News 2017 Vol. 13


Music & Dance: February Guest Artist: Keither Kirchoff, pianist.

Pianist/Composer Keith Kirchoff will be a Guest Artist in the School of Music and Dance on February 13-14. Kirchoff will present a piano master class on February 13, address the Composers Forum on February 14, and conclude with a concert titled “The Electroacoustic Piano” at 7:30 pm on February 14, in the Music Concert Hall (Music 176). The concert will feature several recent compositions for piano and electronics, including Dr. Brian Belet’s “Summer Phantoms: Nocturne,” which Kirchoff has recorded for a forthcoming CD of Belet’s computer music. Click for more information.

Television, Radio, Film, and Theatre: “Crimes of the Heart” at the Mountain View Center for Performing Arts

Andrea Bechert’s scenic design for “Crimes of the Heart” with TheatreWorks can be seen at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts from through February 5th. The production has received wonderful reviews, including this except from the San Jose Mercury News:  “The three sisters of “Crimes of the Heart” grew up in a house that’s as as quirky as they are.  Andrea Bechert’s magnificent set design is a study in scale and nuance crowned by a sprawling Southern manse sitting center stage. It’s a down-home palace crammed with nooks and crannies. The meandering delights of a back porch, a sturdy tree and a wonderfully vintage mint-green kitchen ground this TheatreWorks Silicon Valley production in a delicious sense of lived-in complexity. Everywhere you look on this set, there are new layers to explore”.   

Three hard-luck Mississippi sisters are betrayed by their passions in this Southern Gothic classic—a zany, warm-hearted, and brilliantly imaginative tale of relationships run amok and dreams gone awry. In a hurricane of hilarity and hurt, Lenny’s turning 30, Meg’s fresh from rehab, and Babe’s out on bail, testing the boundaries of sisterhood in a world full of pitfalls and a town without pity. For more information, click here.

Television, Radio, Film, and Theatre: “Sisters Matsumoto” at Center Repertory Theatre in Walnut Creek

Andrea Bechert’s scenic design for “Sisters Matsumoto,” with Center Repertory Theatre, can be seen at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek from March 31st to April 29th, 2017. Stockton, California, 1946: the war is over and American optimism is returning. Also returning are the three Matsumoto sisters – Rose, Grace, and Chiz – to their family home to begin their lives again after internment in Arkansas. Successful, prosperous, and part of the community before the war, taking up life where they left off proves more complicated than they thought. Balancing comedy, romance, and suspense, this tender and truly heartwarming plays tells an important story of what it means to be American. For more information, click here.

Faculty News:

Art & Art History: Art Faculty in Residence in Bangalore, India

In December 2016, Associate Professor of Photography Robin Lasser and Assistant Professor of Digital Media Art G. Craig Hobbs served as invited artists-in-residence at the Srishti Institue of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore, India.

Their collaborative project, Migratory Cultures, addressed the topic of immigration using site-specific video projection mapping and documentary photography. Produced in partnership with students from the Srishti Institute, Migratory Cultures  was featured in the Institute’s Art in Transit exhibition at Cubbon Park Metro Station in Bangalore. The work was generously funded through grants from SJSU RSCA and the US Embassy in Chennai, India.

Lasser and Hobbs exhibited another project, Social Weavers, at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Bangalore. They collaborated with the 3rd Space Lab artist collective to create the project, whichwas created in partnership with weavers from the town of Gajendragada in the Gadag district of Karnataka, India.

English & Comparative Literature: Professor Nominated for CATE Award

Professor Mary Warner, who oversees the English Department’s Teaching Preparation program, has been nominated for the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) Award for Classroom Excellence 2017. Each regional CATE council in California can nominate one or two teachers at different grade levels to receive these awards. Susan Dillon, President of the Central Council, submitted Professor Warner’s name as a nominee to the CATE Board of Directors, which has approved her nomination. The CATE Award for Classroom Excellence 2017 will be announced at the CATE annual convention at the Santa Clara.

