Forget Skateboarding, These Women Have Swapped Boards For Rollerskates

Chicks in Bowls began as a fun little side project in Auckland, New Zealand, led by one of the country’s top roller derby skaters, Lady Trample (whose real name is Samara Pepperell).

chicksChapters are like forums for skaters to organise meet ups, share tips, tricks, bails and stories

“They allow travelling skaters to meet up with the locals and find the best spots. Because the sport is still very new and grass-roots, it’s less intimidating being a newbie as the crews are all growing together,” says Lady Trample.

Now there are more than 150 chapters across New Zealand and Australia, the United States, South America, Europe and South Africa.

“We have a core group of girls that pitch in a lot of time, efforts and energy into keeping the wheels turning. They are all like family to me and I don’t know what I would do without all of the lovely ladies in my life,” says Gloria Zef, organiser of the Southern Californian chapter.

Read article at HERE.

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The X-Files to return to TV after 13-year absence

x-filesThe Guardian

The US broadcaster Fox has confirmed that a six-episode series will begin production in the summer. The broadcast date has yet to be revealed.

The series creator Chris Carter described the show’s absence as “a 13-year commercial break” and added: “The good news is the world has only gotten that much stranger, a perfect time to tell these six stories.”

The six-episode run is shorter than most US TV series, and Fox described the X-Files return as an “event”. Dana Walden and Gary Newman, chair and CEO of Fox Television Group, said: “We had the privilege of working with Chris on all nine seasons of The X-Files – one of the most rewarding creative experiences of our careers – and we couldn’t be more excited to explore that incredible world with him again.

“The X-Files was not only a seminal show for both the studio and the network, it was a worldwide phenomenon that shaped pop culture – yet remained a true gem for the legions of fans who embraced it from the beginning. Few shows on television have drawn such dedicated fans as The X-Files, and we’re ecstatic to give them the next thrilling chapter of Mulder and Scully they’ve been waiting for.”

Read the rest of the article HERE.

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I, too, thought the world was coming to an end. What ‘Kimmy Schmidt’ gets right.

Ellie Kemper in Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” (Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)

Ellie Kemper in Netflix’s “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” (Eric Liebowitz/Netflix)

By Alissa Wilkinson

The poster for “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” features a background crowd of grey-clad New Yorkers scuttling along in the rain. In front of them, Kimmy (played by Ellie Kemper) — in magenta pants, a yellow cardigan and purple sneakers — is jumping ecstatically into a puddle. The tagline: “Life begins when the world doesn’t end.”

I smiled when I first saw the poster. A decade ago, I was a puddle-jumping newbie New Yorker, too.

And Kimmy joyfully splashed in puddles for awfully similar reasons to my own.

Tina Fey’s new Netflix series opens when Kimmy and three other women emerge from a bunker and into a world, they’d been told, was scorched and dead. For 15 years of captivity, their captor, Rev. Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, said God wanted him to protect them from the destruction above. Now free, Kimmy decides she’s not going to settle for Indiana. She wants New York.

I was never in an apocalyptic cult, or even just a regular old cult. But in the 1990s, I was part of a certain branch of fundamentalism that flourished among Christian homeschoolers. Leaders called for women in calico jumpers and long hair, and also a total break with most culture, including no contact with Christian things deemed too worldly: magazines for teenagers published by Focus on the Family, contemporary Christian music, youth groups or Amish romance novels.

To read the rest of Alissa Wilkinson’s article in the Washington Post, click HERE.

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Why the Church needs Art – Part 2

Check out the lessons Scott Erickson learned about how art helps us to cope with grief and  tragedy while he was the artist in residence at Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas.


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“What If” Prince covered Nichole Nordeman?

princeA brand new Prince song called “WHAT IF” emerged on a Louisville, Kentucky radio station WFPK in advance of a two-night sold out shows. The song is a collaboration with his backing band 3RDEYEGIRL. It’s a cover of a song by Christian singer/songwriter Nichole Nordeman.

Click HERE to go to hear on Stereogum.

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“I Don’t Buy It”: The Gospel According to Frank Underwood

underwoodGreat analysis on House of Cards from veteran religion journalist Cathleen Falsani. She is now writing Religion Dispatches from the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California.

