In Brown Bag, writer-in-residence Mao to cover how speculative fiction fits into poetry

Mao_Sally_Wen_WritersCenter _Credit_Luo Yang


When someone says “speculative fiction” or “science fiction,” most people think of books like Dune or The Handmaid’s Tale. For Sally Wen Mao — Week Nine’s poet-in-residence for the Chautauqua Writers’ Center — something a little different comes to mind. 

“I think that’s the general perception, but I think poetry constantly uses the speculative because poetry is constantly referencing mythology, fairy tales and science,” Mao said. 

Mao is the author of two poetry collections: Oculus and Mad Honey Symposium. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship. Recently she was a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a Jenny McKean Moore Writer in Washington at George Washington University and a Shearing Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute. She is also a Kundiman fellow in both fiction and poetry. Both her prose and poetry have appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Paris Review, Poetry, Harper’s Bazaar, The Kenyon Review, Guernica and A Public Space.

She will be giving a Brown Bag lecture at 12:15 p.m. EDT Aug. 24 on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch on how speculative fiction fits into the world of poetry. 

Mao will be touching on persona poems, a kind of poem that she defines as “a poem that’s written in the voice of somebody who is not the author.” The voice can be a made-up character, or that of a historical figure. 

She featured persona poems in her book Oculus, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. In it, she included a poem titled “The Diary of Afong Moy,” which is a persona poem written from the perspective of the first Chinese woman to come to America, who was displayed like a live doll across the country. 

“Speculative fiction writers actually do a lot of research, and I think it’s the same for poetry,” Mao said. “So the talk is also focused on ways that a poet can utilize research.”

Mao had noticed that other poets used speculative elements in their work, but she initially became interested in implementing speculative elements in her own poetry while writing Oculus. While working on that book, she discovered how much research actually goes into speculative fiction. 

She said that she spent a lot of time researching her subjects’ lives in order to “embody their voices” and write a convincing persona poem. As a result, Mao wants to spend some time during her Brown Bag discussing research techniques that people can take home and apply to their own work. 

Mao hopes that people walk away from her Brown Bag with “tools that they can use for their own poetic practice.” She also wants them to see poetry as a site where they can experiment with the speculative in their work.  

University Hospitals officer Adan shares ideas, tools for resilience




Stress is an ever-present element in a person’s life, and how they deal with it greatly impacts how their life plays out. 

Françoise Adan studies resiliency and will share her findings on the role it has in people’s lives at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24 in the Amphitheater for the Chautauqua Lecture Series theme of “Resilience.”

Adan is the Chief Whole Health and Wellbeing Officer for University Hospitals and the director for the UH Connor Integrative Health Network, based in Cleveland. She is the Endowed Connor Chair of Integrative Medicine at UH and the recipient of the Christopher M. and Sara H. Connor Master Clinician in Integrative Health award.

Adan has been a psychiatrist for more than 25 years and specializes in three areas — stress management, work/life balance and the mind/body/spirit connection. She said that she has always been intrigued by the differences between people who are able to bounce back quickly and those who struggle. 

It is an idea that has held a personal — and professional — fascination for her. It’s reason that she became a psychiatrist and has dedicated her career to understanding it. 

Most of her work has been spent doing one-on-one sessions with patients. Some of her patients were able to bounce back from trauma and recover — and in some cases, thrive — while others struggled heavily. Adan said she has learned a lot by seeing what has and has not worked for them. In some ways, she said, she has become a student of resilience, and her patients are her teachers. 

“Resilience is not something that you are born with; it is something that you can cultivate and learn and get better at,” Adan said. “(This) gives us hope, because it’s not like either you have it or you don’t — you actually can build it if you follow some principles.”

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Adan spearheaded a new system-wide program in order to provide resources and support for UH’s 28,000 caregivers who work in 22 hospitals as well as more than 50 health centers and outpatient facilities and over 200 physician offices located in Northeast Ohio. 

For the last 18 months, Adan said, it has felt like health care workers have been under attack from the neverending stress that comes from working during a pandemic. She is responsible for equipping and empowering UH’s employees to face this stress and help make them more resilient. The idea that they will soon be facing another wave of COVID-19 has only increased Adan’s motivation to learn more about resilience and develop more tools so that she can help others. 

During her lecture, Adan will talk about lessons she has learned over the course of the pandemic and practical tools people can use to build their own resilience — the very tools that she has used to help health care workers. The tools that she is going to talk about will be applicable on a personal level, but she hopes that people will take them back to their families and workplaces and use them to help others. 

“Pandemic or not, stress is not going to go away,” Adan said. “I just want to make sure that people leave with hope and with practical tools, so they can manage whatever curveball life is throwing at them.”

Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Addario shares portraits of resilience



Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario speaks about her life and career covering conflict and human rights issues on Monday in the Amphitheater, opening the week on “Resilience.” KRISTEN TRIPLETT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Before 9/11, most of the U.S. did not know anything about Afghanistan, including Lynsey Addario’s mom, so when the young photojournalist let her mother know she was going there in 2000, her mom simply said, “Sure, have a good time.”

What Addario, now a Pulitzer Prize winner, didn’t tell her mother was that she would be photographing the lives of women under Taliban rule, where photography was illegal. She had an escort of Afghan men who kept her safe and her work a secret.

“Some of the first women that I saw on the streets, actually the only women I saw on the street, were widows,” Addario said. “They were begging because they had no man to provide for them.”

Addario would have to swiftly take her camera out of her bag, take photos and hide the camera again each time she saw a photo worth taking. Some of these images projected on the Amphitheater screens above her, from secret schools for young girls to a woman giving birth in a hospital in Kabul with what Addario described as “rudimentary” equipment.

During her third trip to Afghanistan under Taliban rule, Addario’s taxi driver said he was going to a wedding, and she asked to join him. He agreed and led her to a basement of a big cement compound. The soundtrack of “Titanic” blasted, and women, in makeup and dresses, danced.

“I had never seen anything like this in three trips to Afghanistan under the Taliban,” Addario said. “It just made me realize that the human spirit continues on, and people really have to find forms of entertainment to keep themselves going.”

At 10:30 a.m. Aug. 23 in the Amp, Addario presented her lecture, “It’s What I Do: Documenting Resilience,” to begin the Chautauqua Lecture Series Week Nine theme of “Resilience.” Addario told of her own journey of covering wars and her own kidnappings, how journalism and photography can change public perceptions and political wills, and the endless perseverance of the many people she has met over the years. Addario is a regular contributor for National Geographic, The New York Times and Time. Her New York Times best-selling memoir It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War was a finalist for the 2016 Chautauqua Prize, chronicling her personal and professional life as a photojournalist in the post-9/11 world. She also published Of Love & War, a collection of photographs from the Middle East, South Asia and Africa.

