City Of Denver Approves New Large-Scale Festival Produced By Organizers Of Bonnaroo

first_imgOn Monday night, after an extensive application process Bonnaroo and Outside Lands organizers Superfly Productions have received the green light from the city of Denver, CO to launch a brand new large-scale music festival in south Denver. The new event initially received considerable pushback from the area’s residents, but the City Council eventually voted 10-3 to approve the event’s five-year deal for the Colorado capitol’s Overland Park Golf Course. According to a report in the Denver Post‘s The Know blog, the majority of the council members gave credit to the seasoned festival organizer for thoroughly addressing the community’s concerns in their plans.The approved contract allows for a three-day weekend festival at the Denver golf courseeach September, with each event staged the second or third weekend of that month beginning next Fall. For the as-of-yet unnamed event, Superfly has promised an expansive lineup of performers including local favorites and nationally touring acts, as well as heavy involvement from local food and drink purveyors. The event is expected to draw 30,000 to 40,000 people a day to the site in the first year, promoters say, with the contract capping daily attendance at 80,000 as the festival grows.In exchange for gaining control of the course for up to five weeks after Labor Day each year for set-up and tear-down, Superfly will pay a lease of $200,000. The city will pocket many times that amount thanks to a 10% “seat tax” and other considerations, including $2 per ticket for a golf fund and $1 per ticket for a community fund, expected to net “five- to six figures” each year, promoters say. City officials project the city’s profit from hosting the festival at $2 million once attendance grows to 70,000 a day, and they say a portion of that also will benefit surrounding neighborhoods.“I do believe this is a good contract,” said Councilman Jolon Clark, who has worked on the issue for nearly a year because Overland Park is in his district. “It’s a contract that protects the golf course, that protects the neighborhood … and brings revenue to the neighborhood that can be used for projects that the citizens have been asking for for years.”Supporters of the new festival play, including some prominent neighborhood advocates and voices from the Denver music scene, see the event as a big get for Denver. And together with Levitt Pavillion, recently opened at nearby Ruby Hill Park, the festival could elevate the prominence of south neighborhoods, they argued.However, there was still some understandable concern among some of the Council members. Councilman Kevin Flynn expressed concern about the chosen event site. “Just in my gut, it seems like the wrong location to me,” he said. The other two dissenters voiced concern about what they considered too few safeguards or details about logistics, which will be set out in a dozen or so plans next year.Many nearby residents and some parks advocacy groups also voiced a variety of concerns about the new fest, including the potential environmental impact, the difficulty of getting so many people to Overland Park using fee-based shuttles and public transportation, and the potential for noise to disrupt their homes. While the yea-sayers used Levitt Pavillion as an argument for the contract, detractors looked to it as a sort of cautionary tale: Last week, resident Marilyn Barela sent a letter to council members that said the new venue, in its first several concerts, had “destroyed our peace and quiet” just north of the park.While we won’t know how the new festival will play out for the residents of south Denver next year, this is undoubtedly good news for music fans virtually everywhere else. Denver is getting a major music festival. Rejoice![h/t – The Know (Denver Post)]last_img read more

