Busted Halo
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August 3rd, 2010
An open letter to Anne Rice

Dear Anne Rice:
After returning to the faith ten years ago, I am saddened to hear that you are no longer a Christian. You noted on your Facebook page that you refuse to be “anti-gay, “anti-feminist” and “anti-artificial birth control.” You said:
“In the name of… Christ, I quit Christianity and being Christian. Amen… it’s simply impossible for me to ‘belong’ to this quarrelsome, hostile, disputatious, and deservedly infamous group. For ten years, I’ve tried. I’ve failed. I’m an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.”

It is that reason and not merely the act itself that saddens me most. First let…

July 29th, 2010
The actor discusses his new film

Robert Duvall discusses his new film, Get Low, as well as The Apostle…, his career and upcoming projects with Fr. Dave Dwyer.
To listen to and/or download the podcast of the interview, click here.

July 22nd, 2010
Busted Halo's interns discuss the new mind-bending film

This weekend’s smash hit Inception is the latest in a string of strong, mind-bending mediations on the nature of reality in the vein of The Matrix, Dark City and Memento…. The film focuses on Dom Cobb, a man whose job it is to enter a person’s dream and steal information from his subconscious. As the film progresses, Cobb and his team members — and those of us in the audience — begin to lose grip on exactly what is real and what is a dream. In our own world, the digital landscape provides us with many alternatives to reality: television, video games, and the many role-playing websites the internet offers. These technologies can bring attention to an important world issue, send vacation pictures,

July 11th, 2010
Donna Freitas' novel This Gorgeous Game looks at priestly sex abuse through the eyes of a teenage girl

Donna Freitas is best known for her provocative nonfiction book Sex and the Soul, which was based on scores of interviews she conducted with college-age students about “sexuality, spirituality, romance and religion on America’s college campuses.” Beyond her work as a scholar and college religion professor, however, Frietas has forged a parallel career as a novelist. Her first novel, The Possibilities of Sainthood earned accolades in the Young Adult fiction genre back in 2008. Her most recent novel This Gorgeous Game… tackles an unusual theme: a Catholic priest stalking a teenage girl. In the midst of a new wave of accusations of sexual abuse coming from Europe, Freitas’ work tragically

July 10th, 2010
Discussing faith, family and Derek Jeter with longtime Yankee Stadium announcer Bob Sheppard

Bob Sheppard, the longtime Voice of Yankee Stadium died this week at the age of 99. Sheppard’s majestic elocution gave players and spectators goosebumps for over half a century. Sheppard was also devout in his Catholic faith and he was kind enough to offer Senior Editor Mike Hayes an interview about both his faith and his career as he tried to return to the public address booth after an undisclosed illness. Sadly, he would never make it back. We’re reprinting our interview here. You can also hear the full audio version of the interview here on a Busted Halo Cast.
Anyone who has attended a Yankee’s home game since the mid-twentieth century has been greeted by the unique—and now legendary—style

June 22nd, 2010
Seeking the sacred in soccer

For me, the World Cup intimates something of what God is and can be for us. The principle guiding our getting together and enjoying life. The meaning of our days. The joy of our victories and our consoler in defeat. If, as St. Ignatius taught, we should seek God in all things and God wants to be with the people of earth, then He has to be at the World Cup in South Africa this summer. Look for Him there.
It was 1982. I was teaching an English class of fifty primeros (high school freshmen) at Colegio San Mateo, the Jesuit school in Osorno, Chile, deep in the South of that beautiful country. Class was rolling along. The Chilean kids were always respectful and well behaved. Suddenly, they all just started standing up and walking…

June 15th, 2010
USA Today asks Busted Halo about her new video... what do you think?

