The Browser: News & links to raise your eyebrows & furrow your brow. New headlines may be added as the day goes on. Stay tuned.

I’ve just returned from Laity Lodge, near Kerville, Texas, where I had a most inspiring weekend in the company of writers I admire.

What a privilege to meet Walter Wangerin, who signed my copy of The Book of the Dun Cow, a story I’ve cherished since childhood. Enjoying conversations with him and his wife Thanne was a thrill I never expected, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. If you’ve never read Dun Dow, you’ve missed an essential, classic work of fantasy.

I also enjoyed getting to know Phil Keaggy and his lovely wife Bernadette. Phil gave an astonishing performance, reminding me why he’s frequently listed among the world’s greatest guitarists. What I didn’t know about him was that his sister had a speaking role in The Ten Commandments. Phil showed me those scenes on his iPod. Wow. She was quite the Egyptian hottie! It was a pleasure to get to know Keaggy, who is a generous, humble, gracious guy. We were still singing Beatles tunes together at 1:30 am at the home of my friends Steven and Amy Purcell after very full Sunday.

I was also inspired by Eugene Peterson, Janine Hathaway, Robert Clark, Luci Shaw, Emilie Griffin, Harold Fickett, Gina Oschner, and my wife Anne… so many other hard-working writers of spiritual insight and excellence. I’m going to be grinning for the rest of the week. Thanks, Chrysostom Society, for blasting away my Oscar-nomination gloom and reminding me of what really matters.

Now… the news!

1.

At the bottom of the Criterion Collection newsletter, there is a cartoonish sketch of the statue from Wings of Desire. And a caption says, “This summer, bells will be ringing.”

Wow. Wings of Desire – my favorite film – is joining The Criterion Collection. What DVD will I treasure more than that one?

2.
That Kind of Love, the new album by Pierce Pettis, is now streaming for free at Paste!

3.
Tarsem, the director of The Fall talks about “The War of the Gods”:

Singh tells Empire, “It’s turning into, basically, Caravaggio meets Fight Club, it’s a really hardcore action film done in Renaissance painting style. I want to see how that goes; it’s turned into something really cool” — I don’t know about you, but he had me at “Caravaggio meets Fight Club”.

4.
Pixar to be honored at the Venice Film Festival.

5.
The Muppets are getting their very own comic book.

6.
Star Wars, as told by someone who’s never seen it.

7.
Mike Duran asks: Should fiction written by Christian “provide answers” or “provoke questions”? The discussion that his question has inspired is intense.

8.
Push, a movie with a supporting performance from Mariah Carey, just won both the Grand Jury prize for U.S. dramatic films and the top Audience Prize at Sundance.

9.
Steven D. Greydanus posts his favorite films of 2008. Some real surprises here.

10.
Neil Gaiman has won the Newbery Medal.

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