Monday, July 28th

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Happy Monday, Front Porchers, and happy birthday to the Kennewick Man; it’s either his eighteenth or his nine thousand seven hundredth-ish, depending on how you look at it. Anyways, thanks to everyone who came out to Parable last week to hear Evan Smith and John Burnett’s conversation. We sure enjoyed it, and we hope yall did too, even with the crowds. We’re doing it again next month with screenwriter, actor, and generally awesome guy Turk Pipkin.

But what else is happening on the Front Porch? Well might you ask. We’re continuing our evaluation of all of our programs over the past year. We’ve got big changes planned for Unplugged, Parable, and Elephant in the Room. We’re not striking out in an entirely new direction, but we’re adjusting our sails and testing the wind to see where we can go next.

On a more personal note, my time at the Front Porch is nearly spent. After joining on as an intern last August, I became a full-time employee in October. Starting on the first of August, I’ll step down as the Project Manager and instead work for the Porch as a contractor. As the Front Porch tessellates into ever more fascinating iterations, it’s become increasingly clear to Steve and to me that it’s time for me to step back. I’ve really enjoyed building this project and interacting with all you lovely people, and I can’t wait to see how all of our work on the Porch turns out. So thanks, everyone, for helping me over this past year, and here’s to an ever-expanding and improving Front Porch.

Monday, July 21st

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Happy Monday, Front Porchers, and happy 115th birthday to Hart Crane and Ernest Hemingway. While it’s pretty astonishing that two of the modernist movement’s greatest writers were born on the same day, it’s not so surprising that a lot of you made it to Parable yesterday (how’s that for a segue?), where we heard real wisdom about hope and despair from Evan Smith; check out TWC News’ video for one of many viewpoints. Don’t forget that Parable is on for next month with Turk Pipkin, too.

We’ve also got some big news here on the Porch, but I’m under strict orders not to disclose it. Suffice it to say that, after a semi-aestivation in which we’ve entered a cocoon of self-examination and planning, we’re getting closer and closer to emerging and spreading our wings as something a little bit different. Stick around, and stay attuned to metamorphosis, both in the Front Porch and in the universe at large.

Monday, July 14th

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Happy Monday, Front Porchers, and happy Bastille Day. To celebrate the breaking open, both literally and figuratively, of an oppressive French regime, we’ve schedule a very appropriate Parable. Come by Opal Divine’s Penn Field to hear Evan Smith, journalist extraordinaire and founder of the non-partisan Texas Tribune, interviewed by NPR’s incomparable John Burnett. Our own Rev. Dr. Steve Kinney will celebrate the non-denominational service, and Dave Madden will curate the live music.

It’s also the two hundred and twenty-fourth anniversary of the Priestley Riots, in which a mob burned Joseph Priestley’s Birmingham home to the ground. Priestley was one of England’s great polymaths: he discovered oxygen (which he called “dephlogistated air”); his grapplings with various metaphysical quandaries, notably the unification of science and religion, greatly influenced utilitarianism; he wrote over a hundred and fifty works, including a seminal book on English grammar; he was a Dissenting (or non-Church of England) clergyman; and he was a supporter of toleration of religious and political dissent. As an outspoken supporter of the French revolution, he was targeted by a mob, whipped up by political opponents, which burned down his house and forced him to flee to London. His persecution didn’t end, and he eventually emigrated to Pennsylvania. As one of the true spiritual forbears to the Front Porch, he attempted to synthesize science, spirituality, and everyday life with a spirit of toleration and open communication. While we generally remember July 14th as Bastille Day, a day for freedom and celebration, let’s not forget that just a year later, it led to paranoia, arson, and terror for one of England’s most distinguished thinkers.

Monday, July 7th

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Happy Monday, Front Porchers, and happy canonization day of Mother Frances Cabrini, the first American citizen to achieve Catholic sainthood. Just as canonization is a public recognition of service, we’ve been recognized too, although in a slightly different way: check out Patrick Beach’s article about Parable in the Austin-American Statesman. And hey, why not swing by on Sunday the 28th for the next round of Parable, this time with the redoubtable Evan Smith? Just think of how great it’ll be to say that you were into Parable before it got popular.

Monday, June 30th

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Happy Monday, Front Porchers, and happy Theobald of Provins Day. In honor of Theobald’s collectivist spirit, we’d like to share with you our new online home. Thanks to Clint “Happy” Hagen at A Third Way, we have a spiffy new website. Come on in, look around, and tell us what you think. And hey, mark your calendars now for Parable on July 20th; it’s going to be the indefatigable Evan Smith talking with John Burnett.