With the release last week of Lady Gaga’s controversial new video “Alejandro,” USA Today called upon BH’s editor-in-chief Bill McGarvey to offer his opinion on whether the video’s treatment of Catholicism was offensive. Read his response here.
Take a look at the video yourself right now and let us know your opinion by clicking here and taking our survey:…

May 14th, 2010
Defending the right to offend us

On April 14, Comedy Central’s “South Park” celebrated its 200th episode of “take no prisoners” animated comedy by dressing up the Prophet Mohammed in a bear suit. (It’s a long story…)
Unlike most of their show business rivals, when South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone say everyone is fair game for ridicule, they mean it. The religiously themed episode targeted Moses, Jesus, Mormon patriarch Joseph Smith and the Buddha.
Then, parodying the disputed Islamic dictum that forbids the depiction of its holiest prophet, Stone and Parker showed Muhammad dressed in a bear costume. (Perhaps this was a nod to the British teacher working abroad who was sentenced…

April 23rd, 2010
Real life super heroes on the streets of NYC

They call me the “Comic Book Rabbi.” Given the chance to choose my own “superhero” nickname, I’d have picked something more dynamic, like “Super Jew” or simply “The Rabbi.” (Imagine The Thing, but with a kippah.) I come by my humble nickname honestly, though. My first book was called, Up Up and Oy Vey : How Jewish History, Culture and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero…. Not surprisingly, I quickly came to be seen as an expert about the Jewish influence on American popular culture.
Most of the time, I study these matters at arm’s length — literally, with a well-thumbed issue of the Fantastic Four circa 1964 in hand. However, I confess (and

April 15th, 2010
The former Pedro the Lion leader talks about reactions to recent work and his current take on faith and his role as an artist

Last week, we published a piece by Matt Fink about former Pedro the Lion leader David Bazan’s career and latest album. After a four-year hiatus following struggles with alcoholism and his faith — including being kicked off the main stage of a major Christian music festival — Bazan returned in 2009 with a new autobiographical and starkly agnostic album.
In the following interview, Fink talks with Bazan about his return to the Cornerstone Festival last summer, the latest album, the reactions to recent work, and his current take on faith and his role as an artist.

Busted Halo: I saw that you went back and played Cornerstone this year. What was that like?
David Bazan:… It was actually great. I had said

April 12th, 2010

The following post is a continuation of Busted Halo’s coverage of the 2010 South By Southwest festival.…
Is being a faithful person a lot like being a slacker? And if so, where does that leave the faithful in life? A new indie film, “The Happy Poet,” made me wonder. This charming little story debuted at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival, and I’ve been mulling it ever since.

Because the movie was shot to simple effect in my much-loved city of Austin, it was especially easy to imagine this scenario playing out in real life: Young guy, out of work but needing to make some sort of living, buys a food cart and sets it up in a park. He puts his heart into it, tenderly hand-making and

April 8th, 2010
Former Pedro the Lion frontman's Curse Your Branches

In the spring of 2007, I was asked as an alumnus of Geneva College (a small Reformed Presbyterian liberal arts college 30 minutes northwest of Pittsburgh, PA) to attend a few planning sessions for that semester’s annual music event. Knowing Geneva’s conservative stance on nearly every theological or cultural issue, from the prohibition of instruments in their church services to the ban on all dancing (save square dancing) on campus, the challenge was selecting an artist who would be edgy enough to attract the interest of the students while being safe enough not to draw the ire of the school’s administration. Half-jokingly, I suggested that David Bazan might be an interesting choice for…

March 22nd, 2010
The Liars' Club author discusses worshipping art, getting sober, becoming Catholic, and writing Lit

Considering the harrowing stories of her Texas youth — plagued by the alcohol, drugs, violence and general mayhem she recounted in The Liars’ Club (1995) and Cherry (2000) — it is a minor miracle that Mary Karr lived to tell her tale. The fact that she still has more stories of tumult and survival as an adult to write about, though, really begins to edge into loaves and fishes territory.
In her third memoir, Lit, Karr moves past her “drug sodden” adolescence into her young adulthood where the joys of falling in love, getting married and becoming a mother are overwhelmed by her debilitating alcoholism, depression and family dysfunction. But Lit isn’t simply a catalog of grinding desperation…

March 2nd, 2010
Busted Halo vs. America Magazine..."and the WINNER is"

You’d think they would have given Up by now. After two consecutive years of getting An Education in Oscar prognosticating, Fr. Jim Martin SJ and Tim Reidy — the Precious cinephiles at America magazine, the national Catholic weekly run by the Jesuits — asked to go head-to-head for a third round with BustedHalo.com’s editor-in-chief Bill McGarvey on the year’s Best Picture nominees. The Inglourious Basterds at America are well aware that McGarvey is A Serious Man when it comes to film, so they can’t claim to have been Blind Sided.
As the following two-part podcast makes clear, picking Oscar winners is no game to McGarvey. He made it painfully clear to his opponents before

