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Category: Arts & Humanities

UW Prof. Jordan Ellenberg, “Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else”

WORT FM

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, time for the Wisconsin Book Festival, 28 events this week alone, both in-person and online, and Stu Levitan welcomes one of the featured presenters, and one of the brightest stars in the firmament that is the University of Wisconsin faculty, Professor Jordan Ellenberg, to discuss his NYTimes best-seller, Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else.

A World Without Soil

WORT FM

For today’s show, Monday host Patty Peltekos speaks with Jo Handelsman about her new book, A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet.

The Wisconsin Book Festival and the Wisconsin Science Festival are co-presenting a book event with Jo Handelsman this Thursday, October 21 at 6 p.m. in the Discovery Building at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. More information available at the Wisconsin Book Festival website.

Jo Handelsman is the director of the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a Vilas Research Professor, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. She previously served as a science advisor to President Barack Obama as the Associate Director for Science at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from 2014 to 2017. She is the author of A World Without Soil: The Past, Present, and Precarious Future of the Earth Beneath Our Feet (Yale University Press, 2021).

Local theater artist Erica Halverson has ideas for how to save the arts in education

Wisconsin State Journal

Performer, educator and author Erica Halverson has a lot to say about how the arts can be used in schools to transform education in a meaningful way in her book “How The Arts Can Save Education.” Halverson, who also is a professor of curriculum and instruction at UW-Madison, will discuss her book during an in-person event at the Wisconsin Book Festival later this month.

Education Needs the Arts

WORT FM
For her first show as the Tuesday host, Ali Muldrow turns her attention back to the vital need for arts programming in the classroom. Her guest is Erica Halverson, education professor and author of the new book How the Arts Can Save Education.
Erica Halverson is a professor of curriculum & instruction in the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She is the author of a new book, How the Arts Can Save Education: Transforming Teaching, Learning, and Instruction (Teachers College Press, 2021).

Who Is the Bad Art Friend?

New York Times

Larson’s path toward writing was more conventional than Dorland’s. She started earlier, after her first creative-writing class at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A long-lost silent movie turned up in a storage closet and got its first screening in almost a century. Next stop: Turner Classic Movies

Chicago Tribune

“The First Degree” next screens Oct. 24 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Cinematheque, with live piano accompaniment by David Drazin. The film is scheduled to air on Turner Classic Movies, with the Chicago Film Archives-commissioned score written and performed by Quasar Wut-Wut, sometime before mid-2022.

UW-Madison alum and diverse group bring classical music back to Union Theater

Wisconsin State Journal

The group is preparing for a 7:30 p.m. performance Thursday in Shannon Hall at Memorial Union. It’s the first stop on Sphinx Virtuosi’s national fall tour, and also the first classical music concert with an in-person audience held in the UW-Madison theater since the pandemic halted operations in March 2020. The concert also will be streamed online.

Q&A: Jazz musician Arun Luthra taps into the universal language of rhythm

Capital Times

Luthra is the fall 2021 interdisciplinary artist-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Division of the Arts. The program brings visiting artists to campus for a semester, where they teach a class intended for students of different disciplines, artists and not, as well as programming a series of live performances and lectures that the general public can enjoy.

Meet Joshua Richlen, the two-time UW-Madison marching band drum major and Greendale High School alum

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, when the University of Wisconsin Marching Band took the field before Wisconsin’s season opener against Penn State Sept. 4, it marked the band’s first performance at a home football game in nearly two years.

It also was the first time drum major Joshua Richlen of Greendale got to do his thing at Camp Randall Stadium.

From HBO/Showtime production to UW Health doctor; how witnessing 9/11 changed her life

WISC-TV 3

Dr. Lisa Arkin, the Director of Pediatric Dermatology at UW School of Medicine, says working with children and their families is what she was put on this earth to do. A career she only discovered after the terrorist attacks in NYC on September 11, 2001.At the time of the attacks, Arkin was working as a story editor for HBO and Showtime. But on 9/11, she was called in for jury duty.

New Division of Arts Director Chris Walker, no stranger to UW, puts focus on arts & activism

Madison365

New University of Wisconsin Division of Arts Director Chris Walker has been at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for many years now. He arrived as a visiting faculty member and worked in the Dance Department, the School of Education and as the founding artistic director of the First Wave Scholarship Program. While reflecting on where he began at UW, he talked about how his journey and work at the UW has come full circle.

