Things to Do, Feb. 7-14, 2020

Gospel and dance

Black History Month at Cornell Cinema will feature a new digital restoration of “Say Amen, Somebody,” Feb. 12 at 6:45 p.m. in Willard Straight Theatre. The acclaimed 1982 documentary celebrating American gospel music will be preceded by a performance by the Baraka Kwa Wimbo Gospel Ensemble, a Cornell student group.

If the Dancer Dances

Cornell Cinema/Provided

Cornell Cinema is screening two new documentaries featuring the work of choreographer Merce Cunningham, including “If the Dancer Dances,” Feb. 7 and 9.

The four-film series also includes “Harriet,” starring Cynthia Erivo as Harriet Tubman, Feb. 6 at 8:45 p.m. and Feb. 9 at 6:45 p.m.

Cornell Cinema’s Dance by Cunningham series will highlight two new documentaries about choreographer Merce Cunningham, starting with “If the Dancer Dances” (2018), Feb. 7 at 6:45 p.m. and Feb. 9 at 4:45 p.m. Jumay Chu, choreographer and senior lecturer in the Department of Performing and Media Arts, introduces the Feb. 7 screening. “Cunningham 3D” (2019) will screen in 3D, Feb. 14 at 6:45 p.m. and Feb. 16 at 4:30 p.m.

Feminist theory book club

The Future is Feminist: A Feminist Theory Book Club will take place over four Sundays from 3-5 p.m. at Buffalo Street Books in the DeWitt Mall, Ithaca. The meetings are open to the public.

The book club meets Feb. 9 at 3 p.m. to discuss Parts 1, 2 and 4 of “Imperial Intimacies: A Tale of Two Islands” by Hazel Carby; and will discuss Parts 3 and 5 of Carby’s book on March 8.

The other titles are “Going Stealth: Transgender Politics and U.S. Surveillance Practices” by Toby Beauchamp, April 19; and “The Myth of Seneca Falls” by Lisa Tetrault, May 3.

The Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program offers 25 free copies of each book, while supplies last. Visit the program office in 180 Rockwell Hall or email [email protected]. Books also are available at the Cornell Store.

Japanese drum concert

Yamato – The Drummers of Japan comes to Bailey Hall Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. as part of the Cornell Concert Series.

Described as “the epitome of the Japanese spirit,” the ensemble is in its 27th year, interpreting centuries-old taiko and wadaiko musical traditions alongside contemporary drumming styles in energetic, theatrical performances full of intensity and joy.

Tickets are $29-$39, $17-$19 for students, from

Style as stature

Fashions by influential black tastemakers, designers and artists are featured in “Black Excellence: Fashion that Prevails,” a new exhibition on Level T of the Human Ecology Building, opening with a reception Feb. 12 at 4:30 p.m.

Curated by apparel design graduate student Sian Brown in collaboration with the Cornell Costume and Textile Collection, the exhibition explores fashion design as a site where black culture, dress and identity intersect.

Brown interviewed black fashion designers in North America about their experiences in the industry and their struggles, triumphs and joys. She said she hopes “to empower current and future black designers by sharing their stories and demonstrate how clothing can embody … strength, excellence and vibrancy.”

Her research findings are conveyed throughout the exhibit, which highlights distinctive style movements such as Black is Beautiful, soul, hip-hop and streetwear, and “a design sensibility rooted in our African heritage,” she said. “The power to prevail is seen in the way the black community uses dress and design to identify and express. … [The] will to adorn is exhibited through distinctive style … which reveals the poise and stature of black culture.”

Organized thematically around the influences of African heritage, entertainment and education, the display includes a screen-printed kente dress and jacket designed by Patrick Kelly in 1987; jerseys designed by Guy Wood and worn by rappers The Notorious B.I.G., Sean Combs and Tupac Shakur; an ensemble inspired by Nyangatom women and designed by Tameka Ellington of Kent State University; and contemporary street glamour designs by Jerome Lamaar.

“Black Excellence” is on display through May 26.

Beethoven celebration

The Department of Music commemorates Beethoven’s 250th birthday with performances on campus Feb. 13-16, highlighting his piano works in recital programs featuring fugues, variations and improvisation.

The “I Heart Beethoven” Festival begins with pianist Andy Sheng ’20, Feb. 13 at 12:30 p.m. in B20 Lincoln Hall. Sheng, winner of the 2017 Cornell Concerto Competition, will perform Robert Schumann’s “Fantasie” in C Major, written as a “Grand Sonate” to support the fund to build a monument to Beethoven in his birthplace of Bonn, Germany. Published in 1839, the piece is dedicated to Franz Liszt, another supporter.

On Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, Xak Bjerken, Miri Yampolsky and Malcolm Bilson will perform the last three Beethoven piano sonatas (Op. 109, 110 and 111) at 8 p.m. in Barnes Hall Auditorium.

Mike Lee, M.A. ’13, Ph.D. ’16, performs the Diabelli Variations at a lecture-recital Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. in Barnes Hall, with a talk about the piece by musicologist Scott Burnham of City University of New York. Lee describes the work as “Beethoven’s crowning achievement for piano: a kaleidoscopic survey of existing keyboard idiom with references to Bach, Handel and Mozart (as well as his own final sonata, Op. 111), while foreshadowing those of Chopin, Liszt and Brahms.”

Malcolm Bilson and Roger Moseley will present “Going Off-Script: Beethoven and Improvisation,” Feb. 16 at 2 p.m. in Barnes Hall.

All events are free and open to the public.

Inside a gaming giant

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