Things to do: Week of Sept. 15

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Deconstructing 'Savage Grace'

On Sept. 13, Howard A. Rodman '71 -- a novelist, educator and screenwriter ("August," "Joe Gould's Secret") -- will discuss his screenplay for director Tom Kalin's recent "Savage Grace" following a 7 p.m. screening in Willard Straight Theatre. "Savage Grace" tells the true, tragic story of Barbara Daly, who married above her class to Bakelite heir Brooks Bakeland (Stephen Dillane) and led a decadent life from the 1940s to the early 1970s. The film also screens Sept. 12 at 9:15 p.m. A former editor-in-chief of the Cornell Daily Sun, Rodman is a professor at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.

A 'Shared Experience'

Well-known artist and local resident Steven Barbash has collected American works on paper and paintings from the 1950s to the present, many of which came to the collector as exchanges with fellow artists. An exhibition at the Johnson Museum titled "Shared Experience: The Steven Barbash Collection" closes Sept. 14.

Bartok to Enescu

Two members of the Cornell music faculty, pianist Xak Bjerken and violinist Joseph Lin, return to the Barnes Hall stage Sept. 14 at 8 p.m. The program includes a selection of atmospheric solo piano works by Bartók, Debussy and John Adams, and George Enescu's duo Violin Sonata No. 3. Both musicians tour widely and are in high demand as performers and in recording studios in the United States and abroad.


Jeffrey McNeely, chief conservation scientist for the World Conservation Union, will deliver two seminars on ecoagriculture: "Origins, Development, Implementation and Challenges," Sept. 16, 3:30 p.m., 404 Plant Science Building; and "Ecoagriculture Approaches to Bioenergy Development," Sept. 17, 12:20 p.m., 135 Emerson Hall.

Go with the flow

Cornell's Institute for the Study of the Continents in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences presents a workshop on magma Sept. 17 in 2146 Snee Hall. Jefferson W. Tester '66, '67, who will join Cornell's faculty as the first Croll Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems, will give the keynote address at 2:10 p.m. Currently a professor at MIT, Tester is a leader in renewable and geothermal energy systems research and education. Topics to be covered include: geothermal energy, volcanic hazards, thermo-tectonics, crustal evolution, and volcanoes and global change.

Darkly comic

Fiction writer Patrick Somerville, MFA '05, will read from his work as part of the Creative Writing Program's fall series Sept. 18 at 4:30 p.m. in Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall. Somerville's first novel, "The Cradle," will be published by Little, Brown in March 2009; his book of short stories, "Trouble," was named 2006's best book by Time Out Chicago. His work has appeared in One Story, Epoch, GQ, Esquire and Best American Nonrequired Reading. Somerville has taught writing at Cornell, Auburn State Correctional Facility and the Graham School in Chicago.

Wilde times

"The Importance of Being Earnest" opens the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts' 20th anniversary season. Oscar Wilde's satire of Victorian English society runs Sept. 18-27. The plot -- crowded with incident -- involves mistaken identity, thwarted romance, the pretensions of a class-based society, all manner of disingenuousness and the pursuit of money through marriage. Box Office: 607-254-2787.

Remembering culture

Professor Marita Sturken of the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at New York University delivers a University Lecture on "Consuming Security: Defensive Design in the Comfort Culture of Everyday Life," Sept. 19 at 4:30 p.m. in Hollis Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall. Sturken's work spans cultural studies, visual culture, American studies, and art and technology, with an emphasis on cultural memory, national identity, consumer culture, the social function of art, and the cultural effects of technology. Her books include "Tourists Of History: Memory, Kitsch and Consumerism From Oklahoma City to Ground Zero" and "Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, the Aids Epidemic and the Politics of Remembering."

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