Welcome back to Victory Lane, Greg Biffle.The veteran driver secured his first win of the season Sunday, winning the Quicken Loans 400 at Michigan International Speedway. It was his first win since, well, the fall race at Michigan, giving the driver back-to-back wins at the 2-mile track.Tony Stewart joined Biffle in the top five for the second consecutive week. The Stewart-Haas Racing owner finished fifth.Joey Logano finished ninth, giving the Coca-Cola Racing Family three drivers in the top 10. And while Danica Patrick missed out on the top 10, she had her best showing since April.A roundup on the Coca-Cola Racing Family in order of how they finished at Michigan: Tony Stewart (No. 14)Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet Recap: What an ascent from three-time champion Tony Stewart. In 20th place less than a month ago, he’s now cracked the top 10 in the standings. Even if he falls out of the top 10, he is in good standing for a Wild Card berth to the Chase due to his win at Dover. Stewart’s fifth-place showing at Michigan — which came in a back-up car — was his third consecutive top-five and fourth consecutive top-10. There are 11 races to go before the field for the Chase is set.Quotable: “I think we definitely got a lot of luck there at the end, but we’ll definitely take it because we haven’t had much to this point in the year. A caution came out at the right time, and we got a good restart. Two of the guys ahead of us — one had fuel trouble and one had a tire issue — so we got some breaks going our way. It was a good weekend for me (after) putting us in a hole as far as I did on Friday crashing our primary car. But I’m proud of these guys, and I’m definitely proud of the effort this week. I thought our guys did a good job.”His standing: Stewart is 10th in the standings with 417 points. Outlook: Stewart’s time has been gritty all year. Now that it has a bit of luck, can anyone slow the veteran’s chase to the Chase? Joey Logano (No. 22)Penske Racing, FordRecap: Again, Logano found himself in the top 10 following Sunday’s race (he finished ninth). It’s the fourth consecutive top-10 for the driver, who has worked his to 14th in the standings, in a pack of drivers who are separated by precious few points. Logano’s early-season issues seem to be behind him.Quotable: “Of course I think everyone knows that this Shell-Pennzoil Ford Fusion was much better than ninth today. So yeah, in that sense it is always frustrating. However, that’s good when you can finish in the top 10 and still be frustrated with it. When you are getting to the point to where you finish up there and you expect more, that means you are hitting your stride. All-in-all, it was a really good day. We ran strong, we led laps and we proved we were a car to contend with this afternoon. Sure we would have liked to have finished in the top three, which is where I think we could have run, but I’ll take another top 10. It was a good points day for sure.”His standing: Logano is 14th in the standings with 405 points. Outlook: Logano has just four starts at the road course in Sonoma, and he’s done well the past two years. In 2011, he was on the pole and finished sixth. Last year, he finished 10th. Such a showing at a tricky course in 2013 could vault him into the top 12. Greg Biffle (No. 16)Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Recap: One week after his runner-up finish at Pocono Raceway, Biffle found himself in Victory Lane for the first time this season. And what a trip it’s been. The No. 16 team struggled for a month early in the season, falling out of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup picture. With a victory to fall back on, Biffle can’t quite breathe easy, but at eighth in the standings, he appears to be in good shape. The win Sunday was also the 1,000th for manufacturer Ford in NASCAR.Quotable: “Yeah, it’s definitely a special day. It was Father’s Day, my first, Emma’s first Victory Lane today, so that was pretty special for me. You know, we certainly didn’t probably have the fastest car today at times and kept working on it, kept making slight adjustments on pit stops, and you know, track position is huge with our car, and it’s been well documented that we feel like we’ve been a little bit behind this season. We’ve been gaining on it. It looks like we’re well on our way to getting some speed back in these cars, and continue to work on them and figure them out and get them to be just a little bit better yet. It was fun racing with those guys.”His standing: Biffle is eighth in the standings with 443 points. Outlook: Biffle is known as a strong race on 1.5-mile tracks and up. That’s true. But he may get somewhat of a bad rap on road courses. This week’s race is at Sonoma Raceway, a 1.99-mile road course in northern California. Biffle was seventh there last year and has four top-10s in the past seven races at the track. Biffle wins at Michigan; three Coca-Cola Racing Family drivers in top 10 Danica Patrick (No. 10)Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet Recap: Patrick typically does well on wide, flat, fast tracks. Sunday at Michigan was no different. Patrick finished 13th on the 2-mile Michigan track, her best showing since finishing 12th at Martinsville — a different type of track altogether — in April. Crew chief Tony Gibson has told Patrick that she’s been the bug for a while, and her time as the windshield was coming. Is it here?Quotable: “I think we caught some breaks out there. Yellows definitely helped us be able to get track position as far as closing up the gaps and being able to pit a few times. We tried to take right side (tires) and get track position early on. It just didn’t go well, and we just hadn’t gotten ourselves to a good place with the car that I could carry the speed that I needed to run with the (pack). It didn’t work out so well. We worked on it and got it better. At the end of the race, the last run was the best run I felt as far as the balance of the car, which I was surprised because we had fallen off a little bit at the end of the run before. This will hopefully get everyone’s head up a little bit, and we will go on. I think we have been strong lately. We just needed to have days like today where we finished it off.”Her standing: Patrick is 27th in the standings with 277 points. Outlook: Her experience at fast, big tracks won’t help this weekend. Patrick is headed to Sonoma to get a taste of road-course racing. Ryan Newman (No. 39)Stewart-Haas Racing, Chevrolet Recap: Good pit strategy worked to Newman’s favor last week. This week at Michigan, it was plain, old bad luck that cost him. A great pit stop gained Newman 10 spots, and he was in seventh with less than 30 laps to go. A flat tire wrecked Newman’s chances. The driver felt his tire go flat during the caution, and so he came back to pit road again. The crew put on new wheels, and Newman didn’t lose a lap, but he came out of pit road in 25th place.Quotable: “That was a tough break for our Quicken Loans team. When we came out seventh after that pit stop, and we finally had some track position and the clean air that we needed, I really thought that we were going to ‘Bring It Home’ for Quicken Loans and get another top-five finish and pay five people’s mortgages for a month. I really wanted to have a strong run for Quicken Loans in their race, in their backyard, so I’m pretty disappointed right now.”His standing: Newman is 18th in the standings with 389 points. Outlook: His top-five streak snapped at Michigan, Newman must look toward the future. It looks likely he’ll need a win, and possibly more than one, to qualify for the Chase. Denny Hamlin (No. 11)Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Recap: Hamlin lost the points position he gained last week following a 30th-place outing in which his No. 11 Toyota was a mess on the slick Michigan surface. Hamlin, though, was in the spotlight for a good reason. To honor the life of Jason Leffler, who died in a sprint-car crash earlier in the week, Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota underwent a retro paint scheme to have a similar look as the car Leffler drove in 2005.Quotable: “It was an idea that I had to pay tribute to Jason (Leffler) in today’s race. We had become friends over the past several years and had the same circle of friends, so it meant a lot to me to honor his memory. I have to thank JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) and FedEx for letting us do this — Jason was there at the start with FedEx joining JGR back in 2005 and there are still about five crew members on the team that were on the team with Jason so I know it was real special to all of them. Also want to thank NASCAR for letting us change the wrap on the car on such short notice — just wanted to help pay tribute to Jason.”His standing: Hamlin is 26th in the standings with 299 points. Outlook: A 14-point day isn’t what Hamlin needs. Even if he picks up a win soon, he’s still 85 points behind 20th-place Kurt Busch.
Last November in New York City, during a Midnight North (Grahame Lesh’s band) show at New York City venue SOB’s, both Phil Lesh and Bob Weir took the stage together for the first time since the Grateful Dead’s 50th Anniversary Fare Thee Well shows. As Bobby stepped on to the stage with Midnight North on “West LA Fadeaway” and “Looks Like Rain”, the elder Lesh joined the group for “Mr. Charlie” and “Playing In The Band” for the official reunion. Pro-shot footage of the “Playing In The Band” performance has emerged. Check it out below!Midnight North will be joining Tom Hamilton’s American Babies w/ special guests Marco Benevento and Oteil Burbridge for a post-Dead & Company show on Sunday, July 3rd at The Fox Theatre in Boulder, CO. Check HERE for more information.Bob Weir and Phil Lesh join Midnight North on “Playing In The Band”:For those of you feeling extra Grateful, here is the entire show:Setlist: Midnight North at SOB’s, New York, NY – 11/4/2015:One Night Stand – EPRoamin’ – AllMiss M – EPSuite: Judy Blue Eyes (CSN) – AllFind A Way – GLWest LA Fadeaway* – BobLooks Like Rain* – BobMr Charlie** – EPPlaying In The Band** – BobCumberland Blues*** – AllThe Highway Song – EPPhoenix Motel – EPBird Song*** – PLWind & Roses*** – GLStayin’ Single, Drinkin’ Doules – EPUnbroken Chain*** – PLLuxury Liner (Gram Parsons) – EPEnd Of The Night – EP*w/ Bob Weir**w/ Bob & Phil Lesh***w/ Phil
Lettuce brought their jams to the House of Blues Boston for a proper funky New Year’s Eve celebration, ringing in the New Year with an exciting display of their psychedelic style. For the occasion, Lettuce recruited the frequent Vulfpeck collaborator Antwaun Stanley, who emerged for a handful of songs on New Year’s.Lettuce and Vulfpeck crossed paths at Lettuce’s debut festival, Fool’s Paradise, back in April of 2016. Though members of each band shared the stage during the Fool’s late night party, Lettuce took that ideal to the next level by covering a Vulfpeck classic with their singer. They debuted a cover of “Funky Duck”, a track off Vulfpeck’s Thrill of the Arts album, and had the crowd going wild for the celebration.You can see their collaboration in the videos below, but the sound quality unfortunately leaves something to be desired.More clips of the collaboration have emerged, which you can see below. Lettuce is hosting their second annual Fool’s Paradise in St. Augustine, FL this March 31 & April 1, and guess what, Antwaun Stanley will also be on site as an artist-at-large! Performing alongside Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, The Floozies, The Motet, Oteil Burbridge, and so many more, learn more about the event here.
