stands out is a night when, unbidden and unexpected, God told me that he was angry because I was reading the New Testament.
There is a student on the Georgetown campus that makes me uneasy. He has glasses, a bushy beard, heavy features, long brown hair knotted in dreadlocks. I see him often, and he always seems to be wearing the same thing: a camouflage jacket, brown trousers, and a heavy backpack full, I’m convinced, of books on anarchy.
The danger in telling people you write a little bit is that they then assume you can. Last week a friend from my ward called and asked me to write the libretto for a musical show she has been called to coordinate for the stake; a few of the creative decisions had already been made, she told me, but she needed me to write lyrics and a narrative frame for the story. The show is meant to commemorate the twenty-fifth anniversary of our stake, headquartered at the Butler Hill meetinghouse; the stake presidency had designated a “Sound of Music” theme, and the show had been titled, naturally, “Butler Hill Is Alive with the Sound of Music.”
Times and Seasons has turned the searching glare of its inquiry onto itself. We don’t know exactly the question that was asked, but whether the answers are self-parody or just self-indulgence is up to you. Enjoy.
I was just thinking that I keep stumbling across LDS creative outlets, and that it might be useful to put a list of these in one place. Here are a few that I’m aware of; please let me know, by comments, of any others that I’m missing and they’ll be added to the list: The church music contest. The screenwriting and movie making contest at LDS Box. Irreantum contest (possibly not continuing). AML unpublished novel contest. Meridian, I’m told, may accept submissions if you ask nicely and have something to say. Deseret Book for music, novels, etc (though perhaps less accessible, as there is not a “contest” or other easy breaking-in point). Sunstone. Dialogue. BYU Studies for poetry, and an essay contest. Okay, folks, what am I missing? If I want to write a poem, novel, hymn, rock song, opera, short story, essay, play, musical, or screenplay; paint, draw, lithograph, or sculpt a piece of art; or make a film,…
Look, my proto-Semitic is a little rusty, but since I found the facsimile online and the real scholars are busy, I thought I’d take a stab at it. It cuts off in the middle, but before that is an interesting little dialogue with some compelling parallels to the doctrine and practices of the Restoration. Someone told me that FARMS is planning a special issue on it in a few months.
Dear Blue Planner, So it has finally happened. You’ve gone the way of Mr. Brown and projection films. I suppose I knew that someday you’d be gone, but I’d hoped against hope that you were somehow less transient than other proselyting aids that have fallen by the wayside. To me, you were nothing less than the platonic ideal of Planner.
We missed a fireside the other evening (ahh, the new joys of a screaming baby) given by “well known LDS artists Greg and Linda Christensen,” who apparently created art for the Manhattan Temple. I’ve poked around online, but I couldn’t find any information about them. Does anyone know of info, images, or work they’ve done? [I do know LDS artist Greg Olsen, who lorded over me in Google searches for “greg” for a long time. Altogether different guy.]
An annual exhibition of gay pride-related artwork opened at Salt Lake Community College, and artist Don Farmer’s photos of two RM’s hooking up while wearing their missionary tags became the immediate center of attention. First came shouting matches at the opening, protesters trying to remove the photographs, police being called, and administrators relocating the show from the lobby to a classroom. Then, two days later, the photos turned up missing, stolen. The SLTrib reporter lazily kicks off her article with, “But is it art?” Unequivocally, yes, it is. Is it good or not? Doesn’t matter now; it’s certainly effective.