EnAct and Palmer Land Trust: Collaborative Fundraising

By Montana Bass ’18

Through a partnership between EnAct and the Palmer Land Trust, CC collectively raised over $2,900 to support land conservation as part of Colorado Springs Independent’s annual Give Campaign.

Sierra Melton ’18 and Laurel Sebastian ’16 spearheaded fundraising efforts on behalf of EnAct, CC’s club dedicated to environmental activism. Melton, a new co-chair this year, had heard of PIFP fellows working on fundraising for the Palmer Land Trust in past years, and reached out to expand efforts. “It was really driven by her,” Erica Oakley-Courage, development director for Palmer Land Trust, says of Melton. “It was really cool to see her and Laurel come to us with ideas and follow through. I could see their excitement and desire to push this issue.”

Together, the three came up with different methods to gain participation from CC students. As a club, EnAct conducted multiple outreach events, asking for donations from students. “We set up informational tables to collect donations almost every day during third and fourth block,” Melton says. They also threw a festival in November, complete with student bands and plenty of food. The State of the Rockies Project joined the fundraising push as well, providing posters featuring photography by the Geology Department’s Steve Weaver for any students who donated more than $10 Additionally, students who donated more than $20 received a hat from Palmer Land Trust.

The funds raised by the campus community surpass the $2,000 needed to steward a property through Palmer Land Trust for a year. Because of CC students’ participation, Palmer Land Trust came in fifth place out of 88 nonprofits in the Youth Involvement competition. “It was totally a shock to us,” Oakley-Courage admitted. “We generally don’t have a lot of young donors. I was sitting at the fundraiser when we found out we won and a couple of trustees were behind me. I could hear them saying, ‘What? We really won?!’”

Going forward, this campaign can continue to be a source of environmental education and collaboration for the CC community. “I really enjoyed engaging CC students in the local nonprofit sector,” says Sebastian. “I got to explain a lot of these issues and how they relate to land spaces students here use so frequently, like Bear Creek Park and Red Rocks Open Space.”

“I think we could use this idea to collaborate with even more groups on campus,” Melton says. “Land conservation is related to environmental recreation, food, cultural heritage, and so many other issues.

Breaking Down Barriers at Story Slam

 

 

 

By Monica Black ’19

With chatter on campus about tough issues growing to a dull roar, a student-led forum for sharing stories allows individuals to share their experiences in a way that cuts through all the noise. At Story Slam, students and faculty tell their stories in front of a microphone in Sacred Grounds, where a crowd gathers to listen and support.

Students, faculty members, and staff audition stories, then the directors of Story Slam, Lena Engelstein ’16, Abby Portman ’16, and Madi Howard ’16, select their favorites and curate the show accordingly. Each block has a theme and the stories must fit, more or less, within that theme. Past examples include “Lost and Found” and “Borderline.”

“I’m attached to the stories being on the theme,” said Engelstein. “But we also look for a story with an arc.”

Portman added, “I look for what you would come away with after the story.” The stories, beyond these criteria, range hugely: some are funny, some are moving.

Engelstein, Portman, and Howard started Story Slam during Block 3 as the continuation of a prototype version last academic year. The Slam is modeled after the popular storytelling radio show “The Moth,” which is a recorded version of a live story slam.

Listeners love “The Moth” for its unique format, funny and moving stories, and celebrity appearances, but Story Slam emphasizes that this type of platform on a college campus has a particular role. “People that you see around campus, but who you don’t necessarily know, are telling really relatable stories,” said Engelstein. “Your image of that person changes [when you hear their story].”

One such example of breaking down those day-to-day barriers is when Kathy Giuffre, an associate professor and chair of the Sociology Department, told a love story at one Story Slam. “She was just as nervous as the students to tell her story,” said Portman. “She was hugging everyone who was about to tell a story too, and there was this nervous excitement. She’s just like another human who has a story. It’s not really about her position at CC, or how distinguished she is.”

The Slam can also air difficult topics, right out of the mouths of those who experience them. “We had two stories last slam about sexual assault,” said Portman. “There are lots of voices on campus talking about those issues through other media, but I thought it was really interesting that they could tell their own story.”

Story Slam happens the third Sunday of each block in Sacred Grounds, so for Block 6 you can catch Story Slam this Sunday, Feb. 28, at 8 p.m. The theme is “Stranger.” Auditions are the first week of every block, and Block 7’s theme is “Crush.”

