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montage of spring 2009 events
L-R: President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in "Revelations," Xu Bing in "Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet," "Ernesto Bazan: Cuba"

Coming attractions for spring 2009: Your intellectual stimulus package

23 January 2009

Van JonesVan Jones, "The Green Collar Economy",(Richard Hume photo, courtesy of Experience Life magazine), Feb. 11

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– Spring is traditionally a time of renewal and growth.  This year especially, the season brings a renewed sense of optimism and purpose, as our new president exhorts, "yes we can" make the world a better place. Whether it is gaining a deeper understanding of human conflicts, becoming inspired by people working towards solving our pressing environmental problems, or being moved by soul-stirring music, art, and dance, this semester's lineup of events at UC Berkeley can play a role in your own personal renaissance. Change starts here. 

The following is a highly subjective shortlist, chosen with help from staff across campus, of events of general interest. Details may change, and events will be added, so visit the Critic's Choice website daily to stay informed.

Green for All

"Climate Change and the Poor" is this semester's focus for the Blum enter for Developing Economies' speaker series. Robert Van Buskirk, program manager at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will discuss "Super-CDM: Market Transformations for Combined Solutions to Climate Change, Poverty and Health Inequity" (Tuesday, Jan. 27, noon, 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Bldg.). Daniel Farber, professor of law and director of the California Center for Environmental Law & Policy, will address "Compensation for the Victims of Climate Change?" (Tuesday, Feb. 17, noon, 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Bldg.), and Richard Norgaard, professor of energy and resources, will examine the "Debt of Nations and the Distribution of Ecological Impacts From Human Activities" (Monday, March 16, noon, 290 Hearst Memorial Mining Bldg.).

Van Jones, civil rights and environmental advocate, also connects the issues of poverty and the environment when he argues "that a green economy that rescues the polar bears can also rescue the U.S. economy." In the Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative annual lecture, Jones will describe how "The Green Collar Economy" can put America back to work, lower energy and food prices, provide green-collar jobs to under-served youth, and end the need for resource wars (Tuesday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m., Great Hall, Bancroft Hotel, 2680 Bancroft Way).

Greg Moore, executive director of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, will discuss a pioneering model of community engagement in the stewardship of Bay Area national parks that may have implications for global conservation in "Shared Places, Shared Purpose: Connecting Communities Through Conservation," presented by the College of Natural Resources (Thursday, April 30, 6 p.m., 2060 Valley Life Sciences Bldg.).

The Department of City and Regional Planning and the Center for Community Innovation present a discussion between Malo Hutson, professor of city and regional planning, and Romel Pascual, associate director for environment for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, on "Urban Sustainability and Community Development" (Monday, March 16, 6 p.m., 106 Wurster Hall), and a lecture by Paloma Pavel, founder of Earth House Center, on "Sustainability and Justice in the Next American Metropolis" (Monday, May 11, 6 p.m., 106 Wurster Hall).

Plug-In Pavilion
"Plug-In Pavilion," Jan. 27-May 1
"Plug-In Pavilion," an exhibit at the Townsend Center for the Humanities, features award-winning architectural designs by René Davids and Taylor Medlin. Their wind-powered plug-in pavilions are designed to sit atop Valparaiso, Chile's unique hillside elevators, providing free electricity to the city's residents while also promoting a 21st century urban revival (daily, Jan. 27-May 15, 220 Stephens Hall). Also at the Townsend Center, Rebecca Solnit, best-selling author, will discuss how people are embracing the modest and tangible scale of urban agriculture, in "If Gardens Are the Answer, What Is the Question?" (Wednesday, April 15, 4 p.m., Geballe Room, Stephens Hall).

Transforming Society

Two lectures at the Center for Latin American Studies will address different dimensions of U.S. immigration issues. Lowell Bergman, professor of journalism and producer/correspondent for the PBS documentary series "Frontline," will discuss the illicit and growing business of human smuggling in "Mexico: Crimes at the Border" (Monday, Feb. 2, 12:10 p.m., 554 Barrows Hall). Lisa García Bedolla, associate professor of social and cultural studies, will explore the treatment of Latino immigrants in "Why U.S. Foreign Policy Matters: Latino Migration and Political Adaptation in the United States" (Monday, March 2, 12:10 p.m., Center for Latin American Studies Conference Room, 2334 Bowditch Street).

