Singer, composer, Helicon contributor, and multi-instrumentalist Sasha Bayan is working to release his debut album entitled “Do I Know You?” Described as a blend of “pop-rock with influences from classical, jazz, samba, flamenco, and Hindustani music,” the album, like Bayan’s live performances, promises to be eclectic and enjoyable.
If you’re interested in helping out with his Kickstarter campaign to raise money to release the album, visit: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1082481283/do-i-know-you-sasha-bayans-debut-album?ref=home_location
Also a member of Aurelia (whose songs “Quickstep” and “Oracion para Servicio” were published in our 2011 Winter issue), Bayan is a well-known feature of Helicon’s Open Mic and art/music events. Currently a supersenior in Weinberg and the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern, Bayan hopes to embark on a career in music.
Date: Monday, May 20th, 2013
Time: 3:30-5:00 PM
Location: Norris, Big Ten Room
The Northwestern Undergraduate Research & Arts Exposition provides students with a unique opportunity to present their final, polished research projects to an audience of peers and faculty. But what does the research process involve? Doing Research at the Library: A Panel and Discussion will enrich the Exposition by demonstrating how students can get involved in research by utilizing the vast array of resources located in the University Library.
A panel of undergraduate researchers will speak at the event, and will include students who have carried out independent research projects as well as students whose work has been published in the Northwestern Undergraduate Research Journal. Following the presentations, Subject Specialists from the library staff will have the opportunity to comment on students’ projects, and provide real examples of assisting in the research process.
The panel discussion is designed to be an event of interest to the entire Northwestern community. In addition to highlighting student research, learn about their processes, and how the Northwestern University Library can support undergraduate research.
WHEN:Thursday, May 9, 2013
7:00 PM - 9:00 PM WHERE:Block Museum of Art, Mary and Leigh, Block Cinema 40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208 map itAUDIENCE:- Faculty/Staff - Student - PublicCOSTS:- Free
CONTACT:One Book NU
Northwestern’s Block Cinema presents a free program of classic short documentaries about Chicago people and places was inspired by this year’s One Book One Northwestern, Alex Kotlowitz’s Never a City So Real, which features portraits of some of the author’s favorite Chicago neighborhoods and citizens. This corresponding film program includes a film shot on the NU campus in the mid-1960s and early films from Tom Palazzolo, Kartemquin Films, and the Chicago Film Archives, with topics covering racism, gentrification, an early gay pride parade, and more. (Description courtesy ofBlock Cinema)
Cause Without a Rebel (1965) Directed by Peter Kuttner, 16mm, 9 minutes.
Funded by the Northwestern University Film Society, this experimental documentary is an exploration of political apathy amongst college students during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.
Now We Live on Clifton (1974) 16mm, 24 minutes.
This film tracks the gentrification of the once-diverse West Lincoln Park Neighborhood following the construction of DePaul University through the eyes of 10-year-old Pam Taylor and her 12-year-old brother Scott. Print courtesy of Chicago Film Archives and Kartemquin Films.
Jerry’s Deli (1974) Directed by Tom Palazzolo, New 16mm print! 10 minutes.
Tom Palazzo’s iconic short is a snapshot of one of Chicago’s most beloved eateries, as well as an uproariously funny portrait of the deli’s eccentric owner.
Gay For a Day (1976) Directed by Tom Palazzolo, 16mm, 11 min.
Gay For a Day is a lively depiction of an early gay pride parade in Chicago. Weaving through bustling crowds and capturing numerous interviews, director Palazzolo pieces together a story of resilience and celebration.
Paraíso (2012) Directed by Nadav Kurtz, video, 10 min.
Paraíso focuses on three Mexican immigrants who risk their lives daily washing the windows of Chicago skyscrapers. Director Nadav Kurtz juxtaposes breathtaking views of the city’s skyline and intimate interviews with the film’s subjects.
CWA’s writer in residence, TSITSI DANGAREMBGA, was featured on Chicago Public Radio’s show WORLDVIEW in a segment by Arts and Culture reporter Alison Cuddy. You can read the segment posted on their blog here:
Celebrated short story writer George Saunders will take part in a public conversation as part of Northwestern University’s Contemporary Thought Speaker Series Monday, May 6, at Northwestern University. In an earlier event in a separate location, Saunders will read from his latest collection of short stories.
Free and open to the public, both programs take place on the Evanston campus.
A short story writer and MacArthur “genius” fellow, Saunders has won high praise for his writing from The New Yorker and Entertainment Weekly alike. He will read from “Tenth of December,” his latest collection of short stories, at 4 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum, 1870 Campus Drive, Evanston.
At 6 p.m. Saunders will speak in Room 107 of Harris Hall, 1881 Sheridan Road, about writing, literature and the theme of the Contemporary Thought series — the purpose and value of a university education in the world. Nathan Hedman, visiting assistant professor of English, will moderate the discussion. A Q&A session will follow.