“There are many things that Netflix’s House of Cards can do — and do well — because it is not a network television series, not the least of which is handle faith, spirituality, and religion with nuance, courage, and a certain alacrity that is virtually absent from traditional, commercial programming,” Falsani writes. “Throughout Season 3 of House of Cards, President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) continues his existential striptease unabated, revealing the depths of his moral declension and staggering spiritual torpor.

“House of Cards gets away with showing and telling things about the harrowing intersection of faith and politics that it never would have had the award-winning series fallen into the hands of ABC, NBC, CBS, or even HBO. (Thanks be to God.)

“To wit: a scene in the fourth episode of the new season that contained one of the greatest spiritual moments in “television” history followed immediately by one of the most disturbing.

“In the episode, disquieted by a presidential decision he made that cost several Navy SEALs their lives, Frank seeks counsel from a military chaplain — the motorcycle-riding “Bishop Charles Eddis” played by John Doman — under cover of darkness, standing under a huge crucifix in the sanctuary of a church.”

To read the entire Falsani analysis, click HERE.

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Take My Hand: The Blues and Gospel

By Steve Beard

The first of several pivotal scenes in the film Selma occurs when the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes a late night phone call to gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. The undeniable weight of what lay ahead for King and the civil rights movement was heavy on his soul. In quiet desperation, King (played masterfully by David Oyelowo) awakens the gospel music legend with the phone call and simply says, “I need to hear the Lord’s voice.”

Gospels-Spirituals-Hymns-CD2-coverMahalia Jackson (played by Ledisi Young) breaks the stillness of the night with an impromptu and stemwinding plea in her housecoat and slippers:

“Precious Lord, take my hand / Lead me on, let me stand / I am tired, I am weak, I am worn / Through the storm, through the night / Lead me on to the light / Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home.”

This iconic scene in the film was indicative of King’s dependence upon spiritual strength, Jackson’s healing voice, and the Savior’s nail-scared hands. “Precious Lord” was King’s supplication, his way of reaching out for the hem of the garment. It was his last request only moments before his voice of eloquence was forever silenced on April 4, 1968, with a .30-06 bullet. King had just asked Chicago saxophonist Ben Branch to play the song at the rally later that night in Memphis.

Continue reading

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Roller derby exhibition at Bullock Museum

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Find out more about the Roller Derby exhibition at the Bullock Museum in Austin, Texas.

From the website: “Though originally founded in Chicago in the 1930s, today’s fast, high-impact incarnation was founded in Austin in 2001 before spreading throughout the state. Today, Texas boasts approximately 47 leagues, and skilled skaters can be found on flat and banked tracks around the world. This exhibition examines contemporary popular culture and the role of women in contact sports through historical photographs, personal stories, and artifacts.

“Immerse yourself in a roller rink environment with life-sized images of skaters and experience first-hand the fierce rivalries, the thrill of the bout, and the speed of a whip. See uniforms, skates, posters and more from modern flat track and banked track leagues, as well as some of the earliest roller derby artifacts, images, and media footage dating to the 1930s.”

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Nikki Hill: The new Queen of Rock ‘N’ Roll

nikki-hillL. Kent Wolgamott, Lincoln Journal Star

In 1957, “Here’s Little Richard” was the first album from the Quasar of Rock, the Originator, the Architect of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Fifty-five years later, “Here’s Nikki Hill” introduced the Southern Fireball, the new Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll, who performs Wednesday at the Zoo Bar.

The similar titles and album cover designs aren’t mere coincidence. Rather, in very cool style, Hill’s paying homage to one of her key influences.

“Hearing Little Richard on the radio, if you’re a rock ‘n’ roll fan, Little Richard is going to move you, no matter where you are, no matter who you are,” Hill said in a phone interview last week. “He’s a huge influence as far as making that bridge between gospel and rock ‘n’ roll.

“My first singing experience was in gospel choirs. I’ve listened to Little Richard, Otis Redding, The Staple Singers. They took that gospel sound and brought it into rock ‘n’ roll. Since my voice fits it, I’m into it.”

The gospel transformed into soul can be heard on “Here’s Nikki Hill,” so can vintage R&B and even a tinge of reggae in the guitar on the cover of the 1990 Texas Tornados hit “Who Were You Thinking Of.”

The swinging “Strapped to the Beat” with its saxophone lead could have come out 55 years ago, but it’s invigorated and fresh.

To read the rest of the article, click HERE.

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Why the Church needs Art

Check out the lessons Scott Erickson learned about beauty and truth while he was the artist in residence at Ecclesia Church in Houston, Texas.

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