college of liberal arts

Auditions for ‘Oedipus Rex” held Sept. 30 and Oct. 1

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Open auditions for the Oregon State University Theatre fall production of Sophocles’ tragedy, “Oedipus Rex,” will be held Sunday, Sept. 30, and Monday, Oct. 1, beginning at 6:30 p.m. on the main stage in Withycombe Hall, 30thStreet and Campus Way.

This classic Greek drama is a story of pride, ambition, and fortune gone awry. The production calls for at least five adult males, two to three adult females, two younger girls and a large chorus. All interested performers from the community are encouraged to participate.

The play is scheduled for Nov. 8-10 and 15-16 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 18 at 2 p.m.

For information, contact director George Caldwell, 541-737-4627 or george.caldwell@oregonstate.edu

Media Contact: 

George Caldwell, 541-737-4627

Film festival brings German cinema to Corvallis Oct. 8-12

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A free film festival of German language movies will show in Corvallis Oct. 8-12.

“Biber Blick I – German Film Festival," is sponsored by Oregon State University’s School of Language, Culture, & Society, with support from the Goethe Institut. The festival celebrates both recent releases and a retrospective of films from the 1970s and 1980s by East German filmmaker Iris Gusner. The Gusner retrospective will be the West Coast premiere of the movies.

The festival is free and open to the public, although seating is limited.

Sebastian Heiduschke, assistant professor of German at OSU, said two classes, GER 199 and GER 299, will be taught during the festival. He said the classes have no pre-requisites and no books required. Students enrolled in one of these courses will be guaranteed seating at the festival.

All films are subtitled and will play at the Darkside Cinema, 215 S.W. 4th St., Corvallis. The schedule is:

Monday, Oct. 8, 8 p.m.:Winter's Daughter” (Wintertochter ) 2011. Eleven-year-old Kattaka is celebrating Christmas with her parents at home in Berlin when an unexpected phone call turns her world upside down. She begins an unusual road trip through Eastern Europe to find her real father.

Tuesday, Oct. 9, 8 p.m.: Baikonur,” 2012. An unusual love triangle in a small village among the local residents who collect the space debris that falls from the nearby Baikonur space station.

Wednesday, Oct. 10, Iris Gusner Retrospective.

7 p.m.: “The Blue Light” (Das blaue Licht) 1978. A farmer who is being sent to war goes on a magical journey that includes meeting a beautiful princess, a dwarf, a witch and a king, who holds his life in his hands. Subtitles to this film created by OSU students.

8:30 p.m.: “All my Girls” (Alle meine Mädchen) 1980. A film student making a documentary about a brigade of women workers gets to know the personalities in the lamp factory, including brazen Susie, reprobate Kerstin, lonely Anita, single Ella, withdrawn Gertrud and the superior forewoman.

Thursday, Oct. 11, 8 p.m.:Combat Girls” (Kriegerin) 2011. An angry young woman with hatred of foreigners and outsiders meets an Afghan refugee and begins to have her worldview changed.  Adults only.

Friday, Oct. 12. 8 p.m.:Lessons of a Dream” (Der ganz große Traum) 2011. In 1874 a young teacher in Germany experiments with a highly contested way of teaching English to his students: by introducing football despite the protests by the community.

For more information on the films and the festival, go to http://blogs.oregonstate.edu/german/

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Combat Girls

“Combat Girls” (Kriegerin) 2011. Shows Oct. 11, 2012 as part of the OSU German Film Festival.

Winter's Daughter

“Winter's Daughter" Shows Oct. 8, 2012 as part of the OSU German Film Festival.

Free screenings of American indie romantic comedy shown Sept. 28 in Corvallis

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Two screenings of an American independent film will be shown in Corvallis on Sept. 28.

Must Come Down” is on a short Northwestern tour and will show at 7 and 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28, at the Darkside Cinema, 215 S.W. 4th St. The screenings are sponsored by Oregon State University’s School of Writing, Literature, and Film and are free and open to public.

Jon Lewis, film professor at OSU, will introduce the film and moderate a question-and-answer session with the director of “Must Come Down” following the screenings.

After premiering at Cinequest San Jose, “Must Come Down” went on to show at the Phoenix Film Festival, Newport Beach Film Festival, and Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.

Written and directed by Kenny Riches, “Must Come Down” was shot on location in Salt Lake City. It was produced by actor Patrick Fugit (“Almost Famous,” “We Bought A Zoo”) and producer Dominic Fratto. It features actors and musical talent from the Salt Lake City area.

“Must Come Down” follows a quirky girl and guy trying to get through their early 20s. Holly and Ashley share misadventures as they stumble through life’s final bout of growing pains.

