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Grinnell College to Host U.S. Premiere of 'The Tales of the Tribes' on Nov. 7

Rashmi VarmaAs part of the exhibition “Many Visions, Many Versions: Art from Indigenous Communities in India” at Faulconer Gallery this fall, Grinnell College will host the U.S. premiere of the film “The Tale of the Tribes,” and a talk by British scholar Rashmi Varma, among other events.

The U.S. screening of “The Tales of the Tribes” film will start at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 7 in the Faulconer Gallery, Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. The film, a 35-minute series of five short animated folktales from India, is a collaboration between traditional indigenous artists and digital media artists, exploring tales of mythical origins, village life, local cultural values, and the relationship between humans, nature and the supernatural.

Also on Nov. 7, the gallery will host a talk at 4 p.m. by Rashmi Varma, associate professor of English at the University of Warwick, United Kingdom. In her talk, titled “Primitive Accumulation: Indigenous Art in Late Capitalism,” Varma will narrate the story of how Gond painting came from villages of central India to global art museums, and the value of learning about indigenous cultures today. Her talk is co-sponsored by the college’s Center for the Humanities and the Institute for Global Engagement.

“Many Visions, Many Versions,” which continues through Dec. 10, includes works from the Gond and Warli communities of central India, the Mithila region of Bihar, and the narrative scroll painters of West Bengal

The exhibition includes 47 paintings — on paper, canvas, particle board, and fabric — by 24 Indian artists.

The paintings are divided into four broad categories (myth and cosmology, nature, village life, and contemporary explorations) and demonstrate responsiveness to contemporary global concerns as well as deeply rooted cultural traditions. “Many Visions, Many Versions” is organized by BINDU Modern Gallery, and is toured by International Arts & Artists (IA&A), Washington, D.C. It is curated by Aurogeeta Das and David Szanton with assistance from curating consultant Jeffrey Wechsler.

In addition to the film and Varma’s talk, the Faulconer Gallery will host several events to support understanding of India’s art and culture in late October and November:

Yoga in the Gallery with Monica St. Angelo, Mondays and Thursdays, until Dec. 14, 12:15 – 12:50 p.m.  Enjoy a free 30-minute yoga practice of warming and invigorating poses and a final period of relaxation. All levels welcome. Mats provided. Co-sponsored by Live Well Grinnell. (No yoga Oct. 16, 19 or Nov. 23)

20 Minutes @ 11 with Shuchi Kapila, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 11 a.m.

Shuchi Kapila, a native of India, is assistant vice president and senior international officer of the Institute for Global Engagement and professor of English at Grinnell. She will respond to the painting “The Marriage of Rama and Sita” by Gopal Saha, relating it to the 2008 film, Sita Sings the Blues, considering Sita’s rejection of misogyny in society in the original story and Sita as a modern heroine in the film.

20 Minutes @ 11 with Patrick Inglis, Tuesday, Nov. 28, 11 a.m. Grinnell College Assistant Professor of Sociology Patrick Inglis, author of Upward Servility: Getting By and Falling Behind in the New India, to be published by Oxford University Press in 2018, will speak about works in the exhibition.

Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week (closed Nov. 23, Thanksgiving Day), and admission is free. The Faulconer Gallery is in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell, 641-269-4660.

Celebrate Halloween with a spooky organ concert

Organist Michael J. Elsbernd will perform a Halloween concert at Grinnell College on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Originally scheduled for 7:30 p.m., the free, public performance will start at 9 p.m. in Herrick Chapel, 1128 Park St., Grinnell.

Elsbernd, who serves as director of worship, music and organist and choir director at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Des Moines, will open the concert with J.S. Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in d minor. The program also includes selections from Andrew Lloyd Weber’s Phantom of the Opera and works by Johann Pachelbel, Jehan Alain, Pietro A. Yon, and Leon Boëlimann.

The audience will be invited to join in singing three Ghoultide Scarols composed by Thomas Paviechko. Scarols are Yuletide carols set in a minor key with spooky accompaniments and Halloween words. The scarols featured in Grinnell’s concert are “Rattling Bones,” “I Spied Three Haunted Ships” and “The Wailing Scarol.”

In addition to his work at St. John’s, Elsbernd is an adjunct faculty member at Grand View University in Des Moines, where he teaches organ.  Prior to his 2015 appointment at St. John’s, he served as director of music ministry and principal organist at First Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

A graduate of Luther College, Elsbernd also holds a master’s degree in music from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, and a doctorate in musical arts from the University of Michigan. He has made concert appearances as an ensemble player with Boston Brass, Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir, Arrowhead Chorale, Twin Ports Wind Ensemble, and the choirs of South Dakota State University. As an organist and harpsichordist, he performed regularly with the Michigan Sinfonietta Orchestra.

Grinnell College’s Public Events Committee is sponsoring this performance.

