2013 Spotlight on the Arts

The University of Georgia spotlights its arts programs and venues during an annual nine-day festival that includes concerts, theater and dance performances, art exhibitions, poetry readings, film festivals, discussions on the arts and creativity, and more. The 2013 Spotlight on the Arts festival will be held Nov. 7-15.

The Willson Center will program or support more than 15 separate events during this year’s festival (including the “Everyday People” film festival, which will extend beyond the Spotlight festival’s closing). Here are the Willson Center’s programs for Spotlight on the Arts 2013.

Virginia Mary Macagnoni2013-14 Faculty Fellows Willson Center Fellows Symposium

November 7, 2 p.m., Richard B. Russell Special Collections Libraries Building, Room 277

Willson Center Faculty Research Fellowship recipients participate in one of two Virginia Mary Macagnoni Fellows Symposia on campus during the academic year. The Fall 2013 Symposium includes six Willson Center Fellows whose research is connected to the fine arts, and is presented in conjunction with the University of Georgia’s 2013 Spotlight on the Arts festival.

The participants and the titles of their research projects are:

  • Rachel Gabara, Associate Professor of Romance Languages: Reclaiming Realism: From Documentary Film in Africa to African Documentary Film
  • Jamie Kreiner, Assistant Professor of History: The Premodern Pig
  • Nicolas Morrissey, Assistant Professor of Asian Art: The Buddhist Caves at Pitalkhora, Western India
  • Thomas Peterson, Professor of Italian: Italian Representations of America (1935-1965)
  • Susan Rosenbaum, Associate Professor of English: Imaginary Museums: Surrealism, American Poetry, and the Visual Arts in New York, 1920-1970
  • Emily Sahakian, Assistant Professor of Theatre and French: Dramatic Disconnects: Slavery’s Legacy in French Caribbean Theatre by Women

The Virginia Mary Macagnoni Prize for Innovative Research was established by Dr. Virginia Macagnoni, Professor Emeritus in the College of Education, to be awarded annually to the top-ranked recipient of the Willson Center Research Fellowship. The Macagnoni Prize provides a $2,000 stipend to enable scholars and artists to expand their understanding of the world through travel, attendance at conferences, purchase of vital tools or archival materials, and use of other resources relevant to their work. In 1967 Macagnoni became the first woman to join the faculty of the University of Georgia College of Education.

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Art Opening – “Seen/Unseen”

November 9, 6pm., ATHICA, 160 Tracy St., Athens, 30601Art Opening - "Seen/Unseen" @ ATHICA | Athens | Georgia | United States

The Georgia Virtual History Project and Athens Institute for Contemporary Art (ATHICA) will present “Seen/Unseen,” a two-week exhibition dedicated to public history and the local past of Athens, Georgia. Co-curated by Hope Hilton of ATHICA and Christopher Lawton, executive director of GVHP and a history instructor at UGA, the show will include digital media projects by UGA and Athens Academy history students. The opening reception on November 9 will be part of the Willson Center’s programming for the university’s 2013 Spotlight on the Arts festival.

“Seen/Unseen” is designed to be a groundbreaking gallery experience that explores the intersections of art, history, performance and technology to connect Athens’ past with its present. The exhibition, according to Lawton, “will challenge what time has made invisible and reclaim historical, geographical, and intellectual spaces for long-forgotten people, stories, and events.

“This collaboration presents a unique opportunity to both reshape the way we talk about local history and unveil a radically new technological and educational model,” Lawton said. “More importantly, inclusion in this exhibition will provide UGA and Athens Academy students with an unprecedented experience that can significantly help propel them into future academic and professional endeavors.”

The GVHP is an effort to use new and interactive technologies to record the history of the state of Georgia and make it available to multiple audiences, from eighth-graders and the general public to college students and academic professionals. It is aligned with the eHistory project of the UGA Digital Humanities Lab, a Willson Center Faculty Research Cluster.

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“Bayou Maharajah” – Documentary

November 11, Ciné, 234 West Hancock Avenue, Athens, 30601"Bayou Maharajah" - Documentary @ Ciné | Athens | Georgia | United States

Bayou Maharajah explores the life and music of New Orleans piano legend James Booker, the man Dr. John described as “the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced.” A brilliant pianist, his eccentricities and showmanship belied a life of struggle, prejudice, and isolation. Illustrated with never-before-seen concert footage, rare personal photos and exclusive interviews, the film paints a portrait of this overlooked genius.

The Athens premiere of Bayou Maharajah will take place on November 11 at Ciné as part of UGA’s Spotlight on the Arts festival. The documentary was directed by UGA alum Lily Keber and produced by Nate Kohn, professor of telecommunication arts in the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and associate director of the Peabody Awards. Both will attend the premiere to introduce the film and participate in an audience Q&A session after the screening.

