Weekender: Take a Break With Art, Music, Theatre

UC Davis and San Francisco Murals; Harpsichord; Call of the Wild

Illustration of peformance of Call of the Wild
The Call of the Wild can be seen this weekend at Mondavi Center, UC Davis. (Courtesy illustration)

The Arts Blog recommends plenty of art in the region to enjoy!

Scholar reconnects to UC Davis and his homeland through research on San Francisco murals

Mauricio Ernesto Ramírez, a postdoctoral scholar in the UC Davis Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, first walked through Balmy Alley when he was a student at a nearby elementary school in San Francisco’s Mission District. The block-long alley contains the most concentrated collection of murals in a city that’s a tapestry of murals. The alley’s art — which first began appearing in the early 1970s — has long been about issues relevant to the many Mission residents who trace their roots to Mexico and Central America.

Mauricio Ernesto Ramírez in dark blue shirt with colorful embroidery on the left side, short dark hair looking directly at the camera in front of a colorful mural with people, green space and a mountain.
Mauricio Ernesto Ramírez, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, is researching San Francisco murals connected to Central America. (Adriana Espinoza)

Mauricio Ernesto Ramírez, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, is researching San Francisco murals connected to Central America. (Adriana Espinoza)

As a child, Ramírez didn’t know that in the ‘80s most of the murals were about U.S. military intervention in Central American wars, including in his family’s homeland of El Salvador.

“I didn’t really know the significance until I was in college,” said Ramírez, who earned his doctorate in Latin American and Latino studies at UC Santa Cruz. “I became much more aware of the politics and history of the region.”

Ramírez’s interest led him to Malaquías Montoya, a UC Davis professor emeritus who launched a mural workshop class and was founder of Taller Arte del Nuevo Amanecer (TANA), the department’s Woodland-based art center. He also met Carlos Jackson, an artist who was then a faculty member in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies; and Maceo Montoya, a professor of Chicana/o studies and creative writing at UC Davis.

Large mural showing farmers in front of rich fields, smiling, guitar player and words from a song; on the left are a group of women holding black and white photo of murdered family with armed men to their left.
The only surviving work from the 1980s Central American murals: "Culture Contains the Seed of Resistance Which Blossoms into the Flower of Liberation / La cultura contiene la semilla de la resistencia que se convierte en la flor de la liberación," by Miranda Bergman and O'Brien Thiele. (Tim Drescher)

Ramírez has returned to the murals for research on a book tentatively titled Painting Solidarity: U.S.-Central American Murals of San Francisco. The UC President's Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Hispanic-Serving Institution Postdoctoral Fellowship has provided support for that work.

Talk about the murals

Mauricio Ernesto Ramírez will give a talk about his research into the Central American murals on  May 23 at 4 p.m. Room 157, Everson Hall. The talk, sponsored by Chicana and Chicano studies and art history, is free and open to the public.

Read more about Ramírez and his research here.

Artists in Residence: Lillian Gordis, harpsichord, with Jérôme Hantaï, viola da gamba

May 4, 12:05 – 1 p.m., Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center, free, a Shinkoskey Noon Concert

The program includes Marin Marais: Suite in G Major (Livre III), J.S. Bach: Sonata in G Major, BWV 1027, and selections from Partita No. 6, BWV 830, Antoine Forqueray: Suite in D Minor.

Lara Downes & John McWhorter: Scott Joplin & The Birth of American Music

Friday, May 5, 7:30 p.m., Jackson Hall

Woman and man duo photo

Chart-topping American pianist Lara Downes reflects on the music of Scott Joplin through a 21st-century lens, revealing its many layers of genre-blurring subtlety and nuance. Joplin is revered as the “King of Ragtime" and acknowledged as a classically-trained composer of concert music whose ambitions were denied in his own time. He was also an innovator who merged traditions and histories to make music at the crossroads of the American future. His story is ready to be retold. Downes is joined by author and cultural commentator John McWhorter for an intimate evening of music and conversation about Scott Joplin’s story and legacy, his opera Treemonisha, a century of progress, and the contradictions that shape our American life. Together, they revisit the lineage of black music in America as Downes weaves the musical journey through Joplin's powerful music.

Find more information and purchase tickets here

UC Davis Symphony Orchestra: Brazil and Jazz

Saturday, May 6, 7 p.m., Jackson Hall

The program includes Alberto Nepomuceno: Batuque from Série Brasileira, George Gershwin: Concerto in F with Natsuki Fukasawa, piano, and Heitor Villa-Lobos: Chôros No. 6.

There will be a pre-concert talk at 6:30 p.m. with UC Davis professors, moderated by Professor of Music Christian Baldini, who is the Barbara K. Jackson Chair in Orchestral Conducting and the Artistic Director and conductor of the UC Davis Symphony Orchestra. Leopoldo Bernucci is Distinguished Professor of Spanish and the Russell F. and Jean H. Fiddyment Chair in Latin American Studies. Juan Diego Díaz is asssociate professor of music and director of the UC Davis Hemispheric Institute on the Americas.