Haitian-American Musician Leyla McCalla to Perform Nov. 6

Leyla McCalla, a Haitian-American musician, will perform Monday, Nov. 6, at Grinnell College. The free, public performance will start at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel, 1128 Park St., Grinnell.

McCalla is a New York-born Haitian-American living in New Orleans, who sings in French, Haitian Creole, and English, and plays cello, tenor banjo, and guitar. Her music is deeply influenced by traditional Creole, Cajun and Haitian music, as well as by American jazz and folk. McCalla explores themes of social justice and pan-African consciousness through her music.

Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, McCalla’s debut album, was named 2013’s Album of the Year by the London Sunday Times and Songlines magazine. The album was also praised by several other publications, including the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Offbeat. She has toured extensively throughout the U.S., Europe and Israel performing this album.

McCalla's current tour is focused on her new album, A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey. The album once again features songs sung in English, French and Haitian Creole, alongside guest appearances by legendary guitarist Marc Ribot, Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers, and New Orleans singer-songwriter/guitarist Sarah Quintana.

The Public Events Committee is sponsoring this performance.

Grammy Award-Winning Rebirth Brass Band to Perform in Herrick Chapel

The Grammy Award-winning Rebirth Brass Band will perform at Grinnell College on Wednesday, Nov. 1, at Grinnell College. The performance, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel, 1128 Park St., Grinnell. Tickets are required.

​​​Formed in 1983 by Phillip and Keith Frasier, the band is a true New Orleans institution. It has evolved from playing the streets of the French Quarter to performing at festivals and stages all over the world, and is now at the forefront of New Orleans brass. Known for their legendary Tuesday night gig at The Maple Leaf, a famous music bar in New Orleans, the Rebirth Brass Band has also appeared on the HBO television series Treme, set in post-Katrina New Orleans.

While committed to upholding the tradition of brass bands, Rebirth Brass Band has also reached into the realms of funk and hip-hop to create their signature sound. In 2012, their album Rebirth of New Orleans won the Grammy Award for best regional roots music album.

“Rebirth can be precise whenever it wants to,” says The New York Times, “but it’s more like a party than a machine. It’s a working model of the New Orleans musical ethos: as long as everybody knows what they’re doing, anyone can cut loose.”

Tickets

The Grinnell College Public Events Committee is sponsoring this concert.  While the event is free, tickets are required. They will be distributed starting Monday, Oct. 30, at the box office in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell. Tickets are free to those present at the box office during open hours. The box office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Phone reservations are not accepted, although individuals may call the box office at 641-269-4444 during open hours to determine whether tickets are still available.

 

They Call Me Q

Quarrat Ann Kadwani will perform her one-woman show, They Call Me Q, at Grinnell College on Monday, Oct. 23. The performance will begin at 7 p.m. in the Harris Center Concert Hall, 1114 10th Ave., Grinnell.

They Call Me Q is an autobiographical one-woman play, written and performed by Kadwani. The show, which is free and open to the public, documents Kadwani's story as she grows up in the Bronx as a girl from Bombay, India. In the course of one hour, she transforms into 13 different characters who have shaped her life. The show focuses on her attempt to balance the pressures of her traditional parents and seeking acceptance in her new culture.

The NY Theater Guide proclaimed They Call Me Q to be "filled with charm, humor and heart." BroadwayWorld: Washington's review described Q as "a personal look at the experiences that have shaped who Qurrat has become and who she's striving to be that simultaneously and expertly addresses the complexities inherent to defining identity in our contemporary, messy world."

Kadwani is an award-winning actress, producer, MC, TV host and philanthropist. She is the first South Asian female to have a solo play produced Off Broadway for which she has won awards including Best Actress, Best Play, Trailblazer from the South Asian International Performing Arts Festival and Cultural from the Asian American Pacific Islander Coalition.

She holds a bachelor's degree in theater from State University of New York – Geneseo, where she earned a double scholarship for her acting and directing contributions. She is also the founding artistic director of eyeBLINK, a multicultural nonprofit promoting social change through theater and dance.

The play is sponsored by Intercultural Affairs; Diversity and Inclusion; Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies; and Theatre and Dance.

Thomas Adè’s The Exterminating Angel, Live in HD

This fall, Grinnell College will stream three Metropolitan operas as part of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD movie theater transmissions program. Bellini's Norma opened the series on Oct. 7, followed by Mozart's Die Zauberflöte on Oct. 17 and Thomas Adè’s The Exterminating Angel on Nov. 18. The series will continue in the spring.

Thomas Adè’s The Exterminating Angel

Grinnell College will stream Thomas Adès' adventurous new opera, The Exterminating Angel, on Saturday, Nov. 18, as part of the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD movie theater transmissions program. The opera will start at noon in the Harris Center Cinema, 1114 10th Ave., Grinnell. John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music, will give the opera talk at 11:30 a.m.

