'Shoes' at the Design Museum Starts Monday; Concerts Now, Later

These Shoes are Not Made For Walking

Exagerrated, high-heeled shoes in black and white
Brunel-28 motion shoe by Chris Francis is part of the Design Museum's shoe spectacular starting next week. (Courtesy photo)

Kineko Barbini, violin, and I-Hui Chen, piano at noon concert Thursday

Thursday, Jan. 19, 12:05 – 1 p.m., Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center, a Shinkoskey Noon Concert, free

The program features Kineko Barbini, violin and I-Hui Chen, piano, and UC Davis lecturer in music, includes Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Twelve Variations in C Major on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman”, Ludwig van Beethoven: Violin Sonata No. 7 in C Minor and Pablo de Sarasate: Zigeunerweisen, op.20. Read more here.

Two women musicians in diptich
Kineko Barbini, violin and I-Hui Chen, piano.  (Courtesy photo)

From Concept to Creation: Inspired Shoe Design by Chris Francis

Jan. 23, 12 p.m. – April 23, 4 p.m., Opening reception is 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24.

The shoes you can see next week at the Design Museum at UC Davis may not be made for walking across campus, but they are stunning. The UC Davis Design Museum takes a bold step with the exhibition “From Concept to Creation: Inspired Shoe Design by Chris Francis,” which showcases the colorful and imaginative footwear created by the Los Angeles-based shoe designer. The exhibition runs Jan. 23 through April 23.

Co-curated by Professor Susan T. Avila and Cristina Gomez, graduate student in design, the installation spotlights creations by shoemaker and designer Francis. His work combines global shoemaking traditions and techniques, with references to the built environment such as industrial design and brutalist architecture as well as 20th-century art movements and punk rock. His narrative-based, unique hand-constructed shoes theatrically bridge contemporary art and wearable design.

Colorful boots
Devo sound boot will be among the fabulous footwear on display starting next week. (Courtesy photo)

When I saw Chris Francis’ ornate Slipper shoe on the cover of Ornament Magazine in 2015, I knew we had to bring his work to the Design Museum" — Professor Susan T. Avila

“His work demonstrates extraordinary craftsmanship that builds on principles of industrial design and fashion, and his use of repurposed materials promotes sustainability, which is an important component of our UC Davis design major, ” Avila said.

Francis began his career as an artist and carpenter, then started creating footwear worn by Mötley Crüe’s Mick Mars, Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols, and former Runaways guitarist Lita Ford. After seeing a shoemaker hand stitch shoes at a Los Angeles Louis Vuitton event in 2011, Francis was determined to teach himself shoemaking and sought out traditional shoemakers for apprenticeships. Without a proper leather sewing machine, he did all the work by hand and still occasionally works that way. While Francis frequently creates shoes for celebrities and high-profile clients, his true passion is utilizing his unique skills to conceptualize his artistic vision. In addition to showcasing over 65 pairs of shoes that stand alone as remarkable art objects, the Design Museum exhibition will highlight his inspiration and process, including examples of tools and machines and a glimpse into his studio.

“It is a joy to help curate and design this exhibition,” Gomez said. “Walking into his Los Angeles studio is like going back in time to 1930s­–1950s old Hollywood. Francis inherited celebrity shoemaker and mentor Pasquale Di Fabrizio’s shoe lasts — the Di Fabrizio shoe boxes, which cover the walls of Francis’ studio, include names like Lauren Bacall, Barbara Stanwyck and Joanne Woodward. Francis continues Di Fabrizio’s tradition of bespoke shoes while demonstrating that inspiration can come from just about anywhere.”

The Design Museum, part of the College of Letters and Science and free to the public, is in 124 Cruess Hall. It is open weekdays from noon to 4 p.m. and Sundays by appointment.

For insight into Francis’ creative process and work, view this short KQED story.

Visit the Design Museum for map and parking information.

Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, Yo-Yo Ma at Mondavi

Tuesday, Jan. 24, 7:30 p.m., Jackson Hall

World-renowned musicians Emanuel Ax, Leonidas Kavakos, and Yo-Yo Ma unite to perform an evening of Beethoven trios. Pianist Emanuel Ax is an ardent collaborator whose commitment to chamber music has fostered acclaimed partnerships with a variety of musical luminaries. Violinist Leonidas Kavakos, "a spectacular artist" (Philadelphia Inquirer), was awarded the Léonie Sonning Music Prize in 2017. His inspired music-making with pianist partners has resulted in several critically acclaimed recordings. Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is known for being one of the most prolific artists in the world, seeking to expand the reach of the cello by joining forces with a variety of artists and musicians across several genres. Find more information and purchase tickets here.