Addario went back to Afghanistan in 2009 and saw progress in the country. Women were graduating from a school of literature, hosting news shows, working as police and soldiers and driving cars. In 2009, though, the country had the highest maternal death rate in the world; the Badakhshan province had an even higher rate because there were few roads to travel by. She said it took some people 12 hours by donkey to get to the nearest clinic. One day in Badakhshan, Addario saw two women on the side of the road and knew “they were in trouble because they didn’t have a man (with them).”

One of the women was in labor and refused to get in the car with Addario because she needed her husband’s permission first to get in someone’s car. Addario asked one of her coworkers to take the car and find the woman’s husband — which she said wasn’t hard, because there was only one road. She then got the whole family in the car, and the baby was delivered safely in the clinic.

Addario also talked about girls who had defied their husbands. One girl was 13 and married to a man who was paralyzed; her only duty in life until she was 20 was to take care of him. When she asked for a divorce, the man’s family threw her in jail. Another girl, identified only as Bibi Aisha, ran away from her husband, and when she was caught, her husband cut off her nose and ears. She was later featured on the front page of The New York Times before she underwent surgery to have her nose and ears reconstructed.

And Addario’s first experience covering wars was during the Iraq War. She photographed people celebrating Saddam Hussein’s fall from power. 

“I took these initial pictures of euphoria: People celebrating, swimming in his palaces,” Addario said. “Saddam had diverted most of the water in the country for his own personal use, lakes around his palaces, and most Iraqis didn’t even have water at home.”

There was also a lot of chaos and looting after Hussein’s death; Addario showed a photo of a woman walking toward a factory covered in smoke. It was a propane factory where her husband worked.  Addario took the picture, then yelled to the woman that it was too dangerous to go close. The woman turned, looked at her, and said, “My husband is in there.” She kept walking.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario speaks about her life and career covering conflict and human rights issues on Monday in the Amphitheater, opening the week on “Resilience.” KRISTEN TRIPLETT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

She also photographed wounded U.S. soldiers. She witnessed and photographed the treatment of one particular soldier who had stepped on an IED, and later died. She was told she could not call the family to get permission to publish the photos. A few months later, she received a call from the soldier’s father, who asked her about his son’s death because the military had told him next to nothing.

“We had a, maybe, two-hour-long conversation. It was very tearful on both sides. I told him everything I remembered,” Addario said. 

The father later gave her permission to publish the photos, so long as they wouldn’t compromise his son’s identity. 

Addario told the story of her kidnapping in March 2011 in Libya. The Libyan government was not giving journalists visas to photograph the Civil War, so Addario snuck in through a river with a rebel army. When she was in the town of Ajdabiya, she, along with three other New York Times journalists, could see signs that the city was about to fall. Sounds of mortars were getting closer, dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s troops were closing in and civilians were fleeing. They had two cars, with two journalists in each car in case something went wrong. 

“The driver of the other car — his brother was shot at the front line,” Addario said. “And so suddenly in the middle of the battle, he pulled the car over and dumped everything they had on the side of the road, and said, ‘I’m leaving.’ ”

While they were leaving, Addario was the first to see the soldiers on the horizon. When she pointed them out, her companions laughed, because Gadhafi’s troops were in the other direction. But they were wrong, and the soldiers had flanked them in the desert. The driver panicked, stopped the car, got out and begged the soldiers not to shoot them because they were just journalists. 

They never saw him again.

“My colleagues were pulled out of the car. I, the only woman, was just left to sit in the car. That happened to me, actually, when I was kidnapped in Iraq in 2004; I guess they never really know what to do with a woman on the front line,” Addario said. “I’m watching my colleagues to the right getting roughed up.”

The rebel soldiers then opened fire on the government soldiers. 

“There was a wall of bullets coming at us. The car we were in was not armored. I knew I had to get out of the car,” Addario said. “I made the decision to lie down and crawl out the right side of the car toward my colleagues. Immediately, there was one Gadhafi’s troops on me, pulling at my cameras and, instinctively, I’m pulling back.”

Addario then realized she needed to let go of the camera, and both the journalists and troops all ran to the other side of a cement building. The government soldiers accused them of being spies and held a rifle to each of their heads.

“They put us down in the dirt,” Addario said. “We stared down, literally, the barrel of the rifle and begged for our lives. I remember looking to the right and seeing us all begging, and I, myself, was begging, ‘Please don’t shoot.’ Eventually, a commander came over and said, ‘You can’t shoot them, they’re American.’ ”

The four of them were then tied up and put in the back of a vehicle, “packed like sardines.”

“With my experience with war, I assume this is where they take me to rape me and, so, I just said ‘Please don’t hurt me,’ ” Addario said. “A soldier came up, punched me in the face and then they left us sitting on the front line for hours. For the first three days, we were all beaten, tied up, blindfolded, threatened with execution, repeatedly, and terrified, and this went on. I, the only woman, was groped. I was not raped, fortunately.”

Gadhafi later let them go free because he wanted to show the world he was a legitimate leader. The New York Times later sent a team to investigate what happened to the driver, but he was never found.

Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Lynsey Addario speaks about her life and career covering conflict and human rights issues on Monday in the Amphitheater, opening the week on “Resilience.” KRISTEN TRIPLETT / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

Later, Addario worked in Sudan, covering the civil war in the country. On a small island, she met a 12-year-old boy, Chuol, who had seen his father burned alive by Sudanese government soldiers who were raiding his home. Chuol had jumped into the water with his grandmother and sister, and the three lived off of lily pads for two months, until they met Addario. Chuol was the man of the family, so it was his responsibility to take care of his grandmother and sister while going to a UNICEF school. The family’s goal was to get to Kenya so Chuol could pursue an education. Chuol, his sister and his grandmother did not know what happened to Chuol’s mother and other siblings. 

Addario tried to find her but only knew her name and village. Six months later, she got an assignment for a different publication to go to Lair — where Chuol was originally from — and realized his mother might be there. 

“So I went to Lair, and it was like killing fields,” Addario said. “There were skeletons everywhere and people had not eaten in months because there were no aid workers who had been providing to them.”

The next day, however, 17,000 people gathered for food from an aid agency. Addario doubted she could find Chuol’s mother in the crowd if she was there, but then a few of the workers said they found her. Addario approached the woman and asked her questions only Chuol’s mother would know the answers to. The woman knew them, and Addario realized she had found Chuol’s mother, and burst into tears.

