World AIDS Day at Fine Arts

The Fine Arts Library will host an event in recognition of World AIDS Day, which occurs annually on December 1.

Guest speaker Akinyi Wadende, a graduate fellow in Education at Texas State University, will be joined by University of Texas Professor of Art History Moyo Okediji to present “Kwe Mosiko: HIV/AIDS, Art and Activism” in the Roberts Reading Room of the Fine Arts Library in the Doty Fine Arts Building beginning at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, December 1.

“Kwe Mosiko” is a concept among the ethnic Luo people of Kenya and Tanzania that celebrates beauty as a process of physical and emotional healing.

By examining the intersections of beauty and healing in contemporary American art, modern European art and indigenous African art, the presenters will draw on art and activism as creative resources to combat endemic and epidemic aspects of the HIV/AIDS infections. Video and multimedia components will accompany the presentation.

This event is free and open to the public.

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.

Benson Featured in ¡Ahora Sí!

The Benson Latin American Collection has received a feature profile in the latest edition of the Austin American Statesman’s Spanish language weekly, ¡Ahora Sí!

Timing is everything: the Benson opens its exhibition Frente a Frente: The Mexican People in Independence and Revolution, 1810 & 1910, this evening.

Study Break Returns Tonight

It’s a new semester and that means it’s a new season for the Life Science Library’s Science Study Break.

The first installment of the fall also sees our first return speaker. Physics professor Dr. Sacha Kopp will discuss the topic of particle physics as it relates to the destruction of Earth in the popular disaster film 2012.

Dr. Kopp will speak this evening (9/14) from 6-7pm in room 2.216 of the Jackson Geological Sciences Building on the East Mall.

¡Viva El Payaso! Win Tickets to Operación Clown: Cállate

Just in time to celebrate the opening their new exhibit Frente a Frente: The Mexican People in Independence and Revolution, 1810 & 1910, the Benson Latin American Collection is holding a contest apropos of the anniversaries it is commemorating.

As part of our ongoing promotion of Texas Performing Arts 2010-2011 season, the current contest is for two tickets to Operación Clown: Cállate (Shut Up!), for either the Wednesday, September 15, show in Spanish, or the Thursday, September 16 English version.

From the TPA website:

Operación Clown is renowned for their innovative use of masks, puppets, and cabaret theatre based on theatrical clown technique.

This internationally celebrated theatrical group will bring the acclaimed piece Cállate to the McCullough stage. Narrated with an explosive mixture of melodrama and irreverent humor, this love story set at the time of the Mexican Revolution combines drama, comedy, wrestling and images inspired by the Golden Age of Mexican cinema to fuel a cast of characters based on stereotypes of the period.

For your chance to win, visit the Operación Clown Trivia Question page and fill out a brief questionnaire.

Entries must be received by 3pm on Monday, September 13. One winner will be chosen randomly from the correct responses and announced on Facebook and via email on Monday, September 13 before 5pm.

And regardless whether you win or not (but especially if you do), join your friends at the Benson Latin American Collection in Sid Richardson Hall from 5-7pm on Thursday the 16 for the opening reception for Frente a Frente for a first taste of the exhibit and delicious food from El Naranjo.