BoomBox Gears Up For Western Voodoo Winter Tour

first_imgA little house, a little blues, a little funk, a little rock, and a whole lot of soul blast through BoomBox. Since first emerging in 2004, founder, songwriter, producer, and multi-instrumentalist Zion Rock Godchaux has been quietly seasoning this simmering recipe to perfection. However, it reaches a boiling point on his forthcoming 2018 fifth album, Western Voodoo [Heart of Gold Records]. At the same time, the Muscle Shoals, AL native stays true to what attracted countless fans in the first place.“I remain open to anything you would hear coming out of a boombox,” he explains in a press statement. “There are a lot of different vibes and angles, but it still adheres to a universal rhythm. This new record is the most musical and varied, yet it’s tightly wound in respect to that syncopation. There are only a few rules. It should be heavy groove. It should make you want to move. Overall, I’ve further developed the sound people are used to.”Following up 2016’s fan favorite Bits & Pieces, the artist found himself at something of a crossroads. Longtime collaborator Russ Randolph amicably parted ways with the band at the end of the year. For the first time, Godchaux would solely produce the bulk of a BoomBox record by himself inside of his new studio, while DJ Harry joined on tour in January 2017. Another first, he even performed live bass on the album, opening up the creativepalette dramatically.“I’ve learned more about engineering and the technical aspects of recording. It’s been a time of soul searching. I can follow any Ideas that I want to. So there’s a lot more organic instrumentation. I’m just trying todevelop more sonic real.” Appropriately, he dubs the sound of Western Voodoo, “Dirty Disco Blues.” Within that realm, Godchaux fuses a funky strut with electronic energy and danceable swagger powerful enough to cast a spellof its own.“You hear about different forms of magic around the world,” he goes on. “The West, in general, has its own voodoo influenced by the blues. That’s what shaped me as a musician growing up in this country. It’s hard to put in thewords, but you know it when you hear it.”You hear it in everything that BoomBox has done thus far. Over the course of four albums, the group has become a streaming favorite with numerous tracks cracking a million plays on Spotify. Moreover, they’ve made audiences groove everywhere from Electric Forest and Hangout Music Festival to High Sierra Music Festival. To welcome DJ Harry into the fold, they performed 75 shows in 2017, with that number expected to grow in 2018.“Harry picked up everything in a really short amount of time,” he explains. “The parties are just as hot, if not hotter. The music is getting tighter. He stepped in and kept the plane in the air.”In the end, the new music kicks off the brightest and boldest chapter yet for Godchaux. “Our best side is somewhat medicinal,” he leaves off. “All of the rhythms, melodies, and frequencies add up to these healing properties. Ihope people feel rejuvenated and re-focused on some level when they hear us. That’s Western Voodoo.”BoomBox has 14 shows coming up, with their winter tour beginning on January 18th in Charlottesville, VA at the Jefferson Theater and concluding in Cincinnati, OH at the 20th Century Theatre on February 3. The group will also perform the Pot of Gold Music Festival in Chandler, AZ, with more dates expected to come.Check out BoomBox’s latest track, featuring Zion’s mother, the inimitable Donna Jean Godchaux from the Grateful Dead, below.See below for a full list of tour dates, and head to the band’s website for more information.BoomBox Winter Tourdates:Jan 18 Jefferson Theater Charlottesville, VAJan 19 9:30 Club Washington, DCJan 20 Union Transfer Philadelphia, PAJan 21 Toad’s Place of New Haven New Haven, CTJan 23 Westcott Theater Syracuse, NYJan 24 Putnam Den Saratoga Springs, NYJan 25 Aura Portland, MEJan 26 White Eagle Hall Jersey City, NJJan 27 Paradise Rock Club Boston, MAJan 28 Higher Ground Burlington, VTJan 31 Rex Theatre Pittsburgh, PAFeb 1 Beachland Ballroom Cleveland, OHFeb 2 Saint Andrews Hall Detroit, MIFeb 3 20th Century Theatre Cincinnati, OHMar 17 Pot Of Gold Music Festival Chandler, AZlast_img read more

