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2015-2016 Events

Rusted Root’s Jim Donovan: World Drum Circle Community Music-Making Experience

Thursday, August 27

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Lawn

Jim Donovan M.Ed. Leadership, faculty member at Saint Francis University, is a master facilitator, inspirational trainer and world-class musician with over 25 years of leadership, teaching and performance experience. As a member of the 3-time platinum band Rusted Root, he co-wrote and performed “Send Me on My Way,” a song whose unforgettable whistle has been featured in both Matilda and Ice Age. His touring work with Rusted Root provided ample opportunity to share stages with rock legends such as Carlos Santana, members of Led Zeppelin and Sting, among others. Donovan’s world drum circle experience is an interactive group music making event for everyone, including beginners. Drums and percussion instruments are provided. Enjoy a high-energy, joyful experience of group drumming with a fantastic recording artist.

 

Shane Burcaw: Choosing Happiness

Wednesday, September 2

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Author, entrepreneur, award-winning blogger, Emmy-winning producer, and inspirational speaker, Shane Burcaw brings a spirited, humorous approach to everything he does. Born with a progressive neuromuscular disease, Shane has been battling a weakening body since birth. Early on he discovered that approaching his problems with a sense of humor made them much easier to deal with and overcome. Today, he shares that message through his nonprofit organization, Laughing At My Nightmare, Inc. Shane will discuss why people need positivity. Whether they are students dealing with the stress of homework and the struggle to fit in, or professionals managing deadlines and the pressure to succeed, a positive mindset (and a little humor) makes these challenges easier to overcome.

 

River and Biota Art Exhibit

Opening Reception Sept. 10, 2015, 6 PM - Gallery Talk at 7 PM

Freyberger Gallery

River and Biota, curated by artist Naomi Teppich, focuses on bringing awareness to the beauty—and vulnerability—of our country’s rivers, particularly the northeast quadrant including the Delaware, the Hudson, and the Susquehanna rivers. Many artists in the community selected by Teppich have a special relationship with “the river” and through their artwork, react strongly to the bombardment of this beloved ecosystem and our environment in general. While not designed to be a political show, River and Biota allows the conscience of these artists to bring public awareness to this serious issue. Eighteen artists, including painters, printmakers, and sculptors, were selected for this exhibit, which was first exhibited with the Catskill Art Society in Livingston Manor, NY. Thru Oct. 22, 2015

 

Laurel Braitman: Mental Health in Humans and Animals

Wednesday, September 16

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Laurel Braitman spent years studying animals, first as a biology major and then later as a PhD student at MIT. But it was her own dog, Oliver, that taught her something new about animal behavior. Oliver suffered debilitating separation anxiety, was prone to aggression, and may have even attempted suicide. Through caring for Oliver, Braitman was forced to acknowledge a form of continuity between humans and other animals that she'd never come across in school. Non-human animals can lose their minds, and when they do, it often looks a lot like human mental illness. Thankfully, all of us can heal. Compelled to travel the world in search of emotionally disturbed animals and the people who care for them, Braitman discovered stories of recovery. In this moving talk, she explains how these animals recover the same way we do: with love, with medicine, with behavior therapy, and above all, with the knowledge that someone understands why they suffer and what can make them feel better.

 

Tina Seelig: What I Wish I Knew When I was 20

Wednesday, October 7

1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Penn State Berks selected Tina Seelig’s book, What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20, as the common reading for new students entering college at Berks in 2015. As executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, Tina Seelig guides her students as they make the difficult transition from the academic environment to the professional world, providing tangible skills and insights that will last a lifetime. Seelig is an entrepreneur, neuroscientist, and popular teacher, and in What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 she shares what she offers her students—provocative stories, inspiring advice, and a big dose of humility and humor. Her lecture, offered at both 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on October 7, will allow students an opportunity to ask questions and to further explore the topics covered in Seelig’s book.

