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1/12/2009 The Lunch That Wasn't
Author Roger Boylan, a mentor in my MFA program, has a great article on The Economist's site about a bumpspark that never happened between Nabokov and Solzhenitsyn.

There is nothing so dangerous for anyone who has something to hide as conversation! A human being, Hastings, cannot resist the opportunity to reveal himself and express his personality which conversation gives him. Every time he will give himself away. - Agatha Christie (1891–1976), British mystery writer.

12/29 Yes We Can
A year of bad news doesn't mean the end of this project; it means we need bumpsparks now more than ever. Read my year-end wrap-up.

12/8 House Meetings
We've been wondering how Obama's campaign manager David Plouffe would utilize the online community he built for the campaign, post-election. An email sent out today invited donors to town-hall-like "House Meetings" being held this weekend around the country.

I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. - Barack Obama (b. 1961), U.S. President-elect.

12/1 Holiday Gifts
Here are two gifts The Bumpspark* Project is hoping to find behind the wrapping paper this season. TableTopics are collections of conversation starters meant to spark fun, interesting, and meaningful discussions. And the Coffee With... series of books imagines conversations with dead greats like Dickens, Aristotle, Mozart, and, ahem, Marilyn. Each dialogue is written by an authority on that personality.

11/10 Maya Lin
We've been a fan of this prolific artist and architect's strong clear vision ever since she built one of the most famous walls in the world. See how she bumpsparks water and land in her latest work in this video from The New York Times.

Even though I build buildings and I pursue my architecture, I pursue it as an artist. I deliberately keep a tiny studio. I don't want to be an architectural firm. I want to remain an artist. - Maya Lin (b. 1959), U.S. arist, architect.

11/3 More 3M Magic
The people who bumpsparked bookmarks with poor adhesive to come up with the Post-It Note have done it again. It appears strong adhesive has its own unforeseen uses. Read the article in The New York Times.

10/20 Morgan & Sheen
Frost/Nixon is the latest film written by British playwright and screenwriter Peter Morgan, also responsible for The Deal and The Queen, the first two parts of a trilogy based on the life of Tony Blair. Actor Michael Sheen will play Blair in all three films and plays David Frost in the new film. This latest collaboration is an amazing exploration of the difference between talk show chit-chat and real conversation. A bumpspark primer.

You're a talk show host. I spent yesterday watching you interview the Bee Gees. - from the screenplay, Frost/Nixon.

9/29 Exclusivity
The 2008 New Yorker Festival runs next weekend in NYC with writer Alice Munro, poet Seamus Heaney, senator Chuck Hagel, and surgeon Jean-Michel Dubernard, who performed the first partial face transplant in 2005, "in conversation" with various names off the magazine's masthead. This stuff rivals Charlie Rose if you can get a ticket, but they are interviews, not conversations. Video of the 2007 Festival is posted online.

“Speak when you’re spoken to!” the Queen sharply interrupted her. “But if everybody obeyed that rule,” said Alice, who was always ready for a little argument, “and if you only spoke when you were spoken to, and the other person always waited for you to begin, you see nobody would ever say anything…” - Lewis Carroll (1832–1898), British author, mathematician, clergyman.

9/15 Sign Of The Times
Not only is fundraising getting more difficult; non-profits are closing their doors. Our fiscal sponsor Film Video Arts ceases to exist after forty years of service to the visual arts community. Luckily, Bumpspark* was quickly approved by the board of the arts organization, Fractured Atlas, for membership. Read our press release & visit their site.

Or donate now.

9/8 Good Sheet
Starbucks has been doing a lot this year to further their meeting house feel, from a social website to, now, The Good Sheets - little pamphlets to foster informed dialogue. I've been spending a lot of time there myself writing my thesis and, like it or not, it is the primary destination to connect for lovers, workers and everyone in between.

We do not talk - we bludgeon one another with facts and theories gleaned from cursory readings of newspapers, magazines and digests. - Henry Miller (1891–1980), U.S. author.