Music & Dance: Music Composition Published

Brian Belet’s composition “System of Shadows” was published on Stephen Ruppenthal’s CD Flamethrower (Ravello Records, RR7954, 2017). The CD contains five compositions for trumpet, flugelhorn, and interactive electronics. Dr. Belet also served as producer for the CD. Details posted at Dr. Belet’s website.

World Languages & Literatures: Keeping busy in 2016

Anne Fountain, retiring professor of Spanish, had a full year in 2016. She served as president of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, was an invited speaker for the “International Martí in Tampa” Conference in April, and was a guest speaker at Wellesley College in October.

Her chapter on using film to teach Spanish American Culture was published in Fostering Culture through Film and two more book chapters completed in 2016 are forthcoming. “Martí and Emerson: Close Reading, Context, and Translation” is a chapter in Syncing the Americas: José Martí and the New Modernity, Bucknell University Press (2017), and “Teaching the Latin American Emerson” will appear in Approaches to Teaching the Works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Edited by Mark C. Long and Sean Ross Meehan, Modern Language Association, 2017.

Student News:

English & Comparative Literature: English and Comparative Literature Fall Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to the English and Comparative Literature Fall 2016 Scholarship Recipients!

Ruth MacLean McGee Award: Melissa Laptalo

Dorothy Pritchard Wright Children’s Literature Scholarship: Bethany Callahan

Dr. Jack E. and Maxine Hunt Fink Scholarship Endowment for English Majors: Blaise Olguin

Owen Milton Broyles Scholarship: Joshua Speers

W.O. Crockett Scholarship Fund: Hawwi Namarra

Catherine Urban Scholarship: Micayla Reed, Erika Harris, Barb Purmort

Harvey Birenbaum Prize Scholarship: Audrey Laughlin

Dr. Josephine Chandler Scholarship: Luke Coulter, Mackenzie Rodriguez

Roberta Holloway Scholarship: Fatema Elbakoury

Lois King Thore Scholarship: Julia Franco

James O. Wood Fund for Shakespeare Studies: Barb Purmort

Ida Fay Sachs Ludwig Memorial Scholarship: Kimy Martinez

Dorrit A. Sibley Scholarship Award:

Graduate: Eli Hansen

Undergraduate: Kervin Cano Rico-Ressman

Endowment for Creative Writing: Sharon Simonson

Linguistics & Language Development: LLDSA Symposium

On November 4, 2016, the Linguistics and Language Development (LLD) Department hosted its annual symposium on linguistics and TESOL in conjunction with its student association (LLDSA). The event featured fourteen different speakers, primarily students, from four different institutions of higher learning: San Francisco State, Sonoma State, The University of Azad Jammu and Kashmir in Pakistan, and our own San José State. The topics ranged from Linguistic Hierarchy in the Bilingual Workplace to Oh Really? Teaching Students Responding Skills for English Conversation. Ultimately, the symposium provided an excellent opportunity for all involved to listen to research, exchange ideas, and interact with others in the field. Hopefully, next year’s will be even greater.

Television, Radio, Film and Theatre: Indian Theatre Company Produces Student Play

Silicon Valley high tech business leader Vikas Dhurka had always wanted to learn screenwriting, so he signed up for Professor Scott Sublett’s online screenwriting class through Open University. Vikas wrote a hilarious (and autobiographical) feature-length screenplay about a businessman stuck in an airport without a passport. When Professor Sublett suggested that Vikas’s funny, charming screenplay “Airport Insecurity” might also work as a stage play, Vikas got to work. Now, Naatak, the biggest and most prominent Indian-American theatre company in the United States, loves the play and will present a production of it February 24 through March 4, 2017, at the Cubberley Theater in Palo Alto. “I will never forget the day I chanced upon the class,” Vikas recalls. “May 26th, 2016. I had to return some properties we borrowed from the SJSU prop shop. As I was walking back, I saw the flyer for RTVF 160 Screenwriting on the notice board. I always wanted to write. I sent Professor Sublett an email once I got back to my desk and got his positive response an hour later. Life, as they say, was never the same.” For more information on the theatre company and the play (including auditions), check out Nataak’s website.