Umphrey’s McGee hit Grand Rapids, MI, last night, kicking off the first night of their three-night Michigan run at the newly opened 20 Monroe Live. Thursday night’s show also saw the return of Jake Cinninger, to the delight of fans, after the guitarist missed multiple performances last week due to illness. The wonderful pianist Holly Bowling also made an appearance during the evening, coming out d to join the band for “Soul Food II” toward the beginning of the second set.For the first set, Umphrey’s kicked off the evening with “Flamethrower,” which directly dropped into “The Floor.” After the first set opener, Brendan Bayliss took a moment to note Jake Cinninger’s return from his bout of the flu, before the band started in on “Mulche’s Odyssey.” After a few songs, the band busted out “Visions,” a track that hadn’t been played in 99 shows, leaving almost a year since it was previously played.However, the buzz over “Visions” quickly faded as the band pulled out “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” a cover of The Temptations’ classic hit. This song was a fiery way to begin to close out the second set, as the song had not been played by Umphrey’s McGee in 1241 shows, with its last performance falling on December 5th, 2005. Following this huge bust out, the band then moved into “Red Tape” to close out the first set.Second set opened with the complete “Soul Food” trilogy, marking the first time that all three parts have been played back to back. As “Soul Food I” made way for “Soul Food II,” the band was joined by Holly Bowling, a pleasant surprise for those in the audience, before completing the final track of “Soul Food” trilogy. The performance of “Soul Food III” in and of itself was a treat, as it marked the second performance of the song ever, with the first time it was played falling during the band’s Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas performance back in May of 2016.The second set, after “Conduit,” contained a cover of Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb,” before “Partyin’ Peeps” and “JaJunk” closed the tight seven-song second set. For the encore, Umphrey’s returned to the stage and busted out the older fan favorite, “Kimble,” before ending the night with “Gulf Stream.”Umphrey’s McGee will be headed to Detroit tonight to finish out the last two dates of their “Mitten Run” at The Fillmore. A full setlist from last night’s performance can be found below, courtesy of allthings.umphreys.com. Also, courtesy of TourGigs, fans were able to watch the show opener through Live For Live Music, a video of which can be found below.A full gallery of Spafford and Umphrey’s McGee images is posted below, courtesy of Phierce Photo.Setlist: Umphrey’s McGee | 20 Monroe Live | Grand Rapids, MI | 2/2/2017Set 1: Flamethrower > The Floor, Mulche’s Odyssey, Night Nurse > Bright Lights, Big City, Visions > Ain’t Too Proud to Beg > Red TapeSet 2: Soul Food I > Soul Food II > Soul Food III, Conduit, Comfortably Numb, Partyin’ Peeps, JaJunkEncore: Kimble, Gulf Stream with Holly Bowling on keys; with Owner Of A Lonely Heart (Yes) teases Load remaining images
Today, SeepeopleS–the self-described “original anti-genre indie pranksters”–announced release dates for their latest studio release and music video, as well as an upcoming tour to support their new project. The HATE EP, part two of a three-part series called SeepeopleS LOVE/HATE/LIVE, is set to be released on April 1st via the band’s own RascalZRecordZ imprint.HATE, produced by longtime collaborator Will Holland at Chillhouse Studios, will mark the band’s 7th studio release over the course of their 17-year history. SeepeopleS will also release a new music video new single “New American Dream” in conjunction with the new EP. The socially conscious, anti-establishment video is animated by Pete List, best known for his work on stop-motion cult classic TV show Celebrity Death Match on MTV. Presale for HATE begins the final week of March on the band’s website.You can listen to the EP’s first single, “Just Like The Animals,” below:In addition to the new EP and music video, the band has announced the first leg of their HATE Tour, which will see the band traverse the country throughout March, April, and May. For more information or to purchase tickets, head to the band’s website. For a full list of dates, see below:SeepeopleS HATE Tour Leg 1:*3.9 Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center – Harrisburg, PA**3.10 Empty Glass – Charleston, WV**3.11 Stanley’s – Cincinnati, OH**3.12 Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC**3.14 Red Goilla Festival – Austin, TX**3.15 Red Gorilla Festival – Austin, TX**3.15 Music Week Showcase (SXSW) – Austin, TX**3.16 Secret Group – Houston, TX**4.8 Stella Blues – New Haven, CT**4.9 TBA – Brooklyn, NY**4.10 Jammin Java- Washington, DC**4.12 Pour House – Raleigh, NC**4.13 Live Wire – Athens, GA**4.14 Barrelhouse South – Savannah, GA**4.15 Boone Saloon – Boone, NC**4.16 Smith’s Olde Bar – Atlanta, GA**4.19 Scarlet & Grey – Columbus, OH**4.20 Tonic Room – Chicago, IL**4.21 TBA**4.22 Palmer’s – Minneapolis, MN**4.23 Gabe’s – Iowa City, IA**4.24 Be Here Now – Muncie IN**4.26 The End – Nashville, TN**4.27 Cicero’s – St. Louis, MO**4.28 Outland Ballroom – Springfield, MO**4.29 Davey’s Uptown – Kansas City, MO**4.30 Daytrotter Session – Rockport, IL**5.4 Owsley’s – Boulder, CO**5.5 Be On Key – Denver, CO**5.6 TBA – Salt Lake City, UT**5.8 Beauty Bar – Las Vegas, NV**5.9 Viper Room – Los Angeles, CA**5.10 Hotel Utah – San Francisco, CA**5.11 Domino Room – Bend, OR**5.12 Paris Theater – Portland, OR**5.13 The High Dive – Seattle, WA*.
Last night, Widespread Panic closed out their sixth annual Panic En La Playa in Riviera Maya, Mexico. With the band decidedly not touring in 2017, their choice to entertain fans in festival and residency settings might just make for a better experience all around. The shores of the resort were graced with the southern rockers in rare form, welcoming special guests throughout their entire performance.Half way through the first set, the band welcomed George Porter Jr. (bass), Karl Denson (saxophone), Erik Krasno (guitar) for their own “Sell, Sell,” adding Ivan Neville (keys & vocals) consecutively to Bill Wither‘s “Use Me” and “Red Hot Mama.” Thanks to Mrtopdogger, you can watch “Sell, Sell” below:The funk-tinged rock and roll continued in the second set with Danny Hutchens (vocals) and Eric Carter (guitar) for “Henry Parsons Died” and “Can’t Get High.” The band returned to their roots for the middle chunk of their second set, rocking through a monstrous “Surprise Valley” > “Ride Me High” > “Surprise Valley” sandwich that jammed straight into an “Airplane” > “Takeoff Jam” > “You Should Be Glad” jam – sticking with the “Space Wrangler” theme of the evening.”Time Is Free” brought out Col. Bruce Hampton on guitar and vocals, before veering toward the end of their set with another rare “Time Waits For No One,” which hadn’t been played in 202 shows. A drum break led into “Contentment Blues” then into “Chilly Water” as the waves crashed the shore.The band returned to the stage for a “Big Indian” and “Life During Wartime” encore.Check out the full setlist below, courtesy of PanicStream. You can also head to PanicStream for a full audio stream of the performance.Setlist: Widespread Panic | Panic en la Playa | Riviera Maya, MX | 3/2/17Set I: Sewing Machine, Conrad, Space Wrangler, Travelin’ Light, Dirty Side Down, Walkin’ (For Your Love), Steven’s Cat, Sell Sell*, Use Me**, Red Hot Mama*** (85 mins)Set II: Henry Parsons Died****, Can’t Get High****, Surprise Valley > Ride Me High > Surprise Valley > Airplane > Takeoff Jam > You Should Be Glad, Time Is Free*****, Time Waits For No One > Drums > Contentment Blues > Chilly Water (104 mins)E: Blue Indian, Life During Wartime (11 mins)Notes * w/ George Porter Jr (bass); Karl Denson (saxophone); Erik Krasno (guitar)** w/ George Porter Jr (bass); Karl Denson (flute & vocals); Erik Krasno (guitar); Ivan Neville (keys & vocals)*** w/ George Porter Jr (bass); Karl Denson (sax & vocals); Erik Krasno (guitar); Ivan Neville (keys & vocals)**** w/ Danny Hutchens (vocals); Eric Carter (guitar)***** w/ Col Bruce Hampton (Ret.) (guitar & vocals)[‘Dirty Side Down’ LTP 7/02/14 Las Vegas (182 shows); ‘Time Waits For No One’ LTP 4/05/14 Los Angeles (202 shows); Erik Krasno’s first sit-in with WP][Photo via WSP FB]
If you’re not up on Lawrence yet, it’s time to get familiar. The upstart eight-piece soul-pop led by the young brother/sister duo of Clyde Lawrence (keys, vocals, age 23) and Gracie Lawrence (vocals, age 20) has been rapidly gaining steam over the last year, when they released their fantastic debut album Breakfast, produced by renowned guitarist and Grammy-winning producer Eric Krasno and featuring guest spots by Adam Deitch (Lettuce), Cory Henry (Snarky Puppy), Maurice “Mobetta” Brown, and more. The New York-based soul group blends old-school and new-school vibes, combining their love of The Beatles, Randy Newman, and Etta James to create songs that are as tender and soulful as they are explosive.Watch Members of Lawrence & Ripe Perform A Heart-Wrenching Rendition Of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”This week, Lawrence released the latest selection from their recent appearance on live video series The Blues Kitchen Sessions: a stripped-down performance of Breakfast track “You & Me.” Check it out below via Blues Kitchen TV on YouTube:And if that got you curious, you can check out the previously released video from the band’s Blues Kitchen Session, a bluesy jaunt through “Friend or Enemy”:Lawrence Goes Old School In Their New Music Video For “Alibi” From Their Debut Album, BreakfastLawrence will be in Northern California this saturday, August 12th, for a performance at Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival. From there, they will spend the remainder of the week on the road with Lake Street Dive, making stops in Columbia, MO (August 14th), Dallas, TX (August 16th), Fayetteville, AR (August 17th) and Oklahoma City, OK (August 18th). Following their run with Lake Street Dive, the band will have a few weeks off before heading to KAABOO Del Mar on September 14th.For a full list of upcoming dates, or to buy tickets, head to the band’s website.
Van Morrison is gearing up to release his 37th studio album, Roll With The Punches, due out September 22 on Exile/Caroline. Ahead of a lengthy tour around the album’s release, the band has shared the first single “Transformation,” which features collaborator Chris Farlowe on additional vocals alongside U.K. jazz great Jason Rebello on piano and legendary guitarist/former Yardbird Jeff Beck.Along with a few self-written tracks, Roll With The Punches features Van Morrison’s interpretations of a selection of rhythm and blues classics, reconnecting him with music he came of age with in the ’60s. “From a very early age, I connected with the blues. The thing about the blues is you don’t dissect it–you just do it. I’ve never over-analysed what I do; I just do it,” Van says in a press release.“Music has to be about just doing it and that’s the way the blues works–it’s an attitude. I was lucky to have met people who were the real thing–people like John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Witherspoon, Bo Diddley, Little Walter & Mose Allison. I got to hang out with them and absorb what they did. They were people with no ego whatsoever and they helped me learn a lot.”At the same time, a live performance video for “Transformation” is accompanying the single’s release. The video for the song was filmed at Van’s recent gig at London’s Porchester Hall. Watch the video below, and purchase it on iTunes.Transformation by Van Morrison on VEVO.Van Morrison Tour DatesU.S. DATES:Sun Sept 10 Hersheypark Stadium @ “Outlaw Music Festival”Thu Sept 14 Ascend AmphitheaterFri Oct 13 The Show At Agua Caliente Casino Resort SpaSat Oct 14 The Show At Agua Caliente Casino Resort SpaFri Oct 20 Fox Theater (Oakland, CA)Sat Oct 21 Fox Theater (Oakland, CA)UK DATES:Mon Nov 6 Edinburgh PlayhouseTues Nov 7 Glasgow Royal CourtSun Nov 12 London Eventim ApolloMon Nov 13 Birmingham Symphony HallWed Nov 15 Liverpool Philharmonic HallMon Nov 20 Cardiff St. David’s HallTues Nov 21 Bristol Colston HallFri Nov 24 Torquay Princess TheatreSat Nov 25 Plymouth PavilionsMon Dec 4 Belfast Europa HotelTues Dec 5 Belfast Europa Hotel
