Things to Do, Aug. 29-Sept. 5

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Cornell Cinema and the Department of Computer Science will present "The Day the Earth Stood Still" Sept. 4.

24-Hour Playfest

Students will be up all night this weekend, working to create short plays from scratch and perform them, all within 24 hours.

The 24-Hour Playfest begins at 6 p.m. Aug. 29, and the plays resulting from the process will be performed at 6 p.m. Aug. 30 in the Schwartz Center’s Flexible Theatre.

This start-of-the-school-year tradition at the Schwartz Center is organized by Jillian Holch ’16. The exercise gives students from across campus an introduction to the Department of Performing and Media Arts (PMA) and to each other, and to creating performances during their Cornell careers.

The theme and “twist” for this year’s Playfest will be announced when students meet at the beginning of the 24 hours on Friday. The writers among them will then create short plays, due at 6 a.m. Directors will read the scripts and cast actors by 7 a.m., then rehearsals will begin, props and costumes will be gathered, and finally all of the students – directors, playwrights, actors, stage managers and crew – will regroup for performances at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Before the Playfest, PMA invites Cornell students to attend the department’s Town Hall Meeting, Aug. 29 at 4:30 p.m. in the Flexible Theatre. Students can tour Schwartz Center facilities, learn about classes in dance, film and theatre and department events – there will be 150 events in 2014-15 in honor of Cornell’s sesquicentennial – and how to get involved in set design, costumes, lighting and sound design and other activities.

Free concert

New York City electronic duo The Knocks and Philadelphia rock band Modern Baseball will perform Aug. 30 at 7 p.m. on Cornell’s Arts Quad.

The free concert is presented by the Cornell Concert Commission annually as a welcome event for students.

‘Surrealism and Magic’

Magic, a source of inspiration for art and thought in the international surrealist movement, fascinated Swiss-born American artist Kurt Seligmann. He assembled a library of several hundred rare books on magic and witchcraft while living in New York City from 1939-59.

Seligmann’s collection, acquired by Cornell upon his death in 1962, has inspired a new exhibition at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, “Surrealism and Magic,” from Aug. 30-Dec. 21. Museum admission is free.

The more than 100 objects on display include a selection of Seligmann’s books dating to the 15th century, and magic-themed surrealist paintings, drawings and prints from the museum’s collection and other collections around the world.

“Magic philosophy teaches that the universe is one, that every phenomenon in the world of matter and of ideas obeys the one law which co-ordinates the all,” Seligmann wrote in 1946. “Such doctrine sounds like a program for the painter: Is it not his task to shape into a perfect unity within his canvas the variety of depicted forms?”

“Surrealism and Magic” is co-curated by Laurent Ferri in the Library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections and Andrew Weislogel, curator of modern and contemporary art. Related programming on campus this fall includes lectures by experts on Surrealism and a Nov. 14 screening in Sage Chapel of the influential 1922 film “Häxan (Witchcraft through the Ages)” with live musical accompaniment.

Acoustic concerts

WVBR’s “Bound for Glory” begins its 48th season Aug. 31, with the brother duo of Andrew and Noah VonNorstrand.

“Bound for Glory” broadcasts live from the Café at Anabel Taylor Hall, 8-11 p.m. Sunday evenings on WVBR-FM, 93.5 and 105.5, with three sets of music at 8:30, 9:30 and 10:30 p.m. hosted by Phil Shapiro, M.A. ’69. Live shows at the Café are free and open to all ages.

Performers this fall include Brother Sun, with Pat Wictor, Joe Jencks and Greg Greenway, Sept. 7; music and comedy with Christine Lavin and Don White, Sept. 14; Rochester musicians Leslie Lee and Steve Gretz, Sept. 21; old and new folk songs with Susan Trump, Sept. 28; and Mike Agranoff, Oct. 5. Mark Rust and Aztec Two-Step also return to the series in late fall.

Horse-drawn art

Vincent J. F. Huang will bring "Polar Bear Hamburger" to Cornell for a performance piece Sept. 4, 1:30-3:30 p.m., carrying the sculpture on a horse and carriage around campus. Rain date: Sept. 5.

Huang is one of the artists featured in the exhibition “Jie (Boundaries): Contemporary Art from Taiwan” at the Johnson Museum. The museum hosts a public reception for its fall exhibitions Sept. 5 from 5-7 p.m., with an exhibition preview of “Surrealism and Magic” at 4:30 p.m. Free.

Blaxploitation and robots

A semester-long blaxploitation film series, co-sponsored by University Courses, kicks off Sept. 3 at Cornell Cinema with a double feature of Stanley Cramer’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” (1967) with Sidney Poitier, Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn; and Melvin Van Peebles’ “Story of a 3-Day Pass” (1968). One admission covers both screenings.

The series features “Shaft,” Sept. 22; “Superfly” and “Black Caesar,” Oct. 6; Pam Grier in “Coffy” and “Foxy Brown,” Oct. 20; “Cleopatra Jones,” Oct. 28; “Claudine,” Nov. 10; “Car Wash,” Nov. 17; and “Black Dynamite” (from 2001), Dec. 1. Films in the series (except “Enter the Dragon,” Nov. 5) will be introduced by Cheryl Finley, history of art and visual studies associate professor, who is teaching the University Course “Blaxploitation Film and Photography.”

Also, to mark the 50th anniversary of its founding, the Department of Computer Science will co-sponsor a film series proposed “to shed light on the public's perception of our field. Movies with a robotic theme are an excellent vehicle for doing this because robots are a metaphor for how society thinks about computers.”

The series, “You, Robot: Machine Autonomy in the Computer Age,” begins Sept. 4 with “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (1951), introduced by Prof. Charles Van Loan and starring Michael Rennie as an alien with a message for world leaders. Other films include “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Sept. 12-14; “Robocop,” Oct. 2-3; “Ghost in the Shell,” Oct. 16-19; “Metropolis,” Nov. 7-9; and “Robot & Frank,” Nov. 13.

Latino history

Cornellians who have been instrumental in shaping the Latino/Latina community over the years will be featured at “Latin@s at Cornell,” Sept. 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Latino Living Center, Anna Comstock Hall. Free and open to the public.

The panelists are undergraduate admissions multicultural coordinator Angela Herrera ’03; assistant dean of students for student development diversity initiatives Andrew Martinez ’12; Dean of the Law School Eduardo Penalver ’94; adjunct associate professor of sociology Hector Velez, Ph.D. ’83; professor of anthropology Vilma Santiago-Irizarry; and Latina/o Studies Program director and professor of anthropology Sofia Villenas.

The event is part of the Latino Living Center's Café con Leche series and is supported by the Latina/o Studies Program and La Asociacion Latina. 

Media Contact

Joe Schwartz