“Black Faces, White Spaces” with Carolyn Finney

Carolyn FinneyBy Montana Bass ’18

Carolyn Finney, author of “Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors,” will bring her expertise to the Colorado College campus March 3. Finney is currently a geography faculty member at the University of Kentucky.

In a time when racial tension has exploded on college campuses across the country, including CC, and environmental discussion is at the forefront of political and social debate, Finney facilitates conversations regarding the intersectionality of these topics. “We have a long history of marginalizing people, and the environment is included in that,” Finney says. “It doesn’t mean that black or brown people haven’t had a relationship with the environment, but that relationship differs depending on their unique experience and history. We have developed a culture that pushes a universal way of looking at things, and that classic narrative isn’t a bad thing, but it’s not truly universal.”

It’s thanks to Drew Cavin, director of the Office of Field Study, that students will have the opportunity to discuss such topics with Finney. “I had a strong hunch that a large portion of the missing sense of inclusivity at CC was due to the ethos around nature, outdoor adventure, and the environment. I know from my research that these things do not resonate equally with all people for a variety of different reasons, but largely, I think, because of our country’s past and present of systemic racism, and the cultural paths that have emerged in different communities because of those systems,” says Cavin of his push to bring Finney to CC.

Both Cavin and Finney are excited about her visit to campus, and hope students will be, too. “As soon as I start talking about it I’m pacing back and forth,” she exclaims. “I love hearing about what people are experiencing.”

Find full event information at: “Black Faces, White Spaces.”

Esther Chan ’16 Tells the Story of Lives Changed By Meadows Park Community Center

Subjects of Esther Chan '16 thesis projectBy Montana Bass ’18

Esther Chan ’16 is sharing an inspiring message of struggle and empowerment. For her thesis project, she spent months gathering video footage and conducting interviews. Now, through a multimedia presentation, she will highlight the lives of three young people in Colorado Springs who overcame adversity to incite change in their community.

Chan’s thesis project is a culmination of an innovative, independently designed major – visual media, and social change. It follows Miguel Roacho, David Atencio, and Danielle Atencio in their daily lives, focusing on their work at Meadows Park Community Center. The thesis event will take place Friday, March 4, from 4-8 p.m. at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 East Colorado Ave., in Colorado Springs.

The three individuals featured in Chan’s film all grew up with MPCC as a major influence in their lives. “It has always been their safe space and home and where they’ve found comfort,” says Chan. “Their story is of growing up in low-income Colorado Springs. It has a lot of violence, struggle, and drug use. It’s defined by the strength to break the cycle and make Colorado Springs better.” MPCC’s main goal is to empower youth to overcome the adversity they face, and have a successful and functional adult life. “Brian Kates ’93, the MPCC director, calls it organized chaos,” adds Chan, laughing. “Kids just get to run around and play.”

Chan volunteered at MPCC during her sophomore year as part of a youth empowerment class. Later, as she thought about her thesis, the lasting impression MCPP left on her sparked an idea. “I wanted to use a sociological research method called ‘photovoice,’ where you give cameras to kids in the community, then base the research on the videos,” she explains.

Filming began in September and Chan has continued once or twice a week ever since, gaining over four months of footage for her final documentary. “I just told them, ‘whenever you’re doing something, let me know,’ [so I could document it]. Mostly, I’m at MPCC where they work and hang with the kids,” says Chan. “They’ve totally let me into their lives and shared special moments with me.”

Shuttles to Cottonwood Center for the Arts will leave from the south side of Worner Campus Center continuously between 4-8 p.m. on Friday, March 4. There, attendees can watch the short documentary, view a gallery of photos from MPCC children, catch live music from student band Ominous Animals, and enjoy food provided by Mobile Meals.

Balancing Two Careers – Acclaimed Musician and Professor – with (Susan) Grace

Susan GraceBy Monica Black ’19

From the rooms of Packard Performance Hall, Susan Grace, artist-in-residence and lecturer in music, is making waves. At CC, she’s known as Susan, director of the Summer Music Festival and talented professor of piano. Recently, though, she’s been receiving recognition for her work outside of the school as well. The London Sunday Times recently named her as a contributor to one of the top ten contemporary recordings of 2016 for her recording “Stefan Wolpe – Music for Violin and Piano,” and that’s just one in a long line of acknowledgments. To name a few formidable awards, she was nominated for a Grammy in 2005 and received the Spirit of the Springs award in 2014.

Grace, a pianist, has led a diverse career: she performs collaborative music, chamber music, in duos, and concertos. “I’m not stuck to one thing,” says Grace. While she loves the variety her career offers her, she acknowledges that it can be overwhelming. “I do a lot of recording,” she says. “It can be challenging to balance [my career and my teaching], but most of my students are pretty advanced and work hard.”

