Music Notes and Entertainment Briefs, December 5, 2013 Edition
The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus will bring its latest show, Super Circus Heroes, Friday through Sunday, April 11 through April 13 to the SIU Arena. Tickets are on sale now at <http://www.SIUSalukis.com>, the SIU Arena box office, or by phone at (618) 453-2001. Ticket prices range from $15 to $37 plus service charges...
I Shall Be Released
Some cool Secondary Modern and Flowers of Evil news to report:
Secondary Modern will play Friday, December 6 at the Hangar 9 with a band from Chicago called the Welcome, then on December 12 the band heads to Tres Hombres, where they will play their two most recent albums in their entirety plus material from an EP they’ve already recorded and slated for an early 2014 release. At the latter show, David Brown of Secondary Modern and Marcus Lappin of the Flowers of Evil will perform a set of Everly Brothers material under the name the Otherly Brothers.
Meanwhile, those awaiting the next Secondary Modern disc can check out a solo EP by Brown on Bandcamp. Brown calls the collection David Brown Is Losing His Mind, and describes it as “half weirdo-ambient stuff, half weirdo-pop.” Spin two tracks from the album on Nightlife’s web project, at <http://www.CarbondaleRocks.com>...
The Ring magazine should hire Steve Compton as its official historian. The local author, who will sign copies of his tome Live Fast, Die Young: The Life and Times of Harry Greb (Windmill Writing Publications, 716 pages, hardcover, $39.95) Saturday, December 7 at 1 p.m. at the Bookworm, has crafted a boxing landmark.
Greb was one of the first world middleweight boxing champions of the modern era, rising through the ranks before World War I and winning the world title as the Roaring Twenties got underway.
Though a few of his later bouts were filmed, all film of Greb’s fights has been lost or destroyed. Due to the lack of visual evidence of Greb’s greatness, his name rarely pops up in the same breath as contemporaries like Jack Dempsey (for whom Greb briefly worked as a sparring partner) or Gene Tunney (who Greb defeated before Tunney won the heavyweight title from Dempsey). And Greb, as Compton’s title states, died young— not long after he retired from the ring, he lost his life during surgery, essentially to repair a broken nose.
Compton’s exhaustive research and attention to detail— the book took eleven years to finish— should help reverse Greb’s current obscurity, at least among boxing fanatics. Delving into the sports pages that covered Greb, Compton painstakingly reconstructs his subject’s bouts, as well as the fascinating backstories to the fights, and often provides great insights into Greb’s opponents.
Compton depicts a man without one-punch knockout power, but with extraordinary hand and foot speed who loved to circle while punching in wild, aggressive combinations, often against much larger opponents— light-heavyweights and even full heavyweights. He was quite possibly Manny Pacquiao’s earliest direct boxing ancestor.
Unlike many of his white contemporaries, Greb often fought African American challengers. In one case when he drew the so-called color line, Greb seems to have done so because his wife convinced him that bouts between fighters of different races might create more racial animosity than equality. On the other hand, in another instance, Greb and his manager released a poster mocking the Ku Klux Klan and a top contender rumored to have the terrorist organization’s support.
Here’s another thought to ponder. Floyd Mayweather, the consensus pound-for-pound best boxer in today’s world, currently has a perfect record, winning forty-five fights during seventeen years as a professional. Contrast this with how Greb, in a single year, fought an astonishing thirty-seven bouts, many against top contenders or hot prospects, and still won thirty-four while getting one draw against only two losses.
While the book could have used an extra set of eyes on the final edit, it’s written in engaging prose, yet it’s still extensively footnoted, and Compton has done amazing restoration work on rare, dilapidated photographs. Little wonder that Mike Tyson, among others in the boxing world, has asked for an autographed copy...
Speaking of boxing, SIU alum Adrian Matejka was a finalist— but, alas, not the winner— in the 2013 National Book Award for poetry. In sort of Le Morte d'Arthur style, Matejka’s third book, The Big Smoke (Penguin Books, 128 pages, paperback, $13.60), uses verse to chronicle the life of the first African American heavyweight champion of the world, Jack Johnson.
Today, Johnson’s outside-the-ring exploits look quaint, but in their time, his taunting of white opponents was considered scandalous, and his courting of white women was considered, officially, criminal, resulting in a blatantly unjust conviction for which Johnson was only recently pardoned.
In the ring, however, Johnson still is considered one of the top heavyweight champions of all time— perhaps his biggest admirer, Muhammad Ali, who patterned his fighting style and in part his public persona after Johnson, lists Johnson as history’s second greatest heavyweight.
There’s a rich story for Matejka, now a professor at Indiana University in Bloomington, to mine.
Incidentally, look for Matejka to stop in Carbondale this spring and read from his work...
The SIU Wind Ensemble will present Sacred and Profane: Light and Dark Thursday, December 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Shryock Auditorium.
A highlight of the program for classic horror fans: The ensemble will perform the world premiere of Chicago composer Thomas Miller’s Suite from Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horrors, Opus Thirty-five.
