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UAlbany Spring Semester Features Author E. L. Doctorow, Big Purple Growl and America East Tournament

ALBANY, N.Y. (Jan. 15, 2014) -- The 2014 spring semester at the University at Albany will offer a rich array of events including the Big Purple Growl and Ferocious Feast on Feb. 1, an appearance by major American author E. L. Doctorow on Feb. 27, and the America East Tournament for men's and women’s basketball, March 7-10. These activities encompassing renowned authors, art exhibits and musical performances, as well as exciting sports events and the commemoration of Black History Month, are open to both the campus community and the community-at-large.

Exhibition of paintings by Lamar Peterson

The exhibition Blue Plastic Bubbles, paintings by Lamar Peterson, is one of two exhibitions on display at the University Art Museum Feb. 4-April 5.

Big Purple Growl

UAlbany will celebrate school pride at the perennial favorite Big Purple Growl and Ferocious Feast on Saturday, Feb. 1, at the SEFCU Arena and the University Gym. In its 17th year, the event features food, prizes and a puppy pound, and attracts more than 4,000 fans.

This year the Great Danes take on the Vermont Catamounts in women’s and men’s basketball, beginning at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively. As part of the tradition, the Alumni Association is accepting non-perishable food items and monetary donations for its Drive Out Hunger Food Campaign to benefit The Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York.

In addition, basketball excitement continues when the America East Tournament comes to UAlbany March 7-10 at the SEFCU Arena. Men play March 7-9, while the women compete March 7-10. This is a first-class tournament for America East, its schools, basketball fans and the Capital Region.

Writers Institute

The New York State Writers Institute will host E. L. Doctorow, recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters 2013 Gold Medal, and the National Book Foundation’s 2013 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Doctorow’s latest novel is Andrew’s Brain, one man’s reflections on his eventful life, loves, and tragedies, and a probing inquiry into the reliability of memory. Doctorow’s novels include World’s Fair (1985), winner of the National Book Award, and four other finalists for the same prize – The Book of Daniel (1971), Loon Lake (1980), Billy Bathgate (1989) and The March (2005). His 1975 novel Ragtime became a 1998 Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, as well as a 1981 film. Ragtime will be shown on Feb. 7.

In addition to Doctorow, the New York State Writers Institute schedule includes:

·         Award-winning poet and activist Carolyn Forché (Poetry of Witness), Jan. 30.

·         Fiction writers Walter Mosley (Little Green) and Frankie Y. Bailey (The Red Queen Dies), Feb. 4.

·         Short story writer James D. Redwood (Love Beneath the Napalm), Feb. 18.

·         Investigative journalist Nick Turse (Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam), Feb. 19.

·         A celebration of poet and translator Pierre Joris (Barzakh: Selected Poems), March 5.

·        2013 Tony Award-winning playwright Christopher Durang (Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Mike), March 10.

·         Award-winning Ethiopian-American novelist Dinaw Mengestu (All Our Names), March 13.

·         Fiction and non-fiction author Walter Kirn (Blood Will Out), March 25.

·         National Book Award Winner Julia Glass (Three Junes, And the Dark Sacred Night), April 3.

·         Fiction writer and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Francesca Marciano (I Travel Alone, The Other Language), April 11.

·         Prize-winning Indian-American fiction writer Akhil Sharma (Family Life), April 22.

·         Emmy-winning Director Rob Fruchtman (Sweet Dreams), April 25.

·         Author Robert H. Patton, grandson of WWII General George S. Patton (Hell Before Breakfast), April 29.

·         Screenwriter Austin Bunn (Kill Your Darlings), May 2.

Black History Month

UAlbany will commemorate Black History Month with the 35th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr./Black History Month Luncheon featuring business motivator Patricia Russell-McCloud, J.D. on Feb. 6.  Russell-McCloud was identified by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the top five business motivators in the U.S. Her ability to substantively address issues – including achieving excellence, assuming leadership, managing workplace diversity, business ownership, and business operation – has motivated audiences to make a positive difference.

In addition, the month will be marked by two special performances including:

·         Gesel Mason in No Boundaries: Dancing the Visions of Contemporary Black Choreographers, a Performing Arts Center Prime Performance, Feb. 8. These original and historical solo works represent almost seven decades of choreographic vision by, for, and about, African-Americans. Rennie Harris, Donald McKayle and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar’s dances are featured along with commissioned works by Mason herself.

·         American Place Theatre Performance of Richard Wright’s Black Boy, Feb. 12, a PAC Prime Performance. American Place Theatre makes its triumphant tenth return to UAlbany with a verbatim adaptation of the first half of the classic American autobiographical work. Premiered in 2005 at the Kennedy Center, the show dramatizes Richard Wright’s journey from childhood innocence to adulthood in the Jim Crow South. Tarantino Smith plays upwards of 15 characters from this epic novel whose issues still resonate in today’s cultural dialogue.

Sexuality Week, Feb. 3-20

UAlbany celebrates Sexuality Week Feb. 3-20; a week of opportunities for college students across the nation to explore critical issues and choices related to gender issues, HIV/AIDS, relationships, identity, and reproductive health.

The series of educational forums will kick off on February 3 at 7 p.m. with Yale humanist chaplain Chris Stedman for “Finding Our Common Humanity: Humanizing Atheists, the Religious and the LGBTQ Community” in Campus Center 375. Stedman is a prolific author whose work regularly appears in Salon, CNN, MSNBC, The Huffington Post, and The Washington Post's On Faith column. He is the author of Faitheist: How an Atheist Found Common Ground with the Religious (Beacon Press/Random House).

At 8 p.m. on Feb. 11, women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke will serve as keynote speaker for “The Power of One” in the Campus Center Ballroom on the Uptown Campus. Fluke, an attorney, gained prominence in February 2012 when Republican congressmen, all men, refused to allow her to testify to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the issue of requiring insurance plans to cover birth control. She later spoke to only House Democratic members. Fluke was a featured speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention.

University Art Museum

The exhibition Blue Plastic Bubbles, paintings by Lamar Peterson, will be on display at the University Art Museum (UAM), Feb. 4-April 5.  This exhibition looks at the last 10 years of Peterson’s darkly comic portrayals of the American Dream. Peterson is best known for his candy-colored, meticulously-rendered narrative paintings of the black suburban everyman and his nuclear family. Ever smiling, these characters occupy sunny beaches and well-manicured lawns oblivious to larger issues surrounding race, community, economic uncertainty, and social upheaval.

A second exhibition, American Playlist: Selections from the University at Albany Art Collection, will also be on display Feb. 4- April 5, at the UAM, with works by Edward Steichen, Jacob Lawrence, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and UAlbany alums. American Playlist will include more than 125 artworks selected from the University at Albany Art Collections. Cutting a wide swath across American art, history, and culture from the early 1900s through 2012, the exhibition presents the work of iconic American masters.

Performing Arts Center Prime Performances

The University’s Performing Arts Center will offer a series of music and dance performances this spring including:

·         Pianist Frank Glazer, Jan. 28.

·         Gesel Mason: No Boundaries, Feb. 8. (See Black History Month, above.)

·         An Interplay of Physics and Dance with Physics Professor Earle Keith and Choreographer Ellen Sinopoli, April 22.

·         ChoreoPhysics: Seeing the Science, Envisioning the Invisible, Ellen Sinopoli Dance Company, April 25. For a full schedule and information on tickets, visit the Performing Arts Center site.

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