Recent Entries in Arts and Lectures

abigailadams.jpgAs the calendar flips to March, Sonoma State University celebrates women throughout history who have stood up to make a difference. There are several events around campus this month that offer exciting opportunities to learn about and experience some of the obstacles women face throughout their lives both historically and currently.

Sonoma Film Institute Celebrates Women Directors
When compiling the list of films to be shown for the spring semester, the Sonoma Film Institute noted that its strongest films shared something in common: women were calling the shots. The timing coincided well with upcoming women's history month in March.

"I am especially excited about 'Que Caramba es la Vida,"' says SFI director Eleanor Nichols. "It is such a joyfully exuberant crowd-pleaser that I am completely baffled that no other theater in the county has chosen to show it."

The Sonoma Film Institute celebrates women filmmakers in March with screenings of two current international features, Doris Dörrie's "Que Caramba es la Vida" and Talya Lavie's "Zero Motivation." All screenings are in Warren Auditorium, Ives Hall, on the Sonoma State University campus, $5-$7 (SSU students free). For more information, or to receive a complete schedule of SFI events, visit or call (707) 664-2606.

March 6 at 7 p.m., March 8 at 4 p.m.: "Que Caramba es la Vida"
"Que Caramba es la Vida" is a lively documentary on the female mariachi singers of Mexico City who are breaking down barriers to follow their passion. The film is in Spanish with English subtitles.This screening is co-sponsored by the United Nations Association, Sonoma County Chapter.

March 13 at 7 p.m., March 15 at 4 p.m.: "Zero Motivation"
Winner of the top prize for narrative world cinema at the Tribeca Film Festival, "Zero Motivation" (2014) is a dark comedy portraying the power struggles of three female conscripts at a remote army base in the Israeli desert. The film is in Hebrew with English subtitles.

haroldjones.jpegWhat do Count Basie, Oscar Peterson, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett and Natalie Cole have in common? Harold Jones. Known as the "Singer's Drummer," Jones has laid down the beat for the biggest names in jazz, and on March 11 he gives a clinic and performance as part of the Sonoma State University Jazz Forum.

Jones, who is currently playing on the Cheek to Cheek tour with Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga, will make a one-day stop at Sonoma State to work with students in the jazz program. He program for this performance in Weill Hall is "One More Time: The Music of Count Basie Featuring Harold Jones."

Jones' style makes him the quintessential big-band drummer, with a crisp, clean sound notable for the high-pitched snare drum crack. He wastes no element of motion, sets up figures beautifully and plays wonderful fills only when necessary.

paula.jpgDespite claims by some people that they do not "see" race, social psychological researchers using a variety of measures have established that racial perception in the United States is both automatic and widespread. Stanford University English professor Paula M. L. Moya, discusses this and other topics in a lecture at Sonoma State University February 11.

Moya is the author of "Learning from Experience: Minority Identities, Multicultural Struggles" (UC Press 2002) and has taught in Stanford's Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity. She has also co-edited several books on race and identity. Her talk is titled "Reading Race: From Ferguson, Missouri to Morrison's A Mercy and Back Again."

williebrown.jpgThe Africana Lecture Series is offered weekly by the American multicultural studies (AMCS) department, featuring guest presentations and discussions that focus on historical and contemporary topics relating to people of African descent. This lecture series is in honor of Dr. LeVell Holmes and his contributions to the Sonoma State University community. All lectures are free and open to the public, and take place in Salazar 2020 on Tuesdays, noon to 12:50 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

Art From the Heart Returns for Round 31

January 27, 2015 12:35 PM

artfromheart.jpgOne of the oldest continually held fundraising events in the area is back. The 31 annual Art from the Heart celebration at the Sonoma State University Art Gallery is set for January 31.

"This is a win-win for both professional artists and the University Art Galley," says Carla Stone, the gallery's exhibition coordinator. Over 150 artists from across the United States, including many from Sonoma County, have created original works of art specifically for the event. "Art from the Heart is a must for novice and seasoned collectors alike," says Stone. "With modestly priced works of art sold during a silent auction, the event is a wonderful way to have a good time and support the gallery, which in turn supports the careers of these fantastic artists. And you have a chance to go home with an original work of art."

The spring 2015 Holocaust Lecture Series at Sonoma State University runs January 20 and continues through May 5. Lectures are Tuesdays, 4-5:50 p.m. in Warren Auditorium (Ives 101) hosted by professor Diane Parness with guest speakers. The theme for the 32nd annual lecture series is "A Century of Genocide."

