Art at IU Just another IU News Blogs Sites site Mon, 20 Mar 2017 23:00:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Inaugural ‘Filmmaker-to-Filmmaker’ series features celebrated directors Frederick Wiseman and Robert Greene Mon, 20 Mar 2017 19:26:27 +0000 “Filmmaker to Filmmaker: Conversations from the Director’s Chair” is a newly funded annual program at Indiana University Cinema which pairs two complementary film directors on stage together, discussing their artistic vision, process and bodies of work, surrounded by screenings of their films.

Portrait of Frederick Wiseman

Portrait of Frederick Wiseman by Erik Madigan Heck. Photo courtesy of IU Cinema

The inaugural program, endowed by Roberta and Jim Sherman, will feature two highly respected and honored filmmakers, Frederick Wiseman and Robert Greene. Both filmmakers have new projects set to be released in 2017. The conversation will be a rare opportunity to hear Wiseman speak about his career and filmmaking process with another filmmaker.

“Thanks to the Shermans’ gift, this will be another signature program for IU Cinema, allowing us to attract directors of the caliber of Frederick Wiseman and Robert Greene for enlightening public conversations each year,” said Jon Vickers, founding director of IU Cinema. “Without a doubt, these will be premier events for the Midwest.”

Public events during the filmmakers’ visits include:

Additional support for the visit comes from IU Libraries Moving Image Archive, The Media School, the Center for Documentary Research and Practice, Cinema and Media Studies, and Indiana University Libraries. In addition to these events, there are more film screenings surrounding the filmmakers’ visits.

About Frederick Wiseman

Wiseman has made more than 40 documentary films since his debut feature “Titicut Follies” opened 50 years ago. The stark and graphic film exposed the conditions at the State Prison for the Criminally Insane at Bridgewater, Massachusetts. Though the film was banned from public presentation in one form or another for over 20 years, Wiseman’s body of film work has offered public audiences an insider’s look into worlds overlooked by or unknown to most. His films seek to portray ordinary human experience in a wide variety of contemporary social institutions.

His “forty-odd films are highly personal and idiosyncratic works. They create a world, equal to the worlds of Renoir and Hitchcock and Fellini. For me, Wiseman is the undisputed king of misanthropic cinema,” Oscar-celebrated filmmaker Errol Morris wrote in 2011.

Wiseman also works in the theater in both Paris and New York, having directed several plays. He is a MacArthur fellow, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He has won numerous awards, including four Emmys. He is also the recipient of the Career Achievement Award from the Los Angeles Film Society, the American Society of Cinematographers Distinguished Achievement Award and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement from the Venice Film Festival. In 2017, Wiseman received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His newest film, “Ex Libris: New York Public Library,” will open in 2017.

“Frederick Wiseman is without question one of the most important documentary filmmakers in the history of American cinema,” said Joshua Malitsky, director of Indiana University’s Center for Documentary Research and Practice. “For over a half century, Wiseman has focused his lens on institutions and human behavior within those settings. His acute observational approach and carefully composed narrative structures reveal the complexity of the human experience while maintaining a certain directorial restraint.”

About Robert Greene

Portrait of Robert Greene

Portrait of Robert Greene from the 2016 Sundance Film Festival Getty Images Portrait Studio. Photo courtesy of IU Cinema.

Greene is a filmmaker and writer. His most recent film, “Kate Plays Christine,” has won multiple awards, including a Jury Award for Writing at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. His previous critically acclaimed documentaries include “Fake It So Real” and the Gotham Awards-nominated “Actress” and “Kati With an I.”

Greene was a Sundance Institute lab advisor in the summer of 2016 and was among four filmmakers chosen as an inaugural Sundance Art of Nonfiction fellow in 2015. He’s twice been nominated for a Cinema Eye Honors award for Outstanding Achievement in Direction. The Independent named Greene one of its 10 Filmmakers to Watch in 2014 and he received the 2014 Vanguard Artist Award from the San Francisco DocFest.

His first documentary, “Owning the Weather,” was screened at the COP 15 Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in 2009. He has edited over a dozen features, including “Golden Exits,” “Queen of Earth” and “Listen Up Philip” by Alex Ross Perry, Amanda Rose Wilder’s award-winning “Approaching the Elephant,” Charles Poekel’s Spirit Awards-nominated “Christmas, Again,” Nick Berardini’s “Killing Them Safely and Douglas Tirola’s “Hey Bartender.”

Greene writes about documentary film for outlets such Sight & Sound and Filmmaker Magazine. He was post-production supervisor for 4th Row Films from 2002 to 2012. He is currently the filmmaker-in-chief at the Murray Center for Documentary Journalism at the University of Missouri.

About IU Cinema

Indiana University Cinema is a world-class venue and curatorial program that is dedicated to the scholarly study and highest standards of exhibition of film in both its traditional and modern forms, advancing the university’s long-standing commitment to excellence, research and public engagement in the arts by providing educational, entertaining and enriching cinematic experiences. Since opening in 2011, it has screened over 1,500 films, hosted hundreds of filmmakers and is becoming a benchmark institution as a university cinema.

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IU Arts and Humanities Council’s ‘First Thursdays’ for March showcased Women’s History Month Thu, 09 Mar 2017 01:35:38 +0000 Guest blog by IU graduate student Bridget Albert from SPEA’s arts administration program:

On March 2, the Indiana University Arts and Humanities Council celebrated the return of the First Thursdays Festival for the spring semester. IU’s First Thursdays Festivals pay tribute to the arts organizations on IU Bloomington’s campus by bringing them together around the Showalter Fountain for live entertainment, exhibits and, of course, food.

Giving IU arts and humanities organizations a place to demonstrate what they have to offer is impressive in both scope and magnitude. Showalter Fountain — surrounded by the IU Auditorium, Eskenazi Museum of Art and Lilly Library — is the perfect place on Bloomington’s campus for an arts and humanities festival of this degree.

The festival is always free for all members of the public to enjoy performances and activities, usually related to an overall theme for the month. For March, the First Thursdays Festival focused on women’s history — appropriately so, since March is Women’s History Month.

The band Kaia performs in the acoustic tent at the March First Thursday Festival.

Other musical performances in the acoustic tent included “ExWo” and “Kaia” (pictured). Photo courtesy of IU Arts and Humanities Council.

While it would be nearly impossible for any attendee to visit every event or performance during a First Thursdays Festival, I attempted to experience as many booths, tables, activities and performances as I could, starting with the festival main stage. This month it featured the soulful sounds of Bloomington band The Vallures, the a cappella stylings of IU’s Ladies First and sister folk-pop duo Lily and Madeleine.

Not wanting to miss out on any of the other great activities, I made my way around the festival between musical acts (no easy feat, I might add) and checked out the miniature book collection of Ruth E. Adomeit at the Lilly Library. This collection spans the entire history of human record-keeping, from cuneiform tablets to modern classics — all in miniature form. While enjoying a free cup of hot cider, I viewed books smaller than my thumbnail (and smaller) and was completely captivated by this collection of miniature books.

Directly next to the Lilly Library was “Hoosier HERstory!,” a collaborative display from the Sage Collection, University Archives and Wylie House focusing on the role of women in IU’s history. I learned about the brave and resilient women who helped shape the history of IU Bloomington and paved the way for all women to attend the university.

I ended my evening with some of the best student-made art on campus with the BFA Group Show, accompanied by Beili Liu’s piece “After All (Mending Sky)” in the Grunwald Gallery. Liu’s work consists of suspended raw silk half domes, imprinted with indigo ink to give them rich blue colors that echo a sky. Liu’s work gives the impression of rain falling from the sky and is truly impressive to witness in person.

By the end of the festival, my legs weary and my brain filled with art, music, history and miniature books, I bid adieu to the festivities. I recommend this as one of IU’s most fascinating events on campus. Where else can you find the Feminist Student Association talking about the Black Lives Matter movement and coloring book pages of Frida Kahlo art in one location?

April’s First Thursdays Festival on April 6 will focus on the “China Remixed” festival, also presented by the IU Arts and Humanities Council. More about First Thursdays Festivals and other IU Arts and Humanities Council initiatives can be found online.

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Ha Jin: The liberating powers of English Fri, 24 Feb 2017 22:07:26 +0000 Guest blog by Samrat Upadhyay, author and faculty member in the IU Bloomington Department of English:

In the 1990s, Croatian-American writer Josip Novakovich asked me whether I’d read any Ha Jin. I replied I hadn’t.

“Read him. He’s really good,” Novakovich said.

At that time, Novakovich was editing an anthology titled “Stories in the Stepmother Tongue,” featuring non-native users of English who had nonetheless chosen the language for their literary imagination. I also fell into that category, although by my late 20s, English had gradually become my first language — the language of my profession and my literary passion — even as Nepali was, and is, my mother tongue.

Ha Jin

Ha Jin. Photo courtesy of the IU Arts and Humanities Council.

When the anthology arrived, I read Ha Jin’s story, “Saboteur,” and I was blown away. “Saboteur” tells the story of a recently married man who, after unfairly being imprisoned for sabotage, devises a scheme for revenge and, ironically, ends up as a saboteur.

The story was brutal in its unwavering gaze at the repressive Communist rule in post-Cultural Revolution China. Ha Jin’s spare style further accentuated the impotent rage that the protagonist feels at those who’ve wronged him.

But there was also something else: The English I was reading was new, sculpted carefully, and using expressions that, while occasionally sounding slightly off-kilter, carved images with startling clarity. I was more used to the labyrinthine sentences and penetrating interiority championed by many South Asian writers like Salman Rushdie, Vikram Chandra, and Arundhati Roy.

Ha Jin’s prose was, at times, painfully staccato and abrupt and matter-of-fact and drama-less. It enthralled me. It was a prose style well suited to his subject matter, for it stressed the helplessness and repressed emotions of those who live under authoritarian regimes.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Ha Jin was at the forefront of writers who were creating game-changing fiction in English despite not having grown up with it. “Stories in the Stepmother Tongue,” published in 2000, showcases stalwarts such as Bharati Mukherjee, Edwidge Danticat, Nahid Rachlin, Julia Alvarez — writers who have changed our notions about who can play, and play damn well, in the schoolyard of the English language that for so long had been traditionally occupied by native speakers.

Sure, giants such as Joseph Conrad from Poland and Vladimir Nabokov from Russia had already paved the way earlier, but it was writers like Ha Jin who demonstrated the enormous elasticity of the English language by stretching its geographical boundaries to non-Western countries.

Since the publication of his first book in 1990, which was a collection of poems, Ha Jin has penned more than a dozen books of fiction, both novels and short stories. His 1999 novel “Waiting,” which tells the story of an army doctor who, for 18 years, attempts to divorce his wife so he can marry his sweetheart, earned him a National Book Award.

His other books have won the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, the PEN/Faulkner award (twice, putting him in the same ranks as Philip Roth, John Edgar Wideman, and E.L. Doctorow), and a Pulitzer Prize nomination for the novel “War Trash,” which chronicles the ordeals of a Chinese soldier who becomes a POW during the Korean war.

In interviews, Ha Jin has said that he first decided to write in English so he could divorce himself from the Chinese Communist regime. The Chinese language, for Ha Jin, was filled with political jargon. English was liberating, granting dignity to the individual.

As a fellow non-native writer, I find this quite refreshing, as conventionally English has been seen as the language of the oppressor, the colonialist, the globalist, the market-driven capitalist. The Nigerian writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o chose to “decolonize” his mind by abandoning the colonial language altogether, and here is Ha Jin, who not only has embraced English but has been boldly and unashamedly empowered by it.

“To be a literary writer does not mean just to write books,” Ha Jin has said. “You need to look for some space in a language and find your niche in it.” How fortunate for world literature that this dynamic and prolific writer has not only found a niche for himself but has taught us, in work after work, the amazing generosity of the English language.

Ha Jin will speak at the Grunwald Gallery at 8 p.m. March 2. The event is free, and no ticket is required. More information about the event and other “China Remixed” events can be found on the IU Arts and Humanities Council website.

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‘Sincerely Yours’ exhibit highlights the art of stationery found in University Archives’ collection Mon, 20 Feb 2017 18:02:59 +0000 Post by IU Newsroom intern Laura Ellsworth:

In an age of hastily sent texts and emails, letter writing is a lost art. Gone are the days of beautifully handwritten letters and the equally beautiful stationery on which they were composed. But the latter caught the eye of University Archives Director Dina Kellams during her time working for IU Libraries.

Currently on display at the archives is a labor of love titled “Sincerely Yours: Stationery Voices From the Archives,” curated by Kellams herself. The exhibit features unique stationery that Kellams discovered over the years. She often pondered an exhibit of notable stationery when searching the archives, and she made that thought a reality when “Sincerely Yours” opened in November.

Letter depicting Seminary Square campus.

Letter depicting Seminary Square campus — courtesy of University Archives.

Having grown up as a child of the 1980s, Kellams has fond memories of exciting stationery — “The more colorful and interesting the stationery, the better,” she said in her exhibit notes.

“This was the kind of stuff I did as a kid, so I hope it brings a kind of nostalgia,” Kellams said. “It’s a dying art.”

Included in the exhibit are letters to vendors, requests for records from concerned students, and even a letter from a detective agency. What sets these letters apart from others in the archives is the design of the stationery on which they were composed.

One letter features colorful artwork of a beach scene that stretches down the length of the paper. Another shows an illustration of Seminary Square campus that is hardly historically accurate: The illustration depicts a concrete sidewalk that was never there.

“It was an opportunity to sell their institution,” Kellams said of the decorative stationery that took an artistic license depicting IU, which at the time was not the broad-reaching university it is today.

In addition to the letters themselves, Kellams curated background information to provide context about who the author and recipients of the letter were.

“I wanted to focus on the stationery itself, but in many instances we needed to know more about the people themselves,” she said.

One of the stories included for context is that of IU alumnus Cecilia Hennel Hendricks, who was an IU faculty member from 1908 to 1913 and again from 1930 to 1953. In 1913, she married bee farmer John Hendricks and moved to Honeyhill Farm in Wyoming. University Archives has a collection of letters from Hendricks’ family available for research, one of which is on display in “Sincerely Yours.” This collection sparked its own correspondence between Kellams and the current tenants of Honeyhill Farm.

Letter with colorful beach imagery.

Letter from Indiana Beach — courtesy of University Archives.

A young beekeeper at Honeyhill, which is no longer owned by the Hendricks family, contacted Kellams with the help of her grandfather, hoping to find out more about the previous owners of the farm. The elementary school student was doing a report on the book “Letters From Honeyhill,” a compilation of letters written by Cecilia Hennel Hendricks, and was interested in what resources IU had to offer about Hendricks and her life.

Kellams was happy to use the archive resources to help the current tenants connect to the farm’s past, including using her research know-how to connect them to Hendricks’ descendants. Though the focus of this particular project was the content of the letters, the “story in the letterhead” is what makes the sources Kellams has on display unique.

“Sincerely Yours” will be on display until March 10. It will be followed by an exhibit on the Electoral College from the library’s modern political papers archivist, Kate Cruikshank. Cruikshank’s exhibit will feature papers from Indiana native and former senator Birch Bayh.

The exhibit can be viewed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

In addition to pointing out the rarity of some sources, such as those on display in “Sincerely Yours,” University Archives strives to support research by encouraging use of its collections. This year, the first primary sources immersion program for IU instructors of all disciplines will be hosted by University Archives, the IU Libraries Department of Teaching and Learning and the Lilly Library. Those accepted to the program will receive a $2,000 instructional development grant and participate in a three-day program to engage with the resources available in the the campus special collection repositories. Interested instructors can find more information online.

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‘China Remixed’ student blogger looks forward to Gene Yang’s upcoming talk Fri, 17 Feb 2017 19:10:09 +0000 Guest blog by IU graduate student Bridget Albert from SPEA’s arts administration program:

On Feb. 23, award-winning graphic novelist and comic book artist Gene Yang will be visiting Indiana University as part of IU’s inaugural Global Arts and Humanities Festival, “China Remixed.” As an arts administration student, I have partnered with the IU Arts and Humanities Council to attend a few of the many events taking places during the “China Remixed” festivities and write about my experiences to provide a student perspective.

In the comic book world, Yang is well known for rebooting the Superman series for DC Comics with his work “The New Super-Man.” His groundbreaking graphic novel, “American Born Chinese” (2006), features the trials and tribulations of adolescent Jin Wang as he navigates his dual identities as a Chinese-American.

Gene Yang

Gene Yang — Photo courtesy of the IU Arts and Humanities Council

Not only is Yang a prominent figure in both the world of comics and graphic novels, he is also a 2016 recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. According to the MacArthur Fellowship website, Yang’s “work for young adults demonstrates the potential of comics to broaden our understanding of diverse cultures and people.”

To better understand Yang’s work in anticipation of his visit, the IU Arts and Humanities Council has sponsored a reading group tackling some of his comics, as well as his graphic novels “American Born Chinese” and “Boxers and Saints.” The group is led by IU Bloomington professors Ellen Wu, Aaron Stalnaker, De Witt Kilgore and John Walsh, as well as the Rev. Patrick Hyde, associate pastor and campus minister at the St. Paul Catholic Center in Bloomington. The last of these discussions will take place Feb. 21 to discuss Yang’s work in comics.

While I will be attending the presentation as a newer fan of Yang’s work, I am interested in attending to hear more about his take on issues of diversity in comics and graphic novels as well as what U.S.-Chinese identity means to him. Diversifying the realm of graphic novels and comics is an incredibly important endeavor to undertake.

The entire premise of his series “The New Super-Man” is that a teenager in Shanghai inherits the famous superhero’s powers. It is crucial to examine the ways in which Yang provides new stories and faces to the canon of the storied Superman narrative. By featuring a Chinese reboot of the Superman series, Yang is inviting broader audiences that may recognize themselves in a way they previously did not. Asian representation in comics or graphic novels has been scarce, particularly in terms of lead characters or superheroes.

Yang helps bring to light new voices and representations in his comics by moving beyond merely representing diversity and directly into giving agency to new perspectives and identities we desperately need in current media. Yang’s ability to re-conceptualize the identity of Superman as Chinese is the type of Asian representation in media that we consumers must demand of our comics in order to continue seeing newer and more inclusive character portrayals. We have Yang to thank for bringing those characters to the next generation of comic fans, and for that I am thrilled to see what Yang is up to next in his career. I can’t wait to hear more about him during his presentation.

Join me and the Arts and Humanities Council as we check out Yang’s presentation at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre on at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23. This event is free, but ticketed. Tickets are available through the Buskirk-Chumley box office.

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IU professor gives thoughts on ‘China Remixed’ collaboration with Taipei National University of the Arts students Wed, 15 Feb 2017 17:19:23 +0000 Guest blog by IU associate professor and director of contemporary dance Elizabeth Shea:

Next week, 22 dance majors from Taipei National University of the Arts will arrive on Indiana University’s Bloomington campus for a week of cultural exchange. IU’s very own contemporary dance majors, housed in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance, will welcome these talented young artists into their daily lives for an action-packed week of joint master classes, lectures, performances and dance-making. Junior and senior BFA dance majors will serve as “docents,” guiding the visitors around campus, sharing meals and making sure their time here is comfortable.

Focus Dance Company from Taipei National University of the Arts

Focus Dance Company from Taipei National University of the Arts.

The excitement is starting to build as we watch the Taiwanese students dance on video; they are exquisite movers! In addition to their expertise in contemporary dance, they study and beautifully perform traditional dances of Taiwan, and this juxtaposition of moving forward while embracing the past is a lesson for our own field of American modern dance.

Interactions will be plentiful, with each day beginning with two joint technique classes. Director Mei-rong Yang will teach our students, our faculty will teach their students, and there will be no shortage of new movement experiences. In a phone conversation, Director Yang indicated her dancers are particularly excited to study tango, while our majors are especially interested in learning traditional Taiwanese dances.

A very special opportunity for learning and exchange will take place each afternoon for two hours, as both groups work together to create a collaborative dance piece. I am so very excited to watch how the students interact, and to see how worlds collide, with new techniques and ways of moving informing and shaping all the dancers.

Performers from Focus Dance Company

Focus Dance Company members at a previous performance.

The creative process in particular provides fertile ground for communication. Choreographers and performers alike speak to audiences through thinking bodies, engaging participants’ senses with information translated through movement. There is a distinct privilege of immediacy and intimacy in this work, with each unique translational relationship contributing to the dance experience. Indeed, I cannot imagine a better vehicle than the language of dance to facilitate empathy and understanding and broaden the perspectives of all who are fortunate enough to participate and witness the power of movement.

This exciting week of movement exchange will culminate with a joint performance at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24. Focus Dance Company and Indiana University Contemporary Dance Theatre will each present works in their repertory, as well as the collaborative work created by the students during the course of the exchange. It looks to be an absolutely thrilling evening of talent and culture on display, and I know our university and Bloomington audiences will be awed by the commitment and skill of these young artists.

Ten years ago I had the opportunity to travel to China. I remember getting off the plane and taking in all the amazing sights, sounds and smells of a place unknown to me. I truly felt I was halfway around the world. It’s my great wish that our guests from Taipei will experience the same sense of wonderment, and I hope, as it was for me, that this will be a life-changing experience.

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African American Dance Company’s annual workshop features classes, events, performance Tue, 14 Feb 2017 17:04:25 +0000 Post by IU Newsroom intern Laura Ellsworth:

Dancers stretching at a barre

Participants at the 18th African American Dance Company workshop. Photo courtesy of the African American Arts Institute.

Indiana University’s African American Dance Company will present its 19th Annual Dance Workshop on March 3 and 4 in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center at IU Bloomington.

The workshop exposes participants to dance and music from the perspective of the African American and African Diaspora through master dance classes, panel discussions and enlightening dialogues. The workshop will include dance classes exploring West Indian/Jamaican, Afro-Cuban and West African styles, vogue and contemporary modern dance.

“The dance workshop gives anyone a great opportunity to learn various dance forms and techniques that are not usually offered in the area of central Indiana,” said Iris Rosa, director of the African American Dance Company and a professor of African American and African Diaspora Studies. “It is also about connecting, establishing new relationships and forging collaborations in the dance discipline with other dancers, teachers and performers.”

This year’s workshop features seven distinguished guest artists:

  • Alfred Baker, founding director of the West Indian Folk Dance Company, who has performed and taught Afro-Caribbean dance forms internationally.
  • Yaa Bekyore, dance instructor at the Dagara Music Center in Ghana, who toured for 10 years with Ghana’s Saakumu Dance Troupe.
  • Rogelio Kindelan-Nordet, former professor of folkloric percussion at Centro Nacional de Superacion de la Ensenanza Artistica, Pablo Milanes Foundation and Centro Nacional de Escuelas de Arte en Cuba.
  • Milagros Ramirez, lead dancer and general artistic director and choreographer for the Ballet Foklorico de Orient Cuba for 18 years.
  • Clifton Robinson, artistic staff musical director for Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, a prominent African and African American dance company.
  • Cesar Valentino, instructor and choreographer at Alvin Ailey Extension in New York City, who has toured and taught vogue dance and history internationally.
  • Sheila Ward, a professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Exercise Science at Norfolk State University and co-director of Eleone Dance Theatre in Philadelphia.

A reception and chat with the artists, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. March 3 in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. The dance workshop’s guest artists will lead a dialogue with the audience about their personal performing and teaching experiences, as well as answer questions.

Last year, the dance workshop introduced a scholarship program for high school and middle school students. The program offers these students the opportunity to participate in classes, visit campus and interact with IU students and faculty.

Participants at the 18th AADC workshop.

Participants at the 18th African American Dance Company workshop. Photo courtesy of the African American Arts Institute.

“With support of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, we are bringing young, talented dancers from the Midwest onto our campus for a rich experience offered by our esteemed guest artists,” said Charles Sykes, executive director of the African American Arts Institute.

Among the workshop weekend’s free events this year is “Vogue: Underground to Viral,” a lecture demonstration on Vogue dance, history and culture led by renowned Vogue artist Cesar Valentino. The event will be held at 7 p.m. March 2 in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Grand Hall and is co-presented by the LGBTQ+ Culture Center.

The 19th Annual Dance Showcase, featuring performances by the workshop participants and guest artists, is also free and open to the public and will be presented at 7 p.m. March 4 at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center Grand Hall.

Class registration and scholarship information is available through the African American Arts Institute’s website. The full registration fee for classes is $130 for both March 3 and 4. The cost for March 3 only is $55 and March 4 only is $70. Single class fees are $25. The workshop is co-sponsored by the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, The Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, and the African American Arts Institute.

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A different kind of artistry: Orchestrating sustainability with the theatre department Wed, 01 Feb 2017 19:53:32 +0000 Post by IU Newsroom intern Laura Ellsworth:

The IU Bloomington Office of Sustainability has 30 programs on the docket to support its conservation goals for 2020, and one IU student, with the help of a university grant, is doing her part to make these goals a reality.

Olivia Ranseen in front of a tree

Olivia Ranseen is a Sustainability Scholar.

Olivia Ranseen, a 2020 Sustainability Scholar and environmental management major, got involved in associate professor Paul Brunner’s sustainability project, “The Waste Stream in Theatrical Production and a Vision for the Future,” last year. This project combined Ranseen’s interest in theater with her passion for environmental responsibility.

“I think climate change is the most pressing issue of our time, and I want to devote my life to solving, or rather mitigating, environmental issues,” she said.

Ranseen has taken a running start with this goal. During the 2015-16 academic year, she went backstage with Brunner and conducted an environmental audit on the entire theater program at IU. This study culminated in recommendations for IU Theatre and helped to implement carbon dioxide and occupancy sensors in Ruth Halls Theatre and Wells-Metz Theatre, which help regulate temperature based on occupancy.

In April, Ranseen and Brunner received a grant for $3,000 from IU’s Office of Sustainability for a case study on the upcoming production of “The Duchess of Malfi,” studying how individual productions can be more sustainable. The show will be live at the Well-Metz Theatre Feb. 3 and 4 and Feb. 7-11.

Even the smallest of changes make a difference, as evidenced by the electronic sign-in sheet Ranseen implemented with the help of stage manager Josiah Brown and assistant stage manager Caroline Lee, the “green captain” for the production. This sign-in, as well as Lee’s efforts to recycle paper for stage notes, cut paper waste within the production.

The sustainability research Ranseen conducted led the theater department to begin looking at material usage as well. The department is now using about 20 rechargeable batteries for microphones over the course of the academic and summer seasons in lieu of the 630 to 750 alkaline batteries they previously would throw away.

Scene from "The Duchess of Malfi."

See sustainability at work in the upcoming production of “The Duchess of Malfi.” Photo courtesy of the Department of Theatre, Drama, and Contemporary Dance.

Other materials the production adopted in line with Ranseen’s efforts include Ecor, a wood alternative made of recycled agricultural and paper fibers. Jeff Baldwin, technical director for “The Duchess of Malfi,” experimented with multiple ways to use Ecor, which has subsequently made its IU debut in some stage decking and scenery for this production. By introducing new materials and easy changes to make the theatre program more environmentally friendly, Ranseen hopes these changes are lasting.

“As an academic theatre, we experience a lot of turnover because people graduate every year, and so maintaining those efforts can be difficult,” Ranseen said. “Paul [Brunner] and I are currently working on ways to keep environmental initiatives going.”

Looking to the future, Ranseen is collaborating with IU Facility Operations to replace the house lights with LEDs, which will decrease energy consumption.  The joint project has a feasibility study planned, with the intention of installation in summer 2018.  In addition to the efficiency of lighting, IU Facility Operations and the Musical Arts Center are participating in figuring out ways to recycle lighting materials more effectively to further reduce waste.

“I’ve found that sustainability is always an afterthought, and I think it should be an integral part of every process,” Ranseen said. “Often, sustainability requires a change in behavior, and that’s the most difficult part.’

Ranseen thinks that sustainability efforts like those demonstrated in “The Duchess of Malfi” can be implemented elsewhere on campus. As chair of the Residence Hall Association’s Sustainability Committee and its Eco Reps program, she works with residence hall representatives on sustainability education and identifying environmental issues in their residence halls. To Ranseen, the university’s sustainability efforts are bigger than just IU Bloomington.

“The university, of course, is centered on students,” she said. “It exists to cultivate the great minds of tomorrow, but how can it do that if doesn’t help lead the fight for tomorrow — for a hospitable planet? It has immense resources and concerned students who want to make an impact.”

IU Bloomington is making efforts, as Ranseen said, to “lead the fight,” and sustainability with “The Duchess of Malfi” is just the beginning of how students can help. Tickets to see sustainability at work in “The Duchess of Malfi” are available online.

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‘China Remixed’ weekly speaker series launches Feb. 15 Tue, 31 Jan 2017 18:40:54 +0000 The Indiana University Bloomington Arts and Humanities Council will kick off a weekly speaker series Feb. 15 as part of the 2017 Global Arts and Humanities Festival, “China Remixed: Arts and Humanities in Contemporary Chinese Culture.”

The festival speaker series brings world-renowned scholars and journalists to campus for discussions of contemporary political, social and cultural issues. All talks are free and open to the public, with a reception following each talk.

Events in the series will take place at 6 p.m. in the Global and International Studies Building Auditorium, unless otherwise noted below. Details for each talk can be found on the China Remixed website.

Speakers in the series are as follows:

Isaac Leung

Isaac Leung, lecturer in the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts of the Hong Kong Institute of Education.

  • February 15: Isaac Leung, “Remixing China Through Video Art.” Leung is an artist, curator and researcher in art and culture who is a lecturer in the Department of Cultural and Creative Arts of the Hong Kong Institute of Education.
  • March 1: Jiayang Fan, “Perception and Reality: In Search of Chinese Identity in the Age of Trump and Lamborghinis.” Fan is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, where she reports on China, American politics and culture.
  • March 8: Gordon Chang, “Entwined Destinies: America and China and a History of the Present and Going Forward Into the Age of Trump.” Chang is professor of American history, the Olive H. Palmer Professor in Humanities and director of the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford University.
  • March 22: Hua Hsu, “‘Who Is Enjoying the Shadow of Whom?’: On Writing, Culture and Identity.” Hua Hsu teaches in the English Department at Vassar College and writes about music, sports and culture.
  • 4 p.m. April 6: At the Lilly Library, Judith Shapiro, “China’s Environmental Challenges: A Grassroots Perspective.” Shapiro is the director of the Natural Resources and Sustainable Development program for the School of International Service at American University.

    Peter Hessler

    Peter Hessler, a staff writer at The New Yorker and contributing writer for National Geographic.

  • April 12: Peter Hessler, “Learning to Speak Lingerie: Chinese Entrepreneurs in Egypt and the Chinese Worldview.” Hessler is a staff writer at The New Yorker, where he served as the Beijing correspondent from 2000 to 2007, and is also a contributing writer for National Geographic.
  • April 21: Amy Olberding, “Philosophy of Funerals.” Olberding is the President’s Associates Presidential Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oklahoma, where her research centers on ethics in early China.

“China Remixed” is the largest Chinese arts and culture festival ever mounted in the Midwest. It is IU Bloomington’s inaugural Global Arts and Humanities Festival, sponsored by the IU Bloomington Arts and Humanities Council with support from many units and departments across campus. Most of the more than 40 events that are taking place — including exhibits, performances and films — are free and open to the public.

The Global Arts and Humanities Festival was envisioned as part of the IU Bloomington Campus Strategic Plan, which includes among its primary objectives fostering diverse and global experiences for students, as well as emphasizing IU Bloomington’s historic strengths in the arts and humanities. The festival will be an annual event highlighting the art and culture of a different country or region each spring semester.

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Dance Theatre of Harlem brings ‘Power on Pointe’ to IU Auditorium Fri, 13 Jan 2017 13:24:29 +0000 The groundbreaking dance company Dance Theatre of Harlem will bring its take on classical ballet to Bloomington at 8 p.m. Jan. 28.

dance theatre of harlem

Anthony Savoy and Stephanie Williams. Photo by Mathew Murphy

Dance Theatre of Harlem encompasses a performing ensemble, an arts education center and Dancing Through Barriers, a national and international education and community outreach program. Each component of Dance Theatre of Harlem carries a solid commitment toward enriching the lives of young people and adults around the world through the arts.

Arthur Mitchell and Karel Shook founded Dance Theatre of Harlem in 1969, shortly after the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Mitchell was inspired to start a school that would offer children, especially those in his native Harlem, the opportunity to learn about dance and the allied arts.

Now in its fourth decade, Dance Theatre of Harlem has grown into a multicultural dance institution with a legacy of providing opportunities for creative expression and artistic excellence. It has brought innovative forms of artistic expression to audiences in New York City, across the country and around the world.

“We at IU Auditorium are so pleased to present Dance Theatre of Harlem,” said IU Auditorium Director Doug Booher. “Not only are they singularly spectacular artists, we are inspired by their dedication to enriching communities and celebrating diversity through dance.”

In the days preceding their performance, the company of Dance Theatre of Harlem will be engaging students across multiple IU campuses in conjunction with the Indiana University Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs and IU Auditorium.

dance theatre of harlem

Artists Dylan Santos, Da’Von Doane and Francis Lawrence. Photo by Rachel Neville.

During their educational residency, Dance Theatre of Harlem will visit IU South Bend, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and IU Bloomington to collaborate with students across multiple disciplines through lecture demonstrations, workshops, masterclasses and more.

“Given IU’s long history of promoting and preserving African-American arts and culture, it is such a thrill to have the Dance Theatre of Harlem showcase its artistry,” said James Wimbush, vice president for diversity, equity and multicultural affairs. “Since its inception in 1969, the Theatre’s tradition of showmanship and nurturing young talent has truly been an inspiration to many, including IU’s own African American Dance Company.”

Dance Theatre of Harlem at IU Auditorium is presented in partnership with the IU Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs, IU Office of the Bicentennial, Uptown Café and Oliver Winery. Ticket information and further information about the Dance Theatre of Harlem can be found online.

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‘Quilts of Southwest China’ showcases tradition, community, identity at Mathers Museum Wed, 11 Jan 2017 15:46:32 +0000 A groundbreaking international exhibition at Indiana University’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures explores the cultural heritage of China through traditional quilts and other textiles.

“Quilts of Southwest China,” organized by a consortium of Chinese and American museums including the Mathers Museum, opens Jan. 21 and will feature 24 quilts.

chinese quilt

A bedcover from the Guangxi Province is one of the quilts that will be on display. Photo courtesy of the Mathers Museum

“’Quilts of Southwest China’ is a beautiful exhibition,” said Jason Jackson, director of the Mathers Museum. “It is visually rich, but also rich in culture and rich in significance for our museum. The textiles on exhibition are eye-popping expressions of culture and creativity, and the diversity of peoples in southwest China is also a surprise to many American exhibition-goers. Additionally, it is exciting for our museum to publically share some of the ongoing work that we have been pursuing with our Chinese and American museum partners.”

Some ethnic groups in southwest China have a longstanding practice of creating bedcovers and other household items made of patchwork and applique, and the works displayed in the exhibition reflect this tradition. While ceremonial and aristocratic Chinese textiles have a long history of being collected and documented, researchers have only recently turned their focus to everyday objects, like patchwork bedcoverings.

The binational consortium worked together to document and research the textiles — art forms dating back over 3,000 years, but obscure outside certain ethnic minority communities in China. “Quilts of Southwest China” brings awareness about ethnic groups and textile traditions of southwest China. It also highlights the importance of documenting and researching traditional arts, as the research and collecting done for this exhibition provides some of the first documentation of the making and use of these textiles. 

A number of special programs will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit. All programs are free and open to the public and will be held at the Mathers Museum, unless otherwise noted.

  • Curating “Quilts of Southwest China” — A brownbag discussion featuring Lijun Zhang, an alumna of IU, Research Curator at the Guangxi Museum of Nationalities and co-curator of the exhibit, will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Jan. 20. The informal lunch will include discussion on the challenges and joys of a binational and bilingual project as well as the state of Chinese museums today. This event is co-sponsored by IU’s Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology 2017 Colloquium Series.
  • Exhibition Opening — A family-friendly celebration, featuring music and food, will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 21.
  • Family Craft Day — A Chinese New Year celebration, featuring cherry blossom painting, noise makers and other family friendly crafts, will take place from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Jan. 29.
  • A Film Screening of “Peasant Family Happiness” — Directed by Jenny Chio, this film depicts the everyday experiences of “doing tourism” in two rural, ethnic tourism destinations in contemporary China: Ping’an and Upper Jidao villages. The screening takes place at 5 p.m. April 19.

A full list of events is available online.

“Quilts of Southwest China” will be on exhibit at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, 416 North Indiana Ave., through May 7. A catalog of the exhibition is available in the Mathers Museum’s gift shop.

Free visitor parking is available by the Indiana Avenue lobby entrance. Further information about museum hours and parking options can be found online.

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Straight No Chaser returns to IU Auditorium with seasonal songs and a new album Tue, 13 Dec 2016 14:59:51 +0000 Straight No Chaser

Straight No Chaser’s “I’ll Have Another…World Tour” will make a stop at IU Auditorium on Dec. 14. The a cappella group features, from left, Seggie Isho, Mike Luginbill, Walter Chase, Dave Roberts, Charlie Mechling, Tyler Trepp, Steve Morgan, Randy Stine, Jerome Collins and Don Nottingham. Photo by Nick DuPlessis.

Straight No Chaser will be home for the holidays.

On Dec. 14, the group will return to Indiana University Auditorium and the campus where it all began 20 years ago.

“Being from here originally, I love playing at the auditorium,” said Charlie Mechling, one of the founding members. “It’s just such a great venue. It’s always a lot of fun, and it’s always a full house.”

Over the years, seasonal performances by Straight No Chaser have become a tradition in Bloomington, just like the lights around courthouse square and the giant candles that adorn the Indiana Memorial Union.

The latest visit by the a cappella ensemble is part of the “I’ll Have Another…World Tour” in support of the “I’ll Have Another…Christmas Album,” which dropped in October.

The new album is their sixth full-length album for Atlantic Records, and the third one devoted to holiday music. Among its 15 tracks are the hymn “Joy to the World,” familiar carols such as “Winter Wonderland” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” as well as Mariah Carey’s more recent offering “All I Want for Christmas Is You.”

Back to Bloomington

The album’s creation marked another homecoming for Straight No Chaser, with recording sessions taking place in Bloomington over the summer.

At that time, Mechling sat down for a conversation — and a few nostalgic glances back.

With the work on the album spanning nearly a month, he found himself sifting through old photos and articles about Straight No Chaser’s start here at Indiana University. “I haven’t been here for this long since college,” he said.

Mechling grew up in Bloomington. In a sense, Straight No Chaser did, too.

The group’s 10 members are now dispersed across the country, living in cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, New York, Miami and Houston.

But back in 1996, they were simply Indiana University students who liked to sing.

Mechling came to IU as a voice major in what is now the Jacobs School of Music. Before IU created its BFA in Musical Theatre program, he earned his degree in music and theater through the Individualized Major Program.

“We were all in Singing Hoosiers at the same time and just wanted to find a way to sing other types of music,” Mechling said. As he recalled: “One of the guys was like, ‘Let’s get an a cappella group together,’ and I was like, ‘All right, that sounds fun. Girls and free food — that sounds great.'”

Straight No Chaser’s first gig was IU Dance Marathon.

In the beginning, they sang in residence halls and sororities or just standing in the middle of campus, trying to encourage people to attend their shows. “It was really a labor of love,” Mechling said.

Straight No Chaser’s mix of harmonies and humor did strike a chord with audiences, though. Over the years, original members graduated and new members joined, but the group remained an IU institution.

Then, one video changed everything.

The original members of Straight No Chaser first performed their adaptation of the “12 Days of Christmas” in 1998 at IU’s Musical Arts Center. Eight years later, a reunion prompted Randy Stine to dust off an old video recording of the song and post it to YouTube.

After the video went viral, Stine received an email from the CEO of Atlantic Records, Craig Kallman.

Atlantic offered a record deal, the group reunited, and the rest is history.

Christmas in the summer

This year, Straight No Chaser celebrated a little bit of Christmas in June by recording their new holiday album at Airtime Studios in Bloomington.

After the group reunited, they had recorded their first three albums there. The last two albums, however, were recorded in different places, often a week at a time.

I'll Have Another...Christmas Album

“When we had this block of time, we were really excited to get back to Airtime,” Mechling said. “It’s been such a fun recording experience. We had a great time.”

Most of the guys split their time in town between the recording studio and downtown apartments sublet from graduate students.

In between late nights recording, they visited familiar places and ate familiar foods. “All of us, I think, went to Zagreb’s at one point, which is funny because we couldn’t afford Zagreb’s when we were going here,” Mechling said.

He found the Bloomington summer relaxing — and a pleasant relief from the heat of Houston.

In between takes at Airtime, the singers spent breaks outdoors, just a few steps from the woods. “It’s way out in the middle of nowhere, which is fantastic,” Mechling said. “We could sit outside in a hammock or play cornhole or whatever.”

Having a block of time in a familiar environment made a difference for the group.

“It does affect the music, and it affects how quickly things can get done, too. It’s not so stressful; it’s relaxed and everyone wants to be there all the time,” Mechling said. “We realized we’ve got to try, we’ve got to make the time each time to just get back here.”


These days, Straight No Chaser has 10 singers singing, six albums playing, many months of touring, three EPs — but it all began in Bloomington with a partridge in a pear tree.

While they are visiting Indiana University, the group will be honored as Jacobs School of Music Entrepreneurs of the Month. A few members will participate in a Project Jumpstart career panel with music students and Arts Management students from IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

In addition to this week’s show at IU Auditorium, their latest tour included dates in Fort Wayne, South Bend and Evansville and four Indianapolis shows over three days — Dec. 21 to 23 — at the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre.

No matter where they travel, IU is always with them.

“Every single place we go, there are IU alums. It doesn’t matter if we’re in Canada, the U.S. or Europe, you know? We still get IU grads that come to our shows,” Mechling said.

The YouTube video of them performing as IU students is on track to hit 20 million views any day now.

And the male a cappella ensemble that they started at Indiana University 20 years ago continues under another name, Another Round. While the college ensemble operates independently, Mechling said Straight No Chaser tries to help them out as much as possible.

“We still keep in touch. It’s always nice to talk to them and give them advice if they have any questions,” he said. “That was the dream of starting the group in the first place … to have it live on.”

To see the show

WHAT: Straight No Chaser
 8 p.m. Dec. 14; IU Auditorium
TICKETS: Seats are extremely limited. Individual tickets may be purchased online, in person at the IU Auditorium Box Office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and through Ticketmaster. Prices are $48 to $78 for the general public, $23 to $58 for IU Bloomington students with a valid ID.

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IU alum Todd Wagner shares a wealth of insights as entertainment, tech entrepreneur Wed, 16 Nov 2016 14:48:45 +0000 blogtoddwagnerleadklleadc

Jon Vickers interviewed Todd Wagner at IU Cinema. Wagner, a brilliant technology and entertainment innovator and principled businessman, appeared as grounded as he is wise. Photo by Karen Land.

Entertainment and technology entrepreneur Todd Wagner spoke last week at IU Cinema as part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series.

For Wagner, a 1983 graduate of Indiana University, the visit also was a chance to share his alma mater with his family.

“This campus is beautiful. It’s amazing,” he said. “I look back at (my time at IU), and those are some of the best years of my life, so it’s fun to come back and talk to folks.”

Wagner personally introduced the IU Cinema screening of “Good Night, and Good Luck,” a film he produced that was nominated for six Academy Awards in 2006.

He also met privately with students from The Media School and the Kelley School of Business, including its Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation program.


Today, Wagner is CEO of 2929 Entertainment, a media company he owns with longtime business partner Mark Cuban.

Their company includes 2929 Productions, which creates independent feature films; Magnolia Pictures, a film distribution business; AXS TV, a high-definition cable and satellite network; and Landmark Theatres, a national chain of art-house cinemas with an outlet in Indianapolis.

In the late 1970s, however, Wagner didn’t know what he wanted to do in life. He came to IU and studied accounting in what is now the Kelley School of Business.


Todd Wagner produced the films “Good Night, and Good Luck” and “Akeelah and the Bee.” Photo by Karen Land.

“You don’t know it at the time, but you’re starting your life’s journey and it’s making you an adult,” Wagner said. “It’s the whole experience. It’s not just the business school, it’s the social aspect, it’s the friends. … It was all those things rolled into one.”

For Wagner, serving as president of Kappa Sigma fraternity was an important lesson in leadership. “If you can lead your peers, you can lead just about anything,” he said. “When you’re eventually the boss, they have to listen to you. But when you’re not their boss and they still listen to you, you’ve accomplished something.”

Wagner has accomplished some things — some monumental things — over the course of his career.

In 1999, when he was still in his 30s, he and Cuban sold their pioneering online streaming company to Yahoo for $5.7 billion.

The ride

During his talks at IU, Wagner was quick to point out that his path to the top was hardly a straight line. “It was a roller-coaster ride,” he said.

Wagner’s accounting degree from IU’s Kelley School gave him a solid educational foundation and helped him land a prized internship with KPMG, though he realized immediately the field was not his calling.

He earned a law degree at the University of Virginia and made partner at a Dallas firm, but he still had the nagging feeling he hadn’t found his true path. “It wasn’t my destiny,” he said. “It was not what I was meant to do.”

After a few more bumps and turns, Wagner joined forces with Cuban, another IU alum who was already a successful entrepreneur. Their venture became AudioNet, later called

“I took all my money and put it in, all my savings, my 401k,” Wagner said. “You are all in. There is no Plan B.”

More than anything, being an entrepreneur is a mindset, he said. “You have to be comfortable with the chaos of it.”

Few people realize his financing nearly fell through just before the wildly profitable initial public offering. And they don’t know about other deals and big ideas that almost took off.

“Timing, luck, hard work and smarts: You need all four. But guess what? Two of those you don’t control,” Wagner said.

“People only see this part, when it’s over. All I did all those years was work and maybe sleep. That was it. There was nothing else I did, seven days a week.”

Show business

Wagner could have stayed with Yahoo or he could have retired young. Instead, he took a left turn toward Hollywood.

He was warned that in the movie business, the math is different: The studio always wins. A film project might have the right story with all the right people and never pan out. “There is no such thing as a sure thing,” he said. “It is fool’s gold. It’s just not reality.”


At IU, Todd Wagner met with 20 students interested in entrepreneurship and filmmaking. Before he addressed them at an informal lunch, he listened to their dreams and ambitions. Photo by Karen Land.

With 2929 Entertainment, he and Cuban created their own system. They can produce films, distribute them through Magnolia Pictures or other partners, show them in their theaters and stream them digitally.

Instead of stalking blockbusters and assuming giant financial risks, Wagner’s strategy has been to fund smaller-budget projects — true stories, inspirational films, and those with socially conscious themes.

Wagner wants to tell the Wright Brothers’ story, including parts people haven’t heard. When their contraption first left the ground, their adventure had just begun.

“I love stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” he said.

Reinventing charity

Since the time of his windfall, Wagner has been committed to philanthropy through his personal foundation. “I felt it was absolutely imperative that I found a way to give back,” he said.

Over the years, he has become passionate about shifting philanthropy from direct mail campaigns and gala events into the digital age.

Through his platforms Charitybuzz, Chideo and Prizeo, he hopes to amplify the amount of money raised while making the experience more entertaining and rewarding for donors.

Chideo offers exclusive entertainment content for purchase, with proceeds going to causes that the participating celebrities are passionate about. In Charitybuzz and Prizeo, donors enter auctions or sweepstakes for the chance to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as meeting public figures.

“A lot of businesses look at ’cause’ as something that sits at the kiddie table, at the back table,” Wagner said. “I’m trying my best to bring it to the front table, to make it a part of what they do every day.

“We can make them look like great corporate citizens, raise money for a cause they care about and raise the visibility of the company. I’m not just asking them out of ‘the goodness of their heart.’ I’m saying, ‘we can help your business.’

“We’re trying to make it simple for them to do the right thing,” he said.


Wagner said he doesn’t feel he and Cuban were smarter than everyone else during the boom years. They just hit the jackpot.

“We just were lucky,” Wagner said. “We had timing. We had lightning in a bottle. It happened.”

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Meet Tal Samuel, conductor of IU Fall Ballet and Jacobs School doctoral student Mon, 07 Nov 2016 19:11:10 +0000

Post courtesy of IU newsroom intern Sheila Raghavendran:

Like a skilled puppeteer, she gracefully infuses the orchestra with life, color and movement. With each sharp, smooth and affectionate gesture, she pulls the strings that run the show.

Tal Samuel is a doctoral student at the Jacobs School of Music and serves as assistant conductor at the IU Opera and Ballet Theater. She conducted the Fall Ballet performances Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, consisting of “Divertimento No. 15,” “World Premiere” and the short ballet “As Time Goes By.” She said that conducting from the pit is challenging because the conductor has to constantly control and react to the action both in the pit and on the stage.

“(In ballet) you are serving the dancers on the stage,” she said. “You are helping them and supporting their bodies with the music, in order to make what they need to do possible. The orchestra players don’t see what’s going on onstage, so in a way, I am their eyes, and I have to be able to adjust really quickly to anything going on onstage. It’s a lot of responsibility.”

Samuel, an international student from Israel, was asked this year to conduct the entire Fall Ballet after she conducted George Balanchine’s “Emeralds” in the 2014 production. She said that mastering and transitioning between the three distinct parts of the show was a feat that she and the orchestra devoted time to refining.

Tal Samuel, an Indiana University graduate student, conducts musicians during a dress rehearsal for the fall ballet, "As Time Goes By", at the Musical Arts Center on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016.

Tal Samuel led musicians through a dress rehearsal for the Fall Ballet, “As Time Goes By.” Photos by James Brosher.

“You have the very classic Balanchine ballet with Mozart’s music (‘Divertimento No. 15’), then you’ve got ‘Saudade’ (‘World Premiere’) with this very modern kind of dance, with the Arvo Pärt music, which is almost religious, meditative,” Samuel said. “Then you have the Twyla Tharp choreography (for ‘As Time Goes By’), which is extremely modern and energetic, to music which is very classical, Haydn’s ‘Farewell’ symphony. So I think the variety is what made it extremely interesting and worth watching.”

Juggling multiple musical styles and guiding the show from the pit was something that Samuel was always passionate about. Growing up in Israel, she was introduced to music through the piano, and the viola soon after. She said she developed an interest in conducting after many years of playing in orchestras.

Samuel completed a bachelor’s degree in orchestral conducting in Israel and started working in the field, but she soon realized that she wanted to broaden her horizons.

“There was something inside me saying, ‘’ want to get out there and see the world,'”she said. “Plus, I really started to get interested in opera conducting and ballet conducting, and this is something I never had the chance to do. I decided to apply to schools in the U.S. and in Europe, and one of them was Indiana, the Jacobs School of Music.”

She said she visited Bloomington in 2012 during a production of “Der Rosenkavalier,” one of her favorite operas. While here she spoke to the opera’s conductor and assistant conductor, which cemented her eagerness to attend IU.

“I thought to myself, ‘Well, I hope I’ll get accepted (so that) I can do this: work here and study here and live here and do all this — that’s exactly what I’m looking for,'” she said.

After getting accepted to IU, Samuel jumped right into ballet and opera conducting. She said the production process for a ballet like “As Time Goes By” requires a significant amount of time in the studio, watching the dancers and stagers craft the visual performance. She said she valued the experience because it gave her a chance to work closely with the ballet stagers and coaches.

One of her main goals in conducting, she said, is piecing the show together seamlessly, “making everything sync in such a way that the people in the hall feel that the show is running itself, (that) it’s a piece of cake. But it’s actually a lot of effort, a lot of responsibility and thought,” Samuel said.

Elyse Borne, stager for the first ballet in this production, “Divertimento No. 15,” said Samuel readily worked alongside the onstage action.

“There are so many differences between conducting ballet and symphony,” Borne said. “We give the conductor very little leeway to express their artistic desires because we need sounds, tempos, pauses, beats that are consistent and sometimes differ from the way the music was written. We really appreciated her eagerness to achieve these goals.”

Of all her responsibilities as conductor, it is facilitating communication between people that Samuel finds to be the most important.

“Your main job is to connect to people,” she said. “You’re working with people, human beings, and it’s about connection and about inspiring them to play in a certain way, so that the music, the vision of the composer will get life and will be able to communicate with the audience.”

As she prepares to receive her doctorate this year through the Department of Orchestral Conducting, Samuel is thankful for her time at the Jacobs School and the people who have helped her achieve her goals.

“What I was looking for was the variety: new music, symphony music, opera, ballet,” she said. “And when I got here I had everything in this beautiful town, so I thought, ‘This is the right place for me.'”

Tal Samuel, an Indiana University graduate student, conducts musicians during a dress rehearsal for the fall ballet, "As Time Goes By", at the Musical Arts Center on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016.

Doctoral student Tal Samuel said that as a conductor “your main job is to connect to people.”

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Distinguished director helps IU Opera Theater give voice to ‘Madama Butterfly’ Thu, 03 Nov 2016 17:10:19 +0000 blogmboverall2

The IU Opera Theater production of “Madama Butterfly” will be performed Nov. 4, 5 and 6 at the Musical Arts Center in Bloomington and Nov. 11 and 12 at Clowes Memorial Hall in Indianapolis.

Post by IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino: 

When Lesley Koenig was invited to direct “Madama Butterfly” for the Indiana University Opera Theater, she could not turn it down.

“It’s my go-to cry opera,” she said.

Koenig has built an impressive resume with more than 30 years in management at the Metropolitan Opera, San Diego Opera and Opera Boston. After directing around the world, she is now nestled in New England as managing director at the Weston Playhouse in Vermont.

This fall, however, she’s been at the Jacobs School of Music in Bloomington, shaping “Madama Butterfly.”

The drama about love, loyalty and loss is set in Japan in the early 1900s. It revolves around a U.S. naval officer and the title character, a geisha also known as Cio-Cio.

The IU production opens Nov. 4 to 6 at the Musical Arts Center in Bloomington before taking wing in Indianapolis Nov. 11 and 12. The shows at Clowes Memorial Hall will give Indianapolis audiences the chance to experience the internationally acclaimed IU Opera Theater in their own backyard.

Top-notch talent

Lesley Koenig

Visiting director Lesley Koenig is a veteran of the Metropolitan Opera, among other major companies.

Arthur Fagen, chair of the Department of Orchestral Conducting in the Jacobs School, said working with Koenig on “Madama Butterfly” is an amazing opportunity for IU students, because of the breadth of her professional experience and her willingness to teach.

Fagen has known Koenig since 1986, when they both worked at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. “She really is a top-notch director,” he said.

Koenig “communicates the essence of the opera” and is very aware of how various roles interact, he said.

Fagen also praised her talent for bringing her own viewpoint to an opera without changing anything intrinsically related to the show.

Koenig said each director has to choose operas that fit his or her personality.

In addition to the drama of “Madama Butterfly,” she loves its complex staging opportunities and the beautiful score by Giacomo Puccini.

“It’s a big sing and a lot of acting,” Koenig said.

Character study

To prepare for “Madama Butterfly,” Koenig said she did what she always does before directing. First, she memorizes the opera, which can take her an average of 30 to 35 hours.

Even though she is not formally trained in reading musical scores, she can sing all the parts of all the characters, though she doesn’t claim to sing them well.

“I’ve seen [Madama] ‘Butterfly’ a bunch of times,” she said. “I’ve never seen it the way I’m staging it.”

A scene from Madama Butterfly

Kaitlyn McMonigle, Jonathan Bryan and Marlen Nahhas appear in “Madama Butterfly.” The opera is double cast, to provide experience for more IU students.

Koenig aims to bring a level of authenticity to her version by drawing on her own experience in places such as Hong Kong. The Americans there, she said, are often sweaty and disheveled, not prim and cool.

Ask Koenig about the show, and she knows the characters inside and out — their back stories and where they are from — based solely on what they say and how they say it.

Koenig said she discovers these things during and after the memorization period, when she plays everybody’s parts by herself.

Before staging anything with performers, Koenig said she is deeply involved with the design of the set. “I have a solution for every single moment for every single character,” she said.

An early start

Koenig grew up around opera.

When she was young, her mother volunteered at the San Francisco Opera. One day, Koenig was helping sort letters to patrons when she was invited to watch a rehearsal.

That moment of seeing its chaos inspired her life’s goal. “I decided to be an opera director when I was 8,” Koenig said.

At 23 years of age and after just four interviews, Koenig became an opera director at the Met. Unsure how to prepare, she memorized the opera. “I came to memorize operas because I didn’t know what else to do,” she said.

Koenig said memorization gives her the advantage of being able to work quickly.

And her system stuck.

Laughter and tears

One of Koenig’s goals is to create a collaborative and safe and environment where she can openly critique and encourage performers.

The environment at IU has been especially supportive and friendly, Koenig said. People come early to rehearsal and spend entire dinner breaks together, sharing experiences and helping each other improve.

Though she is working with everyone from juniors to doctoral students, Koenig said she tries to treat them the same, pushing students when they need it and how they need it, because they all are still in the learning phase.

She loves to see what performers bring to the show, too. And more than anything, Koenig said she wants the performers and crew to spend some time laughing in the rehearsals.

And yet with the intensity of the working sessions and the opera’s storyline, other emotions can emerge.

During one rehearsal, two different sopranos stepped onto the stage and cried over the same scene. They had the same role in the double-cast show and had the same emotional reaction 15 minutes apart.

Koenig said she would never forget that moment or how powerful the scene was that surrounded it.

The interesting thing, Koenig said, is that both sopranos were crying over a duffle bag they were holding, pretending it was a baby.

At home at IU

Koenig said IU already has a familiar feel to it. “I feel very much at home because I turn around and there are people I’ve known for years and years,” she said.

Arthur Fagen

Arthur Fagen is chair of the Department of Orchestral Conducting at the Jacob School.

Fagen is one of those people. He remembers first seeing Koenig work with a famous soprano in a production of “Julius Caesar” many years ago. He said she did half the staging for the character, breathing life into her in a way the director had not.

Now, working as conductor with Koenig as the director, Fagen said he recognizes an easy flow of communication between them. He said he finds it extremely gratifying to work with a director as talented and tuned in as she is.

He said Koenig brings out the psychological states of characters at any particular moment in the opera — a talent that helps her stay loyal to the intentions of the show.

“Lesley brings it to life in a way that is absolutely true to what the essence of the piece is,” he said.

 To see the show

WHAT: “Madama Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini
BLOOMINGTON: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4 and 5, 2 p.m. Nov. 6; Musical Arts Center
INDIANAPOLIS: 8 p.m. Nov. 11 and 12; Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
TICKETS: Purchase tickets for Bloomington performances at the Musical Arts Center box office from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, by phone at 812-855-7433 or online at A discounted price is available for all students. Purchase tickets for Indianapolis performances at, the Clowes Memorial Hall Box office, through Ticketmaster outlets or charge by phone at 800-982-2787. Group Sales available for parties of 10 or more. For information only, call 317-940-6444 or 800-732-0804.
VIDEO STREAMING: Nov. 4, 5 and 6 only, via IUMusic Live.

