Thursday, May 14, 2015

When you discover someone you've known for 7 years is friends with Brad Pitt

You know that moment when you've been acquainted with someone for a long time, and they suddenly reveal that they're friends with one of the most famous people on the planet?

It just happened to me.


Since 2007, I've worked for a few days' a week in the offices of a magazine published by a major charitable organization. This organization is of sufficient size that its central headquarters in Chicago has a staff of about 100, including an IT department and website manager. The desk that I use when I am in the office is close to the office of a chap called Fred, who is the web guru for the organization--a full time job, believe you me. He's a very warm and friendly man, and we always say "Good morning" to each other and chat occasionally at the office functions I'm invited to.

A few weeks ago, I overheard Fred talking to another person about a screenplay he had written. Fred is actually so modest that it was the other person doing most of the talking and eliciting the following amazing information: Fred had written a screenplay about a veteran of the recent US wars, submitted it to an online competition, the screenplay leaped out of the pile and got produced, Brad Pitt got involved as one of the producers, and it is being shown as an HBO special event on May 29th!

Ok, so maybe Fred and Brad are not actually friends, as such, in any meaningful sense of the word. But, all the same: Bloody Hell! If this had happened to me, I doubt I would have kept as quiet about it as our man Fred. But that's a sign of what a decent and modest chap he is.

The movie is called Nightingale, and its star is David Oyewolo, who was in the recent and acclaimed movie Selma. If you have HBO, you should watch this.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pictures from a recent class

My wife Patty and I recently taught another class at the Shake Rag Alley center for the arts in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. The class was called The Artful Journal, and we spent a couple of days with the participants, making artist's books, writing, drawing outside in the beautiful gardens that surround the old buildings. Here are some examples of the work that was created:




Truth be told, everyone who was there was so talented that it was difficult to think of how to teach them anything new. But I think it's always good for one's creative process to be somewhere away from one's normal routine, and to make things together in a spirit of community, even if some of the things one does are maybe more familiar than others. 

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