Posts in: Upcoming Events

Professor Emeritus Gamer Finds Composition Inspiration in CC Logo

CC logo

By Alana Aamodt ’18

The open skies and towering mountains around Colorado Springs have long inspired artists — Katharine Lee Bates, while working at CC, found inspiration from them to create her famous poem, “America the Beautiful,” for example. The new CC logo, introduced in January, takes the same inspiration, incorporating these mountains and clear skies into its design.

From this logo, Carlton Gamer, professor emeritus of music, found his own inspiration for a new musical composition, which will be performed by the CC Concert Band on Dec. 6, at 7:30 p.m. in Packard Performance Hall.

Gamer, a professor at CC from 1954-1994, taught a vast array of music courses as well as interdisciplinary courses ranging from Asian studies to history. He has composed more than 70 pieces that have been played all over the world. Still connected to the CC community, Gamer’s new piece “Mountains and Skies: A CC Fanfare” attempts to depict CC’s logo through music.

Gamer interpreted the two “C’s” on the logo as musical pitches. “It has two mountains,” he explains, “a big one and a little one, that can be conveyed in musical terms, the big ones by layers of low brass instruments, the little one by layers of low woodwind instruments. It has a clear background, the sky, which can be suggested by lighter layers of higher-pitched woodwind instruments.”

The buildup of a series of chords creates the “mountains,” trumpets cut across the piece, playing “C, C,” and the flares of the high woodwinds are reminiscent of the sharp diagonals of the logo. The effect is “chord-mountains” that rise and fall, eventually climaxing: “Finally, a big chord built on C arrives, and the mountains that form on this chord, the flares in the woodwinds, and a final flourish in the trumpets create the climax of the piece,” Gamer says.

Gamer took care in making his work both technically challenging and accessible for CC student musicians. He hopes that this balance, in combination with the piece’s deep connection to CC, will make it enjoyable to play and listen to, possibly becoming “a staple of the CC Concert Band repertoire.”

Come hear Gamer’s new work during the Colorado College Concert Band performance, “The American Experience,” directed by Jeremy Van Hoy and featuring rock, jazz, and music inspired by World War II Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7:30-9 p.m. in Packard Performance Hall.

IDEA Space Looks Inside the Criminal Justice System

Incarceration Nation exhibit at the IDEA Space in the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center.

By Laurie Laker ’12

Colorado College’s IDEA Space, the InterDisciplinary Experimental Arts Space, is currently hosting an exhibition titled “Incarceration Nation.”

“It addresses a crucial topic in the American landscape,” says Briget Heidmous, assistant curator of the IDEA Space.

“The mass incarceration of human beings is an epidemic in this country,” explained Heidmous. “Currently, there are 2.3 million people being held in a system that is broken, serving up mandatory minimums, often for profit.”

The exhibition, consisting of a series of showings and events across campus, and – as Heidmous says, “offers a visual art experience that serves as a platform to generate conversation surrounding issues of mass imprisonment, reform, and the human experience.”

The opening reception and panel discussion took place in late October, and was well-attended by students, faculty, staff, and local community members. The panel featured exhibited artists Michelle Handleman and Jessie Krimes, visiting performer Yannis Simonides, activist Jean Casella, CC faculty members Jane Murphy and Carol Neel, and CC student and researcher Madeleine Engel ’18.

Casella, the director of the solitary confinement watchdog project Solitary Watch, opened the panel by saying that “art is always about our common humanity, so fighting any form of injustice with it is brilliant.” It was a sentiment shared by all on the panel, including formerly incarcerated artist Jesse Krimes.

“Work, particularly my art, served as a way to keep my sanity, but also as an act of resistance,” says Krimes. Krimes’ featured work, a massive patchwork of print-adorned prison bedsheets, “allows the facilitation of dialogue, and the artwork makes the dialogue easier to have because it’s a focal point,” he says.

Michelle Handelman’s work, first begun in 2009, uses the medium of video to investigate and express the prison experiences of queer inmates. Her piece, screening in a replica solitary confinement cell in the IDEA Space, is hard to watch – but that’s why it’s important.

“Solitary is only a punishment,” she says. “You lose track of yourself as a person after a while, it’s heartbreaking.”

“It’s often spun as protective custody for queer inmates, but it’s really an excuse for the system to stop treating them like any inmate at the facility. It marks them out as different, which is incredibly damaging emotionally and mentally.”

Converse to much of the discussion of contemporary criminal justice and imprisonment, the work that Greek performer Yannis Simonides does reawakens the punishments of the past. His international touring one-man production of Plato’s “The Apology,” presents a speech of legal self-defense against charges of impiety and corruption in 399 BC.