Lesley Koenig and Kevin Murphy

Lesley Koenig is stage director for “Madama Butterfly,” while Kevin Murphy is professor of practice and director of coaching and music administration for IU Opera Theater.

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Alexander Julian emphasizes communication, color in seminar with IU design students Fri, 28 Oct 2016 16:34:10 +0000 “Design is creative problem-solving.”

This was one of the major points made by Alexander Julian, an award-winning fashion and home furnishings designer, when he addressed a crowd of School of Art and Design students Oct. 26 at Indiana University Bloomington.

His appearance at the newly renovated Kirkwood Hall was part of The Bill Blass Fashion Design Seminar Series.

“Bill Blass is the reason I’m here,” Julian said.

His words were more than a nod to the lecture series endowed by the Indiana-born designer: “Bill Blass is the reason that all American designers exist.”

Alexander Julian

Alexander Julian spoke at IU Bloomington Oct. 26.

He recounted how Blass warmly welcomed him to the rarefied air of the fashion elite, when Julian was a young designer winning his first Coty Award in 1977. Julian would win five of the coveted awards before they were discontinued eight years later.

Through spoken remarks and “Listening to Color,” a video made in conjunction with his 2006 retrospective, Julian related his meteoric rise in men’s fashion, his forays into home furnishings and the recent relaunch of his clothing brand.

Cut from the cloth

Alexander Julian was born into the menswear business.

His father, Maurice Julian, climbed out of Depression-era poverty by establishing a haberdashery in Chapel Hill, N.C. in 1942.

The younger Julian designed his first piece of clothing at age 12, by adding a yellow collar to an old blue shirt. When he wore it to school, a girl he had admired suddenly began speaking to him. That was his first lesson in the power of fashion.

“No one does colors like Alex,” said Andy Mallor, the owner of Andrew Davis Clothiers in Bloomington, who was instrumental in bringing Julian to IU.

Alexander Julian

Alexander Julian is known for his sophisticated understanding of color.

Julian was stirred by the sophisticated way painters used color, especially Paul Klee, Mark Rothko and Claude Monet. “I don’t copy art, but I try to capture the energy and the color relationships,” he said. “Art has always been my greatest source of inspiration,” Julian said.

As a designer, Julian also looked to nature, learning what the artists already knew: real-world color is complex. “It’s all about coordinating color and pattern to harmonize and work together,” he said.

Color became his signature and his company name: Colours by Alexander Julian.

He became the first major menswear maker to not only design his clothes, but also his cloth.

Julian’s neutrals were composed of many colors of fibers, giving them a subtlety and richness not found in ordinary grays. As an example, he described a single sweater made with 30 yarns, with each yarn containing 30 distinct colors of wool.

Over the years his work has entered many arenas, literally and figuratively.

Julian designed basketball uniforms for the Charlotte Hornets and the University of North Carolina. He even added personal touches to a baseball stadium for the Charlotte Knights, with 14 colors of seats brilliantly laid out in stripes, almost as if it were a giant shirt.

Julian also was ahead of the curve in digital printing, which he continues to employ more than 20 years later in a new collection designed with input from his son Huston.

Class act

Julian told the students from IU’s Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design that his first experience with design school was as an instructor.

“I was not as lucky as you guys to be able to go to design school,” he said.

Alexander Julian

Alexander Julian chatted with students after his talk.

He admitted feeling a twinge of jealousy as he observed the students in a drawing class upstairs. “I can’t draw a straight line; I can’t cut a pattern,” he said.

Julian was lucky, however, to serve an informal apprenticeship by growing up in his family’s store.

Peg Faimon, founding dean of the School of Art and Design, said today’s design students are expected to hit the ground running at the start of their careers with practical experience and a full set of skills. She’s also a firm believer in the liberal arts education her design students receive in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Julian, too, stressed that the communications skills he learned as an English major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were instrumental to his success.

“Many of the best designers you will never hear about, because they can’t explain well enough what they are trying to do,” he said.

“It gave me the language,” he said. “I can envision things and can explain it to someone to get it to where I want it to be.”

Julian’s appearance was part of The Bill Blass Fashion Design Seminar Series, established in 2002 through a bequest from Blass. The series is presented by The Sage Fashion Collection in the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, now in the School of Art and Design.

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School of Art and Design invites students, public to its spirited Open Studios event Thu, 27 Oct 2016 17:43:12 +0000 Group mural

IU Bloomington art students and their guests will create a collaborative mural Oct. 28 at the annual Open Studios event. Here is how the 2015 painting turned out.

On Friday, Oct. 28, the Department of Studio Art will present a night of crafts, exhibitions, interactive art-making, pumpkins and prizes.

The free Open Studios event is designed to be an entertaining way for current students — and potential ones — to learn about classes and programs offered in the School of Art and Design, a part of the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington.

Photo booth

“Cheese!” Photo booths are part of the Open Studios fun at the School of Art and Design.

It’s also a night when members of the public can observe artistry in action and everyone can partake in fall fun at four buildings on the Indiana University campus.

Guests should begin their tour at the Friends of Art Bookshop on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building, where maps and punch cards are available. If visitors get their cards punched at all of the activity areas, they can win prizes in a random drawing.

Here’s a look at the participating art haunts on campus, and a sample of the Halloween treats they have in store:

The Fine Arts Building, 1201 E. Seventh St.

From 6 to 8 p.m., activities are planned throughout the building, including a photo booth where people can pose with props or show off their costumes.

Visitors can carve pumpkins, make buttons, create letterpress prints, try natural dyes, stamp metal keychains or participate in a stop-motion video. In addition, people can add to a Post-It Note mural or find sweet inspiration with abstract candy painting.

Light Harvest

Jiangmei Wu, Susanne Ressl and Kyle Overton created “Light Harvest” for the “(Re)Imagining Science” exhibition.

Students from the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, now in the School of Art and Design, will be on hand to share information about their student organizations.

At the Grunwald Gallery, guests can experience the “(Re)Imagining Science” exhibition, which runs through Nov. 16.

“(Re)Imagining Science” paired some of IU’s top researchers with professors and instructors from the School of Art and Design. Their projects illustrate aspects of science through sculptures, photographs, multimedia pieces and installations that resulted from those creative collaborations.

Central Stores Art Annex, 1026 E. 11th St.

The IU home of ceramics and printmaking will be open from 7 to 9 p.m. Along with potter’s wheel demonstrations, a “celebrity” photo booth is planned. Guests even will have the chance to print chocolate sauce onto crêpes.

Mugs, posters, prints and handmade books also will be available for sale.

IU Press Warehouse Painting Studios, 802 E. 13th St.

The painting studio building will be open from 7 to 9 p.m., offering live music and the opportunity to help paint an abstract mural.

The process of building up paint layer by layer, like in the collaborative mural, is something familiar to MFA painter Mitchell Raney. In a video from the Office of the Provost, posted below, Raney is captured at work on a painting he titled “I’ve Fallen Through.”

Studio visitors will have the chance to see individual work by Raney and the other MFA painters.

McCalla, 525 E. Ninth St.

The evening will culminate at McCalla, a former school building that’s just a little spooky.

From 8 to 10 p.m., the studios of sculpture students will be open to the public. At 9:15 p.m., guests who visited all of the activity areas can enter their completed punch cards in a drawing for prizes.


One of the art activities at the Fine Arts Building involves dyeing textiles with natural dyes.

One of the other highlights at McCalla will be an opening reception for the Fuller Projects show “Reimagining the Family Album,” curated by graduate students Kelly Webeck, Sara Fahling and Jenny Stopher.

For one night only, viewers can experience the concept of the family album as it is presented through photography, ceramics, painting, metals, sculpture and digital art.

“All of the work references old family photographs,” Webeck said.

Once the show closes, and the annual Open Studio event draws to an end, the creators and the costumed will disperse into the night.

In the end, it’s about something more than pumpkins and prizes.

Students, staff and faculty in the School of Art and Design will have pulled together to celebrate art with the public. And on this grand night, all the guests have a chance to take home a few goodies — and a lot of inspiration.

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Monsters, masquerades, Muniz and more: Campus events mark Halloween week Fri, 21 Oct 2016 14:19:03 +0000 bloggallery5

At left, “Frankenstein” is from the “Pictures of Caviar” series in the Vik Muniz retrospective at the Eskenazi Museum of Art.

Post by IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Whether you’re looking for tricks or treats this Halloween, there’s plenty to do at Indiana University Bloomington. Here is just a sampling of the events and exhibitions out there. The full list is so long that it’s scary!

IU Auditorium

Dennis James Hosts Halloween, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28 — IU alumnus and world-renowned organist Dennis James will return to IU Auditorium to help bring “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” to life with an organ accompaniment that is both spooky and satisfying.

There’s more: A pre-show reception gives audience members a chance to meet James, the legend himself.

Based on the novel by Victor Hugo, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” follows Quasimodo, deaf and half blind, as he works in the shadows to protect the beautiful Esmeralda from the evils lurking in Paris.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame image

“The Hunchback of Notre Dame”

The classic story is just one of many silent films James has accompanied on the organ since his debut at IU Auditorium in 1969. After nearly 50 years, his performances have become a Halloween tradition for all ages.

The film events didn’t begin with Halloween, however.

At a time when the Vietnam War provoked protests, James began accompanying silent films as an escape, as a counterculture performance. “I conceived of this as a comic relief to all the intense political activity,” he said.

Over the years, he built a busy touring schedule that keeps him on the road much of the year.

When James prepares for a show with a particular film, he only has about three weeks to see it, find a score or compile one himself and perfect his performance. Then, he often presents the same film in several cities.

At IU, his performances have morphed into a Halloween affair with audiences dressing in costume.

Now, when James returns to IU Auditorium, he asks if anyone attended his first performance there. The people who raise their hands may now have graying hair, but their love of the art remains unchanged.

Eskenazi Museum of Art

Vik Muniz, ongoing, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Special Exhibitions Gallery — This serious retrospective of the artist’s work is, in a sense, a celebration of masquerade. Muniz’s work is rarely what it seems, featuring iconic images he crafted from such materials as peanut butter and jelly, chocolate and diamonds. Even Frankenstein’s monster is recreated in caviar. With its unconventional sense of fun, it’s the perfect show to visit this time of year — and until it closes Feb. 5.

“Muniz in Focus” talk,  2 p.m. Oct. 23 — In conjunction with the Muniz exhibition, Nan Brewer, the Eskenazi Museum’s Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Works on Paper, will discuss the “Pictures of Garbage” series in the Special Exhibitions Gallery.

Waste Land,” 3 p.m. Oct. 23 — Lucy Walker’s 2010 documentary about Muniz will be screened at IU Cinema. Free, but ticketed.

IU Cinema

On Halloween night, Jonny Lee Miller is the monster in Frankenstein.

On Halloween, Jonny Lee Miller will portray the monster in “Frankenstein: Reverse Cast.”

National Theatre Live: “Frankenstein” and “Frankenstein: Reverse Cast,” 3 p.m. Oct. 30  and 7 p.m. Oct. 31 — Most people know the story: Victor Frankenstein created a monster. This stage version, which will be projected at IU Cinema, was directed by Academy Award winner Danny Boyle and stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. The creature is himself a contradiction, a dichotomy of childlike innocence enveloped in a gruesome form. Unable to befriend humans, the monster seeks out its creator with a heart full of vengeance.

Two separate National Theatre Live performances will be screened at IU Cinema. First, at 3 p.m. Oct. 30, the show will feature Miller as Dr. Frankenstein and Cumberbatch as his monster. Then, at 7 p.m. Oct. 31, the actors will switch roles, so Cumberbatch becomes Frankenstein and Miller the monster. Tickets are $15, or $12 for students.

Mathers Museum of World Cultures

Monsters mask


Monsters!” exhibition, ongoing, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday — Monsters are strange, frightening and unnatural beings that haunt and terrorize. Walk through a display about monsters from around the world, and learn about their roles in folklore and culture as you go. The exhibition is free and open during Mathers’ normal hours of operation, through Dec. 18.

Halloween Family Fun Fest: Monsters!” 2 p.m. Oct. 30 — Celebrate Halloween by making monsters, playing games and listening to spooky stories inside the Mathers Museum. Go on a scavenger hunt though the “Monsters!” exhibition, and at 3 p.m. enjoy a special presentation by some “mad scientists” from the Department of Chemistry. The entire event is free and open to the public.

Day of the Dead community altar, lighting and reception, until Nov. 1. — The Mathers Museum offers visitors the opportunity to become part of a Mexican cultural tradition celebrated near the time of Halloween. People can bring an offering to its Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) community altar through Nov. 1. These altars are meant to honor and celebrate the lives of friends, family and loved ones who have died. It is customary to leave behind small gifts that loved ones would have enjoyed. The altar itself will be curated by local artists Rachel DiGregorio and Michael Redman.

On the Day of the Dead, the altar will be lit during a ceremony, and a reception will follow. The event from 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 1 is free and open to the public.

Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union

Halloween Horror Series, Oct. 26 to 29 — Join the Union Board for a series of terrifying Halloween classics. All films at the Whittenberger are free for IU students with an ID and $2 for other members of the public.

  • “Blair Witch Project,” 8 p.m. Oct. 26 and 11 p.m. Oct. 28 — A found-footage movie tells the terrifying story of three film students who venture out to create a documentary about the Blair Witch, a notorious murderess. Little do they know that some things are better left undocumented.
  • “The Exorcist,” 11 p.m. Oct. 26 and 8 p.m. Oct. 27 — When a young girl begins levitating and speaking in tongues, her worried mother seeks medical care. While doctors can’t help her, a local priest claims he understands the problem, and it is much darker than they can handle alone.
  • “Friday the 13th,” 11 p.m. Oct. 27 and 8 p.m. Oct. 29 — A history of gruesome deaths won’t stop camp counselors from setting up a summer camp near Crystal Lake, but will Jason?
  • “Nightmare on Elm Street,” 8 p.m. Oct. 28 and 11 p.m. Oct. 29 — One, two, Freddy’s coming for you. Three, four, better lock your door. Five, six, grab your crucifix. Seven, eight, gonna stay up late. Nine, ten, never sleep again.

Indiana Memorial Union



Bowling and Billiards Halloween Costume Contest, 9 p.m. Oct. 28 to 1 a.m. Oct. 29 — Come to the IMU in costume for a fun night of bowling and billiards, and stick around until midnight for the judging of the costume contest. The top three costumes will win prizes.

Fine Arts Building

Nosferatu,” 7 p.m. Oct. 26, Fine Arts Room 015 — Join the IU Institute for European Studies as it screens the 1922 horror classic “Nosferatu” inside of the Fine Arts Building. Free food and door prizes will be available at the event.

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Candidates for lieutenant governor discuss arts and culture at local SPEA-sponsored forum Wed, 19 Oct 2016 16:26:25 +0000 blogforumoverall

Joe Hren moderated a forum on the arts held Oct. 17 with the candidates for lieutenant governor in Indiana. A radio broadcast of the forum will air at 8 p.m. Oct. 19 on WFIU.

Two candidates for lieutenant governor in Indiana shared their views on the arts Monday night at the WFIU studios before an audience of about 50 students and other invited guests from the community.

Republican Suzanne Crouch, the current state auditor, and state Rep. Christina Hale, a Democrat, each were granted opportunities to speak separately rather than engage in debate at a very civil forum sponsored by the Arts Administration Program in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University Bloomington.

Karl Tatgenhorst, the Libertarian candidate, did not respond to an invitation to participate.

Both candidates in attendance agreed on the value of art and culture in creating a sense of place and its value in making Indiana a state that attracts young people and top talent to live and work.


Christina Hale

Hale began her 10-minute introduction with an appeal to reintroduce tax credits for media production in the state.

She also provided several examples of arts and cultural projects designed to become revitalizing forces in their communities, including the recent Artspace redevelopment of a 1920s office building in Michigan City into affordable live/work spaces for artists.

Crouch used her 10 minutes to speak about funding she distributed to area arts and cultural projects as a Vanderburgh County commissioner. She also mentioned the Indiana Regional Cities Initiative and spoke about culture in broad strokes that included development of the culinary arts and the economic power of festivals.

During the question-and-answer period, neither candidate precisely answered all the questions, but expounded upon various favorite initiatives.

Hale responded to six questions, at least in theme, and directly expressed support for Indiana tax incentives aimed at attracting on-site production by the film industry.


Suzanne Crouch

Crouch spoke briefly about the concrete economic impact of the arts. Mostly, however, she chose to speak at length about her passion for projects in the Regional Cities Initiative rather than answer the questions submitted in advance by IU students and arts advocates. She also spoke about the growth of agriculture and food culture rather than more traditional concepts of the arts.

With her filibuster, moderator Joe Hren of WTIU/WFIU was never able to deliver even the third question, which regarded her stance on state tax credits for film.

A broadcast of the entire conversation on the arts will air on WFIU 103.7 FM and other radio stations around the state from 8 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 19. An audio recording of the forum also will be posted on the Indiana Public Radio website.

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IU Bloomington a cappella group Hooshir will open for Vocalosity at IU Auditorium Tue, 18 Oct 2016 20:47:07 +0000 Hooshir rehearsal

Hooshir music director Becky Mann warms up the group during a rehearsal at the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center. Hooshir will open for Vocalosity Oct. 20. Photos by James Brosher.

Post by IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Students stand around a piano on the second floor of the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center rehearsing for an upcoming performance. Nobody is playing the piano, though. All the music the group is making comes from their bodies.

Hooshir, an a cappella group at Indiana University Bloomington, recently won a contest to open for Vocalosity Oct. 20 at IU Auditorium.

When they sing, Hooshir’s energy is intense and fills a room. All of them move to the music as they sing an a cappella rendition of “Larger Than Life” by the Backstreet Boys and a compilation of “Demons” and “It’s Time” by Imagine Dragons.

Musical director Becky Mann, a senior, explained that Hooshir formed in 2006 when the White House called IU Hillel’s rabbi, Sue Silberberg, looking for a Jewish a cappella group that could sing at its annual Hanukkah party. Silberberg said they had a group, and promptly formed it when she hung up the phone.

Auditions were quickly held, and after that first performance the group stayed together under the name “Hooshir,” which roughly translates to “he who sings” in Hebrew.

Mann said the group performs a mix of Israeli pop, American pop and Jewish sacred music.

Members of Hooshir including music director Becky Mann, center, rehearse at the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. The group will open for Vocalosity on Thursday at the IU Auditorium.

Becky Mann, center, loves the music and friendship shared by performing in Hooshir.

Hooshir director Halle Fromson, a sophomore, said the group still travels to synagogues across the country to perform traditional Jewish sacred music from the group’s repertoire.

“We kind of have this Middle Eastern sound we bring to our music,” she said.

Mann, who studies Jewish sacred music, is the only senior in Hooshir this year.

She said that so far this year their gigs have mainly been performed in Hebrew. Opening for Vocalosity will allow them to tap into the pop songs they have been working on recently.

Equipment manager Kiehl Carlquist, a sophomore, said it felt like Hooshir was still locking in on a sound and blending while they filmed the audition tape. It takes collaboration to take sheet music off the page and make it work in a performance space.

“It can get a little hectic,” Mann said, explaining that the group has to maintain a balance of reworking and refining songs.

Fromson said as they sing through a piece, if something doesn’t sound quite right, they will stop and rework it until they find a sound they like.

“We don’t want to get up there and have it not be polished,” she said.

It’s a very supportive environment, Carlquist said, attributing the ability to collaborate on the fly to the closeness of the group. He said they spend a lot of time playing with sound and trying to establish the style in which they want to perform.

He said that even though about half of Hooshir’s 14 members are new, their friendships are well-developed. The group’s  members are “personally my favorite people,” Carlquist said.

Halle Fromson, center, is director of Hooshir.

Halle Fromson, center, is director of Hooshir.

The balance of fun and focus helps them bring something great to their performances, Mann said. At times, the final piece only resembles what was originally written as Hooshir rehearses and makes the song grow.

Even when rehearsals and performances get stressful, the group members always have each other, and can share the fun that comes with performing. “The friendships that we build in it are so strong,” Mann said.

The group was overjoyed when it found out they had been chosen to open for Vocalosity, a touring show created by “Pitch Perfect” music director Deke Sharon.

“We were super excited because we love singing in the IU Auditorium,” she said.

Not only does the venue have phenomenal acoustics and allow each singer to wear his or her own microphone, but it also affords Hooshir the opportunity to experience the energy of a crowd of peers in their largest gig this year.

Carlquist said the group loves to interact with the crowd and hopes Hooshir will bring some of its best energy to the upcoming performance.

“We try and bring the best of ourselves up on stage,” he said.

To see the show

WHAT: Vocalosity, appearing with Hooshir as the opening act
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20
WHERE: IU Auditorium, 1211 E. Seventh St.
TICKETS: $23 to $41 for the general public and $13 to $36 for IU Bloomington students with a valid ID. Tickets may be purchased online or in person at the IU Auditorium Box Office, as well as through, all Ticketmaster outlets or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. The IU Auditorium Box Office is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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‘(Re)Imagining Science’ exhibition at Grunwald Gallery turns collaboration into an art Thu, 13 Oct 2016 13:10:04 +0000 What happens when we look at science differently?

Artists and research scientists at Indiana University Bloomington have teamed up in more than a dozen creative partnerships to visualize scientific principles and foster new ways of understanding.

Rosamond Purcell photo of eggs

Rosamond Purcell’s “Field Collector’s Box of Murre Eggs” appears in “(Re)Imagining Science.” Purcell speaks at noon Oct. 13 at Harlos House.

The results of their collaborations will be on display in the exhibition “(Re)Imagining Science” Oct. 14 to Nov. 16 at the Grunwald Gallery.

Opening night begins with a 5 p.m. lecture by visiting photographer Rosamond Purcell, whose exquisite still life images breathe life into the lifeless and uncover beauty in the discarded.

“Purcell is a scientist, an artist and a poet: the comprehensiveness of her vision reminds us of the time when disciplines had not yet separated into supposedly different modes of understanding the world,” said Christoph Irmscher, Provost Professor of English and director of the Wells Scholars Program.

In the exhibition, 18 of her photographs will accompany the projects made by the IU faculty teams.

Purcell appearances

During Purcell’s visit to IU Bloomington, the public will have several opportunities to hear her speak and experience her artistry firsthand:

  • Conversation with Christoph Irmscher, noon Oct. 13 — “In Rosamond Purcell’s hauntingly beautiful photographs, we enter the magical world of things — things natural or man-made, found or created, discarded or preserved, things both ordinary and weird. And we leave it utterly transformed, with a new sense of the strangeness of the everyday,” Irmscher said. Join them both for a conversation at Harlos House, 1331 E. 10th St., across from the Wells Library.
  • “Thoughts on Art and Science” Lecture, 5 p.m. Oct. 14 — Purcell will speak in Room 102 of the Fine Arts Building. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. The opening reception for “(Re)Imagining Science,” will follow from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Grunwald Gallery.
  • An Art That Nature Makes,” 3 p.m. Oct. 15 — In a Themester event, Molly Bernstein’s documentary about Purcell and her work will be screened at IU Cinema, 1213 E. Seventh St. Following the film, Irmscher will host a question-and-answer session with the artist.

Purcell’s public conversation with Irmscher and her opening lecture for “(Re)Imagining Science” will be free of charge, while tickets to the film screening are $3.

Bright ideas

Light Harvest

“Light Harvest” illustrates the structure of a protein.

Like Purcell’s images, the faculty projects draw their methods and visual language from both art and science.

“Light Harvest” was created by Jiangmei Wu, an assistant professor in the School of Art and Design; Susanne Ressl, an assistant research scientist in molecular and cellular biochemistry; and Kyle Overton, a Ph.D. candidate studying human-computer interaction design.

The glowing sculpture is a giant representation of the protein in a light-harvesting complex, a structure that turns sunlight and water into sugar and oxygen in the process known as photosynthesis.

The sculpture was hand-assembled from more than 600 pieces of reinforced kozo, or mulberry paper, which was laser cut and etched. The patterns were computer-generated, yet the folded forms and Japanese paper evoke the traditions of origami.

A continuation

“(Re)Imagining Science” builds upon the 2013 Grunwald Gallery exhibition “Imag(in)ing Science,” which featured six pairings of artists and scientists.

Returning from the first show are collaborative partners Margaret Dolinsky, an associate professor of digital art, and Roger Hangarter, Distinguished Professor and Chancellor’s Professor of Biology. In their work, line drawings emerge from leaves through the manipulation of chloroplasts. Actual plant leaves are framed for display.

The exhibition also includes photography, sculpture, digital art and projects that combine aspects of each.

Salamanders in Lily Pad

“Salamanders in Lily Pad” is an example from the collaboration between Margaret Dolinsky and Roger Hangarter.

Studio art associate professors Martha MacLeish and Malcolm Mobutu Smith teamed up with Mathias Weber, a professor of mathematics.

“I loved the collaborative process,” MacLeish said. “Mathias knew a lot more about art than I did about math.”

Their plan was to bring abstract mathematical ideas about shape into the physical world.

“The most exciting things happened when we stopped waiting for an idea and started making stuff,” she said.

As it turned out, stuff does not always follow theory. Stuff sometimes has a mind of its own.

Smith constructed a 3-D clay printer, which is shown in the exhibition. It built interesting ceramic forms one thread at a time, but unlike theoretical shapes, they were not pristine or perfect.

In a sense, a gallery is a space where ideas and physical reality collide. And sometimes the unplanned outcomes and imperfections are where the artists among us find beauty.

Other upcoming events

  • “Art, Science and the Archive” lecture, 5:30 p.m. Oct. 20 — Catherine Wagner has explored visual aspects of science in several bodies of photographic work, including “Morphology,” “Cross Sections” and “Art and Science: Investigating Matter.” She will speak in Woodburn Hall, Room 120.
  • Friday talks, noon Oct. 21, 28 and Nov. 4 — Selected “(Re)Imagining Science” exhibitors will speak about their projects at the Grunwald Gallery.

The Grunwald Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Building, 1201 E. Seventh St. It is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.

The “(Re)Imagining Science” exhibition and events are sponsored by Indiana University’s New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program. Further assistance comes from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies, with additional support from the Grunwald Gallery and the Studio Art Department in the School of Art and Design, all at Indiana University.

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‘Resilience’ play delves into hidden history of African Americans in the Hoosier state Tue, 11 Oct 2016 18:18:31 +0000 With a single word, “Resilience,” Liz Mitchell and Gladys DeVane have described two centuries of life among African Americans in Indiana.

In a single weekend, they hope to shine some light on history that has been largely hidden.

These two longtime Bloomington residents will present their new play Oct. 14, 15 and 16 at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center.

Resilience promotional card“I’ve always been passionate about African American history,” Mitchell said.

She’s a collector of facts, a gatherer of stories. When she travels the state and crosses the country, these are her souvenirs.

Over time, Mitchell discussed her discoveries with DeVane, an actress, storyteller and retired professor from the IU Kelley School of Business. “I told her what I’ve seen — different things I found out that I didn’t know,” Mitchell said.

DeVane felt these little-known stories about Indiana should be written into a play, so last year they did just that.

But for “Resilience: Indiana’s Untold Story,” the journey to the stage was not an easy one. Their proposal to the Indiana Arts Commission won praises yet wasn’t awarded a bicentennial grant.

Without funding, the project seemed doomed. But through the encouragement of friends, the unwavering support of community members and a juke-joint fundraiser last summer, they scraped together enough money to present episodes from our state’s black history through their play.

“We’re giving little snippets,” Mitchell said. “All of our stories are based on the truth.”

In the hands of director Danielle Bruce, the cast draws together young and old, white and black, and members of the community alongside high school and IU students. “It’s coming together beautifully,” Mitchell said.

“It’s a little bit about everybody,” she said. “No oppressed group made it out of oppression alone. We didn’t do it by ourselves. It took all of us.”

By attending “Resilience,” Mitchell wants people to witness the drama of these untold stories for themselves. Because of this, she’s a bit reluctant to share a lot of detail on the play in advance.

She did acknowledge that the early life of Carrie Parker Taylor, IU’s first female African American student, will appear in one of the snippets. Carrie’s son Parker Taylor, now 100, is expected to attend a performance, along with several other family members.

Carrie Parker

Carrie Parker Taylor is shown with her children in 1937. Her son Parker, top left, is now 100. Photo courtesy of IU Archives and the Taylor family.

“I grew up the first part of my life in segregation,” Mitchell said. With the advent of court-ordered busing in Indiana, she remembered angry parents outside her school classroom with sticks and baseball bats.

Even now, Mitchell is stung by the memory of that kind of hatred.

“I’ve got more questions than I have answers,” she said. “I want to know why.”

Mitchell believes it’s important to share history honestly, including both the painful and triumphant episodes.

“I don’t believe it tearing down all the old monuments to Confederate leaders,” she said. “Let them be a lesson to our past mistakes; Let that be a lesson to not repeat them.”

The mission of teaching extends to the printed program for “Resilience.” The playwrights hope it will become a keepsake that encourages people to explore more about the African American aspects of our history.

“Who knew this play would be so timely? It fits perfectly with what is going on right now,” she said.

“Resilience” will be presented at 8 p.m. Oct. 14 and 15 and 2 p.m. Oct. 16 at the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, 122 S. Walnut St. in Bloomington. Tickets are $20; $15 for seniors, students and military; $12 ages 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre box office 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and noon to 5 p.m. weekends, by phone at 812-323-3020 or online at

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First Thursdays arts and humanities festival offers costume party, dance and fresh fare Wed, 05 Oct 2016 20:22:17 +0000 First Thursdays Sept 2016

IU’s First Thursdays festival launched last month with a lively mix of arts and cultural events.

IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino contributed to this story:

IU Bloomington’s new monthly celebration of the arts and humanities will return Oct. 6 with a fresh schedule of entertainment and activities.

First Thursdays are free festivals designed to engage students and other members of the community at Indiana University, in Bloomington and beyond. The action is focused around the Arts Plaza surrounding Showalter Fountain from 5 to 7:30 p.m., with several events later radiating out across the campus.

For October, the forecast is sunny with a good chance of dance.

Overall, this month’s program is a bit mellow, with books and blankets, a Renaissance band, pottery and hot apple cider, said Ed Comentale, the associate vice provost for arts and humanities. “I can’t think of a better way to kick off fall break,” he said.

From 5 to 7 p.m., the main stage will feature the Singing Hoosiers, IU Contemporary Dance, African American Dance Company and IU Opera. The Bloomington rock band Spissy will run through its set at 7 p.m., just days before the start of an eight-city tour through the Midwest, Boston and Brooklyn.

Global inspirations

With such an expansive event, there will be choices that suit many tastes and showcase several cultures.

The acoustic tent offers hula dancers, Brazilian martial arts and early music played as Shakespeare would have heard it.

The Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance will present live demonstrations of stage combat from the students of new faculty member Leraldo Anzaldua. And the Shakespearean Insults Wheel is back by popular demand, offering prizes along with verbal slings and arrows.

An assistant professor in the department, Jennifer Goodlander, will share an unusual form of shadow play in shows at 5:15 and 6:15 p.m. in a separate tent.

Goodlander has spent years crafting and performing with Balinese puppets.

Jennifer Goodlander with Balinese puppets

Jennifer Goodlander demonstrates the Balinese art of Wayang Kulit. File photo.

“While I was a student at University of Hawaii, a friend directed me in a puppet performance,” she said. “It was love at first sight. They are so clever, beautiful and funny.”

Goodlander said she began studying in Bali in 2008 under a master puppeteer. After more than a year of work, she went through an intense ritual initiation and then was able to perform.

“I still go back and learn more when I can,” she said. “It is such a diverse art form there is always more to learn.”

These performances, called Wayang Kulit, are said to be for the gods’ entertainment. Though the puppets are beautiful and intricately designed, humans watch the performance through a screen, allowed to see only a shadow of the performance.

Though a single puppeteer will work with a variety of puppets, Goodlander said each puppet has its own personality.

Performances are for audiences of all ages, she said. While telling a story, the shows also educate people about Balinese religion and history, as well as Indonesian culture.

Explore by doing

Vik Muniz Action Photo

Vik Muniz’s “Action Photo (after Hans Namuth)” is from his “Pictures in Chocolate” series. Image courtesy of Galerie Xippas, Paris. Art © Vik Muniz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

“First Thursdays is all about learning by doing, learning through the senses,” Comentale said. “Everything you experience here is linked to a course, a program, a degree. We want visitors to have a chance to explore their own creativity and their own ideas, which is also why we offer so many hands-on craft activities.”

Visitors can make pottery or try their hand at poetry, letterpress printing, limestone carving, Chinese calligraphy, Turkish water marbling and Samoan star-weaving.

At the Eskenazi Museum of Art, people can tour the galleries, play “I Spy” or relax with some coloring. They also can get into the spirit of the new Vik Muniz retrospective by painting with chocolate and listening to Brazilian beats.

After hours

Even when things wind down on the Arts Plaza, free events await discovery across the campus.

The 1927 silent film “Wings,” which won the first Academy Award for Best Picture will be screened at 7 p.m. at IU Cinema. A discussion with Andrea Kalas, the head of preservation at Paramount Pictures, will follow.

Mister Lonely

Costumes are encouraged for the “Mister Lonely” film screening and party at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

At the Jacobs School of Music, students and faculty will join sarod master and artist-in-residence Amjad Ali Khan at 8 p.m. for a concert in Auer Hall.

A “Mister Lonely” film screening and costume party extends from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

The 2007 film directed by Harmony Korine is a wild and dreamlike romp through the interwoven lives of a Michael Jackson lookalike, a Marilyn Monroe impersonator and her family members who live in character as Charlie Chaplin and Shirley Temple. The film is not rated but contains some language and mature content that might have earned it an R.

Guests are encouraged to dress up but also are welcome to simply enjoy free popcorn, tour the galleries, make masks and pose for photos before the movie begins.

More on the menu

This month’s food offerings include root beer floats, hand-cut french fries and gourmet sliders from chef David Tallent of IU’s Traditions Catering. Choices include a classic cheeseburger with American cheese and dill pickle, a veggie burger with pimento cheese and onions or a burger with caramelized onions, goat cheese and truffle mayonnaise. Prices are $2 to $4.50 for each item.

Residential Programs and Services is offering a chicken caprese panini, a tomato and mozzarella panini and a sweet banana foster panini, all priced at $3. Cash, credit cards or I-Bucks will be accepted.

A more complete menu of the First Thursdays events and activities appears on the Arts and Humanities Council website.

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U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera to share message of unity at Bloomington reading Thu, 29 Sep 2016 19:06:14 +0000 In these contentious times, we too often see how words can divide.

Poet Juan Felipe Herrera still believes words have the potential to heal and to bring people together.

Herrera will appear at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 30 in Bloomington’s Buskirk-Chumley Theatre as part of Indiana University’s celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

The event “¡Poesía Now! The Power of Poetry in Our Lives,” is free and open to the public. Not only will Herrera share passages of his own work, but he hopes to inspire others to harness the power of language in their lives and communities. A question-and-answer session will follow the reading. Free, general admission tickets are required but will be available on a first-come, first-served basis 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and Friday and just prior to the event at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre box office.

Juan Felipe Herrera Poet Laureate

U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera will appear at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 30 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theatre.

This month Herrera began his second term as the Poet Laureate of the United States, the first Latino to hold this prestigious post bestowed by the Library of Congress.

“Mr. Herrera’s work gives voice to a uniquely American perspective that for too long has been left out of our national story,” said Alberto Varon, an assistant professor in the IU Bloomington Department of English.

“His poetry and other writing evokes experiences at once idiosyncratic and universal, unrecognizable yet somehow familiar. Through wordplay both playful and powerful that speaks across language and geographic space, his work helps us understand beauty in difference — not just that difference exists, but how it energizes creative expression,” Varon said.

Born in California as the son of migrant farm workers, Herrera received an undergraduate degree at UCLA before earning a master’s in social anthropology at Stanford University and MFA at the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.

Herrera is an award-winning author of 30 books, including novels for young adults, volumes of poetry and collections for children. His picture book “Portraits of Hispanic American Heroes” was published in 2014. The following year he published his latest book of poetry, “Notes on the Assemblage.”

In his poems, some of the words dance across the page in careful arrangement. Other works are nearly unpunctuated bursts of language and emotion, laid out in straightforward paragraphs. Yet with all their power on the printed page, his words are described as being the most alive when he performs them at readings.

In addition to his appearance at the Buskirk-Chumley, Herrera’s whirlwind visit to IU will include a poetry workshop for selected high school and IU students. The workshop will draw upon “La Casa de Colores,” an interactive project from his first term as U.S. Poet Laureate. Herrera imagines the American cultural landscape as “The House of Colors,” and has solicited poems from across the country as a way of representing the diverse viewpoints and that make up the American experience.

Herrera also will attend a private luncheon where he will meet with IU’s Latino students and students in the creative writing program and Department of English.

Herrera’s visit is sponsored by the College Arts and Humanities Institute; Chiricú Journal: Latina/o Literatures, Arts and Cultures (IU Press); the Latino Studies Program; The College of Arts and Sciences Ostrom Grants Progam; the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society; the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies; the Creative Writing Program; La Casa Latino Cultural Center; the Susan D. Gubar Chair in Literature; the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs; and the departments of English, Spanish and Portuguese, and American Studies, all at Indiana University.

Other events

The following arts events on the IU Bloomington campus are part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which is traditionally celebrated Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. For additional local events, see the full La Casa calendar.

Vik Muniz Double Mona Lisa

Vik Muniz, “Double Mona Lisa (Peanut Butter and Jelly)” from the After Warhol series, 1999. © Vik Muniz/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

  • Vik Muniz lecture, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 30 — The contemporary Brazilian artist will speak in Room 015 of the Fine Arts Building as part of the public opening for a major retrospective exhibition of his photographs. A reception will follow 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Eskenazi Museum of Art. The show will continue through Feb. 5 in the museum’s special exhibitions gallery.
  • Walkout” film screening, 7 p.m. Oct. 12 — The 2006 drama directed by Edward James Olmos shares the true story of Chicano high school students in East Los Angeles who staged several dramatic walkouts in 1968 to protest school conditions and academic prejudice. A discussion will follow. The event will take place in Room 005 of Wylie Hall (ground floor), and is sponsored by the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.
  • “The Chicana Canvas” lecture, 7 p.m. Oct. 13 — Xuan Santos, assistant professor of sociology and criminology and justice studies at California State University-San Marcos, will speak at the Indiana Memorial Union Georgian Room. Santos will explore the changing world of tattoos in East Los Angeles and ideals of beauty. His talk is co-sponsored La Casa, Latino Studies and the Indiana Memorial Union.
  • Tomás Lozano performance, “Sensual Knowledge,” 1:30 p.m. Oct. 21 — The vocalist, instrumentalist and composer will present songs at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures as part of its visiting performing artist series. Lozano’s songs are based on the work of Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez. The event is co-sponsored by the Mathers Museum and Themester 2016.
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IU’s Center for Documentary Research and Practice hosts seminar on legacy of colonialism Wed, 14 Sep 2016 17:22:23 +0000 Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Documentary media and historical transformations will be the focus of the first Sawyer Seminar hosted by Indiana University’s Center for Documentary Research and Practice.

Intended as part of a five-part series, the two-day event will be led by Joshua Malitsky, director of the center and an associate professor in The Media School, and Marissa Moorman, an associate professor in the Department of History.

The seminar “Documentary and the Legacies of Colonialism: Images, Institutions, and Economies” will include films screenings, lecture and a round-table discussion Sept.15 and 16 at IU Cinema.


“Afrique, Je’Te Plumerai (Africa, I Will Fleece You)” will be screened at IU Cinema Thursday, Sept. 15, as part of the Sawyer Seminars. Director Jean-Marie Téno will answer questions after the film.

Beginning at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, a selection of Indian colonial and post-colonial films will be screened and curated by Priya Jaikumar, an associate professor of cinema and media studies from the University of Southern California.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, IU Cinema will host a screening of director Jean-Marie Téno’s “Afrique, Je’Te Plumerai (Africa, I Will Fleece You).” A question-and-answer session with the director will take place after the screening.

At 9 a.m. Friday, Lee Grieveson will deliver the lecture “Documentary and the Long 20th Century.” Grieveson is the director of the graduate program in film studies at University College London. His lecture will focus on the formation of documentary as a genre and how it can be used as a tool.

Jaikumar will also host a lecture at 11 a.m. Friday, “Film Space and State Space in Documentary Cinema.”

The second major film screening, “Mueda, Memória E Massacre (Mueda, Memory and Massacre)” will follow Jaikumar’s lecture at 1:30 p.m. After the film, Chicago-based anti-apartheid/Southern African activist Prexy Nesbitt will host a question-and-answer session.

The final major seminar event will be a round-table discussion on nonfiction cinema and colonialism at 4 p.m. Malitsky is scheduled to participate along with Gregory Waller, Provost Professor of cinema and media studies in The Media School; Michael S. Dodson, director of the Dhar India Studies Program; Michael Martin, director of the Black Film Center/Archive; and Susan Seizer, associate professor of anthropology.

This series is sponsored by Center for Documentary Research and Practice, The Media School, the Institute for Advanced Studies, the Mellon Foundation and IU Cinema.

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Nationwide 20th anniversary tour of ‘Rent’ begins at Indiana University Auditorium Mon, 12 Sep 2016 13:32:05 +0000 Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

A young Skyler Volpe first heard the music of “Rent” when she was about 5 years old. Her parents had seen the show and fell in love with the music.

“I came into ‘Rent’ when I was very young, maybe too young,” she said.

At that same young age, Volpe was already singing, dancing and performing on stage.

Now Volpe is starring as Mimi Marquez in the 20th anniversary tour of “Rent.”

The touring production will premiere tonight at Indiana University Auditorium in Bloomington and continues with two more performances Sept. 13 and 14 before traveling to nearly 70 cities across the United States through next summer.

Volpe, Skyler

Skyler Volpe will portray Mimi Marquez in “Rent.”

Volpe said it’s a dream come true.

“This is my biggest role so far,” she said.

Along with her personal connection to the musical, Volpe said she feels she is carrying a relevant message to audiences even three decades after the AIDS crisis hit New York.

It’s more than a story about AIDS, she said. It’s about living your life generously and full of love, an important message even now.

“We are definitely carrying on a legacy in a way I’ve never felt responsible for in the past,” Volpe said.

Because Volpe has been doing a lot of new work since she moved to New York, she said the opportunity to be a part of this production has presented her with new challenges. Volpe said that unlike her last major project, “Passing Strange,” most people have seen or heard of “Rent.” This familiarity means people come to the show with certain expectations.

Volpe also said the audition process was one of the most intense she had ever experienced. Despite this, the environment was also very encouraging, allowing her to play and make choices as an actress.

“It’s been such a joy, every second of it,” she said.

In rehearsals, Volpe said the energy is off the charts, “like the room is bubbling with electricity over this show,” she said.

One of the biggest factors in creating that energy is the feeling of community that cast, crew and production members all share. She said they all clicked instantly and became part of an even bigger “Rent” family. Unlike other productions, Volpe said, she has had the opportunity to meet cast members from past runs of the show. They come to visit rehearsals and meet cast members, creating a family not unlike the one the characters have in the show.

“These characters, they’re not related, but they find each other,” Volpe said. “They become a family.”

This is the message and experience Volpe said she wants to bring on tour. She called it a fresh breath on a classic.

“I really do just feel really privileged and lucky to be able to do this,” she said.

The tour is also providing Volpe with the opportunity to see Bloomington and the rest of the country for the first time.

“We’re bringing ‘Rent’ for now to the world, and we’re doing it with the most integrity and the most honesty and the most joy that we can, and it’s worth it,” she said.

The show features Danny Harris Kornfeld as Mark Cohen, Kaleb Wells as Roger Davis, Skyler Volpe as Mimi Marquez, David Merino as Angel Dumott Schunard, Aaron Harrington as Tom Collins, Jasmine Easler as Joann Jefferson, Katie LaMark as Maureen Johnson and Christian Thompson as Benny Coffin III.

Tickets for all three of the 8 p.m. performances of “Rent” Sept. 12 to 14 are available online at or in person at the IU Auditorium box office, open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. “Rent” is intended for mature audiences.

More than the shows 

To accompany the public performances of “Rent,” IU Auditorium has arranged a variety of additional events.

Following the Sept. 13 performance, audience members are invited to attend a question-and-answer session with the cast of “Rent.” Anyone with a ticket to that night’s performance is welcome to stay after the show.

Also, IU Auditorium will hold a special front-row ticket lottery for students. At 5:30 p.m. each night of the performance, students can sign up for the chance to purchase up to two front-row seats. Winners, who must be IU Bloomington students, will be drawn at 6 p.m. Their guests are not required to be IU students.

On Sept. 8, musicians from “Rent” participated in a Project Jumpstart discussion with students from the IU Jacobs School of Music about how to maintain a career as a traveling artist.

The same day,  IU Auditorium held a public panel discussion, “80 Seasons of Love: Rent and HIV Over 20 Years” in its lobby. A panel of IU experts discussed how the perception and treatment of AIDS has evolved over the past two decades. The event was moderated by health and sexuality educator Kathryn Brown of the IU Health Center.

Students in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance also had the chance to take a behind-the-scenes tour Sept. 9, which highlighted technical aspects of the production.

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‘Framing Beauty’ trains its lens on aesthetics and cultural notions with exhibition, events Thu, 08 Sep 2016 16:18:13 +0000 Michael Baldwin, Branch Brook Park, Newark, NJ 2007

The exhibition”Framing Beauty: Intimate Visions” includes Bill Gaskins’ photograph “Michael Baldwin, Branch Brook Park, Newark, NJ,” 2007. Gaskins also will participate in several public events as part of the accompanying symposium. Image courtesy of the artist.

Indiana University’s College of Arts and Sciences is digging deep beyond the surface meanings of “Beauty” this fall in its eighth annual Themester.

One signature event of Themester 2016 will be the “Framing Beauty” symposium taking place today and Friday in the Fine Arts Building on the Bloomington campus.

The symposium’s free lectures, panel discussions and other events are related to the exhibition “Framing Beauty: Intimate Visions,” which will remain on display at the Grunwald Gallery through Oct. 6.

The show includes photographs, paintings, videos and objects from 20 major contemporary artists, including IU Bloomington photography associate professor Osamu James Nakagawa and Gordon Parks, the groundbreaking fashion photographer, filmmaker and chronicler of black America who died in 2006.

“Framing Beauty: Intimate Visions” was curated by Deborah Willis, chair of the Department of Photography and Imaging at the Tisch School for the Arts at New York University.

Omar Victor Diop

Omar Victor Diop, “Frederick Douglass,” 2015. Image courtesy of the MAGNIN-A Gallery.

Willis is a photographer, historian and author who has been named one of the 100 most important people in photography by American Photography magazine. She also is a recipient of Guggenheim and MacArthur fellowships and multiple NAACP Image Awards.

Much of her professional work has centered on ideas of beauty and identity, especially among African American people and communities, past and present.

Willis has written that she finds beauty both personal and political.

In 15 years of research, she has pondered both its aesthetic and philosophical implications. In the courses she teaches, Willis explores how the black body is visualized in photography and how those images relate to our society and ideas of gender.

“We are honored to host this exhibition about beauty selected by esteemed curator Deborah Willis,” said Betsy Stirratt, director of the Grunwald Gallery. “I anticipate that the show and symposium will require viewers to consider how images shape our personal and cultural definitions of beauty.”

Symposium events

All of the “Framing Beauty” events are free and open to the public:

  • 5 to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 8 — Willis will moderate a discussion in the Grunwald Gallery between artists Omar Victor Diop, Bill Gaskins, Kalup Linzy, Osamu James Nakagawa and Ji Yeo. Diop is a portrait photographer from Dakar, Senegal, while Gaskins addresses neighborhood and community through his photo portraits. Linzy is a multimedia and performance artist, and Yeo is a photographer and performance artist concerned with plastic surgery. Nakagawa’s work in the show addresses political cultural perspectives.
  • 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8 — A welcome reception will follow in the Grunwald Gallery.
  • Noon to 1 p.m. Sept. 9 — Gaskins will be the featured artist at a brown-bag lunchtime gathering in the Grunwald Gallery.
  • 3 to 5 p.m. Sept. 9 — Willis and the artists will participate in an informal round-table discussion at the Grunwald Gallery.
  • 5 to 6 p.m. Sept. 9 — Willis is scheduled to speak as part of the McKinney Visiting Artist Series.The talk will take place in Room 015 of the Fine Arts Building.
  • 6 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 9 — Willis will attend a reception and book-signing in the Grunwald Gallery.

Willis is co-author of “Envisioning Emancipation,” along with Barbara Krauthamer. Her other notable books include “Out [o] Fashion Photography: Embracing Beauty,” “Michelle Obama: The First Lady in Photographs” and “Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present.”


Kehinde Wiley, “Ena Johnson,” 2012. The oil on linen painting is from the collection of Nathan Serphos.

The “Framing Beauty” exhibition also features artists Mangue Banzima, Shelia Pree Bright, Zoe Buckman, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Ana Theresa Fernandez, Gerard H. Gaskin, Susan Kae Grant, Myra Greene, Michael M. Koehler, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, Carrie Mae Weems, Kehinde Wiley and Fo Wilson.

The exhibition and events are sponsored in part by Themester 2016: “Beauty,” an initiative of the College of Arts and Sciences, and IU’s New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program. Further assistance comes from the College Arts and Humanities Institute and the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies, with additional support from the Studio Art Department in the School of Art and Design and the Grunwald Gallery, all at Indiana University. The lecture by Deborah Willis is made possible through the generous support of Dr. Meredith McKinney and his wife, Elsa Luise Barthel McKinney. The Grunwald Gallery also would like to thank the lenders to the exhibition.

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New lecture series at IU’s Fine Arts Library features artists who create handmade books Wed, 07 Sep 2016 15:41:43 +0000 Bea Nettles photos

Bea Nettles created her “Mountain Dream Tarot Cards” in the 1970s, before the advent of digital image manipulation tools such as Photoshop. Nettles will speak at IU Bloomington on Oct. 27.

The Fine Arts Library at Indiana University Bloomington is home to many one-of-a-kind objects of art. In addition to its stacks of books covering many facets of art and its making, the library hosts an extensive collection of artists’ books.

Jasmine Burns, the interim head of the Fine Arts Library, has designed a new lecture series to highlight what she describes as their magnificent, historic collection.

“The book arts are part of a wonderfully fluid artistic style that pushes all boundaries of the traditional book form,” she said. “Artists’ books can take on any material format such as flip books; tunnel and accordion books; and decks of cards, to name just a few.”

Karen Baldner book

Karen Baldner, who teaches book arts at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, even makes the paper for her unique, personal books. She will speak at the Fine Arts Library on Sept. 13.

Burns added that artists’ books are not constrained by medium or their mode of production.

The lecture series will begin this fall with three Midwestern artists who choose books as their medium.

The first guest will be Karen Baldner, an adjunct instructor who leads the book arts minor within Herron’s printmaking BFA program at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Baldner’s work is on display in the cases outside the Fine Arts Library.  Work by her students has been shown there in the past.

Each of the artist talks in the Fine Arts Library Reading Room will be free and open to the public:

  • 5:30 p.m. Sept. 13, Karen Baldner — Often working in mixed media, Baldner makes her own paper and incorporates human hair into many of her books. Her German-Jewish heritage and experiences in post-war Germany inspire her artwork.
  • 5 p.m. Oct. 27, Bea Nettles — Known primarily for photographic works that are highly autobiographical, Nettles draws her imagery from nature and her experiences as an aging woman. Photographs from her “Mountain Dream Tarot Cards” are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
  • 5:30 p.m. Nov. 15, David Wolske — The history and traditions of letterpress printing and fine-art printmaking influence Wolske’s abstract style. He uses a variety of wood type, metal type and digital tools when creating his books. Wolske earned his MFA in graphic design at IU Bloomington.

“This is the first year for this series, but I hope to make it an ongoing event,” Burns said.

As part of the upcoming renovation of the Eskenazi Museum of Art, the Fine Arts Library will relocate from the iconic I.M. Pei building to a larger, permanent space on the ninth floor of the Herman B Wells Library. The current Fine Arts Library location is expected to close in summer 2017.

David Wolske prints

David Wolske adapts the visual language of letterpress printing in works such as, from left, “Vessel No. 1,””Bad at Maths No. 2” and “Vessel No. 3.” He will speak at IU Bloomington on Nov. 15.

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‘No More Road Trips?’ transports its audience across U.S. through eyes of many beholders Thu, 01 Sep 2016 13:53:49 +0000 No More Road Trips

Rick Prelinger compiled “No More Road Trips?” by combing through thousands of home movies. During today’s screening at IU Cinema, he will engage the audience in discussion.

“No More Road Trips?” ventures far from an ordinary documentary.

Archivist Rick Prelinger traverses the United States in an 80-minute voyage from New England to California and into the past along the way.

His vehicle is other people’s home movies, curated from his extensive collection of 50,000 films.

To the future

Even the future looked different in the past.

As a filmmaker, Prelinger saves extra space for the audience.

Everyone is invited to come along on the road trip and experience it in their own way. And at IU Cinema, the ride is free.

Indiana University Cinema will host a screening of “No More Road Trips?” beginning at 6:30 p.m. today as part of the launch of the First Thursdays festival of the arts and humanities.

The film event also is part of the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive Film Preservation Series at IU Cinema.

Prelinger’s curated compilation of home movies allows viewers to gaze out at the scenery through hundreds of eyes. These snippets offer glimpses into the lives of those who once traveled our highways and backroads, then recorded their journeys for posterity.

Taken together, these movies capture the country that was.

Prelinger has made a conscious choice not to impose a true soundtrack or scripted narration onto the images in “No More Road Trips?” Instead, the film is the story, and the audience becomes the soundtrack.


For a moment at least, you are here.

Each screening is an individual event where Prelinger speaks as the images unfold. Viewers are encouraged to join the conversation.

Prelinger has described his approach as “evidentiary cinema.” He rebels against current conventions in documentary filmmaking where stories are heavily narrated, excessively defined and overly told.

In his blog, Prelinger wrote that “original materials tell pretty good stories on their own.”

Archivist on the road

After the free but ticketed IU Cinema screening of “No More Road Trips?” at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 1, Prelinger will participate in a question-and-answer session moderated by Rachael Stoeltje, director of IU Libraries Moving Image Archive.

Prelinger also will speak about “No More Road Trips?”at The Media School. His talk takes place at 2 p.m. Sept. 2 at The Media School, in Room 312 of the newly renovated Franklin Hall.

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New First Thursdays festival puts the focus on IU’s arts and humanities, food and fun Wed, 31 Aug 2016 16:47:33 +0000 Post by Amanda N. Marino and Karen Land of the IU Newsroom: 

At IU Bloomington, Thursday will be a day of firsts.

It’s the first day of September. It’s also the first time Indiana University’s Arts Plaza will be the center of a sweeping, interactive festival celebrating the arts and humanities.

Welcome to First Thursdays.

The inaugural event is concentrated from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1, with a few events that precede and follow those hours. First Thursdays festivities will recur Oct. 6 and Nov. 3 before resuming March 2.

First Thursdays map2Ed Comentale, the associate vice provost for arts and humanities, describes the new public festival as “free-wheeling and dynamic.”

With a mix of live music, dance performances, art, crafts, readings, short talks, activities and giveaways, students and community members can sample some of what makes IU such a creative and culturally rich environment. The festival also is free.

There will be choices for every taste. And, with the help of chef David Tallent and other food vendors, there will also be tasty choices.

For early birds, The Herman B Wells Library will host a high-tech, interactive exhibit to familiarize people with art around campus. Starting at 4 p.m. the IQ-Wall in the Scholars’ Commons (East Tower) will display “Visualizing Art on Campus” at an impressive scale.

Here is a sample of what else to expect — and to explore — at the plaza, the Eskenazi Museum of Art, IU Cinema, Lilly Library, Grunwald Gallery and beyond:

Main stage

Performances and activities are planned in all directions from Showalter Fountain. On the main stage, award-winning poet Adrian Matejka will deliver a high-energy invocation at 5 p.m. A variety of musical acts will follow:

  • 5:15 p.m. — Liberation Music Collective
  • 6 p.m. — African American Choral Ensemble
  • 6:30 p.m. — Brenda’s Friend
  • 7 p.m. — Michael Spiro & Descarga Calle Tres!

Amy Oelsner and IU alum Erin Tobey perform together as Brenda’s Friend.

They met three years ago through mutual musical friends and felt it was the right time to start a collaboration of their own. “We just both really liked each other’s music and wanted to be friends and hang out,” Oelsner said.

Brenda's Friend

Amy Oelsner, left, and Erin Tobey. Photo by Anna Powell Teeter Studio

We’ve been told we are louder than we look, Tobey said.

She said both women had introspective solo music, but Oelsner’s was more founded in folk while Tobey’s was rock-based. They shared inspirations like Riot Grrrl and other feminist rock bands. “There’s a lot of that spirit in what we do,” Tobey said.

Oelsner encourages students to come to First Thursdays and sees the event as an introduction to the Bloomington music scene.

“The event seems really diverse musically,” Tobey said.

All in good taste

Guests can partake in free Indiana heirloom popcorn topped with brown butter and sea salt. Meals and other snacks will be available for purchase with I-Bucks, cash or credit cards.

At the Eskenazi Museum of Art, pizza by the slice will be $3. At other locations, Residential Programs and Services will offer cinnamon crisps ($1) and their popular quesadillas ($3). Traditions Catering will offer fruit kabobs ($1), street tacos ($2, or 3 for $5) and elote (roasted sweet corn with cotija cheese, $1). Drinks will be available for $1.

Chef David Tallent will also present live cooking demonstrations during the event.

Join in the fun

Beyond soaking in the scenery and the entertainment, people can become spirited participants in many activities. There are opportunities to join in a scavenger hunt, play games, make crafts, curl up with a book or relax with some coloring. Or, people can have something created just for them.

The IU Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance has built three Peanuts-style booths, mimicking the design of Lucy’s advice station. As they walk around the Arts Plaza, visitors can approach the booths and receive a poem, a joke or a philosophical statement.

Culture tent

Inside the culture tent on the plaza, the Wylie House Museum will invite people to try old-fashioned games, toys and candy. Visitors also can learn more about the seed library program, which focuses on preserving and cataloging heirloom seeds.

Viki Graber

Viki Graber will make baskets.

The Mathers Museum of World Cultures will bring some of Indiana’s finest craftspeople to the tent with “Indiana Folk Arts: 200 Years of Tradition and Innovation,” a special traveling exhibition. The folk artists include basket maker Viki Graber, decoy carver John Bundy, blacksmith John Bennett and Greg Adams, who makes willow furniture.

“Throughout the fall, First Thursdays gives our campus a chance to meet these remarkable artists, watch them make cool things, and to discuss their work with them directly,” said Jason Baird Jackson, director of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

This month’s sponsor of the culture tent is IU’s Gay, Lesbian Bisexual, Transgender (GLBT) Student Support Services Office.

