Monday, March 30, 2015

Happy Birthday, Vincent.

“One must work and dare/
If one really wants to live”/
Van Gogh’s verity.

The quote, one of my favorites, is from one of the hundreds of letters that Vincent to his brother, Theo. This one is dated ca. April 11, 1885.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

NEW Leadership NJ: Educating and Empowering a New Generation of Women

CROSS-POSTING on both blogs!

From June 4-9, 2015, I am scheduled to be one of this year's "Faculty in Residence" at NEW Leadership NJ, the week-long residential summer institute sponsored by the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) at Rutgers University.

NEW Leadership is "...a bi-partisan, residential program to educate college women about the political process and teach them to become effective leaders in their communities." I served on a NEW Leadership panel last year, so I am honored to be asked to serve as the Faculty in Residence for 2015. It is a great program, and I met some wonderful young women last year--they were from all over the state--click on the link for my blog post, NEW Leadership--the Next Generation of Women Leaders. 

As noted on the website, "CAWP is committed to including women from diverse socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, political and educational backgrounds in each NEW Leadership program. We strongly encourage women of color, nontraditional college women, and students majoring in fields outside of political science to apply." 

If you know young college women who might be interested, please urge them to apply--there is no cost to the student: "housing, food, and all program materials are provided for the full six days of the program. There is no direct cost to students."

Students may apply online here: The NEW Leadership applications are open until March 30. 

The participating colleges pay the cost of the program--click on the link for the Frequently Asked Questions to get more information. My school, Essex County College, is one of the participating colleges, and we have been urging our students to apply. I will be blogging on this again as the deadline approaches--in the meantime, please spread the word!




Sunday, March 8, 2015

Special Treat for Plainfield Seniors at Essex Humanities Conference

This week, from March 10-13, Essex County College, where I am a professor, will host a celebration of Humanities Week, centered around our Spring 2015 Conference, "Speculations: Steampunk to Afrofuturism." The conference is free and open to the public. Below is a listing of the week's activities. Click HERE to navigate to the conference website.

As one of the co-chairs of this year's conference, I am excited that we have been able to arrange to bring some of Plainfield's senior citizens to a special performance of "The Silver Thread." This special staged reading of Housley-McLaughlin's award-winning play will be performed by the New York City-based Liberation Theatre Company. The Plainfield Division of Recreation and Parks is sponsoring a free trip for seniors to Essex County College for the performance--please contact Recreation by calling 908-753-3097 if you would like to reserve a seat. I am very excited to welcome our seniors to my school! 


There will be an hors d'oeuvres reception at 5:30 pm, prior to the event, sponsored by Dr. Stephanie A. Steplight Johnson, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer. 

The performance will be staged in the state-of-the-art Mary B. Burch Theater for the Performing Arts on Thursday, March 12 at 7:00 pm. Pianist Richard Alston, Associate Professor of Music at Essex County College, will open the evening with a special performance of Franz Liszt's "The Mephisto Waltz." There will be a 30-minute talk-back with the actors after the performance. 

This is the 3rd annual conference of our division (Humanities), and it helps to illustrate why the disciplines in the Humanities matter. My colleague and conference co-chair, Communications Prof. Jennifer Wager, noted this eloquently:
In this age of devastating economic austerity, the Humanities give us the inspiration and tools to imagine a better world. This conference brings together leading scholars and artists from all over the country and even internationally to examine how the Humanities has created space for speculation, creativity and positive social change. The first step in revolutionary change is to speculate, to free our minds and imagine that change is even possible. 

As a Predominantly Black Institution, Essex leads the way nationally and internationally as a two-year college dedicated to the creation and dissemination of historically accurate knowledge of communities of African descent locally and globally. With this year’s special emphasis on the legacy, work, and influence of the late Octavia E. Butler, the Humanities Division’s conference once again highlights the foundational contributions of Black history and culture to the Humanities with this year's theme, “Speculations: Steampunk to Afrofuturism.” 


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Diva Irrésistible: Margaret Tynes

Celebrating the great mezzo-soprano Margaret Tynes, who was as comfortable with jazz as she was with opera.

Below is a clip from the 2007 gala tribute of Opera Noire of New York, at which Margaret Tynes was the Honoree. It is an amazing clip of contemporary African American opera singers paying tribute to one of greatest living divas. Please go to 1:25 to hear the transcendent “Sous le dôme épais” (also known as the “Flower Duet”) from Léo Delibes’s Lakmé, featuring Andrea Jones-Soloja and LaToya Lain. The other two clips are recordings of Margaret Tynes, Diva Irrésistible!

Margaret Tynes performs the “Card Aria” from Bizet’s Carmen.


Duke Ellington’s 1956 recording of A Drum is a Woman, with Margaret Tynes and Ozzie Bailey.