8/21 Everything Today
It's been 30 years since music gurus David Byrne and Brian Eno collaborated on the album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Last Friday they released Everything That Happens Will Happen Today online. It is sumptuous and you can hear it right now because they are streaming the entire album on their site.

Heaven knows- what keeps mankind alive Ev'ry hand- goes searching for its partner In crime- under chairs and behind tables Connecting- to places we have known - David Byrne (b. 1952), Scottish-American musician, artist.

8/11 Collision
The Seth Rogen-Judd Apatow team that's been dominating Hollywood comedy just released their latest movie, Pineapple Express, a bumpspark of the stoner comedy with the summer action picture. It doesn't work. Read my review on the producer's blog.

7/8 Wynton & Willie
It turns out country music and jazz both fall under the blues category or at least that is how two music legends are explaining their new bumpspark of an album, Two Men With The Blues.

You need a team. You need people to push you. You need opponents. - Wynton Marsalis (b. 1961), U.S. trumpeter, composer.

6/9 Local Outreach
We've been spending a lot of time in The Foundation Center on Fifth Ave in Manhattan. We also found some funding leads at the Connecticut Business Showcase held last month. Keep your fingers crossed or just donate yourself.

5/26 Good Coordination
People keep calling Bumpspark* a reality show. We can accept that. The spark we're looking for is similar to the energy the ABC producers of Dancing With The Stars or Wifeswap hope to find in strange bedfellows. We just want, rather than another wardrobe malfunction or a catfight between a young Republican and a Wiccan, something a little more enriching.

If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original. - Ken Robinson (b. 1950), British author.

4/28 Giants
Do you remember those comparisons between Lincoln and JFK? Oswald fired from a warehouse and hid in a theater; Booth fired in the theater and ran to a warehouse? It turns out Lincoln is also a good foil for Darwin. To start, they were both born on the same day. Author David Contosta examines what would have been one ‘ell of a bumpspark in his new book Rebel Giants this Tuesday.

Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. - Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865), U.S. President.

In the long history of humankind, those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed. - Charles Darwin (1809-1882), English naturalist.

4/4 Crossing Over
Wasn’t I right? Raising Sands was one of the best albums last year? Well call it crossover, a mashup, or call it a bumpspark, two more chart toppers, from distant sections of the music store, are seeing what 1+1 gets you. Folk rocker Josh Ritter is appearing in public with classical violinist Hilary Hahn. Check out the YouTube videos on our producer’s blog.

3/31 Grant Announcements
WestConn President James W. Schmotter said today, “Project Bumpspark presents an opportunity to develop a media venue that will permit the sort of cross-disciplinary dialogue that is all too rare today, both on university campuses and in the broader society.” Read more in a press release.

2/25 Oprah Cinematographer
Mark Chamberlin brings 25 years of experience in camera and lighting to the Bumpspark* Project as our director of photography. Read Mark’s full bio on our crew page.

Your reasons at dinner have been sharp and sententious, pleasant without scurrility, witty without affection, audacious without impudency, learned without opinion, and strange without heresy. - William Shakespeare (1564–1616), British dramatist, poet.

2/4 Funding Grows
Western Connecticut State University gives the Bumpspark* Project a grant, while the esteemed Westport Arts Center endorses our mission with a fundraiser. Support us with your own tax-free donation.

1/21 Art + Science
Jonah Lehrer is a scientist who thinks like I do as an artist: “Until science sees the brain from a more holistic perspective—and such a perspective might require the artistic imagination—our scientific theories will be detached from the way we see ourselves.” Read his important article in this month's Seed.

1/7/2008 Counterpart Roster
Our annual periodical inspiration. Esquire started publishing their “Genius Issue” when we first started developing Bumpspark*. These are the kinds of young creative minds that we should be introducing to our children and to one another.

A man of genius makes no mistakes; his errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery. - James Joyce (1882-1941), Irish novelist.

Next: What is a bumpspark?

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