A touch of magic

Inside the Lilly Library, Anne Delgado of the English Department will curate a special one-night exhibit, “Magic and the Supernatural,” featuring manuscripts and textbooks on all things magic, creepy and macabre. While there, people can have buttons made with images from the Lilly’s vast collection.

The Lilly Library also will host the ArcSlam poetry slam at 7:30 p.m.

A new spin on art

The Grunwald Gallery in the Fine Arts Building will be alive with art and music. From 5 to 7:30 p.m., the powerful exhibition “Framing Beauty” will be open for viewing. Starting at 6 p.m., a live DJ from WIUX will fill the gallery with sound.

The Movement Cooperative (MoCo) at IU performs a traditional rain dance before the reveal of a Rainworks, a type of rain-activated artwork, during the CultureFest After Party on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2016, at the Eskenazi Museum of Art at Indiana University.

The Movement Cooperative at IU performs a rain dance before the first peek at the world’s largest Rainworks. Photo by James Brosher

The Eskenazi Museum of Art will extend its hours from 5 to 8 p.m. The atrium of the museum will be filled with live music and art-making opportunities, including weaving stars for the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival’s “One Million Stars to End Violence” project.

“The event is designed for serious and casual art fans, people who want to dive into the world of art and people who just want to hang out,” said Abe Morris, the museum’s manager of public relations and marketing. “There will be something for everyone.”

Starting at 5:15 p.m., five curators will lead “Spotlights” progressive tours, which offer insights on the show’s hidden treasures from the museum collection. Also planned is “Take Ten,” an activity where 10 people take 10 minutes to discuss a work of art in the galleries.

At 6 p.m., tours end and the dancing will begin. Epiphany Dance Collective will host a West African Dance party. An Aikido martial arts demonstration will take place at 6:30 p.m. At 7 p.m., IU dance students will perform a contemporary rain dance and again reveal the new Rainworks installed near the Light Totem.

Virtual road trip at IU Cinema

At 6:30 p.m., IU Cinema will host a rare screening of director Rick Prelinger’s “No More Road Trips?” The unique assemblage of more than 600 home movies reveals hidden histories of the U.S. landscape and speak to the importance of the journey rather than the destination. Prelinger will narrate the images and participate in a question-and-answer session following his film.

“‘No More Road Trips?’ is not something you can discover easily,” said IU Cinema director Jon Vickers. “It has only been presented a handful of times around the world, in venues such as South by Southwest, San Francisco International Film Festival, International Film Festival Rotterdam, New York Film Festival, National Film and Sound Archive in Australia and Los Angeles Filmforum.”

After all

When First Thursdays clears out of the Arts Plaza, a special opening reception for “Siyazama: Traditional Arts, Education and AIDS in South Africa” will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mathers Museum, 416 N. Indiana Ave.

Siyazama exhibition

An opening reception for “Siyazama” runs 7 to 9 p.m at the Mathers Museum. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, Michigan State University Museum

The new traveling exhibit, which looks at how folk arts are used to share information about AIDS, is sponsored by the School of Public Health-Bloomington and Themester 2016.

Betty Dlamini, a singer, actress and writer who teaches IsiZulu at IU will perform an original composition created for the opening, Jackson said. Food also will be available.

The First Thursdays festival is a production of the IU Arts and Humanities Council and is sponsored by the offices of the Provost and Vice Provost for Research.

“First Thursdays will put the richness of the arts and humanities at IU on display in one spot, with wonderful food, music, and activities,” Jackson said. “In a brief amount of time, visitors will surely find much that they will enjoy and a lot to follow up on later. It is going to be a revelation to people to see just how exciting and diverse the arts and humanities are at IU.”

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The Fringe Experience: A first time in Edinburgh, defying normal Fri, 26 Aug 2016 13:39:10 +0000 blogoverallshot

Amanda Marino, left, students and chaperones stand on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland, which was mostly blocked off for Fringe foot traffic. Photo courtesy Sharon Burnison.

Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Marino spent part of her summer at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, which is billed as the largest arts festival in the world. The Indiana University senior shared her observations with Art at IU:

When I was told the population of Edinburgh, Scotland, would literally triple for the month of August, I didn’t believe it. Then, I saw it happen.

Traveling as a chaperone for my former high school, I became a part of the American High School Theatre Festival and, in turn, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The experience was nothing short of the best kind of culture shock.

The students and I arrived in Edinburgh after a very long 10 hours inside a bus the day before the Fringe officially began. A full section of the Royal Mile, the city’s main thoroughfare, had already been partially blocked off for what was going to be one of the largest crowds I had ever had the pleasure of joining.


Before each of the students’ performances, Marino collected their wristbands. ‘Rodents’ tend not to wear bracelets.

From Aug. 5 to 29, more than 300 venues will have hosted over 50,000 performances of more than 3,000 shows, including traditional theater, cabaret, variety shows and musical performances.

The biggest risk a person takes in going to the Fringe is realizing that there’s just too much good stuff to see all at once.

My 14 students from Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Ill., were given space to perform near Surgeons’ Hall Museums, just a few blocks off the Mile. There, they put on “The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents” four times under what could be described as somewhat stressful conditions. The students had access to their space only once before they performed and had to use that time to become familiar with the venue, set all of their light cues, and drop off the props and set pieces (which up until that point had slept in my room at the University of Edinburgh). After that, they had to work in what technical guru Broderick “Jigsaw” Jones called “the spirit of the Fringe,” which I took to mean limited time and close calls.

Along with their 90-minute performance, the students were allowed only 15 minutes before and after each show to set and strike their entire space, after the show before them ended and before the next show began. Organized chaos does not begin to describe this aspect of the Fringe.

Outside of the practice and performance, the students and I spent most of our time seeing shows in just about every square inch of free space in the city. Venues were as big as auditoriums and as small as the upstairs rooms of bars. Street performers were constantly coaxing their audiences closer to their juggling, flame-swallowing, sword-eating acts, trying to decongest impossibly crowded streets. Performers walked around with fliers, enticing people to choose their show out of the thousands of available options. My students were able to hand out about 2,000 of their own fliers, too.


The Amazing Garreth was one of hundreds of street performers drawing audiences on the Royal Mile. He ate fire, swallowed swords and entertained his crowd with his bizarre show.

While they were off exploring together, I saw a few shows on my own, including one of my favorite comedy bands, The Axis of Awesome. The tickets are ridiculously affordable, and in the spirit of things, sometimes you get lucky and land a front row seat or two, like I did. Seeing Edgar Allen Poe come to life in “Poe’s Last Night” as performer David Crawford paced anxiously about the stage was so intense and wonderful that I found myself winded at the end of the performance. As it turns out, I had been holding my breath.

A man eating fire and swallowing swords ran to me from his street performance at the sound of police sirens and draped an arm around my shoulder, mocking an innocent look in a non-existent police chase. I found my new favorite Elvis in a play based on the day the King landing in Prestwick, Scotland, on his way home from the war. I was moved by the story of a young schizophrenic man trying to put his life back together.

Being so totally enveloped in this theater experience reminded me what I love about performing and why, even as a journalist, I still take time to volunteer at the Bloomington Playwrights Project in town. The people and atmosphere simply can’t be recreated anywhere else.

The culture of the Fringe permeated my entire Edinburgh experience. Sitting alone in a pub, I suddenly found myself in the midst of a veritable troupe of actors telling me about their shows and inviting me out as though I weren’t an awkward American stranger.

There are no strangers at the Fringe, only thousands upon thousands of performers and patrons mingling in the streets at the world’s largest arts festival and, as the slogan dictates, defying normal.

A small taste of Fringe

The IndyFringe Theatre Festival, which was inspired by the original in Edinburgh, began Aug. 18 and and wraps up Aug. 28. The festival, which is clustered around Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis, features more than 300 performances.

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‘IU Cinema Under the Stars’ partnership brings ‘E.T.’ and zombies to Starlite Drive-In Wed, 03 Aug 2016 19:24:18 +0000 The original 1968 version of "Night of the Living Dead" will be screened Thursday, Aug. 4 at Bloomington's Starlite Drive-In. "E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial" begins the double feature. Photo courtesy of Image Ten / The Kobal Collection

The original 1968 version of “Night of the Living Dead” will be screened Thursday, Aug. 4 at Bloomington’s Starlite Drive-In. “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” begins the double feature. Photo courtesy of Image Ten / The Kobal Collection

Drive-in movies are embedded in the American imagination.

While that shared experience has faded into history in many communities, memories of outdoor moviegoing are still being made at Bloomington’s Starlite Drive-In.

IU Cinema Under the Stars posterIndiana University Cinema will partner with the Starlite for the first time on Thursday, Aug. 4 to present two classic films in the classic setting the drive-in calls its “Auto-torium.” The double feature will begin at 9:30 p.m. with “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” and end with “Night of the Living Dead.”

“We are thrilled to bring the IU Cinema experience outside of our four walls,” said associate director Brittany D. Friesner.

“Our founding director, Jon Vickers, has long envisioned programming outdoor screenings in Bloomington. Given our summer closure this year, it was the perfect time to create outdoor film experiences on campus and throughout the community.”

Creature features

When the IU Cinema programming staff was polled about films to present in the outdoor series, the 1968 version of “Night of the Living Dead” was a unanimous selection.

“Apparently, it was an obvious choice for a drive-in experience,” Friesner said. “We decided to make it a double feature by programming a more kid-friendly first picture to round out an authentic drive-in program.”

The night will begin with a film that legendary critic Roger Ebert once described as “one of the greatest movie entertainments I’ve ever seen.”

“E.T.” is Steven Spielberg’s endearing — and enduring — story about a boy and his siblings who hide and protect a lonely little alien stranded far from his otherworldly home. Watch for standout performances by Henry Thomas and Drew Barrymore, who was just 7 years old at the time of its release in 1982.


“E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” stars Henry Thomas as a boy who befriends an alien. Photo courtesy of Universal / The Kobal Collection

George A. Romero’s cult classic “Night of the Living Dead” will follow after a short intermission.

Once criticized as too gory, “Night of the Living Dead” has been added to the Library of Congress National Film Registry of “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” films to be preserved. The 1968 low-budget horror film helped spawn a pop-culture fascination with zombies through its haunting depiction of undead monsters terrorizing Pennsylvania.

Reece Freeman, whose family has owned and operated the Starlite Drive-In since 2014, described these films as timeless classics in their respective genres that “will make for a magical night of astounding stories.”

“We are excited to be have the opportunity to work with Indiana University Cinema to bring two iconic films to Bloomington’s very own drive-in theater,” Freeman said. “We are currently in our 61st year of operation and hope to continue working with our community partners to bring film patrons the best and most unique cinematic experiences for many years to come.”

“Under the Stars” series

While the Starlite Drive-In partnership is new, this won’t be the first time IU Cinema has presented outdoor films for the Bloomington community. In a joint effort with the city’s parks and recreation department, IU Cinema brought “Time Bandits” to Bryan Park last August.

This year’s “IU Cinema Under the Stars” series will include two additional events beyond the special night at the drive-in.

"Spirited Away" © 2001 Nibariki - GNDDTM

“Spirited Away” will be screened on the south lawn of IU’s Global and International Studies Building Aug. 18 as part of Welcome Week. Photo © 2001 Nibariki – GNDDTM

The animated film “Spirited Away” will be screened free of charge Aug. 18 at the IU Global and International Studies Building as part of the Office of First Year Experience’s Welcome Week. Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning film follows a girl who wanders into a dreamlike world of phantoms and spirits at a carnival site.

On Sept. 9, IU Cinema will again partner with Bloomington Parks and Recreation to present “WarGames” free of charge in Bryan Park. Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy star in the charming yet terrifying story about the accidental misadventures of a teen genius. The film dates from 1983, a time when the Cold War quietly raged and personal computers were in their infancy,

Part of the IU Cinema mission is to provide unique cinematic experiences, Friesner said, “but there is only so much you can do indoors.”

That’s the magic of the “Under the Stars” partnerships.

“Of course, some things won’t be exactly the same as an IU Cinema screening, but the goal is for our patrons to enjoy an amazing film experience,” she said. “We think they will.”

If you go

WHAT: E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (PG), “Night of the Living Dead” (NR)

WHEN: Aug. 4. Gates open at 7:30 p.m., “E.T.” begins at 9:30 p.m., “Night” starts after short intermission

WHERE: The Starlite Drive-In, 7640 S. Old State Road 37, Bloomington

ADMISSION: $5 per person, free for children under 12. Tickets available on-site the day of the show.

DETAILS: Arrive early to get a parking spot. Part of the fun is getting food and playing games before the movies start. Concession stand snacks include hamburgers, hotdogs, ice cream from The Chocolate Moose and, of course, popcorn. No outside food allowed without $6 fee. Films go on rain or shine.

* * *

WHAT: Spirited Away” (PG) presented in Japanese with English subtitles.

WHEN: Aug. 18. Seating area opens at 7:30 p.m., film begins at 9:30 p.m.

WHERE: Global and International Studies Building south lawn, IU Bloomington campus


DETAILS: Bring a blanket. Tours of the Global and International Studies Building, food offerings and games with prizes begin at 8 p.m. Rain location is IU Cinema. In case of inclement weather, location will be decided by 5 p.m. For updates, check @IUcinema on Twitter.

* * *

WHAT: WarGames” (PG)

WHEN: Sept. 9. Film begins at dusk.

WHERE: Bryan Park, junction of South Henderson and East Dixie streets, Bloomington


DETAILS: Rain date is Sept. 10. For up-to-the-minute weather updates, call (812) 349-3754.

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IU professor Michael Adams watches our language in the new book ‘In Praise of Profanity’ Mon, 01 Aug 2016 15:21:01 +0000 Michael Adams, Provost Professor of English at Indiana University Bloomington, wrote "In Praise of Profanity," which was released today by Oxford University Press.

Michael Adams, Provost Professor of English at Indiana University Bloomington, wrote “In Praise of Profanity,” which was released today by Oxford University Press.

“Profanity is a stubborn fact of speech and cannot be disregarded simply because some people disapprove of it.”

Michael Adams, Provost Professor of English at Indiana University, makes this declaration well into his latest book, “In Praise of Profanity” (Oxford University Press, 2016).

“There was nobody who was looking at profanity from a current cultural perspective,” he said. “I think of what I’m doing as part linguistics, part cultural criticism and part literary criticism.”

He argues that our utterances of “the forbidden, magic words” are often not profanity at all, but rather a salty form of slang.

Adams sees the book as a continuation of “Slang: The People’s Poetry,” which came out in 2009.

In his words, slang and profanity is “poetic language that’s not sustained in a poetic project.”

“Profanity is a serious subject requiring serious inquiry,” Adams writes. His preface invites “everyone with a keen interest and sense of humor” to read the book, which is described as a celebration.

Slinging slang

Adams is a historian of the English language and a frequent contributor to various dictionaries and academic journals. His published articles often explore arcane aspects of language, yet he also writes books aimed at broader audiences, such as “Slayer Slang: A ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ Lexicon” and “From Elvish to Klingon: Exploring Invented Languages.”

In Praise of Profanity book coverHe is drawn to study language at the fringes of our society.

Though he has written about Elvish or Klingon, Adams doesn’t opt to speak in those tongues. Instead, he chooses to study his subjects from the outside.

“I’m neither a big slang speaker, nor a big profanity user,” he said. “I’m interested in what other people are doing. And I’m interested in why people speak the way they do in a wide variety of settings that, for lack of a better word, we could call our culture.”

Examples from popular culture pepper the intriguing book while illustrating key points of his analysis. He cites an episode of the long-running sitcom “Modern Family” in which young Lily discovers the power of one four-letter word. She spends the episode throwing it about like a new toy, each time eliciting a network bleep along with reactions of shock and laughter.

The word is never heard, and yet is powerful in its absence. As Adams writes, “the profanity isn’t in the script but in the minds of those who hear it where it isn’t.”

In printed text, dashes and symbols serve a similar role as the bleeping television. “Those asterisks aren’t fooling anybody,” he writes.

Words for our times

Adams argues we are living in “the age of profanity.”

While the word “slang” appears more than 80 times in the book, a certain expletive — you might have guessed it — appears as many times in the first 50 pages.

Yes, profanity appears frequently in the book, just as it does in the world around us.

Profanity has become common because it is useful, he writes.

Like it or not, these words have the power to unite people or divide them. They can be shared casually among friends or hurled at enemies. And at their best, our oaths can be crafted with tremendous creativity.

So is “bad language” really so bad?

Context is key, Adams said.

“I don’t like it better than anyone else when a profane word is used to stigmatize someone else or injure someone else. But as I point out in the book, you can stigmatize and injure people with very refined language if that’s what you want to do,” he said.

“Profanity itself is not responsible for the hurt. It’s just that when it’s used for hurtful rather than expressive purposes, then it doesn’t deserve our praise.”

What Adams appreciates — and does praise — is profanity’s expressive power.

He celebrates graffiti as a sort of modern cave painting. He loves to share vintage latrine poetry. And he admires that same spirit of creativity in other modern utterances.

“That’s great when people take hold of the language and start breaking the rules,” he said.

“When profanity is used for expressive purposes I always say, ‘Yay, expression!'”

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Middle Coast Film Festival celebrates third year hosting, showcasing film in Midwest Mon, 25 Jul 2016 18:18:34 +0000 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

The Middle Coast Film Festival has been redefining what a film festival looks and feels like for the past three years. While more traditional film festivals maintain a buffer between filmmakers and festival attendees, festival director and co-founder Jessica Levandoski said the people submitting work to the festival are easily accessible and excited to be in Bloomington.

By supporting a twofold mission of bringing the best of the best from around the world to Indiana and showcasing the arts community in the Midwest, the Middle Coast Film Festival has become a venue where IU students and alumni can become more involved in the world of film.

Middle Coast Film Fest poster

Official poster for the 2016 Middle Coast Film Fest. Photo courtesy of Claire McInerny.

This year’s festival will consist of 100 films screened at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, the Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center, the Back Door, the Blockhouse and the Monroe County Public Library, Levandoski said. Tickets can be purchased on the event’s website.

“We are currently programming at the level of 15, 20, 25 year old festivals and we are only in our third year,” she said. “I believe this to be based largely on our highly curated film selection that takes a look at more than just the film itself and focuses on the filmmaker as a whole, and incubating them in our growing network by connecting them with other filmmakers or producers, actors and actresses.”

Presenting the Midwest

The Middle Coast Film Festival, July 28 to 30 at various venues throughout Bloomington, is heavily powered by IU students, faculty and alumni. Communications director Claire McInerny said that of the seven-person staff, four people have degrees from IU and three are working at the university. Five people from the group are from southern Indiana.

Levandoski said she can see the skills learned inside the classroom reflected in the work done by people like director of administration Jessica Reed, who makes use of her arts administration degree from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs daily.

IU graduates and faculty are also a major presence among those submitting their work. For many alumni who screen films during the weekend-long festival, this is a great excuse to visit the university, McInerny said.

Germanic studies professor Hildegard Keller’s documentary “Whatever Comes Next” tells the story of American painter Annemarie Mahler. 2003 graduate Bears Fonte’s “Roadside Assistance” shows what happens to two strangers who are not what they seem.

Students still at IU also work as volunteers for the event, giving them an opportunity to interact and network with the filmmakers in attendance, McInerny said. Volunteers positions are still open. People interested in volunteering can contact the staff for more details.

The Middle Coast Film Festival is being sponsored by the School of Global and International Studies this year, one of multiple partnerships that the university and Middle Coast have established, McInerny said. IU Cinema has participated the past two years, McInerny said, but renovations are keeping it from hosting screenings this year. Levandoski said IU Cinema will resume screening festival films next summer.

Organizers also use the event to showcase IU. Filmmakers are given a tour of the campus because Levandoski, a filmmaker herself, said she believes IU is a great film locale.

She is not alone. Filmmaker John Yost will be shooting on IU’s campus this year because of what he saw on tour during last year’s festival.

McInerny said the Midwest is much more diverse than people tend to think. Popular movies are repeatedly set in the same places, neglecting the heart of the nation.

Bringing in the best

Forty-five filmmakers will be staying in local hotels, dining in local restaurants and enjoying the festival from inside Bloomington, Levandoski said.

“The filmmakers that come come from all over the world,” McInerny said.

She said the size of the town, the festival and the community have a lot of appeal for many artists. The fact that Bloomington has an active arts community is also a major draw.

People in all phases of their careers submit works to the festival, Levandoski said. Middle Coast is international, but it also gives new filmmakers a chance to expose their work to an audience.

“It’s a first point for a lot of these filmmakers,” she said.

The festival is also an opportunity to show IU graduates leaving the university that they don’t need to flee to the coasts to be involved in film, Levandoski said. In fact, that is how the name Middle Coast originated. In the last year, the number of films screened has almost doubled from 65 to 100.

“They don’t need to fly to New York or L.A.,” she said.

Once here, filmmakers become a major part of the audiences during the screenings, Levandoski said. They wear badges identifying them as participants and have a variety of opportunities to discuss their work through formal question-and-answer sessions as well as informally as they mingle with festival-goers.

The future of Middle Coast

Levandoski said it surprises her that this is the first film festival in Bloomington on this scale.

As the first truly interactive, all-ages film festival in the area, the Middle Coast Film Festival has been well received in the area, McInerny said.

“This place is prime for it,” she said.

While McInerny said the festival has not been around long, it will soon be reaching out to IU students in more ways.

She said a fall festival would be a welcome addition, possibly with a block of student films to showcase the work of IU students and better acquaint them with Middle Coast as a whole.

The School of Global and International Studies has also reached out to Middle Coast to set up events to screen international films at their new location, she said.

Along with these connections, Levandoski has big aspirations for the fest. She said she hopes to see it listed on the top 50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee list soon.

“This festival thrives here,” she said. The Bloomington community is receptive to the film festival, and filmmakers look forward to returning to the city and get close to their audiences.

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Public discussion to share spirit of Mardi Gras in conjunction with ‘Arts of Survival’ institute Fri, 08 Jul 2016 16:37:45 +0000 Eileen Julien

Eileen Julien, director of IU’s Institute for Advanced Study, will speak about “Dressing for Mardi Gras: Floats, Balls and Beyond” on July 12 at the Mathers Museum. Photos by Eric Rudd.

What does art do in a world that has suffered?

For three weeks, Indiana University’s Institute for Advanced Study will explore that question by bringing together two dozen university-level educators from around the United States.

The “Arts of Survival: Recasting Lives in African Cities” workshop July 6 to 26 is focused on five cities: New Orleans; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; Accra, Ghana; Lagos, Nigeria; and Nairobi, Kenya.

Eileen Julien, director of the Institute for Advanced Study, will co-direct the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded summer institute along with James Ogude from the University of Pretoria in South Africa. Their faculty also includes Akin Adesokan and Oana Panaïté of IU and Grace A. Musila of Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

“Each of us knew one of these cities well,” Julien said.

She conceives of the program as “a workshop among equals.”

“It’s an honor to have these people come,” Julien said. “They have done incredible work already.”

The city of New Orleans

As part of the “Arts of Survival” summer institute, Julien will take the visiting scholars on a whirlwind trip to her hometown so they can see, feel, hear and taste the New Orleans she knows well.

Eileen Julien, director of IU’s Institute for Advanced Study. Photos of her family’s colorful Mardi Gras costumes she will be talking about at a public program at the Mathers Museum.

Eileen Julien is one of five scholars leading the NEH-funded “Arts of Survival” institute at IU.

For members of the community who can’t take that bus, Julien also will share New Orleans stories July 12 at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

Her talk is one of four public programs that will be presented to complement the summer institute’s private daily sessions.

Through family ball gowns and parade costumes, which will remain on display at the Mathers Museum through July 29, Julien will share a glimpse of the Mardi Gras world of times past.

Her uncles founded The Jugs Social Club and Krewe of NOMTOC — New Orleans’ Most Talked Of Club — which continues to parade on the Westbank of the Mississippi. Her father was king of NOMTOC in the early 1970s.

Each year Mardi Gras brings rounds of parties and formal balls.

She said the festival clothing, usually worn just once, filled an entire closet in her family’s home when she was growing up.

In the last days of August 2005, when the winds of Katrina subsided and the waters rose, 4 feet of water filled her home in the Seventh Ward. Still, the Mardi Gras costumes survived, tucked away on an upper floor.

The rich cotton velvet, the satin and chiffon, the beads and sequins all were still there, as they had been for decades.

Now we are fortunate to have them here in Bloomington.

Public programs

Julien has welcomed the chance to work with close colleagues and share what the arts have meant to their chosen cities, which have endured catastrophes of nature and mankind.

These free, public programs will complement the private “Arts of Survival” sessions:

  • 3 to 5 p.m. July 10 — “Stadium Hotel” is a documentary film about highlife, a major Nigerian style of music from the 1960s and 1970s, and the city of Lagos during a critical period in its history. The film will be presented by Akin Adesokan and screened at the Monroe County Public Library auditorium.
  • Eileen Julien with cape

    “If you had known my father, the thought that he would have worn something like this is simply unbelievable,” Eileen Julien said. “It’s astonishing!”

    5:30 to 6:30 p.m. July 12 — In “Dressing for Mardi Gras: Floats, Balls and Beyond,” Suzanne Godby Ingalsbe, associate director of the Institute for Advanced Study, will initiate a discussion with Julien on facets of life in New Orleans and her family’s personal involvement in Mardi Gras festivities. The talk will take place at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, a co-sponsor of the event. Several of her family’s gowns and costumes will remain on exhibit at the museum through July 29.

  • 5 to 6:30 p.m. July 21 — “African Cities and the Making of Popular Cultures” will be a public conversation with James Ogude and Grace A. Musila. The talk will take place in the Thomas T. Solley Atrium on the second floor of the Eskenazi Museum of Art. Before the program, visitors are invited to explore the African art gallery at the museum, which is a co-sponsor.
  • 3 to 5:30 p.m. July 24 — “Murder in Pacot” is a 2014 feature film made by acclaimed Haitian director Raoul Peck and set in a Port-au-Prince neighborhood in the wake of the country’s devastating earthquake. The film will be presented by Oana Panaïté and at the Monroe County Public Library auditorium.

In addition to the NEH support, Julien said she is grateful for the “truly extraordinary team” at the Institute for Advanced Study and the hospitality support from the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

Stories to tell

To hear more of Julien’s stories about New Orleans and “Arts of Survival,” tune in to the “Through the Gates” podcast July 10.

Julien’s rich gumbo of stories also is captured in”Travels With Mae: Scenes From a New Orleans Girlhood.” It’s a book she had always hoped to write.

“After my parents died, I wanted to leave something of their lives in New Orleans for my younger relatives,” she said.

Julien even had the title, but she wasn’t sure she would ever complete the memoir.

A single painting swayed her.

An abstract painting of women wearing gowns hangs in her office, created by her late husband, Senegalese artist Kalidou Sy. “When I looked at that painting I said, ‘I’m doing the book.’ That painting made me realize the book was going to exist,” she said.

Her book was published in 2009 by Indiana University Press, with the painting on its cover.


Many Mardi Gras outfits are exquisitely detailed with sequins, beads and rhinestones. “It was a race! The women who were doing this stuff were up to the very dawn of the day. They were working hard to get done,” Eileen Julien said.

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The academy’s diverse new Class of 2016 includes filmmaker and IU alum Hannah Fidell Wed, 06 Jul 2016 15:18:20 +0000 Film director Hannah Fidell was already having a good day. She met with a female studio executive who made it clear that hiring women was a main priority.

When the 2007 Indiana University graduate, now based in Los Angeles, left the meeting and checked her phone, her day became unforgettable.

Hannah Fidell

IU graduate Hannah Fidell has been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Photo courtesy of Lauren Logan Photography.

Fidell had been invited to join the academy. That’s the academy — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind the Oscars.

“I was in shock,” Fidell said. “I had no idea that I had been put up for it, even. It was not something on my radar.”

Last week, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it had extended invitations to 683 new members in 2016.

The record number of invitations included 98 Oscar nominees and 28 winners. And notably, people of color comprised 41 percent of the new class, while 46 percent were women. All were deemed by the academy to “have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.”

It was a bold stroke by the academy, a significant response to the #OscarsSoWhite outcry against the 2015 award nominees, the lack of diversity within the organization and its dominance by men.

Good company

Fidell is the director of “6 Years” and “A Teacher.” In 2012, Filmmaker Magazine named her one of the 25 New Faces of Independent Film. And now, she is joining the academy.

Fidell said she doesn’t know whether her membership will have a major effect on her career in the short term. “It’s just a wonderful honor,” she said.”It’s definitely thrilling and an honor more than anything.”

Fidell will be in lofty company.

Invited directors include Julie Dash, Tamra Davis, Karyn Kusama and Nate Parker.

Hannah Fidell directed Ben Rosenfield and Taissa Farmiga in the film "6 Years."

Hannah Fidell directed Ben Rosenfield and Taissa Farmiga in the film “6 Years.”

New invitees in acting include Adam Beach, Chadwick Boseman, America Ferrera, Vivica A. Fox, Michael B. Jordan, Daniel Dae Kim, Eva Mendes, Freida Pinto and Gabrielle Union.

When asked who she felt the most honored to be joining, Fidell said “Everyone!”

Still, one name stood out to her: Catherine Breillat. The pioneering French filmmaker is known for her version of “The Sleeping Beauty” and her frank approach to sexuality in films such as “Sex Is Comedy.”

“She’s truly one of my film idols,” Fidell said.

Director on the rise

Fidell was raised in Bethesda, Md., and paved her path to Hollywood by way of Bloomington. She earned her undergraduate degree at Indiana University, studying film through the Department of Telecommunications and Department of Communication and Culture in the years before they came together with journalism in The Media School.

When the Oklahoma Arts Institute was looking for young, talented filmmakers to serve as instructors this summer, IU Cinema director Jon Vickers recommended Fidell.

“Hannah is a great example for students of a young IU alumna who is telling the stories she wants to tell and making it in a very competitive indie film world,” Vickers said. “Being nominated to join the academy this year is a great validation for her work and a nice honor for IU and the faculty who guided her.”

Hannah Fidell

Hannah Fidell visited IU Cinema in 2013 and 2015.

Fidell spoke at IU Cinema in 2013 in a joint Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture with another IU-educated independent filmmaker, Eliza Hittman. She returned in fall 2015 for a special screening of her film “6 Years” as part of the cinema’s “Directed by Women” celebration.

The academy’s Class of 2016 also includes several other past guests of IU Cinema: directors Nicolas Winding Refn and Abbas Kiarostami; and documentary filmmakers Douglas Blush, Shola Lynch and Joshua Oppenheimer. Iranian director Kiarostami, a winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, died July 4.

Barbara Ann O’Leary, the creator of the #DirectedbyWomen social media movement to celebrate all the world’s female filmmakers, was thrilled to see Fidell invited to the academy.

The academy’s sweeping effort to include more women resonates deeply with her.

“Invitation is a powerful force for transformation,” O’Leary said.”It’s at the heart of the work I’m doing with the #DirectedbyWomen initiative, so I’m particularly invigorated by the academy’s bold move to use the power of invitation to make a leap into a more inclusive era. It’s a strong step forward on the path to building a robust culture of appreciation within the global film community.”

First steps

Fidell is encouraged by what the academy’s step toward greater diversity could mean in Hollywood.

“I think it will mean that the films that get nominated for Oscars hopefully will be more diverse,” she said. “It’s a shift in not only the conversation but in the reality of the business.”

Fidell said that when a film is nominated or wins an Academy Award, the public attention it receives spirals: “It becomes a money-making machine, normally, because of the publicity and prestige.”

That financial boost can trickle down to individual actors. She said actors are generally judged — and paid — according to the amount of money they bring in at the box office.

“So if more diverse people are voting for who gets nominated and who wins, and then more diversity happens within the winners’ circle, that means those winners are worth more money,” Fidell said. “The whole process becomes more diverse.”

When true diversity begins to happen in Hollywood, we can all thank the academy.

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Afterword: Indiana University reaches for the stars in 2016 edition of Writers’ Conference Thu, 30 Jun 2016 20:02:38 +0000 blogcrabb1d

David Crabb wrote the memoir “Bad Kid.” In between provoking fits of laughter, the performer and Moth host shared serious advice about good storytelling. Photos by Chaz Mottinger

The act of writing about writers who have gathering to write is like tip-toeing through the looking-glass world of a mirrored funhouse: Reflections are everywhere, but it’s hard to know where to tread.

The Indiana University Writers’ Conference wrapped up earlier this month after five days of classes, workshops, panel discussions and public readings.

Director Bob Bledsoe first welcomed writers from Bloomington, around the state and across the country with this advice: Pace yourself, it’s a busy week.

Bob Bledsoe

Bob Bledsoe, right, is director of the Indiana University Writers’ Conference.

Bledsoe has shaped the writing conference since 2006. This year, his associate directors were Bix Gabriel and Cherae Clark, both fiction writers in the MFA Creative Writing Program within IU’s Department of English. Together they assembled a diverse and talented team of instructors.

Though science-fiction writer Wesley Chu and novelist Salvatore Scibona were new faces here, most instructors had ties to IU or had passed through Bloomington before.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi, a veteran of the 2015 conference, returned to offer the poetry workshop this year.

David Crabb, who hosted The Moth’s StorySLAM here in November, shared his storytelling expertise during nonfiction classes.

Walton Muyumba, who also taught nonfiction, poet Amelia Martens and fiction writer Dana Johnson are all accomplished authors who once attended graduate school at Indiana University.


It’s easy to imagine writers as magical, mystical beings who only disguise themselves as humans. After all, they conjure worlds out of words and build castles from stardust.

Walton Muyumba

Walton Muyumba is an associate professor of English at IU.

Maybe. Or maybe they live next door and secretly wear dirty socks when they forget to do the laundry.

Authors are regular people, but they are people who have read more, written more, thought more deeply and done the hard work — the years of work — that has allowed them to share their best words so widely.

The featured authors at the conference had come to offer roadmaps to the other writers in the room still trying to find their way.

Muyumba, now an associate professor of English at IU Bloomington, opened his last nonfiction class session by remarking that he attended similar writing seminars over the years, at first as a student.

“This brings back a lot of memories for me,” he said.

Between sessions, he privately described himself as “an accidental professor.” He said that as a young man, academia was hardly an obvious path.

Wesley Chu

Author Wesley Chu brought science fiction into the conversation.

Before joining the IU faculty two years ago, Muyumba orbited in and out of Bloomington, first as a child, then as an undergraduate and later when earning his Ph.D.

His class sessions examined essays in which writers such as Joan Didion and Zadie Smith shifted between a lens of personal experience and an examination of broad social issues.

Muyumba challenged the class to write about big issues in new ways: “What is the writing at all if you’re not taking risks?”

New moon

The writing conference began under a new moon and with new ideas: This year, nonfiction received more attention, and science-fiction workshop sessions were added.

Dana Johnson

Novelist Dana Johnson draws upon observational skills honed as a journalist.

“For me, the interesting thing has been introducing genre fiction along with high-art literary tradition and having real conversations about it,” Bledsoe said.

Chu, the author of “The Lives of Tao” and “Time Salvager,” proved in his public reading that science fiction is just another way of telling a good story.

At the core, these are human stories, even if they work in an alien, a wormhole, a spaceship, a distant planet or a new device that reinvents physics.

In other readings, instructors shared published pieces or works in progress. And in classes and panels each of them dispensed observations, advice and other wisdom. Here are just a few morsels:

  • Novelist and short story writer Scibona contradicted the commonplace advice to write what you know. Instead, he said, “I believe in writing what the imagination knows.”
  • Martens mused on the emotional power of well-crafted words: “I don’t know who is writing poetry that’s not psychologically intense. I want you to be in the room where I am thinking.”
  • Muyumba encouraged writers to consider their effect on the reader, especially with the end of a story, essay or novel: “What you want your readers to leave with is something stunning, something that shakes the ground.”
  • Calvocoressi

    Gabrielle Calvocoressi returned in 2016 to lead the poetry workshop.

    Crabb emphasized the power of description: “You see the film in your mind that the storyteller or the writer put there, so details are very important.”

  • Calvocoressi said her process as a poet has evolved. “The raw and the cooked were really separate for me,” she said. Now, she is less focused on revision, or fixing, than in exploring the possibilities of a poem through many variations.
  • Johnson, a former journalist, said she writes and gathers wherever she is. “I write on the plane. I write on the train. I hear some dialogue and I stop and type it into my phone. So I’m getting stuff from all over the place all the time.”
  • Chu admitted to extreme multitasking while producing his first science-fiction book. Still, he said the writing process must be treated with respect: “If you want writing to be your job, you need to treat it like it’s your job. Whatever you can do, you guard that time like it’s gold.”


The IU Writers’ Conference was made possible through support from the Indiana University Office of the President, IU Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President and the IU Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

The annual conference, which celebrated its 75th season last year, draws aspiring writers, IU staff members and retirees. But the contingent of undergraduates, graduate students and new graduates from the English department remains an important part of the mix.

Jared Robinson and Carly Yingst

Recent IU grads Jared Robinson, left, and Carly Yingst will be entering top Ph.D. English programs in the fall.

Two recent IU graduates who attended in 2016 are on their way to top Ph.D. programs in English.

Jared Robinson, a May honors graduate with high distinction, attended Lawrence Central High School in Indianapolis and earned his B.A. as an English literature major with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in psychology. At IU he studied closely with both Bledsoe and Muyumba. He said there was not a time at IU that he wasn’t learning directly from his mentor, Bledsoe. In the fall, Robinson will begin a Ph.D. program in English literature at the University of California, Berkeley.

Carly Yingst, a 2015 honors graduate with high distinction, earned her bachelor’s degree in English literature after attending Jeffersonville High School in southern Indiana. Since graduation, Yingst has been working as an editorial assistant at IU Press. This fall, Yingst will enter a Ph.D. program at Harvard, where she intends to study 20th-century American literature and criticism. Because of her academic focus, she found Muyumba’s conference course on nonfiction essays and criticism particularly interesting and helpful.

Robinson and Yingst could be considered rising stars. And in just a few years, they could be the ones at the front of the classroom reflecting back on all the roads that brought them there.

Regular life


Amelia Martens graduated from IU’s MFA program in 2007.

Whether writers at the conference were the ones listening or the ones leading, there was one thing that defined and united them all: They write.

And when the gathering ended, they all headed off to inhabit the rest of the lives.

Perhaps the most simple and sweeping takeaway from the week came from Martens, who earned her MFA in IU’s creative writing program in 2007.

Her book “The Spoons in the Grass Are There to Dig a Moat” is a celebration of the prose poem. She loves the form because it is a “thing that doesn’t look l like a thing” and it is flexible. Writing prose poems fits the rhythm of her days.

Martens said all writers must find a way to fit their work into the lives they have: “You need to figure out how to write in your regular life.”

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Camp SOUL attracts talented high school students with its mix of music, empowerment Wed, 22 Jun 2016 13:26:34 +0000 Arieion Ward, a student from Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis, groves to the music as she sings along with fellow Camp S.O.U.L. students on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. The camp invites talented high school students (vocalists, instrumentalists, spoken word artists, dancers) to take part in a six-day program studying African American art forms including blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, soul, funk and hip hop.

Arieion Ward of Providence Cristo Rey High School in Indianapolis sings during rehearsals at Camp SOUL Photo by James Brosher

IU Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino contributed to this story:

On the first morning at Camp SOUL, students in the rhythm section dabbled with their instruments at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

None of the campers spoke much to the counselors or each other.

Just minutes before, acting director Ignoisco Miles rallied the entire group, telling them to wake up. “It’s time to go. It’s time to work!”

Camp director Ignoisco Miles sings a part back to a lead vocalist during a rehearsal at Camp S.O.U.L. on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. The camp invites talented high school students (vocalists, instrumentalists, spoken word artists, dancers) to take part in a six-day program studying African American art forms including blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, soul, funk and hip hop.

Ignoisco Miles coaches vocalists during a rehearsal at Camp SOUL Photo by James Brosher

Then the music began. Body language relaxed. Eyes widened and faces filled with light.

This was why they came.

“It feels like home,” Terry Golden said. The high school junior and bass guitarist from Winfield, Ind., was attending the Indiana University camp for a second time.

Playing music might be fun, he said, but playing at camp with these counselors was an amazing opportunity. His father told him he would meet people at Camp SOUL who shared his passion and could help him improve his skills. “I’m trying to get where I need to be,” he said.

The heart of SOUL

The high school students arrived at Camp SOUL with significant musical talent. They had auditioned for places in the camp, which is operated by the African American Arts Institute and supported by IU’s Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs.

Charles E. Sykes, executive director of the African American Arts Institute, described the institute’s three performance ensembles to the group: “This program is a gem. There is no other university in this country or any other country that has a program like this.”

Isabella Balle-Voyles

Isabella Balle-Voyles, a sophomore at Bloomington High School North, belts out a tune at Camp SOUL Photo by James Brosher

During the camp June 12 to 17, the young musicians stayed in a residence hall, toured the Bloomington campus and spoke with current IU students. Guest speakers taught them about African American dance traditions, college admissions and the aid available through IU’s Groups Scholars and Hudson and Holland Scholars programs.

Each day there was music — and practice, practice, practice.

The rhythm section, vocalists and horns rehearsed separately much of the week.

The vocalists learned by listening to each other, themselves and recordings of their songs. Miles challenged them to give everything to the music.

“I never worked so hard with my voice before,” said Arieion Ward, a junior from Indianapolis who was attending Camp SOUL for the first time.

Roots and rights

Tyron Cooper, the director of IU Soul Revue, founded Camp SOUL in 2002. This year, he invited Miles to lead it.

Miles is a month away from completing his master’s degree in African American and African Diaspora studies. In the past, he served as vocal coach at the camp and for IU Soul Revue.

Kenneth L. Roberson

Kenneth L. Roberson, a professor of practice in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance, shared history on the Charleston and other dances before Camp SOUL tried out some steps.

Camp SOUL stands for Students Obtaining Unique musical Levels, but it stands for more. Music is a catalyst for achieving excellence.

“It’s a mode of growth for them.” Miles said. “They are not only working hard learning this music, but also working hard at being better humans.”

The 10 Camp SOUL Rights are part of that mission.

Students start the week reciting the rights on demand because it is required. “Over the course of the week, it starts to become more than just the words. They really start to believe in those rights.”

Miles singled out Right No. 5: “I have a right to attend any college or university of my choice, because I will attain academic standards higher than college or university entry-level standards.”

And he called out Right No. 9: “I have a right to succeed.”

“It’s a way of encouraging them every day,” he said. “It teaches them that you mean something to others, and you mean something on this earth.”


Bobby Davis is head counselor at Camp SOUL and a 2016 IU graduate with B.A. in folklore and ethnomusicology. He attended the camp for two years as a junior and senior at Broad Ripple High School in Indianapolis.

“Camp SOUL really taught me discipline,” he said. “It taught me a lot about going to school.”

Camp S.O.U.L. head counselor Bobby Davis plays the keyboard during Camp S.O.U.L. on Thursday, June 16, 2016, at the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. The camp invites talented high school students (vocalists, instrumentalists, spoken word artists, dancers) to take part in a six-day program studying African American art forms including blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, soul, funk and hip hop.

Recent IU graduate Bobby Davis attended Camp SOUL in high school and served as head counselor in 2016. Photo by James Brosher

The camp also taught him about IU. “I’d already been here, acclimated to campus. I knew people, I knew professors, I knew faculty and I knew staff,” Davis said. “Being African American, I knew the Black Culture Center. … It was just like coming home, almost, but moving away from home.

“Camp SOUL was actually what brought me here.”

Like Davis, camp counselor Jasmine Dennie is an alum of Camp SOUL.

Now a junior studying art management in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs and a member of IU Soul Revue, Dennie attended the camp for four years as a Portage High School student.

“It was absolutely life-changing,” she said. “Early on, I found my life passion.

“They treated us like professionals, so I became a professional at a young age.”


Camp SOUL culminated Friday with a concert before an audience of parents, camp counselors, faculty and staff.

Campers who wore T-shirts much of the week looked older when they dressed up in black for their big show. By now, they were friends and family. They were performers. The Grand Hall at Neal-Marshall was their stage.

Tyron Cooper

Tyron Cooper, founder of Camp SOUL, spoke to the students after they performed.

The group launched into a high-energy set of soul, funk, gospel and pop that included “We Are Victorious,” the Earth, Wind & Fire standard “Let’s Groove” and “Lettin’ Go.” By now, they were more than students. They were powerful.

After Friday’s show, the performers from Camp SOUL sat in rapt attention while professor Cooper spoke: “I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you all how great you all were. I’m very serious. I’m very serious.”

He repeated his words quietly, until they fully understood: “I want you to know and carry with you that you are so great, just great.”

Cooper said they were part of a living legacy. Other performers had come to camp, many returned to IU as college students, and some continued through graduate school. All had embarked upon their futures.

“There is nothing but greatness in you,” he said.

Then he turned his attention to his first-time camp director, Ignoisco Miles. “You were just magnificent. You did the work … and you did your thing.

“Anywhere you go, it’s going to be great,” Cooper said. “Anything you do, it’s going to be great.”


Camp SOUL students absorb final remarks by Tyron Cooper and Ignoisco Miles.

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Campus tour reveals Indiana University’s story stone by stone during Limestone Month Wed, 15 Jun 2016 18:51:59 +0000 bloglimestonetourleadb

As part of the celebration of Limestone Month in southern Indiana, Brian Keith led several recent tours of the IU Bloomington campus. Photo by Chaz Mottinger

“I’m not a historian. I’m not an architect. I’m a limestone geologist.”

With these words, Brian Keith began a walking tour of Indiana University Bloomington as part of Limestone Month, an annual celebration in Monroe and Lawrence counties featuring special events such as exhibitions, carving demonstrations and quarry visits.

Keith’s tours June 3 and 10 offered not only expert insights on limestone in its many forms but a wealth of other information about IU’s history and architecture.

limestone owl carvings

These are just a few of IU’s limestone owls.

The group first met at the Sample Gates, which have become so emblematic that it’s hard to believe they have only been standing since 1987.

Keith then spent two hours winding through a college campus that is routinely named one of the country’s most beautiful. His main focus was Old Crescent, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

At Indiana, limestone is a part of the appeal. It is the bedrock and building block, the business and the beauty. It is both the layer cake and the icing.

And Keith knows his limestone. He spent his career working for the Indiana Geological Survey at IU.

He explained that Indiana limestone is some of the finest in the world. The stone once deep below the surface now soars into the sky at The Empire State Building, Biltmore and the National Cathedral. And here, it built IU.

On his tour, Keith pointed out details that could escape even the most astute observers.

He showed the difference between the fine, uniform grain of Salem limestone, the coarser variety of Salem used in foundations and the Ramp Creek stone used in freestanding walls.

Keith discussed how stone was dressed and how it was laid. He contrasted Maxwell Hall’s “rough face” or “rock face” stone with the flat, even blocks of the Student Building. He distinguished between window and door details found in different styles of architecture, the round Romanesque arches and more pointed Gothic parts.

He located inscriptions, symbols and carvings.

But more than anything, he encouraged people to look — and to notice.

For the ardent explorer, the IU campus reveals more than 100 years of skilled masonry and sculpture.


Bryan Hall is adorned with carved shields that represent the past lineup of schools within IU.

University buildings are decked out with books and book presses, coiled serpents and grapevines, fruit bats and fruit flies. Students are depicted as they pray, play and doze. Science is represented through formulas and symbols, medicine and microscopes. The kingdom of animals includes ever-watchful owls, a single-celled organism, a fish, a mouse and even a duck wearing a mortarboard.

Here are a few other nuggets Keith shared:

  • A cubic foot of limestone weighs about 150 pounds.
  • Evidence suggests that the stone foundations of several early buildings were quarried right on campus.
  • Owen and Wylie Halls were constructed with bricks salvaged from the original Seminary Square campus.
  • John D. Rockefeller contributed some of the funds that built the Student Building.
  • Bryan Hall is the only building with its limestone carvings on the inside.

Visitors to the IU Bloomington campus can create their own walking tours by following the map posted on the Indiana Geological Survey website or by picking up a brochure from the Monroe County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Keith also conducts private tours for groups.

Other upcoming Limestone Month events include guided tours of Furst Quarry at 3 p.m. June 17, Rose Hill Cemetery at noon June 19, and the active Reed Quarry at 9 a.m. June 25. For quarry tours, reservations are required, the fee is $10 and groups will meet at the Bloomington Visitor’s Center. Exhibitions of photos at the Monroe County History Center and limestone sculpture at the John Waldron Arts Center continue into July. For more information about these and other events, see the Limestone Month website.

Limestone Buildings at IU Bloomington

These nine photographs show details from limestone buildings on the IU Bloomington campus. Can you identify which building appears in each image? (The buildings pictured here are Ballantine, Goodbody, Jordan, Maxwell, Memorial and Myers). Answers will appear on the Art at IU Twitter account: @Arts_IU.

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New ‘Basically Baker’ recording project will celebrate jazz legend, fund scholarships Fri, 10 Jun 2016 16:24:41 +0000 David Baker left an enormous legacy in jazz.

The performer, composer and distinguished professor who founded the jazz studies program at Indiana University died in March at the age of 84.

Now, a new recording of Baker’s big band music will add to his rich legacy, thanks to the efforts of fellow musicians, friends and his widow, Lida.

“Basically Baker Volume 2” will be recorded later this month by the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra as a celebration of Baker’s life and music.

David Baker

“Basically Baker Volume 2” is devoted to the big band compositions of jazz giant David Baker (1931-2016). Photo by Kendall Reeves Spectrum Studios

“This project represents the passion and loyalty of a musical family that David headed for decades,” said Brent Wallarab, the orchestra’s co-founder and an associate professor of jazz studies in IU’s Jacobs School of Music. “To those of us involved, his influence and mentorship cannot be overestimated and we are honored to play a part in honoring his legacy as a composer and educator.”

Wallarab said that he was first approached by David and Lida Baker more than 10 years ago.

Yesterday, during a radio appearance on WFIU with David Brent Johnson, Wallarab said: “With all of the great recordings that David has, most of them are his classical pieces… His big band music has never been recorded and released as a professional, actual, legitimate jazz release.”

The “Basically Baker Volume 2” collection is scheduled for release in September by Patois Records, which also has IU ties. Jacobs School professor of practice Wayne Wallace — a Grammy-nominated arranger, composer and performer — is head of the label.

All proceeds from the sale of “Basically Baker Volume 2” will go directly to the David N. Baker Scholarship Fund, which assists students entering the jazz studies program in the Jacobs School.

Big band sounds

The Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra was founded by Mark Buselli and Wallarab. Both studied with Baker during their graduate studies at IU. Wallarab is now an associate professor of jazz studies at the Jacob School and Buselli is director of jazz studies at Ball State University.

“Mark and Brent are exceptional composers and arrangers,” said Monika Herzig, a jazz pianist who teaches arts administration in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. She said she has known both of the band leaders since her student days at IU.


Brent Wallarab, pictured, founded the Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra with fellow IU alum Mark Buselli.

The Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra is a 17-piece outfit featuring some of the best jazz musicians in the Midwest, with a sound that can be described as hard bop with sophisticated, classical elements.

The orchestra’s new project continues the tradition of “Basically Baker,” their collection of Baker’s compositions and arrangements recorded in 2004 at Echo Park Studios, a Bloomington institution that was shuttered in 2015.

“Basically Baker” was released in 2007, then reissued for the public celebration of David Baker’s 80th birthday on Jan. 21, 2012, a month later than the actual day he was born. DownBeat magazine selected the collection as one of the top 100 jazz albums of the decade. Copies have become scarce.

As part of the effort to release a second volume, the original “Basically Baker” material will be remastered and released on Patois Records together with the new recordings.

New models

In the years since the release of “Basically Baker,” the music industry has changed drastically.

Many independent music labels have folded. Labels that remain, especially those devoted to niche markets such as jazz, rarely can offer to pay advances for recording sessions and other costs associated with the launch of a major project.

Musicians have had to become more creative in how they get recordings made.

While crowdfunding has become a routine method of financing indie music projects, Herzig said jazz audiences haven’t yet fully embraced the new business model. She is trying to help change that.

News about the nonprofit “Basically Baker Volume 2” project is being shared through a Facebook page, which also shares information about Baker, trivia, photographs and links to performance videos.

An Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign is in its final days. The “Basically Baker Volume 2” campaign aims to raise $50,000 to cover the initial recording, publicity and travel costs. All other proceeds go directly to the David N. Baker Scholarship Fund. An anonymous donor will match the amount of any donations received before the end of the campaign June 12. Donations of $20 earn access to a music download while $30 purchases a physical CD. Higher funding levels also add items such as signed CDs, bonus recordings, posters, Herzig’s book, “David Baker: A Legacy in Music” (IU Press, 2011), and various private concerts and lunches with the musicians.

A major concert tribute to David Baker is being planned at the Jacobs School of Music in 2017. Details will be released when they have been finalized.

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Creative team returns to IU to present their premiere musical, ‘The King’s Critique’ Wed, 01 Jun 2016 14:35:45 +0000 Co-writer and musical director Nat Zegree, center, works with Robert Toms and Emily Rozman during a rehearsal for "The King's Critique" on Thursday, May 26, 2016, at the Wells-Metz Theatre.

Nat Zegree, center, works with Robert Toms and Emily Rozman at a rehearsal for “The King’s Critique.” Zegree is the musical director and co-writer. Rehearsal photos by James Brosher.

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Nat Zegree comes alive when he plays the piano. Already full of energy, the upbeat song he is banging out on the keys has a little bit of him in it, much like the rest of “The King’s Critique.” He is, after all, its co-writer and musical director.

The musical will premiere this month as part of the IU Summer Theatre season at Indiana University’s Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

IU Summer Theatre, formerly known as IU Festival Theatre, will feature four productions in 2016, starting with “The King’s Critique” June 8, 9, 10 and 11.

In “The King’s Critique,” performers must band together to bring art and laughter to audiences in spite of a king’s decision to name himself head theater critic in the empire. Unlikely comrades must band together to put a monarch in his place and prove a woman can do anything a man can do.

Musical teamwork

While Zegree was studying musical theater at IU, he met Eric Holmes during the 2012 workshop for the musical “Alamo.” Holmes, another IU alumnus, wrote the musical with Timothy Noble, distinguished professor of voice at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

Eric Holmes

Eric Holmes studied playwriting at Indiana University and is now based in New York City.

Holmes and Zegree clicked. The two stayed in touch and began collaborating right away.

Zegree said once he moved to New York City, their writing process began to show results.

Holmes said their creative relationship is an unconventional one. The playwright could tell Zegree what a character was feeling or thinking and instantly Zegree would be playing what Holmes heard in his own head.

Holmes said he can’t really explain how their partnership came to fruition, but he was always dazzled by Zegree’s talent. “I was so overwhelmed and truly impressed with what he did,” he said.

Before he knew it, Holmes said they were writing the musical together in a near constant back-and-forth process. Where one of them left off, the other would pick up and continue writing music, dialogue or lyrics. “The King’s Critique” is a combination of what they both love about musical theater.

Some things came naturally to the show, Holmes said. The musical’s title song, for example, took a surprisingly short amount of time to complete.

“We had so much fun, we wrote it in an hour,” Zegree said.

That, Zegree said, is when the team knew they had something special. But it wasn’t their only project.

“We were actually writing two shows simultaneously because we’re insane,” Holmes said.

Zegree explained that while “The King’s Critique” is an energetic satire rife with social commentary, the other show was much darker and more cerebral.

“The two musicals we had written could not be more different,” he said.

“‘The King’s Critique’ was easier to get excited about because it had more room for creativity and fun,” Zegree said.

Merriment and messages

Along with witty dialogue and lively music, Zegree said the show also carries two important messages.

Robert Toms, left, and Emily Rozman rehearse a scene for "The King's Critique" on Thursday, May 26, 2016, at the Wells-Metz Theatre.

Robert Toms plays Sebastian and Emily Rozman is Josephine in “The King’s Critique,” which premieres June 8.

First, Zegree said the entertainment industry is losing some of what makes it great. Theater and art are being replaced with reality television and other unimaginative works.

He said this show is an attempt to call to mind a better time in the entertainment world.

Holmes said he has a passion for the second message in the show. “My favorite thing about it is that it’s a feminist story,” he said.

The main character is a woman who wants to change the world. Zegree said that while everybody has that ability, “we still live in a society where women are second tier to men.”

Zegree said he finds that unacceptable and believes people deserve the opportunity to try to do what they love, regardless of gender.

Page to stage

Holmes said the process from idea to completed show took about a year for “The King’s Critique.”

During that time, Zegree told his friend George Pinney about the musical. The director loved it and helped bring it to IU as part of the summer selection of shows.

“Nat and Eric, individually, are outstanding artists, as a team they are a true theatrical force. Their writing is witty, imaginative, engaging and very fun,” said Pinney, the head of the musical theater within the IU drama department. “Most of all, they are terrific human beings to work with.”

“Nat and I are so excited to finally see it on stage,” Holmes said.

Director George Pinney works with an actor during a rehearsal for "The King's Critique" on Thursday, May 26, 2016, at the Wells-Metz Theatre.

George Pinney has won numerous teaching awards as an IU professor and has directed more than 150 university and professional productions.

Zegree said this is their opportunity to see what in the show works in practice and what only made sense on paper. “That’s the most beautiful thing about a workshop,” he said.

Holmes said they are happy to spend a few weeks doing what they love in what he said is one of their favorite cities.

Zegree said he and Holmes are extremely grateful to work with former friends and colleagues on this performance.

After what he hopes will be a successful run, Holmes said he and Zegree will likely try to get the show produced at a regional level. Broadway never sounds like a bad idea, either.

“It means a lot to Eric and I that we can start this process in a place we both call home,” Zegree said. “We’re Hoosiers, and we’re proud Hoosiers.”

To see the show

“The King’s Critique,” a new musical by Eric Holmes and Nat Zegree, will be presented at 7:30 p.m. June 8, 9, 10 and 11 in the Wells-Metz Theatre at 275 N. Jordan Ave. in Bloomington. Tickets are $15, $10 for students and are available online or in person from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at the IU Auditorium box office.

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Association for Recorded Sound Collections returns to roots with Bloomington conference Thu, 12 May 2016 18:21:39 +0000 When the Association for Recorded Sound Collections held its first conference in Bloomington back in 1967, audiocassettes were new technology.

The association is now celebrating its 50th anniversary at a conference that began May 11 here at Indiana University.

While media formats have changed over the years, the nonprofit organization has the same mission: It is dedicated to the preservation and study of sound recordings, in all genres of music and speech, in all formats and from all periods.


Patrick Feaster is an expert in early sound media and media preservation specialist for IU’s Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative.

If these aims sound similar to Indiana University’s commitment to media preservation, it should be no surprise that more than 30 IU students, faculty members and staff are participating in the conference.

