Tag Archives: middle ages

‘Leo Africanus’ Discovers Comedy – A History Talk by Natalie Zemon Davis

This talk stages a dialogue between two theatrical traditions at the end of the Middle Ages: the popular theater of the Arabic and Islamic world and the theater of Christian Europe. It does so through the adventures of Hasan al-Wazzan (“Leo Africanus”), a Moroccan traveler and diplomat, who was captured by Christian pirates in 1518 and spent several years in Italy as a seeming convert before returning to North Africa. The talk reflects on possible limits to cultural exchange and on the continuing vigor of alternate cultural traditions.

Natalie Zemon Davis has received honorary degrees from numerous universities in the United States and Europe. In 1987 she served as President of the American Historical Association. In recognition of her path breaking historical work, in 2010 she was awarded the Holberg International Memorial Prize, and in 2012 she received the National Humanities Medal.

Sponsored by the History Department.

Date: Thursday, October 17th
Time: 4:15 PM – 6:00 PM
Place: Beckham Hall

Tonight: Grateful Dead’s “Dark Star:” A Psychedelic Lecture by Dr. Graeme Boone

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Mickey Capper ’13 reminded me to post about this. Here’s the blurb from the official Facebook page for this event:

Born and raised in San Francisco—the home of the Grateful Dead—Professor of Music Graeme M. Boone attended the University of California at Berkeley, the Universite de Paris, and Harvard University, where he taught before joining the faculty at Ohio State. Following an overview of the band’s early history and style, Dr. Boone’s talk includes the showing of a “mandala movie” which helps elucidate the Dead’s open-ended song “Dark Star,” conveying a holistic, organic analysis of the tune, and incorporating every salient element in the extended, psychedelically evocative improvisations of its first 150 recorded performances.

With lyrics by Robert Hunter and music by Jerry Garcia, “Dark Star” can cover a broad spectrum of moods and musical ideas—incorporating anything from R&B cover songs to outer-space apocalypse—but the attentive listener can also hear lines of force binding the jams together: structuring devices, strategies, and trajectories that direct each improvisation and also serve as fundamental guideposts. An animated movie with changing colors and annotations follows two specific performances of the song, recorded in London on 4/8/72 and 5/23/72 during the band’s European tour that spring (the original 16-track analog tapes of the entire Europe ’72 tour were remixed, mastered in HDCD format, and released by the band in 2011).