Grace is a mainstay in the CC Music Department. Beyond teaching classes, she directs the Summer Music Festival, an annual event that attracts advanced music students and faculty from all across the nation to participate in a month-long workshop. “I feel really fortunate to be a part of the community here,” Grace says. “The faculty development and possibilities are great.”

Her most recent accolade for the Stefan Wolpe was the fruit of a recording done in Packard Hall for Bridge Records. Her co-musicians on the recording were renowned violinists Movses Pogossian and Varty Manouelian. Her recording company had asked her to record Wolpe. “I had never even heard of Wolpe,” said Grace, “but I found the music really interesting.”

In addition to another Wolpe piece, she continues work with her piano duo, Quattro Mani. Grace is also preparing for an August recording of “Poul Ruders for Harpsichord and Piano,” a performance at famous venue National Sawdust in Brooklyn, N.Y., and a Quattro Mani performance at Bargemusic, also in Brooklyn.

Cornerstone Arts Week Presents: “Where is Hollywood?”

By Montana Bass ’18

Part of the Cornerstone Arts Initiative, a 13-year-old program that emphasizes collaborative, interdisciplinary arts teaching linked by current and developing technologies, Cornerstone Arts Week is a series of talks, screenings, performances, and exhibits that celebrates artistic collaboration around an annual theme. The theme for 2016 is “Where Is Hollywood?” The week provides a broad spectrum of interdisciplinary events that address conceptions of Hollywood as a “cultural factory,” as a metaphor/mythology, and as a physical space.

Cornerstone Arts Week is sponsored by the Film and Media Studies Program, the Cultural Attractions Fund, the NEH Professorship, Innovation@CC, the IDEA Space, the History Department, the Economics Department, the English Department, Student Life, The Butler Center, the Office of Residential Life and Campus Activities, the Career Center, and the Rocky Mountain Women’s Film Institute.

MONDAY, Feb. 22

4:30 p.m. Coburn Gallery: Reception and Artist Talks. “Staged: Constructed Realities, Altered Worlds.”
Exhibit runs January 29-March 5, 2016
“Staged” explores the ways in which photographers — like filmmakers or authors — can create new worlds, construct different realities, or narrate alternative histories. Building carefully imagined scenes, the photographers featured in the exhibition variously take on the roles of director, stage and costume designer, make-up artist, and occasionally, of performer. Featured artists: Bill Adams, Carol Dass, Carol Golemboski, Heather Oelklaus, Emma Powell, and Sally Stockhold.

6:30 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: Screening and discussion: “The Last Picture Show” (1971), dir. Peter Bogdanovich. This classic of the “New Hollywood,” the second golden age of Hollywood cinema, won two Academy Awards and is preserved in the Library of Congress. Post-film discussion will be led by CC faculty.

TUESDAY, Feb. 23

4 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: “Directed by John Ford” (1971-2006), dir. Peter Bogdanovich. This documentary examines the life and work of Hollywood Golden Age artist John Ford.

6:30 p.m. Celeste Theatre: Keynote Address with Peter Bogdanovich – “Where is Hollywood?”
This event will be live-streamed.
The keynote speaker for 2016 is director, actor, and film historian Peter Bogdanovich. As the Oscar-nominated director of celebrated films including “The Last Picture Show” (1971), “What’s Up, Doc?” (1972), and “Paper Moon” (1973), Bogdanovich was a key figure in the 1970s American cinema renaissance known as the New Hollywood. His most recent film, “She’s Funny That Way” (2015), stars Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson and premiered at the Venice International Film Festival. Bogdanovich has written more than 12 books on film and filmmaking, among them “Who the Devil Made It” (1997), which features interviews with 16 legendary directors, including Alfred Hitchcock, Fritz Lang, George Cukor, and Howard Hawks; with Orson Welles, “This is Orson Welles” (1998), and his classic interview book “John Ford,” which has been continuously in print since its first edition in 1967. He is a frequent commentator for the Criterion Collection and other DVD releases. As an actor, Bogdanovich is perhaps best known for his recurring role as the “shrink” for Lorraine Bracco’s psychiatrist character, Dr. Melfi, on HBO’s groundbreaking series “The Sopranos.”

Bogdanovich’s talk will draw on his close relationships with many classical Hollywood auteurs, including John Ford, Alfred Hitchcock, and Orson Welles, whose legendary unfinished film, “The Other Side of the Wind,” Bogdanovich is currently completing. He will also discuss his thoughts about the current state of Hollywood cinema.

