Weekender: A Thanksgiving Satire; Concerts; Exhibits and More

Performers on a dark stage
A Mondavi Center Performance of Still Will Be Heard is next weekend. Tickets are available now. (Courtesy Montclair State University)

This weekend, look for a satirical play on Thanksgiving, no Thursday noon concert (but two on Saturday), and your last chance Friday to catch the Manetti Shrem Museum's fall exhibit. There are art openings in Davis. And tonight there is a design lecture on the UC Davis campus. And there's more. Read on. (Note that we published a day earlier than usual because of the Veteran's Day holiday.) Karen Nikos-Rose, Arts Blog editor.

Diversity pioneer will give Alberini Lecture in Design today

Jacinda Walker, an expert on diversity — and lack of diversity — in the design field, will give the Alberini Family Speaker Series in Design lecture at UC Davis on Wednesday, Nov. 10. Walker is founder and creative director of designExplorr, an organization that operates as a social enterprise to address the diversity gap within the design profession. Her talk is titled “Changing the Face of Design.” Presented by the College of Letters and Science Department of Design, the free talk will take place at 4:30 p.m. in the Ann E. Pitzer Center and will be livestreamed on the department YouTube channel.

Woman in suit jacket.
Jacinda Walker

Her research has been widely praised and she has worked with major companies, including Amazon, Adobe, Kellogg and others on recruiting strategies and diversity. Her research project, Design Journeys: Strategies for Increasing Diversity in Design Disciplines, outlines 15 strategic ideas to expose African-American and Latino youth to design-related careers.

As a young woman, Walker made art and played viola, but didn’t see a way to turn those creative endeavors into a successful career.

“I wanted to be able to support myself,” she said.

When her regular high school art teacher was on leave, the replacement introduced the class to more design-oriented art and encouraged her to pursue it. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Akron and Master of Fine Arts degree in design research and development with a minor in nonprofit studies from The Ohio State University.

She holds workshops around the nation for young people and also works with adults to help them tap into their youthful creativity they may have lost touch with.

“I like to do design with young people where many may not have an opportunity to see someone who looks like them,’ she said.

Walker said she thinks about design with a “big D.”

“It is about the thinking process, methods and pedagogy,” Walker said. Looking at design simply as graphic design or interior design or fashion design is “very limiting — it doesn’t give design its full due and respect,” she said. “Design thinkers are leading the way in many areas.”

The speaker series was founded in 2017 through an endowment by the Carlos and Andrea Alberini Family Foundation. It brings renowned innovators and thinkers in design to campus and in virtual formats to inspire students and encourage community engagement and learning.

- Jeffrey Day, College of Letters and Science

Alumni appear in 'The Thanksgiving Play' satire this weekend, discussion follows

A number of alumni appear in The Thanksgiving Play, a production which marks the debut of the Davis Repertory Theatre this weekend on Nov. 13 and 14 at 2 p.m. in the Village Homes Amphitheatre, 2655 Portage Bay East in Davis.

Ryan Gerberding (B.A., theatre and dance, ‘18), Jennifer Bateman Grace (M.F.A, dramatic art, ‘21) and Lucas Hatton (M.F.A., dramatic art, ‘17) appear in the production which honors Native American Heritage Month. Jasmine Washington (B.A., theatre and dance, ‘18) serves as assistant director. Margaret Laurena Kemp,  (consulting producer and UC Davis professor of theatre and dance) is a founding member of this new company along with Hatton.  

Larissa FastHorse’s satire, The Thanksgiving Play, skewers actors, teachers, historians, and other well-intentioned white people engaged in what FastHorse calls “performative wokeness.” In honor of Native American Heritage Month, three teaching artists convene to create a new children’s play about Thanksgiving. With the help of a professional actor from LA, they aim to tell the complicated story of our national holiday from a Native American perspective, incorporating real historical material, and keeping the content “age appropriate.” It doesn’t go well.

The play contains descriptions of graphic violence and is recommended for audience members over 10 years old.

To allow time for audience conversation, Davis Repertory Theatre is presenting an abbreviated staged reading of the show (roughly 45 minutes), followed by a presentation by Anthony Burris about local efforts to correct the way California history is presented to the public. Burris, a faculty member at CSUS and doctoral student in Native American Studies at UC Davis, will discuss his recent efforts related to “truth-telling” at Sutter’s Fort and James Marshall Gold Discovery State Park.

For more information, visit the Davis Repertory Theatre website

Last Chance ...