IU’s Patrick Feaster, media preservation specialist for the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative, serves as president of the Association for Recorded Sound Collections. Brenda Nelson-Strauss, head of collections/technical services at the Archives of African American Music and Culture, is the conference manager and a past president.

The conference, with the theme of “Recorded Sound in the 21st Century: Preserving, Collecting, Collaborating and Connecting,” is bringing together sound recording archivists, record collectors and other experts in recorded sound history and technology for a series of talks, tours, demonstrations, workshops and other activities through May 14.

While most programs are limited to conference registrants, the general public is invited to attend these evening programs, which will be held in the Walnut Room of the Indiana Memorial Union:

  • 8:30-10 p.m. May 12, Ask The Technical Committee” — Attendees can pose questions about audio preservation and restoration to a panel of experts led by Mark Hood, an associate professor in the Department of Recording Arts at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and Dennis D. Rooney, a producer of reissues for Sony Classical. This session is geared towards those who already possess a moderate degree of technical knowledge.
  • 9:30-11 p.m. May 13, Collectors’ Roundtable” — This annual informal social event for record collectors is chaired by Kurt Nauck of Nauck’s Vintage Records in Spring, Texas. The gathering typically draws collectors from around the country. Attendees are invited to bring a few records they would like to sell or trade and a record or two for “show and tell.”
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Graduating IU students honored for their work at national technical theater conference Fri, 06 May 2016 15:22:03 +0000 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

The United States Institute of Theatre Technology recognized three IU students during their annual conference as part of the Young Designer’s Forum. The conference, held in March in Salt Lake City, Utah, gave these students an opportunity to showcase their technical work for professionals and fellow students alike.

The three students were Kelsey Nichols, a third-year M.F.A. student in costume design, Kristen Martino, a third-year M.F.A. student in scenic design and Aaron Bowersox, a third-year M.F.A. in lighting design.

“It’s fairly major for us to have all three disciplines recognized,” said Drew Bratton, managing director for the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

Bratton compared the event to a basketball national championship, an event where the best of the best come out and showcase their skills.

Only 15 students in the United States are granted the opportunity to participate in this forum, receive feedback from adjudicators on their work and put their work on display in a public viewing of their portfolios.

“It’s the biggest conference in the U.S. for technical theater,” Nichols said. “You’re already a winner just being there.”

Telling a story with costumes

Nichols said the application process was an extensive one, involving submitting virtually her entire portfolio as well as letters of recommendation. Being selected with her fellow students was a worthwhile experience, though.

Kelsey Nichols

Kelsey Nichols

“It’s a really great way to get your name out there,” she said.

As a costume designer, Nichols said she looks at the script, the actors and the materials in order to weave together a character’s wardrobe.

“Basically I’m a storyteller through clothes,” she said.

Recently, Nichols said she designed the costumes for “Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play” which proved to be an interesting challenge due to the nature of the pop culture characters from the television series “The Simpsons.”

For Nichols, the fascination with costumes comes from a general fascination with people and how they choose to dress and present themselves. Manipulating that in a character, even if it isn’t done through her original design plans, is part of why she loves her work.

“As a designer, I expect my designs to grow,” she said. “I pride myself on being very flexible.”

Creating a mood with lighting

Bowersox said four of the 15 students in the forum were lighting designers, but that impressive showing wasn’t what surprised him most.

Aaron Bowersox

Aaron Bowersox

Not only did Bowersox meet the designers and managers he was expecting during the event, but he also encountered a host of undergraduate students wanting to further their careers and potentially continue their education.

“It was rewarding to me,” he said.

Bowersox said he has been working on a wide variety of projects across the country in the last few years.

“I think a lot of my new work got me recognized a little bit more,” he said.

Currently, Bowersox is working with the Southeastern Summer Theatre Institute in Hilton Head, South Carolina to prepare for their productions of “Catch Me if You Can” and “Pippin,” which will take place near the end of this summer. He said he is pleased with how the meetings are going and that a good production staff is part of what makes a show come together cohesively.

Creating a mood is what Bowersox said he loves most about his job. He loves being able to use lighting designs to draw an audience into a moment and a feeling.

“I always love being able to work with multiple different aspects of a show,” he said.

Bowersox also presented work at the Hemsley Lighting Programs Annual Lighting Portfolio Review in April at Lincoln Center in New York City. During a two-day conference, he was able to present a portfolio of his work to professionals in the field along with other third-year graduate students.

Building an onstage environment

Martino said the scenic design for “Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson,” IU Theatre’s most recent musical production, was her thesis work.

“I really took the set in a more grounded approach,” she said, acknowledging all the glitz and flair that is piled on top of it in the form of costumes and characters.

Kristen Martino

Kristen Martino

She also said one of her best scenic designs came out of IU Theatre’s production of “Romeo and Juliet,” presented in March 2015.

“We really tried to focus on the passion that drives each character,” she said.

The design for the show focused on light, with large windows letting light into the scene from an imaginary outside sun or inside party, she said.

Martino said people often compare her work to that of an architect. To her, it is much more than that. “I’m not just creating a building,” she said. “I’m creating an environment onstage.”

Martino will be presenting at Design Showcase East in New York City later this month. She will then go on to work as an intern in Chicago for scenic designer Kevin Depinet.

All three students are graduating this week, Bratton said.

Bowersox, Nichols and Martino were also recognized with other awards during the year. Bowersox placed third in Lighting Design at the Southeastern Theatre Conference’s annual conference in North Carolina, Nichols received Honorary Recognition in Costume design at the same event and Martino was an honorable mention in the United States Institute of Theatre Technology Midwest Regional Design Competition for her scenic designs.

Also within the last year, Lani Tortoriello placed first in Costume Technology at the Southeastern Theatre Conference, Bridgette Dreber placed first in Scenic Design at the Southeastern Theatre Conference and won the Ready to Work Award and Kevin Nelson won the Midwest United States Institute of Theatre Technology Midwest Regional Design Competition and was recognized at the Regional Meeting at the Annual Conference.

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Indiana University graduate student chosen as official poet of the Indianapolis 500 Fri, 29 Apr 2016 17:30:13 +0000 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

In a game of word association, the Indianapolis 500 and poetry and are not obvious counterparts.

And yet for the 100th running of the race May 29, an official poet has been selected: Indiana University student and instructor Adam Henze. The race-day program will feature his poem “For Those Who Love Fast, Loud Things.”

henze headshot

Adam Henze is a Ph.D. candidate at IU Bloomington and a touring poet. Photo courtesy of James E. Moriarty

The poem was selected by a panel of writers in a contest co-sponsored by Indiana Humanities as a way of reviving a 1920s tradition.

Henze is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Literacy, Culture and Language Education in the School of Education at IU Bloomington.

A practitioner of performance poetry, he hopes his poem succeeds on both the page and the stage.

“I knew that if I won, my poem would have to look good in the racing program and sound good when heard over the track loudspeaker,” Henze said. “Plus, when I read my work, I don’t really settle for recitation. My goal is to make an empathetic connection with the audience, and I hope my performance resonates with fans come May.”

For race fans, the poem reads like an ode to their passion. It begins with these stanzas:

This poem is for the track folk who just love the smell of Ethanol.

For the Carb Day cut sleeve sporters, the Snake Pit dancers, and Coke Lot campers with bald eagle bandanas.

This is an anthem for the hearts that’ve surged at the scope of the Pagoda. For the hands that know the feeling of slapping the North Vista tunnel ceiling. For the lips that whisper along with Florence Henderson when she sings, yes. This poem is for the 500 fans who love fast, loud things.

The Arts, Culture and Youth Committee of the 100th Running Host Committee spearheaded this year’s poetry contest. Judges included best-selling fiction author John Green, former Indiana poet laureate Joyce Brinkman and Indianapolis-born poet Januarie York.

The judges also awarded second place and named 31 honorable mention poems, to create a starting lineup of 33 poems.

As the official poet, Henze received a cash prize of $1,000 and two tickets to the race. In addition to being featured in the race program, he will read the poem at the track during qualification weekend.

Henze, a professional poet for nearly a decade, is the director of Slam Camp, a poetry camp for high school students held at IU Bloomington in the summer.

He approached the contest like he approaches his graduate research. “In my past three years in the School of Education, I’ve been focused as a researcher on trying to use poetry as a form of inquiry,” Henze said. “Both poets and ethnographers use imagery and thick description in the field to examine people and culture. I just try to be a little more playful with the language.”

Henze began by interviewing his friend Evan Treece, a K-12 art teacher in Indianapolis and diehard race fan, to whom the poem is dedicated.

“When I first heard about the contest, I thought it would be a neat opportunity,” Henze said. “But once I saw how much this project meant to my friend Evan, and after I started believing more in the poem I was creating from our discussion, the more I wanted to share my words with the race community.”

Henze took notes and recorded and transcribed his interviews with Treece. Then, he spent the subsequent days going over his “data.”

“I believe approaching this poem as a qualitative researcher helped me to represent the rich history and nuance of Indy 500 culture,” Henze said. “I hope fans think I captured the spirit of the event.”

Even though the Indy 500 and poetry are not obvious bedfellows, Henze hopes the performative aspect of his poetry speaks to race fans who do not traditionally read or listen to poetry.

“I really wanted to write a poem that poetry lovers would appreciate and race fans would identify with as well. One of my favorite things about being a performance poet and teaching artist is taking poetry to new spaces and sharing it with people who typically don’t really read poetry,” Henze said. “That is why I incorporated a lot of rhythm and internal rhyme in the poem, in hopes of resonating with the crowd. I would love if race fans heard my poem and said, ‘Poetry is not always my thing, but I think this one sounds pretty cool.'”

Henze will read his poem at an event from 6:30 to 8 p.m. May 6 at the Indiana Humanities office in Indianapolis. The reading, which is free and open to the public, will include other Indianapolis 500 poems from the starting lineup. Guests are encouraged to register online.

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Shakespeare expert Ellen MacKay to appear on ‘The Wonder of Will Live’ program on CSPAN-2 Fri, 22 Apr 2016 16:56:05 +0000 Ellen MacKay

Associate Professor Ellen MacKay will participate in ‘The Wonder of Will Live’ program, which will be telecast on CSPAN-2 Book TV April 23. Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University

Ellen MacKay, an associate professor in Indiana University’s Department of English, has spent much of her professional life celebrating William Shakespeare.

Now, MacKay will help the Folger Shakespeare Library bring that celebration to the public in a televised and live-streamed event Saturday, April 23 that marks 400 years since Shakespeare’s death. Scholars believe his birthday fell on the same date, based on a 1564 christening record found in the Stratford parish register.

Actors, writers, scholars and other dignitaries will come together at the library in Washington to share performances and personal stories about their connections to Shakespeare in “The Wonder of Will Live,” which begins at noon Saturday on on C-SPAN2 Book TV.

“‘The Wonder of Will’ is an opportunity to celebrate Shakespeare’s remarkable legacy via personal reflections that demonstrate the range and depth of his influence,” MacKay said.

First Folio

This Martin Droeshout engraving of William Shakespeare is from the First Folio, printed in 1623. Image courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.

MacKay will be in good company at the event.

Participants include Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer, National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman William D. Adams and Jane Chu, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts and an Indiana University alumna.

“The Wonder of Will Live” also will feature the Reduced Shakespeare Company, a cultured comedy team, and Kal Penn, an actor and producer known for his roles in the TV hits “House” and “How I Met Your Mother.”

Following the program on C-SPAN2 Book TV, MacKay will join Michael Witmore, director of the Folger Shakespeare Library, in a national call-in show hosted by Peter Slen.

MacKay believes she was invited to participate in “The Wonder of Will” as an extension of her work as head scholar for the Folger Teaching Shakespeare Institute.  Sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Teaching Shakespeare will convene again in the summer.

“It’s a great pleasure to collaborate with the Folger in bringing Shakespeare research to teachers from around the country, and see how his legacy is being renewed and revitalized in American classrooms,” MacKay said.

“The Folger has done an incredible job of making its collections and resources available to the public, and of creating mutually rewarding exchanges between scholars, teachers, performers and students of Shakespeare. ‘The Wonder of Will Live’ will be a vibrant example of the Folger’s leadership in making Shakespeare the means by which literature, history, and culture can be considered, critiqued and celebrated by the widest community possible,” she said.

MacKay is the author of the book “Persecution, Plague and Fire: Fugitive Histories of the Stage in Early Modern England.” Before joining the faculty at Indiana University, she studied both theater and English. As a Shakespearean scholar, she has distinguished herself through many published articles and her involvement on the Luminary Shakespeare multimedia editions of “The Tempest” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” for the iPad.

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Newly formed Art and Design Association brings art, business students together Wed, 20 Apr 2016 16:58:26 +0000 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Sophomore Rachel Taylor has a passion for business, but, she said, it’s not her only love.

While in high school, Taylor said she loved art as well. Since she came to IU, though, she had been missing that part of her life. While exploring the possibility of getting an art minor, she said she realized some art students are disconnected from the Bloomington arts scene.

To bring art and business together in a way that benefits both student artists and students studying business, last fall Taylor founded the Art and Design Association. The campus group is dedicated to helping IU art students find opportunities to show and sell their work in the Bloomington community.

Apollo Infinity art

Tommy DeNardo titled this digital work “Apollo Infinity.” Photo courtesy of the artist

Taylor said their first art show, held at The Hub in downtown Bloomington, drew a crowd of about 50 people. It featured the work of about 30 students, including sophomore Tommy DeNardo.

While DeNardo is not an art student, he said he has had a love of graphic design and digital art since he was in middle school.

Ever since DeNardo heard about the Art and Design Association, he has been pursuing his art further, creating more work to show in gallery events hosted by the group.

DeNardo had no idea what was in store for him at the gallery. He admitted he was intimidated, assuming all of the art students’ work would be vastly superior to his.

“I wasn’t actually planning on selling anything when I got there,” he said.

Despite that uncertainty, DeNardo managed to sell multiple pieces during the event. He said the sales were motivational to him and encouraged him to continue working on his art and design.

“I do art mostly because it’s a great way to express myself,” he said. “Anyone can make art.”

Taylor said the organization she formed last fall isn’t just for art students. Students with an interest in business also have a place at the Art and Design Association, especially as she continues to try and establish a strong executive board.

“This organization is a really great combination of my two passions,” she said.

Students like freshman Simone Siew work on the marketing side of the organization. While the group is not permitted to help with any kind of transaction, its members can help educate students on how to expand their brand and make sales.

Siew, the vice president of social media for the group, said she wanted to be a part of the association as soon as she heard about it. To her, the group has a great balance of art-oriented and analytical minds.

Both types of people can learn and grow in the Art and Design Association, Siew said. “I think everyone on all sides should get involved in this organization.”


Sophomore Rachel Taylor founded the Art and Design Association at IU Bloomington. Photo by Chaz Mottinger

Moving forward, Taylor said she hopes the organization can arrange more gallery exhibitions and hold a workshop for its members in the fall.

Along with expanding their social media outreach and trying to develop relationships with venues where gallery shows would be possible, Taylor said her main goal is to help art students find more opportunities.

She said the group is open to sculpture, photography and other types of design. “We don’t really have a limit on what type of art we accept,” Taylor said.

What was originally going to be called the Art Association was expanded at the suggestion of its faculty sponsor, Martha MacLeish, who has served as director of undergraduate studies in studio art at IU Bloomington.

The change of the student organization’s name and its inclusion of design aligns with the formation of the School of Art and Design at IU Bloomington, which will become official July 1.

The new school will bring together the studio art programs within the current School of Fine Arts and the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design. The united school, which will reside within the College of Arts and Sciences, recently announced Peg Faimon as its inaugural dean.

Students interested in learning more about the Art and Design Association should contact taylrach (at)

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Spring concert series showcases ensembles of IU’s African American Arts Institute Fri, 08 Apr 2016 13:02:13 +0000 ADC2

The African American Dance Company, shown here performing in “Potpourri,” will present its spring concert Saturday. Photo courtesy of Iris Rosa.

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Throughout the month of April, the three ensembles of Indiana University’s African American Arts Institute will host their annual spring concerts.

The central mission of the institute is the preservation and celebration of African American culture. IU students across many areas of study participate in its performance groups as a way of connecting to that culture and sharing it with wider audiences.

The African American Dance Company will present the first concert Saturday, April 9. IU Soul Revue will perform April 16 and the African American Choral Ensemble will host a special 40th anniversary celebration April 30.

All three events will begin at 8 p.m. at Bloomington’s Buskirk-Chumley Theater. For each one of the shows, tickets cost $20 for adults and $10 for children and students with an ID.

African American Dance Company

Professor Iris Rosa, director of the African American Dance Company, said the group addresses the “lived experiences” of the African disapora.

On Saturday, the ensemble will perform “Visions of the Past; Actual Realities,” using two versions of the song “1960 What,” by Gregory Porter. The piece will illustrate urban challenges, from the past fires in Detroit to the current leaded water crisis in Flint, Mich.

Rosa said the dancers’ movements will be supplemented with visuals that help carry the narrative along as the songs “Feeling Good” and “A Change Is Gonna Come” play. These musical selections examine the question of where people “find the spaces for solace and hope,” she said.

Associate instructor Amelia Smith said Rosa uses dance as a common denominator to bring together students and faculty from all walks of life. “We really do come together as a family,” Smith said.

Students have been working groups all semester to create their own choreography that will be featured as part of the performance.

The dancers also will perform a piece that connects traditional dance movements from Rwanda, Senegal and Ghana to modern African American and Caribbean dance styles. Rosa said this promotes awareness among viewers about global dance and rhythms.

“You’re going to see something you’ve never seen before, and you’re going to learn something,” Smith said.

IU Soul Revue

A week later, the IU Soul Revue will take to the stage in what Professor Tyron Cooper described as an eclectic mix of themes and musical styles.

African American Arts Institute - Potpourri 2015. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan)

IU Soul Revue will perform April 16. Photo by Jeremy Hogan

He said some of the pieces selected will inspire the audience to dance, sing and shout, while others will leave them time to reflect on the current state of society.

The audience can expect to hear Motown, some blues, and songs made popular by Curtis Mayfield, The Isley Brothers, Michael Jackson, Jill Scott, Beyonce, Jennifer Hudson, Kendrick Lamar and Earth, Wind and Fire, just to name a few.

Cooper said he hopes the concert will take people on a journey through Black popular music and the experiences that inspire it.

“The hope is that the music will bring us closer together in respect and understanding for our individual and collective realities in humanity,” he said.

African American Choral Ensemble

The last weekend in April, the African American Choral Ensemble will present its spring concert.

Professor Raymond Wise, the group’s leader, said their set will include everything from African spirituals and choral anthems to jazz and gospel songs.

After seeing the ensemble perform while he was in grade school and high school, Nick Philbeck knew he wanted to become a part of it when he was older.

Philbeck said he felt welcome instantly when he joined the group three semesters ago.

African American Arts Institute - Potpourri 2015. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan)

The African American Chorale Ensemble will perform April 30. Photo by Jeremy Hogan

“In a lot of ways, we kind of feel like a family,” he said.

In honor of the ensemble’s 40th anniversary, alumni of the group will also participate.

Being in a group with this kind of legacy is “hugely meaningful,” Philbeck said.

He also said the experience of being an audience member at a Choral Ensemble concert is unlike anything else: “There’s a lot of sharing of energy back and forth between performers and the audience.”

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Recent IU graduates take on technology and cinema as their film heads to Cannes festival Thu, 07 Apr 2016 14:41:19 +0000 Bevins

From left, Eli Bevins, Heather Rachael Owens, Sydney Franklin and Lu Bevins attended CMF Hollywood in July 2015 to support the film “My Dear Arthur.”

Last May, Joyce “Eli” and Jean “Lu” Bevins had graduation on their minds. Both earned master’s degrees from the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University Bloomington.

Fast forward to just one year later: Their film “My Dear Arthur” will be screened at the Cannes Film Festival. It is one of 30 titles Campus MovieFest is taking to the prestigious event in France.

Each year, the Campus MovieFest program lends free laptops and camcorders to college students around the country so they can complete films within a week.

This year’s CMF filming wrapped up at IU last week, with more than 75 teams signed up. Of all the five-minute films submitted before the deadline, 16 will be shown starting at 9 p.m. April 8 at Whittenberger Auditorium as part of IU Late Nite.

Winning films

Eli and Lu Bevins are twins, business partners and independent filmmakers.

In 2015, they didn’t finish one film for Campus MovieFest. Instead, they submitted three.


Campus MovieFest will announce its IU winners for 2016 at a 9 p.m. screening April 8 in the Whittenberger Auditorium.

Lu said they prepared for the competition by getting as much rest as they could the week before. “We knew we weren’t going to sleep.”

“We kind of tagged-teamed,” Eli said. “We usually write together, we usually direct together. I do most of the editing for our film projects, while she does most of the filming.”

All three films made an impression in last year’s CMF competition.

My Dear Arthur” won best picture at IU. The short thriller spans time, revealing a mother who found a surprising way to dodge punishment for witchcraft.

The Exit,” which deals with domestic violence, received one of four local jury awards.

And “ID,” a film about racial stereotypes and prejudice, was awarded a national honorable mention in the Elfenworks Social Justice category.

Double features

Raised in West Philadelphia, the Bevins sisters attended Overbrook High School, the same school Will Smith attended.

In high school, they never had a computer class. Despite this, both earned bachelor’s degrees in computer science at Elizabeth City State University, a historically black college in North Carolina.

Eli and Lu first came to Indiana University in 2009 as summer interns, where they conducted research alongside faculty in the School of Informatics and Computing. They returned two more summers before entering the master’s program.

All the while, their focus on technology has been interwoven with a shared interest in the arts.

Even though they joined film club in high school, filmmaking came later. “But we’ve been writing since forever,” Eli said.

“We really do have the same passions in writing, films and words,” Lu said. “Our talents and passions are pretty much the same. It’s not on purpose!”

As undergraduates, they ventured into stage plays. When they couldn’t find anyone to shoot those plays, they began making films.

Philadelphia to Hollywood

As their first major film project, the Bevins twins made an hour-long documentary about a Philadelphia neighborhood, Mill Creek. “It went through hard times in the ’90s and ’80s,” Eli said.

“Coming from West Philadelphia, so many things we saw first-hand,” Lu added.


Lu and Eli Bevins said they are grateful for the support of the IU School of Informatics in their endeavors in both technology and film.

They drew upon those experiences when they entered their first CMF competition. “A lot of the shots you see in ‘Systematic Living’ are shots from Mill Creek,” Eli said.

“We looked at poverty and the injustices of growing up in poverty,” Lu said. “We also wanted to talk about things you don’t see in theaters.”

In 2014, “Systematic Living” was screened at CMF Hollywood and was the overall Elfenworks Social Justice winner. For this honor, it was shown in-flight on Virgin America Airline and garnered a $10,000 prize.

All business

After graduation in 2015, the Bevins sisters returned to Philadelphia, where they are pursuing twin interests: information architecture and film.

“Technology goes with everything,” Eli said.

Lu has been working on a website for a Hollywood actor, a project that originated at IU. As Eli said, “Who would have thought a class project for something technical would have led to the opportunity to network with someone in the industry?”

Both sisters are interested in growing a technology business that specializes in serving the online needs of independent filmmakers.

“Everything is so technical now, everything is online now,” Eli said. “Your online presence — as a company, as a business, as a studio — it needs that presence for people to trust it.”

And they are working on music videos and films through Eli Lu Productions, which they founded in 2009.

Just last week they released “When Karma Calls” in an online event. They wrote the feature in 2014 and began filming that fall. Because the cast included fellow IU students, they had to work around classes, tests, theater productions and other obligations. Scenes sometimes were delayed for days, weeks or months. Parts of one scene in the Indiana Memorial Union were filmed nearly a year apart.

In the film, IU alumnus Deshawn Tyree stars as a man obsessed by a mysterious shooting he witnessed. His blog becomes the catalyst that brings together others who have seen Karma materialize in unexplained ways.

“Working with the twins Eli and Lu is a real treat because they both are creative, down-to-earth people with different leadership styles,” Tyree said. “Eli’s more task-oriented, while Lu may be more relationship-oriented… I truly admire them.”


With “My Dear Arthur” on its way to Cannes, Eli and Lu Bevins hope their team can be represented. Generously, they want their lead actress, Heather Rachael Owens, to be there.

My Dear Arthur cast

The “My Dear Arthur” team shared a light moment during filming. They hope to raise enough funding to send one person to Cannes, where the film will be shown in May.

Owens, a recent IU theater graduate, was offered her role after appearing in “When Karma Calls.” She immediately agreed.

“They both have a lot of my respect, both professionally and personally. On set, they know what they want from you, but are also good about letting you explore a bit on your own… On a personal level, they are very friendly, driven women who I am honored to call my friends,” she said.

Now a month before the Cannes Film Festival, “My Dear Arthur” has a GoFundMe page with pledges covering more than half of the trip’s cost. Its makers share the hope that the balance can be raised, even if it is five dollars at a time.

Other IU student film showcases

  • Students who have spent the year studying with IU professor and Hollywood veteran Robby Benson will present their films in free public screenings at 8 p.m. April 26 at the AMC Showplace Bloomington 11 (by the College Mall) and at 3 p.m. April 30 at IU Cinema.
  • The Spring 2016 Student Film Showcase will be curated from documentary, narrative and art films made by IU students in various departments. Their films will be presented at 7 p.m. at IU Cinema over the course of two nights, May 3 and May 4.
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‘Intersectionality: IU Latina Film Festival and Conference’ brings rich perspectives to campus Tue, 05 Apr 2016 13:14:52 +0000 Title: REAL WOMEN HAVE CURVES • Pers: FERRERA, AMERICA / ONTIVEROS, LUPE • Year: 2002 • Dir: CARDOSO, PATRICIA • Ref: REA026AH • Credit: [ LaVOO PRODUCTIONS / THE KOBAL COLLECTION / GOODE, NICOLA ]

The 2002 film “Real Women Have Curves” features America Ferrera, left, and Lupe Ontiveros. Photo by Nicola Goode, courtesy of LaVoo Productions/The Kobal Collection

Guest post courtesy of IU Communications colleague April Toler:

The third biannual Latino Film Festival will take place this week, and this year it focuses on Latina directors, actresses and film scholars.

The Latina Film Festival and Conference, hosted April 7-9 by IU’s Latino Studies Program, will include numerous film screenings and panel discussions at IU Cinema.

The aim of the festival and conference is to present new perspectives in the studies of Latina identity that combat stereotypical representations and to showcase the intersectionality of identity within the contexts of immigration, gender, sexuality, social class and race/ethnicity issues.

Patricia Cardoso

Patricia Cardoso, director of “Real Women Have Curves,” will speak at 5 p.m. Thursday at IU Cinema.

“The Latino Studies Program is committed to providing enriching academic and cultural experiences that help the IU community understand the Latino/Latina population in complex ways,” said Sylvia Martinez, director of the Latino Studies Program. “We see the film festival as complementing what we do in our courses by organizing this type of programming — a cultural production in the form of film.”

Patricia Cardoso, director of “Real Women Have Curves,” will deliver the keynote address at 5 p.m. April 7 at IU Cinema. Cardoso is an award-winning director, producer and writer and has worked as an advocate for better representation of Latinas and women of color in the film industry. Her groundbreaking film introduced actress America Ferrara and won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival in 2002.

In addition to numerous film screenings, the event will include three panel discussions. The first panel discussion, “Shorts and Conversations with Directors,” takes place at 1 p.m. April 8 and will include the screening of three short films and a conversation with director Ofelia Yánez about Latina filmmakers who get their start making short films.

The second panel, “The Latina Experience in Hollywood,” takes place at 4 p.m. April 8 and will focus on the representation of Latinas in Hollywood and working as a Latina actress.

Michelle Rodriguez stars in "Girlfight." Photo courtesy of Green/Renzi/Ie Kobal Collection

Michelle Rodriguez stars in “Girlfight.” Photo courtesy of Green/Renzi/Ie Kobal Collection

The final panel, “Victimization and Violence,” takes place at 10:30 a.m. April 9 and will address the victimization of Latinas in society and Latinas who have been represented as particularly violent. Mary Beltran, associate professor in Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin, and Isabel Molina-Guzmán, associate professor in Latina/Latino Studies, Media and Cinema Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will serve as panelists.

“The panels serve as a way to sit for a little bit and digest everything we are watching — both the good and the bad stories,” said Mintzi Martinez-Rivera, interim associate director of IU’s Latino Studies Program and co-chair of the festival. “We want these panels to allow us to pause everything, sit down and to be able to really have a conversation about what it means to be Latina in Hollywood.”

All screenings in the festival are free but ticketed. For ticket information, visit the IU Cinema website.

The Latina Film Festival will include screenings of the following films:

  • 6:30 p.m. April 7 — “The Second Mother” centers around Val, a hard-working live-in housekeeper, and her relationship with her estranged daughter who comes back into her life.
  • 9:30 pm. April 7 — “Lake Los Angeles” follows a middle-aged Cuban immigrant working at a holding house and a 10-year-old Mexican girl who bond over being away from home.
  • 9 a.m. April 8 — “Now En Español, directed by Andrea Meller, is a documentary following the lives of six Latina actresses who dub television and radio into Spanish for millions of American viewers. The screening will be followed by a question-and-answer session with Meller.
  • 11 a.m. April 8 — “Las Marthas,” directed by Cristina Ibarra, is a documentary following two Mexican-American debutantes portraying Colonial heroines at the annual debutante ball in Laredo, Texas, that celebrates George Washington’s birthday. A question-and-answer session with Ibarra will follow.
  • 6:30 p.m. April 8 — “Real Woman Have Curves,” directed by Patricia Cardoso, is the story of a first generation Mexican-American teenager on the verge of becoming a woman. A question-and-answer session with Cardoso will follow.
  • 9:30 p.m. April 8 — “How the Garcia Girls Spent their Summer,” directed by Georgina Garcia Riedel, follows three generations of women in a Mexican-American family who experience sexual awakenings over the course of a summer.
  • 9 a.m. April 9 — “Señorita Extraviada,” directed by Lourdes Portillo, is a documentary that covers the real-life killings, rapes and kidnappings of hundreds of young women in Juárez, Mexico.
  • 1:30 p.m. April 9 — “No Más Bebés,” directed by Renee Tajima-Peña, is a documentary following a small group of Mexican immigrant women who sued county doctors, the state of California and the U.S. government after they were sterilized while giving birth at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the late 1960s/early 1970s.
  • 3:30 p.m. April 9 — “Mala Mala,” directed by Antonio Santini and Dan Sickles, is a documentary about the the power of transformation told through the eyes of nine trans-identifying individuals in Puerto Rico.
  • 6:30 p.m. April 9 — “Girlfight,” directed by Karyn Kusama, is a feature-length film about Diana Guzman, a troubled teenager from Brooklyn who decides to channel her aggressions through boxing, despite her father’s disapproval.
  • 9:30 p.m. April 9 — “Filly Brown,” directed by Youssef Delara and Michael Olmos, follows a young, aspiring hip-hop artist from Los Angeles.

“Las Marthas” documents two debutantes at an annual ball in Laredo, Texas. Director Cristina Ibarra will answer questions after the film. Photo courtesy of Undocumented Films

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‘The Man Who Saved the World’ as seed saver to visit IU Cinema, Wylie House Museum Fri, 25 Mar 2016 15:52:16 +0000 fowlerseeds2

American agriculturist Cary Fowler was instrumental in establishing the Arctic seed vault that aims to protect diversity in the earth’s food crops. He visits IU this week.

Newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino contributed to this story:

Cary Fowler is on a mission to save seeds — and quite possibly the human race.

The American agriculturalist and humanitarian who helped found Svalbard Global Seed Vault will appear at IU Bloomington on Monday. Fowler will participate in a question-and-answer session following the sold-out 7 p.m. screening of “Seeds of Time” at IU Cinema. A stand-by line will be recognized at 6 p.m.

Wylie House Museum and IU Libraries have jointly sponsored the screening and the appearance by Fowler.

The documentary directed by Sandy McLeod focuses on Fowler’s epic effort to preserve crop diversity around the world.


Wylie House Museum is holding a public seed-saving workshop at 3 p.m. today. Participants will learn how and why to save seeds. They also can sign up for the new heirloom “seed library,” which allows participants to “check out” a pack of seeds, grow plants and later return seeds.

In the recent past, a shift to large-scale commercial agriculture and other market forces have greatly reduced the number of plant species grown as food. And today, climate change presents an additional threat to the planet’s food supply.

“Seeds of Time” tells the global story by sweeping from the Peruvian potato farmers trying to preserve their way of life to the “doomsday vault” of seeds carved deep into an Arctic mountain half a world away.

And here in Bloomington, biodiversity remains just as relevant.

Once home to IU’s first president, Andrew Wylie, the Wylie House Museum on Second Street maintains its own heirloom garden of flowers and vegetables. It strives to keep alive the plant varieties the Wylies themselves might have seen on the property.

While he is in town, Fowler is scheduled to make private visits to Wylie House and its heirloom seed-saving program, in addition to the Hilltop Campus Garden and the Bloomington Community Orchard. He also will meet students and faculty from many different departments and organizations, including the Ostrom Workshop, the Food Institute, the Hutton Honors College, IU’s Sustainability Scholars and Wells Scholars.

Under the leadership of outdoor interpreter Sherry Wise, students and other volunteers work in the Wylie House garden to search out, propagate and sell seeds in an effort to the preserve heirloom varieties of plants in danger of disappearing forever.

The museum plans to spread its seed-saving knowledge through an on-site workshop at 3 p.m. today. The event also will allow them to introduce their new seed library program. Wylie House also shares tips on seed saving on its website.

Wylie House maintains an heirloom garden intended to preserve the kinds of plants grown there in the Wylies' time.

Wylie House maintains an heirloom garden intended to preserve plant varieties from the Wylies’ time.

On a much larger scale, Fowler is doing the same work.

“It is not every day in a house museum and archives that we find a connection between our work and current scientific happenings,” Wylie House director Carey Beam said.

“One way in which we have found our work at the Wylie House connected to the outside world is through the practices of Dr. Cary Fowler. Much like the museum, Dr. Fowler’s history is both varied and nuanced, in terms of contemporary value with a historical link,” she said.

The leader of several global initiatives in biology and an acclaimed author, Fowler is chair of the council that oversees the worlds largest repository of crop diversity.

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault has room for more than 2 billion seeds and 4.5 million different samples.

Almost every country in the world has deposited seeds in the facility, which was built by the Kingdom of Norway and functions as a backup for the world’s other seed banks. It currently holds 860,000 seed samples for food staples including corn, wheat, rice and various vegetables.

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Independent Filmmaker Kris Swanberg to speak at IU Cinema as part of film series Thu, 24 Mar 2016 14:59:48 +0000 Guest post by Barbara Ann O’Leary, “Directed by Women” founder:

Kris Swanberg has been called one of Chicago’s “superwomen.”

This week, IU Cinema will recognize her contributions to film with their “Midwest Independence: Kris Swanberg” series, which includes several film screenings and a Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture on Friday.


Kris Swanberg will speak at 3 p.m. Friday as part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series.

Earlier this year, Swanberg received Women in Film Chicago’s Focus Award, which honors the accomplishments of the “superwomen who continually put Chicago on the map.”

Her response?

“It’s really nice for Chicago to like me, too. It’s mutual. I love Chicago.

“I talk about it all the time,” she said. “Almost every interview I do, I end up talking about Chicago — why I live here, why I work here. Really, when I’m home, I feel the most inspired.”

Swanberg studied filmmaking in the Midwest at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale — “six hours from Chicago … so you’re really isolated.”

She appreciates the chance to talk with students about how to make it as a working filmmaker. “I love sharing my work with anyone, but I especially love sharing my work with film students. I remember how important it was when I was a film student. When I talk at universities, I try to be very candid with students.”

Indie film family

Over the past few years, she and her husband, Joe Swanberg — who visited IU Cinema in 2012 as a Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecturer — have carved paths for themselves as filmmakers working successfully outside Hollywood.

Together they’ve explored how to pursue their independent film careers while raising two small children. Early on, their financial situation did not always allow the flexibility for them both to work, which left Kris Swanberg “dealing with being a mom and trying to have a career — that guilt and the identity shift.”

“I felt really unsatisfied all of a sudden being a stay-home mom, and then I felt really bad being unsatisfied,” she said. “I felt very stifled, and it took me a while to figure out that I felt that way, because I loved my son and I really enjoyed being a mom.”


“Unexpected” stars Cobie Smulders and Gail Bean.

These experiences inspired her to write and direct her latest film, “Unexpected,” which Variety called “an accomplished piece of work deserving special consideration in the indie marketplace.”

“When Joe made ‘Happy Christmas,’ we got a little money and I was able to start sending Jude, who was 2, to a preschool two days a week. I was able to start writing just two days a week. That’s how I wrote ‘Unexpected.’

“Then my life changed. I had never been so happy. So now we are just doing a little bit better financially, and that has made all the difference. Now I am able to make money, also. I made money with ‘Unexpected.’ Right now I’m working four days a week and staying home one day a week with the kids, and that’s a really good place for me.”

As a filmmaker, Swanberg looks for opportunities to collaborate. On “Unexpected,” she worked for the first time with cinematographer Dagmar Weaver-Madsen. “I really wanted a collaborator. I didn’t just want a camera operator. I really wanted someone to be part of the creative process when it came to cinematography. And she was. And I definitely want to work with her again.”

Visit to Bloomington

Swanberg said she is looking forward to the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture, which will be in the form of a public conversation with Ougie Pak, a filmmaker and visiting lecturer in The Media School. The talk will begin at 3 p.m. Friday, and a question-and-answer session with audience members will follow.

The “Midwest Independence” series at IU Cinema also will include screenings of the following films:

  • 7 p.m. March 24 — “Empire Builder,” directed by Kris Swanberg, follows a new mother whose independent respite in remote Montana takes an unsettling turn.
  • 6:30 p.m. March 25 — “Unexpected,” also directed by Swanberg, explores the friendship between a teacher and student as they both navigate unexpected pregnancies.
  • 9:30 p.m. March 25 — “Little Fugitive” is a charming 1953 film about childhood that Swanberg selected to share with the IU audience.

Swanberg also is scheduled to be available for questions following the free but ticketed screenings of “Empire Builder” and “Unexpected.”

The series concludes with Swanberg presenting Morris Engel’s influential independent film “Little Fugitive,” which she describes as “exactly the kind of film that I love. It’s quiet and observational.”

Little Fugitive

Kris Swanberg admires the 1953 film “Little Fugitive.”

“It was an inspiration for the French New Wave. It’s just a pleasure. If I could send myself back in time to make a film in the 50s, it would be something like that. It’s just exactly the kind of filmmaker I am and want to be. It’s an inspiration to me.”

She sums up her approach to film making this way: “I try to remind myself — and everyone — it’s really supposed to be fun and playful, and that it’s actually no big deal. So even though I had important things that I wanted to say, I also know that I’m not performing surgery on someone. In the end, it really is just a film and, when I remind myself of that, it gives me a little freedom to play and to try new things in the piece — to take risks — and that attitude carries over to the actors.”

More details about “Midwest Independence: Kris Swanberg” and tickets are available on the IU Cinema website.

Guest blogger Barbara Ann O’Leary is the social media expert at IU Cinema, a graduate of Indiana University and the founder of the “Directed by Women” movement. She began the international initiative in 2015 to call attention to female filmmakers and their work. 

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African American Choral Ensemble celebrates anniversary; Dance Company hosts workshop Fri, 04 Mar 2016 15:05:16 +0000 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

This weekend will be a busy one for two of the performance-based groups in the African American Arts Institute. The African American Choral Ensemble will begin to celebrate its 40th anniversary while the African American Dance Company will host its 18th annual dance workshop.

The African American Choral Ensemble has been creating captivating musical experiences, from soulful spirituals to upbeat gospel songs, for years. Raymond Wise, director of the ensemble, said the group has a warm sound that is rich and full of color. Wise describes the ensemble as a hidden treasure on campus.

Raymond Wise

Raymond Wise

To mark the group’s 40th year of making music, former professor and dean of students Michael Gordon will return as a guest performer. He will also be honored, along with Mellonee Burnim, as one of the ensemble’s original directors in 1975-76.

Wise said this anniversary concert was brought to life by a chance discovery of the program from their first public performance 40 years ago.

That program consisted entirely of Hall Johnson spirituals, some of which are no longer in print. Working around that setback, Wise said they either found recordings of the pieces and transcribed them or replaced them with other Hall Johnson works.

“Our goal was to try to create the essence of the same concert,” Wise said.

The concert will take place at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Second Baptist Church — the same place where Gordon directed the ensemble’s first concert. During Sunday’s concert, Gordon will sing a solo that was also performed in the original concert titled “I Don’t Feel No Way Tired.”

“It’s a unique opportunity to hear this music performed,” he said.

This concert is the first of two events that will be celebrating the ensemble’s four decades of work. On April 30, the Buskirk-Chumley Theater will host the Choral Ensemble’s spring concert featuring both students and alumni of the program. The event will honor all six previous directors.

African American Dance Company workshop

On Friday and Saturday, the African American Dance Company will hold its annual workshop in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

Professor Iris Rosa, the dance company’s director, said she created the workshop in 1998 as a way for students and community members to learn and experience new styles of dance. People with varying levels of dance experience are welcome.

Rosa said this workshop is more than just a dance class; it is also an opportunity to learn more about history and culture. “Many times we don’t have that exposure,” she said.

Iris Rosa

Iris Rosa

The event will offer specialized classes in diverse styles of dance, including West Indian, Afro-Cuban, West African, Bantaba and Salsa. A drum master class also will be held.

Guest artists and instructors will be Alfred Baker, Rogelio Kindelan-Nordet, Glendola Yhema Mills, Milagros Ramirez, Clifton Robinson and Sheila Ward.

Registration and cost information is available online. Registration can be completed in person on the day of the event, space permitting. Participants can sign up for individual classes or the entire two-day workshop. More information is available on the dance workshop website.

“My students are very excited,” Rosa said.

In addition to the fee-based sessions, two events will be free and open to the public. A reception and chat with the artists will take place at 7 tonight, and the 18th Annual Dance Workshop Showcase will be at 7 p.m. Saturday. Both events will be in the Neal-Marshall Grand Hall.

Rosa said the students in her dance company look forward to the workshop as a kind of prequel to their annual spring performance, which will take place this year on April 9.

Rosa also said she hopes the workshop will help to shatter preconceived notions of African styles of dance.

Rosa said she hopes the community will attend and use the opportunity to learn and grow, no matter their dance experience.

“It’s for everyone because these dance forms need to be exposed to everyone,” she said.


The annual African American Dance Company workshop is now in its 18th year.

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Traditional Indian-style dance teams to compete at IU Auditorium at Raas Royalty event Wed, 02 Mar 2016 16:43:42 +0000 Raas Winners Edited

Winners of Raas Royalty VI celebrate onstage. Photo courtesy Raas Royalty.

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

Eight college dance teams from across the nation will compete for the Raas Royalty VII crown at 7 p.m. Saturday at Indiana University Auditorium.

This is the seventh year that Indiana University’s Raas Royalty organization will host the event, in collaboration with IU’s own team, Raas at IU.

“People love to know the culture behind the dance,” said Prachi Patel, an IU senior and co-captain of Raas at IU.

Garba, or raas, is a traditional dance that originated in Gujarat, a western State in India. The choreography consists of high-energy, rhythmic movements and the use of sticks, or dandya. Performers dress in colorful costumes and perform to traditional upbeat music.

Raas at IU

Raas at IU will be performing but not competing at Raas Royalty VII as an exhibition of their own show choreography. Photo courtesy Prachi Patel.

Patel said the event will be presented almost a month later that it has been in the past, and they are reaping the benefits of it.

In changing the date, Patel said the event will now be able to host some of the best teams in the nation. Raas Royalty VII is being called “a preview of nationals this year” by those planning the event.

Each of the teams is competing for a victory at this event as well as a bid to the Raas All Stars National Competition, which will take place April 23 in Houston.

Competing this year are the Big Red Raas (Cornell University), Raasta (Carnegie Mellon University), SaRaas (Emory University), EntouRaas (University of Maryland), Saint Louis University Raas, the Michigan Raas Team, UCRaas (University of California, Riverside) and the Raascals (University of Maryland, Baltimore County).

The first place team will receive $1,500, the second place team $1,000 and third place will receive $500. All three placing teams will receive varying numbers of bid points that help them advance to nationals.

Though they do not compete here, the Raas at IU team will give an exhibition performance.

“It’s honestly one of our best performances during the year,” Patel said.

Raas at IU performing

Raas at IU performed “Wizard of Oz” choreography in Boston earlier this year. Co-captain of the team Prachi Patel said the team looks forward to performing at home even more. Photo courtesy Prachi Patel.

While the team has traveled to Boston and Chicago to compete this year, she said nothing compares to performing at home.

“We have all of our friends here, all of our family,” she said.

Patel said that through collaborations with organizations such as Indiana University Dance Marathon, Raas at IU has been able to gain recognition and popularity among students campuswide.

Patel said Raas Royalty competitions can draw upwards of 1,000 people, a huge crowd compared to some of the competitions Raas at IU has performed at where the crowds max out at about 300.

The event is free but ticketed.

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IU professor Hildegard Keller brings voices in history to life through multimedia experiences Fri, 26 Feb 2016 14:30:41 +0000 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Amanda N. Marino:

A dance costume hangs inside a section of tables in the Lilly Library. It is a wood sprite from the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, worn during funeral ceremonies, and professor Hildegard Keller chose to hang it there when designing her portion of the “Performative Book” exhibition.

Hildegard Keller's film "The Ocean in a Thimble (Der Ozean im Fingerhut)" will be screened at 6:30 Feb. 26 at IU Cinema.

Hildegard Keller directed “The Ocean in a Thimble (Der Ozean im Fingerhut),” which will be screened at 6:30 tonight at IU Cinema.

Keller is a professor in the Germanic Studies Department at Indiana University and will be spending the next month acting as a co-curator, speaker and performer within the realms of medieval and literary-based culture.

The Performative Book From Medieval Europe to the Americas” has been open since January and will remain open until May 4. It includes such pieces as a large, thickly-bound parchment book of worship from 13th-century Italy to sections of a 9th- or 10th-century Quran and a handmade map of parts of the New World from the 1500s.

“The exhibition at the Lilly Library deals with the exchange between the Old World and the New (World) head on by juxtaposing and bringing into contact medieval manuscripts, books written and decorated by hand, with printed books made in or about the New World,” she said.

These manuscripts and other artifacts tell the story of the transition into printing at the same time Europeans began exploring the Americas, as well as how those manuscripts continue to inspire people today.

Keller said the text, images, formats and the materials used help to teach people and link them to the past. She has a fascination with time.

“I think we are all bound to a specific time,” she said. “Our time.”

Any event or exhibit like this one allows people to step outside the boundaries of their own time and expand their thinking to account for the lives and experiences of people long ago, she said.

To Keller, a performative book brings forth a “new continent” in people’s minds, causing them to see and think differently. She set up half of the exhibition and leads tours on her section in both English and Spanish.

Performed history

Related to this show is Keller’s own film “The Ocean in a Thimble (Der Ozean im Fingerhut).” The film will be shown free of charge at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 26 at IU Cinema, accompanied by live Foley sounds by Tony Brewer.


“The Ocean in a Thimble” will be accompanied by live sound effects. Photo courtesy of Bloomlight Productions.

Within the confines of the film, Keller said she brought together four characters from four different time periods. The voices of these women, Hildegard of Bingen, Mechthild of Magdeburg, Hadewijch and Etty Hillesum, allow people to experience history through their eyes from the Middle Ages through World War II.

Keller’s focus on strong women expands further into a live theatre and music experience taking place inside the Buskirk-Chumley Theater March 31.

A Journey With Alfonsina (Un viaje con Alfonsina)” is presented by Keller, along with Francisco Cortés-Álvarez and the Latin American Music Center in the Jacobs School of Music. Tickets cost $4 for students and seniors and $8 for the general public.

The multimedia event details the life and work of Alfonsina Storni, a Swiss poet who emigrated with her family to Argentina in her youth during the late 19th century.

“I have always been in love with the possibilities of the human voice as an expressive instrument,” Keller said.

This love helped to inspire the design of the event, which includes the reading of Storni’s poetry in English and Spanish, videos based on Storni’s poems, and an original score composed by Cortés-Álvarez.

Keller said she is in the process of completing a biography about Storni and has published an anthology of her poems translated into German. Keller will share some stories about her research during the event as well.

Women to remember

Keller said she has a passion for strong women in history, as evidenced by “The Ocean in a Thimble” and “A Journey With Alfonsina.”

Alfonsina Storni

Alfonsina Storni circa 1925 in the Argentinian seaside resort Mar del Plata. Photo courtesy of Hildegard Keller.

“Self-determination is the key to the lives of the women on whom I have been working as a scholar and an artist,” she said.

“These events are multilayered,” Keller said. From visuals and artifacts to music, acting and film, people will experience history on multiple sensory levels.

The film and the exhibit at the Lilly Library are connected in that they focus on medieval work and cultural links between the Old World and the New World over space and time.

Keller said the three projects were not originally conceived as part of one master plan. Instead, she said, they fell into place in a way that mirrors her own life.

She said her life is divided between Bloomington and Zurich and she speaks English, German and Spanish, the three primary languages of the exhibit, film and performance.

Keller noted that these voices and experiences are not generally available to the public. Often, she said, they are hidden away in thick dusty volumes lost to their own time in their own language.

Through her work, Keller strives to bring these voices to the forefront, allowing people to see and experience them fully.

“We make them accessible,” she said. “We bring them to you.”

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100-year-old published poem reveals spirit, skill of pioneering IU student Carrie Parker Mon, 22 Feb 2016 17:00:13 +0000 Last summer, Indiana University Archives director Dina Kellams happened upon the name of IU’s first female African American student in a brief newspaper story.


Carrie Parker was IU’s first female African American student. This family photograph dates from 1937.

At first, IU knew little more than her name: Carrie Parker.

Kellams continued her research, often on her own time, and piece by piece an extraordinary story fell into place.

News articles, documents and tips led to Carrie Parker’s family, including a surviving son, Parker Taylor. This remarkable 99-year-old gentleman and many other family members have since visited the Bloomington campus on two occasions as IU’s honored guests. They have walked in the footsteps of their matriarch, traded information with Kellams and generously shared memories.

And at last, IU has honored an exceptional woman: Carrie Parker Taylor.

Carrie’s story

Like Kellams, I have become fascinated with Carrie’s story.

Just before Christmas, I made a discovery of my own. On a whim, I searched her name on Something new popped up: A poem by Carrie Parker Taylor appeared on the front page of a newspaper in 1915.

Her poem was not a delicate verse about flowers or trees. Instead, it was a powerful statement demanding racial justice.

And that sums up our Carrie. Or, as a family member has phrased it,”That Carrie Parker attitude!”

The Tulsa Star

A poem written by Carrie Parker Taylor was printed on the first page of The Tulsa Star on Oct. 8, 1915.

Carrie was born Dec. 9, 1878, in Enfield, N.C., to parents who had endured slavery.

A brilliant student, Carrie was the first black female to earn a high school diploma in Vermillion County, Ind. To do so, she persevered through three years in the eighth grade. The local tradition had been to stop black students from reaching high school by failing them and waiting for them to drop out. Carrie would not bend, so the school finally did. At the time of that triumph, many white townspeople showered her with flowers.

Carrie Parker became the top student in her graduating class.

In 1898, she enrolled at IU. Carrie took classes for a year and said she”was not made to feel my color much.” In exchange for a place to live, however, she had to cook and clean in a professor’s home and “almost killed myself trying to work my way through.”

Even for Carrie, who had overcome so many obstacles, it was too much. She married John G. Taylor, and while she planned to return to IU, it was not to be.

Carrie Parker Taylor lived in Chicago and later in Michigan. She instilled in her six children the importance of education. She owned a house and helped found two churches. She loved to sing. She sold eggs and pies to neighbors. She fed her family from a bountiful garden and taught them how to forage wild greens.

And, throughout her life, she continued to write.”God gave me the gift of speech,” she once said.

Carrie’s poem

It seems fitting to share Carrie’s poem in the month of IU Bloomington’s celebration “Black History: It’s Not Just Our History, It’s American History.”

The poem was published on the front page of The Tulsa Star, an outspoken but short-lived African-American newspaper in Oklahoma. In this transcription, several missing vowels have been restored:

                 The Negro’s Challenge
                  By Carrie Parker Taylor

You complain, my brother, my lily white brother,
Of our poor race now and then,
Yet you never have said what we should do
To prove to you that we’re men.

We’ve done everything so far that you’ve done,
Except sit in the president’s chair,
And the only reason we haven’t done that
Is because you won’t let us sit there.

In every walk of life that you’ve been,
There’s at least one of us there,
And you cannot deny but that we do
Our work just as good and as fair.

Among the more common crafts of men,
Such as carpenters, masons and painters,
We have quite a number, and plasterers, too,
And many stock raisers and planters.

We have lawyers and doctors, and bankers a few,
And teachers we have by the score,
Undertakers and merchants and manufacturers
And preachers, we have them galore.

We have sculptors, architects, artists and inventors,
And poets and statesmen of fame,
Actors, orators and authors, and goodness knows what,
For everything we do I can’t name.

We print our own papers, publish our books,
We sing and we play same as you,
And in some cases we have been known
To compose some good music, too.

In fact, I don’t know anything that you’ve done,
When you’ve given us a chance and we’ve tried,
That we haven’t done as well as you could,
And sometimes better besides.

We’ve even gone farther in some things than you,
And now we need not despair,
For, if we don’t like our heads like sheep’s wool,
Why, we can straighten our hair.

You say that at least we can’t change our skins?
Well, we’ve knocked that in a hat,
For, by the aid of your sensual men,
Many of us have even done that.

You say we have vices? We got them from you,
You’re all the pattern we’ve had,
So don’t charge the race up with the misfits you see,
Since our patterns so often were bad.

So, what more, my brother, my lily white brother,
Must we do to prove that we’re men?
If ’tis aught you can do and you’ll give us a chance
We’ll do it as good as you can.

Thank you, Carrie, for your words and your courage.

When Adrian Matejka, The Ruth Lilly Professor and poet-in-residence at IU Bloomington, was sent a copy of The Negros Challengehe said, “The fact her poem it still wonderfully observant and outspoken in 2016 speaks to how visionary it (and she) was then.” 

One hundred years have passed. Tragically, our nation still wrestles with deep racial division and injustice. And in this moment, too many are fanning flames of misunderstanding and hatred.

Yet I can’t help but think that if she were alive to see it, Carrie Parker Taylor would appreciate seeing who is sitting in the president’s chair.

And I think she would appreciate that the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center added a public reading of her poem to their BlackLit event Friday, Feb. 26. In addition to students and community members who gathered at the center’s library to share their own writings and favorite passages of literature, Chuck Rogers spoke Carrie’s words.

IU has established a scholarship to honor Carrie Parker Taylor, seeded through the generosity of James Wimbush, vice president for the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs. Contributions can be made through the website Give Now at My IU by designating the Carrie Parker Taylor Scholarship fund.

Dina Kellams

Dina Kellams, IU’s director of University Archives and Records Management, shared information with several descendants of Carrie Parker during their first visit in 2015.

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IU Cinema to screen silent film with world premiere orchestral score by Ari Barack Fisher Fri, 19 Feb 2016 15:06:02 +0000 William S. Hart in The Return of Draw Egan

“The Return of Draw Egan,” released in 1916, features silent-era western star William S. Hart.

Saturday night at the movies often means seeing a new film. But on Feb. 20, the Indiana University Cinema audience will be hearing an old film in a new way.

The Return of Draw Egan” will be a one-night film event featuring the world premiere of a full musical score composed by Ari Barack Fisher, a master’s student in composition at the Jacobs School of Music.

Ari Barack Fisher

Ari Barack Fisher wrote a new orchestral score for “The Return of Draw Egan,” which will premiere at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at IU Cinema. Photo by James Brosher

For the first time in public, a student orchestra will perform the original music he has written to accompany the film. “They’re going to have a lot of fun,” Fisher said. “It’s a difficult score. It’s very active. The first eight minutes is like gunfights and bar fights and shootouts and chases. They don’t get any rest!”

A recurring theme of the night is return and renewal, on and off the screen.

The William S. Hart film’s plotline follows the comeback and redemption of an outlaw, Draw Egan. Believed to be dead, he resurfaces in the town of Yellow Dog and aims to get the mayor’s daughter to return his love.

Saturday also marks the return of Ari Fisher to IU Cinema. At just 24 years of age, he is in the rare position of having written two full musical scores for silent films. The winner of the inaugural Jon Vickers Film Scoring Award also composed music to accompany the 1922 silent version of “David Copperfield” shown at IU Cinema in 2012.

And like all silent films that have been spared from destruction, “The Return of Draw Egan” has had a rebirth of its own. IU cinema is screening a new 2K digital transfer of the 1916 western, which was produced through a partnership between collector David Shepard and Serge Bromberg of Lobster Films. A home video release of the film with the new score is planned for later this year.

“We are proud to formally launch this program with Saturday’s premiere,” said Jon Vickers, director of IU Cinema. “It is another unique way to showcase IU’s talented students and creative collaborations across academic units, while offering our audience something pretty special.”

Drawn to music

Fisher was awarded the commission for “The Return of Draw Egan” based on a short sample score he entered in a blind competition with other Jacobs School of Music composition students last spring.

When his selection was announced in May, Fisher said, “It’s scary to work with a western, because with a western you have the music in your head already. I approached the film in a more personal way…. I focused on the action, the surroundings and the emotion.”

Since then, he has had a lot of music in his head. In formulating his own sound for the film, Fisher said he has been inspired by different composers.

Some parts of the film have an “American” sound, drawing upon Aaron Copland and a five-note scale common in folk music.

Many of Fisher's melodies for the film are character-driven.

Many of Fisher’s melodies are character-driven.

For love themes, his writing was inspired by the expressiveness of Russian masters such as Rachmaninoff and Tchaikovsky.

“Love themes are my favorite thing to write,” he said.

For the “lust themes,” he thought more about French Impressionist composers Ravel and Debussy. “To convey romance and to convey lust, they’re two different things,” he said.

For those passages, he added unconventional Italian markings to his musical score: allettante (alluring), seducente (seductively). “I can’t wait to see the reactions on the players’ faces,” he said.

But more than anything, Fisher tried to write melodies that reflected the characters. “It’s been a long journey, but we’re here and I can’t wait for the result,” he said.

His conductor will be Joe Stepec, who led the student orchestra through Neil Brand’s score for the silent Hitchcock thriller “Blackmail” last November at IU Cinema.

“I have such great friends in the orchestra,” Fisher said. “They’re going to have a great time and I’m going to have a good time.

“This is a rare experience to watch a film with a live orchestra. It’s one thing with a pianist, but with an orchestra it’s not very common,” he said.

A score for students

The Jon Vickers Film Scoring Award was made possible through a generous endowment from former IU trustee P.A. Mack Jr.

