Friday, March 25, 2011

IAFA Conference in Orlando

I spent from late Monday night--well, early Tuesday morning--at the Annual International Conference on the Fantastic and the Arts held at the Orlando Airport Marriott.

This year's conference attracted over 425 scholars and authors to enjoy long-standing and new friendships, intellectual challenges, and all the other wonderful things this particular conference offers.

I divided up the photographs into three sections, owing to the considerable number of shots posted, including the one on the left of me and friend Suzi Charnas (who visited Peru State a few years ago).

Section One contains photographs from Tuesday night's  getting-underway party and concludes with one of the conference's guests of honor, the thoughtful and humorous Connie Willis, pictured on the right; note the correct St. Patrick's Day attire.

Section Two begins with a meeting of the editorial staff of the IAFA publication, Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts.  

The train of images concludes with Andrea Hairston and Pan Morigan's riveting dramatic reading/rendering of scenes from Andrea's latest novel, Redwood and Wildfire--with banjo music and voice.

I just sent Andrea and Pan a disk with video from their exciting performance and, with their permission, will eventually share links with you.  I hope next fall to bring Andrea and Pan to Peru State to share with students their manifold talents.

Before Andrea and Pan performed, Andy Duncan and another guest of honor, Terry Bisson, delighted the audience with a hilarious reading of Terry's story "Meat."  Do give this dialogue that first appeared in Omni in 1991 a read.

For his guest of honor address, Terry kept the audience laughing--even if people did not want to--with TVA Baby, a Southern-Gothic narrative that will hurt your a most good way. 

A couple years ago, Terry and Judy Bisson joined me at Rowe Sanctuary to view the Sandhill Cranes.

Episode Three begins with the Locus Magazine photograph by the pool that fronts this particular entry; I hope that a number of my photographs will again find their way into this excellent publication.  (Peter Straub, Gary Wolfe, and Kit Reed appear on the left.

And this third episode concludes with the conference Awards Banquet, always a festive affair.  

Andrea Hairston received her Distinguished Scholarship award for her work on fantastic literature over her career. 

I am excited to read the novel of this year's Crawford Award winner, Karen Lord, for her debut book, Redemption in Indigo.  Karen hails from Barbados, and I look forward to using this book in Nonwestern Literature.

I look forward to next year's conference that features China Mieville and Jeffrey Cohen.

Tom Doherty and his Wife.  Tom is the owner of Tor Books
Dell Award Winner and Nominees

Ellen Klages Who Visited Peru State College in the Fall of 2010

Nalo Hopkinson and her partner David.  Nalo also visited Peru State College
 Gary Wolfe, Bill Senior, and David Morse
Taryne Taylor, Bridgid Shannon, Pan Morigan, Farah Mendelsohn, Andrea Hairston, Sydney Duncan

LGBTQA Open Forum 2011

On Wednesday from 11:00-1:00 in the Student Center's Burr Oak Room, I had the pleasure of moderating an important event for the Peru State College community:  The LGBTQA Open Forum 2011.

 Organized by PRIDE--People Respecting  Individual Differences and Qualities--the event featured an excellent panel, including the college's Elaine Hanson and Kriti Nies.

In addition, Dr. Pat Tetreault, Assistant Director of the  LGBTQA Center at UNL and Pastor Tom Emmett, an ordained minister in the Metropolitan Community Churches, joined the group.

As those in attendance learned, LGBTQA refers to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, Questioning, and Allied.

If you have questions about LGBTQA or PRIDE, contact Jacob Buss or Jane Henry.

Arun Gandhi at Peru State

Arun Gandhi

On Tuesday, March 22, Arun Gandhi spoke at Peru State College as part of the college's Distinguished Speakers' Series.

This year's speakers  also included  Little Rock Nine member Minnie-Jean Brown and former skinhead Frank Meeink.

The grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi continues to spread his grandfather's philosophy of nonviolence.  

He remains committed to his grandfather's legacy in this regard and in 1991 founded the  M. H. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence located in Rochester, New York.

As the collected photographs from his visit to Peru State College indicated, Arun Gandhi filled the Peru State Theater with his message of love that reinforced the institutes's triple imperative:  Educate, Embody, and Serve.

Mr. Gandhi gave me permission to film sections of his presentation, and you can view the video.  And as a quick look on the internet indicates, many links lead to speeches and interviews.   

This particular one, in case you did not have a chance to hear his presentation, this fifty-five minute talk parallels the wisdom he shared on Tuesday evening.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Visit to Merritt Island

White Ibis

On Tuesday, March 15, I visited with Edward James (pictured on the left), a Professor of History from England and Ireland, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center.
Edward and I drove pretty much every dirt road in this wonderful refuge.  As the collected photographs indicate, while we did not see an American Avocet, our trip produced some exceptional results, from River Otters to Roseate Spoonbills, from Reddish Egrets to Ruddy Turnstones.
I had not seen Black Skimmers for quite a few years, so getting the photographs of their landing in mirror-slick water provided quite a thrill.

And White and Glossy Ibises gave the day additional elegance, making my first return in around fifteen years memorable

I have never gotten to the area for a shuttle or other missile launch but have always marveled at all the shore birds, herons, and egrets in the area.  

Enjoy the photographs.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Winter Band Concert


On Sunday afternoon on 27 February, the Peru State College Concert Band and Hoyt Street Jazz Ensemble entertained in the College Theater.

As the preceding blog entries indicate, the PSC bands and choral groups enjoyed a busy time.

Camera problems and a dreadful cold slowed my progress, but I posted a number of photographs that should indicate the performers' delight and intensity at the afternoon show on a gray and chilly day.

In addition to the photographs, I also posted on Your Tube three videos from the impressive performances.

First up, you will enjoy the band's version of "The Florentiner," a piece by Julius Fucik that
showcases pretty much each instrument in the Concert Band.  And then I posted the group's performance of "Intermezzo" from Second Symphony for Band by Frank Erickson.

After the Concert Band completed its show, the Hoyt Street Jazz Ensemble jumped to action. 

I recorded two of the Ensemble's pieces, "A Night in Tunisia," a new Mambo number for the band.  In addition, you will enjoy on the same video Jane Henry's belting out "Chain of Fools."  

Unfortunately, camera problems prevailed.  I only got three minutes of Henry's wonderful song, and fewer photographs than I would have liked.

But I figured out the movie camera's problem--actually my own lapse--and over the break, I bought a new camera to replace the older and warm member of my set of two.  

So I am ready for the second half of the term.