Addario then met Chuol’s siblings and showed them the cover of the New York Times with a photo of  their brother. Addario filmed a video of the family for Chuol — his mother told him not to come to them until he graduated and got his education. When Addario then visited Chuol and showed him the video, “he was stoic, and I said, ‘Chuol, what do you think?’ He said, ‘I must get educated.’ ”

As part of the Q-and-A session, Matt Ewalt, vice president and Emily and Richard Smucker Chair for Education, asked Addario about her experience with the Taliban, and her thoughts on its recent takeover of Afghanistan.

During her three trips to the country under Taliban rule, Addario saw how oppressed Afghan citizens were. She has been making a lot of appearances on TV news channels and was on CNN the morning of the lecture. In one article she published in The Atlantic on Monday, she wrote about a “very grim future” for women in Afghanistan.

“I have been trying to show people,” Addario said, “Afghans love their country. They’ve been so happy to rebuild it over the last 20 years, and no one is happy to have to leave, but it is really a matter of life and death for most of them.”

She keeps in touch with people who helped her during her reporting, including a translator who was trampled at the Kabul Airport. 

“She lost control of her 2-year-old. She watched another baby get stepped on, and she doesn’t know if that baby is the baby who died on Saturday, but she’s super traumatized,” Addario said. “Everyone’s traumatized and really desperate, and so I am basically fielding those calls all day.”

Ewalt then asked Addario what keeps her going in her work, given she has seen the worst in humanity.

“Because I believe in it. I believe it’s important for issues to be documented. I believe it’s important for the international community to intervene when necessary. We’ve so many injustices, human rights abuses that go on in conflict and outside of conflict,” Addario said. “I think that good journalism holds people accountable.”

Choose little toil of love to make world a place for all to live, Dorhauer says



The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, preaches on Sunday in the Amphitheater. DAVE MUNCH/PHOTO EDITOR

“I am a theological minimalist,” declared the Rev. John C. Dorhauer. “Today’s Scripture passage speaks for itself.” Dorhauer preached at the 9 a.m. Aug. 23 worship service in the Amphitheater. His sermon title was “The Incarnation of Love,” and the Scripture reading was Mark 12: 28-31.

In the Scripture, a scribe asked Jesus, “Which commandment is the first of all?” Jesus answered, “The first is, ‘Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, The Lord is one; you shall love the Lord with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this. ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Dorhauer said “I can sum up this Scripture in three sentences, eight words: ‘Love God. Love your neighbor. God is love.’ When the scribe asked Jesus what was the most important commandment, he told the scribe, ‘If you want to do what God intended, love God and love your neighbor.’ ”

He continued, “God is just and God is love. Justice without love is just self-righteous anger that makes everyone more defensive. Love without justice is just sentimentalized feelings. When you link love and justice, they become powerful. These words were in the first hymn we sang today, ‘We read thee (God) best in him who came (Jesus).’ Jesus is the incarnation of love.”

Dorhauer used a poem by Emily Dickinson and two stories to illustrate his point. He said, “Yesterday I talked about who God is and who we are in light of God. Today I am talking about who Jesus is and who we are in light of Jesus. If Emily Dickinson were alive today, she would be writing this poem for us.” The poem reads: “I had no time to Hate— / Because The Grave would hinder Me— / And life was not so / Ample I / Could finish—Enmity / Nor had I time to Love— But since / Some Industry must be— / The little Toil of Love— / I thought Be large enough for Me—.”

He quoted the poem: “ ‘I had no time to Hate.’ All over the world politicians and religious leaders are enticing us to hate.” He recited the rest of the poem and then said to the congregation, “The religious elite used the law to define who was in and who to hate. Jesus said, ‘All the law wants you to do is love God and love your neighbor.’ What Dickinson is saying is, if you start down the road of hate, you will die, consumed by an energy that is never satisfied. You die, and what is left? Or you can start down the road of love and care for the needy, the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, and you will be dead before you get that done. Choose a path. The toil of love is big enough for me.”

Dorhauer was in Colombia, driving through the Andes to an area controlled by the United Nations after the FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) had signed a peace accord with the Colombian government. He met a former member of FARC who confessed to his war crimes, which included planting a bomb in a village that killed 50 people. The man went back to the village after his prison term, and was working with the villagers in repentance for his crime. He was building a road for the village, and every 10 feet there was a hole where a cement monument would be installed, one monument for every one of the dead.

“He told me he had been kidnapped by FARC at the age of 12 and was tortured and brainwashed to become the soldier they wanted,” Dorhauer said. “At one point, when he was going to confess, a FARC member kidnapped his sister and put her on the phone and told the man if he talked his sister would die. The man swore he would kill the FARC member if he ever found him.”

The two men ended up in the same jail and the FARC member had confessed to his own sin. The man had been visiting with the prison chaplain, and instead of killing the FARC member, forgave him. Dohauer said, “Can you imagine the ripples that would have gone out if he had killed the other man? How many other lives would have been destroyed? ‘I had no time for hate, a little toil of love was large enough for me.’ ”

In the second story, Dorhauer had just returned home from a trip and found old furniture on the lawn, left by the new neighbors next door. “I was getting irritated,” he said, “when I noticed a woman in a hijab with two small children looking at the furniture. They tried to pick it up but it was too heavy for them. The mother saw us and became fearful. They did not speak much English, but she understood that my son and I would help them carry the furniture.”

They walked together three blocks and carried the furniture up two flights of stairs. “The husband was there,” Dorhauer said. “The family were Syrian refugees. The husband had been tortured by the Syrian government and had lost the use of his right leg. My son and I stayed for a while and the mother brought out some food as a way to say thank you.”

He continued, “What if my irritation had turned into something else? What if her fear had turned into something else? Instead, smiles and a few words changed this interaction between strangers. This is the world that I want to live in. I don’t want to fear immigrants, or believe that Mexicans are murderers, or the women who wear a hijab are to be feared.”

Hate will not change the world. “I have no time for hate,” Dorhauer said. “What will change lives is one little toil, day in and day out by Christians who choose to love. Every little toil of love is large enough for us.”

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, vice president of religion and senior pastor at Chautauqua Institution, served as liturgist. The Rev. David Shirey, senior pastor of Central Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Lexington, Kentucky, and author of the liturgies for Week Nine, read the Scripture. The prelude, played by Joshua Stafford, Jared Jacobsen Chair for the Organist and director of sacred music, was “Prelude on a Theme of Orlando Gibbons,” by C.V. Stanford. Members of the Motet Choir sang “If Ye Love Me,” with music by Thomas Tallis and words from John 14: 15-17. The postlude was “Ciaccona,” by Bernardo Storace. The Daney-Holden Chaplaincy Fund provides support for this week’s services and chaplain. 

Renowned company Parsons Dance to bring energized ensemble work to Amp stage



Parsons Dance

Parsons Dance is set to take the stage in Chautauqua at 8:15 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23 in the Amphitheater. The contemporary American dance company will work to spotlight their internationally renowned ensemble work. 