Ari Barack Fisher has now written complete orchestral scores for two silent films.

Fisher has now written orchestral scores for two silent films.

Through the competition, the Jacobs School of Music and IU Cinema will commission a new musical score for one silent film each year, which will later premiere at the cinema with a student orchestra. A call for submissions has already been posted for next year’s film, Oscar Micheaux’s “Body and Soul.”

“We look forward to helping keep this medium alive with new film scores each year,” Vickers said.

“I’m very grateful to the school for allowing these opportunities to be possible, not just for me, but for everyone,” Fisher added.

“The Return of Draw Egan” will begin at 7 p.m. Saturday at IU Cinema. Tickets for the general public are $6, but IU Bloomington students will be admitted free of charge, thanks to support from Old National Bank.

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Perfect evening in Brown County: ‘Utopia’ pairs writers with The Liberation Music Collective Wed, 17 Feb 2016 19:37:36 +0000 In a perfect world, the finest musicians might not have to think about new ways to bring their art to the public.

And that’s the point of “Utopia: 21st Century Reflections on the Pursuit of Perfection.”

Even with the best of intentions, utopia is a concept. And in the real world, Indiana University’s music students must become increasingly entrepreneurial in the ways they practice their art.

Utopia event posterIn “Utopia,” The Liberation Music Collective’s energetic jazz-based sound will be paired with themed readings from members of the Brown County Writers, Readers, and Poets Society. Narrator for the night is Yaël Ksander of WFIU, a distinguished voice in the local arts scene.

The thought-provoking program begins at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Brown County Playhouse in Nashville. Tickets are $15, or $5 for students.

“Utopia” is Project Jumpstart’s third annual showcase event at the playhouse. The project is a platform for emerging student ensembles to present fresh, innovative approaches to performance.

Project Jumpstart is a student-led career and leadership program. It was launched in 2010 as a partnership between the Jacobs School of Music and the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Kelley School of Business.

“As the music world morphs and explores new creative territory, it’s increasingly important for our students to experience what it’s like to put on events themselves, and to expand the notion of what it is to be a musician in a community,” said Alain Barker, director of entrepreneurship and career development at the Jacobs School of Music.

“Hannah and Matt have come up with an absolutely amazing concept for next Saturday and I look forward to seeing and hearing the results,” he said.


Hannah Fidler and Matt Riggen are the co-creators behind The Liberation Music Collective, a 14-piece band that performs original compositions about contemporary social issues.

A senior from Bloomington, Fidler is studying jazz bass and neuroscience. She also is a Wells Scholar.

Matt Riggen is a fifth-year senior from Avon majoring in biology and jazz studies.

Matt Riggen and Hannah Fidler.

Matt Riggen and Hannah Fidler are co-founders of The Liberation Music Collective, a jazz band committed to social justice. Photo by Jeff Browne

The two crossed paths at the Jacobs School, but became further acquainted as part of Wayne Wallace‘s academic big band two years ago. “Wayne had both Matt and I composing for the band, so that’s how we really got to know each other as writers and not just players,” Fidler said. “Some of the songs I did for Wayne’s band had a social-justice bent to them, so that’s also how Matt got to know about my background in activism and my interest in socially conscious music.”

“The decision to work so closely with each other was born out of mutual admiration,” Riggen said.

“I would characterize what Hannah and I are doing with The Liberation Music Collective as 21st-century American big band music,” he said.

Riggen said the group’s music comes directly from the tradition of jazz as the music of social protest. They do not recreate a historic big band sound, but have built something fresh that draws upon newer ideas, from free jazz to hip-hop.

“All this music is rooted in the experience of a culture of immigrants coming into contact with a native population — whether that culture was coming to North, Central, or South America,” Riggen said.

“I’ve always felt that the USA was special (at least at the outset) because it was essentially founded on grounds rooted in ethics,” he said. “Everyone who chooses to be American is. There is room enough in this country to be LGBTQ+, Muslim, atheist, German-speaking, Spanish-speaking, blue-collar, white-collar, any race, any color, any creed.

“We want our music to reflect the diverse American experience, with a particular emphasis on those whose stories are little-told or suppressed,” he said.


“I have always wanted to engage artistically with the idea of utopia,” Fidler said.

Utopia has a unique place in Western culture and a significant history in Indiana, she said. New Harmony is known for the Rappite and Owenite communities founded there in the 19th century. And before its eventual cataclysm, Jim Jones’ Peoples Temple began in Indianapolis.

“It’s important for us to reflect on the intellectual and practical challenges that America’s utopian history presents,” Fidler said. “It is also very timely to be pondering the boundaries of idealism, pragmatism and demagoguery during this time of turbulence in American politics.”

The Liberation Music Collective went beyond pondering utopia and wrote their ideas into music.

“The sound of ‘Utopia’ to me is rooted in history,” she said. “In our compositions for ‘Utopia,’ we’ve tried to reference musical styles and aesthetics from the time periods in which Indiana’s utopian experiments took place. The music is very modern, but if you listen closely, you can hear us hearkening back to certain things that help connect our project culturally to these historic utopias.”

As part of the project, they invited the Brown County writers to create new work around the theme.

“This is basically a ‘jazz drama,’ which is not done very often,” Fidler said.

“Combining instrumental jazz with spoken and sung theater, then adding a dash of poetry and a sprinkle of history lessons is quite a combination,” she said. “It’s probably going to be different from anything most people have heard before, and I hope that is exciting to potential listeners.”

The Liberation Music Collective released the album "Siglo XXI" in 2015.

The Liberation Music Collective released the album “Siglo XXI” in 2015.

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Jacobs School graduate Laura Sisk takes home Grammy for work on Taylor Swift’s ‘1989’ Mon, 15 Feb 2016 15:01:58 +0000 Update: Post reflects winners at the Grammy Awards

When the Grammy Award for Album of the Year was announced Feb. 15 in Los Angeles, a certain Indiana University alumna might have been holding her breath.

Laura Sisk, a 2010 graduate of the Jacobs School of Music, was nominated for her engineering work on Taylor Swift’s smash pop release “1989.”

The prestigious Album of the Year category recognizes an entire collection of songs and the team behind it, including not only the artist but producers, recording engineers and mastering engineers.

At the end of the night, both Swift and Sisk walked away as winners.

Laura Sisk

Laura Sisk, a 2010 graduate of the Jacobs School of Music, is a rising recording engineer in Los Angeles. Photo by Lauren Wade

Sisk engineered three songs on “1989”: “I Wish You Would,” “Out of the Woods” and the bonus track “You Are in Love,” which appears on some versions of the album. The songs were a collaboration between Swift and Jack Antonoff, a musician known for his own bands, Bleachers and Fun.

“Jack and I were in one studio and Taylor in another during ‘Out of the Woods,'” Sisk said. “They would send voice memos back and forth with ideas for parts, and a lot of the writing and recording were happening simultaneously. They are both wildly talented, and the songs came together in no time.”

Swift opened the awards broadcast with a performance of “Out of the Woods.” Out of seven nominations, Swift also took home Grammys for Best Pop Vocal Album and Best Music Video for “Bad Blood.”

On track

“Music has always been a huge part of my life,” Sisk said.

Raised just north of San Francisco in San Anselmo, Calif., she played piano and oboe from a young age.

In high school at Marin School of the Arts, she and her friends needed audition tapes for statewide honor bands and orchestras. Sisk figured out the school’s Roland equipment and began to make recordings for her own use and for her friends.

“It turned out to be so much fun that when I started thinking about college, I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.

“I came to IU for the recording arts program and was really fortunate to be accepted as a Barbara and David Jacobs Scholar,” Sisk said.

“The recording arts department filled my years at IU with real-world, hands-on experience,” she said. “Every day was different: building electronics, miking different instruments and setups, recording live, recording in the studio, working with tape, and troubleshooting.”

The Department of Recording Arts enrolls fewer than 20 new students each fall. Its structured education is based on the idea of a four-year apprenticeship at a recording studio. Because the department is part of IU’s prestigious Jacobs School of Music, its select students have plentiful opportunities to record live musical events.

Sisk graduated with a Bachelor of Science in recording arts, along with an emphasis in informatics and a minor in Spanish.

“I’m forever grateful for all the training I received,” she said.

Instead of having one mentor at IU, Sisk felt like she had a whole team. She thanked faculty members Konrad Strauss, Michael Stucker and Mark Hood, who have been “huge influences” in her life. She gave equal credit to Wayne Jackson, who now runs his own recording business, and Travis Gregg, now with Apple Inc.

“All the recording arts faculty are incredibly dedicated and have proven this with their endless support and encouragement,” she said. “I still come to them for advice as I continue to navigate the industry.”

The music scene

“Working in Los Angeles has been a very special experience,” Sisk said. “The music scene here is unparalleled.”

Before becoming a freelancer, Sisk’s first job after college was engineering for Grammy-nominated producer John Hill. “He’s an incredible producer with an unrivaled work ethic, and I grew as an engineer while working alongside him,” she said.

“The process for every project is always different. As a professional engineer and especially as a freelancer, you have to be prepared for every scenario,” she said. “I’m always in different places working with different people.”

For Sisk, those projects and people include recordings for Shakira, Pink and Tune-Yards.

“It’s a lot of work, but the most rewarding work I can imagine.”

Sisk said her experience at IU gave her the confidence to tackle new challenges within the recording industry and beyond.

“The music industry is a male-dominated field, and it is a thrill to be one of the women coming up in it, especially on the technical side,” Sisk said. “A lot of artists tell me I’m the only female engineer they’ve ever worked with and that it’s exciting because there is a different energy in the studio.”

As she prepared for what would be her winning night at the Grammy Awards, Sisk said, “I think this is the first time that I get to wear a dress for anything audio-related, so I’m taking full advantage of this opportunity to go all out!”

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Hollywood veteran and IU professor Robby Benson to speak at IU Cinema Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:30:53 +0000 In 2010, Robby Benson was teaching at New York University. With one class left in the semester, the veteran of film, television and Broadway learned he needed heart surgery, again, and immediately.

Repairs to his valve defect were failing.

Robby Benson

Robby Benson

Benson missed his class. Instead, he was off to The Cleveland Clinic for a fourth open-heart surgery.

Remarkably, he turned 60 in January.

The birthday might seem like a major milestone, but it wasn’t something he pondered much. “I don’t think of time in the same way that most people do,” Benson said. “I guess that’s the milestone… still breathing!”

Benson has shared a lifetime of experience with his Indiana University students since his arrival in 2013. Now the Bloomington community will have the chance to hear him speak about his career in several appearances this week at IU Cinema:

Film screenings are free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets are not needed for Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lectures, but seating is limited.

A Hoosier for life

Benson wrote his 1977 film “One on One” about a naive, small-town basketball player who comes of age in a corrupt college athletics program. While the final cut of the film touched upon the treatment of student-athletes, some of that subplot remained on the cutting room floor.

“Ever since I was pretty young, I understood the plight of the student-athlete,” Benson said. A standout in basketball and baseball, his talents might have brought him a college or pro career had he not instead pursued acting.

Robby Benson wrote "One on One" and starred as college basketball player Henry Steele. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros./The Kobal Collection

Benson wrote “One on One” and also starred as college basketball player Henry Steele. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros./The Kobal Collection

Benson has remained passionate that the athletes who give so much to a university should receive a true education in return. “When the student-athlete is finished with an athletic career, which is always pretty young, what do they do after that?”

One of Benson’s most gratifying contributions to IU has been his role in the creation of the “Hoosiers for Life” lifetime degree guarantee.

The groundbreaking program is the centerpiece of the Student-Athlete Bill of Rights announced by IU Athletics in 2014. Under the program, any former scholarship student-athlete who was eligible for at least two seasons and left IU in good standing can return to complete an undergraduate degree without being charged for tuition or books.

Benson approached IU Bloomington Provost Lauren Robel and later IU Director of Athletics Fred Glass with the idea. To his surprise, they listened and made his dream a reality.

“Robby Benson is really an unsung hero in the whole ‘Hoosiers for Life’ initiative. I think that all of us owe him a debt of gratitude for bringing that idea to us,” Glass said.


For those of a certain age, Benson needs no introduction.

After a childhood in live theater, his athleticism and boy-next-door looks vaulted him to stardom in the 1970s and 1980s in films such as “Ice Castles” and “Running Brave.” Then he seemed to vanish.

Robby Benson Running Brave

In “Running Brave,” Benson played Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills.

Behind the scenes, Benson had his first open-heart surgery in 1984 at just 28 years of age. A dangerous valve defect was hidden for years beneath his athletic abilities and fit frame. Ironically, it was the life-saving surgery that threatened his acting career.

He knew he needed to reinvent himself. He was married to his soulmate, singer Karla DeVito, and they had a young daughter, Lyric. His career wasn’t only his; He needed to support his family.

Benson had always been more than just a movie heartthrob. After moving behind the camera, he directed television series such as “Friends” and the 1990s sitcom “Ellen.” He launched a long teaching career and gave voice to a character for the ages, The Beast in Disney’s animated classic “Beauty and the Beast.”


After his 2010 heart surgery, Benson did not want to return to New York. “The people at NYU were remarkable to me — remarkable — and I had this open invitation to come back,” he said. “But I couldn’t take the city.”

The constant noise and bustle of his downtown neighborhood was too much. He needed a restful place to heal.

I'm Not Dead Yet! book coverNestled away in Cape Cod, he thought a lot about “his cardiac brothers and sisters.” People facing heart surgery had often reached out to him. “It hit me — and it was so obvious — that I only could talk to one person at a time,” he said.

Benson set out to inform and reassure many more patients and families by writing about his own journey through life, show business and medicine in his 2012 book “I’m Not Dead…Yet!

With that accomplished, he thought about teaching again. He was close to accepting an offer when “the funniest thing” happened.

Out of the blue, he was contacted by Indiana University. “How people behaved on the phone and in emails from IU… It was so whimsical and caring and loving and compassionate,” he said.

“But that’s how it happened,” he said. “People here just talked, and before you know it, we were here.”


Benson has devoted himself to making IU Bloomington the best place in the Midwest to study film.

“Talent has absolutely no geographical boundaries,” he said. “And just because they’re sitting at IU does not mean that they can’t leave with a diploma and go work, if that’s what they want. And that’s what I’m trying to do with these film classes here.”

“He said IU students have a unique opportunity to study at a university with a “stellar” theater department, a world-class music school and an atmosphere that is “beyond amenable” to allowing students to study across departmental lines.

Benson in The Chosen

Benson starred in “The Chosen.” His director, Jeremy Kagan, will speak Feb. 11 at IU Cinema. Photo courtesy Westchester Films

Benson has given his students unique opportunities to learn about filmmaking. For example, they can check out film equipment for the weekend, so they have a chance to arrange shoots around busy class schedules.

He wants students to make films the right way, from learning about intellectual property rights to focusing on safety. To that end, he provides students with equipment such as fire extinguishers, high-visibility vests and even snacks.

He also has called upon a lifetime of contacts to videoconference with his classes, including Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Kline; the CEO of DreamWorks Animation, Jeffrey Katzenberg; and his son, Zephyr, who has recently directed his first film.

Benson also emphasizes storytelling, creativity and having the courage to fail.

“We promote failure, believe me,” he said. “No one sets out to make a bad movie. And at this age, they can make a film that just doesn’t work.”

He aims to create a nurturing, supportive environment where that’s OK. “Being able to completely check your cynicism at the door is an art form,” he said.

“What I’ve seen in my career is how people blossom, how storytellers blossom. They may make something that’s not that great and the next time out it all falls in place,” he said.

Benson appeared wistful looking back on his years of teaching. After spring semester, he has decided to take a breather.

“I fell in love with IU and the people here,” he said.

Benson placed his hand over his heart, and said, “It will never be my last term in here.”

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IU students share universal language of dance in Panama with Movement Exchange Mon, 08 Feb 2016 19:11:54 +0000 Movement Exchange trip to Panama.

Two IU students participated in a recent Movement Exchange trip to Panama. Here students dance with the children of Arimae. Panama photos courtesy of Movement Exchange at IU.

Indiana University Bloomington students Dana Vanderburgh and Clare Donohue are international movers and shakers.

They rang in the new year as “Dance Diplomats” in Metetí, Panama, along with other members of Movement Exchange from Butler University and the University of Cincinnati.

map of metetiFrom Dec. 29 to Jan. 5, the students participated in an outreach program built around creative expression, cultural understanding and fun.

Movement Exchange was founded in 2010 by a recent graduate of Harvard, Anna Pasternak, who wondered how dancers could make a difference in the world. The first university chapter was established at IU, and the organization has since expanded to 20 other college campuses.

Joining a Movement

Donohue is a freshman from Schaumburg, Ill., a direct admit in the Kelley School of Business and a member of the RedSteppers. She joined Movement Exchange at IU  after learning about it from a member of the dance team.

Donohue and Vanderburgh

IU’s Clare Donohue, left, and Dana Vanderburgh recently traveled to Panama with Movement Exchange.

Vanderburgh came to Bloomington from Wayland, Mass. as a ballet major. After her freshman year, injuries forced a change of plans. She learned about Movement Exchange from a friend, and soon discovered it filled a void.

Last year, Vanderburgh participated in her first exchange to Panama. “That experience put me on the path to study dance for youth empowerment and social change,” she said.

She is now in the third year of IU’s integrated B.A. and M.A. program in international studies, offered through the School of Global and International Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. She also serves as outreach coordinator for Movement Exchange and president of its IU chapter.

Though both IU students have significant dance experience, they each stressed that the organization isn’t just for those with formal training. “Not at all, it’s for anyone who likes to dance,” Donohue said.

Within steps

After several flight delays and cancellations, Vanderburgh arrived in Panama City. She met up with her peers, then the group traveled by van for more than five hours to Metetí.

“The center of the town had the school, the hotel, the restaurant and the supermarket. And that was about it: four things,” Donohue said. “And it worked out perfectly, because all you needed was the school, the hotel, the restaurant and the supermarket.”

The boys of Metetí

The boys of Metetí shared the joy of dance, too.

The members of Movement Exchange started their days with breakfast at the school, then taught dance to the local children for three hours before heading out on excursions in the afternoons.

They traveled deep into the land, visiting a local farm and two indigenous communities. In one, the women wore no shirts. The homes had roofs fashioned from leaves and metal scraps. But what stood out most was the open, welcoming nature of people.

“There was nothing touristy about it,” Donohue said. “They had open arms everywhere we went. We were asking honest questions about their culture. They were asking honest questions about ours. It was just getting to know other people. It was nothing other than that.”

Their group had been invited to the communities through word of mouth, and that had made a world of difference. For Vanderburgh, the visits were a stark contrast to how tribes in Central and South America are often exploited for tourists.

“The first community we went to, the young girls of the village danced for us. They taught us their dances and then we danced for them,” she said. “Because of that, it was a very equal, level exchange. We were treated with respect. We were treating the communities we were in with respect.”


In past Movement Exchange trips to Panama, the group worked more directly with orphanages. “This was our first time actually being in a community,” Vanderburgh said. “We were part of the daily lives of the people living there.”

kids in meteti, Panama

Dance was the primary form of communication between Movement Exchange members and the children of Metetí.

The dancers not only interacted with children, but also with parents and school staff members. Word about the visitors rippled through the small community.

They were invited into a home, where the host prepared “the most amazing” meals. Their bus driver seemed to know everyone, and it opened doors. Soon they were invited to visit a naval base and a radio station, where news about the show they were preparing with the children was broadcast to the entire province.

Most of their time, however, was spent with the children of Metetí. After just three days of classes, they managed to learn 10 pieces of choreography across the three age groups.

“That was a really incredible experience to see that come together, and just watch the progression over a few days,” Vanderburgh said.

“It was an incredible community… and they truly cared,” Donohue said. “They came to the show and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.”


Movement Exchange is out to change the world, one step at a time. The program started with exchanges in Panama and made its first forays into India in 2015.

Movement Exchange at IU member Clare Donahue teaches a dance to kids during a session at Girls Inc. in Bloomington on Friday, Jan. 29, 2016. The organization works with girls each week.

Clare Donahue, center, leads girls during a weekly Movement Exchange at IU workshop at Girls Inc. in Bloomington.

The group’s focus is not only international, but also local. The IU chapter is engaged in outreach here in Bloomington.

“This is something you can carry into your life anywhere,” Vanderburgh said, There’s a need for this dance outreach wherever you are, whether it’s an at-risk community or just another group of people who want to dance.”

The 15 members of Movement Exchange at IU work with Boys and Girls Clubs and other local organizations. They lead workshops with local youth, including weekly sessions with Girls Inc.

In a recent workshop at Girls Inc., Vanderburgh, Donohue and a handful of other members led an enthusiastic group of girls through new steps, dance games and chances to express themselves through their own moves. For an hour, the sounds of laughter and moving feet filled the gym.

Dance is a universal language. It is human connection. But for the girls, it’s much simpler than that: it’s fun.


“You can really watch how something as ‘little’ or ‘insignificant’ as dance has an impact. It’s not just the actual dance, it’s your willingness to connect with someone through dance,” Vanderburgh said.

The recent trip to Panama left a lasting impact on both IU students, too.

Donohue said the trip has strengthened her interest in international engagement.

She hopes to earn the international business co-major in the Kelley School of Business. “That has been my thing ever since I came here. I want to see the world. I love to explore. I would be so lucky if I had a career that allowed me to do that,” she said.

Vanderburgh, who found new direction through Movement Exchange, was equally stirred by her return trip to Panama. “There is hope for this world. That’s what I took away from it this year,” she said.

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Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gregory Pardlo to read his work at IU Bloomington Mon, 25 Jan 2016 16:00:31 +0000 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

Contemporary poet Gregory Pardlo will visit the Indiana University Bloomington campus for a reading from his Pulitzer Prize-winning collection, “Digest.” The free reading, which is open to the public, will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 2 in the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

Pardlo’s collection ranges from the delicate to the humorous and touches on topics including parenting, race, socioeconomics and history. “Digest” finds its voice in the narrative of the everyday with urban jargon and classical references interwoven throughout. Pardlo’s work is praised for its ability to balance the delicate with the resolute, the crafted with the effortless and the mundane with the extraordinary.

Gregory Pardlo

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gregory Pardlo will read his work Feb. 2 at IU’s Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center.

“Even before Greg was awarded the 2015 Pulitzer Prize, many of us in the literary community were admirers of the range and generosity of his poems,” said Adrian Matejka, the Ruth Lilly Professor and poet-in-residence in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences. “Greg has the rare ability to be innovative and inviting at the same time. Audiences can expect to hear a poet who is giving of himself and his art.” 

Despite his current success, poetry was not initially an obvious career for Pardlo. He took a five-year break from college, worked in a Danish restaurant and helped his grandfather run a blues and jazz bar in New Jersey before returning to Rutgers-Camden. It was there that he became an English major and began writing poetry. He went on to receive a master’s in poetry at New York University and published his first collection of poems, “Totem,” in 2007.

Pardlo’s experiences as an African American, his current home in a gentrifying Brooklyn and his family all serve as obvious muses in his poetry.

This passage from “Problema 3” gestures to one source of Pardlo’s inspiration: fatherhood:

…But we hear it as we round the rice
and Goya aisle, that other music, the familiar exchange of anger,
the war drums of parent and child. The boy wants, what, to be
carried? to eat the snacks right from his mother’s basket?
What does it matter, he is making a scene. With no self-interest
beyond the pleasure of replacing wonder with wonder, my daughter
asks me to name the boy’s offense. I offer to buy her ice cream.
How can I admit recognizing the portrait of fear the mother’s face
performs, the inherited terror of non-conformity frosted with the fear
of being thought disrespected by, or lacking the will to discipline
one’s child? How can I account for both the cultural and the inter-

“Greg’s visit is a special opportunity for the IU and Bloomington communities to hear the work of one of our most important contemporary poets,” Matejka said. “He’s also a wonderful reader with a great sense of humor.”

Pardlo’s visit is sponsored by the Lilly Professorship; the College of Arts and Sciences; the creative writing program and Department of English; the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs; and the Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President.

Other poetry news: Lilley talk

Kate Lilley, a visiting poet and scholar from the University of Sydney, will deliver a public lecture and reading at 4 p.m. Jan. 28 in Woodburn Hall Room 100. A reception will follow at 5:30 the Lilly Library.

She will read poems derived from archival work from her prize-winning books “Versary” and “Ladylike,” as well as her upcoming book “Tilt.”

Lilley also plans to talk about her research on Mary Ellen Solt, a poet and former IU professor who came to Bloomington in the 1950s and also served as director of Polish studies. Before her death in 2007, Solt was known for writing flower-shaped poems and editing the anthology “Concrete Poetry: A World View.”

“Mary Ellen Solt is an important but somewhat neglected figure in the history of visual poetry whose archive many offers rich possibilities,” she said.

Lilley will discuss Solt on the Jan. 31 episode of the new “Through the Gates: IU This Week” podcast series hosted by James Shanahan, dean of The Media School.

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Mütter Museum to exhibit ‘La Maladie’ series of paintings and sculptures by Betsy Stirratt Fri, 15 Jan 2016 15:08:39 +0000 Betsy Stirratt, director of the Grunwald Gallery, has been getting ready for two openings.

The Studio Art Faculty Show will open Jan. 15 at the gallery inside the Fine Arts building , which regularly displays work by Indiana University students in addition to local, national and international artists.

Painting of arm with lesions

“Elegance” is an oil and wax painting by Betsy Stirratt from “La Maladie,” her exhibition at the Mütter Museum.

What is extraordinary is that the other opening is in Philadelphia, at the Mütter Museum.

The medical history museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, will hold an exhibition of Stirratt’s paintings and sculptures Jan. 15 to July 8.

“La Maladie” is an intriguing body of work that explores humanity, divinity, mortality and physical affliction.

“To me the most exciting thing in the world is to be able to show my work in a medical context. I’ve always wanted to do that,” she said.

Stirratt created this body of work in the 1990s, but many of its themes remain important to her art today. “Believe it or not, this work really does relate to what I’m doing now very closely, however, it looks very different,” she said.

The artwork is based on medical specimens, illustrations and photographs, painstakingly researched at the Lilly Library and other repositories, including the libraries at the Faculté de Médecine Paris Descartes and the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland.

Art meets medicine

The Mütter Museum has a strong educational mission, yet understands that its medical displays can be a bit unsettling. Its website invites visitors to become “disturbingly informed.” After all, this is a museum with a collection that includes the tumor of a former U.S. president, vertebra from John Wilkes Booth and Albert Einstein’s brain.

Nourishment painting of breasts

In Stirratt’s painting “Nourishment,” the large field of gold elevates the medical imagery and alludes to traditions in religious art.

At the museum, Stirratt’s artwork will be shown paired with related materials from their collection, including objects, prints and books.

The new exhibition includes her naturalistic beeswax sculptures of a torso, ears and an arm, but most of Stirratt’s works are oil paintings. Detailed depictions of various medical conditions float in a dreamy, waxy backgrounds or brilliant fields of gold leaf. Simple titles like “Beauty,” “Youth,” “Innocence” and “Elegance” are spelled out in delicate script.

“Gold leaf, it is so attractive. You can’t help but love it,” she said. “What I like about it is that it creates a ground that is both endless and finite.”

The gold, which extends three feet in some of the paintings, is an allusion to religious art of the past. With its richness, Stirratt creates a tension between the grotesque and the beautiful, and also corporal and spiritual worlds.

Stirratt said some of her favorite paintings include faces. “I love the ones that show the humanity of the subjects. They show that these are human beings,” she said.

Three pieces from the “La Maladie” series were included in the “Visualizing Disease” show at IU’s Lilly Library in 2013. Domenico Bertoloni Meli, curator of the Lilly show and a professor in IU’s Department of History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine in the College of Arts and Sciences, contributed an essay to the catalog for “La Maladie.”

Stirratt’s exhibition catalog was supported in part by the Grant-in-Aid program of the office of the Vice Provost for Research at Indiana University. She also received support for research travel through IU’s New Frontiers in the Arts and Humanities Program of the Office of the Vice President for Research.

A quest for art

Looking back, Stirratt recalled that before the explosion of the Internet and before collections were digitized, research was much more arduous.

Beauty painting of female organs

“Beauty” is another Stirratt painting that pairs a medical view of the body with a glowing field of gold.

“It was really exciting; It was like sleuth work in a way,” she said. “It made you feel almost like an explorer.”

The appeal of going out of her way to discover things is something that also relates to her interest in collecting and her work as a curator.

“As a collector, you have to search and find,” she said.

“As an artist and a curator you have very strong feelings about what you like,” she said.

And as a gallery director, she said it is crucial to recognize the value of work you do not always like. “You have to divorce yourself from your taste and think about what is important for people to see.”

Overall, Stirratt said she is lucky to be able to approach art in different ways.

“Being around art all the time is such a fantastic gift,” she said.

The Studio Art Faculty Show

Stirratt is one of about 40 faculty members who will participate in a new exhibition at the Grunwald Gallery from Jan. 15 to Feb. 12. The Studio Art Faculty Show marks the first time the faculties from the studio art department and the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design will exhibit together. In Fall 2016, the two departments at Indiana University will come together to form the School of Art and Design within the College of Arts and Sciences.

An opening reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Jan. 15. A gallery talk has been rescheduled for noon on Jan. 29, featuring Carissa Carman, Andy Rubin and Rachel Weaver.  The Grunwald Gallery is located in the Fine Arts Building. Regular hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Print by Tracy Templeton

“The Quiet of the Snow” is a chine-collé digital print by Tracy Templeton, an associate professor in printmaking. The Studio Art Faculty show continues through Feb. 12 at the Grunwald Gallery.

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‘Audubon’ documentary screening features IU professor Christoph Irmscher Tue, 08 Dec 2015 19:52:12 +0000 Post by Karen Land and IU newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

John James Audubon, a godfather of today’s conservation movement, is the subject of a new documentary coming to Bloomington in a special one-night event Thursday.


The documentary film “Audubon” will be shown Dec. 10 only at AMC Showplace College Mall.

Audubon” recounts the life and accomplishments of the man who set out to paint all 435 species of the birds known in early 19th-century America. His ambitious journey, much of it undertaken on foot, brought him all over the country from the Florida Keys to the Dakotas.

The 2014 film had its national debut in March at the Environmental Film Festival in Washington, D.C., under its original title, “Rara Avis: John James Audubon and the Birds of America.”

Indiana University Bloomington English professor Christoph Irmscher served as an academic consultant for “Audubon.” He is the George F. Getz Professor in the Wells Scholars Program and the editor of a 1999 volume of Audubon’s writings and drawings.

Irmscher also is interviewed on screen in the film, which was directed by “Apollo 13” screenwriter Al Reinert.

“It was an exhilarating experience to work with Al Reinert on this film. He has made Audubon’s images come alive again,” Irmscher said.

“I have studied Audubon for two decades now, but being interviewed by Al white sitting on a cold, hard rock in Henderson, Kentucky, in the same woods Audubon once scoured for birds, is perhaps the closest I have ever come to understanding what is art is all about.”

Special screening and discussion

“Audubon” will be screened at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 10 at AMC Showplace College Mall. Tickets, at $10 each, are now sold out on the film’s web site, however several pairs of tickets to the screening will be given away in a contest on the film’s Facebook page. Tickets will not be sold at the theater on the day of the show.

Following the AMC screening, Irmscher and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Scott Russell Sanders will answer questions about Audubon’s life and the film. Geoff Conrad, former director of the Mathers Museum of World Cultures and the vice president of Sassafras Audubon Society, will serve as moderator.

The Audubon legacy

The legacy of Audubon remains as timeless and vital as his art.

Christoph Irmscher

IU English professor Christoph Irmscher appears in “Audubon.”

“The scope and intensity of his writing makes Audubon unlike any of his contemporaries,” Irmscher said in an interview with the non-profit publisher Library of America. “No one had traveled quite as extensively, no one had seen quite as much, and no one was equally talented as a writer and as a visual artist…”

Irmscher said Audubon put his own philosophies into each piece of his work.

“Audubon encourages us not to think of ourselves as central to nature,” he said.

“While he keeps himself out of his paintings, except as a kind of implied observer, Audubon is always present in his texts, as a feeling, thinking individual. However, the final purpose of this self-representation in the texts is the same as in the paintings — to question the importance of the human observer to a natural world that seems to function perfectly well on its own.”

Audubon’s writings are not only about birds but about mankind itself, Irmscher said.

He points out a favorite example, Audubon’s biography of the hummingbird: “Audubon here describes the horror felt by the hummingbird parents when the human observer approaches the nest of a newly hatched pair of young birds, ‘little larger than humble-bees, naked, blind, and so feeble as scarcely to be able to raise their little bill to receive food from the parents.’ He compares their pain to that experienced by a mother who has lost, or might lose, her child. But Audubon’s point is not to make us understand the birds better. It is, quite bluntly, to make us go away, to leave the birds alone. We are where we shouldn’t be.”

To learn more

Print of Audubon

In this print, Alonzo Chappel depicted a gun-toting John James Audubon. Courtesy of the Lilly Library.

Reinert and Irmscher will appear at 6 p.m. tonight on Doug Storm’s radio program “Interchange” on WFHB, which is broadcast at 91.3 FM in South Central Indiana, 98.1 FM in downtown Bloomington, 100.7 FM in Nashville and 106.3 FM in Ellettsville.

Locally, Audubon’s work is on continuous display in the main gallery of IU’s Lilly Library. The double elephant folio first edition of “Birds of America” is one of the most distinguished treasures in the Lilly Library collection. The Audubon print series, first published in sections between 1827 and 1838, includes six images of birds that are now extinct, including the passenger pigeon.

At the Lilly Library, pages are turned regularly to protect the volumes and display different birds. To see all of the different “Birds of America,” people can visit the National Audubon Society website.

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Indiana University’s Viking-in-residence is all in a Twitter about the arts in Bloomington Fri, 04 Dec 2015 15:28:52 +0000 Lars Karlsson

One of Lars Karlsson’s favorite activities on the Indiana University campus is sailing around Showalter Fountain in his Viking vessel. | Courtesy photos

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

At Indiana University, the most frequent visitor to campus events isn’t a student; it’s a Viking.

Lars Karlsson, a small wooden Viking, is dedicated to learning about all the different programs IU Bloomington has to offer, according to his owner, Kristin Leaman.

“He discovers and shares what he learns on campus,” said Leaman, the special collections cataloger in the Lilly Library.

Lars Karlsson at the Lilly

The Lilly Library will always be Lars’ home at Indiana University.

Lars made his first appearance on Facebook a year ago and popped up on Twitter in February.

After receiving him from a friend, Leaman said she first displayed Lars “protecting” items in the Lilly Library.

From the Lilly Library, Lars then branched out to several other venues on campus, including the IU Art Museum and IU Cinema. Since then he has regularly attended exhibitions, rehearsals, receptions, talks and other events.

Last summer the little guy even attended Mini University.

Leaman said some of Lars’ biggest fans are in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

“Lars loves to go and see the sets and (get) tickets to the shows,” she said. Lars frequently takes selfies with the casts and uploads them to his Twitter and Facebook pages.

Lars’ growing fan base

Leaman said one word that best describes Lars is “approachable.”

“He has his own persona,” she said. “He can take things from a scholarly level and bring it to us. He calls everyone his friends. He’s a huge IU fan and loves to learn new things and meet new people. He’s promoting all the amazing things IU has to offer. He takes things and shares them in a different way, making them accessible to everyone.”

Lars fan mail

In October, Lars received a tiny piece of fan mail.

Leaman said she enjoys running Lars’ social media so his experiences can be shared with a mass audience.

“I do really love it,” she said. “I was a theater performance major at Purdue, so this feeds my creative energy. I love learning new things and creating. I work in library sciences, so this gives me a chance to expand my knowledge beyond the doors of the Lilly to see what’s going on around campus.”

Leaman said Lars has increased his fan base as he’s traveled around to more events on campus.

“I get contacted by people asking, ‘Would Lars like to come to this?’ It’s fun seeing their excitement when I start taking pictures with Lars. He is all inclusive when it comes to arts and education.”

Leaman said she has been told it’s a brilliant idea that’s fun, while it respects the institution.

Coming home to the Lilly Library

Lars at Mathers

Lars saw “Monsters!” at the Mathers Museum.

Though Lars loves to travel around campus, he always comes back to the Lilly Library.

“The Lilly will always be near and dear to his heart,” Leaman said. “I think his favorite thing in the Lilly would be the medieval manuscripts. However, he also likes to sail around Showalter Fountain.”

Leaman said Lars has no intention of retiring anytime soon.

“He’ll keep going for a while,” she said. “There’s always something happening. IU is so rich and engaging. There’s always something new for Lars to discover.”

About the Lilly Library

The Lilly Library serves as the rare books, manuscripts and special collections library of the Indiana University Libraries. The Lilly Library holdings include about 400,000 books, more than 100,000 pieces of sheet music and more than 7.5 million manuscripts.

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MFA student Peter Kispert aims to leave his mark on Indiana Review through new prize Fri, 20 Nov 2015 14:31:01 +0000 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

Peter Kispert moved more than 900 miles for the Indiana Review.

Now, a third year MFA student in the Creative Writing Program at Indiana University, Kispert is the editor-in-chief of the Indiana Review.

Peter Kispert

Peter Kispert is the current editor-in-chief of the Indiana Review. | Courtesy photo

“I came here for the Indiana Review, hands down,” he said. “I deeply respected the journal and wanted to learn more about the craft of fiction writing.”

Even as an undergraduate student majoring in English and linguistics at the University of New Hampshire, Kispert said he knew of the Indiana Review’s reputation.

“I admired its legacy and committed position in the larger literary community,” he said. “It’s almost 40 years old. I’m regularly astonished by the exceptional work the journal publishes.”

The Indiana Review is a national, nonprofit biannual literary journal dedicated to showcasing the talents of emerging and established writers by publishing outstanding fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, Kispert said.

Located in Ballantine Hall, the Indiana Review is completely run by graduate students. The review also has several undergraduate interns per semester.

The review is made possible by grants from the English Department and the College of Arts and Sciences, along with private donors.

When Kispert became the editor-in-chief, he said he wanted to take some new initiatives with the review. The Blue Light Books prize was one of them.

This first time collaboration with Indiana University Press, IU’s internal publishing company, was inspired by a blue light outside of the Indiana Review offices in Ballantine Hall. When the office is open, the blue light is turned on.

Indiana Review Cover

The winter 2014 cover of the Indiana Review. | Courtesy photo

“This light has come to symbolize the journal’s openness and commitment to fostering a sense of community,” Sarah Jacobi, interim regional sponsoring editor at IU Press, said. “It is this sense of community that brings IR and IUP together.”

This collaboration will take place in the form of a yearly contest for aspiring upcoming authors. The prize will rotate each year between collections of short stories and poems. The first prize awarded will be for short stories. Any person wishing to enter the contest must submit a previously unpublished book-length manuscript.

The call for submissions is Dec. 1, 2015 to Feb. 15, 2016. No translations will be accepted. A $20 submission fee is required upon manuscript submission. Manuscripts should be 30,000 to 45,000 words (120-140 manuscript pages) in length. No manuscripts with interior art will be considered. Manuscripts must be submitted online to the Indiana Review.

A publication contract and an award of $2,000 against future royalties will be awarded to the winner. The book will be published in trade paperback format. The author will be issued a standard contract with IU Press. The first Blue Light Books winner will debut at the 50th anniversary of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Feb. 8 to 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C.

The winner will also be flown out to Bloomington read a selection of their work at the annual Blue Light Reading in March 2017.

Though the Blue Light Reading series has been established at the Indiana Review for six years, this is the first time there has been a collaboration between IU Press and the Review. Kispert said he hopes this relationship will continue to grow in fruitful and exciting ways.

Indiana Review Cover 2

The summer 2015 cover of the Indiana Review. | Courtesy photo

“The blue light has become a part of our own identity at the Indiana Review,” he said. “It is central to our local and national literary missions and provides us with an opportunity to bring some of our most well-known and prolific writers to Bloomington to serve as a valuable intersection of these two communities.”

Kispert himself has had his work appear in a number of publications including Tin House, The Journal, McSweeney’s, The Baltimore Review, the Colorado Review and The New York Daily News. His work has also been cited in The New Yorker, The Paris Review and NPR.

Upon graduating next May, he said he hopes to obtain a job at a publisher or attend a publishing program at Columbia University.

Kispert said he ultimately hopes to work towards a career in publishing at one of Big Five publishing houses: HarperCollins, Macmillan Publishers, Penguin Random House, Simon and Schuster, or Hachette Book Group.

Though he is looking toward graduation, Kispert said he wanted his initiatives to be something the Indiana Review could continue long after he graduates. The Blue Light Books prize, he hopes, is one of them.

“This is an outstanding venture and partnership with a venerable university press with a catalogue of consistently excellent work,” he said. “It’s also a sustainable venture. We are so excited to see the first Blue Light Book title through production, and to work with Sara Jacobi, Mandy Hussey and all the Press for years to come.”

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IU Art Museum honors Director Emerita Adelheid Gealt with renaming of gallery wing Mon, 16 Nov 2015 20:16:54 +0000 Adelheid Gealt

Director Emerita Adelheid Gealt retired from the Indiana University Art Museum this year.

The Indiana University Art Museum has dedicated a wing of the museum’s first floor Gallery of the Art of the Western World in honor of Adelheid “Heidi” Gealt, who retired in July 2015.

Director Emerita Gealt began working at the museum as a graduate student in 1973 and held various other posts until becoming curator, interim director and ultimately the museum director starting in 1989.

The Adelheid M. Gealt Gallery of Medieval through 18th Century European Art was officially named Oct. 27 at an intimate gathering of museum staff, board members and several of Gealt’s close friends.

Adelheid Gealt and David Brenneman

David Brenneman, the Wilma E. Kelley director of the Indiana University Art Museum, honors his predecessor, Adelheid Gealt at a private ceremony.

Anthony Moravec, the director of the IU Art Museum’s National Advisory Board, and the museum’s current director, David Brenneman, introduced Gealt at the ceremony.

After a short acceptance speech, Gealt treated the attendees to a tour of the gallery, where she told stories about some of her favorite works of art.

Gealt’s career as director of the IU Art Museum included the establishment numerous endowments and the founding of the museum’s education department, which offers museum tours to students of all ages from all over southern Indiana.

During her tenure, Gealt also published extensively and served as guest curator of the exhibition “Domenico Tiepolo (1727-1804): A New Testament” at the Frick Collection in New York City. The 2006 exhibition was the culmination of a decade of research on more than 300 of the artist’s ink-and-wash drawings.

At the time of her retirement, Gealt wrote a farewell column for the museum blog and newsletter, which included this passage: “I have had the opportunity to meet truly remarkable and generous people who, because they love IU, have reached out to the art museum and have become lifelong and treasured friends … To quote Dr. Herman B Wells, a steadfast friend of the IU Art Museum, whose vision launched our museum, I’ve been truly lucky.”

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‘Potpourri of the Arts’ mixes music and dance from three different IU ensembles Nov. 7 Thu, 05 Nov 2015 20:06:30 +0000

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

Indiana University’s African American Arts Institute will present its annual “Potpourri of the Arts” concert at 8 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave., in downtown Bloomington.

General admission for adults is $20. Children under 12 years old and students are $10.

Created in 1993, “Potpourri of the Arts” is a combination of performances by the African American Dance Company, the African American Choral Ensemble and the IU Soul Revue.

The purpose of this event is to embody the spirit of African-American performance through all three of its ensembles. Each group will perform separately, with the exception of a collaborative finale.

This year’s theme is “Groovin’ Together.”

Junior Kelaiah Awoyemi said she likes the family aspect of her group, the African American Choral Ensemble.

African American Choral Ensemble

The African American Choral Ensemble will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year.

“We support, encourage, and motivate each other to do our very best, whether in academics or personal situations,” she said. “Our director, the amazing Dr. Raymond Wise, has made it very clear that we are a family and we will work together to achieve greatness.”

This is Awoyemi’s third time performing in “Potpourri of the Arts.”

“It is truly something special when the performing ensembles get together and expose the audience to various types of African and African-American music and dance,” she said. “I’m looking forward to being able to see what the other two ensembles in the African American Arts Institute will perform, and coming together to make something great.”

This year is the Choral Ensemble’s 40th anniversary. To celebrate, Awoyemi said, they are singing some of the same spirituals performed at their first concert 40 years ago. Some songs include “I’ve Been Buked” and “The Lord’s Prayer.”

Senior Imani Rameses said she likes the cultural lessons her ensemble, the African American Dance Company, teaches her.

“The African American Dance Company challenges its members and its audiences to better understand and appreciate the African and African American diaspora,” she said. “What I love about AADC is the opportunity to explore a broadened mentality of ‘what is dance?’ Professor Iris Rosa introduces the company to countless genres of dance.”

This is Rameses’ second time performing in “Potpourri.”

“What I love and continue to look forward to each year is the opportunity to perform with all the ensembles,” she said. “The African American Arts Institute has some of the most natural talent I’ve ever witnessed. The singing, the dancing, and the soulfulness exuded by such young talented artists, is enticing and truly inspiring.”

African American Dance Company

The African American Dance Company will perform “Visions of the Past Actual Realities.”

The dance company will perform the piece “Visions of the Past Actual Realities,” Rameses said.

Senior Bobby E. Davis Jr. said what he likes most about the IU Soul Revue ensemble is its diversity.

“There are people who come from different cultural, ethnic, musical and academic backgrounds who all are given the opportunity to understand, embody and fall in love with Black popular music,” he said.

As Davis prepares to perform in a fifth and final “Potpourri” as an undergraduate, the folklore and ethnomusicology major again looks forward to sharing cultural traditions with a diverse audience.

“Once the show begins and the first downbeat hits, both the audience and the performers become a community where all of us are able to share, love and respect African American music and culture,” he said.

About the African American Arts Institute

The African American Arts Institute is committed to promoting and preserving African American culture through performance, education, creative activity, research and outreach. For more information and a calendar of AAAI events, visit the African American Arts Institute website or call 812-855-5427.

The African American Arts Institute is a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs. The institute’s executive director is Charles E. Sykes. All three ensembles are credit-bearing courses offered through the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences.

IU Soul Revue

The IU Soul Revue is one of three ensembles performing in “Potpourri of the Arts.”

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IU Cinema to host Neil Brand at U.S. premiere of Hitchcock’s ‘Blackmail’ with his new score Tue, 03 Nov 2015 21:10:27 +0000 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Annie Brackemyre:

The Indiana University Cinema will screen Alfred Hitchcock’s silent film “Blackmail” on Nov. 7 with live orchestral accompaniment. In a collaboration between IU Cinema and the Jacobs School of Music, performer and composer Neil Brand will be present for the performance of his original score.

Neil Brand

Composer and performer Neil Brand will speak at IU Cinema Nov. 6 and attend the screening of “Blackmail” Nov. 7. Photo by Tom Catchesides

“The somewhat rare opportunity to experience a silent film event with a live orchestra can create lasting memories for the audience and important, if not transformative, experiences for the students involved,” said Jon Vickers, founding director of the IU Cinema. “Having the opportunity to present a U.S. or world premiere helps position IU Cinema and its program as one that offers exciting and unique experiences.”

The 1929 Hitchcock film “Blackmail” was released on the cusp of a new era in cinema. It was produced in England as a silent film, but was released in two versions, including one that incorporated sound.

In the film, Anny Ondra played a London woman whose date goes terribly wrong with a fight, a flirtation, an attempted rape and a murder that leads to her being blackmailed.

The performance at IU Cinema marks the U.S. premiere of Brand’s “Blackmail” score. Previously, it was performed at the British Museum for the London 2012 Festival and again at the Odessa Steps before a crowd of 25,000 as part of the Odessa International Film Festival in Russia in 2014. It is expected to be performed five times in four countries this year.

Originally trained as an actor, Brand has since been celebrated internationally as a writer, performer and composer. His scores have accompanied silent films for more than 30 years with premieres in more than a dozen countries. Brand’s partnership with the BBC Symphony Orchestra led to regular performances in London.

Anny Ondra in Alfred Hitchcock’s BLACKMAIL (1929). Courtesy: Rialto Pictures/BFI

Anny Ondra starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Blackmail” in 1929. Photo provided by Rialto Pictures/BFI

“We have hosted several accompanists and composers since opening and Neil is one of the finest,” Vickers said.

IU Cinema first collaborated with the Jacobs School of Music in 2011. This blossoming partnership now offers student composers professional experience and compensation through the Jon Vickers Film Scoring Award, which launched in 2015.

Old National Bank also has been involved in the partnership for the last two years, helping fund the cost of the orchestra and providing hundreds of tickets to students free of charge.

For the “Blackmail” premiere, the cinema hired student musicians, maestros and house managers as well as recording arts students to provide amplification, mixing and recording. Brand will oversee the student maestro, Joseph Stepec, and the orchestra. While on campus, the visiting composer also will lead a film history class.

Brand will present a Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture, including a career-spanning interview and a question-and-answer session with the audience, at 3 p.m. Nov. 6 at IU Cinema. The talk is free and open to the public.

“Blackmail” will be screened with its new score at 7 p.m. Nov. 7 in the IU Cinema. Advanced tickets are free to the first 100 IU Bloomington students with a student ID. All other tickets are $6.

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New painting building is just one of the treats during the 2015 Open Studios event Fri, 30 Oct 2015 14:43:38 +0000 Open Studios 2014

The Open Studios event, shown in 2014, will begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 30 at the Fine Arts Building.

Indiana University’s fine arts students have something new to show off during the annual Open Studios event Oct. 30.

Like in previous years, several art buildings around campus will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. to students and members of the greater IU and Bloomington communities. Visitors can see student work, explore artists’ studio practices and participate in creative activities.

This fall, however, marks the first time the public can visit the new painting studios constructed in the former IU Press Warehouse at 802 E. 13th St., between Woodlawn and Forrest avenues.

The warehouse is the first new fine arts facility to open on the Bloomington campus since the announcement of the School of Art and Design, which is scheduled to launch in July 2016. Kirkwood Hall, built in 1894 on the Old Crescent, also is undergoing extensive renovations and will accommodate the school’s offices.

New painting studios

Painting can be a messy business, and one that requires specialized spaces.

Mitch Raney

Mitch Raney is a first-year MFA student who said he was an outsider artist before coming to train at IU.

The IU Press Warehouse has been renovated from an industrial building into a facility that meets the needs of artists. It incorporates classrooms, display space, a small woodshop and individual studios for instructors and both BFA and MFA students.

Courtney Payne, assistant university architect called the conversion project “a unique challenge, the nature of which I doubt I will encounter in exactly the same way during my tenure here at Indiana University.”

The roof, plumbing, power and data lines all were overhauled. ADA access guidelines were met. Energy-saving LED track lights that mimic daylight were added. And, to protect artists from solvent fumes, a powerful HVAC system was installed that exchanges the air 10 times an hour.

Other visible features include communal storage, slop sinks, wide doorways, sturdy painted plywood studio walls, clerestory windows and ceilings that soar beyond 35 feet in height.

Together, it all has created an inspiring environment, that the painting students described as clean, pristine and airy.

IU Press Warehouse studios

Sturdy walls separate studios, but open space soars to the ceiling at IU Press Warehouse.

“The ceilings are endless,” said Caleb Weintraub, an associate professor who teaches painting.

Second-year MFA painter Anna Buckner described the atmosphere as more communal and less isolating than the former studios in a decommissioned dormitory.

The new space might already be influencing the work created there, too.

Madeline Winter, also a second-year MFA student, showed off an expansive, blank canvas in her studio she was ready to start painting.

“There’s a lot more wall space here, so I’ve been able to scale up my canvas size, which has been wonderful,” she said. “It feels a little more like a professional studio environment.”

2015 Open Studios activities

In recent years, non-majors have been enrolling in IU’s studio art fundamentals courses in greater numbers. The free Open Studios event is a good opportunity for students to tour facilities and also get a taste of what they might experience in various studio art classes.

For students and community members alike, the first stop should be the Friends of Art Bookshop in the Fine Arts Building. Maps and directions to the three other participating studio buildings will be available. Shop visitors also can try making books.


“The Wunderkammer” exhibition will be open at the Grunwald Gallery.

Fine Arts, 1201 E. Seventh St., will be open 6 to 8 p.m. with activities including contour drawing, letterpress printing, button-making, copper stamping and a photo booth.

On the first floor, the Grunwald Gallery will be open, including its delightfully creepy exhibition “The Wunderkammer: Curiosities in Indiana University Collections.” Among other oddities, the show includes bats, pickled vipers, a wildebeest and a plaster cast of former IU president William Lowe Bryan’s head.

Central Stores Art Annex, 1026 E. 11th St., will be open 7 to 9 p.m. with ceramics demos, music, dancing, food and what is being described as a “celebrity photo opportunity.” Handmade mugs also can be filled with cider, cocoa and espresso.

McCalla, 525 E. Ninth St., and the new painting studios at IU Press Warehouse, 802 E. 13th St., will be open 8 to 10 p.m. The warehouse will offer music, pizza and collaborative mural painting.

At McCalla, the Fuller Projects gallery will feature the participatory installation “Push Button For.” The Fuller Halloween costume contest judging will begin at 8:30 p.m. with prizes awarded at 9 p.m. Undergraduates who have filled out punch cards by visiting all 12 arts and activity areas will be eligible to win prizes in a free raffle drawing, too.

Visitor parking is available in the SGIS/Wells Library parking lot. For more information about Open Studios, call 812-855-1333 or email the Friends of Art Bookshop at

Anna Buckner is a second-year MFA student who creates pieced canvases she calls "quilt paintings."

Anna Buckner is a second-year MFA student who creates pieced canvas “quilt paintings.”

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Arts happenings conjure Halloween spirit around the IU Bloomington campus Mon, 26 Oct 2015 16:25:12 +0000 Post courtesy of newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

Halloween isn’t just about trick-or-treating. If you want to embrace the spooky spirit of the holiday, check out some of the Halloween-inspired arts events happening around the IU Bloomington campus.

IU Auditorium

Dennis James

This year organist Dennis James returns to the IU Auditorium in its 75th anniversary season to accompany the film that started his career: “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Dennis James Hosts Halloween — Before Dennis James, one of the world’s greatest cinema organists, traveled the world performing in festivals and composing original scores for silent films, he was an IU student with a passion for organ music and film. He organized and sold tickets to his self-produced performance of “The Phantom of the Opera” to a sold-out crowd on Oct. 31, 1969.

Now, 46 seasons later, James is coming back to his alma mater to perform the masterpiece that started his illustrious career. James will accompany the silent film starring Lon Chaney at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 30. In the classic story, a young soprano becomes the obsession of a disfigured musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opera HouseTickets are $8 or $16 for IU students, $16 or $21 for general admission.

Grunwald Gallery of Art

Biology specimens from IU

The Department of Biology donated some of its specimens to the show.

The Wunderkammer: Curiosities in Indiana University Collections — This  show highlights the practice of private and institutional collecting of art, artifacts, specimens and objects through the special collections on the IU campus that are not typically seen by the average visitor.

Some objects in the exhibition include Herman B Wells’ handmade underwear from the Elizabeth Sage Costume Collection, a hen’s egg found trapped inside the walls of the Wylie House in 1835 and an original 1955 Relax-A-Cizor device from the Kinsey Institute Collections.

The exhibition runs until Nov. 18 at the Grunwald Gallery, which is open noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday in the Fine Arts Building.

Mathers Museum of World Cultures

Dia de los Muertos

The Dia de los Muertos altar is displayed in the Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

The 10th Annual Dia de los Muertos Community Altar, on display until Nov. 1, will celebrate and honor the memories of deceased loved ones. Each year the altar is built upon the foundation of the previous years’ offerings. The event is free and open to the public. Times are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekends.

Halloween Family Fun Fest: Monster Mash is at 2 p.m. on Oct. 31. The family-friendly Monster Mash will help celebrate the new “Monsters!” exhibit, which will continue at the Mathers Museum through Dec. 18. Visitors will have the chance to play monstrous games, including Pin the Eye on the Monster and Monster Bowling, and to make crafts, including Monster Goo. Free and open to the public.

Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union

Union Board Films presents “The Babadook on Oct. 29 through Oct. 31. In the chilling film, a troubled widow discovers her son is telling the truth about a monster that entered their home through the pages of a children’s book. There will be showings at 8 and 11 each night. Free with student ID, $2 general admission.

IU Cinema

Psykho III The Musical

“Psykho III The Musical” is one of the short films based on Hitchcock on the bill Oct. 30 at IU Cinema.

Experimental Hitchcock shorts program will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 at IU Cinema. Immortalized as a master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock nevertheless also radically challenged the Hollywood system’s norms and cinematic language. The filmmakers featured in this program have in turn appropriated Hitchcock’s work as their own raw material for their experimental films. Screenings include “Vertigo,” “Psycho,” and “Torn Curtain,” among others. Free, but ticketed.

Mommie Dearest” will be screened at 9:30 p.m. on Oct. 30 at IU Cinema. Based on the best-selling memoir by Christina Crawford, “Mommie Dearest” pulls back the curtain on life with Joan Crawford. This campy adaptation features an over-the-top portrayal of Crawford by Faye Dunaway as an intensely terrifying and abusive monster of an adoptive mother, who could give any horror-film antagonists a run for their money. $3 for all tickets.

Hausu (House)” will be presented at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 30 and 7 p.m. on Oct. 31 at IU Cinema. $3 for all tickets. The 1977 Japanese horror film is a hallucinatory head trip about a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home, only to come face to face with evil spirits, bloodthirsty pianos, and a demonic house cat. Contains graphic content, including violence and nudity.

IU Cinema tickets are available online or at the IU Auditorium Box Office.

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Grunwald Gallery’s ‘Wunderkammer’ exhibition pulls out some of IU’s most curious collectibles Fri, 23 Oct 2015 13:02:50 +0000 blogroomview3

“The Wunderkammer: Curiosities in Indiana University Collections” offers a bit of everything, from helmets and hair ornaments to a portrait of Madame Sul-Te-Wan, far left.

Indiana University has quite a collection of collections.

Within its museums and more arcane repositories, IU Bloomington houses nearly 200 years worth of papers, books, artwork, artifacts and other miscellany.


A tray of bats came from the Department of Biology.

A fascinating fragment of these objects and oddities has been assembled in “The Wunderkammer: Curiosities in Indiana University Collections,” which opens Oct. 23 and remains on display through Nov. 18.

The most valuable and culturally important items are often the most visible. But starting tonight, the Grunwald Gallery will offer a peek at some of IU’s least traditional and most unusual holdings.

“I’m always interested in why people collect things,” said Betsy Stirratt, director of the Grunwald Gallery and curator of the exhibition.

Some things in the gallery seem suited for a witch’s cauldron: pickled vipers, ears of corn and a tray of bats.


Jarred Biology specimens include fish and vipers.

Other items are equally unexpected: Ella Fitzgerald’s wig, a Diana Ross lunchbox and a life mask of William Lowe Bryan, IU’s president from 1902 to 1937.