Recently, Live For Live Music had the chance to speak with Brazilian Girls drummer Aaron Johnston, who has been keeping himself busy with a number of projects as of late. Johnston has been busy putting the final touches on a new Brazilian Girls record, producing an album for NYC-based soul-folk artist KJ Denhert, and putting together a new project of his own dubbed J.E.D.I. (Jazz Electronic Dance Improvisation). J.E.D.I.—also featuring keyboardist/producer Borahm Lee (Break Science), saxophonist Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce / Shady Horns), and bassist Nate Edgar (The Nth Power)—will debut later this week during a three-night Northeast run. (J.E.D.I. ticket information below.)J.E.D.I. Featuring Members Of Lettuce, Break Sci, Nth Power, & Brazilian Girls Announces 3-Night RunJohnston is also getting ready to announce a four-night Colorado run in January with long-time friend and musical cohort Michael Kang of The String Cheese Incident, Brazilian Girls bandmate and bassist Jesse Murphy, Big Gigantic’s own Dom Lalli, and NYC-based jazz guitarist Avi Bortnick of John Scofield’s Uberjam. The group has already announced one of the dates, with a co-headlining gig in Denver on Saturday, January 13th with Octave Cat (members of Lotus and Dopapod) at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom as part of the venue’s 15th anniversary celebration – get tix here. The busy drummer gave Live For Live Music the inside scoop on how this powerhouse collaborative project (a.k.a. Big Brazilian Cheese) came together prior to the official dates being announced later this week. Check out what Johnston had to say below.Live For Live Music: What’s going on with Brazilian Girls at the moment? Any shows or new music in store in the near future?Aaron Johnston: Yes! Definitely some great music coming in the very near future! I’m quite pleased with how this last record came out. It’s taken some time, as the band has been in four corners of the world now for several years, plus we did all the work ourselves in different studios around the world on our own dime. But we finished this fourth full-length album and 6 Degrees Records picked it up, and it’ll be released on April 13th.Totally happy to get some fresh music out with Brazilian Girls. As far as playing shows, it’s much less than it used to be. You’re lucky to catch a BG’s show these days. We’ll be doing some South American festivals in December with bands like the Gorillaz and Arcade Fire in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. Plus, we’ll be doing some promotional shows in the States after the record is released.L4LM: Tell us about J.E.D.I., your new project. Are you looking to expand a bit more into the “jam” realm?AJ: I’m completely stoked to see this project manifest itself so quickly and organically. J.E.D.I. is an idea I’ve been wanting to try for maybe a year or so. The concept is virtually a sonic change—still very much keeping the music live and interactive but creating more dynamics between the electronic and the acoustic world. I encourage all the musicians to bring their electronic “toys” without losing the beautiful tone and tambour they already have developed and perfected on their acoustic instrument. I also want to grab musicians whom I believe are advanced and are ready to push the envelope.Because all of the musicians are such accomplished players, they’re naturally busy with various projects. Therefore, I expect to have different configurations over time. This is only the beginning. The plan is to build a consistent sound and overall experience for the audience and have a rotating cast of members that all are on the same playing field and want to expand the music together. The band could be a three-piece or it could be ten or more people on stage one day. And yes to expanding into the “jam” realm.” There are some truly incredible musicians in this scene.L4LM: How did both J.E.D.I. and Big Brazilian Cheese come together? Each act has musicians with some serious chops, so you must be excited to explore with these guys.AJ: Absolutely, can’t wait to get on stage with these guys! Not only chops but diversity and, most importantly, the maturity that each one of these cats brings to the table individually. It gives me a lot of confidence that It’s gonna be something fresh and killin’ right from the first gig.Big Brazilian Cheese basically came out of my longtime time friendship with Michael Kang [SCI], Jesse Murphy, and Avi Bortnick. I called Michael up and said it’s about time we do something together again. Michael had then recommended to me Dom from Big Gigantic whom I saw perform at this past year’s Electric Forest. Jesse, Avi, and I have been playing together for practically twenty years, so there’s no doubt there is a solid fluid rhythm foundation right there. Although I don’t plan on playing the same ol’ songs with those guys, we can go anywhere—and I want to go forward!L4LM: You and Jesse have collaborated with Michael Kang in the past as well as some of the other musicians, right?AJ: That’s correct sir. Jesse and I had played with Steve Kimock along with both Michael Kang and Chris Berry several years back. I also had a side project with Michael even further back when I lived in the Bay Area called Comotion, with Jeff Sipe and Tye North from Leftover Salmon, plus Paul McCandless, Mike Marshall and Darol Anger. Jesse and Avi were also a part of John Scofiled’s Uber Jam from the beginning, and Avi is still going Uber Jam now with Dennis Chambers.It’s a long list of musicians that all of us have played with over the years. As a musician, it’s always fun to play and explore with different cats even from different worlds sometimes. There are times things ride on the edge of destruction and times that things completely blow your mind. For me, I always come away with something positive from the experience and just try to continue to grow as a musician and a human being.L4LM: What other projects are you currently involved in at the moment?AJ: I have a solo project I’ve been working on for the past six months or so. The working title is called, Ya’ll Fired. I eventually want to play with that. It’s me playing live drums with electronics and keys and vocals at times—kind of eclectic and experimental. Besides Brazilian Girls, I’ve had an acoustic trio with Jason Darling and Jessie Murphy. That’s a crossover Americana-folk-country vibe with three-part harmonies. I’m also getting asked to produce more, so right now I’m in the middle of producing an artist now by the name of KJ Denhert, more in the soul genre, and I’m constantly playing local New York gigs and playing on people’s albums.L4LM: Any plans to record new music outside of the upcoming Brazilian Girls release?AJ: For J.E.D.I.? You bet I am! I love recording and producing new music! I’d like to get a few gigs under my belt with J.E.D.I., then put out a full-length and a live album. I’m happy that people are ready for some new music without an album for now though. I just want to keep the level high, and with these musicians I’ve got on board, it’s high. I would also like to express my gratitude really. I’m extremely grateful and honored that these amazing musicians have been so enthusiastic about being a part of this project. I look forward to bringing new music with these fabulous musicians in to this insane world!J.E.D.I.’s upcoming run begins this Thursday, November 30th in Philadelphia at Ardmore Music Hall with Let’s Danza! (ft. members of Brothers Past, Particle, and CIA), followed by a special late-night performance at American Beauty in New York City on December 1st, and capping things off in Albany at The Hollow on December 2nd with Colorado-based space-funk jammers the Magic Beans. Check out tour info below:J.E.D.I. Upcoming Winter Tour DatesThu 11/30 – Ardmore Music Hall – Philadelphia, PA * – (Tickets / FB Event)Fri 12/1 – American Beauty – New York, NY (Late-Night) – (Tickets)Sat 12/2 – The Hollow – Albany, NY ^ – (Tickets / FB Event)* w/ Let’s Danza!^ w/ The Magic BeansJ.E.D.I. (Jazz Electronic Dance Improvisation) is:Aaron Johnston (Brazilian Girls)Borahm Lee (Break Science / Pretty Lights Live Band)Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce / Shady Horns)Nate Edgar (The Nth Power)[Artwork courtesy of Jimmy Rector – Instagram @jimmyrector / FB – Accepted Perspective / Website – www.acceptedperspective.com]
Following a massive New Year’s Eve run at The Riviera Theatre in Chicago, IL, Greensky Bluegrass are entering 2018 in style with a huge announcement today. On September 22 & 23, the jamgrass favorites will play the legendary Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado. Support for the shows will come from The California Honeydrops and Turkuaz. Ahead of the Red Rocks performance, Greensky Bluegrass will play an intimate show at The Ogden Theatre in Denver, CO on 9/21.Tickets to the Ogden Theatre show are only available as a three-day ticket, with the lottery currently open here until tomorrow, Wednesday, at 2pm MST. Notifications will start that night at 6pm MST. General on-sale begins on Friday, 1/5 at 10am MST.
Earlier in November, news surfaced that a deal was in the works to sell iconic New Orleans venue Tipitina’s in light of recent lawsuits and financial insecurity, according to a report from local New Orleans news outlet WWL-TV. The reported plans to sell Tipitina’s came as its longtime owner, Roland Von Kurnatowski, faces a number of lawsuits from investors surrounding bounced checks and unpaid debts totaling nearly $3M.Initially, the identity of the venue’s potential buyers and their plans for the space were unclear. Today, Galactic has officially confirmed their purchase of the beloved New Orleans club from Von Kurnatowski and his wife Mary, after recently finalizing the deal.Galactic’s drummer Stanton Moore stated in a press release, “Our goal is to preserve, promote, and protect the future of New Orleans music, culture and heritage via the Tipitina’s venue and brand.”Galatic’s saxophonist Ben Ellman added,We’re so incredibly honored to be part of the team tasked to be the current caretakers of such a historic venue. My connection with the club started way before I was lucky enough to take the stage. My first job in New Orleans was at Tipitina’s as a cook in the (now defunct) kitchen. The importance of respecting what Tips means for musicians and the city of New Orleans is not lost on us. We’re excited for the future of the club and look forward to all the amazing music and good times ahead!Former owner Roland von Kurnatowski also noted,We received multiple attractive offers for Tipitina’s. It was really important to us to ensure that this club, the icon that is Tipitina’s, end up in the right hands. We purchased the club in 1997 and have nurtured it ever since. We’re confident that Galactic is the right fit – that they will cherish Tipitina’s and take it to the next level while protecting all that makes Tips such an authentic American cultural venue.Galactic has a longstanding history with Tipitina’s that dates back to the early 1990s, when the band was called Galactic Prophylactic. Galactic was started by Stanton Moore, Robert Mercurio, Ben Ellman, Jeff Raines, and Rich Vogel, who were students at Tulane and Loyola universities and ended up settling in the Uptown area of New Orleans around Tipitina’s. With their mentor Theryl DeClouet joining the band to assist on lead vocals, Galactic gained popularity around town and quickly started selling out shows at the iconic club. Moore, as well as fellow bandmates, have also had longtime involvement with the Tipitina’s Foundation started by Von Kurnatowski and his wife, Mary, which helps bring and teach music to kids in New Orleans. Tipitina’s Foundation was not part of the sale, and Von Kurnatowski will retain control of the foundation, which he founded.Tipitina’s was originally founded by a group of New Orleans music fans as a performance venue for local musical legend Professor Longhair. It’s named for one of Longhair’s most famous songs, “Tipitina”, which has since become a beloved NOLA standard. Von Kurnatowski bought the venue in 1996, and while he was reportedly unaware of its particular history, he has since been dedicated to preserving its identity.
Groove-rock jam band Aqueous has shared the pro-shot live video capturing their performance of “Kitty Chaser (Explosions)” from a recent show at Chicago’s Chop Shop late last month. The concert back on November 29th was part of Aqueous’ headlining fall tour in support of their 2018 studio album, Color Wheel, and featured a notable sit-in by Umphrey’s McGee percussionist Andy Farag during the second half of the band’s performance that night.The performance of “Kitty Chaser (Explosions)” off Aqueous’ 2014 Cycles LP came at the end of their second set. Farag had actually joined in on the night’s show when the band returned to the stage following the set break and began the second half with “Second Sight”, “Numbers and Facts”, “I Can’t Go for That (No Can Do)”, and “Split the Difference”. Aqueous and Farag continued their second-half collaboration with a transition out of “Split the Difference” right into “Kitty Chaser”, which ran for a roaring 26-minutes before the set came to an electrifying close.The eerily psychedelic performance of the 2014 original tune begins right at the start of the video below. Farag can be seen pounding away on his mix of bongos and other percussion-based toys in the back right corner of the stage behind guitarist/keyboardist Dave Loss. Mike Gantzer handles guitar duties by himself at first as he grooves right into the song’s opening verse at the 1:20-minute mark. Loss ditches his keys for the guitar to join in on the fun shortly thereafter, and the two power their way through the first chorus and into a roaring exchange of distorted riffs.Related: Aqueous, Mungion Share Full Pro-Shot Videos From Saturday’s Boulder Show At The Fox Theatre [Watch]Gantzer takes the first solo, slowing things down to a much more relaxed tempo thanks to his mix of space-sounding effects tones. The room then goes dark as the song regroups and changes direction with the only lights coming from the red LEDs located behind the band. When the lights finally come back on, Aqueous and Farag are already taking their building momentum into overdrive with a lengthy instrumental group jam that continues throughout the rest of the performance. Loss goes back and forth between his keys and guitars throughout the long jam before eventually helping to close the song out with some shredding of his own in the last four minutes of the video.The band would eventually return for a one-song encore of “Realize Your Light” with Farag again joining them, but “Kitty Chaser (Explosions)” could easily be considered the highlight of the show.Aqueous with Andy Farag – “Kitty Chaser (Explosions) – 11/29/2018[Video: Aqueous]Aqueous recently announced they will be heading back out on tour early next year with a co-headling tour alongside Big Something scheduled to begin February 7th in Bloomington, Indiana. Tickets for the 2019 winter tour are on sale now and can be purchased through the band’s website.
