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Bunraku-Style Puppetry with Tom Lee

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 1:53pm

U-M Center for World Performance Studies visiting puppet artist Tom Lee presents a special workshop exploring Japanese traditional puppetry techniques that have had an enormous influence on world puppetry performance. Following a short talk on bunraku-style puppetry, participants had a hands-on opportunity to handle traditional Japanese puppets and draw back the curtain on how these beautiful puppets are brought to life through skillful puppetry technique. ​​​​​​​

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Legacies Project Oral History: Shirley (Rusty) Schumacher

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 11:03am

Shirley (Rusty) Schumacher was born in 1930 in Detroit. She remembers war bonds, scrap drives, and special manufacturing during World War II. She attended William and Mary College and received two master’s degrees in speech and education from the University of Michigan. Schumacher spent most of her career as a teacher at Clague Middle School. In 1985 she founded a student exchange program with Ann Arbor’s sister city, Hikone, Japan. She led a year-long stay there in 1992-93.

Shirley (Rusty) Schumacher was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2018 as part of the Legacies Project.

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Rasa Festival | Music from the East and the West

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 8:39am

Well known Indian and western musicians come together to talk about the concepts behind Indian and western music, and how they collaborate to create new music. This is accompanied by a short concert where they will present music based on these concepts.

This event was held in partnership with the 2019 Rasa Festival, an innovative India-themed multi-arts festival, produced by Akshara. The Rasa Festival is held annually in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti in September and is designed to promote a deeper awareness and appreciation for the effulgent richness and abundance of cultural heritage that stems from India. It is multi-arts and multi-disciplinary, presenting traditional as well as cutting edge work in performing, visual, literary, media/films, and culinary arts, in partnership with prominent Ann Arbor arts organizations.

Participating artists in the festival are local, national, and international Indo-American artists, artists from India as well as those who are highly inspired by Indian culture. It is a collaborative initiative, working through partnerships with key local organizations such as the Washtenaw Community College, Kerrytown Concert House, the Riverside Arts Center, and Literati Bookstore.

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Nerd Nite #65 - 10 Things you Need to Know about Language

Wed, 08/21/2019 - 4:29pm

You speak a language, so you know everything about how language works, right? Wrong! In this talk, Emily covers the Top 10 things most people don’t know about language. In doing so, she dispels several common myths and reveals some fascinating facts about the systems we use every day to communicate with each other. If you’ve ever wondered how many languages there are in the world, why language death is on the rise, where grammar comes from, or how it is that kids learn language so effortlessly – this talk is for you! Or, if you simply find yourself in need of a few high-quality conversation starters for your upcoming work party, this talk will prepare you to explain what exactly the Bilingual Advantage is, why British accents sound smart, how whistled languages work, whether Spanglish is a language, which high-profile court case was a glaring example of linguistic discrimination, and why English spelling is such a mess.

About Emily Rae Sabo:

By day, I’m a researcher and PhD student of Linguistics at The University of Michigan. By night, I’m a local standup comedian at dive bars near you. In my work as a linguist, I compare how monolingual and bilingual listeners respond to various types of lexical ambiguity and speech errors in order to investigate the cognitive mechanisms that underlie language processing as well as the social priming that modulates how people perceive Spanish-accented English in the U.S. today.

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Of Chinese Cheese and Curds

Fri, 06/28/2019 - 11:55am

Nowadays, the Chinese are famous for their food — but not for their cheeses or for their dairy products. Scholarly and popular accounts explain this through biological and cultural factors — the prevalence of lactose intolerance and xenophobia, for example. Miranda Brown, Professor of Chinese Studies, U-M Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, challenges the popular and scholarly view through a mouthwatering tour of dishes composed of curds. Dr. Brown traces the long history of curds in China, demonstrating that such foods were regarded as delicacies by the elite, and accounts for their sudden and belated disappearance from the modern Chinese diet. The talk concludes by exploring the modern legacies of the Chinese fascination with curds.

A native of San Francisco, Miranda Brown is Professor of Chinese Studies in the Department of Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Michigan, where she has taught since finishing her degree in History at UC Berkeley in 2002. She recently worked on the premodern history of dairy in China, a topic that has received little scholarly or popular attention. Her article, on the history of cheese in South China, appeared in Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies (2019). Having been raised by a Southern Chinese mother, Brown is fascinated with all Chinese food and considers herself a serious amateur cook. 