Film critic Ray Schillaci wrote that “Everything about this film echoes independent and cult, and it is a refreshing journey after so many studio driven rom-coms that we have all been subjected to.”

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Shakespeare’s ‘The Taming of the Shrew’ opens Aug. 8 at OSU

CORVALLIS, Ore. – One of William Shakespeare’s most controversial comedies, “The Taming of the Shrew,” will be performed in the Memorial Union quad on the Oregon State University campus starting Wednesday, Aug. 8.

OSU Theatre’s annual Bard in the Quad performances are scheduled Aug. 8-12 and Aug. 15-19 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

The plot focuses on a wealthy young man, Lucentio, who wants to marry the coquettish Bianca. She is forbidden to marry however, until her older sister Kate finds a suitor. Lucentio convinces his friend, the clever playboy Petruchio, to woo Kate, who is stubborn and witty and must be “tamed.”

Some elements of the play have been interpreted as misogynistic by modern critics, yet the play has been adapted numerous times for stage, screen, opera, and musical theater; perhaps the most famous adaptation being Cole Porter's musical “Kiss Me, Kate.”

Director George Caldwell said he is embracing the pageantry and color of Renaissance England in his interpretation of what he called “Shakespeare’s ultimate battle of the sexes.”

The cast features Corvallis resident Erin Cunningham in the lead as Kate and OSU Theatre graduates Jamie Bilderback as Bianca, Rowan Russell as Petruchio and Alex Johnston as Lucentio. The rest of the cast includes OSU students Karla Badeau, Chris Peterman, Cassie Ruud, and Ellianne Smith; local community members Phil Allen, Craig Currier and Brenna McCulloch; and OSU faculty members Charlotte Headrick and Travis Roth.

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, and $5 for OSU students. Tickets are available for online purchases now at http://oregonstate.edu/dept/theatre or call 541-737-2784.

This is an outdoor performance and no seating is provided. Patrons are encouraged to bring low lawn chairs and/or blankets. Seating begins at 6:30 p.m.

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The Taming of the Shrew

Oregon’s Paisley Caves as old as Clovis sites – but not Clovis

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A new study of Oregon’s Paisley Caves confirms that humans used the site as early as 13,200 calendar years ago and perhaps as early as 14,700 calendar years ago, and the projectile points they left behind were of the “Western Stemmed” tradition and not Clovis – which suggests parallel technological development of early inhabitants to the Americas.

The study, published this week in the journal Science, could have a major impact on theories of how the Western Hemisphere was populated. The research was funded by multiple organizations, including the Keystone Archaeological Research Fund, the Bernice Peltier Huber Charitable Trust, and the National Science Foundation.

Lead author Dennis Jenkins, from the University of Oregon, and second author Loren Davis, from Oregon State University, were part of a large multidisciplinary team that spent much of the past two years combing through deposits and collecting more than 100 high-precision radiocarbon dates from Paisley Caves, located in south-central Oregon’s Summer Lake basin.

What cemented the authors’ findings was a thorough examination of the stratigraphy in the caves, which confirmed that coprolites containing human DNA were definitely associated with layers of sediment ranging in age from 2,295 to 12,450 radiocarbon years ago (which is roughly 2,340 to 14,700 calendar years ago) – and were not contaminated by humans or animals at later dates. The researchers last year also found additional Western Stemmed projectile points.

“The Western Stemmed and Clovis traditions include different technological strategies,” said Davis, an associate professor of anthropology in OSU’s School of Language, Culture and Society. “The Western Stemmed artifacts from Paisley Caves are at least as old – and may predate – the oldest confirmed Clovis sites, indicating that the peopling of the Americas was at least technologically divergent, if not genetically divergent.”

The projectile points were found in deposits dating back 12,960 to 13,230 calendar years ago, and thus were not quite as old as the oldest coprolites. But DNA from coprolites of that era was similar to that found in the oldest coprolites, Davis pointed out. “They were from the same genetic group,” he said.

The difference in technology between Clovis and Western Stemmed projectile points revolves around how they were attached to spears, which relates to the strategy of finding and shaping pieces of rock in the first place. Clovis artifacts have a distinct notch at the base, where a piece has been removed. The tool builder starts with a large rock and reduces it considerably.

Western Stemmed points and Clovis points primarily differ in the construction of their hafting portions, Davis said. Stemmed points bear constricted bases, while the hafting element of a Clovis point is thinned through the removal of a large flake from the base. Western Stemmed points are also often made by modifying smaller flakes in a different way than Clovis peoples manufactured their spear points.

