By Grace Leathers-Pouliot, Contributing Writer
The 2016 Surrealist Salon in the Emery Community Arts Center.(Photo Courtesy of UMF Website)
UMF students participating in the Modernisms and Manifestos co-lab have collaborated to put together the fifth annual surrealist salon, which will be open to the public in late April at the Emery Art Center.
The co-lab is composed of three courses taught respectively by professors Elizabeth Olbert, Michael Johnson, and Steven Pane, and all feature auditory, literary, and visual components.
Johnson’s class, The Splendid Drunken Twenties, comprises the literary component of the Surrealist Salon. Johnson explained, “The movement was launched in the 1920s, which was one of many artistic movements associated with modernism that emphasized experimentation, shock value, and breaking away from conventions.”
This provides opportunities for his students to become involved with learning about surrealism. The Surrealist Salon will have a guest appearance. Angel Dionne is a graduate of the University of Maine in Fort Kent and Southern New Hampshire University. She is also a PhD candidate at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton. Dionne is the founder and editor of the online surrealist journal “Peculiar Mormyrid,” which she will be reading from at the salon. Dionne will also be engaging the audience in word games to give the spectators an idea of how surrealism works.
Pearl Wilson, who is taking contemporary surrealism in Painting I, will also be contributing a few pieces in the salon. Wilson and her classmates are creating paintings that embody contemporary surrealism. Wilson said, “I love seeing the projects that everyone else is doing, everyone has such different and cool ideas, so it is going to be fun to see it come all together.” Wilson will be doing a collaborative project with a fellow classmate. They will be creating masks and costumes for those who are participating with a backdrop full of creepy creatures and beautiful goddesses.
“We thought this goes along with surrealism well because it is like turning things on their head and looking at things differently,” Wilson said.
Elizabeth Olbert, an Art Professor here at UMF, is intrigued by 20th century surrealism, “I love the feeling of surrealism, I’m really glad that students here are able to do something that surrealists would have liked.”
Olbert and Johnson are hoping to have a turnout of about 100 people or so, but the more the better. There will be hors d’oeuvres and drinks for those who are attending.
By Courtney Fowler, President
Alrick Brown, artist and filmmaker. (Photo Courtesy of aalbc.com)
The silence that fell across the room after watching Alrick Brown’s four-minute short film that highlighted historical lynching in America was a profound silence indescribable to those who were not present; the type of silence that makes you hesitant to make even the slightest move or take a breath. As the bright lights flickered to life overhead and my eyes readjusted to my surroundings in Thomas Auditorium, Brown quietly said, for the second time in his presentation, “When I take the time to tell a story, it needs to matter.”
Brown, who was dressed from head to toe in black clothing and spoke with a slight Jamaican accent, is currently working as an Assistant Professor of Undergraduate Film and Television at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Though his dedication and passion for teaching is what drives him, it is his love for film and inspirational life story that truly catches the attention of his audience.
Originally from Kingston Jamaica, Brown immigrated to the United States as a young boy, shortly after the brutal murder of his father when he was just three years old. With such dramatic life events, coupled with a constant feeling of being an outsider in his newly established New Jersey home, Brown found himself seeing the world in a different light. A self-called “natural observer,” Brown began noticing stories around him that others did not see; the stories of individuals that were not being told.
In one particularly transformative experience, Brown traveled in West Africa to see the famous slave castles in Ghana, an experience he now credits as the moment he realized his future as a writer and film director.
“Visiting the slave castles in Ghana was stimulating, it was historically painful, emotional; every fiber in my being was going off. The walls were still stained black with blood,” explained Brown. “As I looked around, I thought to myself, ‘How can I ever explain this experience to others and make them feel what I do?’”
From this life-changing moment in Ghana, Brown fearlessly and relentlessly pursued his dream to tell the stories of those who were not being heard, those who could no longer tell the story themselves. Specifically describing his tactics as “looking at the world with your head tilted slightly toward the side,” Brown discussed the obstacles he faced throughout his career and the challenges of bringing a story to film.
“Art is created within limitations,” said Brown. “We are constantly bound by rules. Take for instance, a Shakespearean sonnet: fourteen lines, three quatrains, and the final couplet. The sonnet is bound by a structure that miraculously gives it meaning and purpose.”
In the final moments of his presentation, Brown presented a behind the scenes look at the making of his Sundance World Cinema Audience Award winning film, “Kinyarwanda.” Maintaining his mission to tell the hidden stories of those otherwise unseen, the film brought together six true stories of individuals who lived through the horrors and survived the Rwandan genocide. Through his work, Brown not only gave a voice to these remarkable individuals, but inspired many in the process.
Moving forward, Brown plans to continue to devote his time seeking out the stories that matter; the ones that change the way people feel and see the world. His most anticipated project is one that features a documentary of children in Jamaica who hold a quiz show competition in their spare time.
Brown was graciously brought to UMF for his presentation by the Honors department, specifically the Honors First-Year Seminar, Travelers’ Tales: Outward Journeys, Inner Truths.