New Division of Arts Director Chris Walker, no stranger to UW, puts focus on arts & activism

Madison 365

New University of Wisconsin Division of Arts Director Chris Walker has been at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for many years now. He arrived as a visiting faculty member and worked in the Dance Department, the School of Education and as the founding artistic director of the First Wave Scholarship Program. While reflecting on where he began at UW, he talked about how his journey and work at the UW has come full circle.

New book explores the unique opportunities and challenges facing Hmong American media

One day pre-pandemic, Lori Lopez, a UW-Madison associate professor of media and cultural studies, joined a Hmong teleconference call with more than 1,000 listeners.

The call was not a meeting or presentation, but a live call-in radio program where people could share their stories, listen to conversations or get news about their community.

She said it was a radio station — without being a radio station.

“I was like Hmong people are being really entrepreneurial and coming up with all sorts of really cool media solutions to the fact that they’re such a small community and they can’t really have a traditional media structure,” the director of the Asian American Studies Program told Madison365.

Now, seven years later, she released her book titled “Micro Media Industries: Hmong American Media Innovation in the Diaspora” on Aug. 13.

UW-Madison grad Sara Archambault’s new doc drops at MMoCA

The Capital Times

Sara Archambault is thrilled that the documentary she produced, “Truth or Consequences,” is playing Friday under the stars (weather permitting) as part of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art’s Rooftop Cinema series. And not just because she used to live in Madison as a graduate student in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Communication Arts department.

The Best Of Experimental Radio: Favorite Pieces From The NPR Archive : NPR

NPR

The network featured content from NPR reporters, freelancers and member stations, such as the National Center for Audio Experimentation (NCAE) at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, which shared staff and resources with WHA (Wisconsin Public Radio). The NCAE produced radio dramas and other explorations of sound, including the All Things Considered theme, composed by Don Voegeli.

UW Prof. Jordan Ellenberg, “Shape: The Hidden Geometry Of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy And Everything Else.”

WORT FM

Stu Levitan welcomes one of the brightest stars in the firmament that is the University of Wisconsin faculty, Professor Jordan Ellenberg, here to talk about his New York Times best-seller, Shape: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else.

Q&A: Jazz musician Johannes Wallmann pays tribute to a creature he’s never met

The Capital Times

Johannes Wallmann got the recording of his new jazz album “Elegy For An Undiscovered Species” in just under the wire. The director of jazz studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison brought 14 musicians, including a string section, together in the Hamel Music Center for a week in late February 2020 to record the tracks for the album. Two weeks later, the COVID-19 pandemic shut down everything.

Enwejig Works To Preserve Wisconsin’s Indigenous Languages

WORT FM

For hundreds of years, Wisconsin’s indigenous languages faced suppression and extermination. Concerted efforts to wipe out native tongues played out in a variety of arenas — from schools to government policies.

Enwejig hopes to address some of those past injustices. The group, which formed last year on the UW-Madison campus, works to bring visibility and recognition to Wisconsin’s native languages.

For more on the group’s mission, our producer Jonah Chester spoke with Brian McInnes, an associate professor of civil society and community studies/American Indian studies at UW-Madison.

14 Excerpts from Commencement Speeches Without the Word C*vid

New York Times

André De Shields

Mr. De Shields is an actor, director and choreographer. He was the keynote speaker at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Why is today different from any other day?

Because you are about to use the many years you have prepared to go out into the world and find employment.

But not just any employment. Here is my charge to you: Don’t look for just a job. Look for that horizon that if you do not discover it, it will forever remain a secret. Look for that treasure, that if you do not uncover it, it will forever remain just X marks the spot. Look for that mystery that if you don’t unravel it, it will forever remain a mystery.

10 New Books We Recommend This Week

New York Times

SHAPE: The Hidden Geometry of Information, Biology, Strategy, Democracy, and Everything Else, by Jordan Ellenberg. (Penguin Press, $28.) In fine-grained detail, “Shape” reveals how geometric thinking can allow for everything from fairer American elections to better pandemic planning. It offers a critique of how math is taught, an appreciation of its peculiar place in the human imagination and biographical sections about beautiful minds and splendid eccentrics. Ellenberg, a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is “rather spectacular at this sort of thing,” our critic Parul Sehgal writes. His “preference for deploying all possible teaching strategies gives ‘Shape’ its hectic appeal; it’s stuffed with history, games, arguments, exercises.”