Saunders is the author of “Pastoralia,” “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline” and “In Persuasion Nation.” His 2007 book of essays, “The Braindead Megaphone,” received critical acclaim and landed him spots on “The Charlie Rose Show,” “Late Night with David Letterman” and the “Colbert Report.”
Last month, Saunders joined the ranks of Saul Bellow, Eudora Welty and John Updike when he won the PEN/Malumud Award for short fiction from the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. He teaches creative writing at Syracuse University.
Writer Dave Eggers has called Saunders “a complete original” and “essential to our national sense of self and sanity.” A recent New York Times Magazine article profiling Saunders and the short stories in “Tenth of December” was titled “George Saunders has written the best book you’ll read this year.”
New Exhibit at the Block Museum!
In the early 20th century Chicago-based architects engaged in dynamic conversations with their progressive European counterparts as urban planning evolved in practice and on paper.
Curated by David Van Zanten, Mary Jane Crowe Professor in the Department of Art History, this exhibition explores the dialogue between architects and city planners in the United States, Europe, and Australia through drawings, large-scale architectural renderings, sketches, and rare books.
For more information, visit:
Marie Brennan describes herself as a “former academic with a background in archaeology, anthropology, and folklore, which she now puts to rather cockeyed use in writing fiction.” She’s the author of Doppelganger and Warrior and Witch, among other books. Her latest book is A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir by Lady Trent, published in February by Tor Books.
Tell us about Lady Trent, the narrator/memoirist of A Natural History of Dragons. What’s she like, how does she get interested in dragons, and what can readers expect from her memoir?
She’s a deeply geeky woman who became obsessed with dragons at a young age, when she began collecting sparklings (tiny insect-like draconic creatures) and decided that anything with wings was awesome. Her memoirs chronicle the process by which that enthusiastic girl became first an amateur naturalist, then a professional one, then a rather famous (not to say notorious) one. As she is writing her memoirs in her old age, she doesn’t much care what people think of her anymore, and often has trenchant comments to make both on society and her own youthful errors.
What gave you the idea to pen a novel in this particular narrative form?
It really just fell into place, when I first started chasing the idea. The first-person point of view drifted right away into a retrospective voice, Isabella looking back on her life, and then it seemed obvious to write it as an actual memoir—which is, after all, a very Victorian thing to do. (The book is set in a secondary world, but it’s very much modeled on the real nineteenth century.)
Your own background is in anthropology, archaeology, and folklore, all of which certainly come into play inA Natural History of Dragons at various points. What shifted you away from academics and into fantasy writing?
Oh, the fantasy writing came first, by a long shot. I knew I wanted to be a writer by the time I was ten, and didn’t settle on going to graduate school until I was in my junior year of college. Given that what I studied in grad school was science fiction and fantasy literature and community, the two things never drifted very far away from one another.
But it’s true that I did eventually leave grad school to write full-time. That happened because of the convergence of several things. Just when I’d finished my coursework and needed to start preparing for my dissertation, I sold my first novel, which moved writing from “hobby I want to earn money at someday” to “active and ongoing career.” My dissertation would almost certainly have hampered my ability to build that career. Then, while I was in the process of considering that, the company my husband worked for went bankrupt, and it became clear that we should move to where his job prospects would be better.
I still have a strong interest in academic topics, which (as you said) feed into my writing, just as the writing once fed into my academic interests. I just swapped which half is in the “hobby” category, and which half is my job.
Lady Isabella frequently mentions her own earlier works as well as other reference books she reads as part of her research. Have you given any thought to fleshing out the story by writing any of those books as well?
I’ve considered writing excerpts from them at some point, as a sort of “DVD extra” for the series. I wouldn’t write the whole books, though—I don’t think they would actually be interesting at great length, as many of them are very dry scientific treatises.
I’m also tempted by the notion of writing short stories in this setting, that aren’t from Isabella’s point of view. Some of them might give an outside perspective on her, to contrast with her opinion of herself in the memoirs, while others would develop secondary characters or different parts of the world. None of those have yet gotten past the vague-idea stage, though; the novels have been taking up too much of my time and energy!
Where and when do you do most of your writing?
I have a home office, and that’s where 95% of it gets done. Mostly I work late at night; for whatever reason, my brain seems to really turn on around 10 p.m., and go until as late (or early) as 3 a.m. The result is that I keep rather odd hours, and have to explain to people that it isn’t laziness for me to sleep until 10 or 11 a.m.
Which authors or books do you find yourself returning to most often?
I have a deep and abiding love for Diana Wynne Jones, whose work I have loved since childhood; one of her books,Fire and Hemlock, was the catalyst that made me decide I wanted to be a writer. She’s a splendid example of how a truly good storyteller can speak to both children and adults.
