The Great Hair Fiasco

7 05 2011

So…over the past few weeks, I’ve been contemplating a haircut. I’ve had my hair long for nearly two years. My hair has always been the most important thing about my appearance, I’ll spend obscene amounts of money on hair products before I spent $20 on a pair of jeans. Needless to say, it’s a big deal.

Over the past few weeks people have told me “Your hair is outta control,” and “You really need a haircut to look more professional,” and “You used to be so handsome before you started covering up your face with all that hair.”

I was sort-of ready for a change. The long hair is pretty difficult to maintain during the summer, but I  didn’t want to lose it all. So I researched and found this style on Matthew Gray Gubler from Criminal Minds. He went from very long to this shorter style, and I felt I could live with it.

I showed it  to Barry at Leon’s on Tate Street…and this is what I came home with:

This is, of course, after I paid $27 THEN went home to rinse the hair fragments from my head (he did the entire cut without water) THEN styled it myself (since he didn’t do it)

Needless to say…this is NOT what I wanted. It’s not a bad cut from a technical standpoint. It’d pass a state board. It’s not however, ANYTHING, like  the picture I showed him. I asked him not to use  clippers, he lied to me and told me the clipper guard would leave the hair as long as in the photo.

Now everything from my eyebrows up is out of proportion with the rest of my face. I’ve never had a small jaw and I need substantial hair to balance it out. The hair will grow back, but I’m ticked. I have to wait a month  or two before the hair grows back enough to give this style another try.

Don’t tell me you like it. I don’t care. It’s not what I wanted. I’ve had this style from about 13 until my sophomore year in college. It’s dated. It makes me look old. It makes me look like one of the guys from the Jersey Shore.

and THAT is the great hair fiasco.


It’s the little things

21 02 2011

One thing that has haunted me since childhood is my ability to trip over the smallest detail and watch it snowball into a huge problem. I  remember when I was in middle school, I would make one small miscalculation in a long math problem and ultimately screw up the answer. All it took was .10 here and my entire calculation was off. I still battle this today. I make one little mistake that turns into a disaster.

Today I turned in some drafting for Orpheus Descending. I’ve never been good at drafting. I’ve never liked it. I look forward to doing it like I look forward to a math test with 50 long division problems with decimals and fractions. There were some problems with the drafting that I should have noticed. There were things I knew to do and totally missed them. There were things I didn’t know I should do, and they weren’t there  either. My TD was full of grace, yet quite serious. I need to work on this.

Then I started the paint charge for the opera start laying out one of the drops for Hansel and Gretel. Everything seemed to be going fine. Then I found my mistake. I’d forgotten to allow for a 2 foot discrepancy between the drawing I was transferring and the piece of fabric it was going on. Again, the paint charge was gracious, but I couldn’t help but feel as if I’d failed. Again. On the same day. In a big way.

I feel like an idiot.

I know I shouldn’t beat myself up over these things…but that doesn’t mean I won’t.

Do you ever have small problems that snowball into big ones? How do you deal with perceived or actual failure?

Orpheus Descending

20 02 2011

So I’ve been working all week on my design for Orpheus Descending by Tennessee Williams and I’d like to share my progress and thoughts on the play.

Orpheus Descending is about intolerance. The action takes place in a general goods store in Mississippi. The director, JB Brady, viewed this mercantile as hell. The version of hell the design team pursued was the shadowy underworld of early Greek and Hebrew notions, rather than the Dante-esque fire and brimstone of contemporary Christian thought. One of the themes of the play is the commodification of people. Since the play is set in a store, the souls of the people became the merchandise. The set will be filled with jars that can light up in magical moments to represent the people in two river county. The set is also very skeletal. Williams mentions a black wire dress form in the window, I chose to create this look throughout the mercantile. This is the white model for the set.

Overall, I’ve been pleased with how the set has developed. There are still a few details to work out, but it’s coming along nicely.

One thing I’ve found challenging is determining how my faith interacts with this play. At face value, the play is a typical Williams play about bigots in a southern town. JB has addressed the ending saying “I don’t want the audience to leave the theater depressed. I want to direct the ending where they can leave with hope, hope that the “fugitive kind” will always go on.”

