Things to Do: Week of Dec. 12

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Art of the woodblock

Surimono, privately published woodblock prints, comprise one of the most elegant and literary genres of Japanese printmaking traditions. Many surimono were commissioned by poetry groups in celebration of the New Year and printed using the most advanced techniques. The exhibition "Colored in the Year's New Light: Japanese Surimono from the Becker Collection" runs through Jan. 4 at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art.

Ithaca premieres

Cornell Cinema will wind up its late-fall calendar Dec. 12-13 with two Ithaca premieres. French master of suspense Claude Chabrol's latest film, "A Girl Cut in Two," follows a young TV weathergirl caught in a love triangle with two very different men -- a married novelist 30 years her senior and a foppish young heir. Matt Wolf's documentary, "Wild Combination: A Portrait of Arthur Russell," captures the beauty, complexity and troubled genius of avant-garde composer, singer-songwriter, cellist and disco producer Arthur Russell.

Classical contest

The final rounds of the Fifth Annual Cornell Concerto Competition will be held Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. in Barnes Hall. Schedule and biographies of participants and judges: Free and open to all.

Gandhi's image grows

Horticulture students have installed an art exhibit titled "Message from the Earth" in the foyer of Mann Library. Inside a large darkroom cloaked in black velvet, a black-and-white photo negative of Mohandas Gandhi is projected onto a living grass canvas. The image will grow and become more distinct over time and is intended to convey a message of hope and the need for environmental sustainability. You can watch the picture develop through the peepholes in the darkroom or visit the finished product Dec. 15, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Dec. 19, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A Middle Eastern tale

A book reading for children will be held at the Lab of Ornithology Dec. 18 at 4 p.m. in the Adelson Library. A tale from Yemen told throughout the Middle East, "The Palace of Beaks," concerns a humble bird called a hoopoe that challenges King Solomon's judgment. Crowns inspired by the feathered crown of the hoopoe will be made. Free. Information: 607-254-2165.

Midyear grads

The sixth annual January Graduate Recognition Event and Reception for January 2009 graduates will be held in Barton Hall Dec. 20 at 10 a.m. Two colleges hold receptions for graduates, families and friends Dec. 19: the College of Human Ecology's event is at 3 p.m. in the Dean's Room of Mann Library, and the ILR School's event is at 3:30 p.m. in Room 229 of the ILR Conference Center. Breakfasts for graduates, their families and friends will be held by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dec. 20 at 8 a.m. at the Terrace Restaurant, Statler Hotel, and the School of Hotel Administration's Recognition Breakfast is at 8:30 a.m. in the Statler Hotel ballroom.

Canine Cornellians

Taking its cue from the popularity of "Ezra" the Boston Terrier advertising this year's Winter Session posters, Winter Session has announced a "Dogs of Winter" photo contest. E-mail the best photo of your (or a friend's) dog in a winter setting or in winter gear by Jan. 17, 2009. It will be posted on; voting will take place the week of Jan. 19; the winner will be announced Jan. 26. The winning dog will receive a Cornell dog bowl and the chance to be featured on One entry per person.

Science and art

A famed illusionist, a smart parrot, origami, musical brain waves, dance, classical music and the planets will enlighten and entertain audiences in Ithaca Jan. 23-25 as the sixth Light in Winter Festival of Science and the Arts showcases cutting-edge ideas through theater, lectures, panel discussions, dance, music, workshops and multimedia events. The festival will feature illusionist Jeff McBride Jan. 23 and the PUSH Physical Theatre with students from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf in Rochester Jan. 24, both at the State Theatre. Other highlights: "A Short History of Nearly Everything," a family theater piece based on Bill Bryson's best-seller; psychologist Irene Pepperberg's "In Search of King Solomon's Ring," on the mechanisms of learning and communication in parrots; and "Is God a Mathematician?" with astrophysicist Mario Livio, all at Statler Auditorium. The festival finale is "The Music of the Spheres," Jan. 25 at Bailey Hall, with new work by Cornell composer Roberto Sierra, with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra and baroque trio Elizabethan Conversation. Tickets and information:

Sculpting human history

Artist-in-residence John Gurche has been transforming the lobby of the Museum of the Earth into a temporary artist's studio where visitors can see his vision become reality for the exhibition "Sculpting Human History: A Work in Progress." Gurche is creating a series of life-sized sculptures of human ancestors, including Neanderthals and other early hominins. Gurche's work combines scientific accuracy with intricate realism to help transport the viewer back to a time when these early humans roamed the Earth. On the first Sunday of every month through June, you can talk to Gurche about his work at 11 a.m. See:

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