The whither and why of books

first_imgHere’s a tweet summing up a recent Harvard conference: “Will the Internet age kill the printed book? LOL.”Sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, the “Why Books?” conference drew more than 500 attendees on Oct. 29. By late morning, hundreds of their posts had lit up the Twitter airwaves.Conference scholars seemed to reach consensus that traditional books will survive and merge with digital technologies to meet a common goal: to store, retrieve, and circulate words and images.“Old books and e-books do not represent opposites,” said Robert Darnton, a scholar of French history and director of the University Library at Harvard. “They are more complementary than contradictory objects.”The speakers also suggested that books will endure by providing qualities a computer screen cannot. They can be owned and shared, and they have a material amplitude that invites sensory experience. Elizabeth Long, a Rice University sociologist who studies reading, praised books for their comforting heft and for the sentimental value that can make them “a bridge to that prior self.”“Why Books?” was the culmination of two years of planning by a faculty committee co-chaired by literary scholar Leah Price ’91 and historian Ann Blair ’84, both Harvard College professors.“We use books every day,” said Price, but often take them for granted or even forget them. She told the story of a 19th century British librarian who cataloged every book in the Bodleian Library except one. He had been sitting on it for 36 years.The fate of the cozy technology, part of the Western world for five centuries, engenders some anxiety. Both books and readers are moving fast into a digital world “whose shape we do not know,” said Darnton, Harvard’s Carl H. Pforzheimer University Professor and author of “The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future” (PublicAffairs, 2009).He grew up in an age when scholars sat in library archives armed with pencils and index cards, which would be “embarrassing” now, said Darnton, when younger researchers bring laptops and digital cameras for rapid information storage.But his next book, on politicized Parisian popular songs of the 18th century, will include a CD of music that recaptures sound, “a dimension of the past that is largely missing,” said Darnton. “The new electronic media and the old forms of research belong together.”Harvard computer scientist Stuart Shieber said electronic devices like the Kindle reader are unlikely to eliminate books. For one, e-readers remain inferior to the codex in contrast, color, and resolution. (A modern book is a “codex,” an information-storage device whose sequential but searchable pages are bound between covers.)But Shieber said book and e-book technologies will be nearly equal in readability and navigation soon. By then, readers will favor the slim, portable e-readers, but will still purchase books, which can be shared and owned. “You can’t buy an e-book,” he said. “You can only rent it.”John Palfrey, Harvard Law School’s Henry N. Ess III Librarian and Professor of Law and vice dean of Library and Information Services, said the “vibrant space” of Twitter traffic at the conference illustrated the present  “hybrid moment” that combines books and the Internet.But hundreds of Twitter feeds from a single conference also illustrate the challenge that future scholars face: the sheer volume of what social media creates, to say nothing of the intricate layers of information stored within, say, one author’s computer.“Spiraling nebulae” of information mean that today’s writers “will not and cannot be studied” as writers of the past have been, said University of Maryland English professor Matthew G. Kirschenbaum. Curatorial practices of the future, he said, will rely on computer forensics as much as traditional scholarly acumen.Meanwhile, “you can’t save everything,” said Kirschenbaum, even in an age when libraries at Harvard and elsewhere are busily harvesting data from the Web, including the blogs and tweets of modern discourse.But it’s vital that libraries save more than ever, said University of Pennsylvania humanities professor Peter Stallybrass, especially the unbound ephemera that libraries were not designed to store.Isabel Hofmeyr, a literature professor at the University of Witwaterstrand in South Africa, offered an example of what traditional libraries have missed: “Indian Home Rule,” a 1910 booklet by Mohandas K. Gandhi. This “key archive of Gandhian thought,” she said, has been collected in none of the world’s great libraries.“Print outside the book” is equally important to understanding early African-American poets, said Rutgers University English professor Meredith L. McGill. Digital archiving may help to rescue their work, now languishing in chapbooks and newspapers.In the emerging digital age, libraries as well as books are at a critical juncture, said Palfrey, who is also faculty co-director of Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society. “I see a brighter future for libraries, but there is anxiety.”Part of that anxiety comes from modern attempts at creating a “universal library,” said University of Chicago historian Adrian Johns. Google Book Search and other systems, he said, are more interested in mining data from books than in the books themselves.But the engineers extracting this mass of information from the print world often don’t understand books very well, said Paul Duguid, an information historian at the University of California, Berkeley. They skip texts when digitizing multiple-volume books; copy the worst editions; and even see books as “the final impediment to getting information,” he said.These engineers of the digital realm need to wake up and smell the printer’s ink, said Duguid. “Material matters, and we forget that.”For all the Twitter traffic from “Why Books?”.last_img read more

Constructing the International Economy

first_imgRawi Abdelal, the Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Business Administration, and co-editors parse the ways political and economic forces are interpreted globally by agents, and seek to understand just how the economy is constructed.last_img