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 24

3:30 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: Faculty Panel. “Fault Lines: Social History, Culture, and Geography of Hollywood”
In this presentation, an interdisciplinary panel of CC faculty examines the landscape, culture, and social history of Hollywood/Los Angeles.

6:30 p.m. Celeste Theatre: Cari Beauchamp and Sone Quartet – “Without Lying Down: The Powerful Women of Early Hollywood”
Film historian Cari Beauchamp is the author of numerous books about Hollywood, including “Without Lying Down: Frances Marion; The Powerful Women of Early Hollywood;” and “Joseph P. Kennedy Presents: His Hollywood Years.” Her books have been selected for “Best of the Year” lists by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Amazon.com. Beauchamp was nominated for a Writers Guild Award for the documentary film “Without Lying Down: The Power of Women in Early Hollywood,” which she wrote and co-produced for Turner Classic Movies. She has twice been named the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Film Scholar and is resident scholar of the Mary Pickford Foundation. Beauchamp’s talk will include screenings of several early Hollywood short silent films directed by, written by, and starring women. Acclaimed Denver quartet Sone will improvise live musical scores to accompany the films.

THURSDAY, Feb. 25

5 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: F.W. Gooding and Faculty Panel – “Diversity and Representation in Hollywood”
One “space,” broadly speaking, rare in Hollywood is one that includes diverse roles for and positive representation of people of color and members of marginalized communities – not to mention jobs for same. This presentation by scholar F.W. Gooding, assistant professor of ethnic studies at Northern Arizona University and author of “You Mean There’s Race in My Movie?: The Complete Guide to Understanding Race in Mainstream Hollywood,” critiques matters of diversity and representation in Hollywood cinema and will include a panel discussion with CC faculty.

7:30 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: Ted Miller – “Economics of Hollywood Television”
Ted Miller ’86 is a partner and co-head of television at Creative Artists Agency (CAA), a worldwide talent and literary agency based in Los Angeles. Miller represents many of the world’s leading television producers, writers, directors, and showrunners, including Noah Hawley (“Fargo”), Alex Kurtzman (“Star Trek,” “Hawaii 5-0,” “Scorpion,” “Limitless”) Damon Lindelof (creator of “Lost” and “The Leftovers”), Clyde Phillips (executive producer of “Dexter” and “Nurse Jackie”), Matthew Weiner (creator of “Mad Men”), and Marc Webb (director and executive producer of “Limitless” and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”). Prior to CAA, Miller was an investment banker in New York. Miller will discuss the evolution of television, the creative renaissance in television series and argue that the “where” of Hollywood has moved to the small-ish screen.

FRIDAY, Feb. 26

1 p.m. Cornerstone Screening Room: Andrew Goldstein and Robyn Tong Gray – “Empathy, Entrepreneurship, and Virtual Worldmaking”
Andrew Goldstein ’09 and Robyn Tong Gray are co-founders of Otherworld Interactive, one of the most highly sought virtual reality development studios in the growing industry. Their projects, such as “Spacewalk” and “Café Âme,” have been featured at festivals and conferences throughout the country, from the Game Developers Conference to the Interactive Playground at the Tribeca Film Festival’s Innovation Week. Their project “Sisters” was accepted to the New Frontiers section of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. Goldstein will discuss virtual worldmaking – specifically, the emergence of virtual and alternate reality technologies and their potential impact on the Hollywood entertainment industry – and Gray will discuss the role of empathy in designing interactive stories.

After the talk, participants will be able to view Otherworld’s mobile virtual reality apps and experience their Sundance-selected project, “Sisters,” in Cornerstone Studio B.

Scott Bryan ’01 Named “Modern Day Pioneer” for Water Innovations

Scott BryanMontana Bass ’18

Whether or not you’re in need of a new pair of jeans, take a look at the Levi Strauss and Company “Modern-Day Pioneers” webpage, which last month featured CC graduate Scott Bryan. Bryan, who graduated from CC as an economics major in 2001, is now the president of Imagine H20, a company that supports startups with promising solutions to current water challenges.

As he mentions in the article, Bryan’s interest in water was sparked during his years at CC. He cites professors Mark Smith and Walt Hecox as especially influential on his education. During Smith’s environmental economics class, Bryan visited the Glen Canyon Dam, where he studied the system of water delivery to farms in Colorado and New Mexico. In his classes with Hecox, Bryan says, “I spent a lot of time in the San Luis Valley learning about the conflict between ranchers and water developers.”

