culture

Adam Nadal

Ping Chong + Company will present their non-fiction, documentary style production - “Beyond Sacred: Voices of Muslim Identity” on October 14 and 15 at UAlbany Performing Arts Center on the main campus of the University at Albany.

Written by Chong, Sara Zatz, and Ryan Conarro in collaboration with the performers, the work illuminates the daily experiences of five young Muslim Americans who have come of age in a post-9/11 society and are building their lives in a time of continued fear and violence towards Muslims. The cast members are from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds and reflect a wide range of Muslim identities, including: those who have converted to Islam, those who were raised Muslim but have since left the faith, those who identify as “culturally” Muslim and those who are observant on a daily basis.

We welcome Maha Syed, featured in “Beyond Sacred;” Sara Zatz, the co-author & co-director of “Beyond Sacred;” and Paul Grondahl, Director of the New York State Writers Institute.

Jacqueline Schwab
www.jacquelineschwab.com

On Thursday, September 20 the Guilderland Public Library in Guilderland, New York will present the concert “I Lift My Lamp: Vintage Songs and Dances of Immigrant America” performed by Ken Burns’ pianist Jacqueline Schwab. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Calling ahead for reservations is advised - (518) 456-2400.

Jacqueline Schwab is noted for her evocative playing on the soundtracks of documentary filmmaker Ken Burns’ “Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Mark Twain,” “Frank Lloyd Wright,” “The War” and others. She has long played for English country dancing with the Bare Necessities quartet; has released four solo recordings; and has performed concerts of vintage American music in almost every state of the Union.

According to our next guest, something has been going wrong on many college campuses in the last few years. Speakers are shouted down. Professors say they are walking on eggshells, eliminating controversial material from syllabi.

Students, once the staunchest defenders of free speech, now see words and ideas as sources of danger. Rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are rising—on campus as well as nationally. How did this happen?

First Amendment expert Greg Lukianoff looks at this cultural shift to explain the background behind the crisis in academia, and to offer lucid and reasonable solutions. The new book is "The Coddling Of The American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation For Failure."

In “The Sky Is Falling: How Vampires, Zombies, Androids, and Superheroes Made America Great for Extremism,” cultural journalist Peter Biskind dives headlong into two decades of popular culture, from superhero franchises and series like “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” to thrillers like “Homeland” and “24,” and emerges to argue that these shows are saturated with the values that are currently animating our extreme politics.

UAlbany’s Confucius Institute is a non-profit program of Office of Chinese Language Council International which aims to promote Chinese language and culture. As of December of last year, 525 Confucius Institutes have been established in 138 countries/regions around the world, with 110 in the United States.

The Confucius Institute for China’s Culture and Economy at University at Albany is a collaboration between UAlbany and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China. Confucius Institute provides support and service in Chinese language instruction and culture programming, promotes China-related research, and facilitates academic exchanges and collaborations between the two institutions and the two countries.

Confucius Institute is hosting a Chinese Cultural festival at UAlbany and around the Capital Region throughout the fall. Youqin Huang is a Professor in Geography and Planning at UAlbany and Executive Director of UAlbany Confucius Institute.

Donna Hicks is an associate at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University. As a conflict resolution specialist, she has facilitated diplomatic efforts in the Middle East and other high-conflict regions and conducted numerous training seminars worldwide. She is the author of the award-winning book, "Dignity: Its Essential Role in Resolving Conflict."

Her new book is "Leading with Dignity: How to Create a Culture That Brings Out the Best in People."

Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar and book cover "The Map of Salt and Stars"
Neha Gautam

“The Map of Salt and Stars” is the debut novel by Syrian American writer Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar. It is the story of two girls living eight hundred years apart: a modern-day Syrian refugee seeking safety and a medieval adventurer apprenticed to a legendary mapmaker, showing the pain of exile and the triumph of courage. 

Lucas Willard / WAMC

Officials have a better understanding of the creative economy in Saratoga County, thanks to a new report that shows the region’s arts and cultural attractions have a significant economic impact.

