Vassar College

Universal Collection: A Mark Dion Project
Chip Porter / Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, Vassar College

  This Spring, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY has hosted Mark Dion as Vassar artist-in-residence.

Dion is a New York and Pennsylvania-based visual artist known for his “cabinets of curiosities” that incorporate found objects into site-specific installations.

He co-taught a course with anthropology professor Anne Pike-Tay, culminating in a work comprised of items drawn from the collections of the Art Center, Special Collections, and Vassar College Artifacts Project. This wealth of resources includes materials as diverse as nineteenth-century scientific instruments, Native American objects, examples of taxidermy, sculpture, geological specimens, and antique books.

Universal Collection: A Mark Dion Project will be on view at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY through December 11th.

Elms College

If you spent any of your school years at all in a Catholic school, then you probably spent some time being taught by nuns. Over the years, more and more Catholic schools are turning to lay teachers as fewer women are called to a religious vocation. But there is at least one college in the northeast that is still run by someone called “sister”, not “mister”

Today on the Best of Our Knowledge, we’ll hear a conversation with Sister Mary Reap, the President of Elms College in the Berkshires.

  The fourth annual Art and Soul reception will take place tomorrow at the Vassar College Alumnae House will feature beautiful, vibrant Haitian art, live entertainment from Vassar student musicians, and fabulous cuisine from Twisted Soul. The program runs from 5:30pm to 8:00pm, and is open to the public.

The Art and Soul reception funds the staffing, supply, and operation of a medical center in northwest Haiti that serves thousands of local residents. For many residents, this is the first accessible medical care in their lifetime.

The Vassar Haiti Project, founded in 2001, promotes Haitian art, fosters sustainable development in Haiti, and provides students and volunteers a life changing experiential education in global citizenship. VHP’s contributions are guided by five initiatives: education, medical access, reforestation, clean water access, and women’s health.

This morning we welcome the co-founders of the project: Andrew and Lila Meade, board member Caryn Halle, and Dr. Joassainvil Gueslin.

WAMC, Allison Dunne

Vassar College students have been holding a sit-in this week, calling on the college’s Board of Trustees to divest its endowment funds from direct holdings in fossil fuel companies. Vassar is just one of hundreds of campuses—a number of them in the Northeast—where such efforts have taken place over the past few years.

Vassar President To Leave June 2017

Mar 29, 2016
Courtesy of Vassar College

The Board of Trustees of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie announced Tuesday that President Catharine Hill will conclude her presidency at the end of her current term on June 30, 2017.  Her departure will mark the end of 11 years of leadership at Vassar.

Photo of Piper Kerman
Brian Bowen Smith

  Piper Kerman was a 24 year old Smith College graduate in 1993 when she flew to Belgium with a suitcase of money intended for a West African drug lord. This misguided adventure started when she began a romantic relationship with the woman involved in a drug smuggling ring and got Kerman got involved too, though Kerman left that life after several months.

Five years later she was named as part of the drug ring and in February 2008 she reported to the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. Kerman’s memoir Orange is the New Black: My Year in Women’s Prison inspired the award winning Netflix television series of the same name. She will deliver the Alex Krieger Memorial Lecture at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie on Tuesday February 9th.

Shervin Lainez

  Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow’s new musical, Noir, is the final Martel Musical of New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse Theater season. Sheik and Jarrow previously worked together on the musical Whisper House.

Noir tells the tale of a heartbroken man in LA who discovers and involves himself in a mystery unfolding just beyond his paper-thin walls.

Duncan Sheik joins us to talk about Noir; the Deaf West Theatre production of Spring Awakening (his Tony Award winning show penned with Steven Sater) coming to Broadway in the fall and about his musical version of American Psycho (with book by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa) which comes to Broadway early in 2016.

  Now through August 2nd, New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse theatre presents The Light Years, a new play by award-winning play-making company The Debate Society.

Spanning 40 years and set at the Chicago World’s Fair, The Light Years has been developed over several years through the unique collaboration process The Debate Society Members writer/performer Hannah Bos, writer/performer Paul Thureen, and director/developer Oliver Butler.

Oliver Butler’s recent directing credits include Will Eno’s The Open House at the Signature Theatre Company - for which he won an OBIE Award for Direction; the New York City Center Encores! Off-Center production of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick, Boom starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr. and Karen Olivo and the world premieres of Daniel Goldfarb’s Legacy at the Williamstown Theatre Festival - which was part on their Nikos Stage mere days ago.

He joins us to talk about The Light Years, what is required from a director for a quick switch between projects, and audiences' intense reaction to musicals.

  Tonight through Sunday, Vassar & New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater presents a staged-reading of Rain - a new musical with book by Sybille Pearson and music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa. The musical is based on a 1920s short-story by Somerset Maugham and is directed by Barry Edelstein. Two stars of this weekend’s performances join us now - Jennifer Westfeldt and Jason Danieley.

