Anteaters pursue Obama

Five years ago, UC Merced students successfully persuaded First Lady Michelle Obama to speak at their commencement ceremony that spring. imagesThey had bombarded her with hundreds of valentines and pulled every possible political string between Central California and Washington. To their delight and surprise, she accepted and addressed what was the new school’s first graduating class.

Now, UC Irvine is hoping similar tactics will work with her husband, reports the Los Angeles Times.

“The Orange County campus has asked President Obama to deliver the school’s commencement address on June 14, possibly at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. An anticipated 10,000 invitation postcards from students, alumni and staff are scheduled to be delivered to the White House soon.

“Plans are in the works to also send a special video from the campus basketball team, aiming at the president’s love of watching and playing hoops.

“UC Irvine spokeswoman Janet Wilson said a presidential visit would be appropriate because then-President Johnson spoke at the dedication ceremony for the campus on June 20, 1964. “We’d like to kick off our 50th anniversary celebration with another visit from the president of the United States,” she said.UC Irvine officials understand that there is a lot of competition among universities, but the school is “very hopeful” to receive a positive response in April, Wilson said. Last spring, Obama delivered three graduation speeches: at Morehouse College in Georgia, Ohio State University and the U.S. Naval Academy.”

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-uc-obama-20140218,0,7621620.story#ixzz2tjxPexxh

Chancellor Michael Drake leaves UCI

Michael V. Drake, who as chancellor of UC Irvine enhanced the school’s reputation as a first-rate research institution and boosted enrollment, was named Friday as the new president of Ohio State University. UCI Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Howard Gillman will assume the position of Acting-Chancellor at UCI when Drake vacates the position in June 2014.

The Los Angeles Times reports that “Drake’s appointment was announced

images at a meeting of the Board of Trustees in Columbus. He was the consensus candidate, officials said.

“He is exactly the right leader at the right moment in the university’s history as we address the challenges of affordability and access, while building on the already strong momentum we have generated at Ohio State in increasing the university’s academic excellence,” board Chairman Robert H. Schottenstein said.Drake has served as head of the 28,000-student Irvine campus since 2005. He has a medical degree, a background in administration and a reputation as a prolific fundraiser. He will move to the Ohio campus with 57,000 students, top-flight athletics, and a mission to improve its academic ranking and research focus. He replaces former Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee, who retired in July after six years at the helm. It was his second stint as Ohio State president. Gee, known for his colorful bow ties, left under a cloud after making remarks considered disparaging to Catholics. He is now interim president of West Virginia University.

“In an interview, Drake said that he would always be a fan of Irvine but that the Ohio State post was an opportunity to take on new challenges.”It’s similar work, with a little different focus and scope in a different part of the country,” Drake said. “Ohio State is a wonderful example of a flagship university, a land grant university that is very connected with the community, that’s done wonderful things for the region and nationally and has wonderful potential to do even more.” Drake, 63, will leave the Irvine campus in June. A search committee is expected to begin looking for a replacement in February, UC system President Janet Napolitano said in a statement. Irvine Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Howard Gillman will serve as interim chancellor until the post is filled. Napolitano called Drake a “dedicated and passionate” leader. Continue reading “Chancellor Michael Drake leaves UCI”

“Interrupt” Journal

imagesThe term “interrupt” can have many different meanings.

Interrupt also is the title of a new online journal at UC Irvine, published through the campus Center for Excellence in Writing and Communication, featuring innovative undergraduate non-fiction writing. As Interrput‘s inaugural editorial statement puts it:

“According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, “interrupt” is defined as to “do or say something that causes someone to stop speaking; to cause [something] to not be even or continuous; and to change or stop the sameness or smoothness of [something].” These definitions made us cognizant of the fact that “interrupt” can engender a variety of negative connotations: it was, in fact, this realization that initially resulted in disagreement about the name of the publication.

“Originally entitled “The Word Count,” the journal’s name was changed in response to a felt need for a unifying principle that would set this journal apart from other UC Irvine publications, thus allowing for the emergence of a unique literary identity. It was decided that “Interrupt,” both as a title and concept, would contribute to this sense of innovativeness. Continue reading ““Interrupt” Journal”

The social commentary of Yoshua Okón’s “Salo Island”

Writing in OC Weekly, Dave Barton writes of the new exhibition at UC Irvine of a work by Yoshua Okón, entitled “Salo Island.”

