Thursday, March 05, 2009

It's Advent in Lent at Fordham

Thanks to Beth for tipping us off to some amazing, multiplex posts from a Tom Beaudoin,
a theologian who "gets it"
( his "Rock and Theology" blog hosts categories likeSecular Liturgies and Music and the Brain).

Beaudoin comments on the theological connexion and liturgical contours of his campus preparing for a U2 "Good Morning America" concert filming.

Yesterday's post:

The rumored appearance of U2 this Friday here at Fordham seems to be taking flesh, mud, snow, and metal. On the steps of Keating Hall, facing out onto a large commons that is currently under several inches of snow, there is a group of some twenty men this morning, taking measurements and seemingly trying to conceptualize what must within 48 hours turn into an early-morning rock concert space.
Fordham officials in suits mingle with roadie-looking-types getting ready to “compose the place” — to steal a phrase from Ignatius Loyola (which is a poaching I learned from Michel de Certeau in his study of everyday life in the kitchen and elsewhere, his attention to the importance of the arrangements of domestic spaces to give a meaningful, even spiritually significant, contour to the everyday).
Square metal plates have already been placed across the top level of the steps here at Keating Hall, probably to anchor a stage, and one fellow who seems like he’s in charge was describing the need to build a wide path or ramp from the steps down to the commons.
I would be just as happy to pull up a chair and watch all day long as I would to prepare for my afternoon class discussing theologian Risto Saarinen’s God and the Gift: An Ecumenical Theology of Giving, and its travels through Mauss, Bourdieu, Derrida, Marion, Milbank, the New Testament, and Luther on multiple interpretations of what it means to give (and therefore to receive). These pleasures of rock-set-building and theology-set-building are almost fully equal for me in principle, if not equally possible on this particular day. Getting ready for concerts, from the initial reconnaissance of the site to the sound check, is a particular set of practices and rockish praeparatio that has always attracted me. I’ve snuck into load-ins and soundchecks many times just to allow the graces of that praeparatio to take hold, to allow the wider rock culture to teach me about adventum.

Today's post:
This morning, some hundred or so workers are milling around the Keating Hall steps and Edwards Parade, unloading crates full of electronics and cables, men with “Good Morning America / U2″ badges trying to keep some order in the setup as trucks back in, beeping, with more gear. Lots of sites of work are now happening at once, the controlled chaos that characterizes liturgy the practice of making a multipurpose “space” into an identifiably rockish concert “place.”
This morning I wandered around the site and through the buzz, taking in the expected consolation of these anonymous keepers of the rock flame, guys clad in jeans (women are, interestingly, very rare in “roadie culture”), black jackets, often leather, some concert shirts, the requisite “all access” lanyards, the rough and ready makers of the condition-of-possibility-of-elemental-rock-experience: the live (and outdoor!) show in its inevitable high-wire quality balancing of electronics, natural elements, rock’s established catalogue of gestures and sounds washing through the amplified joy-anger of containment-releasement in which rock seems to specialize, the experimenting with the power of what theologian and musician Don Saliers told me was rock’s extraordinary “somatic capital.”
And in the Blue Chapel, down the hall from the Graduate School of Religion offices here at third floor Keating, workers are in the hallway right now readying lights to shine through the stained glass onto the assembled tomorrow morning. In this..
continued: “I will make three booths here”: U2 Fordham Update

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