The Holocaust Lecture Series is sponsored by the Alliance for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, the Paul V. Benko Holocaust Education Endowment, the Armenian Genocide Memorial Lecture Fund, the Adele Zygielbaum Endowment, the Thomas Family Foundation, the Center for the Study of the Holocaust and Genocide, the Sonoma State Students' Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) Fund and the Jewish Community Federation (JCF) of San Francisco, the Peninsula, Marin and Sonoma Counties. Lectures are free and open to the public, but a daily parking permit ($5) is required at all hours to park on campus.

fforfake.jpgThe Sonoma Film Institute announced today its spring 2015 slate of screenings. This semester celebrates international cinema with a slate of women directors, the latest in American Independent cinema and the Orson Welles Centenary.

The season kicks off with the North Bay premiere of the Australian film "Charlie's Country." David Gulpilil ("Walkabout," "The Last Wave") won a Best Actor prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival as an aging Aboriginal who abandons his remote community in order to live a traditional lifestyle.

SFI Celebrates Women's History Month in March with the Sonoma County premieres of Ana Lily Amirpour's stylish and spellbinding Persian take on the vampire, "A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night"; Doris Dorrie's stirring music documentary on female mariachi bands singing their hearts out in Mexico City's Garabaldi Plaza, "Que Caramba es la Vida"; and Talya Lavie's hilarious portrait of everyday life for a unit of young, female soldiers in a remote Israeli desert outpost, "Zero Motivation."

The Sonoma State history department is holding a lecture about the "Christmas truce" and the beginning of World War I. The discussion is led by SSU graduate student Kevin Braafladt, historian for the U.S. Army Reserve Division and curator of the Sergeant Richard Penry Memorial Museum.

The 1914 Christmas truce was a series of unofficial ceasefires that took place across the Western Front during World War One. In many areas the truce started as an opportunity to bury the dead who had fallen in the "no man's land" between the trenches, but instead soldiers held joint burial ceremonies and independently ventured out to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. In one of the truce's most enduring moments, troops from both sides played games of football with one another.

The lecture is in Stevenson 3072 on Tuesday, Dec. 2, noon to 1 p.m. Pizza will be served.

ssuchorus.jpgFamilies everywhere are invited to celebrate the holiday season in song on Sunday, Nov. 23, when the Sonoma State University Symphonic Chorus and Chamber Singers present the first annual Family Concert By Candlelight.

The 2 p.m. concert will be over well before bedtime, and the battery-powered "candles" can't burn little fingers. So bring the kids over to Weill Hall and make this a part of your holiday tradition.

Conductor Jenny Bent has again partnered with the Redwood Empire Food Bank to accept donations of food at the door. Cash donations are always welcome too. For information, call 707-664-3925.


"The Importance of Being Earnest" is a play written by Oscar Wilde that follows the British upper class and their relationships and struggles with social conformity. The play features two eligible bachelors who are in the midst of courting two young women, both of whom are determined to marry a man named Ernest. The play, directed by Judy Navas, runs from Oct. 30 to Nov. 9 in Evert B. Person Theatre at Sonoma State University.

valleysun.jpgThe University Art Gallery at Sonoma State University is pleased to announce In the Valley of the Sun, a multimedia installation by collaborative artists Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis, which opens with a reception on Thursday, Oct. 30 from 4-6 p.m., and will be on view through Sunday, Dec. 7. The artists will discuss their work during a noon lecture on Wednesday, Oct. 30.

The interplay between examination of materiality and poetic references to theory forms Kevin Cooley and Phillip Andrew Lewis' creative practice, driving their work into unexpected territory. Their works consistently act as a meditation on process as well as a response to a particular time or place.

For their new, site-specific installation In the Valley of the Sun, the artists conducted research into the origins of the word Sonoma, and the title of their work is an obvious reference to the meaning of Sonoma as "the Valley of the Moon."

trionavarro.pngTrio Navarro celebrates its twenty-third season as Chamber Artists-in-Residence at Sonoma State with three Sunday concerts in Schroeder Hall on Oct. 26, Jan. 25 and March 29. All performances begin at 2 p.m.

The first two programs will be devoted to piano trios by Bruch, Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Haydn, Dvorak and Arensky, while the season closer features piano quintets (two violins, viola, cello and piano) by Shostakovich and Taneyev.

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