Inspired by the classic Luis Buñuel film of the same name, The Extermintaing Angel is about a post-opera dinner party from which guests cannot summon the will to escape, even after the food and water are gone. Tom Cairns, who wrote the libretto, directs the new production, and Adès conducts his own opera.

“If you go to a single production this season, make it this one,” Anthony Tommasini wrote in his New York Times review of the opera's premiere.

"The opera has discomforting timeliness at a time when many Americans feel trapped in partisan battles over elites, economic justice and borders; yet the will to change things is somehow lacking," Tommasini added. "The willpower of the ruling classes, or lack thereof, has become an especially pressing topic in Washington, as elected officials debate how forcefully to stand up to President Trump on policy and governing."

About the Broadcasts

Refreshments will be available for sale in the lobby of the cinema before each opera and during intermission.
 
Tickets are available at the Pioneer Bookshop and at the door on the day of the show. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, children, and Met Opera members.
 
The Office of the President has generously funded tickets for Grinnell College faculty, staff, and students, and tickets are available for free at all locations. Family members not employed by the college are required to purchase tickets.

Lavender Country Concert

Patrick Haggerty, founding member of first openly gay country music group, Lavender Country, will perform with his band at Grinnell College on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017.

The concert is free and open to the public. It will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel, 1128 Park St., Grinnell. No tickets are required.

AJ Lewis, former Grinnell College visiting professor of gender, women's and sexuality studies, will open the show with a banjo act with Lavender Country.

Grinnell College Public Events is sponsoring the concert, which is co-sponsored by Student Government Association Concerts.

In 1973, Haggerty formed the first openly gay country band. The group, called Lavender Country, released 1,000 bootleg copies of its self-titled and community-funded album. They played LGBTQ benefits and festivals for a few years and then disbanded with little fanfare.

In 1999, Lavender Country's album was archived at the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2014, a still-unknown user uploaded one of Lavender Country's songs to YouTube. Up-and-coming record label, Paradise of Bachelors, rereleased the album to enthusiastic reception.

Since then, Lavender Country is bigger than ever. The band has recently been the subject of award-winning documentaries and there is talk of a feature-length movie in the works.

Head Hunters: The Music of Herbie Hancock

Cover of Herbie Hancock's Head Hunters albumThe Grinnell College Jazz Ensemble will perform “Head Hunters: The Music of Herbie Hancock” [’60] on Friday, Sept. 22, 2017.

The free, public concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Herrick Chapel, 1128 Park St., Grinnell.

Hancock is a renowned jazz composer, musician, bandleader, record producer, arranger, and actor.

The ensemble will pay tribute to Hancock by performing the music from one of his most seminal albums, Head Hunters. Recorded in 1973, Head Hunters had an enormous impact on the trajectory of jazz. Following on his earlier work with the Miles Davis electric bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hancock incorporated sounds drawn from funk, rock, and soul music, creating a package that was equal parts experimental and groovy. 

Hancock, one of the most influential and prolific innovators in the history of jazz, has been on the creative cutting edge of American music for five decades. His omnivorous musical imagination has taken him from his longstanding collaborations with Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter to working with songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Stevie Wonder, and to performing and recording with contemporary artists like Christina Aguilera and Kanye West.

Directed by Mark Laver, assistant professor of music, the Grinnell Jazz Ensemble performs music from a wide variety of jazz-related styles and frequently performs works by both veteran and contemporary jazz composers. While the ensemble focuses primarily on traditional jazz ensemble literature, the group occasionally embarks upon large-scale musical performances of a nontraditional nature.

Past concerts have included pieces by composers such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Sammy Nestico, Charles Mingus, Maria Schneider, Gordon Goodwin, Thad Jones, and Oliver Nelson.

Make/Shift Zine Launch

​See what Make/Shift​ has been up to this semester with the launch of Volume 1; Issue 1 of their zine at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 7, at the Stew Art Studios space, 927 Broad Street, Grinnell, IA.

Make/Shift's last December drop-in will be from 7-9 p.m. on Dec. 14. Drop-in evenings are free and open to anyone in the community.

Student exhibitions, artist talks, and public workshops have been held at Stew Art Studios on Broad Street as part of a new year-long collaboration between the Grinnell College Studio Art Department and the Grinnell Area Arts Council.

Make/Shift open studio is a continuing effort by the Studio Art Department to engage with the Grinnell community. A variety of Make/Shift events have taken place throughout the year. This fall's events have been held on most Thursday evenings, and focus on collage, drawing, and zine-making.

All ages and skill levels are encouraged to attend and all materials are provided. For more information about Make/Shift, contact Jeremy Chen, senior lecturer at Grinnell College, 641-269-4835.

For more information about the Stew Art Studios, contact the Grinnell Area Arts Council, 641-236-3203.

