Monday, August 29, 2005

Another Shameless Plug

Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed for the LDS Podcast at Latter-Day Slant. Check it out!

Mark Hansen
LDS Independent Music Fest VI

This last weekend was extremely crazy. The Fest came around again. What fun! Since it was a musical thing I participated in, I wrote about it at my studio blog.

Mark Hansen

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Fest is Here Again!

I just had a lot of fun this morning having my first TV appearance! What a blast! As a part of our promotions of the LDS Independent Music Festival this weekend, we sent out some press releases, and got an appearance on Channel 13’s morning show.

So, I got up early, dressed up, and went downtown to the remote location they were using. It was the small park-like plaza at the north end of the Gateway downtown. Very nice location. EnZign arrived soon afterward and set up and warmed up. We actually got three appearances. At about 7:45, Shauna Thomas interviewed me about the fest (see below) for my fifteen seconds of fame, then they cut to EnZign, who played a song segment.

Then again, in about 20 minutes, they showed the guys playing for about 5 or 10 seconds as they cut to a commercial. And finally, Shauna wrapped up the show plugging the fest again for a few moments and the wrapped up on another song.

So, hopefully, that’ll bring in a few audience members!

So, here’s the shameless plug:

The 6th Annual LDS Independent Music Festival will be held Friday, August 26th through Sunday, August 28th.

Friday, the 26th: at the chapel building on the campus of the Utah Developmental Center 6:30-9:00 PM Music business and songwriting workshops, featuring Jeannine Laskey of the NSAI and FCMA.

Saturday, the 27th: At the American Fork park amphitheater, 850 E 700 N, one block west of the Mt Timpanogos Temple. 2:00-6:00 Afternoon performances by new and exciting independent LDS musicians. 7:00-10:00 Evening Showcase, featuring Eric Herman, Neil Owen, EnZign, Crinna Hill, and Pearl Award winner Sam Payne. Come hear a wide variety of contemporary music by church members.

Sunday, the 28th: at the chapel building on the campus of the Utah Developmental Center Sunday Devotional. A performance of more sacred and inspirational music in a more reverent setting.

The best part? All events are free and open to the public!

Mark Hansen

Monday, August 22, 2005

Life: Bring it on!

The other day, I was at a friend’s house and saw a plaque on their wall. It quoted the verse in Matthew 19 (verse 14) that says, “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

It was one of those modern, easy-to-read translations of the Bible that it was quoting, however, so it said something like, “Let little children come to me…” whatever.

It intrigued me. It was one of those moments where you take a couple of disparate things that you’ve known for a long time and you put them together all of a sudden and form a new thought.

I looked that verse up in the KJV, and in the footnotes, it confirmed what I’d always believed (and what the newer retranslation implied). That being that the greek word that was translated as “suffer” meant, in this case, “permit or allow”.

That’s nothing new, of course. The connection that happened for me was when I suddenly started thinking about the word, “longsuffering”. Now, I’d always assumed that it meant someone that patiently endured all the suffering, misery, and hardships of life in anticipation of something better in the hereafter. It’s OK to be miserable now, because it’s going to be better after we die.

But if we substitute those meanings, it has another implication to me. Suddenly “longsuffering” becomes, “longpermitting”. It feels to me like a person who humbly accepts whatever life brings, allows it to happen, and responds to it. Their whole life.

I know that I’m probably splitting hairs, here, but having a longpermitting attitude seems to be a bit brighter than a longsuffering one.

Mark Hansen

Monday, August 15, 2005

Mo' Movies overview from Mo' Boy!

On one of my email lists, someone started talking about Mormon movies, and, of course, regretted it almost immediately. It made me think of all the shows I’ve seen, and which ones I liked the best. So, I listed them, and ranked them. I thought it was interesting to see just how many of them I have seen. That’s really quite a list. While I’m sure there are more, the only two that I’ve missed that I can think of are “Handcart” and “The Work and the Story”

I list these in order that I liked them. Now, I need to clarify that. What I mean is NOT “Which movie is the best crafted work of cinematic art?” What I mean IS “Which movies entertained me/made me think/made me laugh/made me feel the most?”

It’s also interesting to note that, on some level, I enjoyed almost all of them. Really all the way down through number 13, I had a good time at the shows. In fact, it got really hard to rank them from 9 to 13.

