Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Congratulations Joachim Frank on winning the Nobel Prize!

Congratulations to Joachim Frank for winning the Nobel Prize today! See story published in today's Times Union.

Frank was on the faculty at the University at Albany during his time at Wadsworth Center in Albany before moving to Columbia University in 2001.
Joachim Frank, of Columbia University, is hugged by his wife Carol Saginaw, in their New York City apartment, Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2017.(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

From the Times Union archives, here is a story by NYS Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl on Frank published on page A1 on March 12, 2001.

State scientist finds key to deadly hepatitis C
Times Union 3/12/2001 Page: A1
Byline: PAUL GRONDAHL Staff writer

State research scientist Joachim Frank has provided the first glimpse into a kind of fatal hijacking that occurs at the molecular level of the hepatitis C virus. Frank's discovery unlocks a mystery of chronic liver disease, which results in the deaths of 10,000 Americans annually. His findings were published Friday in the prestigious journal Science.

``On the incremental scale of basic research, this is a pretty big step,'' said Paul Masters, chief of virology for the state Health Department's Wadsworth Center for Laboratories and Research in Albany, where Frank's research team is based.

Masters likened Frank's breakthrough to seeing the moon -- after blithely gazing at its glow in the heavens for decades -- suddenly with the clarity and detail offered by a high-powered telescope.

``This discovery brings us closer than we've ever been to understanding how this very insidious virus initiates infection and it gives us a target for coming up with anti-viral therapies,'' Masters said.
Existing drugs often fail in treating hepatitis C virus, which leads in the majority of cases to chronic liver disease, cirrhosis or cancer in the organ that filters poisons from the bloodstream.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that hepatitis C virus infection costs $600 million annually in the United States in health care and lost wages.

``Dr. Frank's research epitomizes the quality of scientific research conducted in New York state and illustrates how cutting-edge basic science can address a problem of pressing public health importance,'' said Dr. Antonia C. Novello, the state health commissioner.

Using a state-of-the-art $1 million cryo-electron microscope, a drop of clear liquid with cells from a rabbit and the genetic material frozen at 321 below zero Fahrenheit, Frank and his team have refined a pioneering process akin to creating a genome mosaic.

The researchers generated thousands of images of cells from every conceivable angle. They next visually reconstructed the molecules on a high-powered computer with cutting-edge software Frank developed named SPIDER, magnified the molecules a million fold and discovered an astonishing sequence.

With a spinning, moving 3-D computer model visualization, Frank -- who writes short stories and novels in his spare time and possesses the soul of a poet -- has demonstrated how good health can be gone in 60 seconds.

``The movie lasts about a minute and shows how the hepatitis C virus essentially hijacks very complex molecular machinery for its own purposes and disables the mechanisms that were there,'' Frank said.
To the casual observer, the scientific breakthrough looks something like an eel-like wrapping itself around and strangling a writhing Pokemon figure.

Or, to use Masters' analogy, the hepatitis C virus ``shows up without a ticket, doesn't have to wait in line and gets in ahead of everybody else.''

Frank's research is funded by a seven-year, multimillion-dollar ``genius'' grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and another $1.25 million from the National Institutes of Health.

Frank has developed an international reputation for work that has been called ``a scientific tour de force.'' His research focuses on the ribosome and how it works at the molecular level. Ribosomes are protein-building factories. There are millions of these hard-working, blue-collar ribosomes in a typical human cell.

Frank's Science article describes this heretofore unobserved molecular commandeering action on a specific ribosome sub-unit called the 40S sub-unit.

In typically modest fashion, Frank put his name last among the Science paper's authors, preceded by his Wadsworth team members Christian Spahn, Robert Grassucci and Pawel Penczek. He also credits first his Yale University co-investigators, Jeffrey S. Kieft, Kaihong Zhou and Jennifer Doudna.

Frank, 60, a state researcher since 1975, is a German emigre who became an American citizen in 1997. His thin, angular face is topped with flaxen, silvery hair and he speaks in a soft, meandering way heavily salted with a German accent.

He lives in Albany, is active on civic issues and wakes before dawn to garden. A voracious reader, Frank is a former president of the Hudson Valley Writers Guild who meets regularly with local writers to discuss poetry and fiction, while weathering their criticism of his own short stories and novels.

``Joachim is modest, works very hard and doesn't blow his own horn much,'' Masters said. ``This work is technically mind-boggling and it takes a particular kind of genius.''

First published in the Albany Times Union March 12, 2001




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Friday, September 29, 2017

Video: Madeleine Thien


Here is a nicely-produced video of Madeleine Thien speaking on her novel Do Not Say We Have Nothing.

Madeleine Thien and Peter Ho Davies will discuss their novel on Tuesday, October 3, at 8:00 p.m. in the Huxley Theatre, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, in downtown Albany. Earlier that same day at 4:15 p.m., Thien and Davies will lead an informal seminar in the Standish Room, Science Library on the UAlbany uptown campus.

Free and open to the public, the events are cosponsored by the NYS Writers Institute, NYS Office of Cultural Education, and the Friends of the New York State Library.

Video produced by John Kenney of the Montreal Gazette.