March 1st, 2010
Author Tony Hendra on Carlin's "sortabiography"

When George Carlin died in 2008 at the age of 71, American comedy lost one of the sharpest and truest voices it had ever known. Over five decades, Carlin forged a body of work that is awe-inspiring in terms of its breadth, intelligence and relevance.  The Irish Catholic kid from Corpus Christi parish in Harlem–with barely more than a year of high school education–combined his own fierce and fearlessly questioning mind with the lessons he’d learned on the streets of New York to craft comedy that made audiences laugh and challenged them to think. Beginning in the mid 1990s, bestselling author and actor Tony Hendra (Fr. Joe, Spinal Tap…) recorded countless hours of conversation with Carlin for

February 18th, 2010
Looking back at life and death through the eyes of a 10-year-old

For Kathleen Erin Daly
The outside cover of Natalie Babbit’s 1975 novel Tuck Everlasting… poses just one question — what would you do if you could live forever?
I asked myself this very question in1982, a complicated time when I was ten and on an impossible mission to understand not only death, but the litany of unanswerable questions that the subject brought forth: “What happens when you die?” “Why do some people die at age 4 and others get to live to 105?” and perhaps the most elusive, “What is the point of being born at all if only to one day die?” Beginning on January 11, 1982, this quest consumed me. To say that 1982 was the proverbial “winter of my discontent”

January 19th, 2010
This absurd but brutally honest animated comedy pushes the limits

A ventriloquist’s cartoonish dummy can vocalize insults that would earn the ventriloquist himself a punch in the nose. In much the same way, on “harmless looking” adult animated comedy shows humorists can get away with things they never could on a live-action program.
As a rabbi with a lifelong passion for comedy, I often find myself torn between my love of a good (or even a bad!) joke, and reverence for my religious beliefs. The TV program that challenges my sensibilities the most is probably The Family Guy….
A recent episode of the notorious and unfailingly offensive show — called “Family Goy” — skewered a host of clichés with even more blatant disregard for propriety

December 31st, 2009
(1930-2009)

Did any among us not grow up with Disney? Children of the 40s marked their years with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Pinocchio, Fantasia, Dumbo and Bambi. For boomers, it was Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and Jungle Book. By the time I came along, Disney’s animated features had lost their spark. But my family gathered around the family TV set every Sunday night at 7:30 to watch The Wonderful World of Disney… — a collection of animation, feature movies, TV dramas and nature documentaries. This brew, rich on American stories like Davey Crockett, helped shape my worldview. For children of the 80s and 90s, Disney animated feature films

December 31st, 2009
A near-Irishman salutes Frank McCourt (1930-2009)

Also check out the latest Busted Halo Cast about Frank McCourt.…

Deanna, my ex-girlfriend, grew up in Boston. Recalling her early home life, she would sing a litany of parental neglect, substance abuse and financial mismanagement. Apparently, the one bright moment came when she saw one of her friends break most of her toes in a step-dancing accident.
I envied her. She would never have to search for her Irishness.
My own connection with the land of St. Brigid and Molly Bloom was much more tenuous. My mother’s family had left it sometime before the outbreak of the American Civil War. My father’s family, consisting of Polish and Ukrainian Jews, never made it there in the first place. Reaching backward across

December 31st, 2009
(1975 - 2009)

Hallett during better times

I love a good rags-to-riches story. A vampire spin-off is not the usual definition of riches, but for the millions of people who love the Buffyverse, Andy Hallett was a success.
Hallett started his career in Los Angeles as Joss Whedon’s wife’s personal assistant. For those who don’t know, Joss Whedon was the writer, creator and driving force behind the TV shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel and Firefly — series known for being equal parts camp and brilliant writing.
After Whedon and friends went to see Hallett sing at B.B. King’s in Los Angeles, Whedon conceived of an Angel… character written just for Hallett. The character was Krevlornswath of the

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