Soprano with soul
Blending her classical vocal training with gospel, soul and jazz, Olatuja is a mezzo-soprano with opera and musical theater experience who first came to fame five years ago as the featured soloist performing with the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration. She formed a jazz ensemble and recorded a solo album, “Timeless,” in 2014. Downbeat says: “Olatuja possesses a special instrument, a full-bodied tone, precise pitch and personal engagement at the lowest whisper or highest wail.”
Her touring band coming to Cornell includes Grammy nominees Jon Cowherd on piano and David Rosenthal on guitar, and Grammy winners Ben Williams on bass and Ulysses Owens, Jr., on drums.
Single tickets are $29-$36 general, $19 for students. The concert series is offering a combined price of $65 for admission to Olatuja’s concert and gospel ensemble Sweet Honey in the Rock, Saturday, March 3, in Bailey Hall. Tickets are available from University Tickets. For information or accommodations to attend, call 607-255-5144.
Oscar nominees and valentines
The Academy Award nominees this year include “DeKalb Elementary,” written and directed by Reed Van Dyk ’07. The story of a bookkeeper at an Atlanta school who talked down a gunman on school property in 2013, the film will be shown at Cornell Cinema with four other Best Live Action Short Film nominees, Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 11 at 1:45 p.m.
All of the Oscar-nominated short films in three categories are screening on campus in advance of the Academy Awards ceremony on March 4. Oscar Shorts: Animation will screen Feb. 9 at 9:40 p.m., Feb. 10 at 9:30 p.m. and Feb. 11 at 4:30 p.m. Documentary Shorts will be shown Feb. 13 in two parts, at 6:15 p.m. and 8 p.m. (times have changed from the Flicksheet listing), with one admission price covering both parts.
On Valentine’s Day, Cornell Cinema will be showing “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins’ “Medicine for Melancholy” (2008), a young-love story set in San Francisco; and Jean-Luc Godard’s “Band of Outsiders” (1964), at 7 and 9 p.m. respectively.
Also showing: The Ithaca premiere of “Bill Nye: Science Guy,” Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 20 at 7:15 p.m. The 2017 documentary shows Bill Nye ’77 taking up the mission of his late Cornell professor Carl Sagan against science deniers, and fighting those who deny climate change, evolution and a science-based worldview.
The Cornell Jazz Ensemble, Ithaca College Jazz Ensemble and Ithaca High School Jazz Band will join for a collaborative performance Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. at Bailey Hall. The concert is free and open to the public.
Directed by Paul Merrill, the Cornell ensemble will perform compositions by Phil Woods and Fritz Pauer and an arrangement by music major Christopher Worden ’19 of the standard “All of You.” The Ithaca College group will play selections by Thelonious Monk, arranged by associate professor and director of jazz studies Mike Titlebaum. Ithaca High School musicians, directed by Mike Treat, will play tunes by Neal Hefti, John La Barbera and Doug Beach.
Cornell Department of Music programs this week also include the After Experimental Music Symposium, with performances and current perspectives on experimental music studies through Feb. 11.
Political crisis in context
Professor Eric Cheyfitz will give a lecture on contemporary politics, “The Disinformation Age: The Collapse of Liberal Democracy in the United States,” Feb. 13 at 4:45 p.m. at A.D. White House. The event is free and open to the public and presented by the Institute for Comparative Modernities’ New Conversations Series.
In his lecture, Cheyfitz proposes a historical explanation for the current political crisis going back to the American colonial period, and the reasons the two major political parties today cannot address it effectively, if at all.
Cheyfitz is the Ernest I. White Professor of American Studies and Humane letters at Cornell, and teaches in the Department of English and the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program.
Carbon cycle cabaret
Professor of microbiology Stephen Zinder presents “Mighty Microbes: Methanogens, the Tree of Life and the Carbon Cycle” at the next Science Cabaret, Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Sciencenter, 601 First St., Ithaca.
Zinder leads a historical journey of discovery about the microbes known as methanogens, that by 1977 led to a controversial new tree of life. The journey begins in 1776 with Italian physicist Alessandro Volta, who observed the flammability of the gas bubbling up to the surface while he was boating during a summer holiday on Italy’s Lake Maggiore.
Zinder taught a summer course in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and every year took his students to a swamp where they repeated Volta’s experience of producing a fireball from the gas. His Science Cabaret talk also considers the effect of methanogens on Earth’s carbon cycle and methane’s role as a greenhouse gas.
The free interactive discussion includes beverages and snacks provided by the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) as part of Darwin Days: Extreme Life!, Feb. 11-17 in Ithaca. The annual commemoration of the birthday and ideas of Charles Darwin is hosted by PRI and Cornell.
Other Darwin Days 2018 events include a faculty panel discussion, “Evolution at Extremes: Exploring Life at the Limits,” Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at The History Center in Tompkins County, 401 E State St.