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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

NPR Audio: The Unconventional Poetry Of Tyehimba Jess

Listen to an interview with Tyehimba Jess by NPR's Dan Wanschura, first aired July 15, 2017.

Tyehimba Jess, who won this year's Pulitzer Prize for poetry, will read from his work and discuss its origins as part of a celebration of spoken word poetry, which will also feature readings by UAlbany students, at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 14 in the Main Theatre of the Performing Arts Center, on UAlbany’s Uptown campus.

Earlier that day at 4:15 p.m. Jess will hold an informal seminar in the Recital Hall in UAlbany’s Performing Arts Center. More details

Free and open to the public, the events are cosponsored by the New York State Writers Institute, UAlbany’s Student Association, Division of Student Life, and The Writing Center of the English Department.



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Interview: James Hart, author of "Lucky Jim"

Author James Hart did not want to harm anyone else in the writing of his heartbreaking memoir "Lucky Jim," (Cleis Press, 238 pages, $17.95), which he will read from Thursday at the State Museum, part of the New York State Writers Institute fall programming.

"But I also knew I needed to be completely honest," said Hart, who grew up in Troy, "and that was going to be tricky. Many of the people in my story were famous. I love and care about a lot of them."

One of the most important people in his life he did not want to harm was his ex-wife, singer Carly Simon. They were married for 20 years.

"I called her early on in the writing of the book," he said in an interview. "I was terrified that my words were going to hurt her and she said, 'I don't care. Just write the truth. That's all I wanted from you from day one.' "

The book, which was released in April, begins on a train platform in Hudson. Hart had just spent the day with his severely handicapped son, Eamon, at a camp for disabled children, and now he was returning to New York City, where he lived. Simon was standing on the same platform with a mutual friend of Hart's, who introduced the two of them.

"I was single at the time, and I knew she was somebody, an actress maybe. I was stunned by her beauty right away," he said. "There were 20 other people at the Hudson train station staring at her as well. They were staring at the celebrity Carly Simon. They knew who she was, but I was looking at her as a beautiful woman."

Hart writes honestly about his love for Simon and the happiness they had together, but he also writes about his many addictions and his increasing struggle to confront his sexuality.

"Carly has read the drafts of the book all along. I know it's difficult for her to read about her then-husband exploring the gay world with crack and cocaine. That's not something Carly would be rushing to read, but she understands that's the story. The two of us were so right together and so wrong, so perfectly matched and so perfectly unmatched."

Hart admits that he and Simon had options. "I suppose I could have stayed in the closet and maintained some sort of deep relationship with Carly, but that would have been extraordinarily unfair to both of us. We really tried hard to keep our lives together, but in the end Carly and I couldn't live that kind of lie."

In the writing of this book Hart came to realize how the various parts of his life were connected in ways he had never thought about before.

"Despite all my psychological defenses, I've been attracted to honesty my whole life," he said. "As a young man, my trip to the seminary to become a priest was a search for honesty and discovery. I've had to do a lot of 12-step work on myself, not because I wanted to, but because I had to in order to survive."

Hart writes about a lot of personal pain in this book. His early life was filled with brutal violence on a daily basis delivered by his alcoholic father. His son suffered from a seizure disorder that brought about many physical challenges every day that made loving him difficult, and Hart is unsparing in writing about the degradations he brought on himself with alcohol, drugs and sex.

When Hart met Simon, he was an insurance salesman, an everyman. When they were married, he entered the elite world of Martha's Vineyard with its fame and celebrity. He met the likes of Jackie Kennedy, Bill and Hillary Clinton, film director Mike Nichols and author William Styron.

"Carly and I didn't have a thousand celebrity friends. We had 10 celebrity friends. We weren't searching for celebrity friends," he said. "The truth is a lot of celebrities are people you really don't want to hang out with."

Hart believes fame and celebrity was not the great gift of his life; it was his son.

"On a daily basis, Eamon displayed a terrifying grace, even though he was physically broken. I didn't want to go there. He forced me to find the ways to love him, and he found the ways to love me."
The word "lucky" in the title refers to the many mentors and friends who have helped to save and shape him into the man he is today. "Mike Nichols and Bill Styron didn't have to be my friend, but they were. They didn't need me. Bill Kennedy has also been a close friend of mine since 1974, long before he was the famous writer. He's helped a lot in my development as a writer. He's very rare. Once you're his friend, he never lets a friend go. He's an incredibly positive guy, and he has a great deal of humility."

Hart said he is looking forward to his reading on Thursday.[Editor's note: James Hart visited the NYS Writers Institute on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017.]

"It's kind of a homecoming for me," he said. "So much of my life was spent in Albany. My son lived there through the years. I have many good friends there. I can't imagine a place I'd rather do a reading at. It's like reading to my family."
Jack Rightmyer is a regular contributor to the Times Union. 

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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Awkwafina Makes Splash in West Addition

“I took a chance, you know, and it worked out,” said comedic rapper, soon-to-be movie star, and University at Albany alum, Nora Lum, also known as “Awkwafina.”