1. Brigham City – It helped me rethink the nature of forgiveness and the atonement. That makes it great art, in my book
2. Sons of Provo – It helped me remember why I make music for Mormons. And it made me laugh more than most Hollywood movies even do.
3. The Best Two Years – A great balance of smiles and testimony, in a package that wasn’t hokey.
4. Saints and Soldiers – This one made me rethink a lot of things, like the nature of war and enemies, self-forgiveness, and the purpose of life. Also great art.
5. The Singles Ward – Made me laugh a lot. A LOT!
6. God’s Army
7. The RM – A fun movie, and the best soundtrack album of all of them. Except maybe “Provo”…
8. Charly – I didn’t think I’d like this one, but I did. It was formula, but good formula.
9. The Other Side of Heaven – For all its big budget, I wasn’t as impressed. The big Hollywood boys that have been slamming the low budget mo’ movies took on a project and made a good movie that just wasn’t as fun or meaningful to me as what the little guys had done.
10. Out of Step – A sleeper that deserved more recognition than it got.
11. Baptists At Our Barbecue – The book was great, the movie was fun.
12. Pride and Prejudice – Pretty good for a chick flick.
13. The Home Teachers – A fun escapist movie that didn’t really hold up to repeat viewings like the other Halestorms.
14. The Work and the Glory – Meh
15. The Book of Mormon Movie – Not intended to be a comedy, but people in the theatre where I saw it were laughing anyway. I just felt sad.

I also heard it said once that there haven’t been any Mormon chick flicks. Hello! I beg to differ. Charly, Out of Step, Baptists at our Barbecue, and Pride and Prejudice all were, in my opinion, chick flicks, or at least good date movies. We don’t seem to have any Mormon action/adventure movies yet, and the horror genre also seems to be a little thin. I, personally, don’t like horror movies, so that’s not at all a problem for me.

It’s also interesting to me that a lot of people think that all of our movies are missionary-based, but on this list, there’s only 3. 4, if you count “The RM”.

When I got to go to the LDSBA show the other day, I saw promo swag for a whole bunch of new shows about to be released, and I’m very excited about them. “Mobsters and Mormons” (which is NOT a movie based on the “Mafia to Mormon” book) is one of them. Written and directed by John Moyer (who I got to meet!), the writer of “The RM” and “The Singles Ward”.

We’ve had a slower year so far this year. Not so many movies came out. There are quite a few set to drop over the next few months, so I’ll keep you posted.

Mark Hansen

Saturday, August 13, 2005

The Songs of Zion

Joseph, A Nashville Tribute to the Prophet.

Various Performers, produced by Jason Deere and Dan Truman

When I started spinning these tunes, I was taken somewhere that I wasn’t fully expecting. With a fiddle on the cover, and “Nashville” in the title, I was expecting a full-on country album. And there were a few country tunes, but by and large it felt more like the LDS folk singer/songwriter thing that Peter Breinholt, Shane Jackman, and others have established here in the valley.

And, while that was refreshing, since I’m not a big country fan, it also left me wondering. Where IS all the LDS country music? It has seemed to me to be such an obvious fit for so many years, why hasn’t anyone done it? Sure, country has its share of cheatin’, cryin’ in your beer tunes, but there’s also a lot of positive, family-oriented messages as well. So where’s the country in our souls?

But I digress…

While there are some real moments of greatness in the musical performance of these songs, the real shining star is the writing. Solid, powerful messages, beautifully crafted. I especially liked the choice Jason Deere made in writing about the prophet, instead of writing from the prophet’s point of view. In fact, many of the stories in the songs are about people around Joseph. The one about Porter Rockwell was particularly great, and the song about Emma helped me to see her in a new light.

The only song written from Joseph’s perspective was “Lamb to the Slaughter”, and I felt like that one was handled very very well.

The narrations between the songs were cool to help transition from song to song and set up the story of each work. That was nice, since the overall CD isn’t necessarily chronological. Still, the reading felt a little stiff to me, and kinda pulled me out of the mood that the music itself was setting. That’s really my only real complaint about this CD.

Another interesting thing about this project, is that is very clear that this is a very Mormon collection. You can’t sing about Joseph, Emma, Hyrum, and Porter and be trying to get a CCM (Contemporary Christian Music) record deal with it! And the messages are a strong testimony of the restoration.

If I were a bigger fan of the country/folksy sound, I’d probably be all over this project. But I can see that it was very well made. In addition to touching music fans, maybe it will inspire other country singers in the church to do church-related country music.

Mark Hansen

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Oh, Great Guru!

A man climbed up a high mountain to converse with the Great Guru seated thereon. As he approached, he bowed respectfully, and when the Guru acknowledged his presence, proceeded to ask his troubling question.

“Oh, Great Guru, what is the secret to happiness?”

The Guru sighed a deep and thoughtful sigh and said, “Wisdom”.

“Yes, but how does one gain wisdom?”

The Guru sighed a deep and thoughtful sigh and said, “Good judgment”.

“Yes, but how does one gain good judgment?”

The Guru sighed a deep and thoughtful sigh and said, “Experience”.

“Yes, but how does one gain experience?”

The Guru sighed a deep and thoughtful sigh and said, “Bad judgment”.

I was reminded of that story when I was reading a posting over at the “Conversations” blog. They’re trying to define the differences between knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. They pulled out some pretty interesting and academic analysis, but to me the big difference is in application. I might know that something is bad for me because I’ve read it or been told about it. I might understand it’s bad effects because I’ve felt it. But I might still not have the wisdom to actually stop doing it.

Hmmm.. That would probably account for my weight.

I’m going to the gym…

Mark Hansen


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