Archive for September 23rd, 2015

Harris completes ‘Biking for Biology’ ride of 144 miles

Darby Harris, a lecturer in WCU’s Department of Biology, completed the inaugural “Biking for Biology” project Saturday, Sept. 19, with a ride on his road bike totaling 144 miles.

Harris had pledged to ride one mile for every $5 donated to the Biology Club by Friday, Sept. 18. With $710 in donations, his mission on Sept. 19 was to ride 142 miles. He did that, plus two bonus miles.

Harris’ route took him from the WCU campus to Balsam, and north on the Blue Ridge Parkway. He finished the ride in the Linville Falls area.

Darby Harris prepares for the ride.

Darby Harris prepares for the ride.

WCU’s Mainstage theater season opening with ‘Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol?’

The Mainstage theater season of Western Carolina University’s School of Stage and Screen opens Thursday, Oct. 1, with the college campus premiere of the new high-energy musical comedy-mystery “Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol?”

Everyone’s a suspect in the musical comedy-mystery “Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol?” – including Warhol (played by Michael Gallagher) and his “Superstar” friend Candy Darling (played by Alex Drost).

Everyone’s a suspect in the musical comedy-mystery “Pop! Who Shot Andy Warhol?” – including Warhol (played by Michael Gallagher) and his “Superstar” friend Candy Darling (played by Alex Drost).

Performances are scheduled at WCU’s Hoey Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1 through Saturday, Oct. 3, with a special 3 p.m. matinee on Oct. 3.

With book and lyrics by Maggie-Kate Coleman and music by Anna K. Jacobs, “Pop!” takes the audience back to June 3, 1968, when pop artist and cultural icon Andy Warhol was shot in his Manhattan studio, a place known as the “Silver Factory.” The musical explores Warhol’s relationships with his posse of “Superstars” – historical figures such as socialite Edie Sedgwick and ultra-feminist Valerie Solanas.

The actors portray Warhol’s Superstars, as well as a host of other roles ranging from life-sized dolls to expressionist painters. Every character in the production is a suspect in the shooting – even Warhol. The show’s popular music and outrageous lyrics are punctuated by the sound of a gun.

Michael Gallagher, a senior acting major from Morrisville, will portray Warhol. Other cast members, all musical theatre majors, are Alex Drost, a senior from Blairsville, Georgia, as Candy Darling; Kylee Verhoff, a junior from Jacksonville, as Edie Sedgwick; Samantha Alicandri, a senior from Weehawken, New Jersey, as Viva; Iliana Garcia, a junior from Newnan, Georgia, as Valerie Solanas; Logan Marks, a junior from Mansfield, Massachusetts, as Gerard Malanga; and Benjamin Sears, a sophomore from Waynesville, as Ondine.

“Pop!” is directed by Claire Eye, and music director is Katya Stanislavskaya. Others contributing to the production are John Scacchetti, choreography; Dustin Whitehead, fight choreography; Andrew Mannion, set design; and Susan Brown-Strauss, costume design.

The show includes adult language and content and is not suitable for young audiences.

Tickets are $21 for adults; $16 for senior citizens and WCU faculty and staff; and $10 on the day of the show ($7 in advance) for students. Tickets are available by contacting the box office of the John W. Bardo Fine and Performing Arts Center at 828-227-2479 or online at bardoartscenter.wcu.edu.

By Randall Holcombe

Paddlers win honors at Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom

Local paddlers gathered on the banks of the Tuckaseigee River on the back side of the Western Carolina University campus Saturday, Sept. 12, to compete at the sixth annual Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom.

The Bobilya family – Kirsten, Anika, Lilyanne and Andrew – glide to a first-place finish in the “parents/kids” category at the Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom. (Photo courtesy of Debby Singleton)

The Bobilya family – Kirsten, Anika, Lilyanne and Andrew – glide to a first-place finish in the “parents/kids” category at the Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom. (Photo courtesy of Debby Singleton)

Proceeds from the race will benefit the Parks and Recreation Management Club and the PRM Scholarship Fund. With 90 individual race registrations, this year’s slalom was the biggest one so far, said Maurice Phipps, WCU professor of parks and recreation management.

“Thanks go out to the parks and recreation management majors for organizing the event with WCU’s Base Camp Cullowhee,” Phipps said. “We also want to thank John Prentice and Sam Hopkins for the use of their land and WCU’s Center for Service Learning for their volunteers, plus everyone else who volunteered with course erection, planning, judging, timekeeping and number-crunching, enabling everyone to have a great time.”

The event was held at the site of a proposed river park. A party was held after the race at Tucks Tap and Grille with a fundraiser for the park organized by the Cullowhee Revitalization Endeavor organization.

The family-friendly paddling competition was held on a calm section of the river. Nine gates were set up for paddlers to compete for the best times. Paddlers with winning times are:

Open touring canoe: First, Todd and Griffin Murdock; second, J.P. Gannon and Trip Krenz; third, Joshua Gross and Lucind Ramsey.