Lum walked through the Science Library halls, reminiscing about being a student here. She remembered walking down Fuller Road, walking through Stuyvesant Plaza, and living on Empire Commons. This was Lum’s second time back on campus since she graduated.

She made her way to her meet-and-greet, where she signed autographs and took pictures with students, before having an on-stage interview with Steve Barnes, a journalism professor and senior writer at the Times Union.

Lum first gained fame after releasing a music video for her song “My Vag” on YouTube back in 2012. It gained almost two million views.

“I was sitting on it for quite a while,” said Lum. “I was 19 when I wrote it. I actually wrote it here.” She released the song after graduation. About six or seven years after writing it, her friend heard it and decided that they needed to make a music video.

“It took a while,” she said. “I was working in a full-time job at the time, so I was scared to put it out.”
But Lum took a chance. Read more in the Albany Student Press.




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Monday, April 3, 2017

MacArthur Genius Filmmaker Stanley Nelson 4/7

Meet award-winning filmmaker and MacArthur Genius Stanley Nelson who will answer your questions following a screening of his acclaimed film, The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, this Friday night, 7PM start time, Page Hall, UAlbany Downtown campus.
"Sober yet electrifying!" A. O. Scott, New York Times
"Essential history and a primer in making sense of how we live now."-- Washington Post
April 7 (Friday): THE BLACK PANTHERS: VANGUARD OF THE REVOLUTION

 Film screening with commentary by director Stanley Nelson — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time], Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus

 Directed by Stanley Nelson (United States, 2015, 115 minutes, color and b/w)

 This feature length documentary explores the remarkable history of the Black Panther Party, its formation and ultimate downfall, and its cultural and political significance to the broader American culture. Nikki Baughan of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, called the film “Compelling and incisive,” and said, “The most shocking aspect…is how painfully relevant its message still is.” The film premiered at Sundance, aired on PBS, and received awards for Best Documentary from the Image Awards and the National Board of Review
Stanley Nelson is an Emmy Award-wining documentary filmmaker and recipient of a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal by President Obama in 2014. Nelson’s other films include FREEDOM RIDERS, JONESTOWN: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PEOPLE’S TEMPLE, and THE MURDER OF EMMETT TILL, among others.
Note: Producer Marcia Smith, also originally scheduled to attend, will not appear at the event because of a scheduling conflict.
Sponsored in conjunction with UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice’s Justice & Multiculturalism in the 21st Century: Crime, Justice, and Public Memory Film Series.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Unspeakably in love with books

"As a child I was unspeakably in love with books. My dad had built two massive shelves that ran the width of our knotty pine-paneled living room. These were laden with the many high quality volumes of great works sent regularly to my mother by a man who either was or fancied himself to be her suitor — an untold story unto itself. I was too young to appreciate either the distinction between the two or the peculiarity of my father having built the shelves for the books the supposed suitor sent."
Read the full column in the Times Union:  http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-opinion/article/Jo-Page-Reading-is-nothing-short-of-a-10987387.php
Come hear Jo Page speak about her new memoir, Preaching in My Yes Dress: Confessions of a Reluctant Pastor," this coming Tuesday, March 28. She'll share the stage with her teacher, UAlbany Professor Emeritus and novelist, 
March 28 (Tuesday):  Eugene Mirabelli, novelist, and Jo Page, memoir writer and journalist
Reading — 4:15 p.m., University Hall Room 110, Collins Circle, Uptown Campus

Jo Page, essayist, newspaper columnist, and ordained Lutheran minister, is the author of the new memoir, Preaching in My Yes Dress: Confessions of a Reluctant Pastor (2016), a candid, moving, and humorous account of her spiritual journey. Bestselling novelist Margot Livesey said the book is “all the things you hope a good memoir will be: profound, witty, deeply serious, wonderfully original, and utterly absorbing.” For 20 years the author of the "Reckonings" column for Metroland, Albany’s former newsweekly, Page now writes a column for the Albany Times Union. Read more
Eugene Mirabelli, Professor Emeritus of English at UAlbany, received the prestigious Independent Publisher Book Award (IPPY) Gold Medal for his 2012 novel, Renato the Painter: An Account of His Youth & His 70th Year in His Own Words, the story of an artist who lives life with gusto and practices his art in defiance of critical and public neglect. Author and NPR reviewer Andrei Codrescu described the book as “…a fresco of Sicilian-American-New England life….” Mirabelli’s new book is the sequel, Renato After Alba: His Rage Against Life, Love & Loss in His Own Words (2016), an account of Renato’s experience of widowerhood at the age of 83. Publishers Weekly said, “The reader feels such affection for Renato… you can forgive him anything.” Read more

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Derek Walcott, in memoriam (1930-2017)

The Writers Institute mourns the passing of poet and Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott who visited us in
1998.

See video from his Albany visit here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tlWeaErcVE

See more about his Albany visit here:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/walcott.html

Read the New York Times obituary here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/17/books/derek-walcott-dead-nobel-prize-literature.html?_r=0

Derek Walcott, whose intricately metaphorical poetry captured the physical beauty of the Caribbean, the harsh legacy of colonialism and the complexities of living and writing in two cultural worlds, bringing him a Nobel Prize in Literature, died early Friday morning at his home near Gros Islet in St. Lucia. He was 87.

