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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

What Would You Be Willing to Sacrifice?

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

"This project isn’t about making images. It’s not about creating the world’s largest camera. It’s about doing what you love. If you had been searching your whole life for something you love, what would you be willing to sacrifice?" ~Ian Ruhter, from Silver & Light

I can’t remember watching something so heartbreakingly gorgeous, unswerving in its emotional sway, inspirational to the point of forcing me to wonder about my current station in life. What am I doing here?

(h/t Chris Heagle)

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Waves of Murmuration (video)

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

No, not a line from The Pixies. Liberty Smith and Sophie Windsor Clive will ensnare you in the majesty of this chance encounter with “one of nature’s greatest and most fleeting phenomena” — a collection of starlings rolling over a kayak canoe on a lake.

Editor’s note: In the comments below, Maureen Doallas reminded me of two spots where I first heard about starling murmurations and thought I’d share them with you: Paolo Patrizi’s magnificent photos of murmurations over Rome and a BBC documentary. Both are definitely checking out.

Hat tip to Anne Breckbill for the heads up!

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Mike Wallace Interviews Music Genius Franz Liszt (video)

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

It’s been some time since we’ve posted a Friday video snack. So how about ten minutes of the comedic genius of Victor Borge with one of the toughest journalists in the business, Mike Wallace.

(A good, ol-fashioned doff of the cap to Performance Today.)

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One Year in 40 Seconds (video)

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Something a bit more playful and quiet for this Friday: a time-lapse video of a grove of trees in Oslo, Norway showing the seasons change.

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Friday Video Snack: Will You Be the English National Opera’s Friend?

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Well, today’s feature is so darned clever and funny and, of course, British. The video works — and on so many levels: part promotion, part comedy, part social commentary, part man-on-the-street-doing-ridiculous-things. I won’t give away the ending but…

(Big thanks to Brian Newhouse for the heads-up!)

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This Is What It Sounds Like When Doves Fly

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

This video of doves flying in Taiwan was just too graceful and peaceful not to share, especially at this time of year when any bird flying overhead in Minnesota is a minor miracle to behold. Winter’s breath and gilded wing draw one’s eye immediately to the majesty of the frozen sky. And here’s one of the videographer’s photos of this event:

IMG_2443
Photograph by cypherone/Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

As for the blog title, my apologies for the play on the Prince tune. I’m in the midst of revisiting my cultural past, boxes and boxes of it.

[via Flickr Blog]

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"A Postcard from Bali"

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Good gosh this is beautiful. Ganesha and Buddha. Grass and lotus flowers. Mountains and sea.

(Thank you, Stephan Kot!)

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Esperanza Spalding Dazzles the Tiny Desk

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

I’ve been holding on to this performance for a few days now, keeping it in reserve specifically for a Friday morning or afternoon. And what better way to kick off the back stretch to the weekend than with the delightful intensity of jazz musician Esperanza Spalding. In this video, she captivates the room at National Public Radio with her intimate Tiny Desk Concert.

I particularly enjoyed the way Patrick Jarenwattananon paints a lush scene of her commanding presence, including when she doffs her cap to reveal her magnificent shock of hair. But, I best like his rundown of her set list:

"Chamber Music Society" by Esperanza Spalding"…she mostly called original tunes from Chamber Music Society, her new album pairing a jazz rhythm section with a three-piece string trio. The two tunes bookending her set alternated the gossamer with the rich and darkly hued: the album opener “Little Fly,” her setting of a William Blake poem, and “Apple Blossom,” featuring her regular guitarist, Ricardo Vogt.”

Listening to this performance made it easy to buy her album. I’ve been listening to it non-stop. It’s perfect.

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Walking. Without Words.

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

For this Friday afternoon, a throwback video snack from 1968. Artistic renderings of being through ambulatory expression. The film as described by the National Film Board of Canada’s website:

Animator Ryan Larkin uses an artist’s sensibility to illustrate the way people walk. He employs a variety of techniques—line drawing, colour wash, etc.—to catch and reproduce the motion of people afoot. The springing gait of youth, the mincing step of the high-heeled female, the doddering amble of the elderly—all are registered with humour and individuality, to the accompaniment of special sound. Without words.

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The Glory of the Perseids (in One Minute)

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Holland LakeAfter a wonderful couple weeks of vacation, most of it in the Swan Valley of the Montana Rockies, I find myself pining for the starry night skies and the richness of the Milky Way. Growing up in Minneapolis, my two young boys had never seen anything like it. They marveled and remarked without prompting. They’re 4 and 2. I grew up in North Dakota and the vast density of stars adorning the night sky was all I knew. I found myself delighting in their pleasure and saddened by the thought that this was an uncommon event for them.