First behind the camera: Photojournalist Jessie Tarbox Beals

first_imgBefore Annie Leibovitz and Margaret Bourke-White, there was Jessie Tarbox Beals (1870–1942).A pioneer of photojournalism in the late 1880s and early 1900s, Beals is recognized as the first woman photographer hired on a newspaper staff. In 1902, after she had proven herself as an accomplished freelance photographer (and taught her husband the trade), Beals joined the staff of The Buffalo Inquirer. But she didn’t stay long.She left her post at the paper after 18 months to attend the St. Louis World’s Fair with her husband Alfred. Jessie had to push officials at the fair to give her a photography permit, and once she did she became an accredited photographer for the New York Herald and other papers. During her six months at the fair, she became something of a celebrity herself, taking pictures of luminaries such as President Theodore Roosevelt and his oldest son, Theodore Jr.Following her success in St. Louis, Jessie was ready to take on New York. In 1905, she and her husband moved to Manhattan and eventually set up their own studio; Jessie took pictures, while Alfred managed the business. Hustling for clients, Jessie went so far as to write to prominent people who were listed in the Social Register and offer to take their portraits without charge. Her labor paid off. The business survived, and in 1906, she and other women photographers were featured in a group show sponsored by the Camera Club of Hartford, Conn. In the show’s announcement, Beals was singled out for special recognition.But all was not well on the home front. While Jessie enjoyed the bohemian life in Greenwich Village—where she was friendly with Sinclair Lewis, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Eugene O’Neill, and other artists—her husband was more reclusive. They began to lead separate lives, and by the time Jessie gave birth to her daughter Nanette, in 1911, there was some dispute whether Alfred was the child’s father, though he doted on her throughout his life.In an era when most women chose children or careers, Beals managed both, however imperfectly. Nanette was often cared for by friends or shipped off to boarding school, and mother and daughter didn’t live together until the daughter was 17.Ultimately, though, the daughter was loyal to her mother, publicizing her work and arranging for posthumous exhibitions and publications. Beginning in 1982, Nanette Beals Brainerd gave all of her mother’s papers and pictures to the Schlesinger Library at Radcliffe, where they’re available today to scholars and others interested in women’s history.Jenny Gotwals, lead manuscript cataloger at the Schlesinger, who processed Beals’s papers and photographs, points out that—unlike most photographers—Beals didn’t specialize in one area but took news photos, interior portraits, street scenes, and garden and house pictures. In Gotwals’ view, the photographer was indomitable. “She just soldiered on and did what she needed to do. That’s how she was able to accomplish so much.”last_img read more

Stress may add to pollution risks for low-income children

first_imgChildren living in low-income neighborhoods, often exposed to unsafe levels of pollution, may also face additional risk from the stress of growing up in poverty, according to a new body of research. Such children may actually be more biologically susceptible to contaminants such as lead and car exhaust, even at low levels, because dealing with financial strain, racial tensions, and high crime rates may wear down their immunity and disrupt hormones.“This type of stress can have negative, lasting effects on key systems in the body,” said Rosalind Wright, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health, in a June 6, 2012 Environmental Health News article. “It’s like having the fight or flight response turned on all the time.”Robert Wright, also an associate professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Rosalind Wright’s husband, told EHN that “the toxicity of lead may be stronger in a child also exposed to the stress of poverty.” Lead exposure has been linked with reduced IQs, attention problems, and aggressive behavior.The EHN article also quoted a May 4, 2011 American Journal of Public Health report, co-authored by Joel Schwartz, HSPH professor of environmental epidemiology, and David Bellinger, professor in HSPH’s Department of Environmental Health, and Johns Hopkins’ Thomas Glass, that said that increased risks due to social status are “a critically important but neglected area within risk assessment, and should be incorporated in the future.” Read Full Storylast_img read more

Ignatieff to return to Harvard Kennedy School as professor of practice

first_img Read Full Story Acclaimed academic, author and former politician Michael Ignatieff will rejoin Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) in January 2013 in a half-time faculty appointment as professor of practice. He will also assume a half-time appointment as professor at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.Born in Canada, educated at the University of Toronto and Harvard University, Ignatieff has written 17 books, worked as a television presenter and documentary filmmaker, editorial columnist and university instructor. He is a member of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada and holds eleven honorary degrees.“I’m honored to return to the Kennedy School, and I’m delighted to continue to teach young Canadians at the Munk School of Global Affairs,” said Ignatieff. “It’s a privilege to teach at these great schools of global affairs and public policy.”David Ellwood, dean of the Kennedy School, said, “Michael Ignatieff bridges the gap between academic and practitioner. His experience and insights on matters of politics, public policy and human rights bring a unique and invaluable perspective to the classroom. We are very pleased to have him back at HKS.”last_img read more