“What I always try to do, with every performance, is bring the audience into their ‘I’ mindset,” Simonides explains. “What that means is that I try to have them feel as if they’re on trial, as if they’re being forced to defend themselves in court. It’s discomforting, but it starts a dialogue and that’s what all good art should do.”

“In ancient Greece, prisons were not the places we know now. They weren’t barbaric. Socrates, for example, was held in a room with no doors or windows – fresh air could circulate, he had visitors at all times, and was free to move as he pleased. It was humane, incredibly.”

Continuing until December 17, the next events in the series are two events on First Monday, November 28, with a presentation and reception with photographer and activist Richard Ross, whose work deals with the placement and treatment of American youth in the penal system. On December 6, there’s a film screening and performance by Carolina Rubio MacWright, whose work explores the theft of freedom due to kidnapping, incarceration, or the denial of a safe and peaceful homeland.

Please contact the IDEA Space  for any further information on these, or other exhibits and events.

Meet Filmmakers at Exclusive RMWFF Student Symposium

RMWFF

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

On Sunday, Nov. 13, the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Institute will screen two films and host lunch with the filmmakers at Colorado College as part of the institute’s annual film festival. RMWFI annually puts on the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Festival, which is the longest continuously running women’s film festival in North America. The goal of the festival is to promote films and filmmakers that portray the world from a female perspective, as well as support female filmmakers and encourage curiosity and diversity.

RMWFI has partnered with CC to bring two films to campus this Sunday for the student symposium exclusively for college students, and both will be followed by question and answer sessions with the filmmakers. The two films are “I, Destini” and “Newtown.” The screening of “I, Destini,” from directors Destini Riley and Nicholas Pilarski, is sponsored by CC’s Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies Program. The film is an animated, autobiographical documentary that focuses on the effects on young people of having a close family member or friend that is incarcerated. It covers the story of 13-year-old Destini Riley and her observations on race, class, media, and police in her town of Durham, North Carolina.

Claire Garcia, director of the Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies program, says she’s excited to have REMS sponsor the film and that it will promote awareness of diverse perspectives and life experiences. As Garcia explains, “there are many ways to theorize lived experience,” including art and film. “I, Destini,” portrays a “young woman using film to theorize her place in the world,” which Garcia says is important to discourse related to race, ethnicity, and migration outside the classroom.

“Newtown” from director Kim Snyder traces the aftermath of the worst mass shooting ot schoolchildren in American history, the traumatized community, and its new sense of purpose.

The event starts at 11 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, in Packard Hall. There is no admission fee, but students must RSVP on the RMWFI website.

Seeing Through the Haze: Election 2016

Purple State, Purple Haze

By Leah Veldhuisen ’19

On Saturday, Nov. 5, just days before the 2016 presidential election, the CC departments of music, theatre, and political science, as well as Innovation at CC, will put on “Purple State, Purple Haze.” The event is a live combination of music, drama, and news clips that highlight stories from throughout the 2016 presidential primary campaign trail from across the country.

The CC constituents are partnering with New York musical theatre composer Michael Friedman and have been working on the event since January. According to Andy Post ’16, paraprofessional for Innovation at CC, Friedman traveled the country during the presidential primary elections, interviewing people and creating songs using the exact transcript of their stories. The Department of Music selected four students to work with Friedman to collect additional interviews to feature in “Purple State, Purple Haze.” As part of the process of developing the performance, Post and Ben Pitta ’18 traveled to New Orleans to collect more interviews from people living and working in the Ninth Ward.

The goal of the event is to highlight themes found throughout the interviews. Post says the themes range from memories of 9/11 and how it changed the national discourse, to Trump supporters’ celebration of his businessman acumen contrasted with a disillusionment with corporate America, to discussions of race in New Orleans.  Post says the goal of the performance is “to be satirical, honest and provocative,” and to “delve into real people’s relationships with the political climate.” Instead of repeating the scandals and clichés of mainstream media, this event encourages people to ask: “how did we get here?” on issues like immigration, race relations, and other important current issues. Along with a live band, actors on stage will perform a script comprised of the interviews documented throughout the campaign season. It will tell an intriguing story of the country’s intricate political climate during the exhausting run up to election day.

With the performance only three days before the 2016 presidential election, its relevance is obvious. The show attempts to “imitate, satirize, and make sense of the wilderness of the media coverage and anxiety” that come with it, says Post. It is an attempt “to be jarring and raw” and make people laugh, as well as question their political beliefs and opinions. You’re invited to “Purple State, Purple Haze: A Political Performance,” Saturday, Nov. 5, at 7 p.m. in Kathryn Mohrman Theatre.

