King’s fight for workers’ rights
A new exhibition in the Catherwood Library Lobby in Ives Hall highlights Martin Luther King Jr.’s history of involvement with unions and his strong belief in the labor movement.
“All Labor Has Dignity: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Labor Movement” will be on display beginning Jan. 21, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Curated with items from the collections of the Kheel Center for Labor-Management Documentation and Archives, the exhibition is free and open to the public.
Seeing labor and civil rights as twin pillars of social reform, King asserted that “organized labor has been one of the deterrents of human exploitation throughout its long history in America.”
He worked tirelessly to advocate for working people, played a key role in pivotal strikes and fought for economic justice on several fronts. These included the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963 and organizing campaigns with his “favorite union,” Local 1199, the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees. His last campaign was in support of striking Memphis sanitation workers in 1968.
The exhibit, on display through July 22, features correspondence between King and labor leaders, an audio recording from his final public appearance in New York City, archival film footage of hospital workers striking, and vinyl records of King’s speeches to unions. Fliers, advertisements, union ephemera and dozens of photographs of King and Coretta Scott King with labor leaders and union members are also featured.
Buster Keaton’s genius
Cornell Cinema opens for the spring semester Tuesday, Jan. 22 in Willard Straight Theatre with a tribute to silent film great Buster Keaton.
Peter Bogdanovich’s “The Great Buster: A Celebration,” Jan. 22 and 23 at 7 p.m., features Keaton’s comedic and artistic genius as a performer and with a camera, in restored archival films from the Cohen Film Classics library. The director provides testimonial commentary along with Bill Hader, Werner Herzog, Bill Irwin, Carl Reiner and Cybill Shepherd.
Also premiering: “The World Before Your Feet,” Jan. 24 at 7 p.m. Director Jeremy Workman follows Matt Green’s six-year, 8,000-mile journey walking every street, road, pedestrian overpass, bike path, hiking trail and park lane in New York City.
Sweden’s entry for consideration for the 2019 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, “Border,” is a dark fairy tale about a customs agent with a nose for fear. It screens Jan. 23 and 27.
Also scheduled: the Freddy Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” (Jan. 24 and 26), and two recent releases, “Crazy Rich Asians” and “Black KkKlansman,” offered free for all Cornell students Jan. 25.
Keys to Debussy
The Department of Music presents a piano festival, “Fugitive Resonance: The Piano in the Early 20th Century,” Jan. 25-27 in Barnes Hall. All events are free and open to the public.
Pivotal to the festival is the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards, which is launching this year to keep a collection of keyboard instruments on campus in concert-ready condition for study, performance and recording of classic and Romantic repertoire.
The festival will feature two of these instruments: a Blüthner “Aliquot grand” piano from 1878 and the 1908 Kovner Steinway. The Blüthner piano features an additional string and creates a rich, complex tone that Claude Debussy is said to have loved.
“The piano music of Debussy and his contemporaries exhibits a heightened sensitivity to timbre,” said Roger Moseley, associate professor of music and the center’s director. “The Blüthner offers performers and listeners the opportunity of exploring new dimensions of piano sound, while opening up historical perspectives on how this music was played and heard.”
“Entends la douce nuit: An Evening of Debussy,” Jan. 25 at 8 p.m., features soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon with Moseley on piano, and solo works performed by students of music faculty members Xak Bjerken and Ryan McCullough.
Jocelyn Ho gives a lecture-recital Jan. 26 at 11 a.m., drawing on the piano rolls Debussy made in 1912. A discussion will follow.
Mike Lee and Wayne Lee will play early 20th-century music on piano and violin, Jan. 26 at 8 p.m.; and Bjerken and students perform music from early 20th-century Vienna, Jan. 27 at 3 p.m.
25,000 local species, and counting
The multimedia exhibition “Cayuga Basin Bioblitz: A 24-Hour Race to Find What’s Living in Our Backyard,” through Jan. 31 in Mann Library’s Mann Gallery, reveals the outcomes of the 2017 School of Integrative Plant Science Bioblitz, in which teams of local scientists and volunteers set out to catalog as many species as possible in a 24-hour period.
By the time they were finished, the teams had logged more than 500 macroscopic species and 25,000 species of microbes at the Cayuga Nature Center and the Smith Woods old-growth forest remnant near Trumansburg, New York.
The exhibit, exploring the Bioblitz event, its findings and applications, and celebrating the depth and range of biodiversity in the Cayuga Basin, is a joint effort of the Paleontological Research Institution and Cornell.