You’ve written about the importance of buying books from physical bookstores: what are some of your favorite bookstores, and why?
I love Borderlands Books in San Francisco. It’s a specialty bookstore, with science fiction and fantasy and horror, and its selection is fabulous. They host a large number of readings and signings and other events, and the staff are very knowledgeable and friendly—basically, it has all the classic virtues of the independent specialty store.
What books have you read and enjoyed recently? (Or, what’s on your bedside table now?)
I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Lia Habel’s Dearly, Departed—not because I had any doubts in Habel as a writer, but because I usually have zero interest in zombie books (or zombie films, for that matter). Hers avoids a lot of the standard tropes of the genre, though, and goes off in its own, highly entertaining direction. I especially appreciated the way the romance plays out, in contrast with the borderline abusive behavior often associated with paranormal boyfriends.
Presumably there’s a second Lady Trent memoir in the works? Can you give us any hints about what she’ll be up to in the next volume? Do you have a plan yet for how many volumes the series will eventually contain?
Yes, the second volume is on my editor’s desk right now! As the end of the first book indicates, Isabella heads to Nsebu, which is modeled on equatorial Africa. Her country has a small colony there, which means there are political hurdles for her to vault in the process of getting to the dragons—not to mention that a neighboring country is trying to invade while she’s there. It’s the downside of being the protagonist in a novel: nothing ever seems to go smoothly for you …
I’m currently under contract for three volumes in the series; I hope to make it five in total.
—interview by Jeremy Dibbell
Originally posted on http://www.librarything.com/author/brennanmarie/interview
Tatiana Holway is an independent scholar and the author of several studies on Charles Dickens and popular culture. Her new book is The Flower of Empire: An Amazonian Water Lily, the Quest to Make it Bloom, and the World it Created(published this month by Oxford University Press).
What a story! It’s hard to imagine a country getting excited about a flowering plant today, but in early Victorian England, just that happened, as you tell us in your book. What was the plant, and why did so many find it so fascinating?
You’re right: most of us these days do tend to think of gardening as just a hobby and flowers as mere decor. For Victorians, though, gardening and flowers were intertwined with almost every aspect of daily life. Add to that the sheer numbers of new flowers that were turning up as Britons explored (and absorbed) more and more parts of the world, and the deluge of information about them that was surging through the ever more widely circulating popular press, and you can see how news of the discovery of a colossal tropical water lily could cause quite a stir. Then add the further fact that the plant was discovered in Britain’s only South American colony—the one where it so happened that Sir Walter Raleigh had gone looking for El Dorado and so much of Britain’s imperial ambition had been formed—and the fact that it was identified as a new genus just when the 18-year-old Princess Victoria happened to become queen—you could say all the forces were in place for a perfect storm. The naming of the flower Victoria regia set it off.
It took quite a long time between the original discovery of the plant and when it was successfully propagated in England. Why so, and how was the plant eventually coaxed into bloom so far from its natural habitat?
While the extent of the water lily’s natural habitat is vast—it turns up all over equatorial South America—who would go out of their way to go slogging through alligator-infested, bug-ridden, fever-inducing jungles and swamps blistering sun or teeming rain looking for flowers? Even now, the interior of Guyana has some of the last virgin rain forests in the world, and such few botanists who venture there find the going pretty tough. “Moving around is a matter of hacking your way with a machete and stumbling, climbing, or sliding over whatever obstacles present themselves,” said a scientist profiled by National Geographic a few years ago. “Whatever maps are available are about as reliable as those that say ‘Here be dragons,’” he added. “It’s 18th-century biology in the 21st.”
In the 19th century, artificial environments for cultivating tropical exotics in England were becoming more sophisticated by leaps and bounds: steam boilers, glass manufactures, a whole panoply of industry went into the endeavor, and a whole lot of money and ingenuity did, too. There were plenty of failures, along with many successes, but when it came to an aquatic plant that emerged from a pea-sized seed and produced half a dozen leaves, each of which could be five or six feet across, the challenges were tremendous, and they were unprecedented, too. Plus, now we know that Victoria water lilies in cultivation can be temperamental under the best circumstances, so attempting to grow them at all continues to be somewhat of a gamble. The fact that the plant was not only propagated successfully but also brought to bloom in mid-November of 1849 in an area of England said to be as dank and dark as the inside of a well—that’s pretty fantastic, isn’t it?
There was quite a dispute over what exactly to call the water lily when it was described, wasn’t there? How did that all get sorted in the end?