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Thursday, March 9, 2017

Dael Orlandersmith Rescheduled to May 1st!


Please note that Dael Orlandersmith, Obie-winning playwright and Pulitzer Prize finalist in Drama, has rescheduled her appearances to Monday, May 1st (she was originally scheduled to appear March 20th).


Orlandersmith will deliver the annual Burian Lecture about her life in the theater and her powerful new play, “Until the Flood,” about explosive events and racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri. Her work frequently explores the struggles of African Americans in urbans settings, and life in the rough East Harlem neighborhood of her childhood. Cosponsored by the Jarka and Grayce Burian Endowment and UAlbany’s Theatre Program


May 1 (Monday):  The 21st Annual Burian Lecture— Dael Orlandersmith, award-winning playwright 

Seminar — 4:15 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

The Burian Lecture — 8:00 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center

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Thursday, March 2, 2017

Paul Grondahl to host Diane Ackerman, Tuesday 3/7

Paul Grondahl, the newly-named director of the Writers Institute, will host his first events on Tuesday, March 7th. Please join us in giving him a warm welcome.

Grondahl earned a master’s degree in English at UAlbany in 1984. An award-winning journalist and biographer, he has been a staff writer at the Albany Times Union for more than 30 years.  His projects on domestic violence, death and dying, mental illness in state prisons and the problems facing sub-Saharan Africa have won local, state and national journalism prizes.

DIANE ACKERMAN

BESTSELLING AUTHOR, POET, AND NATURALIST TO READ FROM AND DISCUSS HER BOOK THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE

NYS Writers Institute, Tuesday, March 7, 2017
4:15 p.m. Seminar  University Hall Room 110, Collins Circle, Uptown Campus

8:00 p.m. Reading  Clark Auditorium, NYS Museum, Cultural Education Center, Downtown Albany

Diane Ackerman, renowned for her explorations of the natural world in nonfiction and poetry, received the National Outdoor Book Award and PEN’s Henry Thoreau Prize for her 2015 book The Human Age, about new efforts to save the planet. Her other works include A Natural History of the Senses (1990); the memoir and Pulitzer finalist One Hundred Names for Love (2011), and The Zookeeper’s Wife (2007), the true story of a Warsaw zookeeper’s family that saved 300 Jews during the Holocaust, which will be released as a film starring Oscar-nominated actress Jessica Chastain on March 31st. A trailer for the new film will be screened at the 8PM event.


For more about the Visiting Writers Series:  http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/programpages/vws.html  

For more information, contact the NYS Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or visit us online at www.albany.edu/writers-inst.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Lydia Kulbida Joins Film Panel This Friday 3/3!

Lydia Kulbida will join our pre-film discussion about His Girl Friday (1940) with leading local journalists this coming Friday at Page Hall (newly added event). Lydia is a prominent Capital Region broadcast journalist who co-anchors News10ABC at 4pm with Elisa Streeter and Chief Meteorologist Steve Caporizzo, and also co-anchors News10ABC at 6pm and FOX23 News at 10pm with John Gray.

March 3 (Friday): HIS GIRL FRIDAY
Pre-screening talk with Lydia Kulbida, Rosemary Armao, Marion Roach Smith and Casey Seiler about the challenges facing women in journalism —
7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus, 1400 Washington Ave.
Film screening to follow— 8:00 p.m.
Directed by Howard Hawks (United States, 1940, 92 minutes, b/w)
Starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
A newspaper editor uses every trick he can think of to stop his top reporter—and ex-wife—from quitting journalism and hopping a train to Albany to marry another man with the intention of settling into a new life as a housewife. This fast-paced comedy with overlapping dialogue was adapted by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur from their  Broadway hit The Front Page. Chicago Reader reviewer Dave Kehr described Cary Grant’s performance as “…truly virtuoso— stunning technique applied to the most challenging material.” The American Film Institute ranked His Girl Friday at #19 in its list of the best American comedies of all time. Quentin Tarantino credits the film with teaching him to write dialogue.
 
A new high-definition digital restoration of His Girl Friday will be shown.






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Monday, February 27, 2017

New Event! Local Journalists On Stage at His Girl Friday Screening

Rosemary Armao, Marion Roach Smith and Casey Seiler will engage the audience in conversation about women in journalism at our free upcoming screening of His Girl Friday (this coming Friday, March 3rd).
March 3 (Friday): HIS GIRL FRIDAY
Pre-screening talk with Rosemary Armao, Marion Roach Smith and Casey Seiler about the challenges facing women in journalism — 7:30 p.m., Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus, 1400 Washington Ave.
Film screening to follow— 8:00 p.m.
Directed by Howard Hawks (United States, 1940, 92 minutes, b/w)
Starring Cary Grant, Rosalind Russell, Ralph Bellamy
A newspaper editor uses every trick he can think of to stop his top reporter—and ex-wife—from quitting journalism and hopping a train to Albany to marry another man with the intention of settling into a new life as a housewife. This fast-paced comedy with overlapping dialogue was adapted by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur from their  Broadway hit The Front Page. Chicago Reader reviewer Dave Kehr described Cary Grant’s performance as “…truly virtuoso— stunning technique applied to the most challenging material.” The American Film Institute ranked His Girl Friday at #19 in its list of the best American comedies of all time. Quentin Tarantino credits the film with teaching him to write dialogue.