 

Attend CC, FAC Listening Session Tomorrow Morning

CC-FAC Alliance

Start your Thursday with coffee and a light breakfast as you learn more about the CC-FAC alliance at a listening session tomorrow, Sept. 8, 7:30-9 a.m. in the Fine Arts Center Music Room.

This is your opportunity to share input about a new future between CC and the Fine Arts Center. There are also two more listening sessions this month: Wednesday, Sept. 14, 4:30-6 p.m., CC’s Packard Performance Hall; or Monday, Sept. 26, 7-8:30 p.m., Fine Arts Center Music Room.

You’re also invited to an open house for CC faculty and staff at the Fine Arts Center tomorrow, from 3-5 p.m. Take a tour, explore the galleries, and mingle with FAC colleagues.

Find out about the strategic planning process: www.coloradocollege.edu/csfac/

You’re Invited to FAC Open House

CC-FAC Alliance

Experience the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at an open house this week!

All CC faculty and staff are invited to an open house at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Thursday, Sept. 8, 3-5 p.m. Take a guided tour, explore the galleries, mingle with FAC colleagues, and enjoy light refreshments.

Last week, President Jill Tiefenthaler and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center President and CEO David Dahlin, announced an historic alliance between Colorado College and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. The alliance builds on the legacies of both the college and the Fine Arts Center, and will enhance the strengths of both. It also begins a four-year planning process for developing an operational structure that achieves CC and community strategic objectives.

Three community listening sessions are also planned:

  • Thursday, Sept. 8, 7:30-9 a.m., Fine Arts Center Music Room
  • Wednesday, Sept. 14, 4:30-6 p.m., CC’s Packard Performance Hall
  • Monday, Sept. 26, 7-8:30 p.m., Fine Arts Center Music Room

Learn more about the CC, FAC strategic planning process.

Let’s Talk About “Relations”

Students perform "Relations"

Students perform in the 2013 rendition of “Relations.” The 2016 performance opens Thursday, April 28.

By Montana Bass ’18

It’s that time of year, when the campus community fills Taylor Theatre for one of CC’s most popular performance events: “Relations,” a show that brings the sex lives of students to the stage.

Through online surveys, word of mouth, and written submissions, the show’s directors create a script that facilitates a conversation surrounding the intimacies of students’ experiences with sex, sexuality, and relationships. Nia Abram ’17, one of the directors, says this year’s show will specifically focus on intersectionality and how it plays out in sexual, emotional, and intimate encounters.

“This year the cast is much more diverse, with different racial and queer identities. We talk about issues of social justice and how that relates to our identities as sexual and intimate beings,” says Abram. Involving such a diverse group of cast members can also be an intimidating part of the process. Much of “Relations’” significance comes from an ability to show the CC sex scene from all angles, and preparation requires complete openness among cast members. Luckily, Abram says she is ready to rise to the challenge. “I am responsible for cultivating a safe and comfortable environment,” she notes, “As a director I have to mitigate a lot of differences in knowledge bases because not everyone was completely on the same page about these concepts.”

Thanks to the directors’ dedication to fostering this environment, actors have been able to commit themselves to their characters and their scenes, and ultimately learn deeply about themselves and their sexualities. “I auditioned because during the show last year, I was pulled into the experience,” says Christian Wulff ’17, a 2016 cast member. “A part of me realized that participating in “Relations” would be different than anything else I’ve ever been a part of, and I was right. This experience helps individuals create an openness with each other as a group.”

It is precisely the uniqueness of the group dynamic that enables “Relations” to make such a deep impact on audiences as well as on cast members. Katie Larsen ’18, who saw the show last year as a first-year student, can’t wait to attend again. “I think the best part is that it makes you feel so many emotions. I was crying one minute and laughing the next,” she says, “The way the story line is presented creates an opportunity to explore themes that are so incredibly central to our lives.”

If you’re looking for provocation to explore your identity and relationships, sexually and otherwise, attend “Relations.” Tickets are now available at Worner Campus Center and shows run Friday, April 29, and Saturday, April 30, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 1, at 2 p.m. in Taylor Theatre.

Better Understand Your Irrational Behavior with Professor Thaler

Monica Black ’19

Humans are attached to their stuff.

This is the idea behind behavioral economics, a blossoming field in finance. The typical neoclassical, traditional economic vision of the human psyche is that it is rational and wants to maximize profits, but behavioral economics, which only came into vogue in the 1970s, takes into consideration the innate irrationality of humans when it comes to economic decision-making. The psychology of the consumer can affect the market.

On Wednesday, April 27, Richard Thaler , professor of economics at the University of Chicago will be giving a talk titled “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics.”

Thaler is considered one of the fathers of behavioral economics, a young field.

