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    UW-L Theatre Production Puts Fear and Prejudice on Trial

    The UW-La Crosse Department of Theatre Arts, with license from the American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) and Broadway Impact, is proud to announce a play chronicling the historic trial challenging California’s Proposition 8.  8 (the play) by Academy Award-winning screenwriter and AFER Founding Board Member, Dustin Lance Black, will show at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, October 17 & Saturday, October 18and Thursday, October 23 through Saturday, October 25 and at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, October 19 & 26.

    8 is an unprecedented account of the Federal District Court trial in Perry v. Schwarzenegger (now Hollingsworth v. Perry), the case filed by AFER that successfully overturned Proposition 8 and restored the freedom to marry for same sex couples in California.  Using the actual court transcripts from the landmark federal trial of California’s Prop. 8 and first-hand interviews with the plaintiffs and their families, 8 demonstrates both sides of the debate in this moving 90-minute play, performed in a staged-reading style.

    AFER and Broadway Impact have teamed up to coordinate readings of 8 at theaters, universities, and community centers across the country in order to raise awareness and spur dialogue about marriage for gay and lesbian Americans.  Immediately following the performances on October 18, 19, 23 and 24, the UW-La Crosse Department of Theatre Arts will host talk back sessions featuring the cast and director, members of the GLBT community, area clergy and/or political representatives.  These sessions are to spark an open dialogue regarding the topics presented in the play and to encourage understanding about both sides of the case for marriage equality.

    Tickets go on sale at 1:00 p.m. Monday, October 13.  Box office hours are 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.Saturdays, and one hour before show times.  Tickets are $16 for adults, $14 for senior/non UWL students and $5 for UW-L students; call (608) 785-8522.

    If you go—

    Who: University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Department of Theatre Arts

    What: 8 (the play) by Dustin Lance Black

    Where: Toland Theatre, UW-La Crosse Center for the Arts at 16th and Vine streets

    When: October 17-18 & 23-25, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. and October 19 & 26, 2014 at 2:00 p.m.

    Admission: $16 for adults, $14 for senior citizens and non-UWL students, $5 UW-L students; call (608) 785-8522. Tickets go on sale at 1:00 p.m. Monday, October 13.  Box office hours are 1:00 to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:00a.m.-2:00p.m. Saturdays, and one hour before show times.

    Downtown hunt to promote history, library

    A UW-La Crosse history student’s class project proposal will take people on a scavenger hunt-like game through downtown La Crosse.

    Last spring, senior Julia Roden proposed setting up a research project to get college-age students to the historic downtown area and into the local archives at the La Crosse Public Main Library. It included a competitive, trivia game with some of the answers leading those playing through the archives and up to historical sites downtown.

     “I had to make a mock event for the class,” explains Roden. “When the assignment was over, I decided I actually wanted to do a scavenger hunt.”

    The Port Washington, Wisconsin, student turned the idea into a senior research project, working with Downtown Main Street and the La Crosse Public Library. The hunt will be held during Historical Downtown Day, Saturday Oct. 11

    Along with college-age students, Roden expects families to join the hunt. She will survey participants at the end of the hunt to get clues of ways to get young adults more interested in the library’s archives.

    Roden came up with the idea during an “Introduction to Public and Policy History” class, which is part of the new public and policy history major and minor in the History Department.

    While researching for the game, Roden discovered many interesting historical facts about downtown. “I was impressed with the numerous celebrities who visited the Stoddard Hotel,” she says.

    Roden hopes to attract up to 100 participants. Along with encouraging UW-L students to participate, she will promote the event at Western Technical College and Viterbo University as well.

      

    Downtown History Hunt

    1-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11

    • Begins at Third and Main streets, La Crosse.

    • Teams of two to six people can participate.

    • Two hours to complete as many clues and questions as possible.

    • Only walking allowed; teams caught on wheels will be disqualified.

    • Top three teams getting the most correct answers earn cash prizes of $200, $100 and $50.

    • Participants will receive a fee T-shirt to wear during the event.

    • The hunt is free, but teams must register. Registration open through Sept. 27 at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/1st-annual-history-hunt-tickets-12694655055?aff=efbevent

    ON THE GO: Project aims to shape a safer UW-L campus for bikes, pedestrians

    UW-La Crosse associate professor James Longhurst is looking for volunteers to help make UW-L’s campus a friendlier place for all commuters and modes of transportation.

    With renewed local and national interest in sustainable transportation and walkable cities, Longhurst says now is the time to assess the mix of transportation on campus and develop a plan for the future.

    “We need to plan for a future that improves the safe combination of biking, walking, driving and public transit,” he says. "This generation seems to want alternative transportation as well as cars, so we need education and engineering that provides for all to safely use the road together." 

    With a grant from the UW-L Foundation, Longhurst is launching the “UW-L ON THE GO” project, which will conduct opinion surveys, focus groups, interviews and counts of bikers and pedestrians. Data gathered will help shape a safe and sustainable bicycle/pedestrian plan for campus and a first-time application for national recognition as a “Bicycle Friendly University.”

