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Carnival and Creativity: Sounding Community in Post-Katrina New Orleans and Post-Quake Haiti

Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 4:30pm

 

Co-sponsored by the Music Department, the Center for the Humanities, the Center for International Studies, and the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, International Relations, and Human Rights.

On August 23, 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans. Roughly five years later, on January 12, 2010, a massive earthquake rocked the small island nation of Haiti. These cataclysmic events, this shared experience of trauma, added a further layer of connection between these two regions, already linked by their shared African and French heritage, the legacy of colonialism, and the experience of slavery that made Louisiana and Haiti home to vibrant, thriving Afro-diasporic communities.

February 2016, therefore, represents the 10th and 5th anniversaries (respectively) of the first Pre-Lenten celebrations – Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Carnival in Haiti – to follow these social and environmental catastrophes. In New Orleans and Port-Au-Prince alike, Carnival did what Carnival always does: it gave the community a chance to come together in solidarity in the face of struggle; it provided an opportunity to heal from trauma; and it offered a moment for people who are often ignored – especially within the upper echelons of global social and economic power – to give voice and movement to their struggles and their triumphs through song and dance and celebration. These Mardi Gras and Carnival celebrations showed us the remarkable power that music, dance, and art have to heal and to empower individuals and communities.

On February 11-12 at Grinnell College, we will pay tribute to those individuals and communities with a series of events that mark the 10th and 5th anniversaries of the 2006 and 2011 Carnival celebrations:

• Thursday, Feb. 11, 4:30-6:30pm, BCA 102 - New Orleans Brass Band Workshop with Bennie Pete, tuba and co-founder, Hot 8 Brass Band

• Thursday, Feb. 11, 7:30-9pm, BCA 152 - "If You Don't Like What the Big Queen Says, Just...": An Evening With Queen Reesie (Cherice Harrison-Nelson, curator of the Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame and Big Queen of the Guardians of the Flame Mardi Gras Indians)

• Friday, Feb. 12, 4:15-6pm, BCA 152 - Carnival and Creativity Roundtable Discussion
o Discussants: Gage Averill, University of British Columbia; Cherice Harrison-Nelson, Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame; Tess Kulstad, Grinnell College; Bennie Pete, Hot 8 Brass Band; moderated by Mark Laver, Grinnell College

• Friday, Feb. 12, 8-9:30pm, Sebring Lewis - Grinnell Jazz Ensemble Plays the Music of New Orleans, featuring Bennie Pete and Cherice Harrison-Nelson. Directed by Mark Laver.

Ami Freeberg: Creating Thriving Communities Around Food

Thursday, February 11, 2016 - 2:15pm to Friday, February 12, 2016 - 2:15pm
Ami Freeberg '10
Alum Year: 
2010

Ami began her career in food and agriculture as a young girl terrorizing her mother’s garden. As a kid, her mom tricked her into thinking that cucumbers from the garden were candy, and Ami has been a believer that fresh food is fundamental to health and well-being ever since (and more delicious than candy). In her teenage years, she helped her family run a café at the Fairfield, Iowa farmers’ market, cooking and selling delicious meals with local produce every week. While studying at Grinnell College, she twisted her Sociology major and Global Development Studies concentration to focus on food systems as much as possible. She completed an internship with Cultivate Kansas City in the summer of 2008, where she primarily worked with the New Roots for Refugees program in its first year. That summer she became intrigued by the idea of creating thriving communities around food, so returned to Kansas City after her graduation to continue this work.

Humanities Center Film Festival

Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - 7:00pm to Wednesday, February 17, 2016 - 9:30pm
Harris Center

 

Dudley Andrew, Professor of Film and Comparative Literature, Yale University will give a talk on French cinema of the 1930s and 40s leading to the New Wave a decade later as an instance of the collaboration between artistic creation and political movements.  In speaking to our theme for the year: “Sites of Creativity,” he will describe the collaboration between filmmakers, their sense of the people, the popular, and everyday life that led to the socially committed work of the New Wave Cinema. We will screen A Day in the Country, Zéro de Conduite, and The Lower Depths. These three films are representative of the Poetic Realist movement of the 1930s in France. The depiction of the proletariat, the tensions between the upper and the lower classes, or the education system show how these directors are fully engaged as a group in the contemporary social issues. See complete schedule below.
 