The company was founded in 1985, with artistic direction by David Parsons and award-winning lighting design by Howell Binkley. Throughout the years, the company has toured over 445 cities, 30 countries and five continents, performing at acclaimed locations all over the world such as the Sydney Opera House, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Maison de la Danse, Teatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro and Teatro La Fenice.

Acting as artistic director, Parsons created a repertory of more than 75 varying works, with choreographers such as Trey McIntyre and Monica Bill Barnes restaging the famous works with new dancers. The company also offers commissions to other young American choreographers, mentoring them throughout their creative process.

Parsons Dance has remained dedicated to engaging audiences of all ages, providing an experience containing something for everyone. This mission also resonates through their education and outreach programs, open rehearsals, studio showcases, open company classes, video workshops, in-school workshops for public school students as well as post-show discussions.

The company takes pride in their Autism-Friendly Programs initiative that launched in 2016, providing sensory-friendly workshops and lightened performances for each audience member. 

Despite COVID-19 challenges, Parsons Dance has found ways to perform in 2021. Parsons dancers returned to the stage in early June as part of Dance Against Cancer, dedicated to co-founder Binkley, who died of lung cancer last year. This summer, 25 students took part in the Summer Intensive from June 7 to 11, taking virtual courses and meeting safely to perform recently learned repertory pieces in person. Parsons Dance also performed at The Pines on Fire Island, in place of the annual Dancers Responding to AIDS’ Fire Island Dance Festival.

“I’m particularly excited about Parsons Dance as it is the first dance company we have had here this season, and the company has been on my wishlist for a long time,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, senior vice president and chief program officer (interim) and vice president of performing and visual arts. “Everyone, and certainly all artists, were affected by the pandemic — but I feel that dance was one of the areas most affected, getting super-creative by taking Zoom classes involving dance, strength training, and more. There’s a resilience to that, but there’s also a joy, and a love of craft and dedication to the art. I can’t wait for Chautauqua to experience it.”

Parsons Dance

Pittsburgh’s Tree of Life Rabbi Hazzan Myers, survivor of ‘18 synagogue shooting, to open Interfaith Lecture Series approach to resilience theme




On the morning of Oct. 27, 2018, as Shabbat services took place, a gunman opened fire on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, killing 11 people. 

Rabbi Hazzan Jeffrey Myers was there. 

“In the aftermath of the massacre … Myers has stood out for his indefatigable moral clarity and inspired spiritual leadership,” wrote Michael Weis, a friend of Myers, in a November 2018 post on Cantors Assembly.

Myers will present his lecture, “A Ticket to Ride: The Roller Coaster of Resilience,” at 1 p.m. Monday, Aug. 23 in the Amphitheater. It is the first of three Interfaith Lectures for Week Nine, the final week of the season, dedicated, as is the Chautauqua Lecture Series, to the theme of “Resilience.”

“Resilience is a characteristic of humanity and all of nature that ensures continuity of life — a virtue among virtues to be prized and practiced to create a future,” said Director of Religion Maureen Rovegno. “It is important to celebrate this essential characteristic this week, as we recognize what we as a community, and indeed as a world people, are living and must continue to value.”

Before moving to Pittsburgh in 2017, Myers spent decades in ministry in New Jersey and Long Island. He also earned a master’s degree in Jewish education from the Jewish Theological Seminary. 

“The ability to manage and administrate and act in a politically savvy manner, all the while placing his ego in check and putting the welfare of his community members first is the hallmark of a great clergy person, no matter the title of rabbi or cantor,” Weis wrote. 

Myers’ words following the shooting, the worst attack on the Jewish community in United States history, left an imprint and offered healing, Weis said. 

“They floated through the air with grace and reached our ears with unparalleled perfection in the moment of need,” he wrote for Cantors Assembly. “By his words, the cries for hope were heeded; the need for healing was attended; the prayer for peace was delivered and the promise of a tomorrow void of hate was handed over to the collective whole through his words, both penned and uttered.”

In a November 2018 article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Tree of Life Rabbi Emeritus Alvin Berkun described Myers as “America’s rabbi,” but Myers, in the same article, said it was never about him.

“It’s about hate,” Myers said in the article. “How tragic it was that people without an ounce of hate had hate inflicted on them.”

He then called for the shooting to be a watershed moment.

“As easily as we spew hate, we also can spew love,” he said. “To me, if that can begin to happen, then the deaths of these 11 people will not be in vain. If there’s no change whatsoever, then it confirms our worst fears about the path we’re heading down, and it’s the wrong path.”

In 2018, Myers received an honorary doctoral degree in Jewish music from the Jewish Theological Seminary. In 2019, he was one of three recipients of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Medal of Valor.

“Medals of Valor were given out to those who exemplify the good deeds of outstanding individuals who honor mankind and whose courage and bravery shine a light in the darkest of places,” said a press release issued by the Center. “Myers’ medal had the inscription, ‘He who saves a single life, it is as if he saved an entire world.’ ”

Looking at this week and today’s lecture, Rovegno said resilience answers the question of what drives people to keep going despite all of life’s challenges. 

“The Jewish people have been resilient for millennia,” she said. “In our time, resilience now uniquely defines the congregation that Myers leads.”

For CWC, Kime to screen ‘Stranger/Sister’ documentary, facilitate discussion on importance of interfaith work




The Rev. Katie Givens Kime believes in the power of stories, and the power of community — now, more than ever.

Kime serves as director of religion and civic engagement at Odyssey Impact, a multi-faith media nonprofit whose mission is to drive social change through innovative media — particularly documentary film — by connecting faith-based and secular communities.

“There is absolutely an overlap between what happens to us when we commune together for worship experiences, and what happens when we commune to experience stories together,” Kime said. “A documentary film gives you the opportunity to walk in another person’s shoes, to see from their eyes. … It centers around the power of story, and the stories of our faith. The questions that these stories provoke in us have a lot of similarity to the stories that we see on film together.”

Kime will be sharing one of those stories at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24 at the Chautauqua Women’s Club, when she’ll present a free screening of the 39-minute documentary “Stranger/Sister,” and then facilitate a discussion as the last installment of the CWC’s Chautauqua Speaks series of the summer. The program is presented in collaboration with both the Department of Religion and Chautauqua Cinema.

“Stranger/Sister” follows the story of two women — one Muslim and one Jewish — working to combat a surge of white supremacy in the United States. The women’s organization, the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom, is the centerpiece of “Stranger/Sister,” which was filmed over the course of three years by Emmy Award-winners Kirsten Kelly and Katie Taber. Odyssey Impact was tasked with the film’s social impact campaign, which brought Kime back to Chautauqua. Kime first visited the grounds in 2008 as part of the Department of Religion and the International Order of the King’s Daughters and Sons’ Clergy Renewal Week. That was while she was associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, before she earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree at Emory University.