“These two approaches to making projectile points were really quite different,” Davis said, “and the fact that Western Stemmed point-makers fully overlap, or even pre-date Clovis point makers likely means that Clovis peoples were not the sole founding population of the Americas.”

Clovis technology has only been found in the New World, while Western Stemmed technology can be related to archaeological patterns seen in northeastern Asia.

“We seem to have two different traditions co-existing in the United States that did not blend for a period of hundreds of years,” said the University of Oregon’s Jenkins.

Past studies of Paisley Caves also have reported on human coprolites with ancient DNA, but questions arose about whether those samples could have been contaminated, and whether they were found in context with artifacts from the same era. So the researchers did an exhaustive examination of the stratigraphy, which is one of Davis’ specialties.

Davis conducted microscopic analysis of the soil structure using a petrographic microscope to eliminate signs of liquid – such as water or urine from humans or animals – moving downward through the soil. The team also carefully analyzed the silt lens where the stem points were found and bracketed above and below those layers to see if radiocarbon dates synchronized.

“The stemmed points were in great context,” Davis said. “There is no doubt that they were in primary context, associated with excellent radiocarbon dates.”

The earliest models for peopling of the Americas suggest that the first inhabitants arrived from Asia via a land bridge at the end of the last Ice Age and fanned out across the continent. However, those models can’t explain the presence of two separate and distinct stone tool technologies at the end of the last glacial period.

“Given these recent results from Paisley Caves, it’s clear that we need to come up with some better models,” Davis said.

Media Contact: 

Loren Davis, 541-602-4142

Drug traffickers struggle to leave 'the game;' fear losing power, status

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Drug traffickers who want to leave the “game” behind often struggle to do so because they fear loss of power and status, a new study shows.

Those who do leave the illegal drug trade often do so because of a complex mixture of issues including fatherhood, drug use and abuse, and threat of punishment by authorities or fear of retaliation. Researchers concluded that traffickers need ways that allow them to leave the drug business without surrendering their entire identity.

The new article, now online in the International Journal of Drug Policy, is one of the first ethnographic studies to interview former drug traffickers in detail.

Tobin Hansen of Oregon State University and lead author Howard Campbell with the University of Texas-El Paso conducted detailed life history interviews with 30 former drug traffickers from the El Paso/Ciudad Juarez border, which has one of the highest homicide rates in the world.

They wanted to find out why traffickers quit selling drugs, and also discover more about their perspectives on the lifestyle and reasons why they entered the drug trade.

Hansen, who teaches Spanish at OSU, said very few studies of this kind exist. He said the former traffickers interviewed were primarily young white and Mexican-American males.

“Our primary goal in this study was to look at motivating factors why traffickers may, or may not, choose to get out of the drug game,” Hansen said. “We found they often want to quit, for safety reasons, for family and just as a part of life course as they get older, but that it is very difficult to relinquish the power and status they get from the business.”

Many of the study participants talked about feeling powerless, or being poor as kids, and how joining a gang or starting to sell drugs helped change this.

“In this area, it is also a rite of passage to become part of the drug business,” Hansen said. “Most of the people we talked to knew someone in the business, or had family directly involved. It is very difficult for them to remove themselves from that at a young age.”

Even those traffickers who had quit drug smuggling often spoke fondly of those years looking back, remembering specific moments when they were “on top” and powerful. Hansen pointed out that for young men who are used to having a great deal of wealth and power at their fingertips it is seen as a huge loss of status to become laborers.

In addition, Hansen said media and the glorification of the drug trade entered into the conversations with traffickers. One man they interviewed dropped repeated references to the Al Pacino movie “Scarface,” and the TV series “Gangland.” More than 25 percent of the former traffickers they spoke to were trying to sell their stories to the media or to Hollywood for script development.

“Three of these guys had already written books about their lives,” Hansen said. “The desire for acknowledgement and to maintain some sort of outlaw image is pretty important.”

Hansen and Campbell believe the complex motivating factors for why these traffickers left the drug business points to the fact prison sentences aren’t enough. They recommend policies that directly address the factors that make it difficult for traffickers to quit. Specifically, the researchers have suggested a program structured similarly to Narcotics Anonymous, where traffickers could meet and develop insight into the ways their narco-identities confined and limited their lives.

They added that these meetings could also be a place to share ideas and for them to write their life stories, thus helping them maintain a sense of dignity and excitement without engaging in the drug game.

“Policies need to start addressing that these issues are not created in a vacuum,” Hansen said. “We need to look at the socioeconomic conditions, cultural values and systems that pull people into, and out of, the drug business. We also need to come to terms with the biggest factor of all – the demand for this product from the United States has not dropped at all in four decades.”