 

Many Visions, Many Versions: Art from Indigenous Communities in India

Grinnell College’s Faulconer Gallery will be the first stop on a North American museum tour ofMany Visions, Many Versions: Art from Indigenous Communities in India.

The exhibition opens Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, and features works from the Gond and Warli communities of central India, the Mithila region of Bihar, and the narrative scroll painters of West Bengal. Many Visions, Many Versions is organized by BINDU Modern Gallery, and is toured by International Arts & Artists (IA&A), Washington, D.C. The exhibition was curated by Drs. Aurogeeta Das and David Szanton with assistance from curating consultant Jeffrey Wechsler.

“India is increasingly a bigger and bigger player in the world’s geo-political scene,” said Faulconer Gallery Director Lesley Wright. “This travelling installation is a great opportunity to learn more about the cultural traditions of the sub-continent, while also contributing to Global Grinnell, the College’s mission of global education.” Grinnell enrolls a high number of students of South Asian heritage, including 46 from India.

Many Visions, Many Versions is on view through Dec. 10 and encompasses 47 paintings by 24 artists. One of the artists represented in the exhibition, painter and singer Swarna Chitrakar, will be in-residence Oct. 3–9 to offer public demonstrations of scroll painting from her native Patua artisan community.

The exhibition paintings — on paper, canvas, particle board, and fabric — are divided into four broad categories: myth and cosmology, nature, village life, and contemporary explorations. They demonstrate responsiveness to contemporary global concerns, as well as deeply rooted cultural traditions.

  • Gond tribal art includes mud wall and floor paintings portraying deities and symbols from nature.
  • Warli tribal art, which uses only red/brown and white pigments, depicts human relationships to deities and nature through use of triangular and hourglass-shaped figures.
  • Mithila regional art uses vivid pigments with cow dung and mud to illustrate global events.
  • And scrolls from the Patua artisan community refer to mythological and religious themes and socio-political issues.

As contemporary practitioners, the artists also use their traditions to address challenges such as HIV/AIDS, tsunamis, women’s rights, and pollution.

A number of Faulconer Gallery programs have been developed to support understanding of India’s art and culture, including:

Gallery Talk: Modernism to Indigenous Arts in Post-Independence India
Sept. 22, 4 p.m.
Umesh Gaur and Sunanda Gaur have one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary Indian art in the world, including the art in this exhibition.
The collectors will introduce artists in their collection and provide context for the rise of modernism at the time of Indian independence in 1947, and the subsequent recognition of modern indigenous traditions.
Opening Reception
Sept. 22, 5–6 p.m.
Refreshments will be served.
Museum Day Live!
Sept. 23, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Faulconer Gallery will participate in Smithsonian magazine’s national day of recognition for the role of cultural institutions to inspire creativity, inspire curiosity and pursue knowledge.
Yoga in the Gallery with Monica St. Angelo
Mondays and Thursdays, Sept. 25–Dec. 14, 12:15–12:50 p.m.
No yoga Oct. 16, Oct. 19, and Nov. 23.
Enjoy a free 30-minute yoga practice of warming and invigorating poses and a final period of relaxation.
All levels welcome. Mats provided. Co-sponsored by Live Well Grinnell.
20 Minutes @ 11 with Timothy Dobe
Sept. 26, 11 a.m.
Timothy Dobe, associate professor and chair of religious studies at Grinnell, will speak about works in the exhibition based on his research in comparative religions. Dobe will publish a book this year about Hindu and Christian holy men (faqirs) of colonial north India.
Artists @ Grinnell Residency: Swarna Chitrakar
Oct. 3–9
Swarna Chitrakar is a member of India’s Patua community of painter-singers who travel from village to village recounting stories and legends in song while revealing scroll paintings.
Chitrakar has participated in major festivals in Australia, Asia, Europe, and North America, sharing her scrolls and songs, which explore current socio-political issues including HIV/AIDS, child trafficking, and women’s empowerment.
She will be accompanied by translator Suravi Sarkar.
Co-sponsoring these events are Grinnell College’s Institute for Global Engagement and the Departments of Religious Studies and Music.
Demonstrations and Conversation with Swarna Chitrakar
Oct. 3, 3–5 p.m.
Oct. 5, 2–4 p.m.,
Oct. 6 and 9, 3–5 p.m.
Gallery Talk: Swarna Chitrakar
Oct. 4, 4 p.m.
The painter-singer will speak about the development and content of her work.
Community Day
Oct. 7, 1:30–3 p.m.
Enjoy demonstrations by artist-in-residence Swarna Chitrakar, plus storytelling and hands-on activities.

For more information about related programs in late October and November, visit Faulconer Gallery.

Gallery hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week (closed Nov. 23, Thanksgiving Day), and admission is free. The Faulconer Gallery is in the Bucksbaum Center for the Arts, 1108 Park St., Grinnell.