Brandeis celebrated the 20th anniversary of Culture X in Levin Ballroom on Saturday, an event that featured a whirlwind of performers showcasing cultures from all over the world. Guiding the event was the overall theme of the show — “From Roots to Leaves, Grounded in our Histories.”
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Parmesh Shahani spoke about his work as founder and head of the award-winning Godrej India Culture Lab on April 11 in the Mandel Atrium. As the lab’s home page explains, it was established in 2011 “as a space for cross-pollination of ideas” to “challenge existing notions of culture and encourage dialogue and experimentation through innovative programming.”
Brandeis hosted its third annual TEDxBrandeisUniversity showcase last Thursday in the Shapiro Campus Center Theater. The speakers were R Matthews ’19, Nakul Srinivas ’21, Ben Greene ’21, Shaquan McDowell ’18 and graduate student Abeer Pamuk COEX '20. This show comprised the youngest array of speakers for a TEDxBrandeisUniversity event to date.
The Japanese Student Association held their culture show in the Levin Ballroom for the first time last Friday. They called the show J-SAI, an amalgamation of “Japan” and the kanji, the logographic character in Japanese, for “festival,” which can be pronounced either as matsuri or sai. This title was all JSA needed for their beautiful stage backdrop: a stylized version of J-SAI surrounded with flowers and a grid pattern of green and blue squares.
The Center for German and European Studies and the Russian Studies department invited prominent Russian journalist and music critic Artemy Troitsky to give a talk last Thursday. He gave an overview of influential Russian musicians from the twentieth century to the present, focusing particularly on musicians who have used songs as vehicles for political protest.
Former State Department official Robert Einhorn discussed his view on whether Iran can be stopped from acquiring nuclear capability during a talk last Thursday called “Can Iran Be Stopped from Getting the Bomb?” As a special advisor to Hillary Clinton from 2009 to 2013, Einhorn was a key figure in laying the groundwork for the Iran Nuclear Deal, in which Iran promised to halt all nuclear research and hobble its existing program in exchange for sanctions relief. He discussed his perspective with Gary Samore, director of the Crown Center for Middle Eastern Studies. From 2009 to 2013, Samore served as the White House Coordinator for Arms Control and Weapons of Mass Destruction.
The Schusterman Center for Israel Studies and the Center for German and European Studies sponsored a panel discussion on Monday about the development of Irish-Israeli relations. University Provost Lisa Lynch moderated the panel composed of former Israeli Ambassador to Ireland Zeev Boker, Brandeis Prof. Alexander Kaye (NEJS), and Wellesley Professor Emerita of Jewish studies Frances Malino.
The Vietnamese Student Association put on a excellent show last Thursday. The show was called “Brandeis by Night: 36 destinations,” because of the 36 guild locations in Hanoi, Vietnam. According to the event’s description, “the number 36 became iconic in representing the soul of the city. [Each guild is] famous for a different type of merchandise, such as gold, silver [and] cloth.” The event was held in Sherman Function Hall, which VSA lavishly decorated in the theme of Hanoi. The walls were decorated with lanterns and shrines as well as maps of the streets of Hanoi on the floor of the Hall, writing the street names on long strings of multi-colored tape.
Various language departments, intercultural organizations and dance groups hosted “Let’s Dance” in Levin Ballroom on Sunday. The event featured various styles of dance through performance, short lessons and extended free dance periods. The organizers aimed to invite everyone in the Brandeis community — not just students, but also staff, faculty, alumni, family and friends, leading to over one hundred people attending the event.
Professor Richard Schroeder (ANTH) gave a lecture on Friday about the impact of “green hunting” on the trophy hunting industry. His lecture was the topic of his recent paper, “Moving Targets: The ‘Canned’ Hunting of Captive-bred Lions in South Africa.”
On March 1, the Student Committee for the Rose Art Museum and the Brandeis Association for Music and Concert Organizers hosted the SCRAMCo coffeehouse, an event filled with performances from Brandeis students and visiting musicians.
On Sunday, actor Tony Shalhoub came to Brandeis for a question and answer session in the Wasserman Cinematheque. Shalhoub has a prolific career in plays, movies and TV shows; he is well-known for his portrayal of troubled homicide detective Adrian Monk in the show “Monk” for which he received multiple awards, and he currently plays Abe Weissman, father of Miriam “Midge” Maisel in “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.”
Joy Ladin, a poet and the first openly transgender professor at Yeshiva University, gave a lecture about her perspective on the Torah as a transgender woman last Thursday.
Last Friday — Groundhog’s Day Eve — Improv group “Bad Grammer” put on an excellent Groundhog Day-themed show in the Pollack auditorium. Their Facebook promotional photo showed Mitchell Redfield ’20’s face on a groundhog, and when they bounded onto the stage, they announced that they would check Redfield’s shadow when the show ended.
Women composers are notoriously little-known. Nevertheless, last Sunday the Women and Music Mix of the Women’s Studies Research Center sponsored a concert entirely of pieces composed by women. Appropriately titled “Composing Women,” this concert reflects the goal of the Women and Music Mix to study the contributions of women to music and bring knowledge of these contributions to a wider public. This concert was the fourth in a series dedicated to Alfredo and Demitra DiLuzio, the aunt and uncle of WSRC co-chair Rosalie Ripaldi Shane. The past concerts of this series were also exhibitions of female composers, but this was the first concert whose name reflected this.
On Friday night in The Levin Ballroom in Usdan Student Center, Club Cantonese presented their second annual cultural show. The theme this year was Jook-Sing, which is a derogatory Cantonese term for people of Chinese descent born in the West. The term is derived from the word for bamboo, using its hollowness and compartmentalized nature to suggest that foreign-born Chinese people are empty of traditional Eastern values, but are not quite Western either. Club Cantonese chose this theme to challenge the derogatory nature of Jook-Sing, choosing to take pride in their dual heritage rather than be ashamed of it.
The South Asian Student Association welcomed the month of December with their annual event, MELA. The event, whose name is a Hindi word for “religious festival” but was used in this case to simply mean “gathering,” advertised itself on Facebook as the “biggest student-run show on campus,” and it didn’t disappoint. Hundreds of students took a break from stressing about finals to pack the Levin Ballroom in Usdan Student Center.
Crowd Control came out to Cholmondeley’s coffee house last Thursday to celebrate the end of Halloween. The title of their show was “Halloween Hangover,” and they made a point of blinking at the bright lights of the stage and moaning about how tired they were. One performer was even dressed in a Winnie-the-Pooh costume. Although this event was not well publicized, there was a decent turnout and a warm reception.
This is a historic year for the Toxic Majorette Dance Line. Formed in 2015 under the umbrella of the Brandeis Black Student Organization, this year the team became an independent, University-chartered club. They celebrated this acheivement in Saturday’s enormous showcase “Pick your Poison,” demonstrating not only their skills but also those of a variety of other dance and music groups.
Namaskar, the Association for Hindus, Jains and Sikhs, hosted Raas Rasiya last Friday, one of the many events within the wider festival of Navratri. Navratri, or “nine nights” in Sanskrit, is a widely celebrated nine-day festival, each day honoring an incarnation of the warrior goddess Durga. According to the Facebook description, the festival celebrates “the victory of good over evil,” referring to Durga’s triumph over the demon Mahishasura. Although Raas Rasiya is typically held before Navratri (Oct. 9–18), last Friday was simply the most convenient time to hold the event.