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Hank Lazer and Andrew Raffo Dewar – Poetry/Music Duo

November 11, 6pm., Hugh Hodgson School of Music, Dancz Hall, Room 264Hank Lazer and Andrew Raffo Dewar - Poetry/Music Duo @ Dancz Hall (Room 264) | Athens | Georgia | United States

Ideas for Creative Exploration (ICE) will host Hank Lazer, Andrew Raffo Dewar, and representatives of Creative Campus, a student-centered arts advocacy organization at the University of Alabama, for two days of performance and conversation about the role of the arts in a research university. The duo will give a performance of music and poetry at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 11 in Dancz Hall, Hodgson School of Music, Room 264, and take part in the ICE Conversation Series at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12 in the ICE Office, Lamar Dodd School of Art, Room S160. Both events are associated with the 2013 UGA Spotlight on the Arts festival.

Hank Lazer and Andrew Raffo Dewar have been exploring the improvisational performance of poetry and jazz, working mostly with texts from Lazer’s handwritten Notebooks project. At times, the performances involve music that supports, illustrates, or reiterates elements of the written and spoken text. At other times, the balance shifts in the direction of the text as a mere suggestion and the music becomes the dominant element of the new composition that results from the interaction of words and music.

Lazer is Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor of English at the University of Alabama, where he is Executive Director for Creative Campus and edits the Modern and Contemporary Poetics Series for the University of Alabama Press. Over the past fifteen years, Lazer has collaborated with various jazz musicians, filmmakers, choreographers, and visual artists in seeking new ways to present poetry. Lazer’s seventeenth book of poetry N18 (Complete), a handwritten book, is available from Singing Horse Press.

Andrew Raffo Dewar (b.1975 Rosario, Argentina) is a composer, improviser, soprano saxophonist and ethnomusicologist. Since 1995 he has been active in the music communities of Minneapolis, New Orleans, the San Francisco Bay Area and New York City, performing his work internationally. Dewar had the good fortune to study with a number of masters of contemporary music, such as Steve Lacy, Anthony Braxton, Alvin Lucier, Bill Dixon, and has also had a long involvement with experimental and traditional Indonesian music. Dewar is Assistant Professor in New College and the School of Music at the University of Alabama.

A student-centered arts advocacy organization, Creative Campus is dedicated to building relationships that will serve as a voice for the cultural arts. The interns at Creative Campus—48 students with various majors and personal backgrounds—work with students, faculty, and community members in order to engage the University of Alabama and Tuscaloosa with innovative ideas. Over the past few years, projects and events have included a student art publication, an interdisciplinary speaker series, an experimental jazz concert series, a student film festival, and the Druid City Arts Festival. By developing collaborative relationships with a wide range of community partners, interns not only learn how to work as a team but also build skills in ideation, organization, design, collaboration, marketing and media production which cultivates a skill set and sense of professionalism that translates into any field of work.

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Karima Bennoune – “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism”

November 14, 4pm., UGA ChapelKarima Bennoune - "Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism" @ UGA Chapel | Athens | Georgia | United States

Karima Bennoune’s new book, Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, was released by W.W. Norton & Company in August 2013. The book addresses resistance to fundamentalism in Muslim majority contexts. The field research for this book took her to many countries, including Afghanistan, Egypt, Israel/Palestine, Mali, Niger and Russia.

Bennoune’s publications have appeared in many leading academic journals, including the American Journal of International Law, the Berkeley Journal of International Law, the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law, the European Journal of International Law, and the Michigan Journal of International Law. They have been widely cited, including on Slate, in the Nation magazine, the Dallas Morning News, and the Christian Science Monitor, as well as by the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women and the UN Special Rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism. Her article, “Terror/Torture,” was designated one of the top 10 global security law review articles of 2008 by Oxford University Press.

She has lectured around the world, including at Harvard Law School, NYU School of Law, UC-Berkeley School of Law, the University of Virginia School of Law and the Yale Law School in the U.S., as well as for the UN Department of Political Affairs, the University of London, the London School of Economics, the University of Oslo, the Feminist Leadership Institute in Senegal, CODESRIA (The Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa) and the Second Istanbul Conference on Democracy and Global Security.  Making frequent media appearances, Bennoune has spoken on Fox TV, National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, the Australian Broadcasting Service, CBC-Radio, HuffPost Live, and “The MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour,” and has been interviewed by the International Herald Tribune and the Guardian.

This event is co-sponsored by the Willson Center, the University of Georgia School of Law, the Dean Rusk Center for International Law and Policy, the African Studies Institute, and the Georgia Society of International Law.

A special Spotlight on the Arts festival presentation in the Willson Center’s Global Georgia Initiative.

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Everyday People: The Film, Television, and Video Work of Jim McKay

November 15 – November 18, Ciné, UGA Fine Arts Balcony Theatre, Tate Center TheatreEveryday People: The Film, Television, and Video Work of Jim McKay @ Ciné, UGA Fine Arts Balcony Theatre, Tate Center Theatre

The Willson Center, in partnership with Whatever It Takes Athens, will present a four-day festival dedicated to the films, television work, and music videos of Jim McKay, a director, writer, and producer who lived and worked in Athens during the late 1980s and early 1990s. C-Hundred Film Corp., the production company that McKay formed with R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe during that time, remains an active partnership to this day.