The last chapter in that history didn’t come till after Queen Victoria’s death in 1901, when the many disputes over the water lily’s correct designation that flared up during her lifetime were resolved according to conventions of botanical nomenclature that became official rules in 1905. The outcome was that Victoria regia reverted back to Victoria amazonica—a name that absolutely scandalized the nineteenth-century British botanists who tended to the reputation of the queen’s flower. The problem wasn’t with the Amazon per se. It was that the river had been named after the Amazons: linking Queen Victoria with those monstrous mythical women, who represented the very antithesis of a domestic feminine ideal that she herself emulated and modeled, would have been an outrage. So although there were legitimate scientific reasons for doing so—amazonica had been the first species epithet applied to the plant—there were also pressing reasons for it to be suppressed. Regia, by contrast, was infinitely preferable. That it was something of a piece of puffery is true, but also somewhat beside the point since it worked: the name did have the effect of conferring an impeccably majestic character on the wild water lily, and thus, in circular (but no less compelling) logic, the tribute could be accepted by the Queen and welcomed with much fanfare (and more puffery) by the press.
Presumably you got to have a look at a few live examples of the lily as you worked on the book? Tell us a bit about those experiences, and what the plant looks like “in person,” so to speak.
Actually, I haven’t—not yet. So much of the book has to do with how the very idea of Victoria regia captivated the imagination of Victorians, and so for me, recapturing that sense of being spellbound was as crucial as researching any historical figure or fact. Now, though, I’m looking forward to the really magical moment of seeing the real thing.
What did you come across in your research that most surprised you?
This is a tough one. There were so many surprises. Maybe that’s it, though—and it’s not just that so many amazing things turned up, but that so many unexpected developments proved to be essentially interconnected. In a way, the research took on a life of its own. It became a detective adventure, as gripping as any of Sherlock Holmes’s. OK, an armchair adventure, or to be perfectly precise, a desk-chair adventure—mostly. I did travel, and as far as libraries and archives in the UK. But back home, the investigations were just as compelling; plots and subplots started surfacing; there were subterfuges, jealousies, rivalries, schemes. I was on the chase—hence, and absorbed in long spells of “ratiocination” like Holmes. Staying on top of the game could be tough—it took a lot of concentration, and I did get engrossed for long stretches in what turned out to be false leads. Still, in the end, it became pretty clear who dunnit, how, where, and when. Most of the pieces fit together quite well. Not perfectly. That’s for story books. Some will probably always be missing. That’s life—and history.
Some of your previous projects have related to the works of Charles Dickens, who makes a few cameo appearances in The Flower of Empire. Tell us a bit about how he comes into this particular story, if you would.
It actually began with Dickens and with a “private history” of the Crystal Palace that he published in Household Words, the weekly journal in which he often took on the topics of the times and weighed in with his influence to tell the public what was what. In early 1851, the talk of the town, and much of the world, was the astonishing, unprecedented structure that was just being completed in Hyde Park and covered 18 acres of what had been a field with some trees under a vaulted casing of glass. Dickens’s explanation of its origins started with “a curious apposition,” whereby the first parent of the most extensive building in Europe was the largest known flower structure in the world. Although, co-relatively, they differ as widely as the popular disparity of a St. Paul’s and a China orange; yet the one proceeded from the other, as consequently as oaks grow from acorns.
As oversimplifications go, this is pretty stunning. It piqued my curiosity, nonetheless. So down the rabbit hole of research I went, and after years of wandering around in the past, I can state more or less definitively that what Dickens said is sort of true, in a way.
Are you a gardener yourself? If so, what are some of your favorite plants to grow?
Absolutely! After growing up in New York City—”gardenless,” as Victorians might have said—I found myself living in a house with a yard, stuck a trowel in the dirt, and fell head over heels with growing flowers: lilies of the valley, violas, forget-me-nots, daisies, delphiniums, sweet peas, morning glories, poppies, veronicas, daylilies, plantain lilies, lavender, roses, clematis, bell flowers, cone flowers, black-eyed susans, hollyhocks, phlox …
What’s your own library like? What sorts of books would we find on your shelves?
Loads of books on natural history, plus loads on British history, plus loads of Victorian literature and literary criticism. I have a soft spot for 17th-century poetry, so there’s quite a bit of that, and then there’s plenty of contemporary fiction, and pockets of all sorts of other books, too. I can’t live without the OED. That and about a dozen other well-thumbed reference works are on my desk. Naturally, companions to gardens and flowers are there, too.
What have you read and enjoyed recently?
Issues of Punch from the 1850s and ’60s and of The New Yorker from the last few months. Richard Russo’s Straight Manwas great fun on a short trip recently. The other day, I started Mrs. Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale. It’s a nonfiction work, based on a Victorian woman’s diary, and very well written. Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending is definitely on my list. I’m also looking forward to giving the novels of Jeffrey Eugenides a try.
Do you have a sense yet of your next project?
Not yet. I’m just rambling around, with no particular destination, but with the certainty that something wonderful is bound to turn up.
—interview by Jeremy Dibbell
Originally posted on http://www.librarything.com/author/holwaytatiana/interview