Darwin Days 2018: Extreme Life! continues in Ithaca Feb. 16-17 with a keynote address and family events. The annual commemoration of the birthday and ideas of Charles Darwin is hosted by the Paleontological Research Institution and Cornell.
Paleontologist Phoebe Cohen ’02, assistant professor of geosciences at Williams College, gives the keynote, “Evolution of Life Before Animals: Gasping for Breath and Dodging Snowballs,” Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. in 165 McGraw Hall. Cohen’s talk is free and open to the public. She will cover major transitions leading to the rise of animals, and how extreme conditions (including scarce oxygen, toxic hydrogen sulfide and millions of years of glaciation) may have spurred evolutionary innovation.
A Darwin Family Day, Feb. 17 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Museum of the Earth, will feature activities, stories, Cornell’s Team Microbe, and a 1 p.m. presentation by doctoral student in astronomy Jack Madden on how life on Earth affects how we search for life on other planets.
See the Darwin Days website for more information.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour returns to Cornell Feb. 16-17 with outdoor adventure plus environmental and cultural films, showing 7-9:30 p.m. each night in Bailey Hall. The screenings feature different films each night and are hosted by Cornell Outdoor Education (COE). Advance tickets are $14 for one night, $24 for both nights, available at Baileytickets.com and the COE office in Bartels Hall, open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Admission at the door is $20.
From adventure sports action to exotic landscapes and remote mountain cultures, the film festival inspires audiences to explore the world outside. For more information, call 607-255-6273.
A new exhibition now on display in Albert R. Mann Library, “A Sweep of Light: Scanner Photography and the Art of Horticulture,” shows the intricate beauty of plants in images by contributing artists and students.
Flatbed scanners can produce distinctive high-resolution images rich in both color and texture, and “A Sweep of Light” features stunning, often large-scale works by photographers Ellen Hoverkamp and Craig Cramer, along with students from Marcia Eames-Sheavly’s course The Art of Horticulture, and members of Hortus Forum, the undergraduate horticulture club at Cornell. (Click on the links to see images of their work.)
Cramer, a communications specialist at the Cornell School of Integrative Plant Science (SIPS), will demonstrate his botanical scanner photography technique during a public reception, Wednesday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m.
Produced in collaboration with the Horticulture Section of SIPS, the exhibition in the Mann Library Gallery is free and open to the public through the end of March. Library hours are 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m to 5 p.m. Fridays, 1-5 p.m. Saturdays and noon to midnight Sundays when classes are in session.
Temptation and tango
Temptation and the Talmud are at odds in the I.L. Peretz ballad, “Monish.” Originally written in Yiddish in 1888, the humorous and poignant tale in verse relates the story of Satan, his irresistible wife Lilith and a young Jew who just wants to be left alone with his books.
Big Galut(e) Klezmer Ensemble performs an original music-and-dance version of “A Monish Tale” Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Barnes Hall Auditorium. The performance is free and open to the public and features an original score of klezmer music and tangos by Sanford Margolis, English narration and a trio of dancers bringing the characters to life.
The event is sponsored by the Jewish Studies Program and the departments of Music, German Studies and Performing and Media Arts; Cornell University Klezmer Ensemble and the Institute for German Cultural Studies.
World migration and animation
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s 2017 documentary “Human Flow,” screening Feb. 22 and 25 in Willard Straight Theatre, bears witness to the urgency of human migration. Across the globe, more than 65 million people have been forced to leave home to escape famine, climate change and war, in the greatest mass displacement since World War II.
Filmed over the course of an eventful year in 23 countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico and Turkey, Weiwei depicts the epic scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. The film’s subjects, seeking safety, shelter and justice, endure teeming refugee camps, barbed-wire borders and perilous ocean crossings.
Also at Cornell Cinema: Three screenings of The 19th Annual Animation Show of Shows, Feb. 22-24, a stunning array of 16 animated short films. The internationally acclaimed lineup for the 93-minute program includes David O’Reilly’s “Everything,” based on a 1973 talk by philosopher Alan Watts; the recently restored 1964 classic “Hangman;” and “The Burden,” a stop-motion musical from Swedish director Niki Lindroth von Bahr, costume co-designer on David Bowie’s “Blackstar” video.
Advocacy and laughter
Relevant as ever in today’s social and political climate, Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” is a celebration of a taboo topic, freely discussed in more than 200 interviews on which the work is based. It’s also a call to action on behalf of exploited populations, and proof that feminists can be funny.
The Cornell Women’s Resource Center’s 2018 production, Friday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in Bailey Hall, features a diverse cast of women and gender-nonconforming Cornellians. Tickets are $10 in advance at BaileyTickets.com, and $15 at the door.
Ninety percent of ticket proceeds will be donated to The Advocacy Center of Tompkins County, and the remaining 10 percent to Ensler’s V-Day Foundation, supporting global advocacy for women and girls. For more information on the event, email email@example.com.