Jennifer Westfeldt is a Tony Award nominee for her work in Wonderful Town. She’s also the writer and star of the indie-hit film Kissing Jessica Stein and the writer, director, and star of the film Friends with Kids. In addition to performing in Rain while in Poughkeepsie, Jennifer is also mentoring as part of Powerhouse’s eight-day Filmmakers' Workshop.

Jason Danieley played Frederich Kuhn in the recently closed Kander and Ebb musical The Visit on Broadway - a role he also played last summer at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. His other Broadway credits include Next to Normal, Curtains!, Full Monty, and Candide. Jason also frequently performs as a soloist with the nation’s leading orchestras.

http://www.broadwayworld.com/

  New York Stage and Film and Vassar College's first Powerhouse mainstage show of this summer is Keith Byunin's The Unbuilt City. The production opened last night and runs through July 12th.

The show stars Beth Dixon and Carter Hudson and is directed by Tony Award nominee, Sean Mathias.

Writer, actor, and director, Sean Mathias directed the film Bent and numerous acclaimed plays all over the world - including London, New York City, Cape Town, Sydney, and Los Angeles.

Ky DiGregorio

  Chad strives to find his 15 minutes of fame, and discovers what he is really looking for along the way.

Based on the experience of Steve Rubell, co-owner of the New York City disco, Studio 54, 15 Minutes: A New Musical will be part of this weekend’s Reading Festival at New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse Theater.

The show has a book by Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask and Peter Yanowitz.

The reading at Powerhouse stars Michael C. Hall, Derek Klena and Tony-Award winner for her portral of Yitzak in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Lena Hall - who joins us to talk about rock, readings, choosing her path, and her love of Stephen Trask.

Sean Thomas / vogue.com

  Stephen Belber’s new play, The Dizzy Little Dance of Russell DiFinaldi, will be part of New York Stage and Film and Vassar College’s Powerhouse Theater’s Reading Festival this weekend.

A sprawling modern American epic about Russell DiFinaldi and his brother Jerry, two men trying to figure out what it means to do good in the world. David Cromer directs the reading and it stars Finn Wittrock.

Wittrock co-starred on American Horror Story: Freak Show and on HBO’s The Normal Heart. He was also in the most recent Broadway revival of Death of a Salesman, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.

  To be a writer, Amitava Kumar says, is to be an observer. The twenty-six essays in Lunch with a Bigot are Kumar's observations of the world put into words. A mix of memoir, reportage, and criticism, the essays include encounters with writers Salman Rushdie and Arundhati Roy, discussions on the craft of writing, and a portrait of the struggles of a Bollywood actor.

The Academic Minute for 2015.5.4 - 5.8

May 8, 2015

Catch up with The Academic Minute from 5.4 - 5.8

Courtesy of Vassar Farm and Ecological Preserve, Vassar College

A college in the Hudson Valley has been awarded a nearly $1 million grant to establish a hub for regional environmental research.

Vassar College Announces Commencement Speaker

Apr 21, 2015
Courtesy of @Carlos Serrao/The Huffington Post

A media icon is scheduled to deliver the commencement address at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

  

  Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jeffrey Eugenides (The Virgin Suicides, Middlesex, The Marriage Plot) has been called a “great American writer” (Los Angeles Times Book Review) and “a master of voice” (Washington Post).

Eugenides will deliver the annual William Gifford Lecture at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY on Tuesday, October 28, at 6 pm in the Villard Room of Main Building. Sponsored by the English Department and the William Gifford Fund for Writers-in-Residence, this lecture is free and open to the public. 

WAMC, Allison Dunne

Democratic candidate for New York lieutenant governor Kathy Hochul spent the day in Dutchess County. One of her stops was at Vassar College, where she touted the Women’s Equality Agenda as well as support for state senate and assembly candidates.

Former Congresswoman Kathy Hochul of Buffalo first stopped in Wappingers Falls and then met with clergy members in Poughkeepsie before heading to the student center at Vassar College, where she rallied with local Democrats to push Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 10-point Women’s Equality Agenda.

  In Your Arms is a new play with love-themed vignettes written by Douglas Carter Bean, Nilo Cruz, Christopher Durang, Carrie Fisher, David Henry Hwang, Rajiv Joseph, Terrence McNally, Marsha Norman, Lynn Nottage and Alfred Urhy.

Christopher Gattelli, the Tony Award-winning choreographer of Newsies and South Pacific, and composer Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island) bring the vignettes to life through music and dance - using the stories penned by the playwrights but not their words.

In Your Arms is the second Mainstage show of this summer’s New York Stage and Film Powerhouse Theatre season at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY.

Christopher Gattelli joins us.

    

  Amitava Kumar is a novelist, poet, journalist, filmmaker, and Helen D. Lockwood Professor of English at Vassar College. He is the author of A Foreigner Carrying in the Crook of His Arm a Tiny Bomb and Nobody Does the Right Thing: A Novel. His new book, A Matter of Rats: A Short Biography of Patna, is an entertaining account of his hometown.