Laptops, personal digital assistants, and iPhones were a ubiquitous and fitting presence at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy Jr. Forum on Wednesday (March 10).As audience members tapped away on their myriad electronic devices, Jerry Mechling, Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) lecturer in public policy and faculty chair of the Leadership for a Networked World Program, asked a panel of experts to discuss the wealth of opportunities and challenges presented by new digital technologies.The discussion, titled “Digital Governance from the State House to the White House,” specifically examined how the technology revolution has impacted federal, state, and local government, and explored the ways technology can be used to promote and advance democracy while at the same time avoiding potential pitfalls like privacy issues and outdated infrastructures.Leaders who “get it,” who understand the importance of using technology to further democracy and “are committed to the principles of openness and transparency,” are a vital part of the equation, said Aneesh Chopra, chief technology officer of the United States.Chopra noted that his boss is part of the new generation of leaders who fully embrace the power and potential of technology.He cited Obama’s Open Government Initiative, which promotes transparency, access to information, and the public’s participation in federal government through feedback and collaboration, as evidence of the administration’s commitment to engage with technology.Using the Internet, said Chopra, the administration has engaged with doctors who weighed in on an online forum on health care as well as with the front line of Department of Veterans Affairs workers who offered suggestions via the Internet on how to improve the cumbersome method of processing veterans’ claims. Additionally, all federal agencies, he noted, continue to solicit feedback from the public via links on their Web sites that allow visitors to submit ideas.“If you want to solve big problems,” said Chopra, “you are going to want to tap into the expertise of the American people and hear … all of their views in order to come up with the best strategy.”The current governor of Massachusetts used the Internet to gain critical name recognition and communicate with voters, remarked Anne Margulies, chief information officer for the commonwealth. A relatively unknown four years ago, Gov. Deval Patrick used online platforms, she said, “to get his message out,” adding that the state’s highest executive continues to use technology as an important “way to communicate and engage” with the public.Expanding broadband access in underserved areas, developing universal technologies that can be used from state to state, reworking an outdated infrastructure, and developing solid privacy and security practices are all part of the way forward, said the panelists.Persuading middle managers within any organization, many of whom are not as tech savvy as younger generations, to embrace the digital age and its innovations, is another challenge, said Teri Takai.Assisting those managers in understanding how “tweeting” or “blogging” can “change the dynamics” of what they do will drive important systemic change, said Takai, chief information officer for the state of California.Chopra, who holds an M.P.P. from HKS, urged the School’s next generation of graduates to be part of the technical revolution.“We will be there to help,” he said, “but we need to have your participation.”
In a hidden basement room in the Littauer Building, M.P.A. student Ashley Orynich was preparing for her close-up. Armed with talking points and a dazzling smile (she’s also a newly minted dentist), she took a seat in front of a large camera, ready to win over the imaginary Bill O’Reilly or Rachel Maddow on the other side of the lens.The leaders of that day’s “On-Camera Interview Basics” workshop, Molly Lanzarotta, senior communications officer at Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), and Doug Gavel, HKS associate director of media relations and public affairs, warned her that the questions — which Lanzarotta would read from the other side of a soundproof door — wouldn’t be easy.The lights dimmed, and Lanzarotta dusted Orynich’s face with powder.“Visualize that the little orange light is your friend,” Lanzarotta advised.In a world where every candidate, nonprofit director, or government official is never more than a blog post or a YouTube video away from capturing an audience (or from a potentially ruinous flub), HKS students have learned they need to embrace the spotlight. And to gain the skills they need to communicate effectively, they’ll need more than just the comfort of a friendly blinking light.Enter the HKS Communications Program, a long-standing resource that offers elective courses, one-on-one writing consultations, and workshops like the one Orynich used to practice interviewing.HKS recently surveyed its graduates five years out of the School, asking alumni what they found most valuable about their education. The survey found that the tools alumni say they use most often in the real world were their communication skills.The finding was surprising, given the fact that communications classes aren’t mandatory for any of the School’s degree programs. But the results speak to the popularity and utility of the program, which existed for more than 20 years under the guidance of Marie Danziger, a lecturer on public policy who taught the beloved “Arts of Communication” course. When Danziger decided to retire last year, the Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy took over the program.The move to a permanent home is just one of several ways HKS is beefing up the program, said Jeffrey Seglin, the new director. The program also hired another full-time lecturer, Luciana Herman, who joins the ranks of several adjuncts and two writing consultants.“While the students who come to the Kennedy School are amazingly diverse and talented, many of them have never had strong writing programs or a lot of experience writing or speaking professionally or even dealing with digital media or technology,” Seglin said. “They have expertise in their field, but not necessarily in writing or public speaking.”That dictum seems to hold true across many professional schools, if HKS enrollment is any indication. Students from the Graduate School of Design, Harvard Business School, Harvard School of Public Health, and elsewhere regularly cross-register for HKS communications classes, according to Seglin.“Regardless of where you are in your career, it’s never a bad idea to work on these skills,” he said. “The print world may be shrinking a bit, but [students] see the online world expanding. It’s an opportunity for them to get their voices out there, and they’re in the prime market for doing it.”While there aren’t hard numbers on how many students take advantage of the offerings, Seglin said the communications program offers 60 to 70 workshops per academic year and six or seven elective courses per semester. The classes routinely fill, with a long wait list.Workshops are first come, first served. One recent evening, Holly Weeks’ workshop on “Giving Bad News Well” drew a curious crowd that overflowed from a small classroom in the Littauer Building. The premise was irresistible, for masochists at least: a chance to practice speaking before an audience that hates your guts.“This is a safe environment,” Weeks, an adjunct lecturer in public policy at HKS, told her students. “I hope you’ll rise to the occasion and give people a really nightmarish experience.”Federico Cuadra Del Carmen, an M.P.A. student pursuing a joint law degree at Northwestern University, went into Weeks’ workshop with a solid public speaking background. He had competed in Model United Nations in high school and college, then did communications and marketing for a grassroots nonprofit in Nicaragua.But when he got up in front of the group — in the guise of a candidate running against Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega — the crowd’s convincing heckling quickly threw him off course. Weeks stopped him midsentence.“You’re following us, and we’re not going in a direction you want to be going in,” she told him. Refine your key points and stick to them, she advised.“Straight repetition is not necessarily a bad thing as long as you’re saying what you need to say,” Weeks said.With just a few tweaks to his language — lots of “your” and “our”; no “but” statements; simple, forceful sentences that “start, go forward, and end” — Del Carmen quickly regained control of the crowd, making compelling points about Nicaragua’s failing schools and the need for more jobs.“Classes like these, for people who have some kind of background in politics, may be undervalued or overlooked,” Del Carmen said afterward. “But what these classes offer are strategies for how to improve or polish the skills you already have.”The workshop made him even more eager to take “Arts of Communication” in the spring — if he makes the cut, that is. “I couldn’t get in this semester,” he said.
This is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.Jesse Kaplan may be the only entrepreneur on campus who’s more likely to be hunched over a sink doing dishes than over a laptop writing code. But then, the founder of Harvard’s first student-run coffee shop was never too concerned with adhering to someone else’s concept of success.“I like doing things my own way,” the graduating senior said one recent afternoon as he set up chairs in Cabot Café, the cozy study spot and performance space that he launched two years ago in the Cabot House basement. It was a statement — or an understatement — not just of his preference for furniture arrangements, but for plotting an unusual path at Harvard.After growing up in nearby Newton, Kaplan was intent on leaving the Boston area after high school. But the ambition and energy of Harvard students attracted him to the College, and as a freshman he threw himself into campus life with a polymath’s vigor. By sophomore year, he was involved in everything from hip-hop and Indian dance to a cappella to SAT tutoring for disadvantaged youth. He led admissions tours, tutored in the economics department, joined a fraternity, organized events for Hillel House, and performed in two musicals on campus, all while maintaining a perfect GPA.And then, somehow, he got bored.“I pretty quickly exhausted all the things I saw myself getting out of Harvard,” the economics concentrator said. “I made a conscious decision to invest the next year or two of my life in something I would have complete ownership over, something that would last beyond my time here.”The café, which he conceived as a sophomore with his Cabot roommate (and coffee enthusiast) Dan Lynch, gave him the purposeful project he sought. It also gave undergraduates living in the Radcliffe Quad — a location both beloved and bemoaned for its remove from the bustle of the Square — a place to grab a snack or a latte after dining hall hours, as well as a place to socialize, host events, and, of course, cram.“As soon as we created this comfortable space with caffeinated drinks, we attracted all the studiers, which in retrospect seems obvious,” Kaplan said with a laugh.With a $3,000 loan and the support of Cabot House Masters Rakesh and Stephanie Khurana, they transformed a dilapidated basement space — once a Quad convenience store — into a performance venue, student art gallery, and coffee shop for a four-day trial run in the spring of 2011.“We had events every night, and it was packed,” Kaplan said.To prepare for the café’s formal opening that fall, Kaplan put in 10- to 15-hour days. He became a certified food protection manager, obtained permits from the city of Cambridge, wrote a “barista bible” training manual with Lynch, and hired a staff. The café is now open five nights a week; additional grant money and profits have been put back into the café for improvements.“It’s not hugely profitable, but it’s completely sustainable,” he said.Profit margin aside, the café is possibly the best-known student enterprise at Harvard — a precedent-setting success, Kaplan hopes, for future partnerships between the University and budding entrepreneurs.“I think if I had known how much work it would have taken, I wouldn’t have done it,” he said, reflecting on a weeknight schedule that kept him on call until 2 a.m. “But I’m glad I didn’t know.”After two years of running a brick-and-mortar operation, Kaplan spent his last semester interviewing at early-stage digital startups in New York — many of which have been eager to hire him after his success with the café. He has also trained three new student managers, ensuring that the Quad’s new social hub will live on.“I was always wondering what my first startup would be,” Kaplan said. “Cabot Café will always be the first business I launched.”
Solheim Glacier The impact on the audience watching the process was palpable. Gasps echoed through the Science Center lecture hall during Wednesday’s showing of “Chasing Ice.”The screening, which was made possible by the National Geographic Channel and sponsored by the Harvard Center for the Environment, Harvard Museums of Science and Culture, and the Office for Sustainability, was followed by a conversation with Harvard climate scientists James Anderson, Peter Huybers, and Daniel Schrag.“It made me think of how poorly we actually observe the Earth,” said Schrag, the Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology and director of the Harvard Center for the Environment. “The problem with climate change is that we actually need good, long-term observations of many parts of the Earth’s systems to have a prayer to answer many of these questions.” He suggested advances in technology could help scientists usher in a whole new era of Earth observation.Huybers spoke about how the scientific community should be watching ice more closely. “We are watching geography change before our eyes,” he said. “We don’t understand what causes the calving process to behave the way it does. We don’t actually know the fundamental physics.”In research that aligns with Schrag’s vision, Huybers is collaborating with Harvard School of Public Health statisticians to apply techniques from how they track changes in tumors over time to tracking how glaciers change over time using satellite imagery through a partnership with Google Earth. The hope is to eventually track all the glaciers globally using algorithms.In response to a question from the audience, Anderson, the Philip S. Weld Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, called the Tibetan glacial structure in the Himalayas the third pole of the cryogenic system of the Earth. The region could become “the great unifier on climate with respect to China because the water supplies are so crucial” he said. Asia’s two longest rivers, the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers that flow through China, are fed by the glaciers in the Tibetan plateau.The conversation then turned to solutions. Schrag urged attendees to think about climate change as a regional issue since many of the impacts will affect regions differently. For example, the American West would not be as receptive to a message about sea level rise but would be more interested in the issues of snow melt, general water availability, and forest fires. In New England, sea level rise and the increase in extreme storm events are particularly relevant.“There is a very optimistic pathway from here into the future and that is the United States is endowed with renewable energy almost beyond belief,” said Anderson. Using wind power, 15 percent of the area of the American Midwest could generate a third of the total primary energy consumed in the United States. Ten percent of the area of Arizona alone could generate another third from concentrated solar thermal. Geothermal energy from the Mississippi west has huge potential, according to Anderson. “There’s no question we can work our way out of this without a change in standard of living,” he said.Anderson ended the event by asking a question on many minds that night: “Do humans have the intelligence to know that photons and electrons are what the future is all about, not carbon?” The Solheim Glacier in Iceland in April 2006. The Solheim Glacier in Iceland in February 2009. The line represents how much the glacier changed in nearly three years. The Solheim Glacier in Iceland in April 2006, with a line showing its size. The Solheim Glacier in Iceland in October 2006, just six months after the previous shot. “Sometimes you go out over the horizon and you don’t come back,” says photographer James Balog in the award-winning documentary “Chasing Ice,” as he reflects on his work documenting breathtaking footage of the world’s disappearing glaciers.In a project dubbed the Extreme Ice Survey, Balog and his team worked over a series of years in extreme conditions to place time-lapse cameras on remote locations in Iceland, Greenland, Alaska, and Montana. Balog said he wanted to “capture the memory of the landscape” and “provide tangible visible evidence of climate change.”The result: a stunning set of images that show enormous glaciers retreating at record pace and breaking off into the ocean in a process called “calving.” In one dramatic scene, the team filmed the historic breakup of the Ilulissat Glacier in western Greenland. The calving lasted for 75 minutes and resulted in the glacier retreating a full mile across a face three miles wide.