“The Marquis de Sade was rotting away in the Bastille of pre-revolutionary France when he wrote one of his first pornographic novels, 120 Days of Sodom.beach

: “A mind-boggling litany of sexual perversion, the plot is about a foursome of wealthy French elite—a Judge, a Bishop, a Banker and a Cardinal—who kidnap a group of boys and girls, take them to an isolated castle, and then humiliate, rape and murder them. Heinous masturbatory material that it is, it’s also a grimly funny social commentary, with the degenerate Marquis pointing fingers at fellow travelers in his own social class, people who were doing things he only fantasized about.

“In 1975, Marxist Italian filmmaker Pier Paolo Pasolini used the infamous book as source material for his film Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom, considered by many critics the most controversial movie of all time. Changing the setting from France to the last Fascist holdout of Mussolini’s Italy, Pasolini’s film doesn’t have the Marquis’ mordant sense of humor; playing things deadly serious, the bold visualization of the novel’s atrocities turns the political tract into cinema’s first torture porn.

“Shortly before the film’s release, Pasolini was brutally murdered, supposedly by a teenage male prostitute who ran over him with his own car on a desolated beach. Believed at the time to be a sex deal gone bad, the murderer (who had right-wing ties) has since recanted his confession, claiming Pasolini was assassinated for his politics, as well as his open homosexuality. Fascists apparently don’t take kindly to portrayals of themselves as ass-licking, shit-eating, child murderers. Continue reading “The social commentary of Yoshua Okón’s “Salo Island””

CAA awards for Rainer and O’Grady

Two former faculty at the University of California, Irvine, Department of Art will be honored at the upcoming meeting of the College Art Association. Professor Emeritus Yvonne Rainer will receive this year’s “Lifetime Achievement” award for an artist.  Former UCI Assistant Professor Lorraine O’Grady will receive the “Distinguished Feminist Award.”

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As CAA describes the honorees:

“Yvonne Rainer has been instrumental in the movement to merge the visual arts with dance, performance, and filmmaking. As a founder of the Judson Dance Theater (1962) and of the improvisational group Grand Union (1970), Rainer choreographed major dance works for many decades. She has also produced films that have been hailed globally, and her videos have dissolved the barriers between art forms and revealed a new unified vision of the arts. The author of four books and recipient of prestigious fellowships, Rainer was a longtime professor at the University of California, Irvine, where her prodigious talent and innovation has greatly influenced numerous generations of creative people.

“CAA recognizes Lorraine O’Grady for her considerable and important service to the feminist art community, especially in her determined efforts to underscore discrimination and bias through her performance art, photo-based work, writing, teaching, and activism. O’Grady has worked to expand the political content of art, persistently returning to a complicated place that she describes as “where the personal intersects with the historic and cultural.” As part of a small group of women of color in the Women’s Action Coalition, she has used this platform to accentuate the involvement of black women artists in contemporary culture and the perpetual disregard for their contributions. Continue reading “CAA awards for Rainer and O’Grady”

Speedfaithing at Irvine

images-1You have 10 minutes to sell someone on Catholicism, no more than that to distill the teachings of the Koran or the foundations of Mormonism. It’s speed-dating for religion, and in a burst of faith-driven curiosity, dozens of students at UC Irvine raced from room to room Wednesday to listen to religious students (and two atheists) break down the core tenets of their belief system while on the clock, reports today’s LA Times

“Is it required to wear wraps on your head?” “What exactly do you do on a mission?” “Do you go to an atheist church?” Before students began faith shopping, organizers offered a little advice: Don’t see it as an opportunity for debate. Just listen. And keep it short. “You obviously can’t learn everything about a religion in 10 minutes and that’s not the point,” said Karina Hamilton, director of the Dalai Lama Scholars Program at UC Irvine.

