Saturday, April 29, 2006

I have decided

It is a gloriously sunny Saturday morning, and I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secret... No, wait. That's not what I decided. That's what the other decider (clearly a false prophet trying to usurp my authority) decided. What I decided is there are some things you my dear reading public (yes, I mean all three of you) should know about.

Back at the end of March, someone not only bought me tickets to see the Cirque du Soleil's Varekai, but she also sent me a link to a documentary called Loose Change. At the time we still had dial-up, which left me somewhat disinclined to spend the 4500 hours required to load a 1:21 movie, so I just saved the link, but never really did anything with it. Now that I've watched it, I can proclaim that it has something for everyone - political junkies, conspiracy theorists, people who don't believe the official version of 911, and general Bush bashers alike.

While I'm not saying that I buy into everything presented in the movie, I am saying that it raises some interesting questions. One review I read of the movie suggested that all it got right was the date of the event, but I think there is more than that. They got the year right too. Also, while I'm not sure that Loose Change's answers are all the right ones, I can get behind the acknowledgement that not everything is as clear as the administration or the media (which is increasingly just an arm of the administration) has admitted, and the movie definitely presents enough evidence to merit further study. It's a stark contrast to the also controversial (but for different reasons), new United 93 movie, which opened to mixed reviews this weekend. Either way, you can view Loose Change by going here.

But life is not all about accusations of manipulation of the facts leading up to the war with Iraq. It is also about accusations of mismanagement of FEMA and the 2005 Katrina disaster in the gulf coast. Recovery efforts continue to this day. In hopes raise money in support of recovery, there will be a performance of the Missa Luba in Portland on May 20th, benefitting Hope Shall Bloom, the UCC's continuing recovery efforts in Mississippi and Louisiana. I bring this up not only because it is a good cause, but it marks my re-entry into the music world. Yes, after a 15 year retirement (judging by the Behind the Blow special devoted to my early years, the music world has sorely missed me), I have joined Bridgeport UCC's joint venture with other churches and choirs in performing an African Mass in pure Congolese style.

The piece originated when Belgian missionary, Father Guido Haazen, who came to the Congo in the early 50's, formed Les Troubadours du Roi Baudouin, a choir of 45 boys and 15 teachers from the Kamina Central School. The mass, which is a combination of traditional Latin liturgy and traditional Congolese rhythm and melody, was first recorded in 1963. However one views the history of colonialism and cultural empiralism from whence (that's right, I said from whence) it came, there is no denying the beauty of the Missa Luba. I like to hope that something so lovely embraces Felá Sówándé's plea to "Respect the culture and the religions of my people, too. Teach, if you will, but do not impose. Even better, let us learn from one another."

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