Category Archives: Current Events

Comics In The Classroom: Grand View University

By Greg Goode

Watchmen, the seminal graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, appears on Time magazine’s 100 Greatest Novels of the 20th Century list.  In 2009, The New York Times began publishing a graphic novel bestseller list.  The same year, Heath Ledger wins an Oscar for his portrayal of The Joker, Batman’s arch-enemy, in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

The comic book, long considered a disposable object exclusively for children, is finally getting some respect. Further validation for the art form can be found on college campuses, where graphic novels are becoming an increasingly common part of the curriculum, including at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa.

Matt Plowman, Grand View’s associate professor of history, first experienced comics in the classroom at another institution as part of a critical thinking class on the Holocaust. Plowman said one of the most powerful texts the class read was Maus by Art Spigelman, a graphic novel about Spigelman’s father’s experience in a Nazi concentration camp.

“I’ve seen [graphic novels] used very effectively, and communicate things that just weren’t alive on the page of a history book,” Plowman said. “Literally, it’s graphing reality for them, picturing reality and playing with it.”

Later this semester in his European Cultural & Intellectual History class, Plowman will be using V For Vendetta by Moore and David Lloyd, a graphic novel about an anarchist’s war against authority in a near-future totalitarian England.

“With European intellectual history, you kind of have to show where society’s moving,” Plowman said. “So I was looking for something that was late 20th century, and particularly with where a lot of European thinkers were going, there’s a lot of dystopia. And the graphic novels tend to be on the edge of that.”

Plowman said he picked V For Vendetta partly because of the students familiarity with the story from its 2006 film adaptation.

“I wanted them to be able to see the original intent of Alan Moore and what he’s really trying to say about society,” Plowman said. “Sometimes it’s easier for some students, rather than trying to find a movie that has a traditional novel, where they have to do more literary criticism. Especially for the visual learners.”

Kevin Gannon, professor of history at Grand View, said he’s always been intrigued by the use of graphic novels in class. Two years ago, Gannon took part in a summer reading program for the Grand View freshman class that used Gene Luen Yung’s graphic novel American Born Chinese.

“I had never taught with that before and in my discipline, it’s not very common. We use pretty standard vanilla textbooks. I was intrigued with the idea,” Gannon said. “I was a bit intimidated by the idea, too, because I had no idea how to teach it. What I learned is that it’s just like any other text.”

This semester, Gannon is assigning A People’s History of American Empire, a graphic novel that adapts writings by radical historian Howard Zinn. Gannon said students have responded to the text enthusiastically.

“For me personally, a graphic novel fits right in with the way I structure my courses and what I want students to be able to do with the texts that we read,” Gannon said.

Other Grand View instructors utilizing comics include Ken Jones, who assigned the zombie apocalypse story The Walking Dead in his Introduction to Ethics class this semester and Jim Whyte, who has given students the task of creating their own comics in his Principles of Management class.

Gannon said he sees the use of graphic novels in his class as a way of expanding his students’ ideas of what materials can be used in the classroom environment.

“I ask my students to be open-minded and look at different things as text, not just the standard printed page,” Gannon said. “If I’m going to ask my students to look at a text in that way, I should be willing to do the same myself.  And that’s where graphic novels help stretch me as a teacher.”

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL, GUYS

well, fox news really pinned the nail on the donkey this time. or something. here’s some kid talking about his near death experience, where he found out that everyone in heaven is young (PHEW, no wrinkles guys!). he also got to meet john the baptist, god, and jesus. why wouldn’t they all be together? and caring about this kid at all. this definitely makes sense.

here are some choice quotes:
‘god is a very very big person. he can actually fit the entire world into his hands.’

reporter: ‘wow. so many people want to know what you now know. what about jesus?’
kid: ‘well, jesus, he had a rough but kind face, sea blue eyes, and a smile that lit up the heavens.’

reporter: ‘and what about old people? they are not in heaven, right?’
kid: ‘nope, just young adults.’
then the dad says: ‘the good news, gretchen, is that when you’re up in heaven, it’ll be the young version.’

AMAZING. THIS TRULY IS AMAZING. video after the jump.

Continue reading

I LOVE ALEC BALDWIN

how awesome is this guy?

nataliebeth

“Frantic Prayer” now streamable

The second single by Golden Veins is now streamable on their website: www.goldenveins.com. The official release date is 10/12/10.

A Kafkaesque fever dream, “Frantic Prayer” races via sinewy guitars and spacey electronics toward an inevitably tragic ending. The b-side, “Kicking The Tires,” is a rude awakening set to a pulsing beat. It’s disillusionment you can dance to.

This single also comes with two killer remixes, one by Purify, and one by Matt Bad (both of which are streaming on the website), as well as fantastic artwork by Jon Pearson.

And here’s a little something by the band about the A and B sides:

FRANTIC PRAYER
“Frantic Prayer” began life as a bare-bones demo Scott recorded ages ago. He had a cache with a fair amount of riffs and guitar lines that he presented to us, and I think this was the first of that group we worked on. I think the demo just went up to the part right before the ominous middle section, necessitating the writing of the ominous middle section. When we first played this live, we only played the rockin’ parts, so it was only about two minutes.
The melody took a while to write, as it’s a bit of a tricky song. The lyrics are about guilt.
-G.