Mark Smith, CC professor of economics, was instrumental in bringing Thaler to campus. Smith says, “I wanted to bring him to campus because behavioral economics is one of the most exciting trends in economics today.”

Two of Thaler’s books, “Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics” (2015) and “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Wealth, Health, and Happiness” (2009), lay out his theory and practical applications for the thinking consumer. “I have used both books as required supplemental readings in my microeconomics courses to expose my students to behavioral economics,” says Smith.

Though many students may be put off by the seemingly niche title, behavioral economics’ daily applications are manifold. In “Nudge,” Thaler and co-author Cass Sunstein detail ways that an understanding of behavioral economics can help people save money, encourage contributions to charity, and take care of their health. It also allows us to understand why we are so shortsighted when it comes to impactful economic decisions, and how to rewire that tendency.

“[Thaler] should be interesting to anyone who is interested in economics, public policy, psychology, judgment and decision-making, and simply how people think,” says Smith, who specializes in environmental economy and is interested in the policy implications of Thaler’s work. “He will be a provocative speaker. I think people will enjoy his stories.”

Hear from Thaler Wednesday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. in Celeste Theatre.

Celebrating Shakespeare with CC’s ‘Sonnet-A-Thon’

By Montana Bass ’18

“Shakespeare was an extraordinary genius and there’s no better way to begin to discover [Shakespeare], than by actually speaking him,” says Andrew Manley, associate professor of theatre. Students, faculty, and staff will have the opportunity to do just that this Friday from 6-9 p.m. in Cornerstone Main Space. Manley says he created CC’s first “Sonnet-A-Thon”sonnetathonposter in the spirit of community celebration, with participants reciting all of Shakespeare’s sonnets in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The sonnets are short, 14 lines each, so are accessible for those inexperienced in theatre and literature. “I think they’re cool,” says Abigayle Cosinuke ’16, who will be performing. “They’re very concise, but cover such a range of feelings. Everyone knows Shakespeare but not that many people have read a lot of the sonnets and also don’t realize how relevant and accessible they are.”

With 154 to choose from, it’s not hard to find one with a personal ring to it. Tinka Avramova ’16 connected with “Sonnet 47,” which she explains is about longing and the way that feelings of love are intensified when looking at one’s loved one. “I think I was struggling with not being with the person I love and wanting to see them,” she explains.

Cosinuke chose “Sonnet 142” for its uniqueness. “It’s the only sonnet written in octets,” she says. “It’s also about hate, which is unusual and fun because it’s so dramatic. They think it’s about his wife, Anne Hathaway. I actually already have it memorized because I recited it in high school when I went on a theatre trip and we visited Anne Hathaway’s house.”

The reciting of all of these works will give audience members and performers a chance to connect personally with one of the greatest literary geniuses of all time. Manley adds, “This is a reminder that we are still performing Shakespeare after all this time. His poems are still relevant – they speak to us across 400 years. That’s amazing!” And, according to Cosinuke, “Shakespeare is bae,” so don’t miss out.

Battle is on for the Big Idea 2016

Five student teams are preparing to battle it out at CC’s annual Big Idea pitch competition Tuesday, April 5. Teams will present compelling pitches for their ideas to a distinguished panel of judges and at the end of the event, the judges award a monetary prize, $50,000, to the winning team(s), providing seed money for launching the students’ ideas. The competition supports CC’s strategic initiative to provide resources, structure, and encouragement to students and faculty as they investigate social and environmental challenges, understand the context in which they exist, identify sustainable solutions, and put them into action. Presented by Innovation@CC and Mountain Chalet, the competition takes place 4-6 p.m. in Celeste Theatre. Come out and see who wins, plus CC students in attendance can win prize drawings. Learn about this year’s competitors: I-Vest Colorado, Lion of the Sea, Neonic, Pick Up, and Spindle.

The five teams competing at the event are:

I-Vest Colorado: I-Vest Colorado is an online crowdfunding platform that serves as an intermediary between local non-accredited investors and local startup companies.

King of the Sea: Lion of the Sea seeks to grow a regular market for consumption of a tasty, exotic seafood: Lionfish.   Lion of the Sea will connect with fishing operations in the Caribbean and West Atlantic to harvest Lionfish and thereby reduce the negative impact Lionfish have on aquatic ecosystems.

Neonic: By creating an interactive way in which concert-goers can become part of the performance, Neonic uses people’s smartphones to create a unique crowd-sized canvas of art.

Pick Up: Pick Up is a cloud platform that helps colleges and their students improve the intramural sports experience.

Spindle: Using neurotechnology, Spindle is creating a ‘smart mask’ to improve memory retention and enhance the function of the brain.