And a few curiosities are haunting, but in different ways.

Wylie House contributed a long braid of hair from someone now long forgotten. It was found in a drawer there, probably saved as a token of a loved one. On a tour of the house, a young visitor once asked his guide about a lady he had glimpsed on the stairs with long, braided hair. Perhaps the reported apparition could have been looking for the braid, which is still kept tucked away in a drawer.

Another object that has survived without documentation is a stuffed passenger pigeon from the Department of Biology. At one time the birds were among the most common in North America. The species, however, was relentlessly harvested for cheap meat until the last recorded passenger pigeons perished around 1915.

“Wunderkammer” wonderings


Herman B Wells once owned these extraordinary linen shorts.

“Why do these places collect these things? Why do they agree to take them?

“Some things were just there, like the hair braid; Wylie House didn’t choose to collect it,” Stirratt said. “Other things were actually given along the way and maybe came with some valuable things, and they ended up keeping them.”

For example, who knew the university owned a pair of handmade linen undershorts that belonged to longtime president Herman B Wells? Usually the elegant, monogrammed shorts are safely stowed away in The Sage Collection.

A serious side

While the most eccentric objects might provide entertainment value, the exhibition has serious intentions as well.

First, it demonstrates the diversity of IU holdings and brings attention to lesser-known university collections.

Items in the exhibition also showcase IU’s role in important scientific inventions, such as fluoride toothpaste and the first Breathalyzer machine, which is on loan from the IU Archives.

And some objects on display have didactic value as part of important teaching collections, from clothing in The Sage Collection to artifacts in the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology to specimens from the Herbarium, a collection of 140,000 vascular plants.

Trophy Head

Philanthropist Arthur R. Metz left a collection of exotic safari trophies to IU.

“The Wunderkammer” also serves as a reflection of society and our collective past. The exhibition reminds us of past practices that have fallen from favor and introduces us to people who once were well known.

One wall in the gallery is adorned with animal heads from exotic creatures such as a wildebeest. The hunting trophies were donated to the university with great pride by Arthur R. Metz, who also generously funded scholarships, theater and the carillon.

A painted portrait of Madame Sul-Te-Wan, which was contributed by The Black Film Center/Archive, hangs on another wall. She was the first African American actress to earn a film contract, hired by D.W. Griffith to appear in “The Birth of a Nation.” Even the painting itself is rumored to have appeared in a film.

Collections and collaboration

An exhibition as oddly ambitious as this one this could not have come about without the dedication of many curators and managers across the Bloomington campus.

William Lowe Bryan

IU President William Lowe Bryan commissioned this life mask in 1935.

Objects also were drawn from the Archives of African American Music and Culture, IU Art Museum, Kinsey Institute, Mathers Museum of World Cultures and Indiana University Campus Art Collection.

Stirratt said she is grateful for the enthusiasm many fellow curators shared for “The Wunderkammer.” She also sees it as a continuation of past tradition.

“Basically, the Wunderkammer began centuries ago when people started to understand the value of nature, and then started to collect specimens so they could better understand things,” she said.

“It became sort of a status symbol to collect. It wasn’t only nature. It was any kind of oddity, miniatures and all kinds of things that were different. It was proof of people’s knowledge and worldliness to have a collection like that.

“And that, of course, became the basis for museums. That’s what’s interesting to me,” she said. “That’s how the whole idea of museums began.”

Openings, special programs

  • In its other chambers, the Grunwald Gallery is also featuring the video installation “365247.2012” by Kevin O. Mooney, who teaches photography in the Hope School of Fine Art at IU, and “Messengers of Yesterday,” an exhibition of photo collages of present-day and famine-era Ireland by Cynthia O’Dell.
  • O’Dell will speak about her work at 4 p.m. Oct. 23 in Fine Arts Room 015, with an opening reception for all three exhibitions following from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Grunwald Gallery. After tonight, the shows can be seen at the gallery from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday through Nov. 18.
  • The curators and managers of several IU special collections featured in “A Wunderkammer” will present a noon talk Nov. 6 in the gallery.
  • Mooney will give a gallery talk about “365247.2012,” a time-based photographic piece that examines ordinary daily routines, at noon Nov. 13.
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Jacobs School of Music student, Carlo Fierens, to perform in Armenia Mon, 19 Oct 2015 15:31:08 +0000 Carlo Fierens

Carlo Guillermo Fierens is a doctoral student in the Jacobs School of Music. Courtesy photo.

Post courtesy of newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

The Jacobs School of Music‘s reputation reaches as far as Finale Ligure, Italy.

For doctoral student Carlo Fierens, he knew he wanted to fly the 4,800 miles to attend Indiana University for its music school.

“I was looking for a Doctorate in music performance and of course Jacobs School is the top choice for every musician,” he said. “This school is simply amazing. The faculty, the facilities … I was really honored to be accepted in such a wonderful program. I find this program challenging and thrilling in so many ways. I think I can learn a lot with such a great guitar professor and the top level faculty for academic subjects.”

Fierens said music was a natural part of his family.

“My father, Guillermo, is an accomplished classical guitarist,” he said. “I was listening to classical music and especially to guitar music all day long when I was a kid, it was literally everywhere around me. So for me, it was very natural at some point to pick up guitar and start playing it, and it was very natural to start studying it with my father.”

Fierens first started studying guitar with his father, an internationally celebrated musician.

“I would say that my whole idea of what guitar is has its roots in his playing and his mentoring me,” he said. “I never had proper ‘lessons’ with him. Rather, it was closer to what a masterclass is. I was studying a piece on my own and then playing it for him to get his advice and suggestions. We would discuss, as we still do, about music and guitar very often, sharing our thoughts.

“Since I had him at home, I didn’t have any other guitar professor until much later in my career. He was also very wise in not pushing me to play the instrument. He let it be my choice and this is the reason why my guitar development was maybe even slower than usual but, in a way, more solid and conscious.”

Performing as an art form

Fierens said the guitar allows him to connect with his audiences no matter where he plays or who he plays for.

“Playing guitar is not always fun,” he said. “It can be frustrating as it is always a new challenge. But maybe that’s the thing I enjoy more. Music always asks us to push our limits and give it all we have. Each time I play guitar I feel blessed because I feel I’m communicating something to people, connecting them with what I’m doing and with the emotions that are in every piece of music. The moment when you get on a stage is a wonderful moment, full of tension and creative power; it is for those kind of moments that we musician work so hard daily, and it is absolutely rewarding.”

Fierens is no stranger to performing for an audience. At 16, he performed his first solo concert and has continued ever since.

He has performed worldwide, including countries such as Italy, Spain, Austria, Germany, and Argentina.

On Friday, Oct. 16, Fierens left for Yerevan, Armenia where he will play a concert today at the Arno Babajanyan concert hall, one of the most prestigious venues in the country for chamber music. Yerevan is the capital and largest city of Armenia.

His awards

In 2010, as the winner of the special prize for the best interpretation of a contemporary piece at the Cervo Music Competition, he was invited to play a concert at the Chamber Music Festival in Cervo, Italy. In 2013, he won the Italian National Prize for the Arts, a prize awarded by the Ministry of Education to the best music student of the year. As a result, he performed a tour of concerts in 2014, including a gala evening for the Minister of Education in Rome, Italy.

His other awards include:

  • First prize at the international guitar competition, Alirio Diaz, in Rome, Italy
  • First prize at the international music competition, Carlo Mosso, in Alessandria, Italy
  • First prize at the international music competition, Art Music and Talent, in Vicenza, Italy
  • First prize at the music competition, Carlo Agrati, in Milano, Italy
  • First prize at the international competition, Italian Festival
  • First prize at the national comeptition for musicans, Citta di Ortona
  • First prize at the national competition, Citta di Cantalupa
  • First prize at the national competition, Riviera della Versilia

Though Fierens enjoys performing, there is one piece he particularly enjoys.

“Playing for an audience, either big or small, is always something very special, a real gift,” he said. “But I think for me getting to perform the Concierto de Aranjuez, the most famous work for guitar and orchestra, with orchestra on several occasions, was something memorable. It’s a wonderful piece of music, so loved by the audience. And playing with orchestra gives to guitar a whole new dimension.”

Playing in Armenia

“I’m really happy and honored about this opportunity,” he said. “Last year, I won an important competition in Italy that was held by the ministry of education in Italy to choose the best music students of the country. As a consequence, I was chosen to represent Italian music in Armenia for the ‘international week of Italian language and culture’ event which is held yearly in October. The Italian Embassy invited me and I’m very happy to go there not only as an Italian guitarist but also as a Jacobs School of Music student.”

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Prominent poet Rosanna Warren to read from her writings Oct. 15 at The Venue Wed, 14 Oct 2015 19:39:36 +0000 Award-winning poet Rosanna Warren will visit Bloomington Oct. 15 for a public reading and reception. The free event will be held at 5:30 p.m. at The Venue, 114 S. Grant St.

In a career that has spanned more than 30 years, Warren has written poetry, produced translations and published literary criticism. Her most recent collection of poems, “Ghost in a Red Hat,” was published in 2011. Warren has won several Pushcart Prizes, the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award of Merit in Poetry, a Guggenheim Fellowship and numerous other honors. Since 2012 she also has served as a distinguished professor at the University of Chicago.

Rosanna Warren

Rosanna Warren is an award-winning poet who will appear at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at The Venue.

“It is wonderful to have one of the most prominent poets in America visit,” said David Hertz, chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at Indiana University Bloomington. “Clearly she is one of the few really important poets of her generation. Each word she writes is carefully chosen and makes our language fresh. That is always a sign of a major poet in our language, and also in others.”

Hertz has organized Thursday’s event with Warren, which is sponsored by the IU departments of comparative literature; English; French and Italian; and The Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs.

As a critic and translator, Warren has spent a great deal of time absorbing the writings of poets who worked in other languages. “I couldn’t think of any other poet of her generation who has more clearly presented an original American voice and also responded to the music of other languages around the world,” Hertz said.

“She has also served as a leader in a variety of important literary organizations and proved to be a real champion of the humanities in this troubled era. This variety of great abilities is really rare and extremely needed today.”

Warren, who also has served as chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, was raised in Connecticut by her parents, both writers. Her father was Poet Laureate Robert Penn Warren, who won Pulitzers for both fiction and poetry, while her mother Eleanor Clark was a prize-winning author of criticism, fiction and travel books.

“All the really important poets I have read have something in their words that makes experience more intense and new for me,” Hertz said. “I discover something new in the words of the poet and then, as a result, something newly articulated in myself as well! The poet’s word shows the way. Rosanna Warren has this remarkable gift.”

Warren herself first studied painting at Yale University, so it seems particularly fitting that her Bloomington reading of poetry and translations will be taking place at The Venue, an art gallery. More information is available online.

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Students participate in ‘#Halston: Student Design Challenge’ Fri, 02 Oct 2015 18:32:28 +0000 Post by IU Newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

Halston Design Challenge

20 students in IU’s Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design participated in “#Halston: Student Design Challenge.” Photo by Chaz Mottinger.

The spirit of Roy Halston Frowick’s designs came alive once again as 20 students in IU’s Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design participated in the “#Halston: Student Design Challenge” in the Grunwald Gallery of Art on Wednesday, Sept. 30.

This was in celebration of the exhibit “Halston: Line and Legacy,” celebrating fashions by one of the most influential American designers of the 20th century. The exhibit runs through tomorrow, Oct. 3.

Halston (1932-1990) was a former IU student who also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. He started by designing hats in Chicago before trading the heartland for an earned place at the heart of the New York fashion world.

The design students were led by their teacher, Deb Christiansen, an instructor in the department.

“Their directive was to be inspired by Halston’s aesthetic, style, silhouette, design details, or even his use of fabric and color,” she said.

Diane Dickey

Senior Ellie Feitl models a dress designed by senior Diane Dickey. Photo by Chaz Mottinger.

Christiansen couldn’t resist the challenge herself – she made the golden brown sequin top she was wearing the day of the challenge the night before.

“I needed some Halston sequins,” she said.

Christiansen called the challenge a “speed design project,” aiming to help her students overcome future challenges in the design industry.

“Fashion design students will work in a variety of capacities in the apparel industry, but will likely work for and with other people, incorporating their ideas or following their directives,” she said. “Guided assignments help students learn from design precedent, inform them about what fabrics and techniques work for different designs and details, and teach them how to realize a variety of designs and styles.

“The knits and fabrics that Halston used were of the highest quality, and our students are challenged to attain the silhouettes and elements using less expensive fabrics.”

Senior Diane Dickey designed a one shouldered red dress that she said drew direct inspiration from Halston. Her model was senior Ellie Feitl.

“I wanted to design a one shouldered dress that would gather well at the waist,” Dickey said. “It’s a real simple design, so I designed it in red so it would pop. Halston has so many elegant designs, so I wanted to design something similar, with a long length and a dramatic opening.”


Senior Ellie Feitl models jewelry designed by student Ge Bai. Photo by Chaz Mottinger.

Junior Mengxue Ding designed a black dress with beaded work on the chest and an approximately five foot long train. Her model was junior Zoe Chen.

“Some of Halston’s dresses and long and dramatic,” Ding said. “His fabric use is amazing. I wanted to design something with the beads as well, so I added it to the dress, but kept the rest of it bare.”

The long train, Ding said, was an accident. “I didn’t have a chance to finish my hem, so it was a pretty cool accident,” she said, “I decided to keep it.”

Junior Paul Rumer finished his blue jumpsuit design the morning of the challenge. His model was junior Sydney King.

Rumer said he drew his inspiration from the blue, two-piece silk jersey dress from 1974 worn by socialite Anne H. Bass.

Paul Rumer

Junior Sydney King models a jumpsuit designed by junior Paul Rumer. Photo by Chaz Mottinger.

“I added a halter top and a jumpsuit together,” he said. “It took a little of time to do because it wraps around the side seam and then ties in the front, but I love how it turned out.”

The fashion design students also partnered with students in the Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design Department to create accessories to accompany their outfits.

Randy Long, a professor in the Metalsmithing and Jewelry Design Department, encouraged her students to use Halston as inspiration for their jewelry pieces.

“These students were encouraged to interpret Halston through their own aesthetic and their own use of materials,” she said.

The fashion design students are in their third semester of the fashion design course taught by Christiansen. This is their first year of technical design.

“Students are definitely learning what a difference in fabric quality can mean to the outcome,” she said. “These students are also fairly new to both pattern development and draping, so they are more than challenged by trying to achieve such sophisticated design effects with very little experience in realizing design.”

The Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design and the studio fine arts programs will combine to form the new School of Art and Design on July 1, 2016.

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The new Wounded Galaxies Festival to bring avant-garde arts, experimental music to town Thu, 01 Oct 2015 17:39:55 +0000 Be prepared to be surprised.

The Wounded Galaxies Festival of Experimental Media will launch next week with a mix of music, film and other happenings.

“Wounded Galaxies will bring together a world-class slate of performers and filmmakers, the kind of slate that you would ordinarily have to go to Chicago to see,” said Joan Hawkins, a professor of experimental film at Indiana University.


In an Oct. 9 show at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Matmos will perform experimental music that incorporates found sounds.

The Bloomington festival was created by the non-profit group behind the William S. Burroughs centennial celebration in 2014.

While this isn’t a Burroughs festival per se, it embodies his experimental spirit and draws its name from his book “The Soft Machine.”

“The Burroughs Century, Ltd. is a radical arts organization devoted to making Bloomington, Indiana the Midwest destination for those who love and appreciate experimental art, literature, media and performance,” Hawkins said. “We exist for fans of aggressive, experimental music, for creators of outsider art and for Midwest weirdos.”

Different enough

Hawkins said the event has been organized around “music and film that is just different enough to be interesting.”

Nova Express title

IU Cinema screens “Nova Express” Oct. 8.

Another organizer, Charles Cannon, said he wants to connect the established scene here for improvised, experimental music with what’s going on other places. “This is some of the music that I love,” he said.

Cannon said he listens to experimental music partly because he writes science fiction. “There’s no such thing as alien music; All music comes from Earth, but there is music that is so, so strange, it comes from so far out in left field, that you can listen to it and imagine that it did come from somewhere else.”

Music and multimedia

The Wounded Galaxies Festival will offer an array of concerts with multimedia components.

Jazz bassist James Ilgenfritz will perform a solo show Oct. 8, accompanied by a video from Yuri Zupancic, a painter and art curator of the Burroughs estate. “What the two of them have cooked up, I don’t know,” Cannon said. “I just know it’s going to be crazy.”

The Myth-Science Ensemble will feature an aerialist Oct. 11.

Matmos, performing Oct. 9, makes “musique concrète” from found sounds. For example, on one album, sound is created by the combination of live snails, lasers and the otherworldly strains of a theremin (an electronic instrument controlled by movement toward its antennae). “Even if they told me what they were going to play in concert, it wouldn’t sound like the album anyway. And that really fascinates me,” Cannon said. “I didn’t ask them, because I want to be as surprised by it as everyone else.”

Songwriter Martin Bisi is a self-described “performer, producer and cultural antagonist.” He will play Oct. 10 and speak at the IU Cinema screening of a documentary about BC Studio, his celebrated recording studio.

The festival will close Oct. 11 with Myth-Science Ensemble playing a double bill with Ahleuchatistas. Bloomington poet Tony Brewer will perform sound effects with the jazz ensemble during a concert that also features live art and even an aerial performance.

A preview, other events

In a pre-event book launch, Hawkins will read from her new book of essays, “Downtown Film and TV Culture 1975-2001,” at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1 at Boxcar Books, 408 E. Sixth St. A staged reading with music and film will follow from 8 to 11 p.m. at the Back Door, at 207 S. College Ave.

Chris Kraus

On Oct. 9, Chris Kraus will read from her book on Kathy Acker.

Hawkins said films at the festival will include “an extravagant and extravaganza” adaptation of Burroughs’ “Nova Express.”

Russell Sheaffer, an experimental filmmaker and Ph.D. candidate in Communication and Culture at IU, has curated a program of contemporary film shorts called “Queer Mythologies / Queer Histories.”

When he was approached by Wounded Galaxies, Sheaffer said he “immediately jumped” at the invitation to assemble a film program.

“I found that I kept gravitating towards films that pushed on narratives or images of a queer lineage, ‘queer’ here meaning something that incorporates the LGBT spectrum, of course, but that keeps pushing beyond — sometimes in mythological ways, sometimes in more neatly historical ways, but always in wonderfully strange, distinctly queer ways,” he said.

Wounded Galaxies schedule

  • 6:30 p.m. Oct. 8Nova Express at IU Cinema. This experimental science-fiction film by Andre Perkowski will be shown in its original 180-minute form. The collage of original film, found footage and animation incorporates previously unreleased readings by Burroughs. $3.
  • 9:30 p.m. Oct. 8James Ilgenfritz at The Bishop Bar, 123 S. Walnut St. Doors open at 8 p.m. for a musical show by this jazz bassist, composer and, above all, improviser. Ages 18 and up. $15.
  • 4 p.m. Oct. 9Chris Kraus at the I Fell Building, 415 W. Fourth Street (at South Rogers). The feminist, writer and DIY filmmaker will read from her new book on punk poet Kathy Acker. $5.
  • Russell Sheaffer

    Russell Sheaffer

    6:30 p.m. Oct. 9Queer Mythologies / Queer Histories at IU Cinema. Russell Sheaffer curated this program of contemporary film shorts. Contains mature content. Free but ticketed.

  • 8 p.m. Oct. 9 Matmos at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. Drekka will open this one-of-a-kind concert by experimental electronic music duo M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel. $20.
  • 3 p.m. Oct. 10 Sound and Chaos: The Story of BC Studioat IU Cinema. John Zorn, Herbie Hancock, Brian Eno, Sonic Youth and Afrika Bambaataa all recorded at this Brooklyn studio. Studio co-founder Martin Bisi and film directors Ryan Douglass and Sara Leavitt will speak after the screening. $3.
  • 8 p.m. Oct. 10 Martin Bisi at the Back Door. Bisi will be joined by special guest Invisible Things. Ages 21 and up. $10.
  • 6 p.m. Oct. 11Myth-Science Ensemble and Ahleuchatistas at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. This is a double bill. Local performers will provide support, including Sue Rall, Marty Belcher and Tony Brewer. $20.

Unfortunately, John Zorn’s IU Cinema events and concert with Bladerunner have been canceled. Cyclobe’s musical appearances and a Derek Jarman short film program also have been canceled. For details on events, tickets and refunds, see the Wounded Galaxies website.

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Serendipity, scholars and students combine to bring ‘Gods and Goddesses’ to IU Art Museum Fri, 25 Sep 2015 16:11:23 +0000 Claude Lefèbvre after Annibale Carracci

Claude Lefèbvre created reproductive prints of Annibale Carracci’s Farnese Gallery paintings, including “Triumph of Bacchus and Ariadne,” now on display at the IU Art Museum.

The Indiana University Art Museum will celebrate the opening of three new special exhibitions with a public reception tonight.

Behind one of those exhibitions, “Gods and Goddesses: Annibale Carracci and the Renaissance Reborn,” is the story of prints, a palace, a great escape and a good measure of serendipity.

The show is the result of a collaboration between art history professor Giles Knox, his students and Nan Brewer, the museum’s Lucienne M. Glaubinger Curator of Works on Paper, who brought their ideas to fruition.

The prints and the palace

Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel murals might be world-famous, but another spectacular ceiling is less than two miles away at the Palazzo Farnese in Rome.

The Farnese Gallery ceiling is the masterwork of Annibale Carracci (1560–1609), the most influential Italian artist of the 17th century.

Today, Carracci and his family of artists have been “put in the shadow” by Caravaggio, a colorful contemporary figure. “The problem is that we don’t like to appreciate the mainstream,” Knox said.

Claude Lefèbvre, after Annibale Carracci, “Polyphemus Furioso and Polyphemus Innamorato”

Claude Lefèbvre, after Annibale Carracci, “Polyphemus Furioso and Polyphemus Innamorato”

The Carracci frescoes that illustrate the “The Loves of the Gods” have always been difficult for the public to see because they were in a private palace, which today serves as the French Embassy. Still, the important compositions were shared over the centuries through hand-engraved reproductions made by various artists.

“Gods and Goddesses” features 14 prints made by 17th-century French engraver Claude Lefèbvre, as well as supporting materials that include a video of the spectacular Farnese ceiling.

“These prints are really quite magnificent,” Knox said. “They really convey the beauty of the ceiling Annibale painted.”

A colorful journey

The Lefèbvre prints came to Indiana in a most unusual way.

A former IU professor inherited some prints from his family, but they were trapped in East Germany during the Cold War.

The prints remained stashed in the nationalized home for decades, but were left alone by friends living there. When the professor was permitted to visit just a few years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, he managed to spirit the family prints past border guards as he left the country.


Years later, the professor met Knox and invited him to see the collection.

Knox, who specializes in European art of the period, took an interest in the professor’s prints and decided to make them the focus of a graduate seminar.

Last spring, all eight students in the class prepared catalog entries on the prints. Later in the term he asked if anyone was interested in helping prepare an exhibition. He had two enthusiastic volunteers: Carlotta Paltrinieri and Zoe Van Dyke.

“Carlotta and I divided our work pretty evenly and collaborated well together,” said Van Dyke, a master’s student in art history.

Claude Lefèbvre after Annibale Carracci,

Claude Lefèbvre, after Annibale Carracci, “Medallions with Boreas and Oriethyia and the Flaying of Marsyas”

They met with Knox and Brewer all semester and over the summer. When that wasn’t possible, they exchanged email.

The two students helped select which prints would be the focus of the show, how it should be organized and how the prints should flow as visitors walked through the space. They shared the writing of wall labels, too.

Paltrinieri, a Ph.D. student studying Italian literature, also assisted with translation. And over the summer, she returned home to Carpi, Italy.

Knox asked Paltrinieri to secure high-resolution images of The Farnese Gallery ceiling, so she traveled to Rome. She arrived July 14, only to find the French Embassy at the Palazzo choked with tourists. It was Bastille Day.

Luckily she had met Lorenza D’Alessandro, who was restoring the Carracci frescoes, the year before when Paltrinieri was teaching at IU’s Florence Summer Program. The master conservator spotted Paltrinieri and plucked her from the line so she could get what she needed.

A lasting impression

“When I sat down in class that first day, I had no idea this could happen. This would never happen in Europe,” Paltrinieri said. “I had no idea it would lead to an actual exhibition for a whole semester.”

“Working alongside the museum personnel, Giles, and Carlotta has been a fantastic experience. I would do it all over again if I could,” Van Dyke said. “We often met our deadlines early, and I think that speaks to our commitment to and passion for the show and the IU Art Museum.”

Paltrinieri added that Brewer was very practical and welcoming. “Without her, I don’t think there would be an exhibition today.”

Fall 2015 openings

Three special exhibitions open with a public reception from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 25 at The IU Art Museum.

Grand Allusions: Robert Barnes — Late Works 1985-2015” will celebrate the prolific painter and longtime Indiana University art professor who retired in 1999. This partial retrospective presents the rare opportunity to view 18 of his large-scale paintings at once, in addition to 20 smaller works on paper.

  • Michael Rooks of Atlanta’s High Museum of Art will present the opening lecture “Robert Barnes/Blood, Paint and Whiskey” at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 25 in Fine Arts Room 015.
  • A Collectors Panel on Robert Barnes will be held at 1 p.m. Sept. 26 in the IU Art Museum’s Special Exhibitions Gallery.

“Grand Allusions,” “Gods and Goddesses” and “The Indian Sari: Next to the Skin, Close to the Heart” will remain on view through Dec. 20. Visit the website for more information on the shows and a full schedule of related events.

Gods and Goddesses” events

  • The lecture “Annibale or Agostino Carracci — Who Did What When?” will begin at 6 p.m. Oct. 2 in Room 251 of the Radio and TV Building. A light reception with Italian-inspired desserts will follow in the museum’s Thomas T. Solley atrium.
  • Paltrinieri and Van Dyke will deliver the noon talk “The Metamorphoses of Annibale” at 12:15 p.m. Nov. 11 in the museum’s Judi and Milt Stewart Hexagon Gallery. The graduate students will discuss the role of metamorphoses in the work of Annibale Carracci as it connects to Ovid’s “Metamorphoses” and to his stylistic transformation in the Farnese Gallery. For a full schedule of related events, visit the website.
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Prominent pianist Jeff Cohen offers notes to Jacobs School of Music students in masterclass Wed, 23 Sep 2015 16:53:14 +0000 Shin-Yeong Noh and Nikolay Verevkin

Jeff Cohen works with pianist Nikolay Verevkin and soprano Shin-Yeong Noh at a masterclass.

On Tuesday evening, six sopranos and six pianists gathered in Ford-Crawford Hall, all elegantly dressed and attentively waiting for their chances to take the stage.

The students from the Jacobs School of Music were performing for Jeff Cohen, the pianist and vocal coach who will collaborate with another soprano, Angela Gheorghiu, in concert tonight at Indiana University Auditorium.

Jeff Cohen Project Jumpstart

Jeff Cohen also met with students over lunch.

“The woman I’m going to play with tomorrow is a big opera star,” Cohen said. He then explained why it is rare to see a high-profile operatic singer in a concert setting. Without the lavish costumes, scenery and the rest of the company, “it’s a different world,” he said. “It’s very exposing.”

Cohen is a professor at the Conservatoire Nationale in Paris. As a collaborative pianist he has worked with a long list of notable singers, including June Anderson and Ute Lemper.

Earlier in the day, Cohen met with a group of students from the Jacobs School’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Career Development as part of Project Jumpstart.

The student-centered and student-driven entrepreneurial leadership program is designed to help Indiana University’s music students translate their world-class training and skills into real-world success.

In the intimate IU concert hall, Cohen’s full attention was trained on the parade of performers, 20 minutes at a time.


Anna Buck was first to sing.

“I’m nervous,” he admitted. “Tomorrow I don’t have to open my mouth.”

Soprano Anna Buck and pianist Brian Eads were the first pair to step onto the stage. They were followed by Bridget Goodwin and Joni Chan; Elizabeth Cohen and Corey Silberstein; Tabitha Burchett and Riley McKinch; Brooklyn Snow and Thomas Morris; and Shin-Yeong Noh and Nikolay Verevkin.

Cohen freely offered pointers to each pair of students. Many of his detailed comments were about fine-tuning the tempo, French pronunciation and musical dynamics.

At times, he shared history and deeper meanings behind the musical compositions. He also shared advice and wisdom with performers and the fellow music students in attendance:

  • “It’s not easy to be simple.”
  • “Listen to the sound in the room as you make it.”
  • “The hard thing about practicing is that the initial surprise goes away.”

Cohen was generous in his praise for the well-prepared performers, too:

  • “I thank you all for singing by heart.”
  • “I liked your attitude on stage… such clear presentation”
  • “You’re all wonderful; Your French is very good.”

And graciously, the accomplished pianist closed his masterclass with these parting words: “Good luck to you all and thank you very much.”

About the concert

Angela Gheorghiu

Angela Gheorghiu

Romanian-born international opera star Angela Gheorghiu will perform at 8 p.m. Sept. 23 in the IU Auditorium, with pianist Jeff Cohen. Tickets are available online, in person and by phone through the IU Auditorium box office. Seats are $52 and $62, or $31 and $41 for students with ID.

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Acclaimed documentary photographers Andrew Lichtenstein and Cedric Nunn to speak Mon, 21 Sep 2015 16:41:02 +0000 Post by IU Newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein

Sioux riders enter Mankato, Minn., on the 150th anniversary of the hanging of more than 35 warriors Dec. 26, 1862. America’s largest public execution ended a rebellion by the Dakota, who were starving after promised provisions never arrived. Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein.

Indiana University’s new Center for Documentary Research and Practice, an entity within The Media School, will present the lecture “Landscape | Memory | Trauma” on Sept. 24 as its first public program.

Two contemporary photographers, Cedric Nunn from South Africa and Andrew Lichtenstein from Brooklyn, N.Y., will present their work together from 4 to 6 p.m. in Room 1120 of the School of Education.

Photo by Cedric Nunn

This young soccer player is a descendant of warrior chiefs who led the 100-year Xhosa resistance against Afrikaner and British settlers in South Africa. Photo by Cedric Nunn.

Both photographers explore the visual intersection of history and memory on landscapes of war, genocide, slavery and colonial dispossession.

The inaugural lecture is part of a Center for Documentary Research and Practice series designed to appeal to diverse audiences, “from those interested in documentary as art, to those focused on how documentary articulates history, represents other cultures, communicates scientific ideas and aims to promote social justice,” said its director Joshua Malitsky, an associate professor in The Media School.

In addition to their joint lecture, each photographer will present an individual seminar on his own work. All presentations are free and open to the public.

Andrew Lichtenstein

Lichtenstein is a documentary photographer, journalist and teacher who works on “long-term stories of social concern,” according to his website. Over the last decade he has concentrated on photographing in the United States.

He will conduct a seminar from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sept. 24 at the College Arts and Humanities Institute at 1125 E. Atwater Ave.

Andrew Lichtenstein

Photographer Andrew Lichtenstein

As a photographer and journalist, he has published work on a variety of subjects in newspapers, magazines, websites and books. His photographs have been exhibited around the world, including shows in the United Arab Emirates, China, Italy, France and Germany. Facing Change, a photography collective, will soon publish a portfolio of his work.

His project “American Memory” documents neglected historical sites in the United States that evoke and disclose the destruction of indigenous peoples and the violence of white supremacy.

For two years, he traveled around the country to photograph places such as Galveston, Texas, and Chivington, Colo.

In Galveston, the Emancipation Proclamation is read aloud each year on June 19 to mark the date slaves were finally told they were free, more than two years after the document was issued.

And in Chivington, Cheyenne youth gather each Thanksgiving to embark on a 180-mile run that commemorates an 1863 massacre.

“I’ve always believed that the first step towards healing a deep wound is acknowledgement,” Lichtenstein said.

Cedric Nunn

Nunn, who is best known for his photographs taken during Apartheid in South Africa, aims to instigate social change and highlight lesser-seen aspects of society with his photography.

He will conduct a seminar from 1 to 2 p.m. on Sept. 25 at the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies in Room 020 of the Fine Arts Building.

Cedric Nunn

Photographer Cedric Nunn

Nunn will talk about his newest work, “Unsettled: 100 Years War of Resistance by Xhosa Against Boer and British.” In the Eastern Cape in South Africa he documents the terrain where colonial settlers and the Xhosa people fought a series of wars that resulted in the subjugation of the Xhosa.

“This essay looks at the land, which was occupied, desired, defended, lost and won,” Nunn said. “In it we see both the uses and states it is to be found in today, both by the victors and the vanquished. We are able to imagine the heroism and the misery it inflicted on its actors as they either defended or attacked. We see, too, how little of this memory is commemorated or honored.

“We see the smug conquerors, and the conquered. We see the continuing collaborations, which have always been necessary to maintain the status quo. We see the beauty, which stirred the souls of the inhabitants and the lust of the invaders,” he said.

The Center for Documentary Research and Practice

The new center serves as a multidisciplinary unit bringing together scholars and artists from across the university who will work on an array of nonfiction media projects.

It is designed both to support faculty and graduate students who make documentaries as part of their research agendas and to serve as a research hub for those doing historical, theoretical and critical research on nonfiction film and video.

The inaugural lecture series is sponsored by the IU College of Arts and Sciences, the African Studies Program, the American Studies Program, the Department of Geography and the Center for Research on Race, Ethnicity and Society.

For more information on the photographers’ lecture or seminars, contact assistant director Barbara Truesdell, barbara (at)

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Interdisciplinary education at IU helped prepare Kate C. Lemay for National Portrait Gallery post Mon, 14 Sep 2015 19:37:49 +0000 Indiana University graduate Kate C. Lemay has been appointed historian at The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington.

Kate C. Lemay

Kate C. Lemay

Kim Sajet, director of the museum, said Lemay’s doctorate-level education in both American art and American history fits perfectly with the museum’s mission “to tell the story of America through portraits of people who have made and are making this country.”

Lemay, who assumed her post in June, said she is interested in studying how collective memory is woven into “material culture and the art object.”

Through her research and writings, she hopes to preserve the meanings and histories behind the museum’s portraits.

Examining history through art

The National Portrait Gallery is unusual from the standpoint that it employs historians in addition to art historians.

“Art is a window into another world, be it of a different time period or a different geographical location. It serves as a springboard for discussion about larger contexts and issues that are interesting or that influence the here-and-now moment,” Lemay said.

“This is why art is important as a teaching tool, and also why people love the National Portrait Gallery. The museum uses its collection of portraits to put a face on American history. Our portraits give visitors a kind of gateway to look closer at American culture and heritage and gain a more rounded, deeper understanding of what it means to be American.”

IU memories and mentors

Lemay most recently served as an assistant professor of art history at Auburn University and, prior to that, Brigham Young University.

Before that, Lemay was in Bloomington. “I don’t think I’ve ever encountered so many fabulous restaurants in such a small amount of square footage,” she said.

“IU is a special place. It is the perfect spot for studying, at any level, as it is a tight-knit community without a lot of distractions; it is totally focused on its students’ needs.

“In the beginning of my graduate school years I was struggling — I just couldn’t absorb all the information,” said Lemay, who also earned a master’s degree in art history at IU. “Frankly, I think some of my professors had some doubts about me during my early years!”

Lemay said she worked hard and sought assistance. “Luckily for me, IU offers a lot of infrastructure to students,” she added.

When she was a Ph.D. candidate, the art history faculty and the Office of Research mentored her through the process of landing a Fulbright grant, which allowed her to spend a year in France.

“IU professors are outstanding — interesting and supportive. They genuinely care about their students and are pretty much exemplary as human beings. I am still in touch with the majority of my professors and even count them as friends now.”

To learn more about The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery and Kate Lemay’s role there, visit their website and blog.

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IU Alum Hannah Fidell Returns to IU as part of “Directed by Women” Series Fri, 11 Sep 2015 14:04:14 +0000 Post by IU Newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

Director Hannah Fidell will visit the IU Cinema at 3 p.m. Sept. 12 for a presentation and special screening of her dramatic romance “6 Years” as part of the Directed by Women and International Arthouse Series.  This event is free, but tickets must be obtained in advance.

Hannah Fidell

Director Hannah Fidell. Photo courtesy of Lauren Logan Photography.

“IU Cinema is incredibly fortunate to once again be hosting independent filmmaker and IU alumna Hannah Fidell,” said Brittany D. Friesner, associate director of the IU Cinema. “When Hannah offered us the opportunity to hold a special screening of her newest film and to be in attendance, we knew this was the kind of unique opportunity we wanted to offer students.

“Her fresh perspective on filmmaking and generous spirit of engagement will certainly make for a one-of-a-kind screening, one that we hope students will take advantage of.”

There will be a question-and-answer session following the screening that will be moderated by IU junior and co-president of the IU Student Cinema Guild, Benjamin Nichols.

The film follows a couple of six years, Melanie and Dan, through their post college graduate lives, taking them down a path that may threaten the future they planned together.

Taissa Farmiga of “American Horror Story” and Ben Rosenfield of “Boardwalk Empire” star in the film which made its debut at the SXSW Film Festival in March.

Soon after, Netflix purchased the global distribution rights for $1 million. This was the first major feature film deal of the 2015 SXSW Film Festival. It was also nominated for the Grand Jury Award for Narrative Feature at the festival.

Ben Rosenfield, left, and Taissa Farmiga star in "6 Years."

Ben Rosenfield, left, and Taissa Farmiga star in “6 Years.”

The film is mostly improvised. Only a 40-page scriptment, a less extensive form of a script, exists.

Fidell has directed two feature films and several short films. Her first feature film, “A Teacher,” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013 and was later picked up for a television series by HBO.

The film followed a female high school teacher’s illicit sexual relationship with a male student that eventually turned into a dangerous obsession.

Her third feature film, “The Road,” is set to premiere later this year.

Fidell was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2012. She studied film theory at IU from 2003 to 2007.

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Grunwald Gallery exhibition emphasizes Halston’s lasting legacy in fashion Tue, 08 Sep 2015 15:49:58 +0000 Halston at Grunwald Gallery

“Halston: Line and Legacy” is on display at IU’s Grunwald Gallery of Art through Oct. 3.

Halston dressed socialites and superstars. From the 1960s to 1980s, the iconic designer’s clients included Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, Bianca Jagger, Liza Minnelli and Princess Grace of Monaco.

And until Oct. 3, Indiana University’s Grunwald Gallery will be wearing Halston, too.

The exhibition “Halston: Line and Legacy” celebrates fashions by one of the most influential American designers of the 20th century.

Roy Halston Frowick (1932-1990) was a former IU student who also studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. He started by designing hats in Chicago before trading the heartland for an earned place at the heart of the New York fashion world.

Runway to dance floor

“All designers are exposed to the same aesthetic stimuli, but Halston represented the avant garde cutting edge of fashion, someone who was unafraid of expressing his unique design concepts,” said Kate Rowold, director of the Sage Collection in the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design.

Halston disco ensemble

Kate Rowold will speak on “Dressing Disco: Fashion in the Age of Halston” at 4 p.m. Sept. 8.

“Halston’s fluid silk knits created an air of sensuality for the wearer while sitting, walking and dancing,” she said.

Rowold, a professor of fashion design and history, will speak at 4 p.m. today on the topic of “Dressing Disco: Fashion in the Age of Halston.” Her talk in the Whittenberger Auditorium is one of several special events planned in conjunction with the show.

“Part of the disco scene, particularly at a club like Studio 54, was the opportunity to see and be seen,” Rowold said. “The fire and light provided by the beads and sequins on many of Halston’s evening ensembles made the wearer glow from afar.”

A few of Halston’s flashier designs are part of the exhibition, including three heavily beaded jackets shown suspended from the ceiling, where they sway and sparkle in the light. Also on display is an evening ensemble with a silhouette similar to today’s tunics and leggings. Rowold described these kinds of looks as as his “playful chiffon pajama dressing.”

Sleek and chic

What is perhaps most striking about the Halston show is how well many of his 1970s designs have endured. Clean, sleek lines were his hallmark.

“I think he’s influenced the casual luxury way that we dress today,” said Kelly Richardson, the Sage Collection curator.

Halston blue dress

Socialite Anne H. Bass gave this 1974 two-piece silk jersey dress to the Sage Collection.

“Women wore his clothes because his designs made them feel as fabulous as they looked. It’s clear when you see images of women in his clothing — they’re happy, they’re comfortable and they know they look great,” Richardson said.

“On the hanger, Halston’s designs often don’t look like much, because only with the armature of the female body do his dresses, pantsuits, ensembles and caftans come to life. He never tried to sculpt the female body into exaggerated curves or angles, but celebrated its natural form.”

Rowald added, “Many of Halston’s classic elements never left fashion, for instance his elegant use the cardigan sweater tied around the shoulders for evenings.

“The jumpsuit is a very popular trend today, an item of clothing that was reserved for exercise, parachuting and flight uniforms before Halston rendered it in delicate chiffon or silk charmeuse. And, Ultrasuede, a non-woven polyester product, is visible in a variety of garments right now,” she said.

Most of the gowns and other garments in the show are drawn from IU’s Sage Collection of historic costumes. Several other pieces are on loan from Lesley Frowick, a niece of the designer and the author of the acclaimed 2014 book “Halston: Inventing American Fashion.”

  • Lesley Frowick will deliver the lecture “A Personal Journey with Halston” at 5 p.m. Sept. 11 in Room 102 of the Fine Arts Building. A reception and book signing will follow in the Grunwald Gallery from 6 to 8 p.m. This 2015 Bill Blass Design Seminar Speaker is presented and hosted by the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design and the College of Arts and Sciences. The lecture is named for Blass, another Indiana native.
  • Kelly Richardson will give a talk on the “Halston: Line and Legacy” show at noon on Sept. 18 in the Grunwald Gallery. In it, she will trace Halston’s journey from a Midwestern boy to a Seventh Avenue sensation.
  • Deb Christiansen, an instructor in the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design, will present “Halston: Student Design Challenge” at noon on Sept. 30 in the Grunwald Gallery. Her fashion design students will create ensembles inspired by Halston and his approach to fabric, color and silhouette. The resulting designs will be modeled.

The Grunwald Gallery, which is in the Fine Arts Building, is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Both “Halston: Line and Legacy” and “The Miniature” will remain on display through Oct. 3.

blogHalston portrait (c) Lesley Frowick

Lesley Frowick took this photograph of Halston, her uncle. She will speak at Indiana University Bloomington on Sept. 11 and sign copies of her book “Halston: Inventing American Fashion.”

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‘Directed by Women’ series brings guest filmmakers to IU Cinema Wed, 02 Sep 2015 16:21:45 +0000 Post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Tori Lawhorn:

Over the next two weeks, special guests at the IU Cinema will include rising young filmmakers Ja’Tovia Gary and Stefani Saintonge, veteran rock ‘n’ roll documentarian Penelope Spheeris and IU alumna Hannah Fidell.

These filmmakers are coming to Indiana University Bloomington for screenings, presentations and question-and-answer sessions as part of the IU Cinema’s “Directed by Women” film series Sept. 1 to 15.

Barbara Ann O'Leary

Barbara Ann O’Leary created “Directed by Women” last year. Photo by Eric Rudd.

Barbara Ann O’Leary, a social media specialist for the cinema, came up with the idea of a “Directed by Women” global viewing party last year. She envisioned the program as a way to “appreciate the richness and variety of what women filmmakers bring into the world, become aware of the enormous outpouring of motion picture creativity by women on the planet, and expand global opportunities for screening and streaming films directed by women.”

“If you only look at Hollywood, you might think there are very few women filmmakers in the world, but the reality is, there are numerous talented women across the globe creating films and telling their unique stories,” Brittany D. Friesner, associate director of the IU Cinema, said.

“What is true though is that these works don’t often make it to the multiplex. IU Cinema has committed every public screening to women filmmakers during Directed by Women to demonstrate its commitment to spotlighting the contributions and achievements of women filmmakers to the cinematic industry, in Hollywood and beyond.”

Ja’Tovia Gary and Stefani Saintonge

Gary and Saintonge will kick off this fall’s Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series at 3 p.m. Sept. 4. An extended, on-stage interview will be conducted by Terri Francis, an associate professor in The Media School who teaches the class “Black Women Make Movies.”

Gary and Saintonge

Stefani Saintonge, left, and Ja’Tovia Gary will be at the IU Cinema on Sept. 4 as a part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series.

Both directors are members of the New Negress Film Society, a group of black female filmmakers whose priority it is to “create community and spaces for support, exhibition and consciousness-raising.” The visit is presented in collaboration with the Black Film Center/Archive.

Gary’s short film, “Cakes Da Killa: NO HOMO,” won the audience award at the Ann Arbor Film Festival. She is currently working on her first documentary film, “The Evidence of Things Not Seen.”

Saintonge recently won Essence magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood Discovery Award for her narrative short film “Seventh Grade.” Her documentary short “La Tierra de los Adioses” was named Best Latin American Short Documentary at the Festival Internacional de Cine en el Desierto in Sonora, Mexico.

All three films will be screened as part of a short film program that begins at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 4. Dyani Douze’s “You Cannot Haunt Your House at Will” also is featured, and she is expected to join Gary and Saintonge for the screening and question-and-answer session.

Penelope Spheeris

Penelope Spheeris

Penelope Spheeris will be at the IU Cinema on Sept. 10 and 11. Photo by Suzanne Allison.

A director of documentaries and feature films such as “Wayne’s World,” Spheeris will take part in an on-stage interview at 3 p.m. Sept. 11 as part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series. Later, she will attend a 6:30 p.m. screening of her drama “Suburbia.”

Spheeris produced, directed and edited music videos throughout the ’70s and ’80s before moving on to feature-length films.

She also will attend screenings of her “The Decline of Western Civilization” films. “The Decline of Western Civilization” (6:30 p.m. Sept. 10) documented the punk scene of Los Angeles circa 1980, focusing on mosh pits, violence and an anti-establishment viewpoint of society. The documentary followed noteworthy bands such as X, Circle Jerks and Black Flag.

“The Decline of Civilization Part II” (9:30 p.m. Sept. 10) detailed the heavy metal movement in 1988. A decade later she returned to “gutter punk” with “The Decline of Civilization Part III” (9:30 p.m. Sept. 11).

Her comedy “Wayne’s World” also will be screened at 7 p.m. Sept. 12.

Hannah Fidell

Another notable director, Hannah Fidell, will visit IU Cinema at 3 p.m. Sept. 12 for a presentation and special screening of her dramatic romance “6 Years.

Hannah Fidell

Hannah Fidell will be at the IU Cinema on Sept. 12. Photo by Lauren Logan Photography.

Taissa Farmiga of “American Horror Story” and Ben Rosenfield of “Boardwalk Empire” star in the film, which made its debut at SXSW in March and was soon acquired by Netflix.

Fidell was named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film in 2012 . She studied film theory at IU from 2003 to 2007.

“IU Cinema is incredibly fortunate to once again be hosting independent filmmaker and IU alumna Hannah Fidell,” Friesner said. “When Hannah offered us the opportunity to hold a special screening of her newest film and to be in attendance, we knew this was the kind of unique opportunity we wanted to offer students. Her fresh perspective on filmmaking and generous spirit of engagement will certainly make for a one-of-a-kind screening, one that we hope students will take advantage of.”

Other films

The “Directed by Women” series also includes these films:

Tickets are required for all IU Cinema films. “Directed by Women” films will be presented free of charge, with the exception of “Eden.” Tickets are not required for these Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lectures, which also are free, but seating is limited. For ticketing details, visit the IU Cinema website.

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IU’s Grunwald Gallery of Art presents a modern examination of The Miniature Fri, 28 Aug 2015 13:33:40 +0000 Thomas Doyle

“The Miniature” includes “Proxy (Haven Ln.),” an enigmatic diorama created by Thomas Doyle.

Putting together an exhibition of miniatures is no small task.

It’s actually a complicated show to present, said Betsy Stirratt, director of the Grunwald Gallery. She served as curator of the show, along with artist Althea Crome of Bloomington.

The Miniature” will be unveiled to the public Friday, Aug. 28, following a 5 p.m. talk by Joe Fig, one of 10 artists featured from around the country.


This chest crafted by William R. Robertson features a working lock.

“People are fascinated by miniatures,” Stirratt said. “These small-scale things require more attention from the viewer and are collected all over the world.”

Gallery visitors can expect to see tiny houses; delicate handmade furniture; replicas of major paintings; intricate tools and scientific instruments; and hand-knit gloves that are smaller than a single fingertip.

Mixed in among the tiny treasures are more sizable sculptures. These dioramas capture detailed interiors and landscapes, both real and imagined.

Blane de St. Croix, an associate professor at the Hope School of Fine Arts, has referred to his sculpture “Two Ends” as a “monumental miniaturized landscape.” The piece is an exhaustively researched representation of the border between Mexico and the United States. The Tijuana end shows a guarded fence, while its opposite end remains empty and spare.

Dioramas made by Thomas Doyle are enigmatic, dreamlike and often apocalyptic. They depict aftermath and the remnants of ordinary life, all the while enticing viewers to puzzle over what might have led up the frozen, unsettling moments.

More miniaturists

In addition to Crome, de St. Croix, Doyle and Fig, the exhibiting artists are Matthew Albanese, Nell Corkin, Mark Murphy, William R. Robertson, Lee‐Ann Chellis Wessel and Michael Yurkovic. Each has a specialty.

Lee‐Ann Chellis Wessel

Lee‐Ann Chellis Wessel paints majolica and Renaissance art, including this replica of a Fillipo Lippi portrait.

Chellis Wessel crafts tiny versions of majolica pottery and paints replicas of famous Renaissance paintings in egg tempera.

Crome is an “extreme knitter,” who makes intricate sweaters and gloves, mostly at 1/12 scale. To do so, she has fashioned her own knitting needles from stainless steel wires. At times she has challenged herself even further by working at 1/12 of that size, down to the truly tiny 1/144 scale.

Robertson is internationally known for creating meticulous scientific instruments and tools. In addition to examples of his work, the exhibition features a short video on his working methods and devotion to historical accuracy. He discovered century-old stocks of rare wood and velvet in Paris. He worked with a 100-year-old lathe. And in the end, those efforts show in his work.

Different angles

Making miniatures demands patience, precision and obsessive attention to detail.

Althea Crome Warhol Cardigan

Althea Crome knit this “Warhol Cardigan.”

“This show contains work of artisans and artists. They approach miniatures from different perspectives,” Stirratt said. “There are different kinds of creativity expressed here.”

Artisans use consummate craftsmanship to create exact replicas. Artists tend to focus on a specific idea and how to best express that through small forms.

What both groups share is a common commitment to extensive research. “They research the history of the objects and the way things are constructed, the tools used to make these things,” she said.

There is another thing both groups of miniaturists have in common. “They’re amazing people,” Stirratt said.

Openings, special programs

Wm. R. Robertson

William R. Robertson’s “Gold Microscope” has working optics.

Fig will deliver a lecture at 5 p.m. Aug. 28 in Room 102 of the Fine Arts Building. In his work, he sculpts and then photographs dioramas of artists at work in their studios. An opening reception for “The Miniature” will follow from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Grunwald Gallery.

Doyle will talk about his apocalyptic dioramas in a lecture at 5 p.m. Sept. 4 in Fine Arts Room 102.

Robertson and Crome will demonstrate their techniques at noon Friday, Sept. 11, in the gallery.

Also opening in the Grunwald Gallery on Aug. 28 will be the exhibition “Halston: Line and Legacy.” Public programs in conjunction with the show of clothing by the iconic 20th-century designer and former IU student will begin Sept. 8. On that day, IU professor Kate Rowold of the fashion design and culture group will speak about “Dressing Disco: Fashion in the Age of Halston” at 4 p.m. in the Whittenberger Auditorium at the Indiana Memorial Union.

Both “The Miniature” and “Halston: Line and Legacy” exhibitions will continue through Oct. 3.

Joe FIg self portrait

Joe Fig constructs and photographs detailed dioramas of artists at work in their studios. Here, Fig’s self-portrait is a photograph of a diorama. Fig will speak at 5 p.m. Aug. 28.

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Relive childhood through show of famous children’s literature at the Lilly Library Wed, 12 Aug 2015 13:07:20 +0000 blogpopupshipb

“Christoph Columbus Genuensis” is a remarkable 1960s pop-up book from Vojtěch Kubašta.

As adults, many of us recall a special book from childhood. Perhaps it was a library book, a gift or a favorite bedtime story. Page after page, it taught us to read, tucked us into our slumber or otherwise unleashed our imagination.

Through Sept. 26, many of these special books are on display at the Lilly Library exhibition “One Hundred Books Famous in Children’s Literature.”

Edmund Dulac

Edmund Dulac illustrated the Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch edition of “The Sleeping Beauty and Other Fairy Tales.”

Lilly Library director Joel Silver and associate director Erika Dowell have curated a delightful show completely drawn from their library’s rich and varied holdings.

“To me, what is special about this exhibition is the way so many people can connect with it. Almost everyone will recognize some book from their childhood, perhaps a favorite, or perhaps one that they had forgotten until now,” Dowell said. “Not only can you learn about the history of children’s books, but there is also this opportunity for a personal connection.”

The exhibition spans the 17th century to the late 20th century with a mix of early instructional books, classic fairy tales, adventure stories and other offerings.

Visitors will find familiar favorites such as “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Winnie-the-Pooh.”

Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” is here, too, and she’s not the only Potter represented. A “Harry Potter” book by J.K. Rowling is the most recent selection in the show.

History by the “Hundreds”

The show at Indiana University Bloomington takes its title and inspiration from a celebrated exhibition at the Grolier Club of New York last winter, which featured 10 books on loan from the Lilly Library.

Gigantick History

The “Gigantick History” books were pocket-sized.

The Lilly exhibition and its predecessor both focus on enduring children’s literature. “Really, you need to see whether it lasts; I think their feeling was three generations,” Silver said.

“Grolier Hundreds” have been presented only six times since 1903. The themed New York shows are especially important to the history of IU’s Lilly Library because J.K. Lilly Jr. used a Grolier publication related to the first show like a shopping list for his collecting. Over time, he was able to acquire more than 90 of the “One Hundred Books Famous in English Literature.”

Rare early books

Hieroglyphick Bible

“A Curious Hieroglyphick Bible” dates from 1788.

“There are always arguments about when children’s literature started,” Silver said.

The Lilly show begins with an illustrated Latin manual by Johann Amos Comenius, a work printed in 1672. It is one of many pieces from the library’s Elisabeth Ball Collection of Historical Children’s Materials.

Another item from the Ball Collection is a tiny, pocket-sized book from 1740 with an amusing title: “The Gigantick History of the Two Famous Giants, and Other Curiosities in Guildhall, London.”

The collection also contributed the lone surviving copy from a 1763 edition of “A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, Intended for the Instruction and Amusement of Little Master Tommy, and Pretty Miss Polly.”

Original Art

In the Lilly show, the number 100 refers to the Grolier theme, rather than a precise number of books or items on display. The total of 98 books includes several titles in different editions.

Walter Crane

Influential author and illustrator Walter Crane created this unique book of 52 watercolors as a gift.

Seven pieces of original artwork also are featured, including a paste-up sketch for “Madeline and the Gypsies,” an original pen-and-ink drawing of St. Nicholas by Thomas Nast and a “Where the Wild Things Are” drawing and print by Maurice Sendak.

Also notable is a hand-written, one-of-a-kind book of 52 original watercolors by Walter Crane. “A Voyage of Discovery” was intended as a gift for his daughter, ending with final page that reads “And Beatrice finds she has arrived in Birthday-Land to her great joy.”

Recurring themes

“You see lots of interesting themes in the exhibition, like fairy tales interpreted and illustrated throughout the centuries,” Dowell said.

Also represented are adventure classics, including several that Silver said he favored as a child: Robert Louis Stevenson’s “Treasure Island” and Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe” stories.


“Struwwelpeter,” here in English, exaggerates misbehavior.

Some books remain popular, such as Dr. Seuss’ “The Cat in the Hat” and Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

Other once-popular tales have been largely forgotten but are ripe for rediscovery, such as Frederick Marryat’s “The Children of the New Forest” and Heinrich Hoffman’s story of the wild-haired, long-nailed “Struwwelpeter,” which translates to “Shock-Headed Peter.”

Another charmer that has slipped from public memory is a 1908 children’s book about a stray bullet, “The Hole Book” by Peter Newell. The perforations in the pages help tell an amusing story, as the bullet causes chaos like releasing a dog from its chain. “This was a book that I never knew anything about before,” Dowell said. “It’s something maybe that wouldn’t be part of a humorous book today.”

In his introductory text for the exhibition, the director of the Lilly Library acknowledged that J.K. Lilly Jr. and Elisabeth Ball have given a gift to all of us. Silver has written, “We’re very grateful for what they have entrusted to us, and we’re pleased to be able to share their books with interested children of all ages.”

Visitor information, Grolier talk

“One Hundred Books Famous in Children’s Literature” can be viewed at the Lilly Library free of charge 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, through Sept. 26.

The Hole Book

In “The Hole Book,” the pierced pages tell a story.

Beginning Aug. 24, the hours will be extended to 6 p.m. weekdays. The library will be closed Sept. 7 for Labor Day. The show is generally recommended for visitors ages 9 and above.

Chris Loker, curator of the Grolier show, will speak at the Lilly Library at 5:30 p.m., Sept. 10. Loker is an antiquarian book dealer in San Francisco and an expert on children’s literature.

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Display of handmade books by Herron students has been extended at the Fine Arts Library Mon, 27 Jul 2015 19:04:15 +0000 blogstarbook2

The “Herron Book Arts Rewind” exhibition is on display outside the Fine Arts Library at Indiana University Bloomington. Dorothy Slover created this digitally-printed carousel book.

When you go to a library, you expect to see books.

And when you go to the Fine Arts Library at Indiana University Bloomington, you expect to see books about art. But if you visit soon, some of the books are works of art.

Jennifer Rojas

Jennifer Rojas crafted a composite flexigon, which folds down from its rounded form.

Handmade books by Karen Baldner’s students at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis are on display in the foyer outside the library. The exhibition has been extended through Aug. 14.

Baldner described these artist’s books as sculptures on an intimate scale.

Some pieces are shaped like traditional books. Others defy expectation, in the forms of spheres, triangles, stars, trees and more. Some open like accordions or reveal themselves in other unusual ways. Wing-shaped pages pop out of a box about fairies. Another tiny book spills out of acorn caps.

“The book is never just a beautiful object,” she said. “It’s also an interactive information tool.”

Intimacy of expression

Because books are typically small and intimate, they provide an ideal space for artists to express thoughts and ideas “more precious to them,” Baldner said. “Students often go into areas that are tricky for them to digest.”

Parasite by Ashley R. White

Ashley R. White incorporated spikes and pages from the William S. Burroughs book “Naked Lunch” into her book “Parasite.” Photo by Karen Baldner.

For example, one of the most striking pieces in the exhibition is a long, sweeping collection of pages bound together with spikes.