Parents/kids: First, Andrew, Kirsten, Lilyanne and Anika Bobilya; second, Mike and Angus Despeaux; third, Justin, Ellie and Alexander Padgett.

Men’s single racing kayak: First, Erick Bartl; second, Mark Singleton; third, Mike Despeaux.

Men’s single kayak: First, Michael Ferraro; second, Fian McCabe; third, Maurice Phipps.

Women’s single kayak: First, Annie Bartl; second, Skyler Singleton; third, Elizabeth Munns.

Single open canoe: First, Sam Fowlkes; second, Tim Carstens.

Stand-up paddle board: First, Mark Singleton; second, Erick Bartl; third, Debby Singleton.

By Randall Holcombe

Two WCU parks and recreation management majors, Alex Church (left) and Alex Koerner, compete in the “open touring canoe” category at the Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom. (Photo courtesy of Debby Singleton)

Two WCU parks and recreation management majors, Alex Church (left) and Alex Koerner, compete in the “open touring canoe” category at the Old Cullowhee Canoe Slalom. (Photo courtesy of Debby Singleton)

WCU’s Laura Wright authors ‘The Vegan Studies Project’

Laura Wright, head of the Department of English at Western Carolina University, is author of the newly published book “The Vegan Studies Project: Food, Animals and Gender in the Age of Terror.”

Laura Wright

Laura Wright

Published by the University of Georgia Press, the book is billed as “the foundational text for the nascent field of vegan studies.”

In her book, Wright examines the social and cultural discourses shaping society’s perceptions of veganism as an identity category and social practice. She discusses the frequent intersection of veganism and animal rights, and focuses on the depiction of the vegan body – both male and female – in contemporary works of literature, pop culture, advertising and new media, especially in light of what she terms “post-9/11 anxieties over American strength and virility.”

Wright said that her book is her attempt to explore, understand and challenge society’s notions of the culturally loaded term “vegan.”

“My hope is that this project helps place veganism within a social and historical context that will allow for a greater understanding of its increasing impact – in whatever form that impact may take,” she said.

Wright will discuss her book at 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. She also will be joined by Carol Adams, author of “The Sexual Politics of Meat” and of the forward in Wright’s book, for a discussion at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 6, at Malaprop’s in Asheville.

A faculty member at WCU since 2005, Wright specializes in postcolonial literatures and theory, ecocriticism and animal studies. Her publications include “Writing Out of All the Camps: J. M. Coetzee’s Narratives of Displacement” and “Wilderness into Civilized Shapes: Reading the Postcolonial Environment.”

Bent Frequency Duo bringing sax, percussion performance to WCU

The Western Carolina University School of Music will host a recital by the Bent Frequency Duo on Sunday, Sept. 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the recital hall of the Coulter Building.

Bent Frequency Duo is Jan Baker (left) on saxophone and Stuart Gerber on percussion.

Bent Frequency Duo is Jan Baker (left) on saxophone and Stuart Gerber on percussion.

With Stuart Gerber on percussion and Jan Baker on saxophone, the new music duo will perform six commissioned works, including Engebretson’s “Oceans of Brightly Colored Broken Glass,” as well as Laurie Anderson’s “From the Air.” The concert is free and open to the public.

Gerber and Baker, both on the faculty of the School of Music at Georgia State University in Atlanta, formed the duo as a subset project to their larger new music chamber ensemble, Bent Frequency. They currently are on tour in the East, with scheduled concerts in North Carolina and South Carolina this fall, and Pennsylvania and New York in the spring. They will perform in France in January, including premieres of works by Laurent Durupt, commissioned by a grant from the French American Cultural Exchange.

The duo has premiered nearly 20 new works since 2013 and is recording an album, with a first CD to be available next year.

For more information, contact the School of Music at 828-227-7242.

By Marlon W. Morgan

WCU drum line has memorable experience at Panthers game

As part of the team’s slogan “Two States. One Team,” the NFL’s Carolina Panthers decided to have a drum line from a North Carolina university and one from South Carolina perform at halftime with the team’s own drum line, Purrcussion, at Sunday’s home opener against Houston.

Facilities Management crew makes sure Mountain Heritage Day stays ‘well-grounded’

Roger Turk and his grounds staff from the Department of Facilities Management have been busy preparing for what he regards as one of the two biggest campus events each year.

WCU physical therapy graduates in elite company with performance on national exam

The second class of graduates from Western Carolina University’s doctoral degree program in physical therapy has maintained the tradition started by last year’s inaugural class of passing a national licensing exam on the first try.

Second annual LEAD:WNC summit Oct. 20 at WCU to focus on region, quality of life

Leaders from government, business and nonprofits across Western North Carolina will gather with representatives of the health care profession, the tourism industry and environmental agencies to discuss regional quality of life issues at LEAD:WNC, a one-day summit set for Tuesday, Oct. 20, at Western Carolina University.

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