Tuesday, August 28, 2007

2007 Fest and Post-Fest Coverage

THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH has assembled a terrific page of Cornerstone Festival 2007 coverage from during and after the fest. These include feature articles from major media, online reporting, blogs from attendees and speakers, as well as dozens of podcasts. The podcasts range from interviews with musical artists to a series on "Making a Living as a Musician." There's also a comprehensive "Cornerstone 101" overview of the festival and a series of "Tollbooth Talks" on topics including both film and music.

As a part of the "Cornerstone 101" series, you'll find an in-depth podcast on the 2007 seminars, plus the arts and multimedia programming, including the Imaginarium, Flickerings and Burning Brush. Go behind the scenes and learn about how we put together this year's new-and-improved seminar program, cstoneXchange. Hear juicy details about last year's controversial Imaginarium and the philosophy behind Flickerings. Get the inside scoop on Cornerstone's development of a new "ancient-future" worship venue and the soon-to-be-legendary "Talking Stage".

Meanwhile, back at the official Cornerstone Festival site, there's plenty of "live" coverage posted during the 2007 festival, featuring lots of photos and music performance videos as well as the "Live Coverage Blog." Last, but most certainly not least, be sure to check out the post-fest reports at the respective websites of the fest's three main arts-related venues, Flickerings (independent and international cinema) the Imaginarium (pop culture extravaganza, this year with their very own Elvis impersonator), and Burning Brush (visual arts).

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Simple Way Fire

MANY OF OUR CORNERSTONE FESTIVAL community will have already heard about the recent warehouse fire in Philadelphia that destroyed several homes in the neighborhood of the Simple Way Community, including the building where fest speaker Shane Claiborne had lived. Nobody was hurt, but several families were left homeless and there was a tremendous amount of property damage. Shane has let us know he is grateful for everyone' s prayers and that he will be speaking at Cornerstone Festival as scheduled. A fund to support the families has been established. See The Simple Way for more information, and please continue to keep Shane and the Simple Way Community in your prayers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Talking Stage Schedule

THE TALKING STAGE SCHEDULE has been posted. The idea here was to move the Press Tent to the main fest midway and create an evening program, wherein seminar speakers and other interesting folks could converse with knowledgeable interviewers in a coffee-house atmosphere. Come and join us each evening at Cornerstone, from 7PM-10PM, for scintillating conversation.

Friday, May 11, 2007

MOYL Cornerstone Schedule Maker

OUR FRIENDS AT THE MOYL (Mustard on your Leg) website have posted their annual Cornerstone Schedule Maker fully-loaded with music, cstoneXchange, Imaginarium, Flickerings and Burning Brush schedule information to help you create your own custom fest program. It's a marvelous and handy planning tool and MOYL has been doing it on an "unofficial" basis for several years. Hats off to them and and web-guru Greg for taking the time to make this terrific organizer for Cornerstone Fest attendees. Spread the word, and plan ahead, so you won't have to make those agonizing schedule decisions at the fest when there are obviously SO MANY better things you could be doing!

Friday, May 4, 2007

The Jesus Movement is Jesus Moving

LAST OCTOBER, Christianity Today published a 50th anniversary issue, featuring an article by historian Mark Noll on Evangelicalism entitled “Where We Are and How We Got Here.” The opening layout featured a double-page photograph which, in such a prominent spot and under such an comprehensive-sounding header, should have been some representation of the length and depth and diversity of the topic at hand. (You'd think.) The historical picture they used featured a motley group of Jesus Freaks, circa 1976, in front of an old Jesus Freak bus, holding evangelistic signs in downtown Chicago. That CT editors would let the Jesus Movement function at least in part as an icon of their movement should inspire all sorts of discussion. I’m not sure I feel qualified to lead that one, but I can talk a little about that particular group of Jesus Freaks, since I know several of them. The photo, in fact, is of a group from our JPUSA community in Chicago.

This topic under consideration with that picture, in this publication, brought up all sorts of reactions and memories in me. I remember, for example, those years we used to send a group from Cornerstone magazine to the Evangelical Press Association convention – in some ways it must have been like setting the Marx Brothers loose at a society ball. One year a bunch of us sat at a table near the front dais of some stuffy plenary session we barely made it through. I watched as this older Evangelical dignitary at our end of the stage kept stealing glances at us merry pranksters (so obviously out of place), all the while smiling and seeming, almost, like he wished he could come down from the platform and join the fun at the hippie table.

I suspect it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that the Jesus Movement should necessarily flow into the Evangelical Movement — and I'm not sure all of it did. Indeed, there were wings of the latter who remained resistant if not hostile to Jesus Freaks, their music, their embarrassingly informal ways and impolite table manners. The Charismatics, on the hand, who were generally open to most everything welcomed the Jesus People (our group and the larger movement) like the Prodigals they were. Early Jesus Movement history in its language and style was very Charismatic. Some of Jesus Freaks found a home with them, and became assimilated by that culture and/or vice versa. Others, once they’d gotten in the Evangelical door, continued on their noisy way toward the mainstream. I'm not aware of any hard data on this, but it would be interesting to see the statistics on how many people who identified with the Jesus Movement in the 1970s were identifying a decade later with the Religious Right. There certainly was a mixing of culture and transformations both ways — to the point that Jesus People (in general) drove their bus right onto the front page of a turn-of-the-century history and state-of-the-union of Evangelicaldom.