Find more information and purchase tickets here

Call of the Wild: Illustrated Edition

Sunday, May 7, 2 p.m., Jackson Hall, Mondavi Center

This multi-media adventure mixes the classic storytelling of Jack London with projected illustrations to tell the story of Buck, the magnificent cross-bred offspring of a St. Bernard and Scottish Collie. Kidnapped from his lavish life on a California estate and sent to work as a sled dog during the great Klondike Gold Rush, Buck fights to survive and becomes the most famous dog in the history of Alaska. The stunning presentation from the acclaimed Austin, Texas-based troupe Theatre Heroes features 180-degree projections featuring classic illustrations and new drawings created by Michael Rae. 

Find more information and purchase tickets here.

“Bījam: Music Seeds” featuring Carnatic musician Sikkil Gurucharan next week

Tuesday, May 9, 12:05 – 1:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center, free, a Shinkoskey noon concert

Leading Carnatic musician and youth ambassador Sikkil Gurucharan presents this concert as an artist in residence at the Davis Humanities Institute (DHI) at UC Davis. Drawing upon both contemporary and classical texts, he will explore the DHI’s “Cultivation” initiative using music. This initiative seeks to broadly create dialogue between the humanities and the sciences, the arts and agriculture, the university and its larger communities. 

Musician named Charan standing left of center in a saffron-colored band collar shirt. The background is a green blurred forest.

One cannot cultivate what once started as a seed. Or can they?

Sikkil C. Gurucharan is a leading musician and a youth ambassador of Carnatic Music, and is a Davis Humanities Institute Artist-in-Residence (Spring, 2023). A prime-time artist during the Chennai music season, and a recipient of numerous awards—including the prestigious Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar Award, Kalaimamani, and Tchaikovsky Award for the best musician of the year among others—Gurucharan has not only made a mark in the traditional concert paddhati style but also worked to broaden audience appeal by creating collaborative projects with world renowned musicians while retaining the spirit of the art form. In 2015, Gurucharan received a Nehru-Fulbright Excellence Award and was in residence at UC Davis.

Gurucharan was featured on the compilation album Miles from India (a celebration of the music of Miles Davis)​, which was nominated for the Best Contemporary Jazz Album at the 51st Grammy Awards. The magazine India Today featured him among 35 Game Changers under the age of 35 in India. The Tamil Nadu Government conferred its highest honor of Kalaimamani on Gurucharan in 2020. He has also acted in two Tamil movies: Sarvam Thala Mayam and Putham Pudhu Kaalai.

Voice students of Zoila Muñoz at Pitzer

Wednesday, May 10, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center, free

The program includes songs from the Italian Anthology: Caro mío ben, Se tu m’ami, and Tu lo sai; songs by composers: Purcell, Handel, Beethoven, Schubert, Fauré, and Goffrey O’Hara; Opera Arias: “Batti, Batti,” Notte et giorno, and “Se vuol ballare by W.A. Mozart, “Quel bel sogno di Doretta” by Giacomo Puccini and “Una voce poco fa” by Giacchino Rossini; and songs from musicals: “Come to my Garden” from Secret Garden and “Burn” from Hamilton.

Coming Up

Michael Goldberg, solo guitar, next Thursday's concert

May 11, 12:05 – 1 p.m., Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center, free, a Shinkoskey noon concert

The program includes John Dowland: A Fancy, Farewell Fancy, and The Most Sacred Queen Elizabeth, Her Galliard (c. 1610), Leo Brouwer: Tres Apuntes (1959), Fernando Sor: Fantasie Elegaic, Dušan Bogdanović: Two Polymetric Studies (1990) and Napoléon Coste: Les soirees D’Auteuil

(Ethno)Musicology Forum next week

May 11, 4 – 5:30 p.m., Room 266, Everson Hall

Shannon Garland is lecturer in Global Arts, Media and Writing Studies at the University of California, Merced. Her research investigates the production of popular music from an ethnographic, transnational perspective, focusing on indie music in South America. It is concerned with types of labor emerging in the music industries, and ties these to affective musical response, social relations, and economic value. Dr. Garland’s monograph-in-preparation, For the Love: Indie Music, Labor and Value in Brazil and Beyond, narrates the rise and transformation of the Brazilian indie music industry from 1990 to 2020, exploring the tension between social and aesthetic values created through musical labor and exchange and the need for this labor to be valorized as economic value within the capitalist social order. She is also co-editing Independence in 21st-Century Music Making: Cases from Beyond Anglo-America, with Pedro Roxo and Pedro Nunes. She holds a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from Columbia University. 

Social Media of the Week

Tweet from deYoung of artist Catherine Opie's piece depicting Yosemite National Park.

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Media contact: Karen Nikos-Rose, 530-219-5472/kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

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