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African-American films to screen at UT for Black History Month

The first UT African-American Film Festival will be held this month at The University of Toledo.

Screenings will take place Thursdays, Feb. 7, 14 and 21, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts.

The inaugural event is co-sponsored by the UT Black Student Union, the UT Department of Theatre and Film, and the UT Office of Multicultural Student Success.

Films showcased during February spotlight contemporary African-American stories as told by some of today’s best African-American filmmakers.

Kicking off Thursday, Feb. 7, the festival will open with the 2016 Academy Awarding-winning best picture “Moonlight,” directed by filmmaking phenom Barry Jenkins.

The following week, Thursday, Feb. 14, Jordan Peele’s contemporary horror masterpiece “Get Out” will provide entertainment on Valentine’s Day.

“Pariah,” a quiet yet beautifully crafted indie film directed by Dee Rees, will conclude the festival Thursday, Feb. 21.

“Moonlight” and “Pariah” will screen in the Center for Performing Arts Room 1039; “Get Out” will be shown in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre.

“I appreciate Holly Hey [UT professor and head of the Film Program] and the Theatre and Film Department for their support of black art,” Isis Walker, president of the UT Black Student Union, said. “There are a lot of aspiring black artists across all the colleges and departments on our campus, and I believe showcasing successful black artists will inspire these students to continue their craft. I want black artists on our campus to feel supported by both the Black Student Union and the Department of Theatre and Film. I hope we are able to continue this event.”

Doors will open at 7:20 p.m. for the free, public screenings.

For more information, contact Hey at holly.hey@utoledo.edu.

Theatre department to present ‘The Pillowman’

The University of Toledo Department of Theatre and Film will present Martin McDonagh’s Tony Award-winning play titled “The Pillowman” Friday through Sunday, Feb. 1-3 and 8-10, in the Center for Performing Arts Center Theatre.

Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday shows are at 2 p.m.

In “The Pillowman,” Katurian, a fiction writer abused as a child, churns out bizarre novels with violent plot twists that raise the suspicions of the police when his stories align a little too closely with a recent string of child murders. During his interrogation, Katurian reveals the horrid childhood experiences that informed his craft.

Quincy Joyner, assistant lecturer of theatre, is directing the production.

“There are brutal moments in this play. That’s how Martin McDonagh writes. But he dares us to look past the surface of the story’s characters,” Joyner said. “There are moments of humor and intellect in the writer who writes about horrific things, in the police officers who want the world to be a safer place, in the younger brother who has a childhood filled with dreadful experiences. It is a play that challenges the audience as much as it entertains.”

The cast features Hanna Gerlica, a junior majoring in pharmacy, as Mother; Bryan Harkins, a senior majoring in theatre, as Tupolski; Becca Lustic, a junior majoring in theatre, as Michal; Abbey Mulinix, a student at Wildwood Environmental Academy, as Little Jesus Girl; Grace Mulinix, a freshman majoring in theatre, as Katurian; Faith Murphy, a junior majoring in theatre, as Ariel; Justin Petty, a sophomore majoring in theatre, as Father; and Christian Soto, a freshman majoring in theatre, as Pillow Boy/Brother.

Members of the design team are Dr. Edmund Lingan, professor and chair of theatre and film, producer; Scott Hunt, UT alumnus and faculty member, composer; Kristin Ellert, set designer; Daniel Thobias, associate professor of theatre, costume designer; Stephen Sakowski, assistant professor of theatre, lighting designer; Ryan Peters-Hieber, a senior majoring in theatre design technology, sound designer; Kevin Upham, a senior majoring in theatre, stage manager; and Logan Fleming, a sophomore majoring in theatre, assistant stage manager.

Tickets are $10 for students; $12 for UT faculty, staff and alumni, and military members and seniors; and $18 for the general public. Call 419.530.ARTS (2787) or go to the School of Visual and Performing Arts’ website. Tickets also will be available at the door.

UT Department of Art students’ work appears on area electronic billboards

The creations of University art students are on display throughout the Toledo area for the next several weeks, appearing on electronic billboards as part of an annual exhibition.

Each fall, Barry Whittaker, UT associate professor of art, organizes the exhibition of juried student work. The digital billboard space was donated by Lamar of Toledo.

“While studying art, it is important to see how images can move beyond classroom and gallery walls to interact with the city where you live,” Whittaker said. “Lamar has been a great partner in this project by providing students with the opportunity to see their work illuminated and at a large scale in many locations around the city of Toledo.”