McKay met R.E.M. when they opened for Gang of Four in New York City in June of 1981, then returned to his Boston College radio station, WZBC, in September with the 7″ “Radio Free Europe” single in-hand. He and the band stayed in touch and six years later, McKay moved to Athens at  Stipe’s urging, with the promise of “plenty of good restaurant jobs” to be had. Sure enough, soon he was washing dishes at the Bluebird Cafe.

McKay was already at work on his first film/video project, a documentary called Lighthearted Nation. He and Stipe, who himself was diving into numerous film projects related to or independent of R.E.M., formed C-Hundred, which was housed at Prince Avenue and North Newton Street. Together, along with cohort Tom Gilroy, they started the Direct Effect PSA project and produced music videos for local bands like Pylon and Chickasaw Mudd Puppies, as well as R.E.M., and distributed short film collections by Jem Cohen and James Herbert. In 1989, McKay and Stipe collaborated on Tourfilm, a feature-length concert film documenting R.E.M.’s world tour for the album Green.

McKay served on the board of Community Connection and was also involved in historic preservation issues during his time in Athens. He lived in Athens from 1987-1989 and 1991-1993, at which time he moved to New York City to begin work on his first feature film, Girls Town, which was shot in 1995. Girls Town received the Filmmakers Trophy and a Special Jury Prize for Collaboration at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival.

McKay’s second feature as a director was Our Song (1999), which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival, played at the New Directors/New Films festival the same year, and was distributed theatrically in the U.S. by IFC Films. His third feature, Everyday People (2004), was selected as the Opening Night Film of New Directors/New Films 2004 and played at festivals around the U.S. before being broadcast on HBO. His fourth feature, Angel Rodriguez, co-written with Hannah Weyer, premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in September, 2005, had its U.S. premiere at New York’s Museum of Modern Art and was broadcast on HBO in Fall, 2006.

McKay has directed episodes of numerous television shows, including “The Wire,” “Big Love,” “Hung,” “In Treatment,” “Treme,” “Boss,” “Breaking Bad,” “Rectify,” “The Good Wife,” “Blue Bloods,” “Law and Order,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Law and Order: SVU,” “New Amsterdam,” and “Gossip Girl.”

He served as a producer on American Movie, (directed by Chris Smith and Sarah Price), Spring Forward (Tom Gilroy), Scars (James Herbert), Stranger Inside(Cheryl Dunye), Backward LooksFar Corners (Christopher Munch), Tree Shade (Lisa Collins), La Boda and Escuela (Hannah Weyer), Brother to Brother(Rodney Evans), Room (Kyle Henry), Memorial Day (Josh Fox), Mosquita Y Mari (Aurora Guerrero), Fourplay (Kyle Henry) and Me at the Zoo (Chris Moukarbel and Valerie Veatch).

McKay was a Rockefeller Fellow in 2003 and a Guggenheim Fellow in 2004. In 2005, he was a recipient of the Lincoln Center Martin E. Segal Award.

His haiku have been published in The Haiku Year (Soft Skull Press, NY, 1998); Snapshots 12 (Snapshots Press, Liverpool, 2006); Noon – Journal of the Short Poem (Noon Press, Tokyo, 2006); Haiku, Not Bombs (Booklyn Press, NY 2008), and Rensselaerville Festival of Writers Haiku Project, Special Edition (2013).

McKay and special guests, including David Daley, editor-in-chief of Salon.com, will introduce screenings and participate in post-film Q&A sessions, as well as in a panel discussion on the UGA campus.

All proceeds from the festival will go to Whatever It Takes, a nonprofit initiative whose mission is to fight poverty in Athens through support for public education and families. Tickets for screenings and events at Ciné will  be available through www.athenscine.com. More information on tickets to all events will be available soon. The November 18 1:25 p.m. panel discussion is free and open to the public.

The festival schedule is as follows:



7:30 p.m. • CinéLab • Opening event: fundraising reception for Whatever It Takes with music videos screening and memorabilia exhibit

8:30 p.m. • Ciné • Screening of Tourfilm with intro and Q&A featuring David Daley



4 p.m. • Ciné • Screening of Girls Town with intro and Q&A featuring Jim McKay

7:15 p.m. • Ciné • Screening of Everyday People with intro and Q&A featuring Jim McKay

9:30 p.m. • Little Kings Shuffle Club • Screening of “Treme” episode “Saints” with intro by Jim McKay



2 p.m. • Ciné • Screening of Our Song with intro and Q&A featuring Jim McKay and Tim Johnson

4:30 p.m. • Ciné • Screening of Angel Rodriguez with intro and Q&A featuring Jim McKay



1:25 p.m. • UGA Fine Arts Building, Balcony Theatre • Panel discussion on working in the film and television industries featuring Jim McKay, David Daley, and Nate Kohn

8 p.m. • UGA Tate Center Theatre • Screening of American Movie with intro and Q&A featuring Jim McKay

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