F.W. Murnau’s seminal vampire tale is a silent black-and-white film from 1922. With Nosferatu’s copyright expired, composers have been creating soundtracks and musicians have been playing along to projections of the film to magnify its still shocking atmosphere of terror, something Miller and the Wind Ensemble will combine to do.
The show will also include work by Timothy Broege, Charles, Leonard Bernstein, and Frank Ticheli.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students. Buy tickets at <http://SouthernTicketsOnline.com>, at (618) 453-6000, or at any Southern Tickets Online walkup location, including McLeod Theater and the SIU Arena. Southern Tickets levies service charges on web and phone but not in-person purchases...
The Southern Illinois Chamber Music Society will present Baroque Celebration, a concert featuring French harpsichordist Maryse Carlin along with SIU faculty Doug Worthen, Petra Bubanja, Eric Lenz, Jacob Tews, and Philip Brown, in addition to SIU School of Music students Edward Charity, Ben Bollero, Alex Chavez, Jennifer Franklund, and Richard Davis.
The performance will take place Sunday, December 8 at the Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship and will include works from the Baroque Era for flute and basso continuo, a world premiere of a new quartet for flute and strings by Chicago composer Lawrence Axelrod, and Bach's Brandenburg Concerto Number Five. Tickets are $15 for adults, and $5 for students; music majors get in free with a music major identification card...
The SIU Department of Theater will offer three more free shows this week— part of a series that was already underway when this issue hit the streets— starting Friday, December 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Moe Theater with Directing Scenes, a collection of short pieces directed by students in the directing class.
Registered Student Organization Fierce: Musical Theater will present their debut production, Mis-Cast Cabaret, Sunday, December 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Moe Theater. The show will feature well-known Broadway songs sung by unlikely characters. Though admission is free, the organization will accept donations, and those who attend should bring canned and nonperishable food items for a collection for local families in need this holiday season.
Finally, students in Mark Allan Davis’s Musical Theater and Acting Movement classes will present Danceoplis: Just Don't Call It a Recital Tuesday, December 10 at 7:30 p.m. in McLeod Theater...
Auditions for the Jackson County Stage Company’s production of Neil Simon’s Last of the Red Hot Lovers will take place Monday and Tuesday, December 9 and 10 at 7 p.m. at the Varsity Center for the Arts. The script calls for one man, age forty to fifty-five, and three women ages thirty to fifty. Those who wish to prep can read the play at the Carbondale Public Library, where the script is in the Stage Company’s reserve file. Rehearsals will begin in January, and the play premieres on Valentine’s Day. Those with questions may contact director Lee Brackett at <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>...
SIU’s major fundraiser for the School of Art and Design, the Art Over Easy art exhibit, sale, and gala, takes place Friday, December 6 at 7 p.m. at the Glove Factory Surplus Gallery.
The event features silent and live juried art auctions. Sale items were selected in a competition judged by John Lustig, an SIU alum and museum director— so auction items, including paintings, drawings, sculptures, jewelry, and ceramics, were not simply donated. Contributors are eligible for awards in the alumni, student, faculty, and community categories.
In addition to the art, patrons may enjoy music and refreshments. Admission is $30. Funds will help support provide scholarships and research and creative activity grants, while purchases will make for outstanding, unique holiday gifts...
Speak to Me
Mary Lee Jensvold, director of the Chimpanzee and Human Communication Institute at Central Washington University, will discuss her work during a lecture, Conversations with Chimpanzees: Transforming our View of Nature, Friday, December 6 at 7 p.m. in the Morris Library Auditorium.
Jensvold’s expertise involves chimpanzee sign-language studies; ape behavior, communication, and culture; chimpanzee care and enrichment, and non-verbal behavior. Jensvold has worked at the institute since 1986 to learn more about animal intelligence and communication, and two chimpanzees there have become proficient in American Sign Language. The lecture, which will discuss the correlation with how humans view the natural world, is free and open to the public...
Being for the Benefit of...
The Carbondale Music Coalition, the organization responsible for the CarbondaleRocks Revival music festival every fall, will host a chili cookoff and membership drive Sunday, December 8 at 5 p.m. at the Cellar. Local 1970s tribute band White Gold Centerfold will perform. The cost to enter the chili competition is $10. Find out more at <http://CarbondaleMusicCoalition.com>...
Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines last month, killing more than 5,500 and injuring five times that number while causing as much as a half-billion dollars worth of damage to homes and businesses. To help raise money for ongoing relief efforts, a fundraiser will take place Friday, December 6 at 7 p.m. at the Gaia House Interfaith Center. The meal will include traditional Filipino cuisine, including chicken adobo, Filipino noodles called pancit, and a rice-cake dessert called bibingka. Filipino musicians will also perform.
Admission is by a suggested donation of $10, but those who attend may of course give more. All proceeds will go toward Typhoon Haiyan relief organizations.
Meanwhile, those who want to volunteer with preparing the meal may come at 6 p.m.
Incidentally, Christmahanukwanzadan, the Gaia House’s annual multicultural, multidenominational celebration, will take place Sunday, December 8 at 8 p.m., with live music by Hobo Knife and other musicians. Tickets are $10, with discounts for students and Gaia House members...