Taking advantage of the opportunity for interdisciplinary study that CC offers, Bryan took an environmental sociology course, which he remembers as pivotal in developing his later dedication to address the strain on water resources. That class also spent time in the San Luis Valley. Bryan explains, “that is where we learned about the acequia [or communal irrigation] systems and the potential threat from logging headwaters.”

Today, Bryan recognizes the great impact his CC education has had on his life. “At CC, thanks to the block program, I really learned the value of diving into an issue or topic. This has been critical in my professional career,” he says. “It’s been fun to work in the water innovation space and connect with other Tigers. Andrew Fahlund ’91 is a deputy director at the California Water Foundation, which supports Imagine H2O. Jim McDermott ’91 founded a very successful water tech business called NanoH2O.”

In his interview with Levi Strauss, Bryan delves into the mission behind Imagine H20, his personal involvement, and what he sees for the future. Check it out.

Student Turns Challenges into Campus Discussion on Eating Disorders

Vanessa Voller' 16 hiking the Na’Pali coast in Kaua’i

Vanessa Voller’ 16 hiking the Na’Pali coast in Kaua’i

Montana Bass ’18

When I walk in to Sacred Grounds, a student-run tea house inside Shove Memorial Chapel, Vanessa Voller ’16 immediately shows me to an assortment of teas, puts on water, and makes sure I’m comfortable. In less than a minute, she has already impressed me with her obvious kindness and the comforting sense of calm she carries with her.

She is a sociology major and an avid hiker from St. Paul, Minnesota. Next block, she will facilitate an inaugural three-day event series during National Eating Disorder Awareness Week to raise awareness about disordered eating and eating disorders on college campuses. Events will include keynote lectures and book signings by Jenni Schaefer and Anita Johnston, two prominent scholars and activists in the field; a documentary screening and discussion about eating disorders in diverse communities; trainings and workshops for Athletics Department and residential life staff; and free assessments and referrals by specialists from the Eating Disorder Center of Colorado Springs.

“I was diagnosed with an eating disorder in 2005, when I was just 11 years old,” says Voller. “I was physically and mentally ill for nearly a decade, losing my early and late adolescence to my mental illness.” We are sitting on colorful, plush cushions when I ask what motivated her to dedicate so much time and effort to this cause. She began her answer very simply.

“I was fortunate enough to have access to help at the Emily Program in St. Paul, one of the best centers for eating disorders in the country. There, I attended intensive out-patient therapy, group therapy, and family therapy sessions.”

Though at a more stable weight, Voller admits that her mental health continued to suffer throughout her first three years at CC. Now during her last semester, she is determined to spread awareness about this deadly mental illness. “The most important thing for me for people to know is that healing and recovery is possible. I think if someone had said that to me when I was 11 or even a first-year at CC it wouldn’t have taken a decade to ultimately be freed from my own mental illness,” she pauses, waiting for me to look up, “make sure you get that down,” she adds taking a long sip of her chamomile tea.

The three-day NEDA week event series, says Voller, is the culmination of her own recovery process. It is also her senior capstone project for the Community Engaged Leadership Certificate program, supervised by David Harker, director of the Collaborative for Community Engagement and an extension of her recent Venture Grant supervised by Associate Professor of Sociology Kathy Giuffre. Voller received a Venture Grant to spend her winter break hiking the Na’Pali coast in Kaua’i and interviewing Hawaiian cultural experts and medical staff at Hawaii’s only residential eating disorder clinic, Ai’Pono.

The Kalalau Trail she hiked is one of the “Top Ten Most Dangerous in the U.S.” according to National Geographic. Despite various setbacks, including a flash flood, Voller ultimately completed the 22-mile trek, during which she said she was reminded of her own recovery journey. “At mile two on the hike, at the Hanakap’ai Stream, I faced incredibly dangerous, chest deep waters. A local park ranger told me that I had to turn around and wait out the flash flood because crossing could be deadly. I immediately thought of my childhood therapist, holding my 11-year-old hand saying, ‘Vanessa, if you continue with this behavior you could die.’”

“I began the hike alone,” she says, “thinking that I didn’t need anyone or any help. But honestly, it was quite bold to think I didn’t need anyone.” She sets her mug down, “After the flash floods I befriended three other hikers and we traversed the rest of the coastline together.” She adds, “You know, almost everyone I met during my travels was healing from something: a failed marriage, an addiction, the loss of a loved one.”

