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Natalie Portman stars in “Annihilation,” screening May 11-12 at Cornell Cinema.

Things to Do, May 11-18, 2018

International drama conference

Playwrights, translators, directors and producers from around the world are gathering May 11-12 in Ithaca for a conference, “Drama Across Borders: The Politics and Poetics of Contemporary Theatre in Translation.” The conference explores how international drama expands the imagination and pushes the boundaries of political conversation.

Producer Elyse Dodgson, international director of the Royal Court Theatre in London, delivers the keynote address, “‘I Come From There’: International Playwrights at the Royal Court Theatre,” followed by a Q&A, May 11, 6:30 p.m. at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts.

The conference continues May 12, 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. at The Cherry Artspace, 102 Cherry St., Ithaca. Panels and presentations include new works in translation from Argentina, Austria, China, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Korea, Palestine, Poland, Romania and Syria, performed by Cornell and Ithaca College students and the Cherry Arts Acting Company. See the full schedule.

From Area X to Wakanda

Cornell Cinema brings a new sci-fi thriller and a recent blockbuster to Willard Straight Theatre this week.

Natalie Portman is an Army soldier accompanying a team of scientists into unknown and otherworldly territory in “Annihilation,” with three screenings May 11-12. Written and directed by Alex Garland (“28 Days Later”), the film also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Gina Rodriguez, Tessa Thompson and Oscar Isaac.

Set in an Afro-futurist paradise, “Black Panther,” with four screenings May 17-19, is a recent film from the Marvel Universe – taking a comic book story into the realm of colonialism and the African diaspora, and contemporary issues of black empowerment and representation. Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan and Lupita N’Yongo star for director Ryan Coogler.

Wes Anderson’s colorful screwball comedy from 2014, “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” screens May 12 and 13.

Jazz, swing and new music

The Department of Music sponsors jazz and new music concerts, including a big band swing dance, on campus this week. All events are open to the public.

The piano duo of instructors Ryan MacEvoy McCullough and Andrew Zhou, HereNowHear, focuses on compositional experimentation and new works in a free concert Friday, May 11, at 8 p.m. in Barnes Hall Auditorium. The program features Christopher Stark’s “Foreword,” for piano and electronics, written for the duo in 2017; and works by Ligeti, Stravinsky and Schoenberg.

The Cornell University Jazz Band “Swing Fling” features big band arrangements, dancing and refreshments, May 12, 8 p.m. in B20 Lincoln Hall. Dance instruction is offered starting at 7 p.m. Admission is $5 at the door.

The Cornell University Jazz Ensemble and Appel Jazz Combo will perform a free concert May 13 at 3 p.m. in Barnes Hall Auditorium.

The light fantastic

Live performance, a light show and stargazing are featured at “Catching The Stars: A Lighting, Music and Dance Extravaganza,” May 11 at 9 p.m. on the Schwartz Center Courtyard, 403 College Ave., Ithaca, presented by the Department of Performing and Media Arts. Dancers and musicians will improvise madly as lighting is projected out onto the street and into the skies from the windows of the performing arts center.

Following the show, see the stars through a telescope courtesy of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell and the Cornell Astronomical Society. Admission is free and open to all ages; the public is invited.

One last reading

Graduate students completing their studies in the Department of English Creative Writing Program will present some of their work at the 2018 MFA in Creative Writing Graduation Reading, May 12 at 3 p.m. in Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, G70 Klarman Hall.

The reading features thesis work and other works-in-progress by MFA poets Cristina Correa, Emily Mercurio, Carl Moon and Lindsey Warren; and MFA fiction writers Neal Giannone, Peter Gilbert, Shakarean Hutchinson, Weena Pun and Hema Surendranathan.

A reception will follow the reading in the English Department Lounge, 258 Goldwin Smith Hall. The events are free and open to the public.

Learning and resilience

Associate professor of natural resources Shorna Allred discusses the role of students in community-based research in sustainability and resilience, in “From Binghamton to Borneo: Engaged Learning Across Space and Time,” May 17, 10:30 a.m. in the Boyce Thompson Institute Auditorium. The event, sponsored by the Cornell Association of Professors Emeriti, includes refreshments at 10 a.m.

Allred is faculty director of Cornell’s Global Citizenship and Sustainability program in Borneo and the Rust to Green Scholars program in Binghamton. Her talk focuses on universities and communities working together on innovative and actionable research projects that address a community’s unique context, problems and needs while benefitting local people and places.

Fostering greater sustainability, resiliency and prosperity in communities in New York state and around the globe, community development research and action programs also benefit students who work and learn alongside community members, contributing knowledge and developing new skills and abilities.

Explore bird diversity

The Cornell Lab of Ornithology hosts “Exploration Station: Bird Diversity,” Friday, May 18, 10 a.m. to noon at the Johnson Center for Birds and Biodiversity Visitor Center, 310 Sapsucker Woods Road, Ithaca. Admission is free.

Visitors can learn about the wildly diverse world of birds through activities, murals and exhibits; and get a close-up look at feathers, bills and feet of real birds from the lab’s specimen collection; and quiz themselves on the types of food different birds eat. The learning stations are geared to people of all ages.

For information, call 800-843-BIRD or email

Media Contact

Lindsey Hadlock