KICKING THE TIRES
This is an anarchistic protest song which demonizes those in power while at the same time questioning society as a whole. It’s about dishonesty and control – the struggle to see through the former and regain the latter.
This song was first conceived about 6 years ago when I was living in Davis, California. The original demo was just a guitar and vocal, inspired by the large quantities of Billy Bragg that I had been consuming. That mess of an ending was actually rather simple and pretty at one point.
-S

TheNoisingMachine

Golden Veins on Iowa’s Finest Music TONIGHT

Tonight from 10-11pm, Golden Veins vocalist and Noising Machine c0-founder, Greg Goode, will be on the online music program Iowa’s finest Music. Hosted by Tito McGee, every Tuesday evening, this program showcases the very best of Iowa’s musical talent.

Since today marks the very first release of Golden Veins’ year long Singles Club project, Tito asked Greg to come on and talk about what inspired this project, as well as his experiences in the Iowa scene and thoughts on music in general.

Tune in at DesMoinesAmplified.com at 10pm to catch what’s sure to be a once in a lifetime interview.

Golden Veins Interview!

The Iowa based blog, Friends In The Band, recently interviewed Golden Veins about the Singles Club, songwriting, the music industry, records, etc.

Check it out HERE.

2 FREE GOLDEN VEINS SONGS!

Hello friends!

A lot has been happening lately, and we wanted to fill you all in. First off, the Golden Veins Singles Club (http://www.goldenveins.com/singlesclub.html) is about to begin. On September 14th, the first of 12 “digital 45s” will be released, with a new single coming out each subsequent month for a year. These digital singles contain an A-side and a B-side, as well as a remix. They will all be available for download individually as they’re released. However, joining the Singles Club offers even more material (plus it’s cheaper).

There are 4 levels of Singles Club membership, ranging from digital downloads of all 40 (at least) songs ($10), all the way up to a package which includes t-shirts, cassettes, LPs, personalized songs, and more (limited early bird price of $55). For more detailed info on the club, please visit http://www.goldenveins.com/singlesclub.html.

Even more exciting than finally releasing material is that we’re giving away the A and B-side from our first single, “Gravitational Collapse”. Our first A-side, “Gravitational Collapse” is the aural equivalent of being lost in space – simultaneously ethereal, melancholic and exuberant. And there’s a whistling solo. The B-side, “Carcinogenic Kiss,” is a robo punk-funk kiss-off, which begins with bile and ends in tears.

To download these tracks, just go to http://www.goldenveins.com/gifts.html.

And while at the site, you can also hear the 4 remixes (by Adam Robert Haug, Mil, and Matt Bad) that are included with the “Gravitational Collapse” single, as well as aural teaser trailers for the first 12 songs, so you can get an idea of what’s to come.

That’s all the news for now, but there’s new work being done as I type this, so expect more emails in the near future!

Thanks for being rad dudes!

Luv,

Golden Veins

ps- artwork for “Gravitational Collapse” was created by UCIEL.

news with natalie 08302010

time for an update! here are the most important things of the day (if you happen to be looking at the world through a kaleidoscope, like i am).

ONE: corgis on a treadmill? why??? check out this adorable video. i know there are really only two corgis…but are there really only two corgis?! YOU decide!

TWO: iowa contributes to national news? this is definitely newsworthy. iowa state used their carillon to play lady gaga’s BAD ROMANCE. the video is over five minutes long (which may be longer than the actual song), so don’t waste your time watching it. just revel in the fact that iowa is once again leaving its mark on this amazing nation.

THREE: angry man tries to pay his property tax with 33,000 pennies. i love this story so much, but that’s really all there is to it. he went to the treasurers office and tried to pay his $330 property tax, in pennies, but was DENIED. justice? where is the JUSTICE? if you want to read more about this amazing story, check it out here on gawker.

FOUR: oh my godddd, can you even handle this photograph? i love this so much, mostly because of this quote: ‘once the shock wears off, i’m sure she’ll say yes.’ yeah? are you sure? who is this guy anyway? it doesn’t matter. anyway, in reference to this photo, i say mostly because let’s not forget his amazing pants, tan, or tattoos. his dead stare makes me wish he was asking me. but i digress.

FIVE: this faaaantastic gem of a german man, thilo sarrazin finally broke the silence about jews, and said that ‘all jews share a certain gene.’ yeah? cool! maybe we should put them somewhere where they can all be together, comfortably. maybe…in a…camp! sorry thilo, someone already thought of that. read more on that here.

well, that’s that! see you next week for news with natalie!

love always,
nataliebeth

Golden Veins Aural Teaser Trailers

This will be a quick post, but I promise to be back with something much more interesting in the near future!

We just wanted you all to know that we’ve uploaded a couple of Aural Teaser Trailers for the first six singles:
http://www.goldenveins.com/audio/teaser.html

Let us know what you think!

Also…

while on the site, you can hear full versions of all six tracks from the inaugural single: “Gravitational Collapse” – available 09/14/10 (PRE-ORDER NOW!)

news with natalie

here is a new feature I am working on AT THE MOMENT. it is called news with natalie and it is the news.

here is today’s RUNDOWN.

swine flu is over! if you didn’t get a vaccine, finally you can go outside! no one overreacted about this pandemic AT ALL. be careful!

WAIT. a dramatic video containing a car crash on a RACETRACK? this does sound dramatic! click through to see the drama! see it?

one last thing–if you haven’t seen EAT PRAY LOVE, don’t! you MIGHT want to check this out, though:
EAT PREY LOVE
it does look like an absolute delight.

i love you.

nataliebeth