Men in blue stand apart in beige hallway

Coming Up

Warp Trio: 'Black Voices' at Pitzer next week

Thursday, Jan. 26, 12:05 – 1 p.m, Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center, a Shinkoskey Noon Concert, free

Performers include LiKWUiD, spoken word; Josh Henderson, violin, bass, guitar; Ju-Young “J.Y.” Lee, cello; Mikael Darmanie, piano; and Rick Martinez, drums.

Black Voices is an original concert program that integrates classical, jazz, hip-hop, and spoken word—sounds and poetry created by African-American artists—in an effort to lift up lesser-known contributions that define the multifaceted culture of the United States. Featuring the award-winning artist LiKWuiD, the program utilizes poetry of Langston Hughes, Ntozake Shange, and Maya Angelou. It also features original spoken word material, set against music by Duke Ellington, William Grant Still, Harry Burleigh, and original compositions by Warp Trio members. 

The program includes Harry Burleigh: Southland Sketch No. 1, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor: Deep River, Jessie Montgomery: Rhapsody No. 1 for Solo Violin, Abel Meeropol / Billie Holiday: Strange Fruit, Thelonious Monk: Ruby My Dear, Duke Ellington: Black and Tan Fantasy.

Three men in dark clothing
Warp Trio (Courtesy photo)

Described as “a talented group that exemplifies the genre-obliterating direction of contemporary classical music” (Columbia Free Times), Warp Trio is an internationally touring cross-genre chamber music experience. Reflecting the combination of Juilliard-trained members juxtaposed with members steeped in rock and jazz styles, the one-of-a-kind trio (that even has a fourth member!) can be seen performing classical works in prestigious halls on the same tour where they headline a standing room only show at a rock venue. In addition to their electrifying public performances, they have gained a reputation for their innovative educational workshops with students from grade school through university level.  

Maintaining a busy performance schedule, Warp has performed hundreds of concerts across the United States, in addition to tours throughout The United Kingdom, Spain, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, West Africa, and the Caribbean. Highlights of recent seasons include headlining performances at The LEM Festival for Experimental Music in Barcelona, and the Omaha Under the Radar Festival, being featured guests at the 2020 MASA Jazz Festival in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, and the sold-out world premiere of their Triple Concerto for Piano Trio and Orchestra with the New York City-based Urban Playground Chamber Orchestra. They have been one of the honored recipients of a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, and in the 2020 season, they were the recipients of the Chamber Music America Ensemble Forward and Classical Commissioning grants. More here.

Cécile McLorin Salvant Quintet at Mondavi

Friday, Jan. 27, 7:30 p.m., Jackson Hall

The program features Cécile McLorin Salvant, vocals; Sullivan Fortner, piano; Marvin Sewell, guitars; Alexa Tarantino, flutes; and Keita Ogawa, percussion.

Last we saw Cécile McLorin Salvant, one of the great jazz singers, she held a Jackson Hall audience captive with her majestic song cycle Ogresse. It would be the last performance before the Mondavi Center shut down for a 19-month, pandemic-related pause. Now the singer returns with Ghost Song, a remarkable album born during the pandemic, on which Salvant interprets songs from Kate Bush, Gregory Porter alongside her stunning original compositions. It’s another reminder that Salvant is an artist whose voice and artistry continue to grow with every new step she takes. “People think that I sing love songs, but more and more I’m realizing that I sing about yearning and the imagination that comes from wanting something and not having it,” says Salvant.  “That’s really when we’re at our most creative.” 

Find more information and purchase tickets here.

Winter Season Celebration at Manetti Shrem Jan. 29

Sunday, January 29, 2:30 – 5 p.m., with a featured conversation at 3:30 p.m., free

Celebrate the museum’s new season and Professor Emeritus Mike Henderson’s return to campus with the public opening of Mike Henderson: Before the Fire, 1965–1985. Led by UC Davis Chancellor Gary S. May, the homecoming festivities honor Henderson's contributions to painting, film, music and teaching, and feature a special conversation between the artist and Chancellor May.

Winter exhibitions include Loie Hollowell: Tick Tock Belly Clock, Roy De Forest: Habitats for Travelers and Selections from the Manetti Shrem Museum.

Read the full story about Henderson and the upcoming exhibition here

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Media contact: Karen Nikos-Rose, Arts Blog editor, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

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