A Hi 5 to the Face to…

Cravis Frankly gets gobsmacked by Sam Phillips’s new record Push Any Button.

Legendary rock-and-roll recording artist Sam Phillips: For sending this fantastic, one-of-a-kind, handmade LP cover of her wildly inventive, high-spirited new album Push Any Button.

You can order your own copy here, including these very limited edition covers made by Sam’s own hands. They’re the best handmade object since… well, Cravis Frankly, my colleague who you see holding the album cover in this photograph.

Watch out, Sam. Here comes a handmade HI 5 TO THE FACE!

Cravis Frankly is up late reading The Lucy Variations by Sara Zarr.

Sara Zarr: For writing yet another novel that is keeping us up past bedtime. I’m halfway through The Lucy Variations.

Next time I see Sara, I’m giving her a special variation of a HI 5 TO THE FACE!

Blogger Tasha Golden: For realizing that Over the Rhine’s Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist have a lot to say to artists… and not just musicians, but writers too.

In Tasha’s article, Linford says, “We crave fresh language. If we’ve heard it 100 times before, we’re probably not that interested.”

Amen to that.

And, guess what… HI 5 TO THE FACE!

Josh Wilson: The extraordinary young artist who designed Cravis Frankly, one of several characters who will be helping me out with Hi 5 to the Face. I fondly refer to Josh as “The Maker.”

I’d give Josh a HI 5 TO THE FACE, but he has just moved in to the Chicago Art Institute to become an artist that will change the world.

Nick Olson: For seeing the meaning in the midst of madness in the film The World’s End. Nick’s review is excellent, insightful, and a sign of patient thoughtfulness rather a “this threatens my worldview” reaction.

Twelve pints for Nick… and a HI 5 TO THE FACE!

Alissa Wilkinson, editor of Christianity Today‘s film coverage: For this extraordinary answer to the frequently asked question “What the hell are they doing at Christianity Today, writing about all of these worldly, godforsaken movies?!”

This column has been around for a while, but don’t miss it. Here’s an excerpt:

A good watcher is someone who enters the movie theater (or fires up her Netflix queue) with expectation and excitement. The good watcher loves movies because she loves creativity, and good stories, and the sorts of beauty and wonder that she experiences through the moving images, the sounds, the lights, the characters. She approaches a movie hoping to enter into its world and become part of it for a while, and to end with her mindset and worldview challenged and expanded. She is disappointed if what she finds is merely a chance to escape the real world for a while. Or, worse, if she finds something that refuses to challenge the status quo, whether that’s her ideas about the world or her perception of beauty or her sense of wonder. And she is heartbroken when the movie denigrates human dignity.

But this doesn’t happen when we walk in with an agenda or a preconceived notion of what we’re about to experience. And a good watcher isn’t a “film snob.” She knows that even a plain old superhero movie or romantic comedy might turn out to submit to a good “reading”—might help her see the world, or herself, or her neighbor in a new way.

Lewis is firm and direct on this point. He says we must learn to surrender to the art: “Look. Listen. Receive. Get yourself out of the way.”

Are you ready, Alissa? Here comes… a HI 5 TO THE FACE! BOOM!

A Deep Furrowing of the Brow to…

Almost everyone who contributed the comments that appear after Alissa’s article. Alissa wrote a thoughtful and inspiring piece that encourages critical discernment. But apparently, that’s not good enough. People lined up to complain about such horrible crimes as — gasp! — quoting C.S. Lewis! Okay, I think everybody can agree that Christians quote Lewis too often. But that doesn’t mean nobody should ever quote him. And this was a perfect occasion to celebrate Lewis’s excellent work on the importance of critical discernment.

After Cravis reads aloud some of the nasty comments posted by readers at ChristianityToday.com, Zooey the Cat hisses some of the sharp replies she would post if she had opposable thumbs.