Diaspora and exclusion abroad are discussed in these Religion, Politics and Globalization Program lectures. "Citizenship and Social Conflict: Tradition, Culture, and Critique in Israel" will be examined by Hanan Alexander, professor of philosophy of education at the University of Haifa and visiting professor of education and Israel studies; his talk is co-sponsored by the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, (Tuesday, Feb. 10, 12:30 p.m., 223 Moses Hall). Deborah Campbell, award-winning writer and author of "This Heated Place," a literary journey inside the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, will discuss "Exodus: Inside the Iraqi Refugee Crisis" (Thursday, Feb. 19, 4 p.m., 223 Moses Hall).

Ernesto Bazan: Cuba
"Ernesto Bazan: Cuba," (Ernesto Bazan photo), Feb.20-May 1

Photojournalist Ernesto Bazan's images in the School of Journalism exhibit "Ernesto Bazan: Cuba" document a period of economic crisis and transformation in that country during the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union (Monday-Friday, Feb.20-May 1, 8 a.m.- 5 p.m., North Gate Hall). Bazan will be on hand at the exhibit’s opening reception to give a lecture (Friday, Feb. 20, 7 p.m., 105 North Gate Hall).

With an innovative use of charcoal drawing, prints, collages, stop-animation, film and theater, South African artist William Kentridge's work tracks a personal route across the fraught legacy of apartheid and colonialism. He will discuss his work as Townsend Avenali lecturer in "Learning From the Absurd" (Sunday, March 15, 5 p.m., Hertz Concert Hall), followed the next day by a panel discussion (Monday, March 16, noon, Geballe Room, 220 Stephens Hall).

Rebecca Blank, fellow at the Brookings Institution and dean of the Ford School of Public Policy at University of Michigan, will discuss how existing patterns of inequity may be altered in "Changing Inequality:  What Produces and Changes Levels of Inequality?" this year's Wildavsky Forum, sponsored by the Goldman School of Public Policy, (March 12, 7:30 p.m., Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Hall).

Ellen Johnson SirleafEllen Johnson Sirleaf, "Bearing Witness to Atrocity: Symposium on International Criminal Justice," April 9  

President of Liberia Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will give the keynote address to the Human Rights Center's "Bearing Witness to Atrocity: Symposium on International Criminal Justice" (Thursday, April 9, 7 p.m., Chevron Auditorium, International House). The Human Rights Center's "The Soul of the New Machine Conference" will explore how mobile technologies and new media are being applied in human rights investigations (Monday-Tuesday, May 4-5, Clark Kerr Conference Center).

Closer to home, David Kennedy, professor of history at Stanford University, will re-visit the tortured history of efforts to bring deliberative democratic practices to bear on the decision to shoulder arms, focusing on the current configuration of the U.S. military, in the Jefferson Memorial Lecture "An Invitation to Struggle: The Constitution, the Military, and Political Accountability" (Tuesday, Feb. 3, 4:10 p.m., Lipman Room, 8th floor of Barrows Hall).

Women, Politics, and Culture

"The Veil: Visible and Invisible Spaces," a colloquium sponsored by the Beatrice M. Bain Research Group, the Department of Gender and Women's Studies, and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Muslim Identities and Cultures Townsend Center Working Group, will explore some of the cultures, politics, and histories of veiling in different societies. Participants include Fouzieyha Towghi, chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies and author of "Revelatio: Behind the Male Veil"; Jennifer Heath, scholar and author of "Hasidic Women's Fashion: Undressing a Paradox"; Barbara Goldman, adjunct professor of anthropology at the City University of New York and author of "Desexualization of Public Spaces: Taming the Wild Gaze" and Ashraf Zahedi, scholar-in-residence at the Beatrice Bain Research Group, (Thursday, Jan. 29, 3 p.m., Geballe Room, Stephens Hall).

"Awaiting for Men," screening Pacific Film Archive's African Film Festival, is an eye-opening documentary on sexuality and empowerment among Saharan women set in Mauritania's atmospheric red-walled city of Oualata (Thursday, Feb. 5, 6:30 p.m., Pacific Film Archive Theater).

As part of its program "Gender, Islam and the West," the Institute of European Studies, will present "Women's Memoirs: Eye-Witness Accounts in the Courts of a Humanitarian Empire," a conversation between Fatemeh Keshavarz, chair of the Department of Asian and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures at Washington University in St Louis and author of "Jasmine and Stars: Reading More than Lolita in Teheran," and Minoo Moallem chair of the Department of Gender and Women's Studies (Wednesday, Feb. 18, 5 p.m., 201 Moses). Next in the series will be "Secularism and Gender Equality" with Joan Wallach-Scott, professor of social science at Princeton University, and Olivier Roy, research director at the French National Center for Scientific Research, (Thursday, Feb. 26, 4 p.m., Morrison Library, Doe Library).