It didn’t strike me until I was walking home from the first read-through, but I’m so glad that JB is taking this direction. At the end, the “Christ-figure,” Val, is lynched by the Klan. It happens on the Saturday night before Easter. In the text, there is no resurrection, no hope, only death and tragedy. A character named Carol (who happens to be a delightfully eccentric character) picks up Val’s jacket. Carol and Val are what the play calls “the fugitive kind” who must always be on the move because they upset the balance of the unjust community. JB wants us to know that the “fugitive kind” continues despite the death of Val.

I reflected on this choice, and how it interacts with my faith. While I believe in the resurrection of Christ, there are some that don’t. I wonder if the resurrection we see in the  play happens when Carol continues the fugitive legacy passed to her by Val. I feel that Christians should live on with the same legacy. In a sense, the resurrection is void if Christ does not continue to live through us. It’s a scary thought, what if the resurrection was contingent on our dedication to the things Jesus  cared about: taking care of the poor, building communities of reconciliation, not turning a blind eye to injustice and greed, being ambassadors of peace. How well am I keeping the resurrection alive? How well are you?

Sundials…and time

20 02 2011

So I went outside yesterday, a novel concept right? It was so beautiful and I wanted to walk to the grocery store. I went and picked up  some of my favorite things for lunch and dinner and walked back home. I took many short breaks to the outdoors today while I was staring at my computer screen drafting. Each time I went outside, everything looked different. After thinking about it for a second, I realized that the sunlight was changing the shadows and creating different looks. I noticed them because I do not get to regularly look outside at my apartment during daylight.  My mind took me back to elementary school  where we learned about making sundials. We took sidewalk chalk and make a circle. Using a watch as a guide, a child went out at every hour to create the mark for the hour. It never occurred to me then, but today I wondered…how did the first sundials get created? There wasn’t a Timex on someone’s wrist to tell them when to make the next mark. Being a designer, I assume that it was a simple geometric equidistancing of lines along the face of a circle. They distinguished  days by the sun and the moon. But why  do we use twelve? Why not twenty four marks for the twenty four hours in our days? Why not count our hours by what we now consider to be 30 minutes. 48 hours could effectively become only 1 day. It’s at this point that my mind beings to race  and the sound of my internal monologue begins to sound like  jibberish because there are various trains of thought passing through the same tunnel. I silence myself, and literally staggered in awe of the relativity of our concept of time. Just like  words, we needed something to help us live our lives and we create tools to do so. The clock was created to help us  synchronize and mark our lives. I know when I’m  required to show up for a meeting because the other persons(s) have agreed to meet at the same arbitrarily measured unit of time. We almost subconsciously choose  to follow  these rules about time.

How much of this do we do when it comes to the Bible? The sundial was a tool to help mark moments in the day. It helped to organize the community. As technology progressed, we got the watch and the digital watch. The technology and look have changed, but it essentially serves the very same purpose. Granted, the later versions have new features such as glowing, making sounds, etc., but ultimately, if I ask you what time it is you’ll tell me the answer based on the measurement from your timepiece.

The Bible is a record of God’s revelation to humans, it organizes our community of faith. Does it function as more than just a tool to bring them together? Some of the first books ever written for the Bible are an example of the Bible being written as a law for social order. Several of the first books of the Bible give lists of “dos” and “do nots.”

What would happen if the earth’s rotation changed? What if its orbit around the sun was altered? How would our perception of time change? What if the first sundials were created in Denmark or Alaska where “night” or “day” can last for weeks, even months?

I think these types of earth shaking changes have happened in our society. Postmodern thought has altered the way we perceive our world. Truth is no longer held in the central towers that also wield power over  the people. We’ve realized that cross-pollination of ideas, ethnicities, and creeds has drastically altered the way we must engage the world. As a society we’ve eliminated “normal” from our vocabulary and replaced it with “average” so as not to centralize our benchmark as the white, european, heterosexual male.

How then should Christians respond? Recently in a blog conversation about music in the church, I arrived at the topic of “dressing up” Christianity for the culture.  This is what I said:

I think that “dressing up our faith” is exactly the problem. I’ve heard so many youth and college pastors talk about making their ministry relevant. You know what they do? They serve coffee and sometimes wear TOMS or flip flops. I sit back and wonder…THAT’S what you call relevant?! Coffee…it’s not only instant in and of itself…it’s instant relevance too! I think that Christianity is SO life-encompassing that if we allow the symbols, rituals, and practices of our faith to exist and take on tangibility that the very FORM of our faith will change.