Now at Odyssey Impact, Kime works to connect religious and secular organizations with the stories that can help those organizations address society’s most pressing issues. Much of that work is done through documentary film.

“We’re connecting people with the tools they need to grapple with tough civic issues, through the power of film,” Kime said. “We can convene, we can watch films together, but the conversations that happen after the film ends are the most powerful. These conversations, on racial justice, on generational wealth, on mass incarceration, on gender-based violence, are brave, are healing, are transformative. That’s what we’re committed to: partnering with the faith leaders, experts and scholars to create the materials and conversations to best equip the communities that are doing this work.”


Powerful documentary work, Kime said, can both “inspire, and take something out of you,” especially when addressing difficult social issues. So part of her work, through the Odyssey Fellows Program, is to support emerging leaders, still in seminary, who are focused on social justice, or “theo-justice,” so they have the tools to convene the kind of conversations that can bring about real healing and real change.

“Watching films together is a multi-sensory, very powerful thing and then we actually have created trauma-informed practices around it,” she said. “We build trauma-informed practices around that to help these emerging faith leaders, as they launch into their careers, be even better at having those hard conversations around attending to communal trauma — whether that’s mass shootings or current pandemic — and the bumpy roads that can be encountered in that work. We can provide the support materials for that work.”

While at Chautauqua, Kime will also be presenting clips from the “Healing the Healers” film series, focused on both lay and faith leaders’ responses to domestic violence in their communities, at the 2:30 p.m. Tuesday Social Hour at the Disciples of Christ Headquarters House.  Kime is one of the producers of that film series. For both of her Tuesday events, Kime hopes that Chautauquans are ready to take the films and the discussions back into their home communities — and that they bring “the wisdom of Chautauqua to these conversations.”

“We’ll reflect on (‘Stranger/Sister’) and what we’ve seen these two women learn together; and we’ll talk frankly,” she said. “It’s hard to have these conversations across lines of difference in our communities, but these are the conversations that are most needed now.” 

It was “prescient and amazing” that Kime’s time at Chautauqua fell during a week on “Resilience,” and she’s excited to share the story of the Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom.

“We were so honored to capture this story on film, of Jewish American women and Muslim American women coming together and standing up for each other in the face of hate,” she said. “What I love about the film is that it’s not only a parade for women’s relationships and a parade for interfaith partnerships, but that it shows the bumpy parts of the road, too. … It gives rise to these conversations that we’re afraid of, that we need to have, so we can leave our time together even more resilient.”

Pulitzer Prize winner Addario shares portraits of resilience




There aren’t many who have had to be as resilient as photojournalist Lynsey Addario. With a 20-plus year career of covering conflict, she has been on the front lines of war, witnessed death and has been kidnapped twice. 

Addario said that these experiences, however, don’t compare to those of the people she covers.

“I’m often doing work surrounded by people who are even more vulnerable than I am, and often in more dangerous situations,” she said. “So, I think for me, I’ve found a lot of strength in the people that I cover. … I’ve tried to use their strength and their resilience in my own work and to really focus on getting their stories out, giving them a voice.”

Addario will open Week Nine’s Chautauqua Lecture Series, themed “Resilience,” at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 23 in the Amphitheater. From the stage, she will take the audience through the trajectory of her career and share the stories that she has covered across the world.

Addario has produced work for The New York Times, National Geographic and Time, and she has received awards like a shared Pulitzer Prize as part of The New York Times team for international reporting.

She’s also the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. She started her career in her early 20s without any professional photographic training.

She was just 26 when she first traveled to Afghanistan, which became the location where she took some of her most formative images. 

Covering the country under Taliban rule pre-9/11, Addario’s work often focused on women’s issues. 

She notes in her recent article for The Atlantic, titled “The Taliban’s Return Is Catastrophic For Women,” that being a female photojournalist got her into places her male colleagues couldn’t go.

“I quickly learned the virtue of being a female photojournalist, despite the challenges: I had free access to women in spaces where men were culturally or legally prohibited to enter,” she wrote.

Having access to hospitals and private homes allowed others to see into the lives of people they formally might have known nothing about. 

It’s really easy to kind of just stay focused on your own life. But I believe that we all need to have perspective about what people are going through around the world. And part of that is that perspective is gained through journalism, through doing the work that me and so many of my colleagues do.”

-Lynsey Addario,

Addario’s work in Afghanistan continues to be important now, particularly with the Taliban’s recent retake of the country. Her work stands to remind people of the consequences of Afghanistan under Taliban control, and she continues to speak out on those issues.

Addario decided to write her book, It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War, which was a 2016 finalist for The Chautauqua Prize, shortly after being kidnapped in Libya.

“I really felt like I needed to sort of take a moment to kind of think back on the situations I had been in,” she said. “I hadn’t really taken a break in over 10 years, and it just felt like after Libya, I needed to take stock.”

This time spent writing allowed Addario to look through old images as well as old writings from her early days covering conflict.

“When I sat down to start writing it just felt really therapeutic,” she said. “It definitely felt like the right thing to do.”

Part of Addario’s magic is her ability to connect with the people she covers. Her empathy and skill for putting those she photographs at ease is present in her images. Her work as a journalist continues to open people’s minds and perspectives on lives other than their own.

“It’s really easy to kind of just stay focused on your own life,” Addario said. “But I believe that we all need to have perspective about what people are going through around the world. And part of that is that perspective is gained through journalism, through doing the work that me and so many of my colleagues do.”

Justice is central characteristic of Living God, those who worship God, Dorhauer says



The Rev. John C. Dorhauer, general minister and president of the United Church of Christ, delivers his sermon, “Who is God, and Who are We Because of God?” on Sunday in the Amphitheater. DAVE MUNCH/PHOTO EDITOR

“Biblical scholar and theologian John Dominic Crossan has identified Psalm 82 as the most important Scripture in our canon. Our encounter with the holy explains who God is, but it also puts us on the path to know who we are,” said the Rev. John C. Dorhauer. He preached at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday ecumenical service of worship in the Amphitheater. His sermon title was “Who is God, and Who are We Because of God?” The Scripture reading was Psalm 82.

There is a characteristic of God in Psalm 82, Dorhauer said, and if that characteristic is missing, then God can’t be God. 

“Psalm 82 is a courtroom drama,” Dorhauer said. “There is a prosecutor, multiple defendants, a judge, a jury and a sentence. Only one voice speaks; the others have no power or purpose and they have acceded to the single voice, which is prosecutor, judge and jury in one.”