A total of 19 works from 14 artists are featured in the exhibition.

The digital billboard locations are at Reynolds Road at Airport Highway, Glendale Avenue at Byrne Road, Tremainsville Road at Laskey Road, Washington Street at Huron Street, Woodville Road at East Broadway Street, the Anthony Wayne Trail at Western Avenue, I-75 at Berdan Avenue, and I-75 at Monroe Street.

Works on the billboards were created by 14 student artists: Austin Baker, Donna Beauregard, Taylor Carey, Colin Chalmers, Jason Chappuies, Alaina Coote, McKenzie Dunwald, Chen Gao, Lindsay Haynes, Alexa McLaughlin, Tyler Saner, Ashley Simmons, Valerie White and Lydia Yant.

Art exhibit reflects on ownership of self images

This January The University of Toledo Department of Art is hosting an exhibition of the work of guest artist Rowan Renee, a genderqueer artist self-identifying as they.

“No Honor No Heart” will be on display from Monday, Jan. 14, through Thursday, Feb. 14, in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery on UT’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus.

“Together but Separate” is part of Rowan Renee’s exhibit titled “No Honor No Heart,” which is on display through Thursday, Feb. 14, in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery on UT’s Toledo Museum of Art Campus.

Renee’s work includes images of their nude body that have been reclaimed and altered.

“In 2013, I was in a legal dispute with a former partner and collaborator, a copyright lawyer, over ownership and access to nude images of my own body that we co-authored,” Renee said. “[This] is an installation that reclaims these lost images, asserting the transformative power of artistic labor for experiences of sexual abjection.”

A free lecture will be held Friday, Feb. 1, at 6 p.m. in the Toledo Museum of Art Little Theater. An opening reception for “No Honor No Heart” will follow from 7 to 8 p.m. in the Center for the Visual Arts Gallery.

“I use photography to interrogate how sexual bodies are gendered, victimized, policed and punished,” Renee said. “Through photographic, printmaking and sculptural techniques, I produce and appropriate images that intervene on issues of authorship, the representation of queer and feminine bodies within the art-historical canon, and the intersection of homophobia and misogyny in sex law and copyright law.

“Abjection, as a queer concept and aesthetic framework, informs my manipulation of images. Through jouissance, the hard-won pleasure found in the labor of making, I see a means to construct transformative meaning from experiences of violence, persecution and erasure that threaten queer and feminine subjects.”

Renee currently works between Brooklyn, N.Y., and Ann Arbor, Mich. Their career began as a street artist in 2006, when they joined the Miss Rockaway Armada, a collaborative flotilla of junk rafts founded by the artist Swoon.

In the past, Renee traveled across 10,000 miles of the United States taking tintype portraits of people living off the grid, worked to rebuild a Sandy-flooded bungalow in the Rockaways as a live-work artist space, and founded a small photography business called Brooklyn Tintype.

Recently, they have received awards from the Aaron Siskind Foundation, the Rema Hort Mann Foundation and the Anchorage Museum of Art, as well as fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, the McColl Center for Visual Art and Ossian Arts at the Jain Family Institute. In 2018, Renee weas named an Elsie Choy Lee Scholar by the University of Michigan.

Their work has been profiled on NPR, in The New York Times, VICE, Hyperallergic, Huffington Post, American Photo Magazine and Guernica, among other publications.

The free, public exhibition can be seen Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

For more information, contact Brian Carpenter, UT lecturer of art and gallery director, at brian.carpenter@utoledo.edu.

Composer/conductor to discuss music Dec. 13

Former Toledo resident Robert Spano, music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and of the Aspen Music Festival and School, will visit the University for an evening of discussion with UT music students and faculty.

The talk will be moderated by Dr. Matthew Forte, UT director of orchestral studies, and held Thursday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

Spano

A reception will follow the discussion.

Tickets are $10 to $15 and are available in advance from the UT Center for Performing Arts Box Office by calling 419.530.2787 or visiting the School of Visual and Performing Arts website.

Spano is a conductor, pianist, composer and teacher known for the intensity of his artistry and distinctive communicative abilities, creating a sense of inclusion and warmth among musicians and audiences. Beginning his 18th season as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, this imaginative conductor is an approachable artist with the innate ability to share his enthusiasm for music with an entire community and concert hall.