After her hike, Voller traveled to the Ai’Pono clinic in Maui. “I read ‘Eating by the Light of the Moon’ by Anita Johnston when I was in treatment and it profoundly impacted me,” she says. Voller speaks of Johnston with intense admiration. “Anita is a remarkable woman; a true healer. An inspiration. She will do wonders for our community and I am honored that she is taking time to visit us.”

This block, Voller is in an independent study with Giuffre focused on writing an auto-ethnographic memoir chronicling her recovery journey through the lens of her backpacking trip. “I’m not sure what will happen with the manuscript when the block is over,” she says, “but for right now, I’m just focused on exploring my own creative writing process and crafting a new narrative of hope and of healing.”

More information on NEDA week, which will be Tuesday, Feb. 23, to Thursday, Feb. 25, is coming soon.

Kendall Rock ’15 Screens “God’s in the Garage” at Big Sky Film Fest

Rock conducts interviews for "God's in the Garage" inside Shove Memorial Chapel

Rock conducts interviews for “God’s in the Garage” inside Shove Memorial Chapel.

“I really want people to be able to see the power of music and of art, and the way it works in so many different people’s lives,” says Kendall Rock ’15 of her film “God’s in the Garage.”  She’s sharing her work with the world, on the big screen at the 2016 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival in Montana Feb. 19-28.

The documentary short explores the interactions and conflicts between faith and music. Featuring Seattle artists Allen Stone, Zach Fleury, Noah Gundersen, and Galen Disston (Pickwick), the film also follows Colorado musician Brian Wight as he chooses between his artistry and the prospects of a comfortable lifestyle guaranteed by a church job.

“I was raised in the church in Seattle, but had a lot of issues with it as I got older and went to college. I started paying attention to the type of music I was listening to and realized that a lot of the artists I liked had a similar Christian background,” Rock says of her inspiration for the film. “Struggles with faith was a theme in their music, and I wanted to know more about how they processed that struggle through their art. For a lot of these musicians, music was their religion or their higher power, and I was really interested in learning about that.”

“God’s in the Garage” was Rock’s thesis film as a film and new media studies major at CC. After debuting the film on campus last May, Rock was contacted by Doug Hawes-Davis, who was on campus as a visiting professor. He invited her to show the film at the Big Sky Festival in Missoula, Montana. Since then, she’s had to keep the film under wraps until the screening at Big Sky in February.

While Rock says it’s scary to share such a personal and sensitive project with the masses, she’s thrilled to be included in such a major festival. “I’ll get to go to see films and attend the filmmaker parties. I’ll be mingling with real filmmakers; I’m excited. Then I can finally put it online, and move on.”

Rock has several other projects already in the works, including a film she shot over the summer while working with a conservation group in Alaska. That will be released soon on Rock’s blog. And, she has plenty of ideas to pursue. “I want to do more with music, the best part of this film was working with other creative people and talking with them about the way they process their lives through their art.  At the same time I was making my art, going through my own process, so I want to do more of that.”

Thaddeus Phillips ‘94 Transforms Space and Time Onstage

Monica Black ’19

In his most recent play, “17 Border Crossings,” which debuted in Manitou Springs, Colorado a few years ago and is now playing at the Blue Room Theatre in Perth, Thaddeus Phillips ’94 fills up the stage, and plays everyone, everywhere in 17 true stories of migration and separation. Backed by his own narration, Phillips transforms himself from a Hungarian border control agent – with shirttail protruding from his fly – into a smuggler. The standing microphone, table, chair, and a light bar are flipped and repurposed 17 times to become a trans-Euro train, a beach, a customs check, a motorcycle.

Eileen Blumenthal, professor of theatre at Rutgers University and a critic of the arts in New York City, recently featured Phillips’ work in American Theatre. He has developed, Blumenthal writes, his “own brand of theatre,” evidenced by his unique use of space and repurposing of common objects to create different universes. His diverse body of work ranges from one-man Shakespeare (“King Lear;” “Hamlet”) to more traditional plays that take on contemporary issues, from “Narcos” to onstage telenovela¡El Conquistador!” about Colombian soap operas.

His unique and formidable career in the arts began with his studies in the Theatre Department at Colorado College, where he encountered, via theatre professors at CC, cutting-edge ideas about onstage space adapted from Peter Brooks. He also worked with puppetmaster Encho Avramov (who has continued to teach and direct at CC as a visitor) and saw the renowned work of Robert LePage during the course of his studies.

Phillips now runs theatre company Lucidity Suitcase International, which produces much of his work. Read the full story.