Tag Archives: des moines

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.”

Resident Artists: It Might Get Loud!

Tomorrow night(Friday, February 4th), Golden Veins will be playing the Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, Ia for the Resident Artist Series: “It Might Get Loud”

Old cool dudes Deep Sleep Waltzing and Brutus are playing. Plus artist Van Holmgren will be doing some live painting, so who knows what all could go down!

Doors open at 9 and will cost you 5 bucks to get you in. Sorry kids, but it’s 21+.

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.

I’m The Des Moines Graphic Novel Examiner

Hey dudes. I’ve started a new writing venture at a website some of you may or may not have heard of called examiner.com. I have been selected as Des Moines’ “Graphic Novel” Examiner, which means I’m supposed to write about the comic books. I posted my first entry tonight,  a modest look at some of this week’s comic releases, but more articles will come, so please bookmark my page over there and check back regularly! Here’s my first post:

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-27333-Des-Moines-Graphic-Novels-Examiner~y2009m10d22-This-week-in-comics-102109

Sorry the formatting’s a bit rough, still getting used to it. And yes, that picture is my Myspace/Facebook picture that is years old, because I was too lazy to make a new one. Maybe someday! Thanks for the support!

-G.

Fleur 4: The Movie

So here’s a respite from video game and Batman-related posts: a short movie made by myself and my good friend Ryan Ingram, waaaaaaaaaay back in 1999. Ten years! We made this during one of the very slow nights we had working at the Carmike Cinemas Fleur 4 Theatres in Des Moines, Iowa. Now known as the Fleur Cinema & Cafe, the theater shows …. But back in 1999 the Fleur was on its last legs, having recently become a discount theater due to the opening of a multiplex close by. The next year it would close, only to be reopened as an indie theater a couple years later.

ANYWAY….by the point this movie was shot, we often had nights where two, one or no people showed up. There was hardly anything to do…usually on these nights, we just reused popcorn made the night before instead of making fresh stuff. So even after doing our homework, we still had plenty of time to kill. Hence, this movie. I don’t remember where this idea came from…it was probably more of an excuse to screw around with camera angles and such, as opposed to creating well-rounded characters. But I think we’ve always found blind prejudice to be an interesting subject for comedy (is this funny?). But I’m trying not to oversell it: first and foremost, it’s a fun reminder of what was going on in my life ten years ago. So check it:

Thanks to Ingram for the upload!

G.

Listen to a new Beati Paoli song 5.29.09

Over the past few months, Beati Paoli has been working on new material. They’ve been planning a split 7″ with hip hop artist Aeon Grey that will also include two digital mini-albums (via download cards). the 7″, titled “Quid Pro Quo”, will feature one new song from each artist, and the download only material will be a combination of new and remixed/reworked tracks.

The release party is scheduled for june 19th (at The Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines, IA), but you don’t have to wait that long to get a taste of the new stuff. This friday, 5/29/09, Beati Paoli will be uploading a new song, called “Massive Charm Offensive”, onto their website (http://www.beatipaoli.net) and myspace. I’ll try and upload it here as well.

and just so this post isn’t completely BORING, here’s a sample of the 7″ artwork:
beati paoli quid pro quo album art

thenoisingmachine

related posts:

Singles Club: 8

bethere

UNKLE featuring IAN BROWN

“BE THERE”

b/w “THE KNOCK-ON EFFECT”

Released 2/1/99

(Davis/Brown)

Kind of an interesting case, this one.  Throughout its 15 year existence, UNKLE has largely been comprised of Mo’ Wax Records founder James Lavelle and whoever else is around at the time. UNKLE’s first formation revolved around Lavelle and future DFA co-head Tim Goldsworthy; its second major incarnation featured Lavelle and Josh Davis a.k.a. DJ Shadow.

The group’s debut album Psyence Fiction was released in 1998 and featured collaborations with artists like Thom Yorke, Richard Ashcroft, Badly Drawn Boy and Mike D., among others. One vocalist that did not appear on the album is former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown, yet the second single released to promote Fiction features his rough Northern tones. Originally presented as an instrumental entitled “Unreal”, with Brown’s words and vocals on top the song became “Be There”.

On a personal note, this particular single changed my musical life, and therefore my life in general. I imported this single (like so many others) through sirendisc.com, but purely for its b-side, a remix of Psyence Fiction‘s “The Knock (Drums Of Death Pt. 2)” done by Noel Gallagher of Oasis. I had picked up Fiction when it came out the year before and really liked it (especially “Lonely Soul”), but I was certainly not an UNKLE completist. I was, however, an Oasis completist, and in these distant days before filesharing and hi-speed, sirendisc was usually my only way to get the UK-only releases that Oasis and so many of my other favorite bands put out.

The aforementioned remix, entitled “The Knock-On Effect”, was a pretty good effort and incorporated elements of the Led Zeppelin sound Noel was obsessed with at the time (it’s also probably the only time Noel Gallagher, DJ Shadow, Jason Newstead and Mike D. will ever appear together). But on my way to this b-side, I listened to “Be There”. It started like “Unreal” did on the album: dreamy keys underlined by ominous strings until the beat kicked in. So far, so same until about 40 seconds in when that voice comes in.

Now, Ian Brown doesn’t have a technically great voice. He’s a personality singer. And for whatever reason, as he sang the lyric of “Be There”, I was captivated. I was aware of The Stone Roses, knowing them as an influence on Oasis, and I was vaguely familiar with their single “Love Spreads”, which was a moderate U.S. hit. But for whatever reason, as of early 1999, I had yet to investigate them. It was a real moment of discovery for me. The next month I was at the CD Warehouse on Merle Hay Road in Des Moines, and bought The Stone Roses’ debut (as well as Modern Life Is Rubbish by Blur). It really changed my life, and influenced the way I sing, the way I write lyrics and the way I look at the world. Hyperbolic maybe, but true for me. And it may not have happened without “Be There”, a great, great single in its own right.

Audio:

And a severely truncated live version on Top Of The Pops circa ’99:

G.