“This is a divine council, in the midst of many gods,” Dorhauer continued. “Our monotheism bristles at the thought, but Israel was in an argument with other cultures, proving that their god was the one God. In the midst of this council, the One that we worship holds judgment. There were a lot of big egos in that room, and that they would let God speak says something.”

In verses 2-4 of Psalm 82, the prosecutor speaks to the assembled gods, asking, “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked?” 

“This is the core of the problem,” Dorhauer said. “The indictment says the gods show partiality to the wicked. The prosecutor tells them to give justice to the widow and orphan, and deliver them from the wicked. They have judged unjustly and are therefore on trial. Then the prosecutor sits down.”

In verse 5, a narrator speaks. The other gods lack knowledge and understanding; they walk around in darkness and shake the foundations of the earth. “This happens when power is accrued to use for unjust purposes,” Dorhauer told the congregation. “We are living in that kind of moment. Injustice abounds when we use power for unjust reasons, rather than helping the poor who are victims of power given to the wicked.”

In verses 6 and 7, God has had enough. God’s voice is the only voice, jury and judge. The verdict and sentence are offered. God says to the others in the council, “You are children of the Most High, but you will die like mortals and fall like any prince.” 

“This is solely because they used their power for people other than the needy,” Dorhauer said. “They received a death sentence for their proven unwillingness to accept their sole responsibility — that power should be distributed to the poor. They forfeited the right to be a god.”

The God who is the judge is the God we worship, who insists that if we worship this God, we will be this church, one that acts with justice. “There are powers on earth who want to be like gods, to accrue power and wealth but not help the needy,” Dorhauer said to the congregation.

“Crossan says that the living God is revealed because justice is not tangential to God. Justice is central to who we are because of this characteristic. We all have access to power and privilege and authority, but for whose purpose? To answer whose cries?”

Dorhauer continued, “If justice is not primary, if we are not answering the cries of the destitute, the needy, the widow, the orphan, the oppressed, then we are worshiping another God and we will be cast out. In worshiping the living God, we are mindful of those who have little or nothing. That is not tangential; it is central.”

The Rt. Rev. V. Gene Robinson, vice president of religion and senior pastor at Chautauqua Institution, presided. Jennifer Stitely, director of gift planning for Chautauqua Institution, read the Scripture. The prelude, played by Joshua Stafford, Jared Jacobsen Chair for the Organist and director of sacred music, was “Inning,” Op. 56, No. 4, by Robert Shumann. The anthem, sung by members of the Motet Choir, was “Be Still, for the Presence of the Lord,” music by David J. Evans, arranged by Indra Hughes. The offertory anthem, sung by members of the Motet Choir, was “Let the People Praise Thee, O God,” with music by William Mathias and words from Psalm 67. For the postlude, Stafford played “Final,” Op. 21, by César Franck. The support for this week’s services and chaplain is provided by the Daney-Holden Chaplaincy Fund.

Thurgood concludes run showcasing life of historic justice



Chautauqua Theater Company Guest Artist Brian Marable performs as Thurgood Marshall in the Performance Pavilion on Pratt for CTC’s production of George Stevens Jr.’s Thurgood, which concludes its run this weekend. DAVE MUNCH / PHOTO EDITOR

This summer, Chautauqua Theater Company opened their season with Dominique Morisseau’s Blood at the Root, directed by Associate Artistic Director Stori Ayers, and are closing the season with the one-man show Thurgood, written by George Stevens Jr.

The show about the first Black Supreme Court Justice concludes its run this weekend, with shows at 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Performance Pavilion on Pratt.

Ayers saw the juxtaposition of Blood at the Root and Thurgood in the season as a way to look at systemic change in two different ways: socially and legally.

“Both of the plays sort of attack activism and look at change from two different ways,” Ayers said. “One being socially, looking and uniting despite our social differences to move the community forward, and another being using the law as a weapon to move the community forward. Both of them are … really great ways to sort of spark conversation around how we get involved.”

After the past year, Ayers believes that society is challenging itself to rise to the occasion of activism — whether it be from the 2020 election, continued instances of police brutality against Black Americans or the ongoing threat of COVID-19.

“What I like about both of those plays together, in the same season,” said Ayers, “coming out of 2020 … this call to action that was happening in our country, being able to examine what that looks like and ignite or encourage activism that’s already been existing in our Chautauqua audience, is really important to me.”

Artistic Director Andrew Borba believes this play is perfect for right now — to see how far we have come, but also to see how far we still have to go.

“It’s a play about a man who was born in 1908, to see what amazing things that he individually accomplished, to see the amazing things that have changed with whole sections of society since he was on this planet,” Borba said. “To see and be reminded how much we need to continue to work.”

Thurgood stars Brian Marable as the titular role, and he is tasked with remembering 55 pages’ worth of dialogue.

“It’s a tour de force performance, but it’s a heavy lift,” Borba said. “This is not just memorizing a couple scenes. He’s carrying that show for 90 minutes. It’s a thrill, but that is a very high mountain for any actor to (climb). What’s been great about Brian is he’s always been capable of it, but he also came prepared, he brought his hiking boots and he said, ‘I’m gonna climb this mountain,’ and it’s been nothing but brilliant since he got here.”

Managing Director Sarah Clare Corporandy has watched Marable in other productions at the Detroit Public Theater and loves watching him disappear into his role as Marshall.

“He’s a very excited, passionate artist, and so as a producer, it’s really wonderful to work with him,” Corporandy said. “I feel like he brings 150% to the stage every day, and watching him in Thurgood knowing how excited he was about it, knowing how hard he worked on it, knowing how much he cares about this role.”

The play is directed by Steve H. Broadnax III, who was set to direct a production for the Cleveland Play House before the pandemic hit. 

“He runs the best rehearsal room I’ve ever seen,” Borba said. “It is positive and connected, engaged, focused, supportive. That has really resonated for the company. I think it resonates through Brian, and through the performance, and through all of the artists that have come to produce this.”

Ayers learned a lot about Marshall that she did not know prior to this play, including how he carried himself in the face of oppression.

“He had a way of dealing with oppression and dealing with racism in a way that didn’t stop his whole progression in history and what he was called to do in his life,” Ayers said.

In the play, Marshall describes how working as a server, rich white people would call him racial slurs while also tipping him well. He would take the money and he would not protest the insults thrown at him.

With this anecdote, Ayers saw a level of strength in Marshall that she did not know he possessed beforehand.

“He had a bigger picture in mind,” Ayers said. “To me, that’s not a weakness; that’s a strength. That’s an insurmountable amount of strength to be able to look past what’s happening in the immediate moment, to know what your purpose and your goals are beyond the immediate moment and keep pressing toward those despite the odds … how he handled growing up and his different experiences and how he was able to keep his eyes on the prize. It was really inspiring.”