A fervent mentor to rising artists, Spano is responsible for nurturing the careers of numerous celebrated composers, conductors, and performers. As music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School since 2011, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students and artists.

Highlights of the 2018-19 season include Spano’s Metropolitan Opera debut, leading the U.S. premiere of “Marnie,” the second opera by American composer Nico Muhly, with Isabel Leonard, Janis Kelly, Denyce Graves, Iestyn Davies and Christopher Maltman.

Spano’s recent concert highlights have included several world premiere performances, including “Voy a Dormir” by prolific composer Bryce Dessner at Carnegie Hall with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and mezzo-soprano Kelley O’Connor; the Tuba Concerto by Atlanta School of Composers alumna Jennifer Higdon, performed by Craig Knox and the Pittsburgh Symphony; “Melodia for Piano and Orchestra” by Canadian composer Matthew Ricketts at the Aspen Music Festival; and “Miserere” by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra bassist Michael Kurth.

He has led Atlanta Symphony Orchestra performances at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center and the Ravinia, Ojai, and Savannah music festivals. Guest engagements have included the New York and Los Angeles philharmonics; the San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, Oregon, Utah and Kansas City symphonies; and the Cleveland, Philadelphia and Minnesota orchestras.

Internationally, Spano has led the Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, BBC Symphony, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfonica Brasileira, Orquestra Sinfonica Estado Sao Paulo, the Melbourne Symphony in Australia, and the Saito Kinen Orchestra in Japan.

With a discography of critically acclaimed recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon and Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Media, Spano has won six Grammy Awards with the Atlanta Symphony. Spano is on faculty at Oberlin Conservatory and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University, and Oberlin. He is one of two classical musicians inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and makes his home in Atlanta.

Concerts to feature choirs, orchestra

The University of Toledo Department of Music will present two choral concerts in December.

On Saturday, Dec. 1, the Chamber Singers will perform with the UT Symphony Orchestra at 8 p.m. at Corpus Christi Parish on Dorr Street, across from Main Campus.

Selections to be performed will be “Funeral Music for Queen Mary” by Purcell and Stucky; “The Rumor of a Secret King” by John Mackey; “Da Pacem, Domine” by Peteris Vasks; “Dance of the Tumblers” from “The Snow Maiden” by Rimsky-Korsakov; “Fun and Games” by Dr. Lee Heritage, UT associate professor of music; “Alleluia Laus et Gloria” by Tarik O’Regan; and “Cantata in Nativitate Domini” by Rihards Dubra.

On Friday, Dec. 7, the UT Rocket Choristers and the Glee Club will perform along with the Children’s Choir of Northwest Ohio. The concert will be at 7 p.m. in Doermann Theatre.

The concert will feature a blend of secular and seasonal music.

Tickets —$5 to $10 — will be available at the door or in advance from the UT Center for Performing Arts Box Office by calling 419.530.2787 or visiting the School of Visual and Performing Arts website.

Parking will be free for both concerts.

Ohio poet laureate to read work, sign books Nov. 20

Dr. Dave Lucas is a poet on a mission.

“I don’t want to convince you that you should love poetry. I want to convince you that you already do,” he wrote in a column for the Ohio Arts Council.

Lucas

“If you know by heart the lyrics to your favorite song, you already love one kind of poetry. You love another whenever you laugh at a joke or groan over a bad pun. The jargon of your profession and the slang you speak with friends are poetry. So are the metaphors we use to describe this world we all are trying to understand.”

Lucas, who began his two-year term as Ohio poet laureate in January, will visit The University of Toledo Tuesday, Nov. 20, to talk about his love of words and read his work. The free, public event will take place at 7 p.m. in Libbey Hall.

He also will sign copies of his first collection of poetry, “Weather,” which was published in 2011 and won the 2012 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. That work also caught the attention of Rita Dove, former U.S. poet laureate, who called Lucas one of 13 “young poets to watch.”

“I’m excited we’re able to bring Dave Lucas to campus,” Dr. Benjamin Stroud, UT associate professor of English, said. “He’s not just an excellent poet, but a great advocate for poetry and, more widely, all the literary arts. He provides a great model to students — and everyone — for how to hone your own craft while also supporting the larger community of poets and writers.”

Since being named the state’s poet laureate Jan. 1, Lucas has been trying to debunk the lofty notions of the measured word.