A new high-definition digital restoration of His Girl Friday will be shown.

Rosemary Armao, a star of WAMC’s “The Roundtable,” is the Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany. She is a former Executive Director of Investigative Reporters and Editors and former President of the Journalism and Women Symposium.

Marion Roach Smith is the author of four mass-market books. A former staffer at The New York Times, she has been a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered and a talk show host on Sirius Satellite Radio. She currently teaches writing online and serves as a working member of the Friends of The New York State Writers Institute.

Casey Seiler is the Times Union state editor and columnist, and previously served as the paper’s entertainment editor.

For more information contact the New York State Writers Institute at 518 442 5620 or visit us online at www.writers.edu/inst.
A newspaper editor uses every trick he can think of to stop his top reporter—and ex-wife—from quitting journalism and hopping a train to Albany to marry another man, with the intention of settling into a new life as a housewife. This fast-paced comedy with overlapping dialogue was adapted by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur from their Broadway hit The Front Page. Chicago Reader reviewer Dave Kehr described Cary Grant’s performance as “…truly virtuoso— stunning technique applied to the most challenging material.” The American Film Institute ranked His Girl Friday at #19 in its list of the best American comedies of all time. Quentin Tarantino credits the film with teaching him to write
A new high-definition digital restoration of His Girl Friday will be shown.


Rosemary Armao, a star of WAMC’s “The Roundtable,” is the Director of the Journalism Program at the University at Albany. She is a former Executive Director of Investigative Reporters and Editors and former President of the Journalism and Women Symposium.


Marion Roach Smith is the author of four mass-market books. A former staffer at The New York Times, she has been a commentator on NPR’s All Things Considered and a talk show host on Sirius Satellite Radio. She currently teaches writing online and serves as a working member of the Friends of The New York State Writers Institute.


Casey Seiler is the Times Union state editor and columnist, and previously served as the paper’s entertainment editor.


For more information contact the New York State Writers Institute at 518 442 5620 or visit us online at www.writers.edu/inst.


 








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Friday, February 17, 2017

New Event! Sacco & Vanzetti Brown Bag Lunch 2/21

You are invited to bring your lunch to the following free events:
February 21 (Tuesday): THE TRIALS AND EXECUTIONS OF SACCO AND VANZETTI...
Discussion-- 12:15 pm, Husted Hall, Room 014, University at Albany Downtown Campus
Moderator: Frankie Bailey, Ph.D. – Professor of Criminal Justice
Panelists: Gerald Zahavi, Ph.D. – Professor of History, “The Anarchist World of Sacco and Vanzetti”
Richard Hamm, Ph.D. – Professor of History, “What the Sacco and Vanzetti Case Meant to One Legal Liberal”

Picture:  Ben Shahn's Sacco and Vanzetti
Sponsored by the School of Criminal Justice’s “Crime and Multiculturalism in the 21st Century”

series in association with Friday’s free upcoming film event:


February 24 (Friday): SACCO AND VANZETTI
Film screening followed by a conversation with director Peter Miller and film editor Amy Linton — 7:00 p.m. [note early start time], Page Hall, 135 Western Avenue, Downtown Campus
Directed by Peter Miller (United States, 2006, 80 minutes, color)
This documentary, winner of the American Historical Association’s best film award, tells the story of two Italian politically radical immigrants charged with the 1920 robbery of a Massachusetts shoe factory and the murder of two of its employees. As it recounts their trials, public protests, and appeals on their behalf the film offers insights into present-day issues of civil liberties and immigrant rights. Ken Burns called it “A wonderful film, as timeless as the struggle for human justice, as relevant as today’s headlines.”
Peter Miller is an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films include the theatrically-released A.K.A. DOC POMUS, JEWS AND BASEBALL, and SACCO AND VANZETTI. He has directed numerous documentaries for PBS and has been a producer for documentaries by Ken Burns and Lynn Novak including THE WAR and JAZZ, and the Peabody Award-winning FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT.
Amy Linton has edited numerous award-winning films including Julie Dash’s DAUGHTERS OF THE DUST, a Sundance winner that was selected for the Library of Congress’ National Film Registry. She has worked on dozens of documentaries, feature films, and music videos in her 25-year career.
Sponsored by the Writers Institute in conjunction with UAlbany’s School of Criminal Justice’s Justice & Multiculturalism in the 21st Century: Crime, Justice, and Public Memory Film Series

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A Silent Film Speaks Loudly

Read Amy Biancolli's article about the rediscovered and restored African American silent film classic, Within Our Gates, to be screened tonight at Page Hall at 7:30:
"Within Our Gates" was made almost a century ago, but its message still trembles with urgency. All people are equal. All races are human. All children deserve a good education, and all parents deserve a hope and a chance.

