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Things to Do, Sept. 27-Oct. 4, 2019

Biennial approaches

The Cornell Council for the Arts introduces the theme of the 2020 Cornell Biennial, “Swarm,” Monday, Sept. 30, at 5 p.m. at A.D. White House. Free and open to the public, the event is co-sponsored by the Society for the Humanities.

Panelists from across the university will discuss a range of artistic and conceptual approaches to the theme, to generate ideas and designs for the arts council’s universitywide competition for Biennial artworks.

The student and the master

Acclaimed pianists Daniil Trifonov and Sergei Babayan will perform on Monday, Sept. 30, at 8 p.m. in Bailey Hall as part of the Cornell Concert Series. Tickets are $29 to $39 general admission, $19 for students, at

Pianist Daniil Trifonov joins his teacher, Sergei Babayan, Sept. 30 in Bailey Hall for the Cornell Concert Series.

The program includes “12 Movements from Romeo and Juliet” by Prokofiev, Schumann’s “Andante and Variations,” Rachmaninoff’s “Symphonic Dances” and Ravel’s “Rapsodie Espagnole.”

Babayan is an internationally acclaimed pianist and frequent soloist with leading orchestras. He performed at the BBC Proms with Valery Gergiev and the London Symphony Orchestra in 2015.

Trifonov, Babayan’s former student, is artist-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic and, like his teacher, has won several international competitions including the Tchaikovsky and Arthur Rubinstein contests in 2011. Gramophone’s Artist of the Year in 2016, Trifonov won a Grammy in 2017 for his recording of Liszt etudes.


Fall RED Day (Recognizing Employees Day) is Tuesday, Oct. 1, with cookies and fresh fruit provided from noon to 1:30 p.m. or while they last.

The Employee Recognition Team will host tables in the Groos Family Atrium in Klarman Hall; Mann Library lobby; Duffield Hall atrium; East Hill Office Building atrium and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

Goodies will also be dropped off at Seneca Place, Cornell Botanic Gardens, the Lab of Ornithology, the Breazzano Center, Humphreys Service Building, the Grounds Crew Break Room, and Residential and New Student Programs (1501 Clara Dickson Hall). More information and times for these locations will be posted.

Remembering Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55

The Africana Studies and Research Center, 310 Triphammer Road, hosts a celebration in memory of Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55, Oct. 1 at 4:30 p.m. in the center’s Multipurpose Room. The event is free and open to the public.

“Toni Morrison (1931-2019): A Life in Letters” is an afternoon of reflection on the late Nobel laureate and her work. The event will feature a video montage and remarks from faculty members, including associate professor of African American literature Riché Richardson, who is teaching a course on Morrison’s novels this fall.

Students and other attendees are invited to share memories of Morrison’s campus visits and other reflections, or read favorite short passage from her work.

Morrison, an A.D. White Professor-at-Large from 1997 to 2003, was the author of 11 novels including “Beloved,” which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988. She died Aug. 5 in New York City at age 88.

Distracted driving talk

Speaker and educator Karen Torres will give a free public talk, “Distracted Driving,” Oct. 2 at 2 p.m. in 226 Weill Hall.

After her father was killed in an accident caused by a distracted driver in March 2006, Torres became a distracted driving awareness advocate and began speaking to students and adults during driver’s education classes, school assemblies and peer leadership programs, and at church groups, Rotary Clubs and corporate organizations.

Her visit is sponsored by the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee and is hosted by Cornell University Police, the Ithaca Police Department and the New York State Police.

To infinity and beyond

Calculus, the mathematical study of continuous change, underpins some of humankind’s most fundamental and miraculous achievements, from determining the area of a circle to innovations in modern medicine, computing and space travel.

Steven Strogatz, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Applied Mathematics, will discuss his new book charting the thrilling multimillennial history of calculus, “Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe,” in a Chats in the Stacks talk, Oct. 2 at 4 p.m. in 160 Mann Library. The event is free and open to the public, with refreshments provided.

Global affairs institute launches

The Institute of Politics and Global Affairs at Cornell will launch at an event Wednesday, Oct. 2, from 7-9 p.m. in Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium, Klarman Hall. RSVP to attend.

The launch will include remarks from Provost Michael Kotlikoff and former New York Democratic Congressman Steve Israel, the institute’s director; and a faculty panel discussion.

The discussion, “Has Trump Changed Everything?” will be moderated by institute faculty director Douglas Kriner, the Clinton Rossiter Professor in American Institutions in the Department of Government. Panelists are Kaushik Basu, C. Marks Professor of International Studies, professor of economics and former World Bank chief economist; Sarah Binder, Brookings Institution senior fellow and political science professor at George Washington University; and Parfait Eloundou-Enyegue, professor and chair of development sociology and associate director of the Cornell Population Center.

Kriner also will introduce the institute’s 2019-20 faculty fellows. A reception will follow in the Groos Family Atrium, Klarman Hall. The event is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for International Affairs.

Foodie films

Associate professor of English Kate McCullough, who is teaching a Culinary Literature, Literary Food seminar this semester, leads an informal discussion after the film “Soufra,” Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. in Willard Straight Theatre. The film is the story of Mariam Shaar, a Lebanese refugee who changed her fate by starting a catering and food truck business.

Co-sponsored with the Ithaca Palestine Film Series, the screening is part of Cornell Cinema’s Human Flow: Stories of Global Migration and Foodie Films series. The latter also features “Tampopo,” Oct. 3 at 9:15 p.m., introduced by Andrew Campana, assistant professor of Asian studies.

Also showing: The Contemporary World Cinema series presents the area premiere of “Ága,” Bulgaria’s submission for Best Foreign Language Film Academy Award consideration, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 6 at 5 p.m.

Civil discourse

Ezra Klein, editor at large for, and journalist Andrew Sullivan will discuss “Is Illiberalism Corroding Our Democracy?” Oct. 3 at 6:30 p.m. in Landis Auditorium, 184 Myron Taylor Hall. Free and open to the public, the conversation will be moderated by Liz Anker, associate professor of English.

The event is part of the Peter ’69 and Marilyn ’69 Coors Conversation Series on Civil Discourse, a forum for intellectual discourse on difficult and timely issues facing the nation, with an aim to foster greater understanding across differences. The Cornell Political Union hosts an open discussion after the program.

10-Minute Play Festival

The seventh annual 10-Minute Play Festival, Oct. 3-5 in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts’ Black Box Theatre, will feature student plays on the theme of “Energy,” with topics ranging from a haunted $500 bill to actor Jussie Smollett.

Performances are Oct. 3 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 4 at 5 p.m., and Oct. 5 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7, available from or the box office, open Monday-Saturday, 1-8 p.m.

The festival, presented by the Department of Performing and Media Arts (PMA) and Graduate Researchers in Media and Performing Arts, serves as a laboratory for the development of student-written plays, providing students with a range of opportunities in theater, including directing. Produced by doctoral student Elaigwu Ameh and Sara Pistono ’21, the festival aligns with themes in PMA and the Society for the Humanities for the 2019-20 academic year.

This year’s plays are “Everything Goes Widdershins” by Quinn Theobald ’22; “The Souperior Ice Cream” by Edy Kennedy ’20; “Sizzle” by Julian Robison ’20; “The Cursed 500” by Garrett Hastings ’19; “Two Lives” by Anna Evtushenko, doctoral student in information science; and “Jamal from Empire” by Kristen Wright, doctoral student in Africana studies.

Media Contact

Abby Butler