Archive for March, 2011

In Rome, A World Premiere Reading of Nobel Laureate and AAR Resident Derek Walcott’s ‘Moon-Child (Ti Jean in Concert)’

March 24, 2011

On Monday 4 April at 9 PM, the Sala Aurelia at the American Academy’s Villa Aurelia was transformed into a theater space and resonated with the sights and sounds of the Caribbean, as Nobel Laureate and William B. Hart Resident Poet Derek Walcott led a cast including actors Wendell Manwarren, Giovanna Bozzolo and Dean Atta in the world premiere reading of his new play Moon-Child (Ti Jean in Concert).

Derek Walcott was born in St. Lucia (West Indies) and has lived there for most of his life, with frequent travel and teaching abroad, including in the United States (where he taught at Boston University until 2007). In addition to being the author of sixteen books of poetry, Walcott is also a theater director and playwright, and founded the Trinidad Theatre Workshop in 1959 and the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre in 1981. He has written many plays, and also wrote the lyrics for Paul Simon’s musical The Cape Man. (more…)

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On 7 and 14 April 2011, Celebrating the 400th Anniversary of Galileo on the Gianicolo

March 19, 2011

The American Academy’s Casa Rustica (in the present Bass Garden) occupies the precise site where, on Thursday 14 April 1611, Galileo made his first demonstration to a learned audience in Rome of his new invention, named on this occasion as the “telescope”. That evening represents the baptism of Galileo’s device as a true scientific instrument, as well as its inaugural presentation for scrutiny by members of the Church. To mark the 400th anniversary of this historic achievement, the Academy is offering three events, starting on Thursday 7 April 2011 (5 PM), with an installment of the AAR’s “Conversations That Matter” series.

Plus from Thursday 7 April (6.30 PM) through Friday 15 April 2011 the Academy’s Gallery will host an exhibition organized by the Specola Vaticana (Vatican Observatory). And on the actual anniversary, Thursday 14 April 2011 (7-11 PM), the Academy will see an evening-long indoor and outdoor program of music, readings, art installations, multimedia performances, and participatory stargazing, entitled the Galileo Cabaret. For the Cabaret there are just 400 (free) tickets; see registration information below. Each of these Galileo-related events is made possible through the generous support of Finmeccanica.

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On the 150th Anniversary of Italian Unification, a New Museum at Porta San Pancrazio Neighboring the AAR

March 18, 2011

Porta San Pancrazio is one of the western gates of Rome that opens along its Aurelian Walls. For centuries it has served as a main conduit for traffic to Rome that passes along the Via Aurelia Antica. Rebuilt in 1642—over the perimeter of the new Gianicolo walls commissioned by Pope Urban VIII—it was irreparably damaged by French cannons during the defense of the Roman Republic of 1849. Virginio Vespignani reconstructed this arch in the years 1854-1857, under the patronage of Pope Pius IX. For almost a century the Porta San Pancrazio also has formed an important part of the topography of the American Academy in Rome, whose main entrance on Via Masina is situated no more than 100 meters away.

The Porta San Pancrazio for many years also housed a small museum devoted to the era of Garibaldi, that few had ever managed to see and experience. But no more. The 150th anniversary of Italian unification, which fell on 17 March 2011, saw among much else the inauguration in the upper stories of the Porta of the newly reconstituted “Museo della Repubblica Romana e della Memoria Garibaldina“, which featured appearances by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and President Giorgio Napolitano. (more…)

In Rome, ‘100 Years From Now’, a Public Art Project of AAR Fellow Jeremy Mende

March 11, 2011

Franklin D. Israel Rome Prize recipient Jeremy Mende. Photo: Star Black

Jeremy Mende is wrapping up his six-month fellowship in Design at the American Academy in Rome. As he heads home to San Francisco, signs of Jeremy’s work remain behind, quite literally, all over Rome. Mende’s public art project, “100 Years From Now” features 1000 street signs designed to provoke reflection about our increasingly technology-dependent, climate-changing, globalized world.

Considering the overwhelming positivism of Italian Futurism 100 years ago, he is interested in how, 100 years after Futurism, we now see our future. Is the thought of our future something we celebrate or do we have a more anxious stance? Mende doesn’t raise these and related questions outright. (more…)

In Rome, ‘A Tribute to Joseph Brodsky’ (RAAR’81) on Two Evenings, 17-18 March

March 3, 2011

Thirty years after Russian exile and Nobel Laureate poet Joseph Brodsky (1940-1996) was a Resident at the American Academy in Rome in 1981, the AAR presented A Tribute to Joseph Brodsky on Thursday and Friday 17-18 March 2011.

Six international writers—Roberto Calasso (Italy), Boris Khersonsky (Russia), Mary Jo Salter and AAR Trustee Mark Strand RAAR’83 (USA), 2011 AAR Resident Derek Walcott (St. Lucia) and Adam Zagajewski (Poland) gathered to read from their own work in honor of Brodsky and then to read from Brodsky’s work. They also conversed about Brodsky’s life and literary legacy and respond to questions from the audience, in a two-part program made possible by the generous support of AAR Trustee Nancy M. O’Boyle, the Embassy of the United States of America in Rome, and the Joseph Brodsky Memorial Fellowship Fund. (more…)

At the AAR, a Premiere for Young L’Aquila Filmmakers Documenting Italian Emigration Today

March 3, 2011

Why do so many Italians leave their country, and what draws them to America? Four student filmmakers from L’Accademia dell’ Immagine in L’Aquila—displaced by the devastating April 2009 earthquake that struck Abruzzo—explored this question as they found themselves completing their studies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. What emerged was a remarkable 2010 documentary that examined the experiences of eight very different emigrants from Italy, ranging from an effervescent Italian-language radio personality, to a philosophical Neapolitan lawyer-cum-blues musician, to a high-powered medical researcher.

On the evening of Friday 25 February the AAR co-hosted with the Rome office of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) the Italian premiere of the L’Aquila students’ film, entitled “Familiar and Strange: Italiani di Pittsburgh”. It was UPMC that had supported these students’ studies in America. Of the film’s four directors—Michele Giacardi, Flavia Tiberi, Antonio Paolucci, and Juri Fantigrossi—three were present and fielded the audience’s questions in the animated discussion that followed the screening. (more…)