Bridging the gap, digitally

first_imgOne recent morning, Karthik Ramanna, an associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School (HBS), sat down in a virtually empty Harvard conference room and prepared to explain different forms of government corruption and how to combat them.But he was not teaching his usual M.B.A. students. Rather, his words — specifically, a presentation of HBS three case studies on anti-corruption efforts in China, Russia, and India — were being broadcast live to students, academics, and activists at 13 universities in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka.Ramanna, an authority on corporate accountability, was sharing his knowledge with the eager audience of budding social entrepreneurs, who had gathered in classrooms around the world (it was evening, by their time) to hear how his examples might prove useful in their homelands. Corruption is a problem in countries, Ramanna said over the live feed, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be solved by clever, dogged individuals.“Transparency is perhaps the most potent tool in the fight against corruption,” he said, as he launched into a presentation about a fearless publisher of exposés in Russia and an Indian website that crowdsources examples of government officials seeking bribes.His talk was part of a series of live Web chats, hosted by the South Asia Institute and made possible by the Pakistan Higher Education Commission’s Virtual Education Project, that aims to bring together Harvard experts and social entrepreneurs in South Asia. The live video chats are the latest tech-savvy solution to the question of how Harvard can share its insights on education, health, good governance, and a host of other social issues with civic-minded entrepreneurs around the globe.The video conferences are the latest project of the Pakistan Innovation Network, a social enterprise started by graduate students Mariam Chughtai, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), and Erum Sattar, a doctoral candidate at Harvard Law School (HLS). In addition to Ramanna’s class on Feb. 27, the series also has featured Fernando Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of International Education, and Tarun Khanna, HBS’s Jorge Paulo Lemann Professor, and Sattar and Chughtai are planning six more conferences for the 2013-2014 academic year. The startup, which receives support from the South Asia Institute, recently acquired space in the Harvard Innovation Lab to continue its work on fostering social entrepreneurship in Pakistan and the surrounding region.Students Erum Sattar (from left) and Mariam Chughtai (center), and Karthik Ramanna, associate professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, talk via webcast with participants from Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.The point of the group is “not to say, ‘Let’s all go and build iPad apps,’” Sattar said. “It’s saying, ‘Let’s encourage people to find solutions to problems that they all experience everyday, and that maybe they never thought they could do anything about.’”Sattar and Chughtai, who are both from Pakistan, hope to capitalize on a growing interest in entrepreneurship in the region, where neither civil servants nor business leaders are necessarily taught to think about how to solve broad societal problems.“In India or Pakistan, people go to business school to work for Citibank or Coca-Cola,” Sattar said. “Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but they’re not trained to solve the problems and work on finding solutions to the most pressing social concerns. People are seeing that problems are going to have to be solved innovatively.“If you wait for some donor, some international agency to come and solve your problems, that’s not going to happen,” Sattar continued. “Then there are people at the base who have immense capacity, and no one has enabled this amazing human potential.”Sattar and Chughtai acknowledge that few Harvard professors can find time to travel to — or even have much expertise concerning — Pakistan, but they hope that virtually connecting students and activists in the region with Harvard academics can lead to a fruitful exchange of ideas.“Harvard’s strength can be its global view, a horizontal worldview,” Sattar said. Their plan, she said, is to “put Harvard in conversation with these people who have deep vertical knowledge of their society.”That difference in worldviews was on display during Ramanna’s video chat. After he presented the case studies, questions poured in through Twitter and the live feeds in classrooms across the globe. And Ramanna’s students for the day were not afraid to push back.“None of your examples would work in our country,” said one leading activist from Sri Lanka. While the country has no dearth of “bravado” when it comes to calling out corruption, he added, “Naming and shaming makes no difference in our country.” There are also structural impediments to unearthing corruption, he added. To start a petition to Parliament, Parliament must first sign off on the content of the petition.When a questioner in Karachi, Pakistan, asked about the ability of open-source models, such as the website WikiLeaks, to achieve “radical transparency” in government, Ramanna urged caution.“Instances of misuse of transparency have ironically received more coverage in some cases than corruption itself,” he said, noting the notorious legal and media backlash against WikiLeaks.In Sattar’s view, the morning’s session was a perfect example of how social media can enliven conversations about deep, systemic problems like corruption that will require years of slow, determined work to solve.“Overturning 150 years of colonial history is not going to happen in five minutes,” Sattar said. “These things need our sustained attention and hard work.”last_img read more