Young Mi Choi
Young Mi Choi, "A Korean Wave," April 2

A remarkably strong generation of women poets has emerged in Korea in the last decade. Lunch Poems presents a rare chance to hear five of these important and exciting voices; Jeongrye Choi, Young Mi Choi, Hyesoon Kim, Ra Hee-duk, Chung-hee Moon. They will read their work in English and Korean in "A Korean Wave" (Thursday, April 2, 12:10 p.m., Morrison Library, Doe Library).

Philip Kan Gotanda, Asian-American playwright and artist-in-residence, and Theater Dance and Performance Studies students re-envision "A Fist of Roses," an exploration of male violence against women, in this staged reading presented in association with the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Asian American Studies Program (Monday, April 27, 7 p.m., and Tuesday, April 29, 4 and 7 p.m., Durham Studio Theater).

Marcia Tanner, writer and former director of the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art, will offer a feminist perspective of another stripe when she investigates the practices of female artists whose work focuses on scientific process, history, and new media in "Where the Girls Are: Women Artists, Science, and Technology," presented by the Berkeley Center for New Media, (Monday, March 30, 7:30 p.m., 160 Kroeber).

Green Information Revolution

Stewart Brand, president of The Long Now Foundation and founder of Global Business Network, will present another Berkeley Center for New Media lecture, "Rethinking Green: How Can Information Replace Energy and Finesse the Biosphere?" (Friday, March 13, 7:30 p.m., Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center).

The School of Information presents Judith Estrin, chief executive officer of JLABS, who will discuss how innovation drives economic growth and our quality of life in "Sustainable Innovation," (Wednesday, April 15, 4 p.m., 202 South Hall).

Art and the Planet

Xu Bing
Xu Bing, "Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet", April 1-Sept. 27
"Human/Nature: Artists Respond to a Changing Planet" is a pioneering artist residency and collaborative-exhibition project that, for the first time on this scale, uses contemporary art to investigate the relationships between fragile natural environments and the human communities that depend upon them. This collaborative multi-year exhibition project, organized by the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA) and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD), in partnership with the international conservation organization Rare, sent eight leading artists to eight UNESCO World Heritage sites around the globe to create new work based on their experiences in these diverse cultural and natural regions (Wednesday-Sunday, April 1-Sept. 27, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Berkeley Art Museum).

Rumination on Film

The Pacific Film Archive series "The Way of the Termite: The Essay in Cinema" is an expansive, opinionated selection of essay films, from D. W. Griffith, ("A Corner of Wheat," Tuesday, Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m.) to Russia's Dziga Vertov ("The Man with Movie Camera," Thursday, Jan. 29, 7:30 p.m.), to the Philippines's Kidlat Tahimik ("Perfumed Nightmare," Tuesday, Feb. 10, 7:30 p.m.) to Iran's Moslem Mansouri ("Trial," Tuesday, Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m.). Filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin curates the series, which will be screened at the Pacific Film Archive Theater.

Dancing to the Music

This year's Berkeley Dance Project celebrates music and dance with "Equal Footing," pairing composers with choreographers, bringing live musicians on stage with Theater Dance and Performance Studies dancers. Collaborations include a premiere from Joe Goode who is working with composer Joan Jeanrenaud (formerly of Kronos Quartet), and choreographer Lisa Wymore (Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts) who is working with Keith Terry (director of Crosspulse) and Evie Ladin (American folk music/dance specialist) (Friday-Saturday, April 17, 18, 24, and 25, 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 19 and 26, 2 p.m., Zellerbach Playhouse).

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, "Revelations," (Andrew Eccles photo), March 3-8

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's appearance will also feature live music on two nights. Sweet Honey in the Rock, the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble, will perform live on stage with the dancers on March 3 and 4. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the company will dance a range of mixed repertory, including Ailey's unforgettable "Revelations," for this Cal Performances engagement (Tuesday-Sunday, March 3-8, 8 p.m., Saturday, March ,7, 2 p.m., and Sunday, March 8, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).