Ashley R. White created “Parasite” over the course of a semester. In it, she details a personal struggle to define her identity as a young, African-American woman as she tries to break away from her old neighborhood, complete her college education and enter a very different world.

“The object itself is expressive of that difficulty. The book is about her mother cautioning her that the world out there is not friendly,” Baldner said.

“That’s exactly what making books is about. It’s finding the expressive metaphors for the narrative.”

Combat and catharsis

Each book has a story.

A stark, grayish book is one of several by Shana Reis, a soldier who recently returned from the front lines of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Shana Reis book

In a series of handmade books, Shana Reis recounted her experiences as a soldier. Photo by Karen Baldner.

It uses paper made by shredding her military uniform as part of a Combat Paper Project workshop at Herron last November. “Veterans who live in our area have found it to be a meaningful way to transition back into civilian life from their war experience,” Baldner said.

In her work, Reis confronts harrowing events and losses. “This particular student has really latched onto the veterans’ project and making books. She uses the books to process her experience, ” Baldner said.

Book arts

All of the books on display were created during the last school year by sophomores to graduate students in Baldner’s classes on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.


Stephanie Beisel made this silkscreened maze book.

Today, as information shifts into digital forms, she sees new possibilities for the familiar structures we know as books. “The book has made itself available for expressive content, and that’s what we recognize as artists.”

The Book Arts minor, within Herron’s printmaking B.F.A. program, stresses interdisciplinary learning and gives students practical skills that can be useful in securing employment in printing, book restoration and other fields.

“The beauty in these courses we teach and in the medium itself is that people come from all directions, really, and meet,” she said. “Here, we are using the language of art.”

More information

The exhibition “Herron Book Arts Rewind” has been extended through Friday, Aug. 14, and can be viewed during open hours for the IU Art Museum or The Fine Arts Library. The library is located inside the museum building and also is accessible from the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts main building.

In Fall 2015, Baldner will teach three courses: Bookbinding, The Printed Book and the survey course Book Arts Basics, all at Herron in Indianapolis.

On Indiana University’s Bloomington campus, Yara Clüver will teach a class, Discovering the Artist’s Book, this fall at Collins Living-Learning Center.

artist books

Other artist’s books on display include “Think” by Katie Smith, top left, “Memory Bracelet” by Nancy Hoogerwerf, bottom, and “Pyramid Book” by Rachel Foreman.

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‘As You Like It’ moves between worlds of student and professional, forest and royal court Thu, 09 Jul 2015 16:56:00 +0000 Amanda Catania

Amanda Catania, who appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, plays Rosalind and disguises herself as Ganymede, a man, in “As You Like It.” Photographs by Amy Osajima

Indiana Festival Theatre will start its 2015 season Friday with “As You Like It.”

For local audiences, it is a chance to be entertained by professional and student actors in one of William Shakespeare’s most loved — and most lovestruck – comedies. The play will be performed in repertory with “The Gentleman from Indiana” through July 25 at The Wells-Metz Theatre.

David Kortemeier

David Kortemeier appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association.

“I am very fond of “As You Like It,” said director Jonathan Michaelsen, the chair of the IU Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance. “It’s really a lovely play I’ve wanted to do for a long time.”

The play contrasts two worlds: a corrupt court and the magical Forest of Arden. Duke Senior has been expelled from the kingdom by his brother, Duke Frederick. As different characters move to the forest, “There’s a lot of redemption and conversion… and so there’s this wonderful sense of spirit and hope,” he said.

Much of the action revolves around Rosalind, daughter of the banished duke. With more than 700 lines, she is Shakespeare’s largest female role. “She’s really the heartbeat of the play. She’s the smartest person in the room.”

Rosalind is the niece of the new duke, “a nasty fellow,” while her best friend Celia is his daughter. “You can imagine this court intrigue,” he said.

Stages of Learning

Behind the scenes of both productions, the five members of Actors’ Equity Association add more than professional stage skills. By working side by side with Indiana University theater students, they lead by example.

Henry Woronicz and Maya Ferrario

Henry Woronicz, who appears courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, shares scenes with IU student Maya Ferrario.

“You talk about experiential learning, there’s nothing like it,” he said. “Our students come into the rehearsal hall and see how these people work and how prepared they are and how committed they are.”

Most of the Equity actors arrived for the three-week rehearsal period already knowing their lines. That, he said, is a great basic lesson for students.

Michaelsen said that when he travels to Chicago and other cities to cast professionals, he looks for good performers, but much more. “I work hard to cast people that I think will work well with students. I tell them, ‘you aren’t expected to be a teacher, but you’re a mentor.’

“There’s a clear sense that here are the Equity actors and here is the student company. On the other hand, when you get together and start working on a play, you’re in it together.”

“This company has been a real delight,” he said.

Close company

That spirit of cooperation and leadership has been especially valuable as students learn the language of Shakespeare. Michaelsen said Henry Woronicz and Fredric Stone have been generous about mentoring students on the text.

Mara Lefler

Mara Lefler, a recent IU grad, plays Celia in “As You Like It.”

Woronicz also has worked well with student Maya Ferrario in their scenes together. As Touchstone the fool, he falls in love with her character, Audrey, and the two eventually marry. “Here’s an undergraduate student who has been able to work with somebody who’s really spectacular and they do some funny scenes together.”

Michaelsen also has enjoyed watching how Amanda Catania, as Rosalind, has worked with Mara Lefler, a recent MFA graduate in acting. Because they play cousins and best friends, “It’s pivotal they figure out their relationship and work through that. It’s been great to see how this professional that we’ve brought in and this student who’s about to head out into the world have built a bond together.”

Contemporary staging

The Indiana Festival Theatre production of “As You Like It,” part of IU’s Summer Festival of the Arts, will be performed in modern dress and set in contemporary times.

zachary spicer

IU alum Zachary Spicer, who appears courtesy of Equity Actors’ Association, portrays Orlando.

Shakespeare’s themes are big enough that they “move through time” and can be tied to what’s going on today, Michaelsen said. He is struck by the world’s environmental and political concerns, and his vision of the court alludes to that.

“Oh, I’ve tried to litter the stage some to give this sense of an unhealthy world that we’ve created. There’s a lot of anger in it… it’s this corrupt world. Duke Frederick is ruling by the iron fist,” he said.

Scenic designer Reuben Lucas describes the court he created as modern and luxe with glossy materials, mirrors and severe angled furniture. Everything is synthetic and plastic, “a polluted veil that is ripped away to reveal the forest and its natural beauty underneath.”

The Forest of Arden, at first plagued with an oil slick, “heals and restores the natural environment and, by extension, humanity,” Lucas said.

As the play progresses, the wintery forest begins to blossom. “The Forest in the springtime is colorful, vibrant, cheerful and full of whimsy; in essence the perfect place to fall in love,” he said.

To see the plays

As You Like It” will be presented at 7:30 p.m. July 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 22 and 24; and at 2 p.m. July 19 and 25 in the Wells-Metz Theatre.

The Gentleman from Indiana,” based on the book by Indiana author Booth Tarkington, is directed by Dale McFadden, associate chair in the IU Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance. It will begin at 7:30 p.m. July 11, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23 and 25 and at 2 p.m. July 12 and 18, also in the Wells-Metz Theatre.

Tickets for each show are $25, $15 for students and are available online, or at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Both plays are appropriate for audiences ages 10 to 12 and above.

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IU professor Tyron Cooper takes home two regional Emmys for his music Wed, 01 Jul 2015 13:27:42 +0000 Tyron Cooper is an assistant professor in Indiana University’s Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies and serves as the director of IU Soul Revue. He’s also a devoted mentor, composer, ethnomusicologist and performer.

Tyron Cooper 2015

Tyron Cooper is the director of IU Soul Revue. Photos by Eric Rudd.

And, since Saturday, he is the winner of two regional Emmys.

Cooper won an award in the Musical Composition/Arrangement category for his original score for the WFYI documentary “Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier.” He also won in the Historical/Cultural Program or Special category as part of the WFYI and SALT team that created “Strange Fruit.”

“It is gratifying to know people are experiencing your work and acknowledging something you created,” he said.

Two sides of the state

In their own ways, both programs are Indiana stories.

Leonard was born in Terre Haute and played basketball on Indiana University’s 1953 NCAA national championship team. But, he didn’t stop there. He overcame his early hardships and eventually played professional basketball, coached the Indiana Pacers and later became a beloved announcer.

“Strange Fruit” tells a more somber story. The segment from “The Art of the Matter” commemorated the 75th anniversary of Billie Holiday’s signature song, sharing the dark and haunting story behind it. Despite its lyrics mentioning “the Southern breeze,” the song was based on the 1930 lynching of two young black men in Marion, Indiana.

At the end of the segment, Marietta Simpson, a professor of voice at the Jacobs School of Music, delivered a moving version of “Strange Fruit” with Cooper accompanying her on guitar. She also won a Lower Great Lakes region Emmy.

Team effort

“Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier” also earned Emmys for its writer and producer, Ted Green, in the Documentary and Writer-Program categories.

“Working with Ted Green is a new and refreshing experience every time,” Cooper said. “We have created a very unique relationship. He is an awesome producer and a really genuine person, which makes it so easy to go beyond the parameters of what I was hired to do. I welcome and value every opportunity to work with Ted.”

Tyron Cooper with an Emmy

Tyron Cooper won regional Emmys for his work on “Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier” and “Strange Fruit.”

On Saturday night, Green was the one who shared the good news — by text message:

“You just won an Emmy brother!”

Cooper’s first words back to him were “Get out of here!!!! For what?”

Before the premiere of “Bobby ‘Slick’ Leonard: Heart of a Hoosier,” Cooper spoke about his writing process in an Art at IU article.

Now, as he looked back, he said, “It challenged me to pull from everything I understood about the social and political aspects of various historical moments over the span of his (Leonard’s) lifetime.

“In the process of producing the soundtrack for his life experiences, I identified so much more about the broader American fabric. That, in turn, sparked my creativity to the fullest extent that I could offer at the time,” he said.

“More importantly, I gained so much respect for Mr. Leonard as a standup man of integrity and warm heart, who touched the lives of his players and broader community.”


Cooper said he greatly appreciates the opportunity to combine teaching with his other musical endeavors.

“I really thank my department and the head of the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies, Valerie Grim, who is very supportive. I also would like to thank my colleagues in the African American Arts Institute, who are all cheerleaders for each other. I want to make sure they know I am grateful they allow me the freedom and the autonomy to express my creative activity along with my scholarship.”

He also said he is indebted to his partner in music and life. “I am also grateful for my wife, Joii Cooper, who manages my performance career outside of the academy. We make a great team!”

Another Bloomington award

In other regional Emmy news, WTIU also won an award for the “Renew and Reclaim” episode of “The Weekly Special.” Among other stories, the program featured Delta Upsilon cyclist Tom Larson, who raced in the 2014 Little 500 after receiving a triple organ transplant.

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Brittany D. Friesner assumes key role at IU Cinema as Jon Vickers starts sabbatical Mon, 29 Jun 2015 14:00:57 +0000 IU Cinema director Jon Vickers and acting director Brittany Friesner pose for a portrait June 10, 2015.

Associate Director Brittany D. Friesner will serve as acting director of IU Cinema while Jon Vickers begins a yearlong sabbatical July 1. Photo by James Brosher

Indiana University Cinema and Jon Vickers have big plans in the coming months. And for the first time in five years, those aren’t necessarily the same things.

Vickers, the cinema’s founding director, is taking a yearlong sabbatical beginning July 1.

While he explores several strategic, creative and promotional projects designed to advance IU Cinema’s standing as a visionary institution, Associate Director Brittany D. Friesner will step into a new role as acting director.

“The cinema is in great hands with Brittany and the rest of our talented team,” Vickers said. “I think Brittany brings many new perspectives to our program. Every programmer has their own vision.”

A new role

Friesner has been working mostly behind the scenes at IU Cinema since September 2013. “From the beginning I was programming, especially with the academic partnership screenings,” she said. “Moving into next year, I’ll take over a lot more hosting of filmmaker guests.”

Brittany D. Friesner and George Chakiris

After a sold-out screening of “West Side Story” last September, Brittany D. Friesner moderated a question-and-answer session with George Chakiris.

As her leadership and programming role expands, other members of the cinema team will take on more marketing and guest services management.

Jessica Davis Tagg has been hired as the events and operations manager and Kyle Calvert is the new design and marketing manager. They join the longtime business manager, Carla Cowden, and Manny Knowles, who has been technical director since the months before the cinema opened.

Falling for film

Friesner first came to IU as a student from Indianapolis with ambitions of becoming a sports broadcaster. By the time she completed a bachelor’s degree in journalism, her interests had shifted toward public relations and marketing.

Following a stint at the Arts Council of Indianapolis, Friesner moved to Seattle and became an event manager at a children’s science museum. “That’s when I realized I liked operations and event management — planning events for people and building a sense of community,” she said.

After experiencing the Seattle International Film Festival, she was inspired to start volunteering for film festivals.

The festival work was a revelation to Friesner: People do this for a living. And with that realization came a new goal: She wanted to work for a nonprofit film organization.

Back to Bloomington

In 2009, she returned to IU and earned a master’s degree in arts administration at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. “By that time, the commitment to build the IU Cinema had been made. I knew it was happening,” she said. “I stuck my claws in the project as early as I could.”

Indiana University alumni Andrew J. West (actor, Walter, The Walking Dead, Greek, Nightmare Code); Brenden Patrick Hill (producer, Purple Bench Films; Walter, The Dark Knight: Begins); and Paul Shoulberg (writer, Walter) are scheduled to be present.

In March, Brittany D. Friesner met the IU alumni who made the film “Walter.” They are, from left, writer Paul Shoulberg, producer Brenden Patrick Hill and actor Andrew J. West.

Friesner wrote an article about Vickers and the cinema for the IU Alumni Magazine. Afterward, she stayed in touch. “I applied for every job that was available and finally got one,” she said.

“She was hungry to work here, there is no question,” Vickers said.

“From the beginning, from the very first interview, we knew that this should eventually be a place for her. She had the passion for it, but also the arts administration background. I’m glad Brittany was persistent!”

A start to sabbatical

This year, Vickers plans to attend a few major film festivals, including Cannes and Berlin, where he hopes to network and “carry IU Cinema’s name and reputation forward.”

Closer to home, he will be working to advance IU Cinema’s 2020 Strategic Plan, including his part in the university’s bicentennial campaign.

Vickers also will work with Film Indiana and other institutions to build additional infrastructure for growth in film and media production in the state. This initiative includes an effort to restore responsible tax credits for film and media production.

IU graduate students Jezy Gray and Jacy Rush have been researching tax incentives and their economic impact in 22 states. Vickers and the students will use that data to craft a detailed proposal that can be brought before state legislators, all in an effort to boost the state’s economy through increased film production. Vickers sees that potential growth in film as something that, in turn, would have a positive impact on The Media School.

Vickers also has a few creative projects up his sleeve, including the making of a short film with Russell Sheaffer, a Ph.D. student in Communication and Culture.

A place for fall

IU Cinema will be dark in July for maintenance, staff vacations and focused administrative time. It will reopen Aug. 6 with “The Wolfpack.” The acclaimed documentary looks at the Angulo brothers, who were raised in isolation in Manhattan, home-schooled and locked in an apartment by protective parents. The six boys drank in the outside world through a television screen, becoming obsessed with movies.

The Wolfpack film

“The Wolfpack,” a true story about six brothers who grew up isolated and obsessed by movies, will be screened on Aug. 6.

Into the fall, IU Cinema will host a lineup that not only continues its tradition of quality, but also will bear Friesner’s individual stamp.

“I think our audience will be excited by the freshness of the program,” Vickers said.

Friesner is looking forward to what is being called “Back to Back to ‘Back to the Future,'” a showing of the series’ three films that will coincide with the day Marty McFly drove a DeLorean 30 years into the future, landing on Oct. 21, 2015.

The cinema will celebrate another milestone with 50th-anniversary screenings of “The Sound of Music.” Friesner promised there would be one “respectable” screening of her favorite film and another campier, sing-along event.

Music fans can look forward to a Frank Sinatra centennial series and also several silent films with live music, including “Ben-Hur: A Tale of Christ” with piano accompaniment and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Blackmail,” which will be presented with a student orchestra.

IU Cinema also will participate in a global celebration of female filmmakers. As part of the #DirectedbyWomen initiative brought about by Barbara Ann O’Leary of Bloomington, all of the films being shown Sept. 1 to 15 are ones made by female directors.

And, of course, there will be high-profile personal appearances, made possible through the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series. Fall guests will include a prominent cult filmmaker and several women directors.

“I don’t think there’s an academic cinema at any other university that is as embedded and relevant as we are. We look at that as our duty, in many ways, but we also don’t look at it as a compromise to our program. It diversifies our program and gives it breadth and depth,” Vickers said.

To see the films

For further updates, check the IU Cinema website, subscribe to its newsletter and look for the fall program book, which will be released by Aug. 12. Tickets can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or at IU Cinema one hour before any screening. IU Cinema ticketing also is available online with a $1 surcharge per ticket.

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Award-winning filmmaker Connie Field to attend documentary screenings at IU Cinema Wed, 17 Jun 2015 15:31:14 +0000 Connie Field will appear at IU Cinema June 18 and 19 for screenings of her films “The Bottom Line” and “Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine” as part of the International Association for Media and History conference being held at Indiana University Bloomington.

Connie Field

Connie Field has spent her career making documentary films on what she calls “hidden histories.”

She will provide an introduction each night, and after each screening will respond to audience members in question-and-answer sessions moderated by Brett Bowles, associate professor of French and history at IU Bloomington.

Field is known for making high-profile films that focus on human rights and social change. Over the course of her career, she has directed groundbreaking documentaries on the history of apartheid in South Africa, the U.S. civil rights movement and women’s experiences during World War II in “The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter.”

Her documentary feature “Freedom on My Mind,” which detailed the struggle to secure voting rights for Mississippi’s black citizens in the 1960s, was nominated for an Academy Award in 1995. It also won the Grand Jury Prize at Sundance.

Commitment and impact

“Across a range of historical topics and scopes, Connie Field has demonstrated a commitment to the combination of personal stories and archival history as a means of communicating struggles for rights and justice,” said Joshua Malitsky, director of the new Indiana University Center for Documentary Research and Practice in The Media School.


Georgina Asfour and Ramzi Maqdisi portrayed Coretta Scott King and Martin Luther King Jr. in the play within “Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine.”

“She offers a voice in solidarity with her subjects as she articulates how political forces impact people’s everyday lives.”

Bowles described Field as “the perfect guest filmmaker” for the group’s 16th biennial conference.

He said that since its inception in 1981, the sponsoring association “has been a hub of dialogue between media scholars and practitioners, with a particular focus on historical fiction and historical documentary film.”

The end of apartheid

The Bottom Line,” which will be shown at 8 p.m. June 18, is a free-standing episode from Field’s sweeping, seven-part series on apartheid, “Have You Heard From Johannesburg?

“This was the largest and most globalized human rights struggle of the 20th century,” Field said in a 2010 New York Times article.


This Mayibuye Centre photo courtesy of “Have You Heard From Johannesburg” shows anti-apartheid leaders Oliver Tambo, left, and Nelson Mandela in 1962.

The project spanned more than a decade as she filmed more than 130 people and gathered more than 1,000 hours of archival footage. It also took her from her California home to South Africa and around the globe.

“The Bottom Line” focuses on how people from all around the world participated in a grass-roots campaign to hold large corporations responsible for their economic involvement in a racially divided South Africa. Public pressure and widespread boycotts led to disinvestment by businesses, and the resulting financial exodus helped bring down the oppressive government.

“When I focus on a history, I try to find one that will have a political relevance to current conditions,” Field said in a related 2011 interview for the Center for Media, Culture and History at New York University.

“I like to layer films so they operate on many different levels. I try to make my points very clear and have them made by the way the film is structured and not by a narrator.”

A dream in the West Bank

Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine” will be screened at 8 p.m. June 19.

Field’s latest film takes its name from the Arabic phrase for “the dream,” al helm. 

The documentary follows the Palestinian National Theatre and an African-American gospel choir as they travel together in the West Bank, performing a play about Martin Luther King Jr.

Al Helm

An American gospel choir traveled through the West Bank with the production of “Passages of Martin Luther King.”

“I was brought to Jerusalem by the playwright, Clay Carson, to just film a performance of his play. But what caught my eye was the African-American choir he brought with him,” Field said.

“They were very devoted Christians who all grew up in churches allied with Israel. This was their first visit to the Holy Land. I became fascinated by how this journey through the West Bank with Palestinian actors would affect them. So I just continued filming.”

On her travels, Field said she found that Carson’s play, “Passages of Martin Luther King,” struck a chord with Palestinians. The audience members identified with African-Americans and their history of oppression in the United States.

To see the films

Both films are free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Tickets can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or at IU Cinema one hour before any screening. IU Cinema ticketing also is available online with a $1 surcharge per ticket.

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IU employees work to save hidden murals from former Wishard Hospital Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:35:48 +0000 Guest post courtesy of Kelsey Tharp, Physical Plant intern: 

Four murals painted by a group of Hoosier artists have been rescued from a wing in the former Wishard Hospital.

The murals decorated the walls of what was known as the hospital’s Burdsal Unit, named for Indianapolis businessman Alfred Burdsal. The ward opened in 1914 and was dedicated to treating both children and adult patients.


In the former Wishard Hospital, lockers once covered this mural of children playing tug of war. Photo courtesy of Michael Ruzga

During a recent walk-through of the property, which IU now owns, associate university architect for research Richard Thompson realized the fifth floor of the Burdsal Unit was covered in murals hidden behind a thick coat of paint.

Although it was impossible to see the majority of their subject matter, the murals were an important piece of history from Indiana’s first hospital that Thompson knew he wanted to help save.

Several organizations had conducted campaigns to remove the most significant mural fragments in the past, including many that are now on display at Eskenazi Health. These artworks were featured in the 2004 publication “The Art of Healing: The Wishard Collection” and were also on view at the Indianapolis Museum of Art in the 2009 exhibition “Preserving a Legacy: Wishard Hospital Murals.” Nevertheless, others remained.

Thompson said the original intent of the murals was to promote wellness and healing for patients, something that is still a significant design topic for successful health care facilities.

“Saving the murals for art’s sake had been done before,” he said. “But saving the art, coordinated by artists and assisted and supported by many others, and to recognize the intent of the healing significance is another.”

wishard murals

In a slow and painstaking process, large canvases were loosened from the walls without further damaging the murals. Photo courtesy of Michael Ruzga

Because the former hospital buildings are slated for demolition, Thompson knew he had to act quickly.

He enlisted the help of Sherry Rouse, IU’s curator of campus art, to figure out where to start. Rouse eagerly accepted, and the pair hired conservator Mike Ruzga and his team at Fine Arts Conservation Inc.

Through careful work, Ruzga’s team was able to save four of the murals. They were wrapped around a large, cylindrical tube to protect them and will be taken from the building via crane before demolition starts this summer.

Although most of the murals are not visible, Ruzga was able to discern a few features in three of them. One features a nurse or mother accompanied by a baby or cherub, leading to speculation it might have been the work of John Wesley Hardrick, an artist who specialized in depicting religious scenes. The neighboring murals have images of boys playing a rope game and girls with bouquets.

To remove the paintings, Ruzga’s team used a painstaking process involving sliding a 20-inch metal spatula behind the murals to slowly remove them from the wall. The largest section took three days to remove, while another took four days.

“It was a miracle we got them off of the wall, and it will be a miracle when we raise the money to salvage them,” Rouse said. “It will be a feather in our cap to restore these images.”

Besides being an interesting slice of Indiana history, she said, the murals are special because a group of artists decided hospital patrons should have something beautiful to view while they stayed in Wishard.

Supported by the St. Margaret’s Guild women’s group, the collaborative artists group led by William Forsyth included Steele, Hardrick, Otto Starke, Clifton Wheeler, Wayman Adams, Simon Baus, Walter Hixon Isnogle, Carl Graf, Jay Connaway, William E. Scott, Emma B. King, Dorothy Morlan and Martinus Andersen.

It is believed to be one of the first projects in the United States that commissioned artists to paint for a hospital.

For now, most of the paintings will be kept in an art storage building in Bloomington until IU can find a method to conserve them. The most significant paintings of the group, four Steele murals representing the seasons, were previously conserved and are now prominently displayed in the main concourse at Eskenazi Health.

Eskenazi T.C. Steele murals

T.C. Steele murals of the four seasons were previously removed from Wishard Hospital and are now prominently displayed at Eskenazi Health. Photo courtesy of Eskenazi Health


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Into words: The Indiana University Writers’ Conference marks 75 years of inspiration Thu, 04 Jun 2015 18:09:48 +0000 bloglyndagraveyard2

Instructor, artist, writer and creativity guru Lynda Barry participated along with IU Writers’ Conference students when Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s poetry class visited the graveyard.

Last Saturday more than 70 writers converged on the Bloomington campus to immerse themselves in a shared craft at the 75th Indiana University Writers’ Conference, which wrapped up yesterday.

People came from across town and as far as California to learn from a faculty that included John-Paul Zaccarini, an aerialist and circus Ph.D. who had just arrived from Sweden.


Alissa Nutting wrote “Tampa.”

This year director Bob Bledsoe and associate director Trevor Mackesey assembled a diverse team of gifted writers who are skilled instructors: Lynda Barry, Dan Chaon, Lou Berney, Gabrielle Calvocoressi, Alissa Nutting and IU’s own Adrian Matejka.

Over the past few days, I attended selected sessions both as an observer and participant. For this I feel fortunate — and inspired.

We arrived as individuals, many of us strangers, who often spend our writing lives engaged in solitary journeys, word by word.

On the first class of the first day, Nutting shattered the ice between all of us. She’s a firm believer in the power of shame and embarrassment in shaping characters and narratives. She asked for our most embarrassing, shameful confessions, then wrote them on the white board. Session by session she examined what she called “the different cameras of shame.”


Calvocoressi, a poet, encouraged students to mine the depths of immediate experience. She began with an exclamation: “I had the best morning!” For inspiration, she set out a table full of her finds from the Bloomington Community Farmers’ Market: strawberries, sweet cherries, a flowering branch and a bunch of chickweed.

“Am I allowed to say, Bob, that tomorrow we meet in the graveyard?”


Gabrielle Calvocoressi read new work at Bloomington Playwrights Project May 31.

And we did.

We wandered through Dunn Cemetery in the misty rain and let our own experiences there guide our writing later.

Those were powerful moments. Here were just a few other revelations:

  • “Writing is a practice, like anything. If you are not doing it, you are getting rusty.”
    — Dan Chaon
  • “Sometimes we forget what our eye falls on first.” As writers, we need to pay attention to that. — Gabrielle Calvocoressi
  • Whether you are a circus performer or a writer, you need to “seduce” your audience. — John-Paul Zaccarini
  • To write good things that sell well, “that’s a hard needle to thread.” Especially in crime books, thrillers and mysteries, readers must need to turn the page. — Lou Berney
  • Whether someone writes, draws or paints, there is value in the act of making, not just the product. “It is not just what the painting is giving to the world, it’s what it gave you while you were making it.” — Lynda Barry

Reading and writing

By day the faculty shared their acquired wisdom in workshops, classes and panels, and by night, shared their work through inspired readings.

John-Paul Zaccarini

John-Paul Zaccarini draws upon circus and psychoanalysis in his approach to creativity.

Saturday, Matejka electrified excerpts from his book “The Big Smoke,” a finalist for both a National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize in poetry. He also read a poem about Miles Davis that he had written in 1995 as a student attending the conference, back before his books or awards, and perhaps before he was certain he was a poet at all. His early words were an affirmation.

Nutting followed with a side-splitting reading from a forthcoming novel, which recounted the misadventures of Hazel and her father’s naughty doll.

By Monday night, when 39 conference participants did brief readings of their own work, the assembled writers were beginning to feel like a group. “This is my first poem, my first reading,” one man confessed. You never would have known.

Two old friends read in tandem like a seasoned comedy team in a humorous bit about doing public readings, “Open Mic Night at the Writers’ Conference.”

We were college students, staff members, lapsed writers, moonlighters, career-changers and retirees, but we all aspire to write better. We gave readings about family, friends, lovers, leaf blowers, cats — and a priest who had an unfortunate meeting with a baseball bat.

Yes, we did.

(Well, I did not. Consider this my public reading).


Bledsoe, now in his 10th year as director of the IU Writers’ Conference, said the most special thing about 2015 was that it didnt feel all that different.

“The 75th anniversary allowed us the spotlight,” Mackesey said.

“That’s it, exactly,” Bledsoe agreed. “The anniversary has revealed what we’ve been doing all along.”

I can’t wait to see what’s in store next year.

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The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show 2015 features many messages, many media Fri, 29 May 2015 13:31:46 +0000 blogcomposite

Multimedia pieces in The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show 2015 include, from left, Jamil Hellu’s video “From Your Head to Mine,” Tara Ott’s video “Marriage” and Francisco Magdaleno’s “Portrait of Tía Chely,” which is descirbed as “audio on canvas.”

The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show has reached a major milestone.

The exhibition — on display through July 11 at the Grunwald Gallery — marks its 10th year with a lively mix of artwork about sexuality, gender, relationships, reproduction, eroticism and the human figure.

“This is the best Kinsey juried show yet,” said Betsy Stirratt, director of the gallery and one of the jurors. “I am so pleased to see that the entries have become more thoughtful and thought-provoking than ever.”

It all began in 2006 as The Kinsey Institute Juried Erotic Art Show. Over time, the annual event has expanded to include more artwork and more themes relating to the mission of The Kinsey Institute. At first confined to an intimate setting within the Kinsey space at Morrison Hall, the show moved to the expansive gallery inside the Fine Arts Building in 2009.

A rich mix

Kathleen Garrison of Bloomington created the large-scale pastel "Ready."

Kathleen Garrison of Bloomington created the large-scale pastel “Ready.”

The 2015 edition of the show offers a rich mix of media and viewpoints, thanks to the Kinsey curator Catherine Johnson-Roehr, associate curator Garry Milius, and at the Grunwald, Stirratt and Jeremy Sweet, technical advisor and associate director.

In addition to photography, paintings and prints, there are ceramics, multimedia installations, readymade objects, sculptures and more.

Outside the gallery, a sign alerts visitors: “Please be aware that works in this exhibit contain nudity and sexual situations.”

Those who venture beyond the frosted doors will see that artists from around the country — and one from the Netherlands — have responded astutely to the exhibit themes. Some pieces make bold statements, while others display nuance, wit and whimsy.

A common thread

This year, both the Best in Show and Curators’ Choice and prizes have been awarded to fiber pieces.

Jennifer Hart of Lexington, Kentucky, received the top honor for “Self Portrait With J.” As her website states, her creations are “not your grandma’s quilts. Her art is about transformation; She turns pornography into “humanized” nude figures, and fabricates the images from discarded thrift-shop clothes.


One oil painting in the exhibition is William Holub’s “The Great Guidance.”

“I think the ‘Self Portrait with J’ is both a personal statement and a continuation of my dialogue on pornography,” she said.

Aric Verrastro’s “Teammate Series” won the Curators’ Choice. The Bloomington artist, who graduated from IU this month with MFA in metalsmithing and jewelry design, often incorporates textiles and textile techniques into his work. Here he has reimagined football shoulderpads in satin and lace, embellished with false eyelashes and acrylic nails. In a passage on his website, Verrastro explained that he has referenced protective gear from a very traditional, masculine pastime and made it overtly feminine.

“As a gay man, I constantly have to be conscious of my masculinity and its perception in social settings, even within gay culture,” he said.

Other artists also have chosen to address relationships and sexual themes through traditional forms of textiles. Among them, Kathryn Shinko has embroidered racy text messages in her “Dirty Sampler Series” and Bren Ahearn has employed cross-stitch in her “Sampler #13” to list milestones and ask: “When Will I Ever Learn?”

Crowd favorite

The opening night crowd at the exhibition selected the third show award, the Gallery Visitors’ Choice, which went to a giant wood sculpture by Melanie Cooper Pennington of Bloomington. She is a current MFA student at IU who will be teaching an introductory ceramics course in the fall. “I am interested in mining the figure in all of its parts,” Pennington said about her work.

“I feel that getting the People’s Choice award is appropriate for the sort of art that I try to make. I tend towards what-does-it-mean-to-be-human sorts of themes that I hope will inspire viewers to interact with the pieces.”

To see the show

The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show 2015 remains on display at the Grunwald Gallery through July 11. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

teammate series

The “Teammate Series” by Aric Verrastro was awarded Curators’ Choice in the Kinsey show.


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IU Libraries Moving Image Archive preserves, shares Indiana University’s unique film assets Fri, 08 May 2015 14:02:11 +0000 guy maddin

Guy Maddin shares clips from “Seances” and “The Forbidden Room,” which reinvent lost films: “It’s like the lost movies are projected onto ectoplasm that’s moving, very filmy and ghostlike.”

When filmmaker Guy Maddin visited Indiana University last month, he told a class of film preservation students that he is haunted by the specter of lost films.

IU Libraries Moving Image Archive

The IU Libraries Moving Image Archive is located in the Ruth Lilly Auxiliary Library Facility.

“This is the first time I’ve had an audience that knows what lost films are,” Maddin said.

The Film Foundation estimates that more than half of the films created before 1950 and 80 percent made before 1929 are gone forever, with all copies degraded, destroyed or discarded.

Maddin’s response to the lost art has been a creative one. Through his “Seances” and “The Forbidden Room” projects, he has devoted five years to reinventing lost films, based on surviving titles, descriptions and his own wild imagination.

Unlike Maddin, film archivists can’t conjure lost works from the past. What they can do is collect, protect and restore imperiled works and make them accessible to the public.

At Indiana University, this is the work of the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive.

Film wonders

“I love many things about the collection, and could talk for hours about the uniqueness and treasures that we hold and preserve,” said Rachael Stoeltje, director of the Moving Image Archive.


Andy Uhrich is film archivist at the IU Libraries Moving Image Archive.

Two films in IU collections, “Wolf’s Trail” and “Sky High Corral,” are the last known copies of what once were major Hollywood movies from Universal Pictures. The 1927 Francis Ford film “Wolf’s Trail” was described in ads as “a good thrill picture” about police dog Dynamite the Wonder Dog, also called the Devil Dog. The western “Sky High Corral” was made a year earlier by Clifford S. Smith, and features its own dog, Rex, in addition to Raven, the Wonder Horse.

These films escaped extinction as part of the collection of director David S. Bradley, which was acquired by the Lilly Library in 1997.

Stoeltje said the Moving Image Archive now holds about 108,000 items.

“You have to plumb the depths,” said Andy Uhrich, film archivist and Ph.D. student in Communication and Culture. “You sort of dive in and find these really special films.”

A reel education

The Moving Image Archive has a greater importance beyond its rare, individual films. “The more that we bring together as a whole, it raises the value of each individual item in the collection,” Uhrich said.

The archive is dominated by its rich collection of educational films, which he described as “a lot of unexplored documents on a lot of topics.”

Moving Image Archive film reels

The IU Libraries Moving Image Archive holds a large and growing number of educational films.

For more than 75 years, the university circulated educational slides and films, many of them produced here, to school districts around the state for little or no charge.

In a way, these films are the opposite of the lost silent-era Hollywood films with a trail of materials describing them. Many educational films survive, but often very little is known about their filmmakers or their production.

“The exciting thing about educational film is it’s an under-described area of scholarship because it wasn’t really taken seriously,” Uhrich said.

Collectively, these films offer a lost social history on how different topics were viewed at various points in time. “What they offer is a history of film, a history of culture. It requires a different kind of examination.”

World War II film exhibit

To mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day last year, the Moving Image Archive created an online exhibit of 117 World War II propaganda films made between 1940 and 1945.


“The Thousand Days” is part of the “WWII Propaganda Films and IU” online exhibit.

Stoeltje is especially proud that on the anniversary of D-Day,  June 6, an additional 84 titles will be unveiled as part of the exhibit.

“These are all films that have never before been seen or digitized elsewhere,” she said. “This will bring the exhibit to over 200 unique, historic, amazing films, many made by the U.S. Department of War or the Army Pictorial Service of the Signal Corps.”

“During World War II every film was directed towards the war effort. Every film became propaganda,” Uhrich said.

Because of this, the WW II films actually cover a wide array of subjects and touch many aspects of civilian life. One example is the newly digitized film “You Can’t Eat Tobacco,” which captures the plight and poverty of tenant farmers.

Public screenings

Films from the Moving Image Archive also are shared through occasional public screenings, such as “Social Guidance Sundays” at The Bishop Bar in Bloomington. In April, the program featured educational films narrated by none other than Orson Welles. The monthly series is scheduled to resume in August.

Also, at a recent South Side Projections event in Chicago, Uhrich presented a program about how educational films from the 1960s and early 1970s dealt with the struggle for racial equality.


George Heighway is shown in this 1945 photo from IU Archives.

Ongoing efforts

Uhrich said the Moving Image Archive is “still always ingesting” new items.

Because film reels require more one-on-one attention than some other types of media, they are not directly involved in the first phase of the university’s larger Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative. Still, the same spirit of preservation is already underway in the archive, and active planning has begun to address these films in future phases.

Graduate students in the film preservation class Stoeltje and Uhrich taught have gained practical experience by pitching in. During the semester, each student chose a work, justified its selection, then inspected it, supervised its digitization, researched its history and provided access to the film through a screening or online posting.

For his project, Seth Mitter, a graduating Master of Library Science student from Bloomington who also has worked as an assistant in the archive, worked on “Epileptic Seizure Patterns.” “I chose to work on this film because of its connection with Paul Sharits,” Mitter said. Sharits was an avant-garde artist and filmmaker from IU who used some of the scenes in his well-known 1976 film “Epileptic Seizure Comparison.”


“Booze and You’s” is a 1977 educational film that warns about the dangers of overindulgence.

The 1963 film now is available for online viewing alongside a wide variety of science, how-to and other educational films.

Among the archive’s more unusual offerings online are the cautionary film “Booze and You’s” and the portrait of a mammal that children have dressed in a hula skirt, “Chucky Lou — Story of a Woodchuck.”

The Moving Picture Archive also collaborates with other collections at the university, such as a partnership with the Office of Archives and Records Management that has digitized the home movies of George Heighway, a former alumni secretary and executive director of the IU Foundation. The films provide a time capsule view of Brown County life and the Bloomington campus in the 1920s through 1940s.

All the right stuff

“Humans create a lot of stuff,” Uhrich said.

Part of an archivist’s job is to recognize which stuff has enduring value.

VHS tapes have recently transitioned from useful things to archival objects. And archivists now must weigh whether video games and social media can or should be preserved for the future.

“This happens with collections,” he said. “Someone is just using it and you don’t think about it, and then it gets old enough and you realize, ‘Wait! This is rare, valuable.”

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William Siegmann’s cultural legacy shown in exhibitions at IU Art Museum, Mathers Museum Tue, 05 May 2015 13:50:58 +0000
William Siegmann photo of Sande_societyblog

In 1985, these young girls were initiated into the Sande Society in Liberia.

Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Emily Davis:

Indiana University alumnus William Siegmann (1943-2011) was a leading expert on the art and culture of the African countries Liberia and Sierra Leone. A photographer, collector, and overall connoisseur of art, his work transcended traditional aesthetic values and reflected his vast knowledge of the cultures in which he studied.


A dance masquerader from Glaro performed at the National Museum of Liberia in the 1980s.

This week is the last chance to see more than 70 objects collected by Siegmann in the exhibition “Visions From the Forests: The Art of Liberia and Sierra Leone” at the Indiana University Art Museum. The masks, figures and art objects from more than a dozen ethnic groups provide a comprehensive overview of the region’s traditional art forms. The major traveling exhibition, which was organized by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, remains on display until May 10.

In addition, “Photography from the Forest: Images by William Siegmann” continues at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures through Dec. 20. The exhibition features 17 photographs that were taken in Liberia over the course of two decades. The images provide a window into everyday customs and different aspects of life in Liberia.

Legacy of an alumnus

“The exhibition is not just about sharing the work of Bill Siegmann, but also honoring his legacy,” said Judith Kirk, assistant director at the Mathers Museum. “He was a leading expert on the arts of Liberia and Sierra Leone, but also shared that knowledge and mentored future generations of scholars.”

William Siegmann

William Siegmann in the 1970s

During his lifetime, Siegmann served as curator at the Africana and National Museums in Liberia, the Museum of the Society of African Art in New Jersey, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Siegmann worked towards a master’s degree in African history and art history at IU from 1969 to 1974. As an alumnus, he donated hundreds of collected objects to the Mathers Museum and the Indiana University Art Museum, solidifying his life-long connection to the university. He also was instrumental in the development of the Indiana University Liberian Collections through his generous donations of archival materials and thousands of photographs.

His legacy to IU and to museums across the country was marked not only by his long-term engagement with the Liberian people but also by his commitment to providing exposure of different types of art and culture to people across the world.

“Visions From the Forests” includes over 70 masks.

To see the exhibitions

Visions From the Forests: The Art of Liberia and Sierra Leone” is on display at the Indiana University Art Museum through Sunday, May 10. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The show features masks, jewelry and other objects from West Africa.

Photography from the Forest: Images by William Siegmann” is on exhibit at the Mathers Museum of World Cultures  through Dec. 20. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Summer institute at the Mathers Museum

In other news at the Mathers Museum, the international summer institute “Museums at the Crossroads: Local Encounters, Global Knowledge” will be held May 14 to 21. The weeklong event will bring together museum professionals; scholars of social and cultural theory and museum practice; and Indiana University Bloomington professors, graduate students and staff. Visiting scholars will present four lectures that will be free and open to the public.

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IU Cinema to screen ‘Whatever Comes Next’ documentary by professor Hildegard Keller Thu, 23 Apr 2015 20:15:41 +0000 Annemarie Mahler

“Whatever Comes Next” looks at the life of Annemarie Mahler, shown here with her dog, Leah.


IU Germanic Studies professor Hildegard Elisabeth Keller is a medieval scholar.

But these days, a completely different form of illumination is behind her work.

Her documentary film “Whatever Comes Next” will be screened at 6:30 p.m. April 26 at Indiana University Cinema. A question-and-answer session with the filmmaker will follow.

The feature is an imaginative look at the life of Annemarie Mahler, a painter who has lived in Bloomington since 1955.

Sketch of a woman

WCN flyerforblog

Mahler, now 89, is an extraordinary woman.

Annemarie Ettinger was a schoolgirl from Vienna on a carefree ski trip when the trajectory of her life changed forever.

The year was 1938 when Germany annexed Austria. She and her family had to leave their hometown, moving first to Holland and then to New York.

But the forced exile is only one aspect of a life filled with learning, love and art.

Keller said her protagonist’s life “is long enough, it’s vital and artistic enough that it invites a poetic representation of it.”

Around the world in film

Keller has just returned from Florida, where “Whatever Comes Next” had its U.S. premiere with screenings at the partner festivals Through Women’s Eyes and the Sarasota Film Festival.


Hildegard Elisabeth Keller is a medievalist and a filmmaker.

It’s the latest adventure in what she described as “finding my way in a new field.”

In 2011, Keller made Der Ozean im Fingerhut, or “The Ocean in a Thimble,” an experimental film about “four women beyond time.” The German-language film is based on her audio book about a fictitious meeting of four mystics from different centuries: Hildegard von Bingen, Mechthild von Magdeburg, Hadewijch and Etty Hillesum.

Her new live-action documentary was filmed in Bloomington and in Woods Hole, the Cape Cod town where Mahler keeps a summer home, but the film also is international in scope. “Two continents were involved,” Keller said.

Keller and cinematographer Carter Ross, a 2013 IU alumnus, completed the post-production work in Switzerland, including the addition of Olav Lervik‘s original score for the film. And in November 2014, the film had its world premiere in Keller’s Swiss hometown, Wil.

A learned life

After Annemarie completed high school in New York, she went on to study art and English at Hunter College, part of the City University of New York, at a time when tuition was $8 a semester.

Annemarie Mahler studio

A collage is in progress in Mahler’s studio.

After a visit to Berkeley, she decided to continue her studies there, and soon met Henry R. Mahler. Amazingly, they had attended the same grammar school in Austria, but had not known each other as children.

The two were introduced on Halloween, he proposed on Christmas and they were married on Groundhog Day.

“We understood each other perfectly. We weren’t ‘other’ to each other. We knew each other perfectly from the very beginning,” she said.

“I think we both married Vienna.”

Bloomington bound

The Mahlers came to Indiana University after five years at the University of Wisconsin and fell in love again, this time with Bloomington.

Annemarie Mahler

Annemarie Mahler is an accomplished painter.

Henry was a noted biochemist and became a distinguished professor in the IU Department of Chemistry.

In her original plan, Annemarie said, “I was just going to paint.”

But by then, her husband had survived a serious cancer scare. As a mother of three children, she needed the security of her own career as an academic.

She continued her art studies at IU. “I became Henry Hope’s graduate assistant,” she said. Hope was the head of the school and a national figure in art. While he traveled extensively, she taught his art history classes.

Mahler eventually earned her Ph.D. in comparative literature and began teaching at the University of Cincinnati, commuting two days a week from her Bloomington home.

Henry defied the odds and lived until 1983.

And through it all, Annemarie never lost her love — and need — of painting. For her it was a meditation, like yoga.

Portrait of a painter

Keller’s film is a layered look at Annemarie Mahler’s life. It moves from the deep past into the present and in between its many facets. But mostly, it tries to capture her as she sees herself — as an artist.

tiny figure

In the film, Keller allows Mahler’s life to narrate itself in what she calls “an Alice-in-Wonderland” fashion.

“Painting is who I am,” Mahler said. “When it comes to painting, I really have nothing to say.

“They speak, not I,” she said as she gestured toward a canvas. “They speak for me.”

Both the filmmaker and her subject are bold, creative women whose artistic visions do not always correspond exactly.

“There is nothing in the world I love better than dealing with subject matter,” Mahler said. “But it turns out that being subject matter is excruciatingly uncomfortable.”

Still, the film beautifully and poetically sketches the portrait of a fascinating woman; Mahler is an artist, an academic and all-around survivor who boldly faces “Whatever Comes Next.”

To see the film

The Midwest premiere of “Whatever Comes Next” will be at 6:30 p.m. April 26.  A question-and-answer session with Keller will follow. Tickets are required, but free of charge. Tickets for all IU Cinema films can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; at the cinema one hour before any screening; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order.

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‘One Day in April’ documentary feature tells the untold story of the Little 500 races Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:54:41 +0000 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Emily Davis:

Experience the untold, behind-the-scenes story of what it really means to be a part of “the world’s greatest college weekend.”


The film follows the Cutters as they train during the off-season for the Little 500 race. Photos courtesy of Tom Miller and Ryan Black.

The documentary feature, “One Day in April,” chronicles four teams of cyclists as they spend months training for the 2013 and 2014 Little 500 races.

The Bloomington premiere is at 8 p.m. April 24 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Doors open at 7:30. The film is 90 minutes long and the screening will be followed by a Q&A session with the filmmakers. All proceeds from the premiere will go toward a scholarship for an IU student interested in making a film in or around Bloomington.

More than a race

The film follows Cutters, Delta Tau Delta, Teter and Delta Gamma both on and off the track. Told from the perspective of the riders, the story takes you through the months, and in some cases years, students spend preparing themselves both mentally and physically for their one shot of glory.

Directed by Indiana University alumnus Thomas Miller, “One Day in April” exemplifies what it means to be a Hoosier.

“I loved the idea of doing a project that really tried to capture the idea of community and the aesthetics of Midwestern life,” Miller said.

“That was a really big focus for me, to tap into the community and build trust with folks to get that side of the story that doesn’t get told a lot.”

Lisa Hutcheson, a rider for Teter is one of the main subjects of the film.

Lisa Hutcheson, a rider for Teter, is featured in the film.

“It’s really easy to reduce Little 500 to two things,” Miller said. “This really giant bike race and all of this partying. But you lose a lot of what makes these riders so fascinating. So that was really important to us.”

“One Day in April” achieves what many sports films have failed to do by going beyond the outcome of the race. Instead, it stresses the stories of the characters themselves and shows what it’s like to put everything you have on the line.

The film’s creative team also included several other recent IU alumni: assistant director Ryan Black; executive producer Peter Stevenson, who assisted in writing and filming; and producer Kirsten Powell, a former Delta Gamma rider who brought her race experience to the project.

Coming together

Family is another important theme.

“Why a lot of us stick with sports is because we build these families out of it,” Miller said. “Sometimes they are built around star players and big personality coaches, but a lot of the time it’s just this us-against-the-world mentality, which is a special thing that you don’t get other places.”

In the film, team members and brothers, Kevin and Brian Depasse ride for the Cutters and give the emotional story of what it is like to be there and support one another throughout the intense competition.

The film takes you through the story of training for and competing in the Little 500 races.

The film takes you through the story of training for and competing in the Little 500 races.

Family is also demonstrated in the Delta Tau Delta team through their coach, Courtney Bishop. His intense coaching tactics create tension between him and the riders throughout the film, showing his extreme passion and commitment to winning. However, at the end of the film Bishop is ready to go to war for his riders, proving how much they really mean to him.

This film should resonate with all audiences; Hoosiers, sports fans and anyone who has ever felt like they were a part of something bigger than themselves.

“We are capturing a very special moment in time,” Miller said. “For anybody who is interested in remembering what is was like to be young and to think anything was possible and to not be so jaded and cynical about why we do things, I think the film really captures a good example of what happens when everyone buys into something and commits to it for no purpose other than to do it because it’s there to be done.”

About the director

Originally from Fort Wayne, Ind., Tom Miller came to IU in 2008 as a Cox Research Scholar.

Director Tom Miller

Director Tom Miller

He got his first camera during his freshman year and threw himself into photography, becoming the photo editor of the Indiana Daily Student his sophomore year.

“The film is very much an extension of the amount of roots I put down here when I was in school,” Miller said.

His first paid position was working for the John Hamilton mayoral campaign.

After he graduated, Miller spent six months as a videographer for the Obama 2012 campaign. He was later a cinematographer on the 2013 Inauguration video team.

During his senior year in 2012, alongside creative partner Ryan Black, his short film “All We’ve Built” was shown at the Cannes Film Festival. The film is about a young man who returns to his town after a nuclear disaster.

Miller’s advice to students is to take the most of every opportunity you can, and to “do everything you can with what you’ve got.”

Ticket information

One Day in April” screens at 8 p.m. April 24 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater, 114 E. Kirkwood Ave. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available online and the BCT Box office.

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Broadway star Audra McDonald makes time at IU to lead master class for musical theater students Wed, 08 Apr 2015 17:26:39 +0000 Masterclassblog

Audra McDonald crouches down to instruct Emily Kelly during a master class for theater students. She brought Heather Lawler onto the stage during Kelly’s song. Photo by Chaz Mottinger.


Audra McDonald has won an unprecedented six Tony Awards, one of them for the Terrence McNally play “Master Class.”

Yesterday at Indiana University, McDonald taught a master class of her own.

The singer and actress, who was in town for a concert at IU Auditorium, generously shared her wisdom and talent with an enthusiastic crowd of about 150 theater students and faculty at the Wells-Metz Theatre on Tuesday.

In the McNally play, legendary opera singer Maria Callas visits a class, but every bit the diva, she parades her own clashes and glories before the Juilliard students.

McDonald couldn’t be more different. The versatile performer interacted closely with four musical theater students from the IU Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance. She gave each student her full attention. She was candid, direct, personal and incredibly warm. In fact, she greeted the performers with hugs.

Early on, she had one request: she asked for the stage lighting to be adjusted so the spotlight was not on her while the students were singing.

Notable singers

Emily Kelly, a junior in the BFA musical theater program, stepped up first to perform “Changing My Major” from the musical “Fun Home.”

“You’re brilliant,” McDonald said. “I can already tell that you guys have been trained very, very well.”

mcdonald blog

Audra McDonald

She told Kelly, “You have all of the right elements already there.”

Then, to increase her expression of emotion, she called a volunteer to the stage so Kelly could address a real person with her song of admiration and discovery.

Instantly, her performance became more powerful. Or, as McDonald remarked, “So much more color!”

Musical theater students Christian Fary, Elaine Cotter and Samantha Lee Mason followed with their own songs, and each time McDonald pushed them to discover their best performances.

Fary offered up “Safe” from “Hello Again,” Cotter flirted her way through “I Don’t Know What I’d Do” from “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and Mason sang an emotional “No One Else” from “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812.”

Offering notes

After listening to every nuance of their first performances, McDonald had the students run through their songs again. She called out questions, addressed them eye to eye, caught them off guard, held their arms or whispered secret instructions. And each time the songs grew richer.

In just a few minutes time, she guided each talented IU student from performing a song well, to reaching deeper and telling the story through his or her voice.

Jonathan R. Michaelsen, chair of the theater department, introduced McDonald to his students as “a performer without compare.”

With her show of generosity, warmth and authenticity, she also proved she is a person without compare.

After watching her impart knowledge gleaned from a dazzling career in theater, music, film and television, this is my enduring impression of Audra McDonald:

She is a master, and she personifies class.

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Team of IU students wins the first ‘Kohl’s Invitational’ with idea to improve digital strategy Fri, 03 Apr 2015 16:25:02 +0000 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Emily Davis:

Wholesome smiles spread across the faces of the students when asked to describe the feeling of winning the first Kohl’s Invitational case competition.

Winners Abby Rekeweg, Monica Ball, Alexa Hankins, and Alexandra Larson celebrated their first place win at the Kohl's Invivational.

IU won first place at the inaugural Kohl’s Invitational. From left, Abby Rekeweg, Monica Ball, Alexa Hankins and Alexandra Larson made up the IU team.

“It was crazy. We’d been on this crazy roller coaster and all of a sudden it just stopped,” said Alexandra Larson, a junior majoring in apparel merchandising and one of the four winners.

Last week, students from 12 universities competed at the company’s headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis., sharing their vision of how to better integrate digital concepts in stores to attract millennial-generation consumers.

Indiana University students Larson, Monica Ball, Alexa Hankins and Abby Rekeweg took home first place and a $5,000 prize.

“Our presentation is really what set our group apart,” said Ball, a senior majoring in marketing. “We had a good mix of professionalism and personality.”

In the final round of the competition, the team was up against students from Penn State and Texas State University in front of three judges from the Kohl’s senior leadership team and an audience of more than 100 students and employees.

“It was intimidating presenting in front of senior leadership,” said Hankins, a junior apparel merchandising major.

“The CEO came in and gave introductions and we were all like ‘oh my gosh,'” Larson added.

The winning idea was a three-part system they called Kohl’s Connect. It included an updated version of the in-store kiosk, an updated version of the mobile application to reflect the kiosk and interactive floorboards for games and advertisements.

Team building

The competition was developed to give students the chance to work on a real-world retail challenge and to attract top talent to Kohl’s. Competing universities were hand-picked, based on the strength of their retailing programs and their existing relationships with the company.

After Kohl’s came to IU with the idea, the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design notified students and several teams submitted applications.

IU’s winning team came together through a web of mutual friendships. Rekeweg, a senior majoring in apparel merchandising and marketing, heard about the competition and approached Larson about forming a team. Larson reached out to Hankins, Rekeweg reached out to Ball and their team was complete.

“They showed that they were interested and they showed that they knew what the industry was about,” said Mary Embry, senior lecturer in the Department of Apparel Merchandising and Interior Design.

Brainstorming and beyond

Once they were selected to represent IU, the team had four weeks to complete the case, which included creating a teaser video and an in-depth business plan. Knowing that one of the four weeks was spring break, the team hit the ground running. The day the prompt was released, they spent hours brainstorming and narrowing down ideas.

teaser video

The IU team had to submit a teaser video in addition to an in-depth business plan.

In the end, their unified team dynamic and perseverance paid off. The two other finalists presented the same idea, one the IU students said they had considered before digging deeper to come up with something more innovative.

“They were very professionally prepared to present. They were confident in their ideas and those ideas were things that I think retailers could see happening today,” Embry said. “They had thought about cost, the rollout of the technology and how it might engage a millennial consumer. And it wasn’t a long list of vague ideas, it was a deep consideration of these three very solid ideas.”

One of the group members, Hankins, will return to Milwaukee this summer as an intern for Kohl’s.

“After the competition we got so much encouragement from Kohl’s associates. They made us feel really proud of ourselves,” Hankins said.

As a final step, the group will present their winning idea to faculty and freshman students in order to share their success and promote future involvement in the competition.

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Storyteller, artists and Jacobs School musicians celebrate beauty of Brown County at event Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:56:45 +0000 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Emily Davis:

Think of tonight’s event at the Brown County Playhouse as one continuous piece of artwork.

Frank Hohenberger photographed the Brown County Playhouse, the venue for tonight’s event.

Inspired by Frank Hohenberger’s iconic early 20th century photographs of Brown County, local artists, a storyteller and musicians from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music have teamed up to showcase new and old works that celebrate the beauty of the region.

The Brown County Playhouse, Project Jumpstart and Jacobs School students developed this innovative collaborative project as a way of debuting new music while simultaneously linking existing forms of art to a common theme.

“Impressions of Brown County: An Evening of Art, Music and Storytelling” starts at 7:30 p.m. March 12 at the Brown County Playhouse. Tickets for the event, available at the Brown County Playhouse Box Office, are $12 or $8 for students, seniors and members of the military.

Multi-faceted experience

For the main event, the ensembles New Voices Opera and Novacane Quartet will perform four new pieces written by Jacobs School composers as a direct response to the Hohenberger photographs. The compositions were written by Louis Goldford, Curtis Smith, Matthew Recio and Javier Ledesma.

Hohenberger sought to capture all aspects of life in Brown County. This photograph of a barn during winter was captured in 1929.

“I am very excited that the whole event is about Brown County,” said Alain Barker, director of entrepreneurship and career development at the Jacobs School of Music. “Often when you put on a concert, it features incredible music but it doesn’t necessarily relate to the specific physical environment, whereas this concert is all about the identity of Brown County and how artists respond to it.”

The program will begin with the two ensembles playing older pieces of music alongside projected images of the selected photographs. During the debut of the new compositions, paintings selected from the Brown County Art Gallery will be projected. The selected pieces are by Brown County art students Karena Sarber, Andi Bartels and Natalie Van Zuiden.

The music and artwork will be woven together by storyteller Paul Whitehouse. As narrator, he will tell stories of Brown County and describe the new compositions.

Artistic haven

Hohenberger was a reporter and photographer who spent 47 years of his life documenting the natural scenes and customs of Brown County.

Barn Painting

Tom Tuley, a local Brown County artist painted a barn similar to Hohenberger’s photograph.

While not originally from the area, Hohenberger photographed thousands of images between 1904 and 1948 that represent the beauty of Southern Indiana. His photographs were often featured alongside his popular Indianapolis Star column titled, “Down in the Hills o’ Brown County.”