3 Black women from Jacksonville debut acclaimed books, become friends

Florida Times-Union

Noted: Moniz’ collection of short stories, “Milk Blood Heat,” was called an “electrifying debut” by a Washington Post reviewer who wrote it is “exhilarating and shocking and even healing.” She won the Alice Hoffman Prize for Fiction, among other awards, and is leaving Jacksonville soon to teach creative writing at her alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

45 Memorial Day Songs: War Songs for Memorial Day

Parade

1. The Animals, “We Gotta Get Out of This Place”The Animals‘ 1965 hit “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” wasn’t written explicitly about the Vietnam War, but many troops who fought in the stalemate adopted it as a rallying cry for the futility of their efforts and the lack of support veterans received if they were lucky enough to return home after battle. “We had absolute unanimity is this song being the touchstone,” Vietnam War veteran and University of Wisconsin Communications Systems Director Doug Bradley said in a 2006 interview. “This was the Vietnam anthem. Every bad band that ever played in an armed forces club had to play this song.”

‘Shape’ Makes Geometry Entertaining. Really, It Does.

The New York Times

Ellenberg, a professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is rather spectacular at this sort of thing. A seam in his narrative is a critique of how math, and especially geometry, has been taught. (His strategy for success in teaching is to employ more strategies; multiply approaches so students might find one that works for them.) He also takes a few well-aimed swipes at current depictions of the campus culture wars. The “cosseted” American college student might have launched a thousand Substacks, but have you heard of the “Conic Sections Rebellion”? Some 44 students, including the son of Vice President John C. Calhoun, were expelled from Yale in 1830, for refusing to take a geometry exam.

Some call it pop others call it soda

The Washington Post

The DARE project is overseen by the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (That’s in Dane County, a rare Midwestern outpost of pop/soda parity, according to popvssoda.com.) An online subscription to the dictionary is $49 a year. There’s more info at dare.wisc.edu.

Wisconsin Film Festival announces 115 films to be streamed online for 2021

Wisconsin State Journal

Usually running in April, this year’s festival will take place May 13-20 and will feature 115 films — from narratives to documentaries, international, independent, animated films, shorts and more. The lineup was announced Friday, and single tickets are now on sale at wifilmfest.org. Viewers can buy tickets for particular works for $10, a series for $50 or an entire festival pass for $140.

Book review of Assignment Russia: Becoming a Foreign Correspondent in the Crucible of the Cold War by Marvin Kalb

The Washington Post

In 1957, when Marvin Kalb joined CBS Radio in New York to write local news, television was called “electronic journalism,” and the backdrop for the “CBS Morning News” was a cardboard sign hanging above a desk on the fifth floor of the Grand Central Terminal building. The United States had yet to recognize what it referred to as “Red China” diplomatically, and Edward R. Murrow still worked for CBS

-Kathryn J. McGarr is an assistant professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and the author of “The Whole Damn Deal: Robert Strauss and the Art of Politics.” Her forthcoming book is about Washington foreign policy reporters in the early Cold War.

Why Disability Studies Scholars Are Protesting a Prominent Textbook

Chronicle of Higher Ed

A few lines above hers in the table of contents, Pickens saw the name of Sami Schalk, another colleague. Schalk, who studies race, gender, and disability in American literature as an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, also did not know she was going to be included in the reader. She messaged several of the other authors and soon formed a group text, which migrated to Facebook, then an email chain.

Here’s how pop culture has perpetuated harmful stereotypes of Asian women

Today

Quoted: When a national tour of the musical came to Madison, Wisconsin, in 2019, Lori Kido Lopez — a media and cultural studies professor at the University of Wisconsin, Madison — protested outside of the theater. As she told TODAY over Zoom, “Miss Saigon” embodies “the classic story of the self-sacrificing Asian woman.”

Kim, the protagonist, is a sex worker who falls passionately in love with an American GI — a romance that is, as Lopez pointed out, “already extremely uncomfortable because there’s a power dynamic where he’s paying her for sex.” He promises to take her back to the states; she promptly becomes pregnant. But the plan fails, leaving her languishing in war-torn Vietnam with a child to raise on her own.

How Wisconsin’s Charlie Hill Influenced Native American Comedy

Wisconsin Public Radio

After majoring in speech and comedy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he joined the American Indian Theatre Ensemble Company. He portrayed the Nez Perce trickster figure Coyote in a production called “Coyote Tracks.” The ensemble went on a six-week tour of Germany but infighting and an inability to receive regular payments led to the end of the troupe. When Hill returned to the United States, he began hanging out at new comedy clubs like Catch a Rising Star and the Improvisation in Greenwich Village.