Thurgood is equal parts a piece of informative theater as it is a morning lecture by Thurgood Marshall.

“It’s a lecture and performance at the same time, and you’re gonna walk away feeling like you can change the world,” Corporandy said. “(It’s) certainly a call to action, it is humbling to hear someone tell their life story and what they sacrificed in their life because of what they believed they needed to fight for. It’s hard for me to walk away from that and not daily evaluate what I need to be fighting for.”

Writers-in-residence Cooley, Mao to explore peculiarities of writing process

Mao_Sally_Wen_WritersCenter _Credit_Luo Yang



Writers work in cycles of generating and revising, and both of these processes can stem from unusual places, according to Week Nine’s writers-in-residence. They will give readings of their work at 3:30 p.m. EDT Sunday on the CHQ Assembly Virtual Porch.

Martha Cooley is Week Nine’s prose writer-in-residence for the Chautauqua Writers’ Center. She is the author of three novels, Buy Me Love, The Archivist and Thirty-Three Swoons, and a memoir, Guesswork: A Reckoning With Loss. Her essays, short fiction and co-translations have appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books, LitHub, A Public Space, AGNI, The Common, The Southampton Review and Consequence. She is a professor emerita at Adelphi University, where she has taught in the English department for 15 years. She also taught for 15 years in the Bennington Writing Seminars.

She will be reading from her most recent book, Buy Me Love, which she described as being about “the workings of chance and coincidence in our lives.” The story follows a woman who buys a lottery ticket on a whim and then inadvertently wins $100 million. However, Cooley made it clear that what she wanted to explore with the story was not how to spend $100 million. 

“It’s about how that kind of unexpected change in fortune — not in only the money sense — has to be navigated and has to be dealt with,” Cooley said. “Chance, coincidence, good and bad luck. Those are the things that are central to the story, but also our relation to money and how it intersects with our needs for love.”

In addition to her reading, Cooley will be teaching a workshop over the course of Week Nine titled “Jumpstarting and Revising.” The workshop will focus on how and when an author should alter and edit their work. She will also be giving a Brown Bag talk on “Look Again: Some Thoughts on Revision” that will focus on similar themes at 12:15 p.m. EDT Friday on the Virtual Porch. 


Sally Wen Mao is this week’s poet-in-residence and is the author of two poetry collections: Oculus — a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize — and Mad Honey Symposium. She is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship; she was recently a Cullman Fellow at the New York Public Library, a Jenny McKean Moore Writer in Washington at George Washington University and a Shearing Fellow at the Black Mountain Institute. Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Best American Poetry, The Paris Review, Poetry, Harper’s Bazaar, The Kenyon Review, Guernica and A Public Space. During the week she will be teaching a workshop class titled “Speculative Poetry.” The workshop will focus on how science fiction, mythology, fairy tales, utopias, dystopias, horror, fabulism and magic function within poetry, and if it is even possible to use these ideas in a genre that eludes narrative. 

These are all themes that can be seen in her second poetry collection Oculus, where, according to her website, she explores exile not just as a matter of distance and displacement, but as a migration through time and a reckoning with technology. In this book Mao confronts the paradox surrounding seeing and being seen and how women of color are meant to endure representations of themselves in media that “seek to consume them.”

Mao will also give a Brown Bag at 12:15 p.m. EDT Tuesday on the Virtual Porch. 

Barbershop Harmony to ‘parade’ back into Amp

The quartet Group Therapy performs as part of the Barbershop Harmony Parade in August 2019 in the Amphitheater. DAVE MUNCH / DAILY FILE PHOTO

Continuing a tradition that dates back seven decades, the Chautauqua Barbershop Harmony Parade returns to the Amphitheater Sunday afternoon, with five award-winning groups taking the stage.

This year’s concert, which begins at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 22, features performances by Harmony Production Company, Fast Forward, Coldsnap, Jamestown Harmony Express and Last Resort, and will culminate with a finale bringing together all performers for “Keep the Whole World Singing” and “God Bless America.”

Without performances in the Amp in 2020, Sunday’s concert will be the 72nd Barbershop Harmony Parade on the Chautauqua grounds. The first dates back to 1950 with a performance by the Buffalo Bills, the quartet that went on to appear in the 1957 Broadway production of The Music Man, as well as the 1962 film. 

According to the Barbershop Harmony Society, the origins of “barbershop” music dates back to the African-American improvisational traditions of the late 19th century found particularly in New Orleans.

“Yes, barbershops were a gathering place, and certainly close-harmony experimentation took place there. But the instrumental improvisations of early jazz and blues musicians led to vocal harmonic improvisation and vice versa,” according to the society’s website. “The barbershop style has grown and changed through the decades, from simple songs harmonized strictly by ear … to encompass a wider range of material, arranged with care by skillful musicians, and performed with sophisticated staging, choreography and theatrical flair.”

For George Jarrell, who brings to Chautauqua 40 years as a barbershop singer and serves as show chairman, the four-part harmony of barbershop provides an experience for the audience like no other.

“When the four notes in a barbershop chord are done as perfectly as possible, there’s an overtone or other tones, some of them under, too, and that’s amazing,” Jarrell told the Daily in a 2018 interview. “That’s why when people hear barbershop, their ears perk up.”

The best & brightest: Chautauqua School of Dance Student Gala

Jaya Dhand and Olivia Cornelius perform in “When We Gather Beneath the Big Sky,” choreographed by Joseph Jefferies. KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER


  • Noah Martzall and Mia Steedle perform “Excerpts from Raymonda Variations,” choreographed by George Balanchine. KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • Chautauqua School of Dance students perform “When We Gather Beneath the Big Sky.” KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • Jaya Dhand and Olivia Cornelius perform in “When We Gather Beneath the Big Sky,” choreographed by Joseph Jefferies. KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • Jacob Soltero performs in “Excerpts from Raymonda Variations.” KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • Noah Martzall and Malena Ani perform in Godden’s “Sideralis.” KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
  • Noah Martzall performs in Mike Godden’sw “Sideralis” during the Chautauqua School of Dance’s Student Gala II performance Monday in the Amphitheater. KRISTEN TRIPLETT/STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

UCC President Dorhauer to reflect on human identity in Week Nine sermon series

Dorhauer_John C._ Chaplain_Wk9



“The sermon title for day one, Sunday, essentially sets up the theme for the week: Who is God – and who are we because of God?” said the Rev. John C. Dorhauer, reflecting on his sermon series. Dorhauer will serve as chaplain for Week Nine and preach at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday ecumenical service of worship and at the 9 a.m. worship services Monday through Friday this week in Amphitheater.