“Poetry happens — in metaphors or jokes or in poems themselves — at that place where sound and sense blur into each other,” he wrote on the Ohio Arts Council website. “We may not realize that we are under the spell of poetry, because poetry is made of ordinary language (if language can ever be ordinary). Some words we use to toast a wedding or to bless the dead; others we use to order a pizza.”

That everyday sense was at the forefront of his class called Poetry for People Who Hate Poetry at Case Western Reserve University, and with Brews + Prose, a reading series he co-founded and co-curated with the slogan “literature is better with beer.”

Lucas’ poetry is featured in anthologies “The Bedford Introduction to Literature” and “Best New Poets 2015,” and has appeared in several journals, including The American Poetry Review, Blackbird, The Paris Review, Poetry and Slate.

The Cleveland native received a bachelor of arts degree from John Carroll University, a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Virginia, and master of arts and doctoral degrees in English language and literature from the University of Michigan.

His visit is presented by the Department of English Language and Literature, and the College of Arts and Letters.

For more information, contact Stroud at benjamin.stroud@utoledo.edu or 419.530.2086.

UT Rocket Marching Band to perform Nov. 17 in Valentine Theatre

The University of Toledo Rocket Marching Band will take its show on the road to an indoor venue. The Sounds of the Stadium Concert will be held Saturday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. at the Valentine Theatre, 410 Adams St.

The band will perform music from the 2018 football season.

The UT Rocket Marching Band performed during the 2018 Edward C. and Helen G. Schmakel Homecoming Parade.

Highlights of the program will include the music of Panic! at the Disco, Elton John, show tunes from “The Greatest Showman,” and traditional UT favorites.

Tickets are $7 each. Discount tickets are available for groups of 10 and more.

Tickets are available through the UT Center for Performing Arts Box Office, 419.530.ARTS (2787), and on the School of Visual and Performing Arts website, as well as through the Valentine Theatre Box Office, 419.242.ARTS (2787), and the Valentine Theatre website.

For more information, visit the UT Rocket Marching Band page.

UT Opera Ensemble to present ‘Così Fan Tutte’ this weekend

The UT Opera Ensemble will present Mozart’s comic Italian opera, “Così Fan Tutte” (“Women Are Like That”) with a modern country-western twist. Set in a country bar, a friend of two young men bets them that their girlfriends would be unfaithful if left unattended. So, the men take the bet and put their ladies to the test.

The opera will be sung in the original Italian, with subtitles provided.

Be there before the performance for barbecue, beer and free line dancing lessons. Beer is cash bar, and the barbecue will be sold by Deet’s BBQ.

Performances will take place Friday through Sunday, Nov. 16-18, in the UT Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall. Friday and Saturday performances will be at 7 p.m., and Sunday’s show will be at 2 p.m.

Cast members are UT student Alana Scaglioni, soprano, as Fiordiligi; UT alumna Katherine Kuhlman and UT student Kate Walcher, mezzo-sopranos, as Dorabella; UT Music Instructor Justin Bays, baritone, as Guglielmo; UT student Moises Salazar and UT alumnus William Floss, tenors, as Ferrando; UT student Paige Chapman, soprano, as Despina; Jonathan Stuckey, bass baritone, as Don Alfonso; and UT students Kaitlyn Trumbul, Kailyn Wilson, Sterling Wisenewski and Jasmin Davis as the chorus.

Dr. Denise Ritter Bernardini, UT assistant professor of music, is producing and directing the show. Wayne Anthony is the music director, and Scaglioni is the assistant director. Kent Lautzenheiser-Nash is the choreographer.

Tickets $10 to $15 are available through the Center for Performing Arts Box Office by calling 419.530.ARTS (2787), online at the School for Visual and Performing Arts website, and at the door.

For more information, visit the UT Department of Music opera page.

Rock-and-roll scholar analyzes Beatles’ White Album as psychedelic music

To mark the 50th anniversary of what is widely known as the White Album, an English literary and rock-and-roll scholar at The University of Toledo argues the 30-song double album released in November 1968 titled “The Beatles” coherently showcases the fruits of shared psychedelic experiences between John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

Dr. Russell Reising, professor in the UT Department of English Language and Literature and original member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Educational Advisory Board, wrote a 22-page lyrical analysis, “Where Everything Flows,” to be published next year in a collection of essays about the record.