    Longhurst will kick off the project with a bike count starting at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 24. Volunteers are invited to help count bikes and pedestrians at strategic points on campus. Anyone is welcome to sign up to participate.

    The City of La Crosse is already one of 13 Wisconsin communities with bicycle-friendly status. The city has also shown a commitment to being bicycle-friendly with a renewed 2012 Bicycle and Pedestrian Master plan, which calls for more steps to make biking and walking safer for residents. La Crosse and Onalaska also recently both passed a new “Complete Streets” ordinance.

    Want to help?

    Sign up to count bikes and pedestrians at http://www.uwlax.edu/bikeped, or by emailing jlonghurst@uwlax.edu; pick up and return materials at the table near Hoeschler Tower beginning 8 a.m. Sept. 24. Shifts last as little as one hour. Oct. 21 is an alternate day in case of rain Wednesday, Sept. 24 or if there are issues with the first count.

    UW-L archaeologist discusses 5,000-year-old wonder

    Great stone structures created about 5,000 years ago in northwest Kenya have intrigued archaeologists for decades.

    Today the mystery behind these “pillar sites” is being unraveled. Katherine Grillo, UW-L assistant professor of sociology/archaeology, will give a free public lecture about what researchers are uncovering in eastern Africa at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 16, at Port O’ Call, Cartwright Center-Gunning Addition.

    The first group of cattle herders in eastern Africa moved into the Turkana Basin of northwestern Kenya and built large megalithic "pillar sites" at several places surrounding Lake Turkana about 5,000 years ago. New excavations reveal that many of these sites were large communal cemeteries. Grillo will discuss what’s been found and conclude with a discussion about the enduring legacy of the pillar-site builders. 

    Minnesota artists to exhibit at UW-La Crosse

    Two artists from Minnesota will show their work in the first exhibition of the academic year at the UW-La Crosse Art Gallery.

     Lovesickness with Trees,” courtesy of the Soo Visual Arts Center in Minneapolis, will feature the works of Sophia Heymans and Garrett Perry. The two will participate in an artist lecture at 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 12, in 116 Center for the Arts. The exhibit opens following the talk with a reception from 4-6 p.m. in the University Art Gallery, on first floor of the Center for the Arts. The exhibit runs through Saturday, Oct. 4.

    Heymans lives and works in St. Joseph, Minnesota. She holds a bachelor’s of fine arts in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design. Perry, who lives in Minneapolis, holds a bachelor’s of fine arts from the College of Visuals Arts in St. Paul. He currently works out of his studio in Minnesota’s capital.

    Regular gallery hours are noon-8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, noon-5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, or when events are held in Toland Theatre or by appointment. Exhibits are free and open to the public.

    The exhibition is funded by the UW-L Student Association, the UW-L College of Liberal Studies and the Soo Visual Arts Center. For additional information, visit www.uwlax.edu/art or contact the gallery at 608.785.8230.

    UW-L’s ROTC program exceeds Army criteria to continue
    UW-La Crosse’s ROTC Eagle Battalion Reserve Officers’ Training program has secured U.S. Army approval to continue on campus. The program will be re-evaluated annually with the next evaluation set for June 2015.

    The news came in a letter to UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow from the U.S. Army Cadet Command, dated July 30.

    “This is an incredibly good letter to receive — especially after what we went through last year,” says Lt. Col. James Hill, ROTC Eagle Battalion commander.

    In October 2013, the U.S. Army notified UW-L that the university’s ROTC program was being considered for closure because of a reduction in Army resources. However, the Army rescinded its decision a month later and put the battalion on probation while it created a set of metrics to evaluate ROTC programs across the country.

    Under the new metrics, UW-L’s program has successfully met the Army’s criteria for 2013-14. UW-L’s ROTC program has a three-year average of commissioning 15.3 ROTC officers into the U.S. Army a year. These program graduates become members of the U.S. Army National Guard, the Army Reserve or active duty officers. That exceeds the minimum commission average of 15 officers a year nationally.

    Also, the letter notes that 22.9 percent of UW-L’s ROTC program graduates have degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. This percentage far exceeds the ROTC national average of 16.1 percent and helps the Army work toward its overall goal of having more officers in STEM fields.

    “We are delighted the Army has reconsidered its decision and we’re proud of how quickly the Eagle Battalion has been able to satisfy the new standards,” says UW-L Chancellor Joe Gow. “It’s particularly gratifying to see how significantly UW-L is meeting, and even exceeding, the need for STEM Army officers.”

    UW-L’s ROTC graduation rate in STEM field is the real strength of the battalion, says Hill.

    “That’s what will keep it here for a long time to come,” he says. “This is very good news for our cadets and for the university.”

     

    Film series to stimulate discussion on Politics in Film

    The UW-La Crosse 'Politics and Film' class will host public screenings and discussion on four films at the La Crosse Public Library during the month of September.