Evangelical Christianity is a 50 year old man (gender exclusion intentional) who’s prime in life occurred in the 1970’s. This man doesn’t want to be un-cool so he tries to wear what everyone else is wearing, do what everyone else is doing. In essence, he’s a raggedy dress form with contemporary clothes sitting in a store window for all to see. No one is buying.

Christianity has been unable to cope with the radical societal transformation that postmodernism has brought into the world. From its roots in Mesopotamian pantheism to about the 1950’s, YHWH has existed in a world that views truth and power as centralized entities. When postmodernism began to decentralize our idea of truth (as a society) Christianity wasn’t too threatened. Those crazy existentialists and postmoderns were a small group of idiots that nobody really believed. Then 9-11 happened. Our society was fragmented and broken, people didn’t know who to believe anymore. The news stations became more comedy while our comedy became more like news broadcasts. The church is still trying to function under the archaic ideas of truth that have held it together for thousands of years, yet it is engaged in a battle that it will not win. People are gradually defecting from the church because its ideas are inconsistent with the truths observed in the natural world.

All that…and we think COFFEE will fix it? For Christianity to survive, the practices, symbols, core doctrines, and rituals of the faith must be preserved in a way that allows them to live and breath and react to the culture around them. I’m not suggesting total relativity, but a more relative perspective than has been valued in the past. I think God can change, I think God can change God’s mind…I think we need to seek the living God for new revelation of truth. I don’t think the canon of the Bible is closed. I think that art is the perfect medium for God to reveal God’s self. I think the artists should create and we should see what comes of it. Perhaps God will hear our cries for new revelation.

The full link to this conversation is here:

What do you think? Why do Christians accept a closed Biblical canon? Why can we not move past the archaic ideas that force us to combat society instead of engaging it with our faith?

My phone call

7 02 2011

I got an interesting phone call yesterday. The person called just to “chat” but they really called to crash an A-bomb into my world.

As a brief background: Over the past 6 years, I’ve been on an incredible journey of faith. I grew up in a conservative pentecostal church. By the time I was a teen, I knew all the ins and outs of how church worked. I was a leader; I had been brainwashed. I drank the kool-aid regularly. When I went to college, I did what many people do and joined a group on campus. This group traveled doing skits and staying in host homes almost every weekend and two months out of the summer. The director was a control freak, and micromanaged every part of our lives. Toward the end of the second year, I began to take classes that opened my eyes to oppression in the world. I began to see information and authority in a new light. I realized that what I considered “good” authority, had been abusing me. I began to break free from my brainwashed state and think for myself. By the spring of my third year, I’d become a fully liberated liberal, and discovered a passion for theatre design. As I finished my undergrad in theatre, I worked in a church as a children’s pastor (as a sort of lengthy internship since I was a children’s ministry major too). I experienced some of the most horrific spiritual abuses imaginable. Leaving that church was the best thing I’d done since leaving the traveling group my sophomore year. I found myself hurting and angry at the God I’d devoted my life to. Unwilling to give up my faith, I’ve gone on a journey to find a new expression of faith that I can live with. I’ve been inspired by Brian McLaren, Matthew Paul Turner, Elizabeth Esther and many other authors and bloggers with ideas I resonate with. I’ve kept mostly silent, but I’m not going to stay that way.

The person on the phone asked me why I wanted to discredit God’s character and God’s Word. I replied that I wasn’t  and that I did have problems with the way people treat the Bible today. This person all but told me I was a false teacher spreading false doctrine and trying to destroy the kingdom of God.


I must assume that this person’s faith is so fragile that it cannot withstand a little scrutiny. I really feel sorry for them. At the same time, there’s a little seed of fundi-fear that had me all messed up last  night. It’s like the Hebrews, traveling hungry in the wilderness and desperately wanting to go back to slavery in Egypt. I reflect on my life. I think about the atrocities that were committed by people that professed the same convictions about scripture…and I sleep easy. I don’t want  to go back to a life of constant fear and shame. I’ve been set free by grace.