The state of that union turns out to be fairly precarious just now. And the irony of that particular recognition for this specific group in the photo is that it comes just as their story seems to be back on the bus and moving with the flow of so many others out of Evangelicaldom into — whatever comes next. People don’t seem to know what to call the age following Modernity other than to affix that prefix “post”. But they do know that Modernity is over. And more and more people are feeling the same way about their identification with Evangelicalism; it no longer feels like "home," or as much as it maybe once did. The reasons range across issues cultural to philosophical to theological. There’s no question that the political situation the last few years, along with the invention of the internet, have supercharged the process. In any case, for many of us, the Evangelical word is in play.

The Jesus People (the ones in the picture) never wanted to go it alone. They joined a denomination in the late Eighties: what used to be called the "Swedish Covenant Church" but later became the "Evangelical Covenant Church." And as high profile thinkers in that denomination join the discussion, one wonders if soon enough the E word could even be in play there. So it is with some serious stake in this conversation that Cornerstone Festival has brought the discussion into this year’s festival program. We’ve scheduled a seminar entitled “Engaging the E Words: Emergent, Evangelical, and Ecclesiology.” That first word has become a buzz word and even brand name among certain sectors of postEvangelicaldom. That last is a word is one that can help structure and direct the discussion of church forms and what it means to be the church. The seminar will be led by Vincent Bacote, a professor of theology at Wheaton College, who is inclined to think the Emergents should be careful about discerning baby from bathwater. No doubt he’ll have a broad spectrum of folks to engage those E words with him at Cornerstone, and the conversation will surely not end there.

For like the man sang so long ago, “Something’s happening here. What it is, ain’t exactly clear.” Some say this Emergent thing is just a fad. But then they said the same thing about the Jesus Freaks.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Seminar Schedules

IT'S REALLY NOT THE WORST problem to have, but it’s the classic Cornerstone dilemma – or trilemma, or quadrillemma, etc: choosing among the available options to plan your personal festival schedule. It’s hard enough figuring out what concerts to attend when there’s always music on a dozen and more stages playing simultaneously. But since the music is often spread across a dizzyingly-broad range of genres and styles, it’s usually just a matter of finding your just niche and getting to the show on time. Even then, it’s rarely that simple. And you wouldn’t want to lock down your plans too tight anyway, because there’s always the chance that something that wasn’t even on your radar at this year’s fest turns out to be what grabs you, pulls you in, and doesn’t let you go.

Working out your personal Cornerstone seminar schedule can be just as daunting a prospect. Especially since people who love to learn tend to be interested in EVERYTHING. Some people try to catch a little bit of everything, seminar-hopping their way through the festival. For best results, though, we recommend choosing a topic you’re interested in and digging in for the long haul. But you still have to choose.

At least we’ve provided some advance information to help you decide. There’s a list of cstoneXchange seminars here, and speakers, and we’ve just posted the schedule grids. (There’s also schedules online for the Imaginarium and Flickerings programs as well.)

Take your time (you’ve got just a bit over two months to decide!) We know its difficult, if not monumentally unfair to have to choose between, say a seminar on N. T. Wright and one led by Shane Claiborne. But if you think it’s hard picking which seminars to attend, imagine how hard it is to plan the whole program and not to be able to attend any!! And no we don’t do it that way on purpose with either seminars or bands, but do as much agonizing with the schedule beforehand trying to minimize the agonizing on your part.

In any case, if it were any easier to plan your schedule, it wouldn’t be Cornerstone.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Flickerings 2007

THE LATEST ADDITIONS TO the 2007 Flickerings program have been posted, including a list of this year's Film Showcase films and filmmakers, along with a page describing the workshops and discussions. Our idea of what Flickerings is has been evolving over the past six years, in large part through interaction with the participants as we've all discovered together just what people are looking for in this venue. To our surprise, we've acquired several very different and faithful audiences: veteran cinephiles and newbies, novice and working filmmakers, along with fans of the shorts program who are usually curious enough to stick around to see what exotic flavor of subtitled film we'll be playing for the Morning Movie. We've got attendees who are vitally interested in the formal aspects of film -- in the films as film -- and others who are more interested in the content or topics particular films address. We could easily fill the entire program keyed to any one of these individual emphases, and balancing the mix over four days is a real challenge; we think the juxtaposition and diversity is exactly suited to Cornerstone Festival and, like the festival, has become both incredibly fruitful for all of us involved and central to our identity as a film venue.

This year's Flickerings program will be shooting from all sorts of angles. The seminars, workshops and discussions cover a range of aspects of film production and the background of specific films. The Featured Screenings program is probably our most accessible yet, with a focus on "J-Pop!", from anime to peppy teen movies to darker films that express more worrisome aspects of Japanese youth culture. Paul Nethercott will be screening a film and giving a seminar on these broader issues of the culture, both at Flickerings and the Imaginarium. (He'll also be bringing over a case of Manga Messiah to distribute, brand new Gospel manga comics by Japanese artists.) Our 2007 Showcase program will present one of the most diverse and exciting programs yet, and many of the filmmakers plan on being present at the festival. Congratulations to all those filmmakers selected for the Showcase and thanks to everyone who sent a film!

(It's not too early to start thinking about next year's Film Showcase. See the 2007 Entry Info to get an idea of what we're looking for and how it's done.)