    UW-L Assistant Professor Tim Dale teaches the class “Politics in Film.” The collection of films will be shown, followed by a guided short discussion, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 3, 10, 17 and 24, at the Main, Auditorium.

    The films reflect four different eras in political filmmaking, as well as a variety of styles including drama and comedy. The films are intended to generate discussion about their political meaning and context, and help people understand the role of popular culture in larger political conversations.

    The screening is part of a theme-based film series at the library called “Film Freaks. ” The screenings and discussions offer value added content such as information about the film’s actors and director, other recommended films, related library resources, basic film study analysis and a discussion at each screening.

    The four films in the Politics in Film series include:

    • “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington”  (1939) NR – Sept. 3
    • “Seven Days in May” (1964) NR – Sept. 10
    • “Being There” (1979) PG – Sept. 17
    • “In the Loop” (2009) – Sept. 24

    Dale, an assistant professor of Political Science and Public Administration, teaches a class on Politics and Film. The class examines the use of film as a form of political communication, and encourages students to consider how films reflect and communicate things about the political world. 

    UW-L Theatre Department Announces 2014-2015 Theatre Season

    The UW-La Crosse Department of Theatre Arts production presents a season filled with a groundbreaking lawsuit, a Neil Simon comedy, a classic Shakespeare and a fast-paced musical.

    Opening the 2014-2015 season is 8  by Dustin Lance Black Ripped. From the headlines, 8 is a play that re-enacts events surrounding a 2010 lawsuit that overturned California's Proposition 8, a voter referendum that threw out California’s 2008 law allowing same-sex marriage. Written by Academy and Oscar Award winner Dustin Lance Black, 8 utilizes the original transcripts from the 2010 Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, which ultimately led to a California federal judge’s ruling that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional and unfairly discriminated against homosexuals.

    Next up is the Neil Simon classic, Rumors, which begins at a large, tastefully appointed Sneden’s Landing townhouse; the Deputy Mayor of New York has just shot himself. Though only a flesh wound, four couples are about to experience a severe attack of farce. Gathering for their tenth wedding anniversary, the host lies bleeding in the other room and his wife is nowhere in sight. His lawyer, Ken and wife Chris must get “the story” straight before the other guests arrive. As the confusions and miscommunications mount, the evening spins off into classic farcical hilarity.

    Based on the hit DreamWorks film and the incredible true story that inspired it, Catch Me If You Can is the high-flying, splashy new musical that was nominated for 4 Tony Awards including Best Musical.  Teenager Frank W. Abagnale Jr., runs away from home in search of a glamorous life. With nothing more than his boyish charm, a big imagination and millions of dollars in forged checks, Frank successfully poses as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer—living the high life and winning the girl of his dreams. But when Frank’s lies catch the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, Carl pursues Frank across the country. Along the way, though, both Frank and Carl forge an unlikely friendship and discover a way to ultimately work together.

    The Tempest by William Shakespeare this bewitching play is believed to be Shakespeare's final work. The story concerns Miranda, a lovely young maiden, and Prospero, her philosophical old magician father, who dwell on an enchanted island, alone except for their servants — Ariel, an invisible sprite, and Caliban, a monstrous witch’s son.  Into their idyllic, but isolated, lives comes a shipwrecked party that includes the enemies who usurped Prospero's dukedom years before, and set him and his daughter adrift on the ocean. Also among the castaways is a handsome prince, the first young man Miranda has ever seen. Comedy, romance, and reconciliation ensue, in a masterly drama that begins with a storm at sea and concludes in joyous harmony.

    The UW-L Theatre Department is also thrilled to present two Frederick Theatre productions including Peter Brook’s The Man Who and the children’s tale In One Basket.  The Man Who offers a series of fascinating doctor/patient scenarios that examine our attempts to understand the workings of the brain.  Peter Brook’s hypnotizing new theatrical work is as vast and mysterious as the human imagination and as commonplace as the image of a man trying to shave himself, but failing.  The Man Who is one of the most magically effective explorations of the mind (also possibly the soul) ever to be attempted on the stage.  The Man Who is funny, inspiring, desperate, and heroic. In One Basket by Shirley Pugh is a fascinating compilation of 12 relatively obscure folktales, told in the storytelling fashion.  Audiences will be captivated by the rare, but not forgotten tales of youthfulness, adventure, and lessons to be learned played out by a cast of silly characters including a selfish princess, an absent-minded young boy, a rich man, and a spunky young girl.  Tales include The Three Wishes, Tale of a Mouse, Crown of Dew, and The Kangaroo and the Ostrich.  (Please note:  The Man Who and In One Basket are not part of the season subscription package.)

    Please join the UW-La Crosse Department of Theatre Arts for another thrilling season!  Early bird season tickets are on sale now through July 14, 2014 and include ticket vouchers for four season productions, postcard reminders and early ticket reservation privileges. Early bird season subscriptions are $60 for general public, $50 for senior citizens and non-UWL students/high school students, and $14 for UW-L students and can be purchased by calling the UW-L Department of Theatre Arts at 608-785-6701.  

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