The Supreme Court, redux

first_imgIn the spring, the U.S. Supreme Court saved a trio of critical rulings involving same-sex marriage, voting rights, and affirmative action for the final days of its term, and the repercussions from those decisions are still playing out.During a luncheon discussion Thursday at Harvard Law School (HLS) moderated by Dean Martha Minow, four of the School’s constitutional experts deconstructed the decisions and offered the student crowd their thoughts on those rulings.“It was a good term for the Red Sox, a bad term for the Yankees, and a so-so term for gay marriage,” said Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law Michael Klarman, referring (in addition to baseball’s summer) to both the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that was overturned by the court, thereby allowing same-sex married couples access to federal benefits, and the court’s decision to hand the California case banning same-sex marriage back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for further ruling.“I think the majority is ducking,” said Klarman of the California case in which the court decided that the proponents of a ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8, did not have the legal right to defend the law in federal courts. “I think the reason why they are ducking is because they are concerned about the possible backlash effect of a decision imposing same-sex marriage on the states.”The California decision “isn’t a huge loss” for the gay rights movement, said Klarman, the author of “From the Closet to the Altar: Courts, Backlash, and the Struggle for Same-Sex Marriage.” He cited national polls that say a majority of Americans now consider same-sex marriage inevitable, and he referenced the work of prediction guru Nate Silver, whose recent statistical model suggests that in three years 31 states will have a voting majority in support of gay marriage. By 2020, that voting majority will be the norm in every state except for six in the Deep South, according to Silver.“It’s not a big victory for the gay rights movement that the court ducked,” Klarman said, “but I don’t think it’s a big defeat either. Gay marriage is inevitable. I think people are recognizing that.”While Beneficial Professor of Law Charles Fried said he had always believed the court’s decisions were “determined by the force of legal argument,” he thought the rulings in both the DOMA and Proposition 8 cases were driven instead by the nation’s shifting stance on gay marriage.Fried described Associate Justice Anthony M. Kennedy’s majority opinion in the DOMA ruling as a case of “the more you explain it, the less I understand it.”“It had this absolute, full-throated aria about dignity, and the dignity of gay couples … but he did not emit an opinion which unqualifiedly, unreservedly would mean that to preclude gay marriage anywhere, in any jurisdiction, would be unconstitutional. He had this complicated view about how it was a denial of dignity, which the state has conferred, suggesting that if the state has not conferred this dignity, the dignity has not been denied.”The court’s move to send the Proposition 8 case back to the lower courts shocked Fried.“I would have thought that the [argument] for saying that case was properly there, and there was jurisdiction, was stronger in Prop 8 than in DOMA. However, it went the other way, and the two cases lined up exactly as public opinion would have wanted.”While Kennedy’s DOMA opinion was “incredibly progressive,” it was also conservative in an important way, said Justin Driver, Sullivan & Cromwell Visiting Assistant Professor of Law for the fall term. “It elevates marriage to the pinnacle of society … at a time when marriage is being moved away from by many citizens. People of all different races are deciding that marriage is effectively not for them.”In reviewing Fisher v. the University of Texas at Austin, the case involving the constitutionality of race in university admissions, Tomiko Brown-Nagin, the Daniel P.S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law, said the decision to have a federal court of appeals take a harder look at affirmative-action policies in public colleges and universities puts those institutions “on the defensive as never before.”That the court agreed to hear the case surprised many observers and seemed to signal its readiness to narrow or even overrule previous decisions upholding affirmative-action programs in university admissions, said Brown-Nagin. Its subsequent ruling requiring the lower courts to use a tougher review process for admissions programs indicates “the court is suggesting, subtly, a preference for the race-neutral alternatives and its disfavor of explicitly race-conscious, holistic review.”“There was no … radical doctrinal change. But nevertheless, the court is nudging the law in a different direction,” said Brown-Nagin. The long-term impact, she added, is a “whittling away of affirmative action in higher education.”The court also invalidated a key section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In discussing that case, Klarman called the original law one of the “crown jewels of the Civil Rights Movement.” It was enacted, he said, to counter massive disenfranchisement of African-Americans in the South.Klarman said the complicated issue in the recent case was preclearance provisions — the geographic formula that determined which jurisdictions required approval from the U.S. Justice Department or a federal court before they could change their voting laws. The preclearance formula, he said, was based on voting numbers from the 1964 presidential election, and was aimed at jurisdictions that had a voting literacy test and a voter turnout of less than 50 percent.“Preclearance was an extraordinary remedy that Congress used in 1965 to address this extraordinary problem of almost universal black disenfranchisement in the rural, Deep South,” he said.The act was renewed in 1970, 1975, 1982, and in 2006, but the coverage formula never changed. With its 5–4 decision, the court was saying “times have changed,” said Klarman. The court was sending the message that “if Congress wants to continue with this extra imposition on what it says is state sovereignty … you can’t do it based on a rule that you adopted almost 50 years ago. You have to come up with a geographic coverage formula that’s not geared to voter turnout in 1964. It has to be geared to some sort of problem today.”last_img read more