“There are, by design, three passages from the Hebrew Scriptures and three passages from the Christian scriptures,” Dorhauer said. “The first three days form a trinitarian formula. I identify passages that reveal a key characteristic of, in order, God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. These will also serve to establish a foundation for what follows: Three sermons on discipleship. Each of the second set of three messages will be a reflection on how we live out our call as disciples, given what we know to be true about God.”

The title for his Sunday sermon is “Who Is God, and Who Are We Because of God?” The titles of his other sermons include “The Incarnation of Love,” “No Partiality,” “The Wound Healed Lightly,” “Enough Is Enough” and “That They May All Be One.”  

Dorhauer currently serves as ninth general minister and president of the United Church of Christ. His book, Beyond Resistance: The Institutional Church Meets the Postmodern World, calls on his denomination to rethink itself in light of the changing landscape of religious participation nationwide.

Dorhauer began his ministry serving Church of Christ congregations in rural Missouri. He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Cardinal Glennon College and a master of divinity degree from Eden Theological Seminary. He received a doctor of ministry degree from United Theological Seminary in 2004; his area of focus was white privilege and its effects on the church.

In 2014, Dorhauer conducted the first legal same-sex wedding in the state of Arizona when he performed the wedding service of David Lawrence and Kevin Patterson. 

In his first term as general minister and president of UCC, Dorhauer originated the creation of a curriculum, “White Privilege: Let’s Talk — A Resource for Transformational Dialogue.” Designed to invite UCC members and others to “engage in safe, meaningful, substantive and bold conversations on race,” the curriculum and guide have been used by both UCC and non-UCC audiences. He has called the denomination to accomplish essential strategic priorities over the next 10 years to position the denomination for a transformative future, which includes attaining inclusive excellence in curriculum and training toward “A Just World for All.”

Bonnefoux announces retirement after 38 seasons leading resident dance programs at Chautauqua


Chautauqua Institution on Friday announced that Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux will retire following 38 seasons leading Chautauqua’s resident dance programs, currently in the role of director of the School of Dance. Bonnefoux’s legacy at Chautauqua includes hundreds of alumni who have gone on to dance with renowned companies around the United States and the world.

A large Chautauqua community celebration of Bonnefoux will be planned for 2022, and include many alumni of the resident dance programs.

“Jean-Pierre has revolutionized the summer dance program experience by focusing on performance and giving students exposure to a variety of choreographic styles to help them prepare for company careers,” said Deborah Sunya Moore, vice president of performing and visual arts, and interim senior vice president and chief program officer. “The list of alumni who credit their success to their time at Chautauqua and working with Jean-Pierre is simply stunning. That many of them continue to perform and teach here regularly is a testament to his many gifts and generous spirit. We will miss Jean-Pierre, though we know Chautauqua will still hold a special place in his life, and we dedicate ourselves to building on this extraordinary legacy.”

Following his arrival at Chautauqua in 1983, Bonnefoux quickly made his mark as an innovator in the world of dance festivals. Among his many feats include establishing an annual teacher symposium, using Chautauqua’s setting and convening power to build a network of fellow dance artists and educators; he established the Artist Teacher Award with the late Chautauquan Kay Logan to recognize exceptional dance educators. A hallmark of Bonnefoux’s program for dance students is the emphasis on performance.

This “makes Chautauqua somewhat different from most summer schools,” according to a 2000 New York Times piece about Bonnefoux and dance at Chautauqua. “Although the students … have a full program of daily ballet, jazz and modern classes — with an extra point work and variation class in the afternoon for the older girls — the focus of their stay in Chautauqua is learning and rehearsing the ballets that they will perform before an audience.”

Above, Chautauqua School of Dance Director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux coaches student Nina Giraldo in July 2018 in Carnahan-Jackson Dance Studio. At right, Bonnefoux works with a student in 2013. RILEY ROBINSON/DAILY FILE PHOTO

Bonnefoux also created and for many years led the Chautauqua Ballet Company, bringing together an exciting and diverse group of dancers and choreographers and providing employment during layoff seasons. Though no longer a resident Chautauqua program, the company was another outlet for the Institution to connect with professional dancers.

Bonnefoux’s longtime partner and collaborator Patricia McBride, long a muse of George Ballanchine, also has joined him as master teacher on the School of Dance faculty throughout his tenure.

Bonnefoux retired in 2017 as artistic director of the Charlotte Ballet. Previously known as the North Carolina Dance Theatre, the company for many years enjoyed an annual summer residency at Chautauqua, and still appears frequently among the several companies the Institution invites to perform each summer.

The Roots, Trombone Shorty share headliner status in night of jazz, hip-hop at Amp



Black Thought and Questlove of The Roots

Like many bands, The Roots first met in school. Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson were classmates at the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts, and as they performed at school and locally, they added Josh “The Rubberband” Abrams.

“I always thought Black Thought had that real MC voice,” said Clifford Smith Jr., or Method Man, a member of the East Coast hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan, in an interview with Sways’ Universe. “He always switched it up. He never stuck to one groove. It was always something that kept your attention, even from verse to verse. Not to mention they all play well off of each other.”

The Roots, an American hip-hop and neo-soul band known for a jazzy and eclectic approach, currently has seven members and 11 former members, with a unique style that involves percussion, sousaphones, rapping and beatboxing. 

The Roots will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 21 in the Amphitheater with Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue. 

Troy Andrew, whose stage name is Trombone Shorty, is a Grammy-nominated musician, producer and philanthropist from New Orleans. Orleans Avenue is his band. When he picked up a trombone that was larger than he was and joined a local parade in his neighborhood, Andrew said, he knew wanted to pursue music. He also said his inspiration came from his family and city.

Trombone Shorty

“They didn’t just introduce me to the greats, they were the greats,” Andrew wrote on the Trombone Shorty Foundation website. “From my grandfather, Jessie Hill, who made R&B hits back in the day, to my cousin Herlin Riley, who played drums for Wynton Marsalis, my family gave me the inspiration and the tools to make New Orleans music.”

The song “Laveau Dirge No. 1” from his latest album, Parking Lot Symphony, is named after one of New Orleans’ famous voodoo queens. According to his website, it has “multitudes of sound — from brass band blare and deep-groove funk, to bluesy beauty and hip-hop/pop swagger — and plenty of emotion all anchored, of course, by stellar playing and the idea that, even in the toughest of times, as Andrews says, ‘Music brings unity.’ ”

And The Roots are one of the most respected and best known hip-hop groups in the industry, winning four Grammys, including Best R&B Album for Wake Up!, Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “Hang On In There” with John Legend and Best Group or Duo R&B Vocal Performance for “Shine.” They are also currently the nightly band on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.”

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