 

Christian Rudder: Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One is Looking)

Wednesday, October 21

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

What happens to all the data we share online? In this audacious, irreverent talk, Christian Rudder investigates human behavior and takes a first look at a data revolution in the making. For centuries, we’ve relied on polling or small-scale lab experiments to study human behavior. Today, a new approach is possible. As we live more of our lives online, researchers can finally observe us directly, in vast numbers, and without filters. Rudder explains how Facebook "likes" can predict, with surprising accuracy, a person’s sexual orientation and even intelligence; and how attractive women receive exponentially more interview requests. He charts the rise and fall of America’s most reviled word through Google Search and examines the new dynamics of collaborative rage on Twitter. He shows how people express themselves, both privately and publicly. A smart, personable, and funny speaker, Rudder presents noteworthy and customized findings, but also gives large-scale data analysis in its proper social, corporate, and historical context. We're at the cusp of a new age of human understanding; you'll leave his talk believing he's right.

 

Dia de los Muertos Workshops and Exhibit

Oct. 26 - Nov. 2, 2015 

Freyberger Gallery

Dia de los Muertos celebrates the uniquely Mexican tradition of honoring deceased ancestors.  This joyful holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember deceased loved ones and help support their spiritual journey. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called ofrendas, honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. Visitors also leave possessions of the deceased at the graves.

Our event includes workshops in the gallery Oct. 26, Oct. 28 and Oct. 30.  At these workshops, create an Ofrenda or create masks and sugar skulls. The main event, a presentation on Dias de Muertos, will be held Monday, Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. in the gallery. The campus community will display their own ofrendas and are invited to talk about the deceased as is the tradition in Mexico. Traditional Mexican foods including chocolate beverage, breads, and more will be served.

Jes Baker: Change the World, Not Your Body

Wednesday, November 4

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Jes Baker is internationally recognized for her popular blog, The Militant Baker. She famously took on Abercrombie & Fitch by changing their logo to “Attractive & Fat” in a mock, black-and-white ad that challenged the line’s branding efforts. Through her inspiring talk, Baker explores the historical evolution behind our current idyllic body type, the stigma surrounding mental illness, and what we can do individually to reframe the way we perceive ourselves and others. She encourages each person to explore the correlation between weight and health, and discusses the “Health at Every Size” movement. Come ready to challenge the notion that beauty is exclusive in this powerful, passionate and progressive presentation.

Industrial – Primitive Art Exhibit

November 11 – December 17, 2015

Opening Reception, Nov. 11, 2015 6 p.m.; Gallery talk 7 p.m.

Freyberger Gallery

Industrial - Primitive features assemblage sculpture by Robert Hakun. Mr. Hakun collects and salvages discarded common objects - some natural, some man-made - that reflect the ravages of time and decay. Assembling these items together -- rusty gauges, bones, old wooden objects, for example -- the work reflects an odd juxtaposition of items that metaphorically and ironically convey a message. 

 

Calpulli Mexican Dance Company

Wednesday, November 18

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Calpulli celebrates the rich dance traditions of Mexico’s diverse cultural history interpreted through its unique artistic vision. Their fresh, vital repertoire honors Mexico’s past and Mexican-American cultural expression in the United States today.Calpulli’s performance at Penn State Berks will feature visually-stunning costumes and choreography. Their performance is co-sponsored by the Penn State Berks Latino Unity Club and is sure to be both educational and entertaining.

 

Asali Solomon: Children of the Revolution that Never Was: Black and Disgruntled in America

Wednesday, December 2

7:30 p.m.

With race relations in the United State reaching a boiling point after incidents in Ferguson, Missouri; Baltimore, and other cities, Asali Solomon’s lecture, Children of the Revolution that Never Was: Black and Disgruntled in America comes at a poignant time in our culture. An accomplished writer, Asali Solomon received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award for the stories later collected in Get Down, her first book, which was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. In 2007 she was named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.” Her newest novel, Disgruntled is a coming-of-age story set in Philadelphia. Solomon holds a PhD in English from the University of California at Berkeley and an MFA in Fiction from the Iowa Writer's Workshop. She is an Assistant Professor of English at Haverford College.

 

The Eye of the Collector - Art Exhibit

January 21 – March 3, 2016

Opening Reception Jan. 21

Freyberger Gallery

This multi-venue exhibit highlights the art collection of Sigmund Balka, who gathered art for over five decades and gifted it to the Hebrew Union College, New Tork City. The collection includes work by scores of well-known Jewish artists including, Marc Chagall, Larry Rivers, and Robert Motherwell. The selections include a thematic view of the life of early 20th century immigrants, and their life and assimilation in the New World.