Composers involved in the event also found inspiration in the beauty of the hills of Brown County. They were tasked with viewing the photographs and creating music that came to them as a result of the content of the images.

Even though the majority of the artists have only visited Brown County on several occasions, they recognized it as a place where music and art could flourish.

Hohenberger collection

The entire collection of original Hohenberger photographs is archived in the Indiana University Lilly Library. More than 9,000 of the photographs have been digitized and are available online as the Frank M. Hohenberger Photograph Collection.

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IU Soul Revue meets with Stax Music Academy students during recent visit to Memphis Wed, 11 Mar 2015 13:52:57 +0000 Guest post courtesy of IU Soul Revue member Bruce Anderson IV:

Editor’s note: IU Soul Revue, under the direction of Tyron Cooper, recently traveled to Memphis, Tenn. with the support of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Multicultural Affairs. Despite treacherous weather, the group was able to perform and meet with high school students at the Stax Music Academy. This visit, a 2014 trip and the Stax students’ visit to IU last fall are all part of a blossoming bond between the two schools. 

Wednesday, March 4

The IU Soul Revue band, vocalists and crew arrived at the Neil-Marshall Black Culture Center loading dock at 6:30 a.m. to board the bus and prepare for the trip to Memphis, Tenn.

Welcome Indiana University

The Rock and Soul Museum offers a warm welcome.

Upon Dr. Cooper’s request, the male students were given the task of loading the musical equipment and luggage into the bus’ storage compartments. By 7:30 a.m., we were off toward Memphis.

During the seven-hour drive, most of the band members and singers relaxed and listened to music. Some slept, while others talked and enjoyed the company of their classmates. The bus driver, Les, was very prompt and ensured that we arrived to our destination on time, in spite of the icy conditions in Tennessee.

After an hour or so of engaging conversation and fellowship during lunch at Subway, we were instructed that it was time to board the bus and continue our journey to Memphis. Though the ride often felt never-ending, we eventually arrived at the Memphis Rock and Soul Museum at 4 p.m. You could feel the excitement fill the bus as everyone prepared to learn about the history of rock ‘n’ roll, soul and blues.

Bruce Anderson IV sings in IU Soul Revue.

Bruce Anderson IV sings in IU Soul Revue, one of the ensembles of the African American Arts Institute.

At the Rock and Soul Museum, I was amazed to learn about the rich musical history of Memphis and how it gave birth to the genres of blues and rock ‘n’ roll. I was also blown away by the humble beginnings of music legends like Elvis Presley, Otis Redding, Isaac Hayes and Jerry Lee Lewis. I took pictures of various artifacts, including the first working electric guitar, old jukeboxes, and outfits worn by various celebrities during their prime. The museum provided the IU Soul Revue with the opportunity to embrace the past and gain an understanding of the lives of those who shaped Memphis’ musical culture.

At 7:30 p.m. we headed to B.B. King’s Blues Club on Beale Street. The food was excellent, and the talented bands playing at the restaurant motivated everyone to get up on their feet and dance. The IU Soul Revue did not hesitate to get on the dance floor and show Memphis how we groove up north at Indiana University! The band for the night was interactive and sang songs that were well-known by the vocalists and members of the Soul Revue.

Thursday, March 5

On Thursday morning, I joined everyone downstairs for breakfast. We were notified that school was canceled at Stax Music Academy and that we would have to wait for further instruction to see what we were going to do for the day.

Stax Record Co.

Stax Record Company was known for its soulful sound.

In the meantime, several of the vocalists and I watched television and rehearsed for the upcoming performance.Some band members searched for quiet areas where they could practice and work on scales. Even though school was canceled, the members of the IU Soul Revue continued working on improving their crafts and learning about Memphis.

Most restaurants were closed because of the weather. With the help of Joii Cooper, performance manager for the African American Arts Institute, and Gloria Howell, road manager for the IU Soul Revue, we were able to find a place to eat for dinner. We were well-fed at a restaurant called Local on Main Street.

Friday, March 6

On Friday morning, the IU Soul Revue members and crew packed all of their luggage and checked out of Doubletree Hotel in downtown Memphis. I made sure not to use my voice because of the performance. Everyone boarded the bus in expectation for the show at LeMoyne-Owen College that night.

Asia Crawford

Asia Crawford performs in Memphis.

We arrived to Gus’s restaurant for lunch at 11:30 a.m. and of course were blown away by the food and spirit of Memphis. Dr. Cooper informed everyone that the college was closed because of bad weather and that we would instead perform at the Stax Music Academy at 5 p.m. We were instructed of the attire for the concert (our black Soul Revue shirts and jeans) and gathered together once more to prepare for a great show.

The performance went extremely well! Our hard work and practice paid off, and it was great to see the audience involved and moved by the music. The high school students stood the entire show and knew every song, making the concert a communal event. It was fun to do what I love and see that other people felt the same joy that I receive from performing and singing. It was also good to be an example to high school students and encourage them to go to college and pursue what they love.

At the end of the concert, the Soul Revue members had the opportunity to interact with the students from Stax and share experiences and contact information. The high schoolers were excited and said they were inspired by the performance and looked forward to going to IU in the future. It’s an amazing feeling to know that you made a difference in the life of another person, and we were filled with humility and happiness at the positive response we received from the Stax students.

IU Soul Revue

IU Soul Revue performs at the Stax Music Academy.

The trip was excellent! The IU Soul Revue was able to bond, not only with one another but with the students from Stax Music Academy. The food was delicious, and we were truly captivated by the spirit of music that surrounds Memphis. I learned more about blues music than ever before and had the opportunity to see some of history’s most well-known music artifacts and interact with people who love music just as much as I do. I can’t wait to return to Memphis again soon!

Bruce Anderson IV is a junior from Gary, Ind., who is studying psychology with a minor in counseling. He has been in IU Soul Revue for four semesters, volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club and serves at his local church.

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Double Exposure festival brings student filmmakers and composers together Fri, 06 Mar 2015 19:35:15 +0000

What kind of magic happens when Indiana University film students are paired with composers attending the Jacobs School of Music?

The Double Exposure film festival wants to show you.

And listen up: The original music created for the films will be performed live.

The free event, now in its fourth year, starts at 6:30 p.m. March 8 at IU Cinema. The festival features 11 film shorts, 11 musical scores and one big idea: College is the perfect time for creative experimentation.


Double Exposure is an 80-minute program of films and live music March 8 at IU Cinema.

“What makes Double Exposure special is that the music score and the filmed image are on an equal level, the music is not in the background or subservient. And, of course, it is performed live as the film is screened,” said Susanne Schwibs, an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and lecturer in The Media School. “While we create a DVD and Blu-ray of the films with their scores, the performance is one-of-a-kind and can only be experienced in the cinema at that moment in time.”

For filmmakers, the challenge is to communicate visually, with little or no dialogue, she said. The composers, in turn, must create a stand-alone piece of music that works “in dialogue” with the film.

“Double Exposure is a chance to collaborate closely with a filmmaker on a level that is often unseen in the film industry. Composers are not brought in for post-production alone, but are there to witness most of the process as the films are being made,” said Louis Goldford, president of the IU Student Composer Association. The Doctor of Music candidate in composition also serves as student liaison for the festival.

An annual event

“We are proud that Double Exposure has continued each year since it premiered in 2012,” said IU Cinema director Jon Vickers. “The idea of having composers and filmmakers conceptualize and create projects together on a group level remains very progressive.”

For the students, it’s also quite enlightening. They not only explore avant-garde aspects of their craft, but they also experience the real-world process of collaboration.


Senior Colleen O’Keefe is represented in the festival by her Super-8 film “Super Market,” shown here.

Senior Colleen O’Keefe participated in Double Exposure for the first time this year with her film “Super Market.”

The telecommunications and communication and culture major said, “I wanted a lot of ambiguity in the film so everyone could have a different experience. I shot it as simply as I possibly could. I really wanted a gritty look, so I choose Super-8 and decided to hand-hold the camera.”

For music, she imagined something repetitive and dark, something with a “synth-pop” sound. “But I had to remember that we were using more classical instruments. I learned how hard it was to communicate to the composer because I couldn’t speak in musical terms. It sometimes felt like I was speaking another language. But ultimately, I felt like we got on the same page and it came out pretty great.”

Taking on a challenge

“Double Exposure facilitates the development of a skillset that is not normally developed when working with just music,” said Alex Blank, a first year master’s student in composition.

He said the long-term nature of the project is part of the challenge. Also, musicians are working with “a field that speaks an entirely different language.” This forces each composer to clearly articulate goals from the start.

As a Jacobs School undergraduate, he participated in the festival twice. This year Blank wrote music for Javier Ramirez’s film “Printed Memories (Recuerdos Impresos).” In the film, images of Ramirez’s daughter come in and out of focus and frame, alluding to his fears of losing these memories to dementia later in life.

Blank said he used the child’s voice to determine a range of pitch for the music he wrote. “I used recordings of piano, both played traditionally and bowed, to create an ethereal ‘sound-world’ from which the live instruments emerge, all matching the childlike innocence found in the film’s visual material.”

Collaboration, evolution

The Double Exposure collaboration and festival continues to evolve.

Many of the films have come from Schwibs’ class Experiments With the Film Camera, but projects also have been recruited from other media courses.

This year marks the first time a film by high school students will be included. Last fall, Schwibs’ IU students worked with a group from Bloomington’s Academy of Science and Entrepreneurship. And next fall, Double Exposure will be taught by Schwibs as an advanced-level workshop class in The Media School.

Double Exposure is made possible by the Jacobs School of Music; the Department of Communication and Culture in The Media School; the Student Composers Association; IU Cinema; filmmaker Schwibs and composition professor John Gibson.

A full list of the 2015 films, filmmakers and composers is available on The Media School website.

Tickets are required for the event and can be obtained free of charge at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; at the cinema one hour before any screening; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order.

New film scoring competition

In related news, an annual film scoring competition has been endowed by philanthropist and former IU trustee P.A. Mack Jr.


P.A. Mack Jr. has endowed an annual film scoring competition for Jacobs School composition students.

Each year, the Jon Vickers Film Scoring Award will be presented to one student in the composition department at the Jacobs School of Music. The winner will receive a $5,000 commission to fully score a silent film, which will premiere before an IU Cinema audience in February 2016. Submissions are now being accepted, and the entry deadline for the 2015-16 award is April 15.

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‘Jersey Boys’ cast steps into IU Auditorium with a Hoosier working behind the scenes Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:44:50 +0000 Hayden Milanes

Hayden Milanes, center, plays Franki Valli in “Jersey Boys.” From left, Drew Seeley, Matthew Dailey and Keith Hines also star. | Photos by James Brosher.

“Jersey Boys” opened a six-day run at IU Auditorium last night, telling the story
of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons through a high-energy cycle of song and dance.

The Tony-winning musical has been playing on Broadway since 2005 and now is being presented in Las Vegas, London and by traveling companies in the United States and United Kingdom.

Last night was the tour’s first stop in Bloomington.

For Indiana University graduate Michael Camp, last night also marked a memorable return to a familiar venue. “It’s wild to be back in this building. I did so many concerts on this stage,” he said. “Memories just came rushing back while looking out at the audience and seeing the house.

Michael Camp

Michael Camp, an IU gradutate, serves as company manager for the touring company of “Jersey Boys.”

“I love the city. I love the vibe here. I love the university,” he said.

Camp, who has served as company manager on the Jersey Boys tour for more than three years, performed at IU Auditorium as a Singing Hoosier and in the student competition IU Sing.

The native of Frankfort, Ind. began as a voice major in the music school and ultimately earned a bachelor’s degree in musical theatre in 1990 through the individualized major program. As a student, he also took part in numerous IU Theatre and IU Opera Theater productions.

Camp said he was encouraged to pursue the special degree by George Pinney, head of musical theatre in the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance.

“There are a lot of people from this university that really have affected and changed my life and directed me,” Camp said.

He also mentioned the personal impact of Carlos Montené, a professor of voice in the Jacobs School of Music; Carol Smith, former IU voice professor; and Robert E. Stoll, who led the Singing Hoosiers for more than 30 years.

Managing the show

As company manager, Camp represents the producer of “Jersey Boys” and handles day-to-day operations of the touring company.

It is a job that is different every day. “Nothing really should happen in the company without it crossing my desk,” he said.

Camp is responsible for travel logistics, payroll and other financial and personnel matters, but he especially enjoys the social aspects of his work. “I like being a part of the company. I make a point of walking around, saying hello to people, checking in,” he said.

“I’m so proud of these boys every night. They get up there and they put out 120 percent every night on stage. It’s a very demanding show for them, and not just the four boys.” he said. “I’m really proud of the entire company. It makes my job so much easier that they have that pride in what we do.”

The “Jersey Boys” story

“Jersey Boys” strikes a chord with audiences for several reasons. “This music sticks with you. It’s a part of the American songbook now,” Camp said.

But the show is much more than a performance by a boy band or a couple of impersonators. “It’s a full musical. It’s an American story,” he said. “It’s about four guys who came from the wrong side of the tracks and made a success of themselves and made it to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.”

And there are surprises.

“They wanted to be seen as wholesome, all-American boys,” he said. But the show reveals a few darker, less known parts of the true history behind the group.

“It’s a great story, and the music is some of the best in the pop catalog.”

A life in the arts

“I never thought that management would be something I was going to go into,” Camp said. “But who knew?”

He looks back to his time at IU and remembers how much he learned while helping manage the Singing Hoosiers. And he recalls taking an accounting class that he hated, just to meet a requirement. “Never in my life did I think I would need it. Now I use that class almost every day,” he said.

“I’m very grateful that I’m still in the arts, and still in the music and theater industry. I thought I was going to be on stage, and I did that for years,” he said.

“You can continue to work in the arts, but maybe not always in the area you originally thought,” he said.

Still, he said, his performance education remains valuable. “I’m a better manager because I understand what they’re going through, what they’re doing up there. I can relate in that way.”

“Jersey Boys” at IU Auditorium

“Jersey Boys” continues at 8 p.m. March 4 to 6; 2 and 8 p.m. March 7; 1 and 7 p.m. March 8 at IU Auditorium.

Tickets are $25 to $59 for IU Bloomington students with a valid ID and $48 to $69 for the general public. For tonight’s performance only, IU faculty and staff can obtain seats for $29, thanks to the support of The Cook family of companies. Tickets may be purchased online or in person at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or through Ticketmaster.

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Ansel Adams film screening and discussion to honor 25th anniversary of Sycamore Land Trust Fri, 27 Feb 2015 20:07:00 +0000 ansel500trees

“Aspens, Northern New Mexico, 1958”  is one of the Ansel Adams gelatin silver prints on display at the IU Art Museum. © 2015 The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Emily Davis:

“I believe the approach of the artist and the approach of the environmentalist are fairly close in that both are, to a rather impressive degree, concerned with the affirmation of life.” — Ansel Adams 

In recognition of the 25th anniversary of Sycamore Land Trust, the Indiana University Art Museum will co-sponsor a film screening and panel discussion in conjunction with their current installation of Ansel Adams photographs.

“Ansel Adams: A Celebration of Art and the Environment” will take place at
2 p.m. March 1 at the Hope School of Fine Arts auditorium (Room FA015) with a reception to follow at the IU Art Museum.

Adams’ dramatic black-and-white photographs might adorn your home in the form of calendars and coffee-table books, but their true legacy is the environmental awareness they raised during the latter half of the 20th century.

Adams was an ardent conservationist who served on the board of directors for the Sierra Club for 37 years and was active in the Wilderness Society. Through his photographs, Adams wished to instill upon viewers the striking serenity of nature as well as the importance of preserving it.

Ansel Adams flowers

“Nature’s Small Wonders” features intimate images from Ansel Adams rather than sweeping vistas.

Sycamore Land Trust is a nonprofit organization that works to protect the nature and agricultural landscape of southern Indiana, a mission that seamlessly aligns with Adams’ work. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that when the trust approached the museum about installing a display honoring their anniversary, Adams was the name that came to mind.

“We are thrilled to partner with the IU Art Museum on a project that celebrates an icon of the conservation movement, and images that bring focus to the simple elegant beauty of nature that we might find in our everyday lives,” said Christian Freitag, executive director of the Sycamore Land Trust.

The film screening will feature “Photography as an Art,” an episode from the 1960 National Educational Television documentary series “The Incisive Art.”

During the panel discussion, Nanette Brewer, IU Art Museum’s curator of works on paper will facilitate the conversation between Freitag; Ric Cradick, a photographer who worked with Adams; and Frank Lewis, a lecturer in arts administration at IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, who will discuss the intersection between art and the environmental movement.

The beauty below our feet

The current exhibition, “Nature’s Small Wonders,” features nine original gelatin silver prints by Adams.

The photographs detail intimate views of flowers, leaves, roots, rocks, and water ripples. The largest image in the installment is a poignant image of the Rocky Mountains’ Quaking Aspen trees, which have been mysteriously dying off in large numbers since 2006.

“When people think of his work, they often think of these epic images of the Grand Tetons and Yosemite. But as William Blake wrote, there can be a world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a wildflower. Many of Adams’s images draw our attention to the beauty of the everyday. It’s all around us if we pay attention,” Freitag said.

The exhibition does not constitute an exhaustive list of the museum’s Adams photographs. In fact, the museum has 29 original prints that include Adams’ entire first portfolio, “Parmelian Prints of the High Sierras,” as well as several photos from Portfolio 3, “Yosemite Valley.”

“I intentionally chose less familiar images for the installation,” Brewer said. “I think most people are familiar with his photographs of sweeping landscapes and national parks so I wanted to pick some things that would help us to understand that photography can isolate an object. It can make it fresh and anew to us.”

Whether it be blades of grass or the roots of a tree, Adams’ ability to utilize tonal values and perfect exposure can inspire the viewer to stop and think about the beauty that is all around us, even what’s right below our feet.

A master of his craft

Adams first visited Yosemite National Park in 1916, the same year he was given his first camera. It was then that these two great passions for photography and nature were born.

A few years later, Adams took a job with the Sierra Club in Yosemite as a custodian of the club’s lodge. He soon became the group’s official photographer and his  images were used for environmental purposes.

Adams lobbied Congress for Kings Canyon National park, the club’s main issue in the 1930s. He created a limited-edition book, “Sierra Nevada: The John Muir Trial,” which influenced President Franklin Roosevelt to embrace the idea of the Kings Canyon park, which was created in 1940.

“Ansel Adams is more than an icon of American art. He’s also a seminal figure of the American environmental movement. His images of our landscape have inspired generations of Americans, even inspiring the creation of entire National Parks by the federal government. It’s been said that we only protect what we love, and we only love what we know. Ansel Adams has helped us know, and as a result, has helped us protect,” Freitag said.

Along with Fred Archer, another notable American photographer, Adams developed the Zone System, a photographic technique for determining optimal film exposure and development that is still widely taught today.

In 1968 Adams was awarded the Conservation Service Award, the Interior Department’s highest civilian honor.

To this day, his work is celebrated by art enthusiasts and conservationists alike.

The installation and collection

“Nature’s Small Wonders” is on display at the IU Art Museum through May 24. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is free. To view more of the Ansel Adams collection, contact Nanette Brewer.

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MM Serra of New York City’s Film-Makers’ Cooperative to visit IU Cinema Feb. 27 Mon, 23 Feb 2015 16:01:40 +0000 MM Serra

MM Serra, a key figure in the New York underground filmmaking scene, will speak at IU Cinema and attend two screenings during her visit to Indiana University Bloomington.


Guest post by Noelle Griffis of IU’s Black Film Center/Archive:

“We don’t want false, polished, slick films—we prefer them rough, unpolished, but alive; we don’t want rosy films—we want them the color of blood.”

These determined words concluded the first statement of the New American Cinema Group, now known as The Film-Makers’ Cooperative. For more than a decade, MM Serra has served as its executive director.

Serra will be in Bloomington to give a Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture at 3 p.m. on Feb. 27. In the evening she also will present two programs of the Cooperative’s films at Indiana University Cinema as part of the Underground Film Series.

The founding of “The Group”

Emboldened by the success of low-budget, independent works like John Cassavetes’ “Shadows” (1959), a coalition of New York filmmakers including Jonas Mekas, Andy Warhol, Shirley Clarke and Jack Smith gathered together in 1962 to draft their manifesto.

The Group, as they called themselves, rejected the multimillion-dollar “product film” and the “budget myth” perpetuated by the film industry to keep filmmaking in the hands of the few. They declared Hollywood obsolete, morally corrupt, and above all else, boring. They called for a radically new, uncensored cinema.

Initially organized as the distribution center for the New American Cinema Group, The Film-Makers’ Cooperative is now the longest-standing archive and distributor of independent media.

As executive director of the Coop, MM Serra has worked tirelessly to preserve the legacy of the New York avant-garde, while also continuing its tradition of pushing new boundaries through her own filmmaking practice.

MM Serra: Moving Image Maker

During her talk “Art(core): Avant Garde and the Cinematic Body,” Serra will discuss how the ongoing opposition to censorship has worked to shape and define the American avant-garde cinema, from the arrests that followed exhibitions of Smith’s “Flaming Creatures” in 1963, to recent bans on work deemed too provocative. The lecture will include film clips and a screening of a new work in progress. Tickets are not required for this event, but seating is limited.


“The Explicit Celluloid Body” will feature shorts by Peggy Ahwesh and others in the Film-Makers’ Cooperative.

The 6:30 p.m. program, “The Explicit Celluloid Body,” features 16mm works that span the cooperative’s 50-year history. “All of the films are from the Film-Makers’ Cooperative collection and reflect an overview of filmmakers who broke with the taboos and censorship of the mainstream popular culture of the United States,” Serra said in her curatorial statement. “I chose short experimental films that focus on the body and embrace an alternative perspective on gender and sexuality.”

The program features works by seminal avant-garde filmmakers, including Smith, Carolee Schneemann, Paul Sharits, Kurt Kren, Peggy Ahwesh and Martha Colburn. The presentation culminates with Barbara Rubin’s “Christmas on Earth,” which incorporates double-projection and color gels that alter the projected image. Originally screened as part of an Andy Warhol/Velvet Underground performance, the film itself becomes a live event as the nature of its projection ensures that each viewing will be unique.

Serra as a filmmaker

The 9:30 p.m. program, “The Short, Radical Films of MM Serra,” presents a retrospective of experimental works from Serra’s 30-year career as a boundary-pushing visual artist. Her films have premiered at Sundance, MoMA and the New York Film Festival.

MM Serra Bitch Beauty

“Bitch Beauty” is a 2011 film from MM Serra.

This 16mm and video program includes “Chop Off” (2008), “Bitch Beauty” (2011) and a special presentation of a new work in progress that incorporates archival Times Square peep show footage.

Serra’s films feature the deviant and the taboo, exploring the thin lines between pleasure and pain, and sexuality and death. Her films are often sexually explicit, but she explains, “They resist the commodification of the body enacted by the sex industry.”

The term she has coined for experimental films that explore the erotic is “Art(core).”

Please be advised that the Serra lecture and both screenings contain sexually explicit material. The film screenings at IU Cinema are free, but ticketed. The “MM Serra: Moving Image Maker” series is sponsored by the Department of Communication and Culture, Film and Media Studies Program, the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction and IU Cinema.

The Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support of the Ove W Jorgensen Foundation.

Tickets for IU Cinema films can be obtained at the IU Auditorium box office from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; at the cinema one hour before any screening; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order.

Related Screenings at IU Cinema

Just Another Notion: The Short Films of Mike Henderson” will be screened at 6:30 p.m. on April 3 at IU Cinema. Henderson is a painter, blues musician and sculptor whose work can be found at the Film-Makers’ Cooperative. He and archivist Mark Toscano of the Academy Film Archives will attend the screening, which is sponsored by the Black Film Center/Archive.

Noelle Griffis is a doctoral candidate in Film and Media Studies. She is currently writing about filmmaking culture and the politics of location shooting in New York City, 1966-1974.

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‘Graces Received’ curator to speak Tuesday about how to read meanings in Catholic folk art Mon, 16 Feb 2015 17:29:34 +0000 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Emily Davis:

Leonard Primiano, curator of the exhibition “Graces Received: Painted and Metal Ex-Votos from Italy,” will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 17 at Indiana University’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

ex voto of ship

A maritime ex-voto is a painting that was used to show gratitude to a saint for bringing a ship to safety.

The current exhibition, comprised entirely of Primiano’s personal collection, offers more than mere examples of past religious traditions.

It tells intimate stories.

Ex-votos are voluntary offerings made to a saint in order to fulfill a vow or show gratitude for a prayer received. This traditional Roman Catholic ritual is often expressed through objects or paintings. The pieces on display were created between 1832 and 1959, and were collected in Italy.

“The exhibit is a great example of objects that have a lot of stories to tell,” said Judith Kirk, assistant director at the Mathers Museum. “They tell stories not only about particular individuals and events in their lives, but also about the societies they were a part of.”

In the lecture “How to Read Catholic Folk Art,” Primiano will discuss what can be considered religious folk art and its unique expression within Roman Catholic culture. On a more personal note, he will talk about what it means to acquire and live with such historical objects in the 21st century.

Primiano is a professor and chair of the religious studies department at Cabrini College in Radnor, Penn. The scholar and folklorist specializes in the practice and expression of religion in popular culture and the media, something he calls “vernacular religion.”

Visual narratives

The exhibition features both oil paintings and metallic embodiments.

When you look at the paintings — which are no larger than a sheet of printer paper — you feel like the witness to extremely personal moments.

ex voto of cows

In their ex-votos, farmers often commissioned artists to depict the health and well-being of their animals.

An individual who wanted to show gratitude for a miracle would commission an artist. A painting might depict the scene of a bedridden family member, along with the image of the saint who cured him shining in the corner.

There also are several popular sub-genres of ex-voto paintings. For example, maritime ex-votos depict ships in troubled waters along with the saint who brought them home safely.

Metallic embodiments also were used as offerings. Some anatomical embodiments show an injury, such as a broken arm or a leg that was healed by a saint. Other objects depict a full body, such as a baby that perhaps was commissioned as a plea on behalf of a child.

Emblazoned hearts form a separate group of embodiments. Each is intended to show the sacred heart of Jesus, remarking upon the evidence of divinity.

After a miracle

To accompany Primiano’s collection, a smaller exhibition of Coptic ex-votos from the Birnbaum Collection is being featured in “After a Miracle.”

sacred heart ex voto

Emblazoned metallic hearts found at a Coptic Church in Egypt are nearly identical to those produced in Italy.

These ex-votos were found in Egypt but have striking similarities to those from the Italian collection.

They are so similar that there is speculation that some of the pieces were molded from the Italian objects. Their similarity also could suggest trade and the possibility that these pieces were produced in Italy and sold to Egyptians.

“The fact that these exist reflects the connection between these countries,” Kirk said.

The Birnbaum Collection is a fairly new collection that was donated to the museum by Dee Birnbaum.

The pieces shown in both exhibits are meant to challenge viewers to decipher between the sacred and the seemingly mundane. These tangible tokens of gratitude help us realize how people once expressed their devotion, and they lead us to ask the question, how do we express our emotions and beliefs today?


“Graces Received” and “After a Miracle” are on display at the Mathers Museum through May 22. Hours are 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

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Beth B provokes public dialogue on violence through her boundary-breaking art and films Mon, 09 Feb 2015 21:03:20 +0000 With her shock of blue hair, Beth B is easy to spot in the crowd. But once she begins to speak, the brilliance of her words is what becomes striking.

Beth B

Beth B poses for a portrait before her Jorgensen Guest Filmmakers Lecture on Feb. 6 at IU Cinema. Photos by James Brosher.

The director, artist and educator spoke at Indiana University Cinema on Feb. 6 as part of the Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series.

Her documentary “Exposed,” which looks at the lives of eight edgy performers who are bringing the art of burlesque into the 21st century, had been screened the night before.

“My work, in a way, really looks at people who are breaking boundaries, breaking the law, breaking the norms,” she said.

As the audience filed into IU Cinema, images of her artwork repeated in a cycle on the screen. In exhibitions such as “Hysteria,” “Monuments,” “Portraits” and “Trophies,” she examined aspects of the female body in different contexts.

“I work in every different medium,” she said. “I really let the idea dictate where I am going to go.”

Culture of violence

On this day, Beth B had something else on her mind. Her talk, “Psychotic to Erotic,” focused on topics in her films, primarily the violence in American culture.

“I’m really interested in instigating change, and to provoke thought and questions,” she said.

One day as a child, Beth B saw swarms of police cars in her neighborhood in the aftermath of Richard Speck’s murders of eight nurses on the South Side of Chicago.

“I’m interested in how one crosses that line. Who is to say who is insane, who is sane, who is moral and who is just? And what do we do with these aberrations? I think the easy answer is to lock them away.”

Similar questions were central to her installations “Out of Sight, Out of Mind” and “Under Lock & Key.”

Beth B also shared more playful film clips, including an ’80s music video and the 1987 feature “Salvation.”


For several years, Beth B explored the darker side of human behavior, making films for Court TV. She became fascinated with how people gain trust over another person.

Beth B

Beth B gave the talk “Psychotic to Erotic” at IU Cinema on Feb. 6.

Her most haunting realization from this work, however, was that the people behind the least humane and most violent acts are not nearly as different from the rest of us as we like to believe.

“How did we get here? I talk about that in terms of our culture: the insanity in our culture, the violence in our culture,” she said. “I’m also curious on why we walk around, especially in America, in a bit of a state of apathy and numbness and amnesia.”

Breaking that cycle of violence is critical, she said. Each of us shares that responsibility.

“I have to make sure that the way I deal, in my personal relationships and outside in the world, is to be kind and gentle and loving,” she said.

“The change only resides within each of us, individually.”

Upcoming talks

MM Serra will present the next Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture at 3 p.m. Feb. 27 at IU Cinema. The talk will be free and open to the public. A ticket is not required, but seating is limited.

Serra is one of the founders of The Film-Makers Cooperative. Film clips shown at her lecture and evening screenings of “The Explicit Celluloid Body” and “The Short, Radical Films of MM Serra” contain mature content and graphic nudity. Discretion is advised.

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IU Theatre to stage timely drama ‘Good Kids,’ present special programs on sexual violence Wed, 04 Feb 2015 17:52:23 +0000 “I’ve never worked on a piece of theater that is at the intersection of so many compelling current issues.”

Director Jonathan Michaelsen used these words to describe Naomi Iizuka’s thought-provoking drama “Good Kids,” which will open Friday, Feb. 6, at Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance’s Wells-Metz Theatre.

Good Kids

Erin Logan portrays Chloe and Richkard Saint-Victor is Tanner in the IU Theatre production of “Good Kids.”

“Good Kids” is a fictional work inspired by people and events surrounding the rape of a 16-year-old girl by two high school football players in Steubenville, Ohio.

“The play reflects our national obsession with football culture and the way it can create an environment of entitlement and implicit permission among young men,” said Michaelsen, chair of the Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance at Indiana University.

“It also addresses the current national conversation regarding sexual assault and the nature of consent.

“Finally, ‘Good Kids’ depicts the chilling side of social media and lightning speed at which the most intimate images and events can spread and be judged instantly by millions of anonymous viewers.”

New plays, new voices

“Good Kids” is the first work commissioned through the Big Ten Theatre Consortium’s New Play Initiative.

The consortium will commission one play from a notable female playwright each year for the next two years, with hopes of continuing the program into the future.

Together the leaders of the universities’ theater departments aim not only to fund new works by American women but also to encourage the works’ production at the college and regional level. The resulting plays are intended to increase the number of quality, age-appropriate roles for female theater students.

In 2013, Iizuka became the first playwright selected for the initiative. She is the acclaimed author of more than 25 plays, including “Polaroid Stories” and “Skin.”

While Iizuka was chosen to write a play, she was the one who decided its timely subject.

“Good Kids” was first staged in October at the University of Michigan, and its rolling premiere will continue at Indiana University this weekend. Productions also will be staged this spring at Iowa, Wisconsin, Maryland and Purdue. In addition, readings of the play have been held at several other Big Ten universities.

In Iizuka’s drama, Chloe’s schoolmates leave behind a chilling trail of tweets that document a night she cannot remember. The audience is left to decipher the truth — and where the blame lies.

Good characters

“This play confronts many issues present in today’s society, one being the way media exploits sensitive cases like the Steubenville rape case,” said sophomore Erin Logan, who portrays Chloe in the IU production.

Lindsey Zecherle

Lindsey Zecherle plays Madison in “Good Kids.”

“There was so much coverage to sort through when I was researching the show that made it much more real and relevant.

“Instead of just digging into the script to discover who Chloe was, I was able to find real-world statements from different people to really understand who this girl is and accurately depict her.”

Logan describes her character as a confident girl, dealing with the oppressive world around her. Sometimes to find the freedom she needs, Chloe abuses alcohol. “She is strong-willed and lets loose in any way she can.”

Student actor Richkard Saint-Victor also weighed in on his “Good Kids” character: “Tanner’s role is very important because in college, we will be put in new situations, and we have to be courageous enough to do the right thing, even if it means being an army of one.”

Sparking a conversation

Logan said that as much as we hate to admit it, we live in a culture that silences rape victims and protects those responsible for assaults. “This teaches the victims that rape is something they need to deal with on their own, or, even worse, that it was their fault,” she said.

“We need to educate everyone, kids and adults alike, that rape is not something you just hear about, but it is happening all around us. ‘Good Kids’ confronts these issues and hopefully will spark an important conversation on our campus.”

As part of that conversation, a special pre-show lecture and several post-show discussions have been scheduled on different aspects of sexual violence.


“Good Kids” will be presented by the Indiana University Department of Theatre, Drama and Contemporary Dance at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 and 13. On Feb. 14, there will be shows at 2 and 7:30 p.m. All performances will be staged in the Wells-Metz Theatre.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students and $20 for senior citizens. They are available online, by phone at 812.855.1103 or in person at the IU Auditorium box office.

Special events

  • 5:30 p.m. Feb. 6 — In a Theatre Circle Lecture, a panel of the representatives from the Dean of Students Office, IU Health Center and Middle Way House will discuss “Sexual Violence Support Networks.”
  • Feb. 10, after the 7:30 p.m. performance — “The Law and Order of Sexual Violence” discussion will feature IU Police Department Bloomington Chief Laury Flint, IUPD Sgt. Becky Schmuhl, Bloomington police Chief Michael Diekhoff and Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Mary Ellen Diekhoff.
  • Feb. 11, after the 7:30 p.m. performance — “Sexual Violence and Online/Social Media Ethics” will feature Sandra Kuebler, professor of computational linguistics, gender studies Ph.D. candidate Shadia Siliman and a representative from the Office of Student Ethics.
  • Feb. 12, after the 7:30 p.m. performance — “How to Help Prevent Sexual Violence on College Campuses” will feature Monroe County Circuit Court Judge Valeri Haughton, Student Affairs graduate assistant Mark Houlemarde, Panhellenic President Margaret Hensley and a representative of the Oasis campus alcohol and drug information center.
  • Feb. 14, after the 2 p.m. performance — A panel of representatives from the Dean of Students Office, IU Health Center and Middle Way House will discuss “Preventing Steubenville: Combatting Sexual and Relationship Violence through Community Health Services.”
Good Kids

“Good Kids” features Melanie McNulty, Kelsey Carlisle, Lindsey Zecherle and Jenny McPherson.

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IU professor looks at how ‘The Simpsons’ ’embiggened’ the English language Wed, 28 Jan 2015 17:17:52 +0000 Guest post courtesy of IU Newsroom intern Emily Davis:

Indiana University English professor Michael Adams is a specialist on history, theory and the practice of lexicography. He considers himself a standard English speaker with an affinity for historical dictionaries.

He also appreciates the complex vocabulary of Homer Simpson.

Michael Adams

Michael Adams is a slang expert.

Adams recently published a blog post for Oxford Dictionaries titled “Embiggening English: ‘The Simpsons’ and changing language.” He focused on two ‘small but powerful’ words that have subliminally made their way into our vocabulary and defined two distinct attitudes towards life ­– d’oh and meh.

D’oh is an interjection of frustration, while he called meh “the verbal shrug of indifference.”

“A word like d’oh can be included in dictionaries because it is in wide use and is used in a variety of contexts,” Adams said. “If a word is just used in a television show the answer might be, don’t include it in the dictionary. But, if it gets out of that television show into other types of texts and then also into speech, then self-respecting comprehensive dictionaries ought to include that word.”

Scholar of slang

Adams is known for calling attention to changes in language and integrating slang’s social and linguistic values. The author of “Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon” and “Slang: The People’s Poetry” is currently working on a new book that will consider the functional uses of profanity in English. “In Praise of Profanity” will be published by Oxford University Press in 2016.

While he does not consider himself a “Simpsons” fanatic, he does pay homage to the influence the show has had on people’s lives during its 25 years on air. He said “The Simpsons” is a potent example of the influence that television has had on vocabulary.

In the blog, Adams said “The Simpsons” has “embiggened” – a word Homer Simpson uses instead of “enlarged” – the English language and allowed people to recognize how their own communication styles help shape their identity.

Expression through language

An old friend of Adams once told him people talk the way they do for a reason, and as scholars it is important to determine what those reasons are.

This has been a guiding principle in Adams’ career. He has studied how populations of people use invented words as a means of expressing themselves and improving language for their own purposes.

“We tend to think globally. We tend to think, ‘how many people in the American population overall use this word?’ But another question you could ask is, ‘how intensively do people who use the word use the word?'”

By understanding language, Adams said, we can begin to further understand the people around us.

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Guest filmmakers, special events and fine films made 2014 a memorable year at IU Cinema Tue, 30 Dec 2014 21:29:48 +0000 Klinebackofhouseb

Academy Award-winning actor, Broadway veteran and Indiana University alumnus Kevin Kline watches one of his films at IU Cinema during his September visit. Photo by Eric Rudd.

At Indiana University Cinema, 2014 was a year of extraordinary moments.

Billed as “a place for film,” it also was a place for premieres, special events and visits by more than 30 guest filmmakers.

“Since opening, we have strived to show the world what a bold, ambitious cinema program really could be,” said IU Cinema director Jon Vickers.

“Through our partnerships, hard work, collective vision and audience engagement, I think 2014 set a new benchmark for our peers. I truly believe our guest filmmakers, many of whom are quite renowned, leave Indiana University with a feeling that they have experienced something special.”

What follows are a few favorite moments from the year, as selected by Vickers and the IU Newsroom staff.

Academic awards

Academy Award winners Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline both came away from their visits to Indiana University with honorary doctoral degrees.


Meryl Streep bows down to receive a hood as she is awarded an honorary degree. Photo by Christopher Meyer.

Streep became a Doctor of Humane Letters on April 16 during an appearance at the IU Auditorium in which she displayed her characteristic humility, humor and wisdom. She told young people, “What makes you different or weird, that’s your strength.”

Vickers said he will forever remember Streep’s thanks for his introduction: a kiss on the cheek in front of a crowd of 3,000 people.

For Kline, the honorary doctorate was his second degree from IU. Before earning his bachelor’s degree in 1970, he performed in the theater now home to IU Cinema. The actor received his honorary degree Sept. 15, after a greeting from his past Broadway co-stars Robby Benson and Karla DeVito, Benson’s wife.

Behind the scenes, Kline taught a masterclass to theater students and showed his musical roots. Vickers said that Kline, who originally came to IU to study music, unexpectedly took a seat at a piano and began playing a Cole Porter song before going on stage.


In February, IU Cinema marked 100 years since the birth of Beat Generation icon William S. Burroughs with a film series that included a showing of “Burroughs: The Movie” before it opened in New York City.

It hosted the U.S. premieres of Indian films “Gangs of Wasseypur — Parts I and II” and the first Midwest theatrical 3-D screening of “Goodbye to Language.”

Russell Sheaffer and Josephine Decker at IU Cinema

Russell Sheaffer and Josephine Decker created a film live in front of the audience Oct. 3. Photo by Eric Rudd.

The cinema screened Josephine Decker’s films before their New York openings and before critic Richard Brody of The New Yorker declared of the director, “a star is born.”

Decker and her friend Russell Sheaffer, an IU doctoral student, created an experimental film at the event billed as “The Unburied Experience: Visceral Filmmaking.” They invited people onto the stage to help them unearth pieces of film that had been buried in Sheaffer’s garden to degrade the emulsion. Then, working like mad scientists, they spliced bits together to see what magic might emerge.

An actor with character

IU alumnus Jonathan Banks proved to be a man of the people on his visit during homecoming week.

Jonathan Banks IU Cinema

Jonathan Banks spoke to a full house during his October visit. Photo by Chaz Mottinger.

The “Breaking Bad” star attended the football game, participated in the parade, met with theater students, taped a public service announcement and delivered poignant remarks at the inauguration of The Media School, where his daughter is a student. He revealed that his grandfather, a stonecutter who valued education, had laid the foundation of Franklin Hall.

Before he spoke to a packed house at the cinema, Banks went outside to personally address fans who were unable to get a seat. Once inside, he offered this simple advice: “Don’t lie. Be kind.” And, he added, “You must be kind to yourself.”

Mr. India, Mr. Indiana

Anil Kapoor at IU Cinema

Anil Kapoor and his cult film “Mr. India” were a hit with the audience. Photo by Eric Rudd.

Bollywood superstar and “Slumdog Millionaire” actor Anil Kapoor pulled into Bloomington one autumn night and said “it was like heaven.”

Kapoor joined the audience Oct. 7 to watch his 1987 cult film “Mr. India” at IU Cinema. At the Q&A session he said, “There are great universities in this country, but this one stands apart.” Later, when swarmed by more than 100 fans, he promised to stay and meet each one.

Guest filmmakers

The Jorgensen Guest Filmmaker Lecture Series brought in a wide array of national and international figures this year, from Abbas Kiarostami to Krzysztof Zanussi. Each guest provided a unique perspective, but a few experiences stood out to Vickers:

Edward James Olmos

Edward James Olmos, center, gazes at the Gutenberg Bible housed at IU’s Lilly Library. Photo by Christopher Meyer.

He said he was “utterly amazed and in awe of every word spoken” by Zanussi, a master filmmaker from Poland.

At the Lilly Library, Vickers was able to spend time with Edward James Olmos as the actor and director took in the beauty of the Gutenberg Bible.

He recalled that before the screening of “The Great Flood,” filmmaker Bill Morrison explored other deep waters with a dip in the quarry made famous by “Breaking Away.”

And he recalled Kiarostami’s embrace and warm parting words before leaving for an unknown future in Iran.

Other guests and highlights

Just weeks after the untimely death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, the cinema paid tribute to him with a 24-hour, 12-film marathon of his work Feb 18 and 19.


Ti West came to IU Cinema as part of the Diabolique International Film Festival. Photo by Chaz Mottinger.

IU Cinema hosted the Diabolique International Film Festival of independent horror, sci-fi and fantasy films with visits from guest filmmakers Ti West and Indiana native Zack Parker.

When civil rights leader Julian Bond was introduced before the screening of selected episodes from the “Eyes on the Prize” documentary series, he received a standing ovation from a sold-out audience.

Olympic gold medalist Billy Mills shared stories onstage with IU professor Robby Benson, who portrayed Mills in the film “Running Brave.” Mills said Benson’s portrayal changed the lives of many people he met over the years.

Music in the air

In a year filled with musicals and movies featuring musicians, January’s first film was “The Punk Singer,” about riot grrrl Kathleen Hanna.

Nick Cave starred in “20,000 Days on Earth,” and Belle and Sebastian singer Stuart Murdoch directed “God Help the Girl.”


George Chakiris, left, and Jonathan Michaelsen look at a “West Side Story” poster. Photo by Chaz Mottinger.

Audiences could rock along with the 1964 Beatles picture “A Hard Day’s Night” and the 1984 Talking Heads concert film “Stop Making Sense.” And there was “Purple Rain,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.”

The elegant and ageless George Chakiris came to town and was visibly moved seeing how, after 50 years, “West Side Story” still affected an audience.

The band Garden Gates accompanied the French film “The Smiling Madame Beaudet.”

The 1926 film “The General” was presented with a live 18-piece orchestra and the Midwestern premiere of a new score by Jacobs School graduate Andrew Simpson.

IU’s own Grammy Award-winning vocalist Sylvia McNair hit one of the year’s high notes by performing selections from the Hoagy Carmichael songbook before the screening of “To Have and Have Not,” a film in which he appeared with Bogie and Bacall.

Important issues

Some of today’s most important documentarians covered wide-ranging topics here.

Natalia Almada’s “Porous Borders” series explored immigration, free trade and the drug trade in “Al Otro Lado (To the Other Side)” and “El Velador (The Night Watchman).”

Steve James at IU Cinema

Filmmaker Steve James is interviewed by Susanne Schwibs. Photo by Chaz Mottinger.

Gloria Rolando uncovered hidden stories of Cuba and its roots in African diaspora in “1912, Breaking the Silence” and “Rembarque/Reshipment.”

IU law professor Christiana Ochoa packed the house for “Otra Cosa No Hay,” her documentary exploring the impact of a large gold mining company’s arrival in rural Colombia.

Steve James presented an honest, engaging and surprisingly funny portrait of critic Roger Ebert in “Life Itself.” He also captured stories from the streets of Chicago in “Hoop Dreams” and “The Interrupters.”

Bill Morrison screened clips from his one-of-a-kind found footage films and presented his new documentary “The Great Flood.” When an audience member asked if he considered time a co-author of his work, his answer was profound: “I think we all should.”

On a mission

Jon Vickers

Jon Vickers is the IU Cinema director. Photo by Chaz Mottinger.

IU Cinema presented nearly 250 full-length features in 2014. Classics, documentaries and international releases were mixed with newer arthouse films and more mainstream movies.

Many films were presented in partnerships with university departments. Filmmakers and other guests shared their time and insights in the classroom. In short, the cinema offered more than entertainment; it furthered IU’s educational mission.

“Now knowing what is possible, it is thrilling to think about what lies ahead,” Vickers said.

Coming attractions

Glenn Close will return to the IU Cinema on April 27. The following day, a symposium on Orson Welles will begin. To learn about other events, consult the website or the spring program book, which will be printed by Jan. 12. Until then, visit the IU Cinema channel on YouTube.

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‘Painting: Expanded’ artist Martha MacLeish to discuss her work at IUCA+D in Columbus Thu, 11 Dec 2014 17:18:38 +0000  


Indiana University fine arts professor Martha MacLeish will discuss her art at 6 p.m. Dec. 11 at Indiana University Center for Art and Design in Columbus. Photos by Vasquez Photography.


Artist Martha MacLeish will talk about her work and the show “Painting: Expanded” at 6 p.m. tonight at the Indiana University Center for Art and Design.

The center, which opened in 2011, is located at 310 Jackson St. in Columbus.

The current exhibition of work by MacLeish, Timothy Linn and Michael Rouillard explores how each artist expands the physical and conceptual notions of abstract painting. MacLeish is an associate professor who teaches studio art fundamentals in the Henry Radford Hope School of Fine Arts in Bloomington. The other two artists are based in New York City.

“Each artist here is pursuing unique visions of art steeped in painting’s history,” said Jennifer Riley, the guest curator of the show. Riley is an artist and adjunct instructor who splits her time between Columbus and Brooklyn, N.Y.

At tonight’s event Riley will interview MacLeish about her sculptures, including a new series she calls “Taking by the Middle.” In the new work, MacLeish creates solid forms by laminating many layers of colored plastic.

Art by Timothy Linn

‘Painting: Expanded’ includes Timothy Linn’s models of large scale paintings supported by sculptures.

MacLeish’s pieces in “Painting: Expanded,” by contrast, are created from hollow plexiglass and PVC forms that are attached to the wall and spill deep into the space of the gallery. Their dynamic curves approach a sense of motion. “These are imagined forms that she has made from her experiences of viewing and responding to paintings by artists such as Corot,” Riley said.

“Working in unfamiliar ways makes for surprises and loss of control,” MacLeish said. “Moving into a new way of working with ideas — from pure painting to dimensional work — allows me to reset my sights.”

Riley said the exhibition shows a trajectory from the near-flatness of Rouillard’s paintings on aluminum to MacLeish’s deep projections into space. In between are Linn’s “hybrid villages” of models for unrealized large scale paintings supported by sculptural forms.

“Painting: Expanded” has been extended through the end of December. The exhibit is free and open to the public. Regular hours for the gallery are 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, but visitors are encouraged to email IUCA+D coordinator Lisa Westmark to check for updated hours and closures.

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Get to know painter Pierre Daura and his family in ‘Picturing Attachments’ at the IU Art Museum Wed, 10 Dec 2014 15:49:59 +0000 Perhaps you haven’t heard of Pierre Daura. After all, the Catalan-American artist isn’t exactly a household name.

And that is precisely why you should see “Pierre Daura (1896-1976): Picturing Attachments” before the exhibition ends its run at the Indiana University Art Museum on Dec. 21.


In ‘Louise in a Black Dress,’ Pierre Daura posed his future wife like a queen. Their daughter Martha donated the painting to the Indiana University Art Museum in 2001.

Daura is an extraordinary modernist painter who studied with Pablo Picasso’s father in Spain, then moved to Paris, where he worked in the studio of prominent symbolist Emile Bernard.

But his work is more than that; it’s personal.

Daura’s American-born wife, Louise, and only child, Martha, inspired his art and served as his models, both as subjects and as metaphors for larger issues such as the human toll of war.

“In the case of Pierre Daura, I have never found an artist for whom the entire unfolding of his life inspired his creativity when it comes to his deepest personal attachments,” said Indiana University Art Museum director Adelheid Gealt, who organized the exhibition.

“He’s a remarkable artist. I wish I’d known him,” she said. “I’m glad I know his daughter.”


In 2000, a couple unexpectedly popped by Gealt’s office. A woman wondered whether the museum might be interested in her father’s work. Martha Daura’s father turned out to be a prolific painter – and a notable one.

The surprise meeting was the start of a friendship, a gift to the museum and years of research.

Gealt was especially attracted to Pierre Daura’s portraiture. When she initially selected work for the museum gift, she was unaware that a few of her favorite pieces captured key moments in the life of Martha and her mother.

One of Gealt’s long-term research projects has been examining major artists with this question in mind: How does the arc of life, especially in relation to their own family, influence their work? “The women who write art history tend to be interested in these questions,” she said.

The painter’s devotion to his wife and child is something Gealt finds deeply moving. “When Martha was born in 1930, that was the most welcome thing in his life. He remained devoted to the two of them,” she said.

When Daura was “picturing attachments,” he sometimes knowingly followed the conventions of great artists over the centuries. He painted his wife dressed in fancy costumes and his daughter while she slept. He suggested family harmony by showing his wife and daughter playing music together.

Yet at other times, Daura’s compositions were unique and highly individual. Later in life he painted himself as an older man with a cane, but in the same work he depicted his wife and daughter in their youth, as memories.

“He warms himself, literally, figuratively with these memories,” Gealt said. “These are enormously personal. This is totally his own language.”

Victims of war

Daura also developed a unique approach to images of war, a subject he knew well.

“For him it became specific. His own personal life was projected out to the people he saw suffering from war,” Gealt said.

Pierre Daura

After fighting in the Spanish civil war, Pierre Daura painted himself in uniform in many works such as ‘Self-Portrait as a Loyalist Soldier,’ 1939, IU Art Museum.

The artist was living in Paris when the first World War erupted, though the city itself was largely spared. In 1917, he returned to the Mediterranean island of Minorca for three years of required military service in the relative safety of a neutral Spain.

Daura went to Spain in 1937 to fight in its civil war, leaving his family and home in the French village of St. Cirq Lapopie. By now a 41-year-old with one good arm, his duty was to observe and direct gunfire for the Loyalist forces, who opposed Francisco Franco.

He recalled a battle in which, at the last moment, he stopped a gunner from firing at a military barracks that had surprisingly become a makeshift school. A child had stepped out of the shadows and in his mind, he saw the child as Martha.

Later in the war, Daura was shot in three places and returned to his family to recover.

He also returned to art. In a series of works, his family became something larger: the human family.

“Again, this is something that I had never seen another artist do, where his own family becomes the models for these victims of war,” Gealt said.


War soon changed the course of Daura’s life again. During an extended visit with Louise’s family in America, World War II broke out. The Daura family spent the war years exiled in Virginia, later establishing it as their permanent residence.

When artists are in exile, Gealt said, their work often turns to family. “The same thing happens with Daura. In America, the only thing left to him that he can really connect to is his own family, his wife and his daughter.”

Before returning to painting full time in the 1950s, he taught art at Lynchburg College and Randolph-Macon Woman’s College. He and his daughter became U.S. citizens. The family spent summers at their medieval home in St. Cirq Lapopie, but Pierre Daura never did return to Spain.

Over the course of his life, Daura’s artwork shifted back and forth between abstraction and realism. He remained a serious and devoted painter, but one who valued family over fame.

“Throughout his life there is this very specific reference to his personal life in his work,” Gealt said. “It’s not the only thing he does. He was a landscape painter. He painted professional portraits. He did lots of other subjects.

“But he always came back. There’s never a time when he isn’t referencing his family.”


When “Picturing Attachments” opened at the IU Art Museum, the show had a special visitor. The artist’s favorite model, his daughter Martha, was able to attend.

Martha in Her Graduation Dress

Pierre Daura painted ‘Martha in Her Graduation Dress’ in 1946 when she was 15. She gave it to the IU Art Museum in 2001.

Now 84, Martha has donated more than 20 of her father’s works to the IU Art Museum. It’s just one of the gifts she has distributed to museums in the United States and abroad. She donated the family home in St. Cirq Lapopie to the French government, and it now serves as a center for artist residencies.

“Pierre Daura (1896-1976): Picturing Attachments” will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday through Dec. 21.

The exhibition is documented in a richly illustrated catalog written by Gealt and published by the Georgia Museum of Art. In it, Daura’s artwork is accompanied by charming family photos of the Dauras.

In 2015, the exhibition travels to the Georgia Museum of Art, home of the Daura Center and archive, the Daura Gallery at Lynchburg College and the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art at the University of Richmond.

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Traditional Arts Indiana to create traveling show with National Endowment for the Arts grant Tue, 09 Dec 2014 14:54:49 +0000 Post by IU Communications colleague George Vlahakis

In two years, the state of Indiana will celebrate its bicentennial. Prior to its statehood in 1816, incoming settlers encountered its indigenous peoples, including the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians.

The Pokagon band lived according to seven “grandfather’s teachings,” which were well accepted among the Great Lakes tribes and much of Indian Country in general. Among those teachings was the word, “Bwakawen,” which means “wisdom, using good judgment and attitude, we have the ability to teach others what we have learned.”

Last week, the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Traditional Arts Indiana — the official statewide folk arts program — a $20,000 grant to create a traveling exhibition which does just that.

Jon Kay

Jon Kay is the director of Traditional Arts Indiana.

“Indiana Folk Arts: 200 Years of Tradition and Innovation” will feature folk artists from various cultural communities across Indiana, such as African-American quilters, Italian stone carvers, Mennonite basket weavers and Native America beadworkers. Performances and demonstrations will complement the exhibition at selected locations.

Traditional Arts Indiana is based in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington. With additional support from the Indiana Arts Commission, it has worked to expand public awareness of Indiana’s traditional practices and connect back to its communities.

Often heritage is viewed simply as something in the past. Jon Kay, Traditional Arts Indiana’s director since 2004, said that such legacies and traditions are only useful if they have significance today.

The exhibition and programs will explore the work of contemporary folk artists, whose crafts represent various threads within our state’s historical narrative.

“It’s a connection to deep roots that also are useful today and have beauty today,” said Kay, also a professor of practice in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and a consulting curator at IU’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures. “It would be really easy to focus on just the history of craft — and that’s been done several times before — but I like finding ways to bridge those two worlds and that’s probably what NEA liked about it.”

On the road

Unlike other exhibitions that often reside at museums for months, “Indiana Folk Arts: 200 Years of Tradition and Innovation” will go out to the people and be set up for a few days at events such as the Hoosier Outdoor Experience put on by the Department of Natural Resources in Indianapolis.

Here are some images. of 1. Maxine Stovall and Kathy Muhammad doing a bed turing at the Indiana State Fair. 2. Casey Winningham doing gravestone lettering at the Hoosier Outdoor Experience. 3. Larry Haycraft and his son Samuel making hoop nets at the Hoosier Outdoor Experience.  These were the simple one's for me to grab if you want something different, I can try to revisit it again tomorrow. Thanks again,

Larry Haycraft and his son Samuel make hoop nets at the Hoosier Outdoor Experience.

The exhibition is expected to travel across Indiana during 2016 to state parks, libraries and festivals. In addition to displays, it will feature artisans demonstrating how traditional arts have a contemporary context. It also will reflect the state’s diversity.

“We will try to take down as many of the barriers as possible. We look for places where people already are gathered,” Kay said. “We will transform the traveling exhibit into a festival at each of our installation sites … It will be a live diorama of folk arts for the state.”

Among those expected to participate in the project is David Martin, a Potawatomi Indian from South Bend and a beadwork artist who participated in this summer’s Living Earth Festival in Washington, D.C., presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

“Through looking at the beadwork of Potawatomi artist David Martin, we can reflect on the cultural traditions and aesthetic sensibilities that remain essential to members of the Pokagon Band living in Northwestern Indiana,” Kay said.

“He learned to bead from his mother and grandmother and his family has been in the South Bend area since before Indiana became a state,” he added. “It’s a long-standing, deep-rooted community tradition … He’s continuing this tradition but he’s also this creative and dynamic and innovative artist. It’s not just about doing these ‘old timey’ things, but it’s the fact that these people have found contemporary uses for traditional knowledge.”

Awards and acclaim

In 2013, Traditional Arts Indiana was one of six recipients of the Governor’s Arts Awards (along with director Sidney Pollack and singer-songwriter John Hiatt). That same year, Kay received the prestigious Archie Green Fellowship from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.


Maxine Stovall and Kathy Muhammad do a bed turning at the Indiana State Fair.

Many of those who were associated with IU’s acclaimed exhibit at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., were associated with Traditional Arts Indiana.

It also has been instrumental in the practical training of numerous student folklorists and ethnomusicologists, including IU alumni who are now at the Smithsonian, the Philadelphia Folklore Project, the Brooklyn Arts Council and the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, Tenn.

“We’re kind of an incubator for future folklorists and future museum and arts workers around the country,” Kay said. “We’re trying to be the training ground for the next generation of public folklorists.”

“Indiana Folk Arts: 200 Years of Tradition and Innovation” will provide valuable knowledge to them as well as the next generation of Hoosiers.

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Dancer Patricia McBride, who taught ballet at IU, will receive Kennedy Center Honors Sunday Fri, 05 Dec 2014 18:01:12 +0000 Former Indiana University professor Patricia McBride will be in good company Dec. 7. The longtime New York City Ballet dancer will receive the Kennedy Center Honors in Washington alongside actor Tom Hanks, singers Al Green and Sting and comedian Lily Tomlin.

The 2014 honorees will be seated with President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as their peers take the stage to deliver tributes and performances.