None of that should classify as revolutionary, should it? None of it should need to be said. And yet it's impossible to watch Oscar Micheaux's germinal work — the earliest surviving feature by an African-American filmmaker — without finding immediate and manifest parallels with issues still facing the nation.

Read more:  http://www.timesunion.com/tuplus-features/article/Early-work-of-black-cinema-to-be-screened-at-10938670.php

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Monday, February 13, 2017

Nancy Jo Sales on Girls and Social Media

February 16 (Thursday):  Nancy Jo Sales, journalist and nonfiction writer
Reading/discussion — 8:00 p.m., Campus Center Room 375

Nancy Jo Sales is known for work that focuses on youth culture and crime, and pop-culture icons. Her book American Girls: Social Media and the Secret Lives of Teenagers (2016) is an investigation into how social media has presented girls with unprecedented challenges. USA Today said Sales, “… offer[s] a harrowing glimpse into a world where self-esteem, friendships and sexuality…are defined by the parameters of social media.” Newsday recommended “If you have a teenage daughter, read American Girls. Have her read it, too.” Sales is also the author of The Bling Ring: How a Gang of Fame-Obsessed Teens Ripped Off Hollywood and Shocked the World (2013, see February 10 Classic Film Series listing).



Sponsored in association with UAlbany’s Sexuality Month, a program of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program of Counseling and Psychological Services

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

CANCELLED: HELEN CZERSKI EVENTS THURS. 2/9

Unfortunately, today's events with Helen Czerski will be cancelled due to weather.
We have no information at this time about a rescheduled appearance.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Helen Czerski on Hyenas and Their Sense of Smell

Helen Czerski, the BBC's female face of science TV, talks about hyenas and their sense of smell, and what engineers can learn from them. Czerski visits Albany from London this coming Thursday.

Video courtesy of University College London's UCLTV.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NY-OCWK3Ulc

More about her upcoming visit: http://www.albany.edu/writers-inst/webpages4/archives/czerski_helen17.html#.WJngmU3FDs0

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Book Trailer for Storm in A Teacup

Watch Helen Czerski's book trailer for Storm in a Teacup on YouTube.

You can also make a lava lamp with lemonade and raisins.

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Shaka Senghor's visit to UAlbany on Feb. 1st is featured in The Alt.


As much as Senghor’s story is the personal journey of one man seeking redemption and hope, it is also much larger than one single man. “Mr. Senghor’s story provides us with insight into the challenges faced by many young African American men in urban communities and American prisons,” said Frankie Bailey, UAlbany criminal justice professor and chairperson of the event committee. “His emergence as a leader in the criminal justice reform movement illustrates the capacity of those same men for redemption and growth. His message is about becoming a force for positive change.”


More: http://thealt.com/…/07/writing-wrongs-shaka-senghor-ualbany/

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Author Phyllis Bennis on ISIS and Terror 2/8


“Understanding ISIS and the New Global War on Terror”
a lecture by writer and activist Phyllis Bennis.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017
10:30 a.m.
Campus Center 375, University at Albany
(uptown campus)

FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.. She has written and edited eleven books, including Understanding ISIS & the New Global War on Terror: A Primer,  Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict,  Before& After: US Foreign Policy and the War on Terror and Challenging Empire: How People, Governments and the UN Defy U.S. Power. She has served as an informal adviser to several top UN officials on Middle East and UN democratization issues.

Co-Sponsors:
UUP Albany Chapter
UAlbany Department of Communications
Women against War

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Regina Carter on Saturday, MacArthur Genius & Jazz Violinist

Sat. Afternoon 2/11: WAMC's Joe Donahue live in conversation with MacArthur Genius, Jazz
Violinist Regina Carter, FREE EVENT
February 11 (Saturday):
Regina Carter, jazz violinist
Conversation — 4:30 p.m., Recital Hall, Performing Arts Center, UAlbany Uptown Campus, 1400 Washington Ave., Free Parking.
...
Classically trained, Regina Carter is considered the foremost jazz violinist of her generation. She studied at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and Oakland University. She lived and played in Germany and Detroit before moving to New York City to play with the New York String Trio for six years. She then launched her career as a band leader, releasing several albums of contemporary jazz, and drew attention for her work on the recording of Wynton Marsalis’s composition “Blood on the Fields” which won a Pulitzer Prize. She toured with Marsalis in 1997 and went on the road with jazz vocalist Cassandra Wilson in 1998. In 2001, Regina became the first jazz musician and the first African-American to play the 250-year-old Guarneri violin once owned by Niccolo Paganini when she performed in a special benefit concert and recorded her CD, Paganini: After a Dream, a mix of classical music and jazz. In 2006, she was selected as a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius Award.” Her current project is “Simply Ella,” celebrating the centennial of Ella Fitzgerald’s birth, which she will perform at The Egg at 8 p.m. on February 11.
For more about the conversation contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620.
(For ticket information contact The Egg Box Office at 518-473-1845.)

