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Ryan Gosling stars as astronaut Neil Armstrong in “First Man,” screening Dec. 7-9 at Cornell Cinema.

Things to Do, Dec. 7-14, 2018

“First Man,” last rabbit

Cornell Cinema wraps its fall schedule this week with two new releases – “First Man,” with Ryan Gosling as first man on the moon Neil Armstrong, and the Fred Rogers documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Both are showing Dec. 7, 8 and 9 in Willard Straight Theatre.

The Ithakid Film Festival also concludes Dec. 8 at 2 p.m. with “Peter Rabbit and the Tales of Beatrix Potter” (1971). The series is cosponsored with the Ithaca Youth Bureau.

Recommended for children ages 6 and up, “Peter Rabbit” features music performed by the Orchestra of the Royal Opera and dance performances by the Royal Ballet, choreographed by Frederick Ashton.

Developing Ithaca

A book launch for “Shaping a City: Ithaca, New York, A Developer’s Perspective,” will be held Dec. 7 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at The History Center in Tompkins County, 401 E. State St., Ithaca.

The event, part of First Friday Gallery Night, is open to the public and includes a reception at 5:30 p.m., a short presentation at 6 and a book signing with author Mack Travis at 6:30. Advance copies will be on sale.

Travis is a former visiting lecturer in the Baker Program in Real Estate. His book is a new release from Cornell Publishing, an imprint of Cornell University Press. It features a history of Ithaca as it grew from the early 1800s on, and perspectives on local affordable housing, commercial development and urban renewal projects over the last 40 years, such as the construction of the Ithaca Commons pedestrian mall in 1974-77 and its redesign in 2013-15, and saving historical landmarks including the State Theatre and Clinton House.

Town-Gown Awards

The 8th annual Cornell Town-Gown Awards will be held Dec. 8, 9:30-11:30 a.m. in Ithaca High School’s Kulp Auditorium. The informal, celebratory event is free and open to the public.

The awards program highlights notable town-gown partnerships and campus-community initiatives led by Cornell students, and recognizes community members retiring from high-profile elected or appointed positions. The event will include remarks from Cornell President Martha E. Pollack and Ithaca City School District Superintendent Luvelle Brown.

Meinig National Scholars at Cornell will distribute information from 9:30 to 10 a.m. and accept donations for the Stewart Park Inclusive Playground Project.

Partnerships being recognized this year include Cornell Sustainable Design students working with Tompkins Consolidated Area Transit; College of Veterinary Medicine students offering a monthly walk-in Healthy Pet Clinic with the Southside Community Center; and a task force assessing Tompkins County emergency systems with the help of Cornell Institute of Public Affairs students studying the county’s emergency medical services.

For more information, contact the Office of Community Relations at 607-255-4347 or email

Concerto competition

The finals of the 15th annual Cornell Concerto Competition will be held Sunday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. in Barnes Hall Auditorium.

The competition, sponsored by the Department of Music, is open to all student musicians at Cornell. The public is invited and admission is free.

Eleven student musicians are entered in the competition’s first round from 1 to 3 p.m. They will perform works for piano, horn and violin by composers including Gershwin, Paganini, Liszt, Rachmaninoff and Ravel. Judges will choose from three to five finalists. Pianist and Doctor of Musical Arts student Andrew Zhou serves as the competition’s official accompanist.

The winner, to be announced Sunday, will perform a concerto as a featured soloist with the Cornell Symphony Orchestra at a concert on campus in the spring. Previous winners include pianist Andy Sheng ’20 in 2017 and cellist Irene Jeong ’19 in 2016.

Crochet for charity

Join members of the Graduate Society of Women Engineers and learn to crochet holiday decorations, Dec. 9 from 2 to 5 p.m. in 226 Weill Hall. The event is open to everyone and no experience is necessary.

Learn to crochet with the Graduate Society of Women Engineers, making holiday ornaments Dec. 9 in Weill Hall.

Participants will be crocheting ornaments and making holiday cards for Ithaca community members. All supplies are provided and baked goods and tea are included.

Sixteen saxophones

Visiting lecturer in music Joe Salzano and Cornell saxophone and woodwind students pay tribute to jazz sax titan Sonny Rollins, Dec. 9, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. in B20 Lincoln Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

The evening will include 16 saxophonists, a selection of creatively arranged Rollins originals and free pizza.

Student films

Students in film production courses in the Department of Performing and Media Arts will show their projects at a screening Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Kiplinger Theatre at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, 430 College Ave.

The screening will feature films from two courses: Introduction to Visual Storytelling; and Documentary Production I: Fundamentals. The program is free and open to the public, with food and drinks to follow.

Across the universe

Science on Tap presents  “Are We Alone in the Universe?” with Lisa Kaltenegger, associate professor of astronomy and director of the Carl Sagan Institute, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. at Northstar House’s Casita Del Polaris, 1201 N. Tioga St., Ithaca. The event is free and open to all ages.

Having developed the technology to detect signs of life in other solar systems, challenges for humans remain in how to identify and characterize potentially habitable planets. Kaltenegger will share the latest research and discuss these challenges and how telescopes in the near future will revolutionize our ability to glimpse other worlds.

Coordinated by Graduate Women in Science at Cornell, “Science on Tap” is a public program aimed at making science accessible and exciting to everyone. The monthly series features a diverse range of scientific topics and speakers presenting their research in an engaging and understandable way. The series is supported by an Engaged Opportunity Grant and is cosponsored by Northstar House and WHCU Radio.

Whistler exhibition

Fall exhibitions closing soon at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art include “The Touch of the Butterfly: Whistler and His Influence,” ending Dec. 16 in the museum’s Gold Gallery.

American artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler (1834-1903) was a prolific printmaker as well as an accomplished painter in oil, watercolor and pastel. His etchings and prints show his creative experimentation and his dedication to perfecting his craft.

Drawn from the museum’s extensive collection of Whistler’s works on paper, the exhibition highlights his use of unusual papers, printmaking methods and ability to create atmospheric scenes including views of Venice, London and Amsterdam in intaglio. Works by Canaletto, Rembrandt, Hogarth and other artists who influenced Whistler are on display, along with the work of artists who admired and imitated him.

The exhibition was curated by Nancy E. Green, the Gale and Ira Drukier Curator of European and American Art, Prints and Drawings, 1800-1945; with contributions from participants in Green’s Cornell Adult University summer course, Whistler and the Victorian Art World.”

The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; admission is free.

Media Contact

Gillian Smith