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Buster Keaton, left, stars in "Steamboat Bill, Jr." Feb. 15 at Cornell Cinema, with a live piano score performed by Philip Carli.

Things to Do, Feb. 14-21, 2020

Silent film scores

Pianist Philip Carli accompanies matinee screenings of two silent films at Cornell Cinema on Feb. 15 – the Buster Keaton comedy “Steamboat Bill, Jr.” (1928) at 2 p.m. ($7 adults, $5 ages 12 and under), and the British bicycling adventure “The Wheels of Chance” (1922) at 4:30 p.m. ($7 general, $5 students) in Willard Straight Theatre. All-Access Passes will not be accepted.

“The Wheels of Chance” is based on a comic novel by H.G. Wells and features Carli’s new original score, performed with cellist Tammy Keller and clarinetist David Shemancik.

Also showing: “Levantine,” a new documentary about author Jacqueline Kahanoff, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.; admission is free. A post-screening discussion includes filmmaker Rafael Balulu and Deborah Starr, professor of modern Arabic and of Hebrew literature and film in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. Starr appears in the film and edited the book “Mongrels or Marvels: The Levantine Writings of Jacqueline Shohet Kahanoff.”

Coming up: CatVideoFest 2020, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m. ($5 adults, $4 ages 12 and under) and Feb. 23 at 4:30 p.m. ($7 general, $5.50 students). No All-Access Passes accepted. The annual audience favorite returns with Leah Shafer ’94, M.A. ’99, Ph.D. ’08, leading pre-show activities. Cornell Cinema will donate 10% of the proceeds to the Tompkins County SPCA.

Every bird counts

You can help scientists track bird populations, many of which are rapidly declining, during the 23rd annual Great Backyard Bird Count Feb. 14-17. The event is cosponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society.

Volunteers around the world count the birds they see for at least 15 minutes on one or more days of the count, and enter their checklists at

In 2019, birdwatchers in more than 100 countries submitted more than 210,000 checklists and reported a record 6,850 species – more than half the known bird species in the world. The data from the annual counts becomes a valuable asset in highlighting trends over many years.

Artists’ books

A new exhibit, “Bookkeeping: Artists’ Books at Cornell,” Feb. 16-22 in Olive Tjaden Gallery, Tjaden Hall, collects work from students, staff and faculty in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning and other departments around campus.

Artists’ books are generally classified as works of art in the form of a book, or an artistic take on the book form. The exhibition in Tjaden Gallery continues in the Mui Ho Fine Arts Library in Rand Hall, with a display of materials selected from the library’s collection of artists’ books.

A public reception will be held Feb. 18 from 5-7 p.m. The exhibition is curated by Yasmeen Abedifard, M.F.A. ’20, and Marsha Taichman, visual resources and public services librarian in the Fine Arts Library.

Inside Jupiter 

Planetary scientist/astrophysicist David Stevenson, Ph.D. ’76, visits campus Feb. 16-22 as an A.D. White Professor-at-Large for a public talk and events with students and faculty.

An artist’s conception of NASA’s Juno spacecraft in position around Jupiter. Juno mission lead investigator David Stevenson, Ph.D. ’76, visits Cornell Feb. 16-22 as an A.D. White Professor-at-Large.

Stevenson is the Marvin L. Goldberger Professor of Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology, and lead investigator on NASA’s Juno spacecraft mission, which has been in orbit around Jupiter since 2016.

He will present some of Juno’s findings in a physics colloquium, “Jupiter’s Interior as Revealed by Juno,” Feb. 17 at 4 p.m. in Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall, with refreshments at 3:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, and hosted by Jonathan Lunine, professor and chair of astronomy.

Stevenson also discusses the search for habitable, Earth-like planets in “The Hunting of the Snark,” Feb. 19 at 7:15 p.m. at Keeton House on West Campus, hosted by House Dean Steve Jackson as part of a series of informal conversations with guest speakers and students.

Stevenson’s visit also includes the Department of Astronomy Planetary Lunch; dinner with undergraduates at Keeton House; and luncheons with undergraduate and graduate astronomy students and the A.D. White Professors-at-Large Selection Committee.

Stevenson studied with astrophysicist Edwin Salpeter at Cornell and has pioneered research in Earth science and planetary science, including the origin of the Moon. His six-year term as a professor-at-large continues through June 2021.

Youth music workshop

The Big Red Marching Band holds a musical workshop for children and teens, Feb. 17 at 2 p.m. in Tompkins County Public Library’s BorgWarner Community Room. The program is free and open to the public.

Members of the band will talk about their musical experiences, and participants will be given hands-on time with the instruments used during marching band performances. The program will be held again April 6.

For information, call 607-272-4557, ext. 275 or email

MLK Lecture with Yusef Salaam

The 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Lecture at Cornell, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. in Sage Chapel, will feature a conversation with criminal justice activist Yusef Salaam. An audience Q&A will follow the conversation between Salaam and Anna Haskins, assistant professor of sociology. Free and open to the public, the annual event honors the service, activism and legacy of civil rights leader King.

Salaam was one of five teenagers wrongfully convicted in 1990 in the Central Park jogger case and known collectively for more than two decades as “The Central Park Five.” He spent more than six years in jail; all five convictions were set aside and voided in 2002 by the New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan.

As one of “The Exonerated Five,” Salaam is committed to educating the public on issues of mass incarceration, police brutality and misconduct, and the disparities in America’s criminal justice system, particularly for people of color.

Also on Feb. 17, Salaam will participate in a luncheon discussion with community members at the Greater Ithaca Activities Center, and a “fireside chat” with students at 4 p.m. in the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives (OADI), Suite 200, Computing and Communications Center.

The commemorative lecture at Cornell is presented by the Office of Spirituality and Meaning Making and OADI.

Book talk on Bolaño

Jonathan Monroe, professor of comparative literature, discusses his new book, “Framing Roberto Bolaño: Poetry, Fiction, Literary History, Politics,” Feb. 18 at 4:30 p.m. in 107 Olin Library. The Chats in the Stacks book talk is free and open to the public, with refreshments available.

Monroe’s book, published in September, contributes to an expanded understanding of the Chilean writer’s body of work encompassing both Europe and the Americas, and his importance in hemispheric studies and world literature.

Monroe also is a member of the graduate fields of English and Romance studies at Cornell. His other books include “A Poverty of Objects: The Prose Poem and the Politics of Genre” and “Demosthenes’ Legacy,” a collection of prose poetry and short fiction.

Media Contact

Abby Butler