Mark Morris's masterpiece L'Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato first performed in 1988, returns to Zellerbach as a sendoff to Cal Performances Director Robert Cole. Accompanying the dancers, Handel's oratorio will provide another live musical experience, performed by the Philharmonium Baroque Orchestra under the baton of Jane Glover (Friday-Saturday, May 29-30, 8 p.m., Sunday, May 31, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).

Cal Performances caps off its dance season with the Bolshoi Ballet's La Bayadere, a classical ballet of passion, betrayal, and redemption, unfolding against the exotic backdrop of India. The Berkeley Symphony Orchestra will perform the Ludwig Minkus score (Thursday-Sunday, June 4-7, 8 p.m., Saturday, June 6, 2 p.m., and Sunday, June 7, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).

High Notes

Afro-Cuban All StarsAfro-Cuban All Stars, (Photo courtesy of Cal Performances) Feb. 25  
The audience will be dancing in the aisles at the performance of Cal Performances favorite, the Afro-Cuban All Stars. Led by the legendary Juan de Marcos González (of the Buena Vista Social Club), the ensemble will perform a variety of styles including classic son montuno, contemporary timba, swinging big band, Afro-Cuban jazz, and more (Wednesday, Feb. 25, 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).

Simon Shaheen, one of today's leading Arab composers and multi-instrumentalists, comes from a different part of the globe to recreate the magical era of early 20th century Arab music in his "Aswat (Voices) Celebrating the Golden Voices of Arab Music" sponsored by Cal Performances (Tuesday, March 17, 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).

Jazz takes center stage in a benefit concert for the UC Jazz & Contemporary Improvised Music Fund with jazz pianist/composer and two-time Grammy Award nominee Taylor Eigsti and his trio, including Jason Lewis on drums. They will be joined by students in the UC Jazz & Contemporary Improvised Music Ensemble, under the direction of Myra Melford, assistant professor of music (Friday, Feb. 6, 8 p.m., Hertz Concert Hall).

Andreas Scholl
Andreas Scholl, Australian Chamber Orchestra, (Eric Larrayadie, photo) April 26

Jazz giants pianist Keith Jarret, bassist Gary Peacock, and drummer Jack DeJohnette, bring their interpretation of standards to Cal Performances for a special performance (Saturday, March 14, 8 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).

The University Symphony Orchestra, conducted by David Milnes, will perform "Practice" by Edmund Campion, co-director of the Center for New Music, and the "Turangalila Symphony," a large-scale piece by 20th-century composer Olivier Messiaen, (Friday-Saturday, Feb. 27-28, 8 p.m., Hertz Concert Hall).

The German countertenor Andreas Scholl joins the Australian Chamber Orchestra in their program of classical and contemporary music at Cal Performances (Sunday, April 26, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).

Theatrical Feats

Circus OzCircus Oz, (Rob Blackburn photo) Feb. 5-8  
From the sublime to the wacky, Australia is also home to the Circus Oz, who will bring their 30th Birthday Bash to Cal Performances. Saucy and fun for all, Circus Oz features "no animals, no scary clowns, no cheesy music (but proper rock'n'roll) and no women in abbreviated costumes just for the hell of it" (Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 5-7, 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 7, 2 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 8, 3 p.m., Zellerbach Hall).

Robert Lepage returns to Cal Performances with "Blue Dragon," which won the 2007 Europe Theatre Prize. The play explores the paradoxes of modern China and will be performed by Lepage, his longtime collaborator Marie Michaud and dancer Tai Wei Foo (Tuesday-Saturday, June 9-13, 8 p.m., and Saturday, June 13, 2 p.m., Zellerbach Playhouse).

Around Campus

Andreas Scholl
"Mayan Calendar in Contemporary Guatemala," April 23

As part of its ongoing exhibit, "Traje de la Vida: Maya Textiles of Guatemala," Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology offers two glimpses into Mayan culture. Rosemary Joyce, professor of archaeology, will explore "Dress in Classic Mayan Art" (Thursday, April 16, 7 p.m., Phoebe Hearst Museum Patio and Gallery). Jean Moleshi-Poz, lecturer in religious studies at Santa Clara University, will discuss the "Mayan Calendar in Contemporary Guatemala" (Thursday, April 23, 7 p.m., Phoebe Hearst Museum Patio and Gallery).

Cal Day, the campus' annual open house and preview day, offers visitors of all ages an inside look at the world's leading public university. Admission is free to everyone including youngsters who want to see a giant T. rex, families who want to explore campus museums, and prospective students looking for information on academic programs (Saturday, April, 18, 9 a.m., UC Berkeley campus).