Kumar's ruminations on one of the world's oldest cities, the capital of India's poorest province, are also a meditation on how to write about place. His memory is partial. All he has going for him is his attentiveness. He carefully observes everything that surrounds him in Patna: rats and poets, artists and politicians, a girl's picture in a historian's study, and a sheet of paper on his mother's desk.

Vassar Modfest 2014

Jan 23, 2014

    Vassar College’s Modfest, now in its twelfth year, is a celebration of 20th and 21st century arts with a series of free programs and performances, January 23-February 7, 2014.

Modfest 2014 is organized by the Vassar College Department of Music in collaboration with the Departments of Art, Chinese and Japanese, Dance, Drama, English, Film, French and Francophone Studies, German Studies, Hispanic Studies, Russian Studies, and the programs in Africana Studies, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center, and the Vassar College Bookstore.



All events are free and open to the public. Modfest Director Adeen Wilson and composer and Professor of Music on the Mary Conover Mellon Chair at Vassar, Richard Wilson join us to tell us more.

   Today, black-owned barbershops play a central role in African American public life. The intimacy of commercial grooming encourages both confidentiality and camaraderie, which make the barber shop an important gathering place for African American men to talk freely.

But for many years preceding and even after the Civil War, black barbers endured a measure of social stigma for perpetuating inequality: though the profession offered economic mobility to black entrepreneurs, black barbers were obliged by custom to serve an exclusively white clientele.

In his book, Cutting Along the Color Line, Vassar History Professor Quincy Mills chronicles the cultural history of black barber shops as businesses and civic institutions.

"Theater of War" is a public health project, having produced hundreds of dramatic readings of Greek tragedies for mixed civilian and military audiences to start a conversation about the return of soldiers to civilian life.

Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY is hosting "Theater of War" for a dramatic reading of scenes from Sophocles' "Ajax" on Sunday, Nov. 3rd from 4:00-6:00p in the Vassar Chapel in association with the Vassar College Department of Greek and Roman Studies.

Bryan Doerries is the Founder and Artistic Director of “Theater of War” and he joins us to tell us more.

New York Stage and Film and Vassar College present A Musical Inspired by the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company as their second Martel Musical this Powerhouse season.

Trey Swieskowski, an idealistic young Brooklynite, fantasizes about becoming a superhero. Meanwhile, Astrolass (AKA “Astroman’s daughter”) is desperate to pack in her cape and escape the burden of her father’s legacy. When the two of them cross paths, they hatch a plan to change their lives forever.

Director Michael Mayer returns to Powerhouse to develop this exciting new musical and he joins us along with Peter Lerman (music and lyrics) and Simon Rich (book).

Buck Lewis / © Vassar & New York Stage and Film / Buck Lewis

    On the night of the Northeast blackout of 2003, six New Yorkers connect through interwoven stories. In the darkness, two strangers fall in love during an epic walk across Manhattan; an older couple marooned in their apartment must finally grapple with their past; and a conflicted Iraqi immigrant makes her way across the Brooklyn Bridge chasing memories of her lost son and her homeland through the shadows.

The play, by Mozhan Marnò is the second New York Stage and Film Mainstage show this Powerhouse season at Vassar College. Kate Whoriskey directs and Laura Innes stars. They joins us to discuss the piece.

The House of Representatives last week passed an expansion of the Violence Against Women Act after Senate passage earlier in February. President Obama is expected to sign the expanded version of the 1994 Act shortly.

Westboro Picket of Vassar Draws a Large Crowd

Mar 1, 2013
WAMC/Allison Dunne

Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church members picketed Vassar College Thursday, condemning the school for embracing the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender student community. Upwards of one-thousand counter-protestors gathered on the Town of Poughkeepsie campus, to affirm social justice and denounce hatred.

Amanda Moody is a junior at Vassar. She participated in the counter-protest, as did her mother, father, and younger brother.

wikipedia commons

TOWN OF POUGHKEEPSIE – Hundreds of Vassar College students, intent on celebrating diversity, overwhelmed a brief protest by the hate-monger group Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, KS. A small group of church members came to the Mid-Hudson Valley Thursday with plans to protest at the West Point funeral of Gen. Normal Schwarzkopf as well as picket a Vassar College in Poughkeepsie.

They got nowhere near the Schwarzkopf funeral.

The college protest was aimed at damning the school for its inclusion of gay students.

WAMC/Allison Dunne

Westboro Baptist Church members picketed two Hudson Valley locations Thursday. Member of the Kansas-based Church picket military funerals, college, and other places they say promote a gay agenda.

Westboro Church Plans Pickets at West Point, Vassar

Feb 28, 2013
Meg Stewart, flickr

Westboro Baptist Church members have two pickets planned for today in the Hudson Valley - one on each side of the Hudson River. The anti-gay Church established by Pastor Fred Phelps is known for its pickets of military funerals and liberal-arts colleges.

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