“Tense, yes. Clashing, yes. Disconcerting, yes. Incoherent and lacking any kind of unity, no. ‘The Beatles’ is that place we can go, where everything flows. And flow it does through the broadest possible range of musical styles, lyrical evocations and emotional extremes,” said Reising, who has published books about The Beatles’ “Revolver” album and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.”

Through the unique, unprecedented scope of diverse subject matter and varied songs like “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da,” “Helter Skelter,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun,” “Blackbird,” “Rocky Raccoon” and “Revolution 9,” Reising said the album reveals the transformations of The Beatles’ philosophical point of view and psychological insights after undergoing LSD experiences resulting in psychedelic music.

“They are an expression of the communal consciousness of The Beatles at the time when they stop taking LSD, and the influence of their experiences starts to make itself felt in songs that might not necessarily sound at all psychedelic,” Reising said.

“The diversity of the album is like an attempt to reproduce in record form the philosophical commitment to integration, unity and incorporation — as opposed to conflict — that comes about as a result of the long, reflective, introspective final phases of an LSD experience that influence how one thinks and lives their lives. It makes them more compassionate and more open to a wider range of experiences.”

Reising

The book titled “The Beatles Through a Glass Onion: Reconsidering the White Album,” which is expected to be released in March from the University of Michigan Press, will be the first scholarly volume devoted to the album’s legacy in the Fab Four’s career and in rock history.

“The White Album is awfully, awfully good,” Reising said. “This is not one of my favorite albums, but I like it more than a lot of people do.”

“Even after 50 years, the critics’ view of the White Album remains contested,” said Dr. Mark Osteen, professor of English and director of the Center for the Humanities at Loyola University Maryland, who edited the book. “Given the disparity in response ranging from ‘the product of a band in disarray’ to ‘a rich tapestry of musical textures,’ we believe that this landmark record — still one of the top-selling rock albums of all time — deserves reconsideration.”

Reising’s essay fits into the book’s first section, which outlines the personal, musical and political contexts for the album. The other chapters focus on the music, musicians, lyrics and the album’s legacy.

The songs travel time and space all over the globe. They feature animals such as McCartney’s dog in “Martha My Dear,” as well as different kinds of people like Chairman Mao, Bungalow Bill and the dentist who will pull Eric Clapton’s teeth. The songs have musical and sonic effects from Western and Eastern traditions, reverse tapes, dainty piano pieces, and religious songs.

“No two songs are the same,” Reising said. “You have everything from musical simplicity to incredible complexity. It’s offering the broadest possible range of ideas, attitudes, emotions and sounds that a day in the life might contain.”

Reising evoked James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick” in his commentary on the Fab Four’s songs written between meditative sessions in India in a quest to find inner peace.

“It is commonplace among Melville scholars to refer to the Pequod in ‘Moby Dick’ as a microcosm of the entire world,” Reising said. “We can see ‘The Beatles’ in similar terms.”

“‘The Beatles’ might not exactly be an album whose songs encompass the interconnectedness of all things, but the range of musical styles, of vision, even of length represent something that no other album has even remotely approached, something akin to what James Joyce attempts in ‘Ulysses’ or ‘Finnegan’s Wake.’”

The band became open in the White Album to inviting other significant contributors to their musical efforts.

“They deploy a significant number of ‘partners’ in an unprecedented way,” Reising said. “Either the wife or girlfriend of each Beatle performs on at least one song: Patty Boyd on ‘Piggies,’ Maureen Starkey on ‘The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill,’ Francie Schwartz on ‘Revolution 1,’ and Yoko Ono on ‘Birthday.’ Never before had wives or girlfriends been present in the recording studio.”

Other artists, including Clapton, Jackie Lomax and Nicky Hopkins, were included.

“Never before had any such independent or otherwise group-affiliated musicians graced Beatles’ recordings,” Reising said.

He said the album is almost like a day in the life, from sleeplessness to insomnia to gentle easing to sleep. The first song, which starts with screaming jet engines, has a lyric, “Didn’t get to bed last night”; the album has a middle song titled “I’m So Tired”; and the last song is called “Good Night,” ending the album with Starr singing, “Good night, sleep tight,” and then whispering, “Good night… Good night, everybody… Everybody, everywhere… Good night.”

The 50th anniversary of “The Beatles” is Nov. 22, 1968.

These photos of, from left, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, were included in “The Beatles.”