Inside ASU, News for Faculty & Staff, Arkansas State University
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100th Year
2009-10

April 2, 2009

Calendar highlights:

Cooper Alumni Center hosts a celebration of the 100th birthday of ASU and alumna Opal Copeland Radford, Saturday,
April 4,
2-4 p.m.


 

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Delta Blues Symposium XV is here
Delta Blues Symposium XV: Celebrating A Century of Delta Culture
will commence at 12:30 p.m., Thursday, April 2, when ASUís Centennial Celebration Commission will convene a panel, "Bringing ASU's Heritage to Life,Ē with commission members Dr. Nancy Hendricks, Dr. Ruth Hawkins, and Dr. Brady Banta. The panel will be held in the Mockingbird Room on the third floor of ASU's Student Union.
"Celebrating A Century of Delta Culture" is the theme for this year’s Delta Blues Symposium, the 15th annual conference that brings scholars, students, performers, and artists from all over the nation to the Arkansas State University-Jonesboro campus, in order to examine the Delta, consider its problems, and celebrate its culture. Sponsored by the Department of English and Philosophy and with additional on-campus support, as well as support from the National Endowment of the Arts, the event will take place Thursday-Saturday, April 2-4. Unless otherwise noted, all events will take place in the Mockingbird Room on the third floor of ASU’s Student Union. All events are free, and the public is invited.

Blueswoman Valerie June emphasizes her musical roots in a cypress swamp. Photo credit: Alan Spearman.
Memphis blueswoman Valerie June evokes her roots. Photo credit: Alan Spearman.

DBS XV opening concert tonight stars Lemuel Sheppard
DBS XV features Kansas City bluesman Lemuel Sheppard in performance on the first night of the three-day Delta Blues Symposium XV: Celebrating a Century of De
Lem Sheppardlta Culture, Thursday-Saturday, April 2-4. Sheppard, who has been touring the United States performing over 200 shows in as many cities, will perform Thursday evening, April 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center Recital Hall. Since appearing more than ten years ago at one of ASUís early blues symposiums, Sheppard has not only toured throughout the country, but he has traveled to and performed in Brazil and South Africa.He was recently inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of fame. He also composed and performed the sound track to the PBS documentary “Black, White, and Brown” on the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education, Topeka. Following his Thursday night performance, Sheppard will visit an area school to discuss the blues with local students. For more details about Sheppard, see the NewsPage release.

Blues scholars present featured panel 'Blues in Time'
Arkansas State University-Jonesboro’s Department of English and Philosophy is sponsoring internationally known blues and music scholars who will participate in a featured panel at this year’s Delta Blues Symposium XV: Celebrating a Century oDavid Evansf Delta Culture. David Evans, John Minton, and Judy Peiser will discuss “Blues in Time” on Friday, April 3, at a panel scheduled for 3:30-5 p.m. in the Mockingbird Room of ASU’s Reng Student Services Center/Student Union, 101 North Caraway Road, Jonesboro. The event is free and open to the public. This panel will provide an understanding of the historical and cultural contexts of blues and other related musical forms throughout the 20th Century. David Evans is professor of musicology at the University of Memphis. A noted authority on the blues, Evans has written the classic study "Big Road Blues: Tradition and Creativity in the Folk Blues" and "The NPR Curious Listener’s Guide to the Blues." John Minton is professor of folklore at Indiana University-PurdueJohn Minton University, Fort Wayne. He has published widely in the field of folklore, including a collaborativestudy he completed with David Evans, "The Coon in theJudy Peiser Box: A Global Folktale in African-American Tradition." Minton also is a performer and talented musician. Judy Peiser is the current director of Memphis’s Center for Southern Folklore, an organization that she co-founded in 1972 with William Ferris. She directs numerous events, including the annual Memphis Music and Heritage Festival, and she is also a highly acclaimed documentary filmmaker. Her notable films include "Gravel Springs Fife and Drum" and "All Day and All Night: Memories from Beale Street." For details, see the NewsPage release.

Kearney, Smith to read from works April 3 in DBS XV
In conjunction with Delta Blues Symposium XV: Celebrating a Century of Delta Culture, ASU's Department of English and Philosophy welcomes Janis Kearney and DJanis Kearneyale Smith to read from their works on Friday, April 3, at 7:30 p.m. in the Grand Hall, Fowler Center. The event is free and open to the public. Janis Kearney, a former publisher of the Arkansas State Press newspaper, spent five years servinDale Smithg as President Bill Clintonís personal diarist. She also spent the academic year 2007-2008 in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, where she taught four special-topics courses. Dale Smith is a nationally known poet writer, critic, and editor, and has recently founded the Slow Poetry Movement. A native of Texas, Smith studied poetry at New College of California in San Francisco.
He now lives in Austin, where he edits the small publishing concern, Skanky Possum. For details, call the department at ext. 3043, or see the NewsPage release. A complete schedule of symposium events is online.  

Second City alumnus David Starwalt, company, to perform
David Starwalt and Company will present "The Brotherhood of Blue," a readers' theatre performance, as part of Delta Blues Symposium XV: Celebrating a Century of Delta David StarwaltCulture. Starwalt and Company's performance will take placeSaturday, April 4, from 9:15 a.m.-10:15 a.m. in the Mockingbird Room, Student Union. The film script for "Black and Blues," from which "The Brotherhood of Blue" was adapted is the story of Jimmy, a white kid raised by a black family in a blues bar in Memphis. The adult Jimmy is completely broken as he goes home to bury his best friend and brother, Little T. Jimmy and Little T. fronted "The Brotherhood of Blue," the biggest blues/rock band of their era. They had it all, but faded into a drug-induced obscurity. Now, fifteen years after the bandís breakup, Jimmy has had to mortgage everything to mount their comeback, but Little T. dies of an overdose before the first show. For details, see the NewsPage release.

DBS XV concludes with Blues Bash Saturday, April 4
A blues festival is planned for this year’s Delta Blues Symposium at Arkansas State University-Jonesboro. Blues Bash Saturday will feature blues musicians and an open mike/jam session on Saturday afternoon, April 4, outdoors at ASU's Heritage Plaza, near the Reng Student Services Center/Student Union, 101 North Caraway Road, Jonesboro. The event will move to the Student Union Auditorium if inclement weather threatens. Blues Bash Saturday is sponsored by the university’s English and Philosophy Department, KASU 91.9 FM, the Arkansas Folklife Program, and the Arkansas Delta Blues Society. The show will begin at 12:30 p.m. with featured performers Valerie June at 12:30 p.m., Terry ‘Harmonica’ Bean at 1: 15 p.m., and the Bluesberry Jam Band at 2 p.m. At 2:30 p.m., the stage will be open for any musicians who want to perform bluestunes in an open microphone setting.  Following this session, an informal jam session will put the capstone on the annual symposium’s theme of “Celebrating a Century of Delta Culture.” Blues Bash Saturday will be emceed by Mike Luster, director of ASU’s Arkansas Folklife Program. For details, contact Dr. Gregory Hansen, at ext.3043, or see the NewsPage release.

President Barack Obama congratulates ASU on turning 100
Yesterday, ASU celebrated its 100th birthday. A Founder's Day celebration, held on ASU's historic quadrangle, culminated in a re-dedication ceremony for ASU's historic arch, the oldest remaining structure on campus. Florine Tousant Milligan, member of the ASU Board of Trustees, read a congratulatory message from President Barack Obama.
Watch Mrs. Milligan read the president's letter on YouTube, and look for other ASU video links at http://www.youtube.com/user/ASUTVjonesboro.



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