Last chance for Manetti Shrem fall exhibitions

If you haven’t seen the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum’s fall exhibitions, now’s your chance. Friday, Nov. 12, will be the last day the museum is open to the public before closing for the season. (The museum will also be closed Nov. 11, in observance of Veterans Day.) 

The museum, which reopened June 3 after a 15-month pandemic closure, will be closing to bring visitors three new exhibitions in January 2022. Free, advance timed tickets are recommended; walk-up visitors are welcome based on capacity.

The Well-Being Ticket Deal is available:

  • By phone — Call 530-285-0992 from 1 to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Online — Use Promo Code BEWELL2122.

More details on these events are available on the Arts blog site. https://www.ucdavis.edu/arts/blog/weekender-hear-beethoven-bach-art

Ticket deal for Mondavi

Performance is Sunday, Nov. 21 for Pamyua, but get your tickets now.

Every month through May, staff and faculty can buy $10 tickets (maximum two per person) during a specified period of time for a specific show at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets are available through Nov. 15 for a culture-infused, music-and-dance performance by Pamyua at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 21. 

Colour of Music Festival has Davis portion

Thursday, Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m., Vanderhoef Studio Theatre

The Colour of Music Festival Inc. presents a diverse classical repertoire of baroque, classical and 20th-century music at the highest of musical standards to diverse audiences nationally. It will take place at various regional venues, including the Mondavi Center on Thursday.

The festival has presented in Atlanta; Charleston and Columbia, South Carolina; Nashville, Tennessee; Houston; Pittsburgh; Richmond, Virginia; and Washington, D.C.

The music festival is performed by an all-Black cast of professional classical musicians and artists. Few classical music enthusiasts are aware of the tremendous contributions of Le Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an African-French composer whose opera and classical masterpieces equaled or far exceeded those of his 18th-century contemporaries. Although his compositions are highly recognized overseas, they have gathered little notice in the United States. Today there are thousands of celebrated and prodigiously talented classical principals, composers and performers of African descent throughout the world. Yet, their opportunities to grace concert stages of major American orchestras are rare to non-existent. The Colour of Music Festival’s mission is reversing this trend.

Since 2013, the Colour of Music Festival offers a musical kaleidoscope highlighting the impact and historical significance of black classical composers and performers on American and world culture. The Colour of Music Festival began with performances at various venues throughout historic Charleston, South Carolina and has grown to debut in cities across the country with artists from across the globe.

Assembling acclaimed black chamber ensemble players and artists to form the Colour of Music Orchestra, the Festival showcases some of the top black classical musicians in the United States, trained at some of the most prestigious music schools, conservatories and universities in the world.

Find more information and plan for going to other locations this weekend here.

Freedom of Speech presents at Mondavi

Thursday, Nov. 11, 7:30 p.m. and Friday, Nov. 12, 7:30 p.m., Jackson Hall

Eliza Jane Schnieder is a voice actor and dialect coach whose work has been featured on South Park, King of the Hill and numerous other animated shows and movies. She has taught and recorded dialects from all 50 states and around the English-speaking world. After having her wrist broken by a cop while protesting the first Gulf war, Schneider quit her “dream” job on television and set off across the country in search of … something she could not define. Almost 30 years and thousands of interviews later, she invites us on her journey in Freedom of Speech

Woman wearing jeans
Eliza Jane Schneider will present at Mondavi Center this weekend.

The piece sets up a dialogue between the disconnected: urban and rural; rich and poor; New York and the South, all while taking the audience on Schneider’s wild ride from Arizona to Alabama to Alaska, stopping off in beauty parlors, swimming holes, bars, street corners, and churches, asking everyone she met, simply, “What’s going on?” Dubbed by the press as “Wildly funny and genuinely poignant” Freedom of Speech blends the immediacy of a documentary with the intimacy of Schneider’s hilarious personal narrative to capture a muffled underlying voice of America that we won’t hear anywhere else. 

Please note: Freedom of Speech contains strong language and mature content that may not be appropriate for all audiences. In this performance Eliza Jane Schneider embodies voices, accents and mannerisms of people of varying cultures, genders and ethnicities different from her own. Find more information and purchase tickets here.

Berlin Piano Percussion performances are Friday, Saturday

Band performers on a stage photographed from overhead.
Berlin Piano Percussion is featured in two concerts this weekend. (Courtesy photo)

Friday, Nov. 12, (free) and Saturday, Nov. 13, 3 p.m. (purchased tickets required), Ann E. Pitzer Center

Friday’s Concert, Recital Hall, Ann E. Pitzer Center

Friday, Nov. 12, 5–6:15 p.m.