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Author Event | Bryan Thao Worra

Mon, 03/25/2019 - 10:25am

Experience "Before We Remember We Dream"—a performance from the new book of Lao American speculative poetry by Bryan Thao Worra, a 2019 Joyce Fellow and a 2009 National Endowment of the Arts Fellow in Literature.

Bryan Thao Worra's latest collection draws on over 30 years of writing in the Midwest and around the world, covering diverse subjects from CIA Secret Wars to growing up Asian American on the outskirts of Ann Arbor, meditations on Southeast Asian ghosts and mythology, Blade Runner, Buddhist monks and modern romance. And an occasional dinosaur or two.

Bryan Thao Worra is a Minnesota-based writer and the author of over 6 books. The President of the international Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association, he holds over 20 awards for his writing and represented the nation of Laos as a Cultural Olympian during the 2012 London Summer Games. He was appointed by the Governor of Minnesota to the Council on Asian Pacific Minnesotans to advise the state legislature and has presented work for the Smithsonian, the Minneapolis Institute for Art, San Diego Comic Con, the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival, and the national Southeast Asian American Studies Conference, among others.

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Sonabai: Another Way of Seeing - Dr. Stephen Huyler

Thu, 10/18/2018 - 1:28pm

As part of the Rasa Festival, Dr. Stephen Huyler presents a fascinating talk that recounts an amazing story of the discovery of a rural Indian woman's beautiful art.

While imprisoned by her husband for fifteen years, a woman in central India invented an entirely new art form that expresses life's joy. Although Sonabai was illiterate and untrained, her artistic vision is now globally acknowledged. Her work has been the agent of significant social and economic improvement in her region. Sonabai's astonishing story confronts us with our own choices: do we allow ourselves to be victimized by our current issues or can we use our own inner resources to find creative solutions?

An exhibition of Sonabai's art was on view at the Riverside Art Center in Ypsilanti throughout the month of September 2018.

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West African Art and Music in Yaa Gyasi's Homegoing, with Victoria Shields

Sat, 02/24/2018 - 12:56pm

Drawing from the African American Cultural Humanities (AC) curriculum, Educator Victoria Shields leads a workshop for music and art lovers with discussion of the 2018 Washtenaw Read, Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi. Shields examines the social and historical contexts presented in Homegoing using music — including a focus on how West Africa influenced American music — as well as visual art from the Detroit Institute of Art collection.

Shields is a doctoral student in the Eastern Michigan University Urban Education program focusing on curriculum development and programming. She conducts teacher training at state and national conferences and focuses on the development of Humanities and Social Science curriculum with the integration of music, dance and visual art. 

This event is part of programming for the 2018 Washtenaw Read.

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Shadow Puppetry: Dialogue Between the Light and the Shadow With Dr. Yi -Feng Chiu

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 2:06pm

Explore the art of shadow puppetry and learn about the history of the art form around the globe and in Taiwan at a talk by Dr. Yi-Feng Chiu.

Dr. Chiu, with academic training in Chinese literature, is a professor of Creative Product Design at Ling Tung University. His extensive research has led to many publications and articles in newspapers and magazines on shadow plays and puppet theaters.

This program is in conjunction with the October 2 Downtown Library performance of the Yung Shing Le Shadow Puppet Theatre Troupe Of Taiwan, and is made possible through a partnership with the Michigan Taiwanese American Organization, the Taipei Culture Center in New York, Detroit Institutes of Arts/Friends of Asian Arts and Culture, Ann Arbor District Library, and the U-M Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments.

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Legacies Project Oral History: Andrew Zweifler

Wed, 02/08/2017 - 11:02am

Andrew Zweifler was born in 1930 in Newark, New Jersey. He graduated from Haverford College and Jefferson Medical College. In the 1950s he and his wife Ruth spent two years in Ashiya, Japan while he was a physician in the Air Force. Zweifler is Emeritus Professor of Internal Medicine at the University of Michigan, former Director of the Hypertension Clinic at the University Hospital, and co-founder of Physicians for Prevention of Gun Violence.  

Andrew Zweifler was interviewed by students from Skyline High School in Ann Arbor in 2017 as part of the Legacies Project.