The Harvard Alumni Association (HAA) Awards were established in 1990 to recognize outstanding service to Harvard University through alumni activities. This year’s awards ceremony will take place during the fall meeting of the HAA Board of Directors on Oct. 24.Stephen W. Baird ’74 has dedicated countless hours and limitless energy in support of Harvard. Over the years, he has focused much of his attention on stewarding high school students through the Harvard College admissions application process. Beginning as an interviewer in the early 1980s, he later served as co-chair of the Harvard Club of Chicago’s Schools Committee and was chair of the HAA’s National Schools and Scholarships Committee from 2008 to 2012. In 2012, Baird received the Hiram S. Hunn Memorial Schools and Scholarships Award. During his tenure as a member of the HAA Board of Directors, his roles have also included elected director and regional director of the Western Great Lakes. Baird also serves as a director and vice president of the Harvard Club of Chicago. Additionally, he continues to be active with his class reunion gift committee.Baird is president and chief executive officer of Baird & Warner Inc., the largest independent real estate company in Illinois. He and his wife, Susan, live in Chicago. They have two daughters, Abigail ’08 and Lucy ’10.Mary McGrath Carty ’74 has a long history of service to Harvard. Carty held a number of roles with the Radcliffe College Alumnae Association (RCAA), including coordinator for clubs, before being named executive director in 1993, a position she held until 2000. During Carty’s tenure, the RCAA and the HAA significantly strengthened their partnership. She became an elected director of the HAA Board of Directors in 2006 and most recently served as a College director. A loyal member of her class reunion planning committee since 1979, she has served as co-chair for the 15th and chair for the 30th and the 35th planning committees, and will chair the 40th Class Anniversary Report. Her faithfulness to Radcliffe continues to be demonstrated in her work with the Alumnae and Friends of Radcliffe College Shared Interest Group, for which she has held the position of president since 2008.Carty remains active as a consultant and a board member for a number of nonprofit organizations. She is married to Brian Carty ’71 and lives in Belmont, Mass. They are the proud parents of three daughters, Meghan, Laura, and Molly.Sylvia Chase Gerson ’70, Ph.D. ’75, has demonstrated her allegiance to Harvard over many years. She began interviewing applicants to the College in 1978 and has chaired her local Schools and Scholarships Committee for three decades. In 2006, she received the Hiram S. Hunn Memorial Schools and Scholarships Award. Gerson has also served as president and Prize Book chair of the Harvard Club of Lee County, Fla., and on the board of directors of the Harvard Club of Naples, Fla. In 1994, the alumni body voted for her as an elected director on the HAA Board of Directors, and she was later appointed as a regional director for Western Florida. Today, she continues her participation on the HAA board as a member of the Clubs and SIGS and the Schools and Scholarships committees.Gerson was a research pharmacologist in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine. She is married to Donald Gerson ’65, M.D. ’70, and lives in Fort Myers, Fla. They have two children, Lisa ’96 and Samuel.Carl J. Martignetti ’81, M.B.A. ’85, has been a loyal and deeply committed Harvard volunteer for many years and has served the institution in many capacities. Most recently, Martignetti was named co-chair of the Harvard Campaign for Arts and Sciences, and in this role he co-chairs the FAS Campaign Steering Committee. He is also a member of the University Campaign Executive Committee. He has served as co-chair of his College class gift committee since 1991 and was co-chair of the Harvard College Fund, for which he has been a member of the Executive Committee since 1995. He has also been a member of the Committee on University Resources since the mid-1990s. For his Harvard Business School class, he served on the 15th, 20th, and 25th reunion gift committees. He was a member of the HAA Committee to Nominate Overseers and Elected Directors.Martignetti is president of Martignetti Companies, one of the nation’s leading importers and distributors of fine wine and spirits. He lives in Chestnut Hill, Mass.Peter D. Weldon ’59 may have journeyed far away from Cambridge, but Harvard has never been far from his heart. He became a member of the Harvard Club of the Philippines in 1961 and has since been a member of the clubs in Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, and Thailand. His management acumen led to major innovations in communications and outreach, especially within the Harvard Club of Hong Kong. Weldon was a recipient of the HAA Clubs and SIGs Committee Award in 2007. During his HAA service as director of Clubs and SIGs of Asia, Weldon visited each club in his jurisdiction, mentoring leaders in the ways of good club management. Although he no longer holds the role formally, Weldon continues to try to be helpful to club leaders in the area.Weldon is an independent management and strategy consultant. He and his wife, Mercedes, currently reside in Bangkok, Thailand.George H. Yeadon III ’75 is a devoted and tireless volunteer on behalf of Harvard. Upon graduation, he immediately joined the Harvard Club of Western Pennsylvania, in Pittsburgh. He has since also been a member of Harvard clubs in Dallas and Rochester, N.Y. With the Rochester club, he has held many roles: vice president, president, and, currently, secretary. Yeadon has also served as an alumni interviewer since graduation and has been an HAA director of Clubs and SIGs since 2011. Yeadon was closely involved in the Association of African American Harvard Alumni since its formation and merger with the Harvard Black Alumni Society, and he was involved with the organization’s Black Alumni Weekend events in 2003, 2006, and 2009. His efforts to organize minority members of his class to return for their 25th reunion led to the creation of a listserv of approximately 500 alumni, which he continues to maintain.Yeadon is a relationship manager for Breakthrough Marketing Technology. He lives with his wife, Faith Adams, in Pittsford, N.Y.
Study suggests the Red Planet was icy rather than watery billions of years ago Related Unveiling the ancient climate of Mars NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reached its closest approach to Pluto on Tuesday, swooping to within 7,800 miles of the dwarf planet out beyond Neptune, snapping pictures and gathering data.Astrophysicists around the world watched to see what the mission, the farthest-reaching of its kind, would reveal about the formation of the solar system, the planet itself, and the Kuiper Belt, where it resides. Also of interest: Pluto’s unusual binary relationship with its largest moon, Charon.New Horizons, which launched in 2006, traveled some 3 billion miles for the encounter and has already provided a precise measurement of Pluto’s diameter, confirming that it is the Kuiper Belt’s largest object. It has also determined that ice made of nitrogen and methane are at the planet’s poles and, perhaps most dramatically, provided the most detailed images yet of Pluto and Charon.Scott Kenyon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics shared his reaction to the flyby in an interview with the Gazette. GAZETTE: Is there a feeling of excitement in the astrophysics community?KENYON: For those of us who work on planetary science of the solar system and exoplanets, it is exciting because it’s the first time we get to look at an icy planet that doesn’t have any gas around it. The idea of planet formation is that all planets grow by agglomeration and the gas giants, Jupiter through Neptune, have an icy, few-Earth-mass ball at their center. So we get to look and see what one looks like now.“For those of us who work on planetary science of the solar system and exoplanets, it is exciting because it’s the first time we get to look at an icy planet that doesn’t have any gas around it,” said Scott Kenyon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Photo by Jeff DunasGAZETTE: What else is important about this mission?KENYON: I think there are a number of things that make Pluto interesting. It’s the largest — now we know — of these Kuiper Belt objects, at least in physical dimensions. [Kuiper Belt objects] are a set of objects out beyond the orbit of Neptune, which are the coldest, least evolved, most primitive objects in the solar system. So, looking at one and getting measures on its composition, on its topography, on how much ammonia versus methane versus water/ice, tells us a lot about the early conditions in the outer part of the solar system.And then Pluto is a binary world. The center of mass of Pluto-Charon is outside of Pluto, so that it’s different from the Earth-Moon system, where the center of mass is inside the Earth. And there are the four little satellites orbiting this binary planet, and that tells us a little bit about how planets form around binary star systems. And the Kepler satellite is starting to discover those. Pluto is one we can visit and study in detail.GAZETTE: You’ve done some work directly on that?KENYON: We have, yes, with my collaborator, Ben Bromley from [the University of] Utah.GAZETTE: How does this fit into your work?KENYON: It’s sort of a test. What we do is numerical simulations of the formation and evolution of planetary systems. The simplest calculations we’ve done for the Pluto system [involve] asking what happened after this giant collision that is thought to have made the Pluto-Charon binary.Pluto and Charon formed in separate places in the solar system; Charon skimmed [Pluto’s] surface, kicked up a bunch of junk and became bound [to Pluto]. The bunch of stuff that got kicked up became the four satellites. So we do calculations of how that works. What the satellites actually look like in their orbits and [their] compositions will constrain the theoretical models we make.Also [important is] whether they detect any more satellites. Unfortunately, they had this glitch at a time last week when they were taking really deep images to look for more satellites. Hopefully they’ll get to try that again now that they’re by the system. How many satellites [Pluto has], how massive they are, constrains this giant collision and the aftermath.Just the fact that there are four icy bodies orbiting this binary system constrains our models for how planets form around binaries. They’re close, they’re tightly packed. You couldn’t fit another satellite in the system between the innermost one, Styx, and the outermost one, Hydra, and have it be stable for any length of time. And there are planetary systems like that, where you couldn’t stick another planet in it. So we learn about how all of these things happen. We are, as theorists, trying to link how Pluto formed and evolved to how exoplanets form and evolve. Everything that they get from the composition to the shapes and sizes and rotation will inform and constrain our models.GAZETTE: How do you feel about seeing these pictures? These are clearly the most detailed images we’ve seen so far.KENYON: Well, they’re cool. They’re starting to become more than just little points of light. A space telescope did some observations 10 or so years ago where Pluto and Charon mutually eclipsed one another. You could get crude, four-, five-, six-pixel maps of each of them. They had a few dark pixels and a few bright pixels. Now, we’re starting to see craters and plains and valleys and mountains and things — at least that’s what we’re imagining that we’re seeing.But once we get the images from the flyby and the detailed images, it’ll be pretty amazing because we’ll be able to see the equivalent of fissures like we see on some of the Galilean satellites of Jupiter, geysers like we see on some of the satellites of Saturn and Jupiter. It’ll be really interesting — what we end up seeing and how different it is from the icy moons of Saturn and Jupiter.GAZETTE: Will you be looking eagerly when the data is released?KENYON: I’m planning on being ready for it. From the ground-based measurements of Pluto and Charon, Pluto is mostly frozen nitrogen and some frozen methane and ammonia on its surface. And Charon seems to be mostly water, frozen water. What is interesting is that they’re already somewhat different. It’ll be interesting to see if that holds up. I don’t think we’ll know from these images, but we’ll get to see [some] differences. We can already see that Pluto is peach- or salmon-colored and Charon seems to be pretty gray. But there are bright and dark features on both of them and we’ll see what they are.
Read Full Story Current smokers and people regularly exposed to second-hand smoke have a significantly increased risk for type 2 diabetes compared with people who have never smoked, according to a new meta-analysis conducted by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China, and National University of Singapore. The researchers estimated that 11.7% of cases of type 2 diabetes in men and 2.4% in women (about 27.8 million cases in total worldwide) may be attributable to active smoking. They also found that risk decreases as time elapses after smokers quit.“Cigarette smoking should be considered as a key modifiable risk factor for diabetes. Public health efforts to reduce smoking will have a substantial impact on the global burden of type 2 diabetes,” said co-author Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology.The study will be published September 18, 2015 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.While the evidence pointing to smoking as a risk factor for cancer, respiratory diseases, and cardiovascular disease is overwhelming, corroboration of a link between smoking and type 2 diabetes risk has been slower to build. In 2014, the U.S. Surgeon General’s report for the first time included a section on smoking and diabetes risk and argued for the causal relation between them, although it did not discuss the relation of passive smoking and smoking cessation with diabetes risk.
A Q&A with Ali Asani about the worldwide erosion of pluralism when it comes to respecting beliefs Battling religious illiteracy <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1UA287fc0jk” rel=”nofollow” target=”_blank”> <img src=”https://img.youtube.com/vi/1UA287fc0jk/0.jpg” alt=”0″ title=”How To Choose The Correct Channel Type For Your Video Content ” /> </a> Related The Harvard Muslim Law Students Association (MLSA) is using the #yourvoicematters campaign as a platform to reach out to Muslim-American youth. Courtesy of MLSA“There’s a whole science behind de-escalating versus escalating,” Rosenthal said. “People really do feel marginalized and wishing they could be invisible. It’s very important for those of us who are not Muslim to advocate on their behalf.”Asani said he believes that the University needs to embrace its role as a “moderating voice” counter to those of society’s extremists. He said Harvard’s Islamic Studies Program is planning events this spring to explore Islamophobia and other concerns.Asani believes that the rise of Islamophobia can be traced to religious illiteracy, an ignorance of other faiths and cultures that permits a one-dimensional view of human beings whose identities are rich and complex, influenced by gender, education, background, profession, and even hobbies.“It leads to viewing human beings through one lens. It strips them of their humanity,” Asani said. “Illiteracy becomes a danger for the project of democracy. Democracy can’t function if you’re afraid of your neighbors.”Rosenthal said meeting the challenge to one part of the Harvard community is a task that should be taken up by all.“What’s really important for the University is to recognize this is not a problem for our Muslim community to solve; this is a problem for us all to solve,” Rosenthal said. “This is similar to other challenges that cause us to ask, ‘Are we an inclusive, diverse place?’” When he was in school on Long Island, N.Y., Yaseen Eldik was just another kid. Then 9/11’s hijacked jets crashed into the twin towers, and life changed for the American-born Muslim.“I was called a terrorist and asked if my parents belonged to al-Qaida,” Eldik said. “Because of that experience — of feeling almost like an enemy of my community — I began to feel isolated.”In the wake of the November Paris attacks, the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., and an incessant anti-Muslim drumbeat from some U.S. presidential contenders, Eldik and other members of the Harvard Islamic community described what it’s like to live under the current wave of “Islamophobia” in America, one that Harvard Islamic Chaplain Taymullah Abdur-Rahman said has reversed years of healing since the 2001 calamities.“There was some healing from 9/11 to now. It’s more rewarding for people to trust you than to like you,” Abdur-Rahman said. “Paris shook the campus up …. Then San Bernardino happened. There was a retreat on [the part] of Muslims.”Eldik recalls his own response to the hostility and fear he encountered after 9/11: He withdrew, something that today he thinks was a mistake. That’s why he and three other Muslim law students got together earlier this month and made a video, released online last week by the Harvard Muslim Law Students Association. The video urges Muslim youth not to hide if they encounter anti-Islamic sentiment, but to engage, share their experiences, and speak out.“My protective instinct was to be a recluse. Don’t do that. You can be both Muslim and American,” Eldik said. “[The video seeks] to legitimize the fear that Muslim youth feel in America because of the Islamophobic sentiment.”The video, which had 1,000 views within days of its YouTube and Facebook release, is aimed at Muslim youth across the country, but also may resonate on the Harvard campus.“We’ve reached this situation where things are very, very tense, and obviously will affect students here,” said Ali Asani, professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic religion and cultures and director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program. “It’s created this feeling of discomfort, this fear [on campus]. Every day you hear more and more.”“We’ve reached this situation where things are very, very tense, and obviously will affect students here,” said Ali Asani, professor of Indo-Muslim and Islamic religion and cultures and director of the Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Islamic Studies Program. Kris Snibbe/Harvard Staff PhotographerEldik and Abdur-Rahman said the campus community largely has been supportive, though Asani said there have been incidents here. He heard of a case where a hijab-wearing student was called “brainwashed” by a non-Muslim classmate. In addition, Abdur-Rahman said, several Muslim students have called him, expressing anxiety, fear, and difficulty concentrating on end-of-term projects and exams.“They have had some trauma, and professors have been gracious,” Abdur-Rahman said. “I think they should keep in mind [that] this is their country as well. They should mourn [for the dead in the San Bernardino shootings], as the rest of us mourn. Mourning is part of healing. Secondarily, don’t feel guilty. You didn’t do anything wrong.”With members of the Harvard community finishing their studies for this semester, Harvard President Drew Faust said the year-end break should be a time for reflection about the importance of religious diversity to the community and, specifically, about the struggles faced by members of Harvard’s Muslim community.“As we approach the new year, and as we look forward to time for rest and reflection amid a turbulent time in the world, I hope we can keep in mind our community’s enduring commitment to religious diversity and to welcoming and respecting people of different faiths,” Faust said. “I would like especially to express support and reassurance to the valued Muslim members of our community who, in a variety of settings, have recently had occasion to worry about the breadth and strength of that commitment in the larger society. Their concerns remind us of the important work we must do every day to engage with one another in a humane spirit of mutual respect and to assure that every member of our community feels a sense of belonging.”Danoff Dean of Harvard College Rakesh Khurana said it’s important to understand how tightly bound people are to each other and to strive to create a tolerant and supportive community on campus.“As I look ahead to 2016, I hope that we recognize that no matter what each of us believes, we are inextricably connected to one another,” Khurana said. “We must resist those who fear difference and encourage intolerance. We must redouble our efforts to create a truly inclusive community and to embrace the Muslim members of our community during these difficult times.“I have faith that education can be a strong antidote to bigotry and intolerance. Education should enable us to question our own certainties about how to understand and live in the world. And education should open our minds to the ways that our differences create the conditions for infinite possibilities. Education gives us the humility to see each other with gentler eyes and accept both our differences and what we have in common.”Eldik said he has felt supported while on campus, with several people expressing sympathy and concern that he must deal with anti-Islamic sentiment. Yet with Harvard integrated into its surrounding communities, the fear and discomfort of the broader society is not far away. “When I leave Harvard, it can’t protect me if someone sees me and feels threatened,” Eldik said.A student at the Harvard T.H Chan School of Public Health experienced that recently while on the way to work at a Kendall Square biotech company, according to Meredith Rosenthal, the School’s associate dean for diversity and professor of health economics and policy.Rosenthal said the student, who preferred not to be identified, was dressed professionally and riding on the subway. Someone accused her of having a bomb in her bag, and a group of men surrounded her, the student said. She showed them her Harvard ID and opened the bag, which ended the encounter. The incident itself was distressing, Rosenthal said, adding that it was also upsetting that no bystanders spoke up in her defense.The episode sparked a community meeting at the Harvard Chan School, at which Asani and Abdur-Rahman spoke. Abdur-Rahman said he had expected a crowd of just 20 or so, but many more turned out, with standing room only inside the room and people spilling out into the hallway.The crowd was of many races, religions, and ethnic groups, Abdur-Rahman said, but seemed to have one question in mind.“The No. 1 question [was], ‘What can we do to help you?’” Abdur-Rahman said.Since then, Rosenthal said she has gotten several emails from students asking how, in essence, to be a good bystander. In response, the School is planning “bystander training” in January or February, at which people can learn the best ways to prevent a situation from escalating, to support Muslim community members, and to step in when needed without jeopardizing their own safety.A voice for American Muslim youth
In the preseason Ivy League poll, the media tagged Harvard men’s basketball team to land the top slot. Last year was the first time in six years that Harvard failed to win at least a share of the Ivy championship, after losing to Yale 73-71 in the semifinals of the inaugural Ivy League Tournament.On Sunday Harvard Bryce Aiken ’20 netted 30 points, guiding the Crimson to a thrilling 70-67 overtime victory over the University of Massachusetts. Aiken poured in 12 of Harvard’s final 16 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with just 1.9 seconds on the clock. Chris Lewis ’20 was in double figures for the second straight game with 15 points, while Corey Johnson ’19 pitched in 10 of his own. Mario Haskett ’21 dazzled on defense, posting a game-high three steals. For his efforts against UMass and MIT two nights earlier, Aiken was selected Ivy League Player of the Week.Harvard men’s basketball is off to a 2-0 start, and travels to Holy Cross on Thursday and New York City on Saturday. Tipoffs are set for 7 p.m. and 1 p.m., respectively.For more updates and the season schedule, visit gocrimson.com.
For the past 30 years, lawyer and social activist Bryan Stevenson ’85 has battled through the courts, defending wrongly convicted death-row prisoners and children prosecuted as adults, while condemning mass incarceration, excessive sentences, and racial bias in the criminal justice system.Now Stevenson ’85, a graduate of Harvard Law School and Harvard Kennedy School, is about to embark on a fight outside the courts to start a national conversation about the painful legacy of slavery, which he said “continues to haunt us today.”Delivering the 2017 Tanner Lecture on Human Values on Wednesday, Stevenson announced a planned memorial to honor more than 4,000 victims of lynching in the U.S. and a museum that traces the country’s history of racial inequality from enslavement to mass incarceration. They will be located in Montgomery, Ala., a cradle of the Confederacy and a birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement. The memorial and museum, scheduled to open in April, are part of Stevenson’s efforts to end the general national silence about slavery, lynching, and segregation.“It’s critical at this moment in our nation’s history that we talk about race,” Stevenson told a packed crowd at First Parish Church in Cambridge. “Slavery didn’t end in 1865. It just evolved. It turned into decades of terrorism, violence, and lynching. And the era of lynching was devastating. It created a shadow all over this country, and we haven’t talked about it; we haven’t confronted it.During the Tanner Lecture, Bryan Stevenson also announced the opening of a memorial to victims of lynching and a museum on the legacy of slavery.“The true evil of American slavery wasn’t involuntary servitude,” he said. “It was the narrative of racial difference, the ideology of white supremacy that we made up to justify slavery. That’s the true evil.”Stevenson compared efforts in Rwanda, South Africa, and Germany to memorialize their own legacies of genocide, apartheid, and the Holocaust with the lack of memorials or markers in the U.S. to acknowledge its long history of racial inequality, particularly its deep history of lynching.“Black people were kidnapped, taken out of their homes,” said Stevenson. “They were murdered. They were beaten. They were hanged. They were brutalized. They were terrorized, and they have never been recognized. And in the 20th century, we created one of the largest mass migrations the world had ever seen. Millions of blacks fled the American South. The black people who went to Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, or Boston didn’t come to these communities as immigrants looking for economic opportunities. They came as refugees and exiles of terror from the American South.”Stevenson, a professor at the New York University School of Law, a MacArthur “genius” award winner, and founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative, said he hopes that the upcoming National Memorial for Peace and Justice, the country’s first comprehensive memorial to victims of lynching, will help communities across the nation reckon with their past.Between the Civil War and World War II, more than 4,000 African-Americans were lynched by white mobs, Stevenson’s organization has documented. The memorial will feature more than 800 columns, one for each county in the U.S. where lynchings took place, and the names of all the victims will be inscribed on the columns.“We’re going to ask every community where a lynching took place to come to Montgomery and claim the replica of the monument for their community, to take it back and erect it in a prominent place,” Stevenson said. “It’s an effort at changing the iconography of America.” In Montgomery, there are more than 50 monuments to the Confederacy, he added.Stevenson said it is also important also to acknowledge the legacy of enslavement in the present criminal justice system. One of three black men is in prison, on probation, or on parole, he said, and statistics say that one in three black males born today will go to jail at some point in his life.Homi K. Bhabha, director of the Mahindra Humanities Center, which hosted the event, held a panel discussion following Stevenson’s lecture.Stevenson blames a misguided war on drugs and the influence of political leaders who have preached fear and anger, leading to long prison sentences, to prosecuting children as adults, and to mass incarceration.Confronting the legacy of slavery will be hard and uncomfortable, said Stevenson, but it’s necessary to rescue the soul of the nation. Acknowledging the atrocities of the past can help change the narrative of racial differences and white supremacist ideology that persists today, and foster truth and reconciliation in its place.“I do believe that this effort, in thinking who we are and how we come to be where we are, is a critical factor at this time in our nation’s history,” said Stevenson. “Narrative and memory are important if we’re going to create a just society. I think this work is critical to the success of the rule of law in this country.”The event was hosted by the Mahindra Humanities Center in collaboration with the Office of the President at Harvard. President Drew Faust introduced the lecture, calling the sessions “one of Harvard’s great intellectual traditions.”Afterward, Homi K. Bhabha, director of the Humanities Center, led a panel discussion on the issues of mass incarceration, racial injustice, and the death penalty.Among the panelists were Nancy Gertner, senior lecturer on law at the Law School and a retired U.S. district judge; Tommie Shelby, Caldwell Titcomb Professor in the Department of African and African American Studies and the Department of Philosophy, and Carol S. Steiker, Henry J. Friendly Professor of Law at the Law School.Reflecting on her years on the bench, Gertner criticized mandatory minimum sentencing, a legal trend that was a product of the war on drugs that led to the surge in the number of African-Americans in the federal prison population.Shelby addressed the issue of racial injustice and its ties to economic injustice and said that mass incarceration is a matter of economic injustice.Steiker spoke about the history of the death penalty in the United States and talked about its racial basis. The United States is the only Western democracy that uses capital punishment, she said, and is a leader internationally in doing so.
Read Full Story Harvard Graduate School of Education Dean James E. Ryan is pleased to announce that John Silvanus Wilson Jr., Ed.M.’82, Ed.D.’85, senior adviser and strategist to the president at Harvard University, will address the graduating class and their families at convocation on May 23, 2018.“Throughout his expansive career, and with unrivaled dedication to his alma maters, John has been working faithfully to ensure that colleges and universities reach their full potential as sites of personal transformation and social progress,” said Ryan. “This year, we had the great fortune of hosting John as a president-in-residence and we’re delighted for our graduates to hear from a remarkable HGSE alumnus and visionary leader. We’re deeply indebted to the HGSE Speakers Committee, chaired by [Professor] Paul Reville, for recommending John to be this year’s convocation speaker.”Wilson, the former president of Morehouse College, has also served as a member of the Board of Overseers, the former head of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities under President Obama, and as a former senior administrator at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.“When Dean Ryan reached out to me to officially extend the invitation, he let me know that a committee of students, faculty, and staff jointly made the decision. I know this may sound or seem like a standard thing to say, but I truly regard it as an honor and a privilege to have been selected,” said Wilson. “I know they could have chosen any number of educators or brand-name people from around the country or world. That they chose me feels quite special and when it’s all said and done, I want the graduates to feel that their trust in me was well-placed!”After leaving Morehouse College last March, Wilson returned to HGSE’s campus to begin work on a book on the future of higher education, with an emphasis on black colleges, and became immersed in the community once again, co-teaching classes in the Higher Education Program, and developing relationships with students, faculty, and staff.“HGSE is still a place where people come to imagine and plan better ways to realize powerful educational outcomes. I felt that way about this special community when I was here in 1985, and I still see and sense those virtues 32 years later,” Wilson said. “Beside the impressive professionalism of the staff, there remains among the students and faculty a deep understanding of the full range of educational challenges facing our nation. There is also a palpable determination to come up with new ways to fix what’s broken. I have met people here who are grappling with and trying to solve some of the most intractable problems in education. I just love the energetic, creative, and innovative spirit that is evident in people on that kind of journey.”
It was a festive farewell.Drew Faust said goodbye as Harvard’s president Thursday as members of the University community celebrated her 11 years as leader with humorous and heartfelt tributes and moving musical performances in Sanders Theatre, and dancing that stretched into the evening at Annenberg Hall.Faust became the University’s 28th president in 2007, the first woman to hold that job. Yet the Virginia native, historian, professor, and founding dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study was quick to tell those gathered at her opening press conference that she was “not the woman president of Harvard; I’m the president of Harvard.”Thursday’s party bookended the celebration of her inauguration on Oct. 11, 2007, which also was in Sanders Theatre, and which included musical tributes from students, alumni, and professors, as well as a humorous video introduced by actor John Lithgow ’67 titled “A Primer for a President.” On Thursday, several guests looked back to rate Faust on her years in Massachusetts Hall, offering grades in a number of “presidential” lessons. Unsurprisingly, she aced them all.Lithgow, the afternoon’s master of ceremonies, kicked off the tribute with archival photos of Faust, and asked the faculty present to stand as he called for a voice vote to “celebrate and commend Drew Faust for a job well done.” The faculty gave a resounding “aye.”“Achieving faculty consensus is an art,” quipped Lithgow, who gave Faust an A for “Lesson One: Take control of faculty meetings.”,Actor Courtney B. Vance ’82 and his two children awarded Faust an A-plus for her ability to honor traditions while being unafraid to question and challenge ones “that may have outlived their usefulness,” including the term “House master,” which Faust worked to replace with “faculty dean.”Harvard’s 31st treasurer, Paul Finnegan ’75, praised Faust, who took office on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis, for staying strong during adversity. “When the going got tough, you got tougher. You acted swiftly but with care,” Finnegan said, offering her an AAA credit rating in lieu of a grade.Faust also got high marks for taking chances during her presidency from someone who knows about taking public risks for a living. “You just have to be willing to screw up and not freak out when you do screw up, because you will screw up. I mean, you are really going to screw up,” joked comedian Conan O’Brien ’85 in a video clip.Faust was also praised for using her position to fight for what she thought was right, for her devotion to athletics, and for her commitment to the sciences, which earned for her from Lithgow a new element on the periodic table: Drewdium. “The project that is higher education, that is opening minds and changing lives and discovering truths, it’s just an exhilarating privilege to be part of it.” — Drew Faust,When it came to picking advisers, Jack Reardon ’60, a former admissions officer, athletic director, and head of the Harvard Alumni Association, said Faust deserved high marks for having the most important expert always in her corner, Charles Rosenberg, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences Emeritus — her husband.Top marks for “Don’t Forget the Arts” were never in doubt. Faust made incorporating the arts into campus life a hallmark of her presidency. She helped introduce the Theater, Dance & Media concentration and added art to Harvard Yard. Diane Paulus ’87, artistic director of the American Repertory Theater, said she was “continually inspired by President Faust’s profound understanding that the arts have the unique ability to engage our hearts as well as our minds.” She then introduced a segment by jazz great Wynton Marsalis, who helmed a two-year performance and lectures series at Harvard, ushered in through Faust. Family, history, and the 1960s all helped to shape Drew Faust, but it was illness that urged her forward ‘What the hell — why don’t I just go to Harvard and turn my life upside down?’ Related Drew Faust and Larry Bacow on learning from each other, the value of humility in decision-making, and the biggest challenges facing higher education Two leaders, one Harvard The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.,“The project that is higher education, that is opening minds and changing lives and discovering truths, it’s just an exhilarating privilege to be part of it and to have been in this institution and to have watched so many talented people — and you saw a lot of them onstage tonight — commit themselves to this project,” said Faust, offering her thanks to the crowd.“You have done the work that I was being praised for tonight,” Faust said. “This has been a collective enterprise, and it’s a collective enterprise that I know is going to continue in support of my successor, Larry Bacow.”,Mandolinist Forrest O’Connor ’10 and guitarist Jim Shirey ’11, members of the Grammy-winning bluegrass ensemble the Mark O’Connor Band, took the stage as part of a group called the Drew Crew. Aditya Raguram ’18, pianist and research fellow in genetics at Harvard Medical School, also performed, as did singer Joshuah Campbell ’16, who concluded the ceremony with a lively rendition of The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg.” That got Faust up on her feet to bust a move center stage with Lithgow. Attendees were then treated to a dance party in Annenberg Hall, which was transformed into a disco with neon lights, a D.J., a black-and-white checked dance floor, and some of Faust’s favorite foods, including shrimp dumplings, beef sliders, falafel wraps, bacon, and chocolate.Jeffrey Douyon, a staff assistant at the Harvard Alumni Association, said that while he had never met Faust he felt as if he knew her after attending the celebration. Hearing “so many kind and beautiful words about her work over the last 11 years and to just be a part of the spirit of this room tonight was beautiful,” said Douyon.“It’s bittersweet,” he added. “It’s sad to see her go. On the other hand, I am excited to see how her legacy lasts here at Harvard.”
“Moby-Dick,” Herman Melville’s 1851 novel about obsession (and a great white whale) might not seem like a natural for a musical. Then again, neither did Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” and that became a Broadway hit as “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.” To playwright Dave Malloy, who brought “Great Comet” to the stage, such “classic weird novels” are perfect for musical adaptations, not least because they give him so much to work with.“It’s such a great sprawling mess,” says Malloy of “Moby-Dick,” which will have its world premiere at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) in a Dec. 3 preview, eight days before opening night. The production, with Malloy’s music, lyrics, book, and orchestrations, will reunite much of the “Great Comet” team, including Tony Award-winning director Rachel Chavkin, who helped develop the show, music director Or Matias, and designers Mimi Lien and Bradley King, and bring in choreographer Chanel DaSilva.In many ways, says Malloy, “Moby-Dick” lends itself to adaptation. “The book is written more like a play at times than a novel, and other sections are like essays on fiction or different ways of cooking whales,” he enthuses. “Melville played with form. He really breaks the idea of what a novel can be, and I’m very attracted to things like that.”,Like Malloy’s earlier hit, which had its A.R.T. debut in 2015, the musical “Moby-Dick” winnows through its genre-hopping source, extracting universal themes from the novel. Unlike “Great Comet,” however, “Moby-Dick” is a quintessentially American work, says Malloy, addressing topics from the 19th century that remain relevant today.“One thing we’re doing is we’re very much taking an American novel and really looking at it as a way of looking at America,” he says.One of the major themes of both the musical and the book, for example, is “talking about race in America,” says Malloy. The crew of the Pequod, Melville’s doomed ship, included Queequeg, the son of a South Seas chief; the Native American Tashtego; the Parsee harpooner Fedallah; and the African Daggoo. On the A.R.T. stage, these characters will be portrayed by a multiracial and mixed-gender cast. “Melville has this utopian vision of all these people living together and working together in harmony,” says Malloy. With Captain Ahab at the helm, however, “it also tells a story of white supremacy,” he notes. “Having this old white man lead the ship toward its doom.”,The musical also addresses humankind’s environmental impact, a concern that Melville brought up nearly 170 years ago. “There’s a whole chapter where he talks about the buffalo, and asks, ‘Will the whale go the way of the buffalo?’” Malloy says. Despite these prescient worries, he continues, Melville gets it wrong. “He’s like, ‘No, whales can escape to the North Pole.’ He was very optimistic about the whale’s chances.”In the A.R.T. version, a darker vision will be reflected in the set and the show’s puppets, which use ocean trash as a visible reminder of what we have done to our world.Puppets? Yes, “We have this incredible puppet designer, Eric Avery,” says Malloy. “All of the puppets are made out of recycled ocean trash, plastic bottles, and things like that.”,Trash will also be used to depict some of the more visual aspects of the book, such as the “industrial rolls of blubber” that the whalers work with after a successful hunt. Whether such detritus will depict Moby-Dick itself, Malloy won’t say.“That would be a spoiler!” He laughs, even as he dismisses the idea that pollution is our “great white whale.”“That’s what makes it such a great novel: the multifaceted beauty of the white whale,” he says. “It represents different things to different people on the Pequod, and we’re certainly doing that as well. To Ahab it represents God and Nature and to other people on the ship it represents white supremacy. There’s a lot going on that the white whale can represent.” Gilbert and Sullivan drop the mic Lessons of ‘West Side Story’ Cast and crew of new production wrestle with the classic musical’s racial, ethnic, and political complications Longtime Harvard troupe returns to stage ‘H.M.S. Pinafore’ Related Teens tackle question of freedom in America Project lets students write and perform ‘Freedom Acts’ for the A.R.T. stage
GAZETTE: A number of police departments have tried to address implicit bias and culture change through training. Why hasn’t it been more successful?BOBO: Because the problem is not just one of implicit bias. For example, you can try to train officers to be more reflective and to recognize that we have all grown up in a culture that is filled with negative ideas and images about African Americans as violent, as dangerous, as threatening, as lesser. That kind of devaluing of Black life, sadly, is a part of the American cultural fabric. Not as extreme as it used to be, but still very clear and very deeply rooted. And so, if you have that kind of layering out there and at the same time police departments are told, “Look, we are now going to wage a war on crime, and you’re expected to demonstrate progress on that war on crime.” The easiest way to do that, the one with the least blowback, is to redouble if not triple your efforts in policing the weakest segments of society. We know from many different sources, the actual consumption of illegal drugs and substances does not appear to vary by race. However, the odds of being arrested are enormously unequal by race, and the odds of then being convicted and serving jail time even more radically so. That is a function of where policing agencies decide to focus their gaze. So we’ve got policies, interacting with culture, interacting with psychological processes that are continually reinforcing this systematic inequality.GAZETTE: We’ve seen violence and aggression this week across the country between police and sometimes U.S. military forces on one side and peaceful demonstrators, looters, and provocateurs on the other. Do outward displays of dominance over the less-powerful — like police striking an unarmed Black person or a news camera operator — or mayhem against institutional power — like setting fire to police cruisers or throwing things at officers — scratch the same psychological itch? Why does that attract some but repel others?BOBO: We live in such a complicated and contradictory moment that it’s hard to put your finger on any one thing. There’s certainly a powerful body of research in social psychology suggesting that some individuals and indeed, on average, some members of more privileged groups tend to be more supportive of maintaining inequalities and asserting a certain level of dominance and control and a social order. For good or ill, policing is the sort of profession that both selects for, and in some ways probably encourages, that sort of inclination. I’m still optimistic that there is a lot of widely, widely shared upset and anger about this ongoing litany of unarmed minority civilians who end up suffering and dying at the hands of those who should be serving and protecting us all in an equitable way. And it is sad, but real, that some people are exploiting this moment to pilfer, to rob, to loot, or to engage in fights with police. Some of them may be provocateurs on the right and from white supremacist groups, some of them may be provocateurs on the left, from Antifa or what have you. But there’s a much larger number, I do believe, of people of genuine goodwill who have higher aspirations, who want to see a better world in this regard. What worries me most right now is less those disruptive forces on the street than the dangers we all face if a democratic society descends into heavy-handed, militaristic regulation of its own citizens who are expressing a legitimate grievance.GAZETTE: What would be that moment for you that would suggest when we have crossed that line?BOBO: Truthfully, I don’t know. The last three years have brought one moment of shock and awe after the other, as acts on a national and international stage from our leadership that one would have thought unimaginable play out each and every day under a blanket of security provided by a U.S. Senate that appears to have lost all sense of spine and justice and decency. I don’t know where this is. I think we’re in a deeply troubling moment. But I am going to remain guardedly optimistic that hopefully, in the not-too-distant future, the higher angels of our nature win out in what is a really frightening coalescence of circumstances.This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Protesters once again have taken to the nation’s streets to voice their anger over another killing of a Black man by police officers. The reaction now seems familiar, if higher in heat and broader in scale. This time it was over George Floyd, who suffocated after a white Minneapolis police officer jammed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes while three other officers either held him down or looked on. Floyd is the latest link in a long chain of deaths and injuries involving police: Rodney King, Malice Wayne Green, Abner Louima, Amadou Diallo, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Philando Castile, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, among them. Lawrence D. Bobo is dean of social science and the W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. He studies social psychology, politics, and race. He spoke with the Gazette about police killings of African Americans, the cognitive forces underlying racism, the long history of violence toward Black people, why training hasn’t changed anything, and why he sees signs of hope in this “deeply troubling moment.”Q&ALawrence D. BoboGAZETTE: What’s your reaction to what’s been happening across the country?BOBO: Like so many people, I was dumbfounded and horrified and outraged by the video of George Floyd slowly being murdered, basically, at a point where he was outnumbered by police officers, handcuffed, subdued on the ground, and basically begging for his life. We watched him slowly, casually, be killed by a group of police officers. And I find it horrifying and numbing. It’s reminiscent in some ways of how I felt when the Simi Valley jury acquitted the officers who had beaten Rodney King; it’s reminiscent of the feeling I had when the jurors acquitted George Zimmerman in killing Trayvon Martin. And the whole sense of just stunned futility and rage is characteristic of when I was very young, back in that terrible spring of 1968, when we lost Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy in a short span of weeks. So it’s a terrible and depressing moment. But we can’t leave it there; we shouldn’t leave it there; and we should be mindful of the ways in which there are real opportunities here, real resources here, and I think progress to be made.On the one hand, I am greatly heartened by the level of mobilization and civil protests. That it has touched so many people and brought out so many tens of thousands of individuals to express their concern, their outrage, their condemnation of the police actions in this case and their demand for change and for justice, I find all that greatly encouraging. It is, at the same moment, very disappointing that some folks have taken this as an opportunity to try to bring chaos and violence to these occasions of otherwise high-minded civil protest. And I’m disappointed by those occasions where in law enforcement, individuals and agencies, have acted in ways that have provoked or antagonized otherwise peaceful protest actions.It’s a complex and fraught moment that we’re in. And one of the most profoundly disappointing aspects of the current context is the lack of wise and sensible voices and leadership on the national stage to set the right tone, to heal the nation, and to reassure us all that we’re going to be on a path to a better, more just society. “It’s really important to recall that what slavery did, in many respects, was to forge a tight link between our social class structure and a kind of racial hierarchy.” The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news. GAZETTE: In the majority of police-related killings of Black people, the assailants are white. Is that enough to conclude that racism is the cause, or are there other forces also at work?BOBO: Certainly racism, and both the historic legacy of racism and the long, deeply etched legacy of racism in terms of our current social conditions and circumstances and the physical geography and spaces in which people live, and indeed, in terms of our cultural landscape, and toolkit and reservoir of ideas, and resources we all have to draw on, these have been profoundly distorted by racism.It’s really important to recall that what slavery did, in many respects, was to forge a tight link between our social class structure and a kind of racial hierarchy. It created a bottom rung [of] people who were racially stigmatized and in the deepest economic disadvantage and poverty. And we have never fully undone that terrible circumstance. In the present moment, we have to add many, many layers of complexity to this, that part of this is the historic legacy of African American communities suffering from both over-policing and under-policing.GAZETTE: Can you explain?BOBO: Under-policing in the sense of often not getting police response to violence and crime within the Black community, and certainly not getting an adequate response in cases where Blacks are victims of white perpetrators. And then, over-policing, where police have run roughshod over the lives and circumstances and civil liberties of Black folks and where Black folks have been subject to the most arbitrary and capricious forms of justice in the American system.We had all thought, of course, that we made phenomenal strides. We inhabit an era in which there are certainly more rank-and-file minority police officers than ever before, more African American and minority and female police chiefs and leaders. But inhabiting a world where the poor and our deeply poor communities are still heavily disproportionately people of color, where we had a war on drugs that was racially biased in both its origins and its profoundly troubling execution over many years, that has bred a level of distrust and antagonism between police and Black communities that should worry us all. There’s clearly an enormous amount of work to be done to undo those circumstances and to heal those wounds.,GAZETTE: Many police departments, particularly those in Black and brown neighborhoods, have been criticized for having an “us vs. them” attitude. Our politics, in recent years, has successfully encouraged voters to take an “us vs. them” attitude toward those with different ideological viewpoints. Is that “us vs. them” dynamic what’s happening with police violence in Black neighborhoods? What’s at work cognitively/sociologically when we see the world in binary terms?BOBO: We certainly do inhabit an incredibly politically polarized moment. And it is sad, but hopefully we are nearing the nadir, the low point, of that moment, and we’ll someday see our way out of this great chasm. The saying used to be, “If you’re in a hole, the most important thing is stop digging.” Unfortunately too much of our political leadership is continuing to dig because it has been profitable for them in terms of holding onto a shrinking coalition and political power.I am heartened by the diversity and array of individuals who turned out for the civil protests and do believe that in a way that will ultimately prove to be the great majority of the American people. But this is a deeply polarized ideological moment we’re in, this moment of really serious economic inequality, a level of economic inequality that has had really unfortunate political consequences where extremely wealthy, well-connected segments of the population exercise really significant, almost veto power over so many aspects of our economic and political system that many people are feeling deeply frustrated and left behind, and I think people are easily sold on scapegoating political messages rather than doing the kind of deeper analysis that would get us toward constructive response to these circumstances.Racism in some respects remains the core of this, but it’s not the only thing operative. There are issues of economic class inequality, ideological and political polarization, and exploitation of the circumstances, and there are aspects of just the nature of the job of policing in such an unequal society that lend themselves to these potentially explosive encounters.GAZETTE: Why are we racist? What are the cognitive drivers of racism?BOBO: There’s no simple answer. It’s a combination of things. It’s partly historical circumstance; it is partly how we have organized relationships in particular, what kind of forms of thought, action, and behavior have become codified in law and routine practices.So, for example, our society used to recognize a far more complicated set of racial gradations than we typically think in terms of now. If you were to go back to the 1870, 1880, 1890 censuses, you would see categories on the census form for, of course, white, but you would also see colored Negro, Black, mulatto, quadroon, even octoroon, that were recognized categories of color and racial gradation. When slavery was finally completely crushed, and when the effort to reconstruct the South was defeated, we suddenly had a world in which those who held power in the American South decided they needed a sharp Black/white dichotomy in order to maintain control of the Black population. And they enacted a set of laws that basically said there are two categories of people, Black and white, and that any drop of African ancestry basically made you Black. And we created the role of hypodescent. The important point to note is that had not always been the case. But it is a very powerful cultural trope now, and that’s because we institutionalized it in law, day-to-day practice, and ultimately, therefore, widely shared, deeply rooted commonsense understandings. That sadly is where we are here.GAZETTE: Does that account for the level of brutality we’ve seen in so many of these cases?BOBO: How does a police officer place his body weight on a man’s neck while two or three other police officers mill around? Well, there’s obviously a profound “othering” that has gone on. You are clearly no longer regarding that other individual as someone who’s due the kind of regard that you yourself would expect from anyone else. That the other officers so casually walked around, took notes, just stood there chatting, bespeaks a wall of everyday routine and indifference that has such profound cultural roots at this point that it’s not just unconscious bias. Sadly, it is the state of our culture in many circumstances, especially as it manifests itself in the particular circumstance of police encounters with African American individuals and communities in too many circumstances.GAZETTE: Critics say the Minneapolis Police Department culture tolerates or rewards unethical behavioral, as demonstrated not just by the officer who pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck, but by the others who did not intervene. Broadly, the law enforcement profession is often seen as adopting a code of silence when faced with criticism. What dynamics shape or contribute to this kind of organizational culture? Does it vary by profession?BOBO: It varies from profession to profession. And of course in policing, we have to recognize that it is a high-risk profession. We expect and demand a lot of law enforcement officials. But in those high-risk professions, it’s often the case that very, very strong norms of solidarity develop. And those kinds of norms of solidarity and mutual support are reinforced by organizational practices, the routines of their work, the training that goes on, so that I think you’re more so inclined there than in many other settings to get a degree of social conformity and deference to your fellow officer and those of higher authority, if for no other reason than a purely defensive one — we have to stand together in order to survive. And there are obviously ways to intervene in this, but it’s hard to intervene in an American culture that is otherwise so suffused with access to guns and an image of police as dominating and assertive and controlling, rather than supportive and aiding and working with communities. So cultivating a whole new understanding and way of doing policing is really just critically important to usher in debate. And in my experience, frankly, many, many higher-ranking police officials are eager to do that. But how they move forward on it in a context of rank-and-file unions and the high solidarity among the rank and file is a hard task and one that requires some real planful action. “That the other officers so casually walked around, took notes, just stood there chatting, bespeaks a wall of everyday routine and indifference that has such profound cultural roots at this point that it’s not just unconscious bias.”