 

Britishmania: The Music of the Beatles

Wednesday, January 27

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

As a leading Beatles tribute band, Britishmania employs iconic replica instruments and amplifiers used by The Beatles throughout the many sounds and styles of their career. Britishmania has performed in front of hundreds of thousands of people at clubs, theaters, colleges, and private events. They even performed at the legendary Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, one of the first venues the Beatles played when they were launching their career. This performance will be a hit with Beatles fans and with those who have not previously experienced their songs that shaped rock ‘n’ roll history as we know it today.

 

Spoken Word Poetry by Rudy Francisco

Wednesday, February 10

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Rudy Francisco is the 2009 National Underground Poetry Slam Champion, the 2010 San Diego Grand Slam Champion, the 2010 San Francisco Grand Slam Champion and the 2010 Individual World Poetry Slam Champion. He approaches topics with wit and a quirkiness that allows his audience a sense of comfort while he tackles serious issues. Rudy touches on race, politics, love, domestic violence, and religion. His powerful spoken word poetry is being offered to the community of Penn State Berks in honor of Black History Month.

 

David Sax: Crazy for Cupcakes: How Food Trends Impact the Way We Eat and the World Around Us

Wednesday, March 2

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Food trends are not only a collection of photos on Instagram. They have an everlasting effect on our culture, workforce, economy, health, and day-to-day lives. Coffee, pizza, bacon: these are all former trends that sparked massive change in global trade, the food industry, and how we eat together as a family. This is the subject of Sax’s new book The Tastemakers: Why We're Crazy for Cupcakes but Fed Up With Fondue. The book is “a romp" through the food industry that will “leave readers wondering about how susceptible we are to the charms of any new food” (New York Times).

Sax is also the author of Save the Deli: In Search of Perfect Pastrami, Crusty Rye, and the Heart of Jewish Delicatessen. His writing appears regularly in the New York Times, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Saveur. He is the winner of a James Beard Award for writing and literature.

 

Maziar Bahari: Rosewater: An Iranian Odyssey

Wednesday, March 23

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

In "Rosewater: An Iranian Odyssey," Maziar Bahari tells the story that was the inspiration for his riveting memoir, Rosewater: A Family's Story of Love, Captivity, and Survival, and Rosewater, the 2014 film directed by The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart.
                On June 21, 2009, just nine days after Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected in a highly contentious election, the Revolutionary Guards arrested award-winning Canadian-Iranian journalist and filmmaker, Maziar Bahari, in his mother’s home in Tehran. For the next 118 days, he remained imprisoned in Iran’s notorious Evin prison, where he was severely beaten, and accused, among other things, of espionage and plotting a velvet revolution. Rosewater is a riveting, on-the-streets account of the contentious elections, and the tale of a reporter willing to risk everything to tell a story. This lecture is co-sponsored by the Penn State Berks Muslim Students Association.

 

Art Exhibit - Forsyth and Farrell

Opening Reception March 24, 2015 6 p.m.; Gallery Talk 7 pm

Freyberger Gallery

Artists and architects Amy Forsyth and her husband Charles Farrell have developed an approach to art making that includes music, creating instruments, drawing, building sculptural furniture and painting. These two artists, from Bechtelsville, PA, are actively involved with the art scene, and have recently won awards for their work at the Goggleworks Jazz Art exhibit. Ms. Forsyth, who also teaches design at Lehigh University, is currently working on building a percussion piece that will transform the couples’ century old barn into a rhythm machine. Mr. Farrell, who maintains a studio at the Goggleworks Center for the Arts, paints large scale, allegorical paintings in a realistic style that tell the tales of lost innocence, life and death.

 

Sara Critchfield, Founder of Upworthy: Good Ideas Going Viral

Wednesday, April 6

7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Sara Critchfield is the Founding Editorial Director of Upworthy, the massively popular (and much-copied) website that curates highly-sharable, social issue-driven content that flows organically into our online lives. During her tenure, she helped set the template to draw attention to important social issues (like racial profiling, body image, and child poverty) by making the stories highly shareable. Her contrarian theories have shifted the way companies think about reaching users, and have proven that people are just as hungry to consume content about meaningful issues as they are about celebrity gossip—as long as you market the content correctly. Critchfield's approach to making good content go viral helped make Upworthy the internet juggernaut it is today.