Thursday, November 19, 2009

Invigoration & Exhaustion

I rarely pick up and leave in the middle of a quarter, but this year was an exception. My parents wanted to return to Hawaii, where we had lived from 1963-67. I’ve been back several times but my father had just flown in and out in 1969 and my mother hadn’t returned since we left 42 years ago. She and my brothers lived on the island of O’ahu for almost four years without leaving, so I wanted to show my parents the Big Island, Hawai’i, which I had explored several times.

There’s something quite mystic about the Big Island; the volcanoes have an overshadowing presence and at times I would swear that I feel them growing. Snorkeling at Kahalu’u Beach Park was one of the highlights. I spotted the neon blue lips of the state fish (humuhumunukunukuapua'a), watched multiple turtles float by, and identified angelfish, butterflyfish, needlefish, and others. I even observed one fish (still unidentified) building a nest by biting on and spitting out sand, then watched her entice a male fish over where she laid eggs which the male fish fertilized.

Whenever I have any vacation time, I like to catch up on back issues of the New Yorker but this year I added several novels into the mix. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was somewhat amusing but it’s a difficult task to add anything to the already stylish and compact prose of Miss Jane Austen. I also read John Hamamura’s The Color of the Sea which actually begins in Hilo on the Big Island, lingers in California and Japan, and ends in post-war Hiroshima. Since I was in the midst of reliving in part my childhood journeys to Hawai’i and I had also lived briefly (before Hawai’i) in Japan, Hamamura’s novel was a topical tie-in to the vacation. Finally, I read Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai, a sad novel about the loss of home and displacement of emigration/immigration.

Returning to Cal State LA, Saturday, November 14th, was a marvelous evening for the arts. I passed the Music Hall, where many were gathering for a student recital, on my way to the opening our master’s thesis show in the Fine Arts Gallery. This show lasts a short time so come out and see it soon. The work is very strong and engaging, including an interactive piece that lets one push the art around the room.

Next was Evita which I hadn’t seen since the first national tour WAY back in the last century. I had forgotten how challenging it is to sing the role of Evita and our two students who played Evita did wonderful work. The staging of the two Evita’s in introspective conversation and evolution from a young to mature character was handled wonderfully. There are several showstoppers that you really must get out to see if

you have the opportunity—this weekend (the19th-22nd) only!

This Wednesday, the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics had a good crowd for its major fall event but I had to pass it by to attend the new media discussion panel hosted by the American Communities Program. This evening, I get to speak at the “Attire for Hire” program co-hosted by students from the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Business and Economics. Having just been to the Los Angeles Textile Association’s annual scholarship lunch where several of our students were awarded scholarships, I naturally feel that I have much to offer in the way of fashion tips. Alas! Tonight is the final night of this season’s Project Runway. While I’m looking forward to the finale, I’ll have to arrange another Thursday evening activity for the next several months.

This Saturday I’m looking forward to our second Larry Harlow concert at the Luckman main stage. Mr. Harlow is already here providing workshops and rehearsals for our Afro Latin Ensemble. Please come out this Saturday at 8 pm for a sizzling world premiere of Harlow’s “Salsa Suite.”

1 comment:

  1. Dear Dean
    Thank you for sending me the fine arts blog.
    This really help promote the events and makes it easier for comuter working students to notice what CSULA and it's students are doing.
    Congratulations on your fine internet presentation.thh


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