Media Contact: 

Tobin Hansen, 541-737-3934

Acclaimed Germany comedy shows May 29 in Corvallis

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A Germany comedy that the Hollywood Reporter called “a whimsical Woody Allen vibe” will be screened on Tuesday, May 29, in Corvallis.

The free, public screening is sponsored by the German Program at Oregon State University. It shows at 6 and 8 p.m. at the Darkside Cinema, 215 S.W. 4th St.

“Whiskey and Vodka” (or “Whisky mit Wodka”) is a 2009 comedy by prolific German director Andreas Dresen. Starring veteran actor Henry Hübchen as a past-his-prime movie star whose drunken antics imperil his latest production, the film is a sensitive tale of loneliness and growing old, of chances and dreams, of small and great lies.

Sebastian Heiduschke, an assistant professor of German at OSU, will introduce the movie.

The screening is supported by the OSU proposed School of Language, Culture, and Society, Goethe-Institute San Francisco, and Sophie Scholl Schule German Immersion Saturday School in Corvallis.

Media Contact: 

Sebastian Heiduschke, 541-737-3957

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Whiskey and Vodka

Poet Alcosser to read at OSU May 24

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Sandra Alcosser, an award-winning poet whose work has been called “feisty, accomplished and mature,” will read from her work on Thursday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the main rotunda at Oregon State University’s Valley Library.

Alcosser’s seven books of poetry include “A Fish to Feed All Hunger” and “Except by Nature,” both of which were selected for the National Poetry Series.

She is the National Endowment for the Arts’ first “Conservation Poet for the Wildlife Conservation Society,” and was Montana’s first poet laureate. Her poems have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and the Pushcart Prize Anthology.

In advance of her Corvallis reading, Alcosser will be writer-in-residence for the Long-Term Ecological Reflections program at the H.J. Andrews Experimental Forest, which is co-sponsored by the Spring Creek Project and the U.S. Forest Service. The Visiting Writers Series is supported by the proposed School of Writing, Literature, and Film, the Valley Library, the Office of the Provost, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele, and the OSU Beaver Store.

Media Contact: 

Charles Goodrich, 541-737-6198

Ambassador to give talk on nuclear proliferation on May 24

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Ambassador Thomas Graham Jr., who has served as a senior United States diplomat for more than 30 years, will give a free, public talk on nuclear proliferation on Thursday, May 24, at Oregon State University.

Graham’s talk, “Endless Crisis: North Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Palestine and Nuclear Proliferation,” will begin at 4 p.m. at the Construction and Engineering Hall of LaSells Stewart Center. A reception and book signing will follow.

Graham is a renowned figure in the field of nuclear non-proliferation and international relations.  During his diplomatic career, he advised five presidents and has written a new book, “Unending Crisis: National Security Policy after 9/11.”

During his tenure serving the Clinton administration, Graham played a significant role in extending the Non-Proliferation Treaty in 1995 and has been involved in negotiations with more than 100 nations. As a diplomat he was involved in forming the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty and the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty.

The talk is sponsored by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Media Contact: 

Brent Steel, 541-737-6133

Brian Kellow to read from biography on film critic Pauline Kael on May 30

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Noted journalist and editor Brian Kellow will read from his newly released biography, “Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark,” on Wednesday, May 30, in Oregon State University’s Memorial Union Journey Room.

The reading, which begins at 7:30 p.m., is free and open to the public.

“Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark” (Viking, 2011) is the first biography of The New Yorker’s most influential, powerful, and controversial film critic. Selected as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Kellow’s biography creates a moving portrait of Kael as a bold, brash, and remarkably driven critic. 

Ben Brantly, chief theater critic at The New York Times, notes the significance of Kellow’s biography of this influential woman: “[Pauline Kael] got into my bloodstream more than any other critic. So I have been waiting most of my life for a smart, insightful biography like this to take me beyond and beneath the hypnotic thrill of her prose.”

Kellow is the features editor for Opera News and author of four books, including “Ethel Merman: A Life,” “The Bennetts: An Acting Family” and “Can’t Help Singing: The Life of Eileen Farrell.” He writes the popular Opera News column “On the Beat,” and his articles have appeared in Travel and Leisure, BBC Music Magazine and Newsday.

An alumnus of OSU’s English Department, Kellow now lives in New York.

Kellow’s appearance in Corvallis is part of the proposed School of Writing, Literature, and Film’s 2011-12 Visiting Writers Series, and is made possible by contributions from The Valley Library, the Office of the Provost, the College of Liberal Arts, Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele, and the OSU Beaver Store.

Media Contact: 

Rebecca Olson, 541-737-1648

Multimedia Downloads

"Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark"