Kaiju Invade Science Study Breaks

What is that rumbling!? Ah, it’s the final Science Study Break of 2010 here to crush you under its enormity.

Join us Wednesday, October 27, at 6 p.m. as Dr. Anne Silverman from the Department of Mechanical Engineering reveals the biomechanics of old school movie kaiju (King Kong, Godzilla), and their CGI mega monster progeny (Alien, Cloverfield, The Host).

The program takes place in Garrison Hall 0.102 with free snacks and compelling conversation, so come and be edu-tained.

Pop culture and the academy collide as Science Study Break features relevant faculty and experts from the University of Texas at Austin discussing the reality and fantasy portrayed as fact in science-themed television and movies.

Win Tickets to Percussionist Cyro Baptista

The Benson Latin American Collection and Texas Performing Arts along with the UT Libraries are offering up a chance to win tickets to a unique performance by Brazilian Jazz/World musician and percussionist Cyro Baptista.

Baptista is reprising a performance from his debut album Villa-Lobos/Vira-Loucos, an homage to early twentieth-century classical Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

Baptista performs at 8 p.m., next Tuesday, October 26, at Hogg Auditorium.

From the TPA website:

Texas Performing Arts is proud to present Cyro Baptista performing his classical program, Villa-Lobos/Vira-Loucos, an evening focused on Baptista’s 1997 solo debut album of the same name. In this acclaimed collection, Cyro interprets and deconstructs a number of themes by the early twentieth-century classical Brazilian composer Hector Villa-Lobos. The recording is considered a true testament to Baptista’s mastery of music and the live experience beckons to you on a musical journey that is dynamic, virtuosic, grooving, and absolutely unique in sound and vision.

To be entered in the drawing for a pair of tickets, just visit the Cyro Baptista Trivia Question page and answer a Benson trivia question. Contest ends at 3 p.m. on Monday, October 25. Winner will be alerted via email and the Benson’s Facebook page.

Good luck.

“Fantasticks” Creators Talk at FAL

The Fine Arts Library at The University of Texas at Austin will host an intimate conversation with the creators of the world’s longest-running musical, “The Fantasticks.”

“What Starts Here: A Conversation with Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt” will take place in the Roberts Reading Room in the Fine Arts Library at 3 p.m. on Thursday, October 14. Department of Theatre & Dance faculty Holly Williams will moderate.

Following the event will be a reception for the exhibition In a Major Key: Artifacts from 50 years of The Fantasticks, which features photos, playbills, manuscripts and other ephemera related to the various productions of “The Fantasticks” from the personal collection of Harvey Schmidt.

The exhibition – coordinated by Cathy Henderson of the Harry Ransom Center – is on display in the Roberts Reading Room at the Fine Arts Library through the end of the Fall semester.

The conversation with Schmidt and Jones is associated with the Department of Theatre & Dance’s 50th Anniversary production of “The Fantasticks” which features two performances on October 15 & 16, as well as a gala dinner and panel discussions.

Vargas Llosa Earns Nobel for Literature

Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday.

Though he holds Spanish dual citizenship and currently resides primarily in London, his birth, his background and his oeuvre make him thoroughly Peruvian.

In announcing the award, the jurors cited Vargas Llosa’s “cartography of the structures of power and his sharpened images of resistance, rebellion, and defeat of the individual.”

The author’s published works, in Spanish and translated editions, are held in the Benson Latin American Collection and other campus libraries, and a chapter from Vargas Llosa’s upcoming novel is available online.

Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa (1936- ) was born in Arequipa, Peru, a provincial capital south of Lima. He spent his youth with his mother and members of her family in Cochabamba, Bolivia, Piura, on the northern coast of Peru, and Lima, where he attended San Marcos University and published his first pieces of fiction.  In 1958, Vargas Llosa graduated from university and received a scholarship for study in Madrid, beginning a twelve-year residence abroad.

While living in Europe– first Madrid, then Paris and London– he worked as a journalist and wrote novels that gained critical acclaim.  La Ciudad y los perros (1963) won the Premio de la Critica Española despite stirring animosity in Peru for its thinly-veiled criticism of the ruling military. Publication of La Casa verde in 1965 firmly established Vargas Llosa as a member of what came to be known as the “Latin American Boom,” a generation of writers that include fellow Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez and Carlos Fuentes. Film aficionados may recognize La Tía Julia y el escribidor from its film adaptation as Tune in Tomorrow.

Vargas Llosa’s novels introduce his readers to Latin America’s rich legacy of historical characters.  La Guerra del fin del mundo evokes events of Brazil’s 19th century internal war and La Fiesta del chivo reflects on the last days of the Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo.  Two novels,  Historia de Mayta (1984) and Lituma en los Andes (1996) are set in the events of Peru’s intestine struggle with the guerrilla group, Shining Path.  This traumatic period in Peruvian history inspired Vargas Llosa to more than fiction.   He became a candidate for the presidency in the 1990 election.  His defeat by the now incarcerated Alberto Fujimori proved a blessing for a man whose artistic skills far surpass his politics and for those of us who find pleasure in reading.

Since the 1990s, Vargas Llosa has resided primarily in London.  He was awarded Spanish citizenship in 1993 and elected to the Real Academia Española in 1994.  He has become an articulate spokesman for the importance of the Spanish language and Spanish culture.  This fall Vargas Llosa is living in Princeton as a Distinguished Visitor and, now, a Nobel laureate.

David Block is Latin American Studies Bibliographer at the Benson Latin American Collection.