August 4, 2009

Family Business is Buzzing


Plugged Into the Past


A Special Calling


Posts by Michiko Theurer

Plugged Into the Past

In the Italian Renaissance town of Urbino, where selling the past is a major industry, Filippo Battistelli seems to fit right in. He is a luthier, an artisan who uses ancient tools and techniques to craft musical instruments from blocks of wood.
But there is one glaring difference: Battistelli is making electric guitars.
“When I restore old [...]

August 4th, 2009 | | No Comments »

“Cultural Viewpoints”

In “Culture Shock,” Michael Agar talks about “culture as a system of frames,” essentially equivalent to a structural mode of operation that allows you to function in a new situation (country/religion/multimedia journalism institute). I’ve experienced a lot of different “rich moments” (also Agar’s phrase) in my attempts at intercultural communication.  But what I’ve noticed about [...]

July 28th, 2009 | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Hunting for Video

Friday I went into town with an interpreter to complete what I thought would be an easy task: Pick some random people in the piazza and ask them whether they belong to a gym. My group member, Gino, is doing a story on the Italian healthcare system, and I’ve been assigned to the video portion [...]

July 28th, 2009 | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Signs of a Passionate Player?

Italian is the traditional language of music– which meant that when I got to Italy, I was well equipped to ask someone to sing to me with much vivacity at a gradually accelerating tempo, but not so well equipped to ask for a bathroom.

July 23rd, 2009 | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Playing with Guts

I had a lesson with baroque violinist Stefano Montanari today, and he stretched animal intestines across my violin when I had finished. This was a compliment.
Baroque violins are different from modern instruments in several respects, one of the most important of which is the strings, which are traditionally made of cat-gut instead of metal/synthetic blends. [...]

July 21st, 2009 | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »


The street was so bright that I was squinting through my sunglasses.  Our cassock-clad monk, Claudio, sporting a pair of stylish shades and an orange nylon backpack, had already led us through the impressive Basilica of S. Francesco and several other churches that morning, and now we stood in front of a rather plain stone [...]

July 16th, 2009 | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Conversations with Stone

When I press “publish” on this blog, it will be sent out over the internet to the computers of any of the 1,596,270,108 or so people on Earth who might stumble upon it on a slow workday. This is hardly something that a sculptor like Michelangelo could have imagined as he chipped away at the [...]

July 16th, 2009 | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

al Fresco

It’s 6:00 in the morning in Urbino, Italy. That’s midnight in Greenville, North Carolina, and precisely 21 hours after I arrived, dragging my computer, luggage, and violin twelve flights down and two flights up to my dorm room at the University of Urbino.
Since I had a few hours before class started and hadn’t really slept [...]

July 11th, 2009 | Tags: , | 1 Comment »


While I was walking back from an interview downtown this afternoon, I came across a group of people gathered around a recent graduate, crowned with laurels. As I was lowering my camera, a man from the graduation party approached me with a large Nikon and asked if I would take their picture. Naturally, I agreed, [...]

July 10th, 2009 | Tags: , , | 1 Comment »
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