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Friday, February 3, 2017

Paul Grondahl to Lead NYS Writers Institute


Paul Grondahl Tapped to Lead Writers Institute

The New York State Writers Institute and the University at Albany are very pleased to announce the appointment of award-winning writer and reporter Paul Grondahl as the new director of the New York State Writers Institute.
Grondahl, who earned a master’s degree in English at UAlbany in 1984, was selected after a national search for a successor to Donald Faulkner, who retired last year.
“Paul is one of the best-known and most-loved writers in our community. I am confident that under Paul’s leadership, the New York State Writers Institute will reach new heights,” UAlbany’s Interim Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Darrell P. Wheeler said. “I look forward to collaborating with him and the Institute’s many friends and supporters.”
William Kennedy, Founder and Executive Director of the Writers Institute said “Paul is a great choice for director of the Writers Institute for a lot of reasons. Above all, he’s a serious writer. He’s very savvy about literature and writers, and as a journalist, he’s nonpareil – maybe the best we’ve had in this town in 30 years or more.  He’s written two well-received biographies of major political figures on our local stage – Teddy Roosevelt, and Erastus Corning, the singular mayor of Albany for 42 years.  Paul also got his masters in English at UAlbany and he’s covered many of the major writers who have visited the Institute.” 
Grondahl, an award-winning journalist and biographer, has been a staff writer at the Albany Times Union since 1984, where his projects on domestic violence, death and dying, mental illness in state prisons and the problems facing sub-Saharan Africa have won local, state and national journalism awards.
The author of four books, Grondahl also leads writing workshops for students ranging from elementary school to college. He has taught as writer-in-residence at the Albany Academy and Albany Academy for Girls since 2005, and is an adjunct professor in the Africana Studies Department at UAlbany.

“I feel like I’m coming home,” Grondahl said about the appointment, and indeed in some ways he is.
Paul himself appeared twice as an author in the Institute’s Visiting Writer Series—in 1997 with his book Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma, and in 2004 to discuss his biography of Theodore Roosevelt, I Rose Like a Rocket. Beginning with Saul Bellow’s inaugural reading in 1984, Paul has attended hundreds of Institute programs, not only as journalist, but also as a reader and a passionate supporter of the art of the written word.


Paul Grondahl Biography
Paul Grondahl is an award-winning journalist and author. Grondahl has been a staff writer at the Albany Times Union since 1984, where his assignments have taken him from the Arctic to Antarctica; from Northern Ireland to Africa; from New Orleans immediately after Hurricane Katrina and Haiti after its catastrophic earthquake in 2010; and across New York State, from Ground Zero on 9/​11 to the Adirondack wilderness.

His in-depth newspaper projects on domestic violence, death and dying, mental illness in state prisons and the problems facing sub-Saharan Africa have won a number of local, state and national journalism awards.

Grondahl’s writing prizes include the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi Award for Feature Reporting; Scripps Howard National Journalism Award; New York Newspaper Publishers Association; two first place national feature writing prizes from The Society for Features Journalists; more than a dozen New York State Associated Press writing contest awards; and the Hearst Eagle Award, the highest recognition for a reporter in the Hearst Corp.

The author of four books, Grondahl also was named Albany Author of the Year in 1997 by the Albany Public Library and Notable Author of the Year by the Guilderland Public Library and East Greenbush Public Library, both in 2004. He has been featured on C-SPAN's "About Books" and "Book TV."

Grondahl also has been selected several times in recent years as Best Local Journalist and Best Local Author in Metroland and Times Union readers’ polls.

In addition, he received the 2006 Dr. James M. Bell Humanitarian Award from Parsons Child and Family Center.

His work has appeared in a number of publications, including Smithsonian magazine, Newsday, The New York Times Book Review, the Houston Chronicle and other newspapers.

His second book, That Place Called Home, was excerpted in Reader’s Digest and optioned to CBS, where it went into development as a made-for-TV movie but was never produced.

In addition to his own books, Grondahl has contributed introductions to A Collection of Poems by Lewis A. Swyer (The Swyer Foundation/​Mount Ida Press, 2004) and Stepping Stones by Marty Silverman (Whitston Publishing Co., 2003).

Grondahl is a veteran teacher who leads highly regarded writing workshops with students ranging from elementary school to college. For the past decade, he has worked with high school students through the Minds-On workshop program at the Rensselaerville Institute and with high school seniors in the New Visions Public Communications program at the Times Union. He has taught as writer-in-residence at the Albany Academy and Albany Academy for Girls since 2005. He also has been an adjunct professor in the Africana Studies Department at the University at Albany.

Grondahl received his bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington in 1981 and a Master’s degree in English literature from the University at Albany in 1984. He was honored in 2005 as a distinguished alumni in arts and letters from UAlbany.

Publications:
I Rose Like a Rocket:  The Political Education of Theodore Roosevelt

University of Nebraska Press. (Paperback edition) May, 2007.

"A well-told new biography...Albany is Mr. Grondahl's turf, and here he gives free rein to his expertise."
-- The New York Sun
"What Mr. Grondahl makes clearer is how Roosevelt's principled stands on civil service reform and social responsibility periodically sidetracked his phenomenal career."
-- Washington Times
"An outstanding job of documenting Theodore Roosevelt's evolution from brash young political reformer to shrewd and pragmatic political operator...painted quite deftly by Grondahl."
-- Publishers Weekly


Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma

Washington Park Press. Albany, N.Y., 1997.

