Category - Digest

Stolen Moment…


@racbarn makes surprise appearance w @marcuswhitney @TEDXNashville #tedxnashville #besttalksofar

What follows for a few entries are some photos I shot from my seat at the TEDx Conference held here in Nashville this past Saturday.

This is my friend Marcus Whitney, whose talk combined his personal journey with the lessons he found in the movie “American Hustle.”  I have to say, Marcus got a lot more out of that movie than I did….

Here’s a recap of some of the highlights of the day.

We Really Need…

…. to have this conversation…

@DanHogan kicks off @TEDxNashville w matters of #Life and #Death #TEDxNashville #digest

This is the talk that started the day at TEDxNashville 2014. The magazine cover Dan Hogan is pointing to tells the whole story.

Denial of Death. At some point, it does become pointless.

Can It Get Any More Cynical ?

And who on earth am I to wonder such a thing?

But after reading David Carr (my new favorite NYTimes columnist) critque the shenanigans at last week’s Austin Clusterfuck (aka “SxSW), you do have to wonder…

You may have heard by now that pop-star performance artist Stefanie Germanotta – aka Lady Gaga – was this year’s marquee performer and keynote speaker, following in the steps of such luminous predecessors as Bruce Springsteen and David Grohl. Maybe you’ve heard that the whole thing was a big shill for Doritos.  Or maybe you heard that who got in to the big show in was determined by a raffle held via Twitter.

I guess this is what we missed:

We missed quite a spectacle, from what I can see in video clips and news reports. Lady Gaga was smeared in barbecue sauce and mock-roasted like a pig and then, with the ink on the check from Doritos barely dry — and with millions destined for her charity — she bit the tortilla chip that fed her. “I won’t play by your” — insert street-cred adjective — “rules,” she said.

She then wagged a crooked finger at her fans who were shooting pictures on their phone and had tweeted their way in at her instruction: “When you leave this earth, no one is going to care what you tweeted. Don’t let the machine and don’t let technology take you from this earth.”

Note the use of the word ‘spectacle.’  A word that often comes to my mind when watching the Grammy Awards.  Who can forget Pink and her Cirque de Soleil routine?

Apparently we are supposed to overlook this latest exercise in spectacle-borne hypocrisy because Ms. Gaga donated the Doritos money to her charity. Well, Gagme.

Carr continues:

At her keynote address on Friday, Lady Gaga thanked Doritos and said plainly, “Without sponsorships, without all these people supporting us, we won’t have any more festivals because record labels don’t have any” money.

And, given the nature of this particular performance, that would be a bad thing because….??

Still, she’s probably right about anybody caring what I tweeted.



Let There Be Art: Photos At Chromatics Gallery in Nashville

I still find it equal parts surprising and gratifying when somebody wants to hang one of my photos on a wall somewhere.  Especially when it’s in, like, you know… and actual art gallery.

The first photo I ever had displayed in a gallery was several years ago when Chromatics – Nashville’s pre-eminent photo-finishing lab – displayed one of theruined abbey photos I brought back from Ireland in 2006. How fitting that I should remember that on St. Patrick’s Day…

Right now, The Second Floor Gallery at Chromatics is hosting an exhibition of various media depictions of “Natural Reflections.”  I have not one but photos TWO hanging in the exhibit, which is open until June 26.

This one is called “Let There Be Light” and features my photo-muse, Pru Clearwater dancing with the sunset.



And this one is just called, well… “Balls.”

Portland, Oregon November 2011(Click the thumbnails  to ’embiggen.’)

The exhibition at Chromatics is open until June 26, if you’re in the neighborhood (Dury’s, Plaza Art Supply…) I hope you’ll stop by and check it out.

Sound Like Anybody You Know?

Notes from a productive Sunday:

A few minutes ago, I posted this to my Facebook:

So I’m going through some notes and I find one from Sal Cincotta that says ‘My clients are not looking for a photographer. They’re looking for an artist.” Mantra for the week? Check.

And then this showed up:


I think I’m detecting a trend here.  If not a downright theme for the coming week…

The Past Went That-A-Way

McLuhan-ThePastI wrote a little something yesterday about streaming music and the transition that is now threatening to disrupt the music business again as much as the advent of paid downloads did a decade ago.

In the course of that post I made a reference to seeing the future “through a rear view mirror,” which is one of the fundamental lessons I picked up years ago in the writings of Marshal McLuhan.

While I was citing that notion, it dawned on me to Google the phrase “mcluhan rear view mirror” and was surprised to discover that the phrase has its very own web page, which quotes the pertinent passage from The Medium Is The Massage:

When faced with a totally new situation,we tend always to attach ourselves to the objects, to the flavor of the most recent past. We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.’1

In other words, we are trying to fathom a streaming media future with the metrics of a unit-purchase past.  In other, other words, flogging the engine with a buggy whip.  Git along, little motorcar…

Actually, if you have any interest in McLuhan’s observations, this whole site is worth spending some time with.  It is based on a doctoral thesis by an Australian named Alice Rae and is extensively researched and documented.  Hopefully Alice won’t mind if I cite the centerpiece of her ‘about’ page:

Was Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) one of history’s greatest thinkers?

Tom Wolfe, who met McLuhan in 1965, praised him in the New York magazine as a thinker on par with ‘Newton, Darwin, Freud, Einstein, and Pavlov’.

Critics remained unimpressed, calling McLuhan a ‘false prophet’ and ‘one-idea man’ and his work ‘pretentious nonsense’ or at the very least ‘slightly dotty’.

Since McLuhan’s death in 1980, the advent of the Internet and the vindication of McLuhan’s theories has led to something of a McLuhan renaissance.

He was declared ‘Patron Saint’ of Wired magazine in 1993.

Which maybe explains why I keep coming back to him.