“Speedfaithing was developed by Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based nonprofit that promotes religious tolerance, as a way to help young people interact with members of diverse faiths. Since it began in 2005, similar events have been held at colleges across the country. In Irvine, organizers planned the midday event in advance of a visit next week by Interfaith Youth Core founder Eboo Patel, a member of President Obama’s inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. “In Orange County we have tremendous diversity,” said Raid Faraj, diversity educator for the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity. “We have members of almost every major religious faith you can think of…. This is an opportunity to create a safe environment for people to come together and ask questions.” During the first session, a handful of students gathered around Chase Davis, a fourth-year biology major, who was responsible for explaining the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.He covered the basics — the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith and the importance of family. And he told his own story, of finding faith a couple of years ago. Continue reading “Speedfaithing at Irvine”

The Irvine Great Park

The housing market’s resurgence could jump-start one of Southern California’s most ambitious but long-stymied projects: Irvine’s Great Park.

imagesConceived more than a decade ago — and designed to span twice the size of New York City’s Central Park — the project has encountered one disaster after another, including the housing market collapse, the bankruptcy of lender Lehman Bros. and the elimination of the state’s redevelopment agencies, reports today’s Los Angeles Times.

“The slow pace of work has inspired sharp criticism, in part because Irvine spent almost all of the project’s initial allocation of $200 million on marketing, concerts, fairs and planning. Now, with the housing market in a healthy recovery, the project’s developer has offered to finance and build a big chunk of the park in exchange for the city nearly doubling the number of homes he can build.

“The way out of the economic mess is going to be public-private partnerships,” said Emile Haddad, chief executive of FivePoint Communities, the city’s development partner. “This is an excellent example.” Haddad has offered to build 688 acres of the park for $174 million, in exchange for City Council approval of an additional 4,600 homes. He already has approval to build about 4,900.

“The city would get a 176-acre sports complex — more than twice the size of Disneyland — a 45-acre park area known as the Bosque area, a 227-acre golf course, a 35-acre canyon and a 178-acre wildlife corridor set aside as a natural reserve. Jeff Lalloway, chair of Great Park Corp. and Irvine’s mayor pro tem, said he believes that the city and Haddad will strike a deal, though he has some concerns about the long-term operating costs of the park. “I am generally confident,” Lalloway said. For now, the first phase of Haddad’s Great Park Neighborhoods, one of the region’s largest residential developments, has begun sales on the northern edge of the future park. More than 700 homes are planned for this phase. In the first weekend the Pavilion Park neighborhood opened, an estimated 28,000 people toured model homes by eight home builders, according to FivePoint.Proceeds from the sale of homes will help finance the park. Much of the infrastructure needed — such as sewers and streets — would be shared between the park and the housing development and would be FivePoint’s responsibility to install. Situated on the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, the park site is now mostly a series of fenced-in, aging military structures and old runways. Only a fraction of the park has been built, including a free balloon ride and some other facilities.”

 

More at: http://www.latimes.com/business/realestate/la-fi-great-park-20131019,0,7290631.story

Pedagogical Vaudeville Revisited: Yvonne Rainer

yvonne_0Pedagogical Vaudeville Revisited: Yvonne Rainer at UC Irvine

A celebration of Yvonne Rainer at UC Irvine and beyond, Monday, April 29, 2013 | 7 – 9 PM, UC Irvine, Claire Trevor School of the Arts, Contemporary Arts Center , Experimental Media Performance Lab (xMPL)

With performances and contributions by:  Yvonne Rainer, Ben Boatright, Maura Brewer, Pat Catterson, Marcus Civin, Heather Delaney, Aaron Guerrero, Maya Gurantz, Natilee Herren, Patricia Hoffbauer, Kuan Hwa, David Kelley, Simon Leung, Monica Majoli, Lyle Massey, Lara Odell, and Sara Wookey.

Blackface at Irvine

A UC Irvine fraternity is trying to distance itself from a member-produced video featuring a man in blackface, reports items in The Daily Pilot and the Chronicle of Higher Education todayimages-2

But UCI’s Black Student Union says it’s an example of racial insensitivity that is common on campus, states The Pilot

“This month, members of Lambda Theta Delta, a historically Asian-American fraternity, filmed four students lip-syncing to the Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z song “Suit and Tie.”The fraternity member portraying Jay-Z wears blackface throughout. OC Weekly first reported on the incident. The video had been uploaded to the fraternity’s YouTube page, where UCI students pointed out this week there was a second video featuring blackface. Continue reading “Blackface at Irvine”