(With an introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author William Kennedy.)

A rich and compelling political biography of Mayor Erastus Corning 2nd, the nation's longest-tenured mayor of an American city and head of Albany's vaunted Democratic machine. First elected in 1941, Corning served until he died in office in 1983 after winning 11 consecutive elections.

"A minor classic — a highly readable, meticulously researched and illuminating history of some fascinating and shadowy byways in the politics of the Empire State."
-- The New York Times Book Review
"Detailed, accurate and eminently readable."
-- Mario M. Cuomo, former Governor of New York

"Here journalism at its finest merges with the art of the novelist. The book indeed resembles a series of fascinating interlocking novellas."
-- R.W.B. Lewis, Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer
That Place Called Home
Servant Publications. Ann Arbor, Mich., 2000.

(With a foreword by Eunice Kennedy Shriver)
This heartwarming story describes how Sr. Mary Ann LoGiudice, a Sister of Mercy in Albany, N.Y., gained approval from her religious order to adopt and raise a young girl named Barbara, both of whose parents died of AIDS. The nun and the young, HIV-positive girl formed an unlikely family and enjoyed many delightful, challenging and inspiring years together as mother and daughter.

"Her story is immensely moving and life-affirming."
-- Bob Keeler, Newsday religious writer
"One of the most moving testimonies to the power of love that I have ever read."
-- Sister Mary Rose McGeady, D.C. President of Covenant House, New York City
Now Is The Time:  A History of Parsons Child and Family Center 1829-2004

Whitston Publishing Company Inc. Albany, N.Y., 2006.

A narrative history of one of the oldest orphanages in the United States that draws on archival research and oral histories. Founded in 1829 and formerly known as the Albany Orphan Asylum and the Albany Home for Children, this is a powerful and emotionally charged chronicle of often forgotten children left in institutional care.

"Grondahl uses his storytelling skills to make readers curious about the institution, to draw them into the lives of children and staff -- and to inspire them to care about those lives.
-- The Sunday Gazette, Schenectady, NY

For additional information, contact the Writers Institute at 518-442-5620 or online at www.albany.edu/writers-inst.

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Howard Frank Mosher, In Memoriam

The New York State Writers Institute mourns the passing of novelist Howard Frank Mosher who delighted Albany audiences on November 1st, 2016. Mosher was widely celebrated as "the voice of Vermont." Born in the Catskills, he spent much of his childhood in Altamont, New York.


From yesterday's Vermont Public Radio obituary:  "Acclaimed Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher has died. Mosher, 74, succumbed to cancer Sunday morning at his home in Irasburg.

His stories celebrated the Northeast Kingdom as the last bastion of a people and a way of life that has all but disappeared from Vermont."  More.


Listen to Joe Donahue's Nov. 1st WAMC interview.


More about Mosher's visit to the Writers Institute.


From the Oct. 2016 Times Union profile of Mosher by Joe Stalvey and Jack Rightmyer:  "I was actually born in the Catskill Mountains, and I lived there till I was 11 or 12," he says, "and then we moved to Altamont, where I attended grade six through nine. Many of my stories also reach back to that time in my boyhood."He fondly recalls fishing in the Helderberg Mountains and going to the Altamont Fair every summer. "The description of the county fair in my newest book 'God's Kingdom' is how I remember the Altamont Fair," he says. "("God's Kingdom") is pretty autobiographical," Mosher says. "Jim is based on me, and like him, I always wanted to be a writer. Most of the characters are based on my friends and relatives, including my wife. The newspaper editor is based on my dad, who was a teacher and once the principal of Altamont High School. He was the principal the first two years of Guilderland High School." More.

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Thursday, January 26, 2017

2/1 Shaka Senghor, author imprisoned 19 years for murder


2017 Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Keynote Speaker
February 1 (Wednesday):  Shaka Senghor, author imprisoned 19 years for murder, and prison reform activist
Lecture: “Your Worst Deeds Do Not Define You” — 7:00 p.m., Campus Center Ballroom
Reception prior to the event, 5:30-6:45, Patroon Room, Campus Center, open to public

Shaka Senghor,
inspirational speaker and leading voice in criminal justice reform, is the author of the memoir Writing My Wrongs (2016), a New York Times bestseller that candidly recounts his life growing up in an abusive household in Detroit during the height of the 1980s crack epidemic, his 19-year incarceration for murder at the age of 19, and the tools he used to confront his past and construct his future. Filmmaker J. J. Abrams praised the book describing it as “A profound story of neglect, violence, discovery, redemption and inspiration….Prepare to have your preconceptions shattered.”

 

Note:  A free reception with a variety of food and beverage options will be offered in advance of UAlbany's MLK Jr. Celebration and Lecture.


Senghor’s talk is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the Student Association and University Auxiliary Services in collaboration with the New York State Writers Institute

 

For more information about the event visit the following news release,  http://www.albany.edu/news/75851.php or contact Media Relations at (518) 956-8150

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