CityStep celebrates 30th anniversary

first_imgIn 1984, Sabrina Peck created a dance and theater piece to help Harvard College students tap into their creativity. She never dreamed the work would blossom into the transformative program CityStep, which for the past three decades has united undergrads with middle school students.To honor its 30th anniversary, CityStep will hold its annual year-end performance, “Time Machine,” at Sanders Theatre this weekend. Tonight and Saturday more than 150 local middle school students will dance through time, with choreography based on different periods in history, even moving into the future.“I take a lot of heart in the idea that the students continue to be inspired by the blend of performance arts, education, and public service,” said Peck ’84.Today an accomplished director and choreographer who makes her home in New York City, Peck said the original work that fused choreography and music was an instant hit on campus. When she and several Harvard College students performed an excerpt from the show at a local Cambridge school, sparks flew.Watching the young faces in the crowd light up, Peck spontaneously invited the audience onstage to join in the fun.“From that moment I realized, wow, this is an opportunity to leverage the resources of the University and the enthusiasm of the students to enrich the lives of these public school students.”In its earliest incarnation, CityStep had local middle school students break into two groups and face off with a “conflict dance.” Courtesy of CityStep archivesSince then, CityStep has partnered teams of Harvard undergraduates with Cambridge middle schools. Each week the College students visit fifth- through seventh-grade classrooms, teaching the youngsters funky dance moves. CityStep also helps the youngsters develop social skills, creativity, self-expression, self-confidence, and a sense of community through exercises, dance and music workshops, and field trips.With its local success, the program has expanded well beyond Harvard’s gates. In 2004, CityStep was launched at the University of Pennsylvania. This year, Princeton University started its own CityStep program.But the outreach initiative is much more than just a way to help middle-schoolers engage with the arts. It’s also about helping Harvard College students engage with their passions and give back.Before arriving at Harvard, freshman Emma Kantor danced for years with the National Dance Institute in New York City. It was there she combined her love of dance with public service, helping teach dance to blind and visually impaired students. When looking at colleges, Kantor said she faced a quandary.  “What was I going to do to fill that void?”At Harvard, CityStep was the perfect fit. Her involvement with the program, Kantor said, affirms her belief that “the arts can inspire children to achieve and to succeed and make them work harder in all parts of life.”“Having been on the other side I can say that arts education changes lives,” she added.And Kantor expects CityStep — or a similar program — to play a role in her life after Harvard. “I think it’s something that, wherever I end up in life, I will try to find a program like this,” she added.CityStep will perform “Time Machine” tonight at 7 and Saturday at 1 and 5 p.m. at Sanders Theatre. For more information, visit the Office for the Arts website.last_img read more