Vegas Tenold is an award-winning journalist. He has covered the far right in America for years, as well as human rights in Russia, conflict in central Africa and the Middle East, and national security. A graduate of Columbia University's School of Journalism, his work has appeared in publications including the New York Times, Rolling Stone, New Republic, and Al Jazeera America.

Six years ago, Vegas Tenold embedded himself among the members of three of America's most ideologically extreme white nationalist groups-the KKK, the National Socialist Movement, and the Traditionalist Workers Party. At the time, these groups were part of a disorganized counterculture that felt far from the mainstream.

But since then, all that has changed. Racially-motivated violence has been on open display at rallies in Charlottesville, Berkeley, Pikesville, Phoenix, and Boston. Membership in white nationalist organizations is rising, and national politicians, including the president, are validating their perceived grievances.

It may be hard to believe, but this year - 2018 - marks the 9th annual Woodstock Bookfest. And they will be busily igniting the conversation by bringing readers and writers together for a weekend of discussion and celebration.

Taking place from March 22nd – 25th, they’ll host classes, panels, keynotes, Story Slams, parties and more, all in the unique surroundings of Woodstock.

Martha Frankel is the Executive Director of the Woodstock Bookfest.

Gish Jen has spent much of her literary career writing about the experiences of Chinese-Americans. Her latest book, “The Girl at the Baggage Claim: Explaining the East-West Culture Gap,” makes the case for the sociological and cultural patterns that influence many aspects of identity.

Few television shows revolutionized comedy as profoundly or have had such an enormous and continued impact on our culture as "In Living Color." Inspired by Richard Pryor, Carol Burnett, and Eddie Murphy, Keenen Ivory Wayans created a television series unlike any that had come before it.

Along the way, he introduced the world to Jamie Foxx, Jim Carrey, David Alan Grier, Rosie Perez, and Jennifer Lopez, not to mention his own brothers Damon, Marlon, and Shawn Wayans. In Living Color shaped American culture in ways both seen and unseen, and was part of a sea change that moved black comedy and hip-hop culture from the shadows into the spotlight.

David Peisner is a freelance writer based in Decatur, Georgia. He has been writing about music, film, television, books, politics, technology, sports, and world affairs for a wide array of publications for nearly twenty years.

David Peisner is a freelance writer based in Decatur, Georgia. He has been writing about music, film, television, books, politics, technology, sports, and world affairs for a wide array of publications for nearly twenty years. His new book is "Homey Don't Play That!: The Story of In Living Color and the Black Comedy Revolution."

  Jonathan Starr, once a cutthroat hedge fund manager, is not your traditional do-gooder, and in 2009, when he decided to found Abaarso, a secondary school in Somaliland, the choice seemed crazy to even his closest friends. “Why,” they wondered, “would he turn down a life of relative luxury to relocate to an armed compound in a breakaway region of the world’s #1 failed state?” To achieve his mission, Starr would have to overcome profound cultural differences, broken promises, and threats to his safety and that of his staff.

It Takes a School is the story of how an abstract vision became a transformative reality, as Starr set out to build a school in a place forgotten by the world. It is the story of a skeptical and clan-based society learning to give way to trust. And it’s the story of the students themselves, including a boy from a family of nomads who took off on his own in search of an education and a girl who waged a hunger strike in order to convince her strict parents to send her to Abaarso.

Joseph Califano, Jr. spent thirty years in Washington at the top of the Pentagon, on the White House staff as chief domestic advisor to the President, and in the Cabinet. He worked as an attorney for The Washington Post during Watergate and has represented clients as varied as the Black Panthers and Coca Cola.

His new book, “Our Damaged Democracy: We the People Must Act,” is a primer on the three branches of government that reveals the political, cultural, constitutional, technological, and institutional changes that he believes render our government completely dysfunctional. He says there is an urgent need to fix our democracy before it’s too late.

Shout Out Saugerties is a new Festival of the Arts and Humanities that launches this month with more than 64 local and area artists and public figures participating. Over four weekends from October 6 through October 29, Saugerties joins communities across the country in the nation-wide National Art and Humanities Month that promotes culture in America. 