Some mornings the news doesn’t cut it. Information is too much. We need something to help us remember the moments that give meaning to our lives. Something that gives us hope. Natural events that shake our inner being and relationship to this magnificent world. Henry Jun Wah Lee’s "Joshua Tree Under the Milky Way" time lapse is a welcome relief to start this day.

If you have a photo or a video or a quote that does this for you, share it here. I’m always looking for new material to post that might boost our spirits for the working week.

(photo: “Holland Lake” by Trent Gilliss)

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Happy with Loneliness

by Shubha Bala, associate producer

I’m one of those people that has not yet learned how to enjoy doing things alone. This video seemed sweet and light for a Friday break — while providing instruction on how to work your way up to embracing being alone. Enjoy, and share your stories of breaking your own solo-boundaries.

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Time-Lapse, Take Me Away!

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor
(view mobile version of video)

These last few weeks have been action-packed, pressure cookers around the SOF shop. I had to step back from Final Cut Pro, ProTools, HTML/CSS, and too many meetings looking at charts — just for a few minutes — and breathe.

There’s nothing like time-lapse video from Mount Fuji and prefectures of Japan to slow me down, even as the images are sped up. Take a break and join me.

Psssst…I couldn’t resist the Calgon reference. Sorry.

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K’naan Waves His Flag

by Trent Gilliss, senior editor

Some of the best story lines coming out of this year’s World Cup aren’t about sport at all. They’re about people rising above their circumstances, creating something new, defying their genre, being recognized for their talents.

Such is the case with K’naan. The poet and hip-hot artist’s song "Wavin’ Flag" is now the official theme song of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

A Somali-born Canadian who grew up in Mogadishu before immigrating to North America at the age of 13, he takes an unexpected tact tack when writing lyrics. K’naan doesn’t see much sense, he says, in glorifying the violence and strife that surrounded him in his childhood like many American rappers:

"There wasn’t a voice that understood the, ya know, the gratitude that comes from survival. There wasn’t a voice in music that was doing that."

There’s much more to K’naan’s story, his art, and his approach to life. Here are three strong pieces I found helpful in learning more about him. Over at Sound Opinions, he demonstrates some Somali poetry styles to Greg and Jim and talks more about his responsibility in addressing the violence and reality he witnessed.

Also, this 2005 profile piece by Sue Carter Flinn in The Coast covers a lot of ground. And it’s fair and thoughtful in the language chosen and scenes described. It has just a little bit more. For example, read Eliott McLaughlin’s description of a story K’naan often tells:

"At age 11, he accidentally blew up his school with a hand grenade he mistook for an old, dirty potato."

Now read Carter Flinn’s account:

"One day after school, at age 10, during the daily ritual of washing the Qur’an lessons off an ancient wooden slate, he uncovered a live grenade that exploded and destroyed half of his school."

And, giving CNN its props, check out the video to the right. I enjoyed watching K’naan just actually sit and talk about his work and how he’s processing his recent success, especially his song being honored at such a big event.

I hope you enjoy this week’s Friday video snack.

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Jónsi’s “Grow Till Tall”
Trent Gilliss, online editor

This Friday afternoon’s video snack was inspired by a number of you who were watching the live video stream of Krista’s conversation with Michel Martin on Monday night in Washington D.C. In the lead-up to the conversation, I opted to pass on playing all classical music while the crowd filed in to the Sydney Harman Hall.

Instead, I chose a variety of tracks from artists Juan Molina, Joe Henry, Björk (one of my favorite lullabyes, which Mitch included in "Pagans Ancient and Modern"), The Avett Brothers, cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, k.d. lang, Johnny Cash, Ryuichi Sakamoto, She & Him, and Jónsi. I chose this video because it’s a little less aurally sculpted than other videos and for a delightful surprise at the end — an entrancing a capella at the end of just his voice in a lonely room.

I was somewhat surprised when I was inundated with requests to know what songs were being played while waiting. If you’d like, I’d be glad to create an SOF Playlist so that you could stream the mix. Leave a comment here or tweet me; if there are enough requests, I’d be glad to post them for you.

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Lady Gaga Spreading Like the Words of Torah
Trent Gilliss, online editor

The title of this week’s Friday afternoon video snack was taken directly from sichonstage’s comment on this YouTube video celebrating the Hasidic wedding of Shaya and Perry Weinberger (mazel tov!). If you’re not familiar with the song “Paparazzi” by Lady Gaga, I highly recommend you listen to the original first and then watch this cover. You’ll appreciate it so much more.

Dig the horns, harmonizing, and word substitution. It’s simply fabulous and complete fun!

(via Jewcy, with a jaunty h/t to Molly Bloom)

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