Tuesday, February 16, Harris Center Cinema, 7:00 p.m.
A Day in the Country

This film is an adaptation of a short story by Guy de Maupassant, it depicts a brief and passionate love affair between Henriette, the daughter of a Parisian ironmonger, and Henri, an unoccupied boater. In many ways, this film is an homage to Renoir’s father, Auguste Renoir, and to Impressionism. One scene, of Henriette standing on a swing, is a direct cinematographic quote of Renoir father’s painting La Balançoire. Everywhere else, Impressionist themes or images are omnipresent: the play of light on water, the lunch on the grass, or the rowboat gliding on the river. Director, Jean Renoir, France, 1936, 41 minutes, black & white.

Zéro de Conduite

Vigo’s film describes the daily routine and the revolt of students living at a boarding school under repressive rules. Despite its short length, about 40 minutes, it is one of the most influential film in cinema history, a precursor to the French New Wave. It is also a perfect example of the poetic realism movement in the sense that the plot is grounded in social reality, but at the same time the revolutionary moment is aesthetic, particularly the film’s most epic scene, when insurrectionist students in pajamas engage in an epic slow motion pillow fight. Director, Jean Vigo, France, 1933, 44 minutes, black & white.

Wednesday, February 17, Harris Center Cinema, 7:00 p.m.
The Lower Depths

Voted 1936's best picture by a circle of prestigious French critics, Jean Renoir's The Lower Depths (Les Bas-Fonds) is based on the gutter play by Russian author Maxim Gorky. Louis Jouvet plays The Baron, forced by circumstance to give up his life of luxury and to set up residence in the slums of Paris. As Jouvet observes the passing parade, he bears witness to the frustrated romance between Jean Gabin and Junie Astor, the thwarted dreams of actor Robert Le Vigan, and the oppressive cruelties of landlord Vladimir Sokoloff. The Lower Depths surprised Renoir's admirers, who weren't used to seeing the director involve himself in so sordid and depressing a tale. Actually, the project was brought to Renoir by a producer friend of his, who secured the director's services by promising to provide Louis Jouvet and Jean Gabin as the leading actors. Director, Jean Renoir, France, 1936, 90 minutes, black & white.

Festival Keynote speaker: Dudley Andrew, Professor of Film and Comparative Literature, Yale University
Thursday, February 18, JRC 101, 7:30 p.m.
From Ciné-Liberté (1936) to Film Maudit (1949): Fever, Contagion, and Caution in the Avant-Garde

Dudley Andrew is Professor of Film and Comparative Literature at Yale. Biographer of André Bazin, he extends Bazin’s thought in What Cinema Is! (2011) in the edited volume, Opening Bazin (2012), and in his translation of a new collection, André Bazin’ New Media. Working in aesthetics, hermeneutics and cultural history, he published Film in the Aura of Art in 1984, then turned to French film with Mists of Regret (1995) and Popular Front Paris. He co-edited The Companion to Francois Truffaut (2013). For these publications, he was named Officier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.

All events are free and open to the public. French pastries will be served at the film showings.
 

From Ciné-Liberté (1936) to Film Maudit (1949): Fever, Contagion, and Caution in the Avant-Garde

Thursday, February 18, 2016 - 7:30pm
Joe Rosenfield '25 Center Room 101
Dudley Andrew
Professor of Film and Comparative Literature, Yale University

 

Dudley Andrew is Professor of Film and Comparative Literature at Yale. Biographer of André Bazin, he extends Bazin’s thought in What Cinema Is! (2011) in the edited volume, Opening Bazin (2012), and in his translaton of a new collection, André Bazin’ New Media. Working in aesthetics, hermeneutics and cultural history, he published Film in the Aura of Art in 1984, then turned to French film with Mists of Regret (1995) and Popular Front Paris. He co-edited The Companion to Francois Truffaut (2013). For these publications, he was named Officier de l’ordre des arts et des lettres by the French Ministry of Culture.