The Cafe in January

These are links that might be interesting to Christians who are artists, and also possibly to church leaders. Some are inspirational, some are thought-provoking, some may be controversial, and some… well, you decide. Not all are necessarily Christian in nature. We will not post things on here simply to make judgments about them one way or another, but we do want to get people thinking about the nature of art, worship, the Christian life, and so forth.

January! This is the start of a new year, and many people take the time to “turn over a new leaf.” The birthstone of January is the garnet, and the flower is the carnation or the snowdrop. Here are some interesting links and videos that might inspire you to get creative.

Some Holidays in January:

New Year’s Day- January 1

Coptic Christmas/Epiphany/Dia De Los Tres Reyes - January 7

This is an interesting page about Christmas in Egypt.

And here is an interesting site from a Puerto Rican photo studio that apparently issues a poster every year to commemorate 3 Reyes.

Plough Sunday (Scotland and parts of England) - Sunday after January 6. (This year it is January 11.)
Read a sermon from Sherborne Abbey in the U.K. about Plough Sunday here.

Stephen Foster Day (U.S.A.) – January 11
Stephen Foster wrote such classic songs as Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair and My Old Kentucky Home. Read more about him here.

Coming of age - seijin no hi (成人の日) Japan - second Monday or January 15

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (U.S.A.) - January 15 or third Monday
Find out why the Peace Museum has Martin Luther King, Jr's fingerprint on display here.

Inane Answering Message day (U.S.A.) - January 30
Just what you think…put an inane message on your cell phone, voice mail, or answering machine.

And...other ideas

Something Old, Something New

Robert Burden wrote on his website (, “My current paintings are epic portraits of the small action figures I played with as a boy. I remember these figures as being magnificent. They represented power, beauty, morality, and they captured every aspect of my imagination. As a young adult these toys are wonderfully nostalgic, but they are no longer amazing to me….I just want to renew my faded sense of awe.”

This is a painting called Voltron. It took 900 hours to create, and this YouTube video is a stop-motion film of the process using 1200 pictures. It is an interesting comment on toys after the holidays, and his way of turning the “technological future” (as imagined in the 1980’s) into something that looks like a Persian rug.

New Year's Eve in Dogville

New Years Eve in Dogville by Cassius “Cash” Coolidge (1844-1934). Yes, this is the same artist who painted the famous dogs playing poker. Though we certainly don’t put this up as an example of artistic excellence, it does show that silly can be profitable. He created a series of sixteen anthropomorphic dog paintings in 1903, and they have inspired many knockoffs since. In 2005, two of his paintings went on the auction block and were expected to fetch between $30,000 and $50,000, but instead sold for $590,000!

Read about Coolidge here.

New Year's Art from China

In China, the tradition for the Spring Festival is to hang a wood block print on the wall or door posts as a way to ring in a new year. It is true they don’t exactly celebrate this during the time we traditionally celebrate a new year, but it is an interesting tradition. Although they aren’t Christian in nature, it doesn’t hurt to study other art forms.

Learn more about Chinese New Year's art here.

Loma Linda Dance Show

And, while we are reading about Chinese culture, here is a video from Loma Linda Chinese Church where they celebrate Chinese New Year with a ribbon dance.

Attention Writers:

If you are an aspiring writer, Dena Dyer from Texas has a blog just for you. She includes inspirational interviews, interesting journal entries, and good links (look on the left, after scrolling about ½ way down)

Hesperia Creativity in Video Production

And, last but not least for this month's edition of the Cafe, we have video of a production that took place in 2004 at First Baptist Church in Hesperia. They performed a cantata called Jesus Son of God. What is interesting about this video, which the church itself did not post (and nobody on staff has any idea who actually did post this), is how they superimposed scenes from a movie about Jesus over the top of the actors. At first viewing, I actually thought this was part of the staging, and perhaps they used a scrim to project the movie in front of the actors. But, upon more indepth viewings, I figured out that this must have been added to the video post-prodution. Interesting concept.

That's all we have for January, 2009. If you want to view December's edition of The Cafe, click here.

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