  • Ya-ou Xie, conductor and piano
  • Sawami Kiyoshi, piano
  • Adam Weisman, percussion
  • Simone Beneventi, percussion

New compositions by UC Davis graduate student composers. More information on both concerts here.

Saturday’s concert program

$12 Students and Children / $24 Adults

The program features Ya-ou Xie, conductor and piano, Sawami Kiyoshi, piano, Adam Weisman, percussion, Simone Beneventi, percussion

Founded in autumn 2008 by internationally-renowned soloists who for many years have championed the interpretation and promotion of contemporary music, Berlin Piano Percussion is an ensemble characterized by the individual and complementary personalities of its members. During the Festival of Centre Acanthes 2008 in Metz, pianists Prodromos Symeonidis and Ya-ou Xie gave a series of concerts with works for two pianists and two percussionists under the direction of Sylvio Gualda, the reception of which led them to launch a new piano-percussion ensemble.

Find more information and purchase tickets here

First Impressions: Early Prints by Roy de Forest at the Pence Gallery

Opening Friday, Nov. 12; reception 6-9 p.m.

“First Impressions: Early Prints by Roy De Forest” offers a remarkable look at the artist’s early explorations in printmaking. De Forest taught in the UC Davis art program, and was part of the faculty in the 1960s later known as first-generation faculty.

Throughout his career as a prolific painter of worlds full of wonder and exploration, De Forest (1930-2007) was drawn to the process of lithography as a graphic representation of his ideas. This exhibit highlights his explorations with Abstract Expressionism, which began with his studies at the California School of Fine Arts. Studying with painters such as Hassel Smith, Edward Corbett, David Park, and Elmer Bischoff, De Forest created a small body of unique prints in which energetic lines and organic shapes merge. De Forest progressed in his career quickly from abstraction to a more narrative style, which he endowed with a plethora of human and animal characters, as seen by a grouping of prints from 1965-1994.

The exhibition runs Nov. 12-Jan. 7. There will be an opening reception on Nov 12, 6-9 p.m.

Pence Gallery, 212 D Street, Davis

New Exhibitions at John Natsoulas

Kati Thomson Exhibition

Kati Thomson’s exhibition will run from Nov. 10 through Dec. 4 and there will be an opening night on Nov. 13, 7-9 p.m.

Look for updates here

The Beat Goes On: Poets as Painters

The Beat Goes On will run start Wednesday night, Nov. 10 and run through Dec. 4, featuring artwork by Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert LaVigne, Mohammed Mrabet, Paul Bowles, Harold Norse, Carolyn Cassady, Brion Gysin, Lew Welch, Kenneth Patchen, William S. Burroughs, and  Michael McClure.

On Nov. 13, 6:30-10 p.m., there will be an opening night with live jazz from the Tony Passarell Trio and poetry from Gregory Carter, featuring live readings from Andy Jones and John Natsoulas. The Linda Bair Dance Company will perform the original dance “Jack Kerouac”.

Find more information and look for updates here.

Coming Up

Mindy Cooper Directs Still Will Be Heard for Mondavi Center

Wednesday, Nov. 17, 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 18, 7:30 p.m., and Friday, Nov. 19, 7:30 p.m., Jackson Hall

UC Davis Professor Mindy Cooper is the director of Still Will Be Heard which shows at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts on Nov. 17, 18 and 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Featuring music by Liz Queler and Seth Farber and a book by Liz Queler and Edna St. Vincent Millay, Still Will Be Heard is a contemporary music theater piece that features 17 of Millay’s poems set to Queler and  Farber’s eclectic blend of folk, rock, jazz and bluegrass music. The songs, interspersed with spoken words culled from the writings of both women, take us on a journey by turns playful, dark, fierce and beautiful.

View the Still Will Be Heard trailer

This performance is being presented as part of SHAPE (Science, Humanities and Arts: Process and Engagement), an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded program in which UC Davis students encounter the humanities, arts and sciences integrated to express and examine the power each holds as a means of responding to our world.

Petr Janata, professor in the Department of Psychology and Center for Mind and Brain, co-teaches a SHAPE course, “Creative Process in the Arts and Sciences: Parallels and Intersection,” with Cooper in conjunction with this performance.

For details and tickets, please visit the Mondavi Center website.

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