Jacque Metheny - Tree with Spheres; SculptureNow at The Mount
Sarah LaDuke

This summer SculptureNow and The Mount are proud to present NEXUS a new, juried exhibition featuring 30 large-scale, outdoor sculptures placed throughout the grounds of The Mount.

The exhibition is on display now through Halloween.

The show includes regionally, nationally and internationally recognized artists. To tell us more we welcome Ann Jon, Executive Director of SculptureNow and for all things at Edith Wharton, we welcome Susan Wissler, Executive Director at Edith Wharton’s The Mount. 

In ancient, pre-literate cultures across the globe, tribal elders had encyclopedic memories. They could name all the animals and plants across a landscape, identify the stars in the sky, and recite the history of their people. Yet today, most of us struggle to memorize more than a short poem.

Using traditional Aboriginal Australian song lines as a starting point, Dr. Lynne Kelly has identified the powerful memory technique used by our ancestors and indigenous people around the world. In turn, she has then discovered that this ancient memory technique is the secret purpose behind the great prehistoric monuments like Stonehenge, which have puzzled archaeologists for so long.

Her book is The Memory Code: The Secrets of Stonehenge, Easter Island and Other Ancient Monuments.

The Woodstock Film Festival’s 5th annual Spirit of Woodstock celebrates the roots of the Hudson Valley — its natural beauty, iconoclasts, art, culture, innovation, and the river that flows through and connects it.

This year they honor two local luminaries who have embodied those qualities — John Hall and Alf Evers. The event takes place on Saturday, June 3rd, 2017 in Woodstock from 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Joining us this morning, we welcome the festival’s Meira Blaustein to tell us more.

The production of culture was once the domain of artists, but beginning in the early 1900s, the emerging fields of public relations, advertising and marketing transformed the way the powerful communicate with the rest of us. A century later, the tools are more sophisticated than ever, the onslaught more relentless. 

In Culture as Weapon, acclaimed curator and critic Nato Thompson reveals how institutions use art and culture to ensure profits and constrain dissent--and shows us that there are alternatives.

Our Falling Into Place series spotlights the important work of -and fosters collaboration between- not-for-profit organizations in our communities; allowing us all to fall into place.

Falling Into Place is supported by The Seymour Fox Memorial Foundation, Providing a helping hand to turn inspiration into accomplishment. See more possibilities … see more promise… see more progress.

Today we learn about the Children at the Well storytelling program – which helps young people tap into the richness of stories from their traditions to strengthen their development of voice.

Children at the Well is a program of WithOurVoice, Inc., which also oversees the Interfaith Story Circle of the Tri-City Area, begun by Gert Johnson in 1993.

We are joined by Paula B. Weiss, co-founder and Director; and Khalafalla Osman – a former participant now applying to law school.

Easthampton City Arts will be presenting a program - Grist for the Mill - featuring Michael Musto of the Village Voice & Mickey Boardman, Editorial Director of PAPER Magazine at the Boylston Room in Easthampton on Thursday, April 6th at 8PM.

Kicking off the 3rd annual Easthampton Book Fest, the pair will explore a range of topics including the role of the artist and writer in times of political and cultural shift. Michael Musto joins us this morning to give us a preview.

Musto is a correspondent for the Village Voice, where he wrote the entertainment and nightlife column "La Dolce Musto" for 29 years. He also writes weekly e-columns for Out.com and PAPER Magazine, as well as articles for The New York Times "Styles" section. 

Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from its establishment in 1930 until his retirement in 1962, Harry Anslinger is the United States’ little known first drug czar. Anslinger was a profligate propagandist with a flair for demonizing racial and immigrant groups and perhaps best known for his zealous pursuit of harsh drug penalties and his particular animus for marijuana users.

But what made Anslinger who he was, and what cultural trends did he amplify and institutionalize? In her book, Assassin of Youth, Alexandra Chasin looks to answer those questions and explore Anslinger’s social, cultural, and political legacy.

Alexandra Chasin is associate professor of literary studies at Eugene Lang College, the New School. 

Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter is one of only a handful of physicians in the United States double board certified to practice both pulmonary/critical care medicine AND palliative care medicine. In other words, she’s the doctor who will save you when you are admitted to the ICU with a gunshot wound, but she is also the doctor who can help you navigate a peaceful and easy way to the end when the end really arrives.

In her new book - Extreme Measures – we learn about a framework for a better way to exit life that will change our medical culture at the deepest level, and will perhaps leave you pondering, when ‘the end is near’, in our zeal to save life, are we often just worsening death?

Lisa Dickey traveled across the whole of Russia three times - in 1995, 2005 and 2015 - making friends in eleven different cities, then coming back again and again to see how their lives had changed. Like the acclaimed British documentary series Seven Up!, she traces the ups and downs of ordinary people’s lives, in the process painting a deeply nuanced portrait of modern Russia.

Her book is Bears in the Streets: Three Journeys across a Changing Russia.

The African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region, Inc., (AACCCR) is proud to present, for the third year in a row, The African American History Month Celebration at the Palace Theatre on Friday, February 24th at 7:00pm.

The annual celebration features the best and brightest talent in the region. This year’s theme is “Where Do We Go From Here?” focusing on participating in grass roots activism for social change. Bervin Harris, co-founder and CEO of the Renaissance Youth Group, will be the keynote speaker.

To give us a preview, we welcome Angela O’Neal – Executive Director of the African American Cultural Center of the Capital Region and Holly Brown – Executive Director of the Palace Theatre. 

John Simpson is the former chief editor of the Oxford English Dictionary, where he helped take the dictionary online.

His new book, The Word Detective: Searching for the Meaning of It All at the Oxford English Dictionary, is an intensely personal memoir and a joyful celebration of English, he weaves a story of how words come into being (and sometimes disappear), how culture shapes the language we use, and how technology has transformed not only the way we speak and write but also how words are made.

The art of hula is thriving in cities all over the country and the world, but it is not always understood.

In The Natives Are Restless, journalist Constance Hale presents the largely untold story of the dance tradition, using the twin keyholes of Kumu Patrick Makuakane (a Hawai‘i-born, San Francisco–based hula master), and his 350-person arts organization (Na Lei Hulu i ka Wekiu).

In the background, she weaves the poignant story of an ancient people and the resilience of their culture. In the foreground, she tells the story of an electrifying new form of hula that has emerged from a restless generation of artists like Makuakane.

With more than three million foreign-born residents today, New York has been America’s defining port of entry for nearly four centuries, a magnet for transplants from all over the globe. These migrants have brought their hundreds of languages and distinct cultures to the city, and from there to the entire country. More immigrants have come to New York than all other entry points combined. 

 City of Dreams by Tyler Anbinder is peopled with memorable characters both beloved and unfamiliar, whose lives unfold in rich detail.

In The Well-Tempered City, Jonathan F. P. Rose distills a lifetime of interdisciplinary research and firsthand experience into a five-pronged model for how to design and reshape our cities with the goal of equalizing their landscape of opportunity.

Rose works with cities and not-for-profits to plan and build green affordable and mixed-income housing and cultural, health, and educational centers. Recognized for creating communities that literally heal both residents and neighborhoods, Rose is one of the nation's leading thinkers on the integration of environmental, social, and economic solutions to the urban issues facing us today.

Fair trade is an approach to business and to development based on dialogue, transparency, and respect that seeks to create greater equity in the international trading system. Fair trade supports farmers and craftspeople in developing countries who are socially and economically marginalized. These producers often face steep hurdles in finding markets and customers for their goods. Fair trade ensures fair wages, care for the environment and respect for cultural identity. 

Mayan Hands in Albany and Mango Tree Imports in Saratoga Springs are teaming up with local places of worship over this holiday season to present Fair Trade options for gift buying. Here to tell us more are Kim Andersen from Mango Tree Imports, Brenda Rosenbaum from Mayan Hands, and Carol Smith from B'nai Shalom, the venue for our first marketplace on Sunday Nov 13. 

Dates and locations for the Holiday Season Fair Trade Markets available here

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