April 7, 2004

Arts abound         

Thursday, April 1, was a day for the arts, not fools, as the Inaugural Arts Festival lent creativity to Emory’s Inauguration Celebration.

Poetry Matters, Noon–2 p.m.
Cynthia Shaw had the honor of being the “performer” who kicked off the all-day Inaugural Arts Festival as the initial reader for Poetry Matters, a public reading forum held next to Cox Hall. Shaw, director of student development in Campus Life, said she had never participated in previous Poetry Matters but read her three poems—including pieces from the Bible, Phillis Wheatley and Frances E.W. Harper—like a pro.

About 40 participants showed up with poems in their hands or in their minds, drawing on self-composed thoughts or the famous words of notable bards such as T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, ee cummings and Sylvia Plath to celebrate President Jim Wagner’s inauguration. As readings were given by students, administrators and Emory’s own writers (including Jim Grimsley, senior writer in residence in the creative writing department, and poet and retired medical professor John Stone), the hubbub of the day continued. During the span of the event, passers by frequently stopped simply to hear the poems, including Wagner himself, who sat down and relaxed for a few minutes to take in some verse.—Stephanie Stinn

Dance and theater open rehearsals, 6–8 p.m.

As part of the Inaugural Arts Festival, Theater Emory and the Emory Dance Program threw open the doors to performance rehearsals the afternoon and evening of April 1 in the Mary Gray Munroe Theater (MGM) and the Schwartz Center theater lab and dance studio.

In the MGM, preparations were under way for Life Goes On, believed to be the first stage production modeled in the style of black-and-white silent film, scheduled to run April 15–24. Director John Ammerman, associate professor of theater studies, coached his cast in the art of physicality, as the show’s only sound will be in the form of musical accompaniment. Dialogue slates will carry the characters’ words, but their emotions and mannerisms will be conveyed through the actors’ physical actions.

“I like theater in general,” said Cecile Long, administrative assistant in the Emory
Eye Center, who stopped by the MGM to watch the Life Goes On rehearsal. “I’ve seen Ammerman perform and really like his acting. I’m curious to see how they bring in the silent-movie part.”

Meanwhile up Asbury Circle at the Schwartz Center, the doors were open to rehearsals for the Lenaia Festival of Student Play Readings. Earlier that day, Emory dance Lecturer George Staib invited visitors to an advanced choreography class (dubbed “Dance in the Making”) in the Schwartz dance studio.
—Katherine Baust & Michael Terrazas

Ovid at the carlos museum, 7–8 p.m.
Joining in the Inauguration Celebration, the Carlos Museum, the Friends of the Emory University Libraries, and the departments of classics, music and English presented “Love, Sex and Transformation: An Evening of Ovid in Poetry, Music and Art,” in the museum’s reception hall.

The program opened with Emory alumna Kim Lorch performing Benjamin Britten’s “Six Metamorphoses after Ovid for solo oboe.” Emory faculty members Garth Tissol and Peter Bing (classics) and Ronald Schuchard (English) read original texts and modern translations of the poet’s work.

Among the contemporary poets whose translations of Ovid were featured were Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Michael Longley, whose archives are held in Woodruff Library’s Special Collections. Selections from the manuscripts of these poets’ translations and works from the Carlos collection of Greek art, featuring images of transformation, were on view during the event.

The evening concluded with a performance from György Ligeti’s “String Quartet No. 1: The Metamorphoses Nocturnes” that varied between melodic and frenzied asynchronism by the Metamophosen String Quartet.—Katherine Baust

Barenaked voices, 8:30–10:30 p.m.

The only musical instruments heard in the Schwartz Center Thursday night were the unadorned, un-miked and completely stirring voices of more than 200 vocalists.
Advertised as “The First Emory Student A Cappella Celebration,” Barenaked Voices brought together seven singing groups with a variety of styles and demographics. They were all male (No Strings Attached), all female (The Gathering), multicultural (AHANA A Cappella), raucous (Aural Pleasure), gospel (Voices of Inner Strength), tuxedoed (Emory University Concert Choir) and massive (the 150-plus Emory University Chorus).

The groups sang at least two songs on their own, and the finale featured all the singers delivering a rousing rendition of the Isley Brothers’ “Shout,” led by Director of Choral Studies Eric Nelson.

Other highlights of the 16-song performance included a show-stopping two-song gospel set by Voices of Inner Strength; a spot-on impression of B-52s’ vocalist Cindy Wilson by Katie Sloop during Aural Pleasure’s cover of “Roam”; and that group’s pop medley which touched on songs ranging from Billy Idol to R.E.M. to Motley Crüe.

Immediately following Barenaked Voices was the opening of “Creative Process,” an art exhibit featuring the works of 27 artists, many of whom are faculty or students in Emory’s visual arts program.

The audience filed into Ginden Arts Commons and the Upper Level West Hallway for chocolate desserts and hung around to enjoy the artwork, which ran the gamut from painting to sculpture, pencil drawings, mixed media and video.—Eric Rangus