Welcome to “Some DAM good Advice,” the Farmington Flyer’s anonymous advice column. Each issue, we will be answering questions submitted by you—the students of UMF. No topic is off limits and submissions are greatly appreciated. If you want to submit a question, you can access the online form from the Farmington Flyer facebook page or visit www.somedamgoodadvice.weebly.com under the “about” section.
Q: I was finally looking forward to warm weather, but we keep getting blasted with snow. How do you handle all of this snow and the cold weather? Signed, Searching for Spring
A: Well, this is a pretty typical winter for Maine. We’ve been lucky with some of the past milder winters, but this is just one aspect of living in New England. To get your mind away from the snow, we recommend planning game days or movie nights with tons of hot chocolate and good snacks; this will keep your mind off of the cold weather and it will let you do something other than homework when you’re trapped inside. Also, if you’re an outdoorsy person, you could always embrace the snow and go sledding, snowshoeing, or even skiing. We know that it may stink, but spring is almost here!
Q: I have been having some issues with my self-image. How can I stay positive and keep a real smile on my face? Signed, Need a Boost
A: First off, you need to stay true to yourself and not put value on what other people say. We suggest surrounding yourself with good friends and spend time doing things that you enjoy and you will find yourself wearing a genuine smile! We know it can be tough to try to stay positive, but you should write down positive messages and compliments about yourself and keep them someplace so that when you are feeling low you can read one and it will be a little confidence boost to get you back to realizing that you are an amazing person and it doesn’t matter what other people think.
By Autumn St.Pierre, Contributing Writer
Cast of “The Bald Soprano” from left to right: Keith J. Clark, Jonas Maines, Nate Red, Morgan Steward and Julia Allen. (Photo by Stan Spilecki)
Recently, the Department of Visual and Performing Arts presented the play, “The Bald Soprano” by Eugene Ionesco, at the UMF Alumni Theatre. After long preparation and hard work, students and faculty came together to put on this unusual show.
With a runtime clocking in just under an hour, the show was performed for several audiences over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, beginning with an opening performance on Thursday.
After working three to four hours a day, five days a week for six weeks, the crew was ready to perform.
Director Melissa C. Thompson, Assistant Professor of Performing Arts, chose this specific show for a few reasons. “My specialty is experimental performance,” said Thompson, “usually the way I do it is through creating experimental work, or theatre.” She continued, “It dismantles some of the everyday rituals that we’re so involved in.”
Thompson is new to campus this school year and this was her first time directing a show at UMF. She wanted to get people laughing with this play.
Many preparations went into making the show happen such as; lighting, perceiving space, having the right props and the design of the scene, the casting process, and working with text with the actors.
The cast and crew did find that the experimental nature of Ionesco’s play presented challenges. According to a recent UMF press release, the play, which features the mannered interplay of guests at a dinner party rapidly descends into absurdity as the characters realize their language is not as powerful as they think. Presented with the challenge, cast and crew had to figure out how people would go through the motions.
“Whenever you direct something you can conceive with a vision of what the initial energy or look will be, and then it doesn’t happen,” said Thompson. She explained that you have to be ready to scrap an idea and come up with something new.
Thompson’s favorite part of directing the show was seeing people believe that when you say, ‘Hey I want to see your ideas and try them out,’ really seeing people embrace that. Thompson emphasized, “Having people going wild and being free is the best thing to see, such a liberation for them.”
“It was great to finally see this happen,” said assistant director Devin Gilman, a seven year senior and general studies major.
Gilman follows behind Thompson and assists with different things such as organic blocking, choreography, and helping translate the show. “I do whatever else Melissa tells me to do, in the most positive way,” said Gilman.
Gilman did find some things to be a challenge, such as getting the actors to learn their lines. “The show is very fragmented,” Gilman explained. It was hard to contextualize and they found themselves working with word vomit. He wanted to make sure the actors were comfortable.
Fifth year senior, Summer McCollough, has been involved in theatre for eight years. “This is my first and last ever main stage show at UMF. It was really cool working with these people,” said McCollough.
Some of the actors ran into slight challenges including memorizing lines, “because it’s an absurd play and it doesn’t make sense,” explained McCollough. “I’m speaking a word salad and you’re like, ‘Okay I guess that makes sense.’”
Because she’s graduating this spring, McCollough is happy to have been involved. “I’ve definitely had fun with this show and I’m glad I got to be in it.”
Anyone can audition for shows at UMF. There’s a theatre club on campus, Student Theatre UMF (STUMF), that people can join and a theatre honors fraternity that students need to be invited into in order to join.
The theater class, Space Lab, is also available and allows students to have different projects and jobs within a production and the proceeds go directly back into the theatre program.
By Jordan Glassock, Contributing Writer
UMF College Republicans at CPAC 2017. (Photo Courtesy of UMF College Republican Facebook Page)
The UMF College Republicans are gearing up to host the event, “Pie a College Republican,” for this years upcoming Spring Fling which will take place on April 24.
Isaac Michaud, the president of College Republicans, is hoping that the event will attract attention to the club. “This is a new fundraiser for us. We hope a lot of students will be interested in this event as the funds raised will go to our annual trip to CPAC,” said Michaud via email.
Through fundraising, six of the twenty active club members were able to attend this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC. “We listened to many influential conservative speakers such as Senator Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Vice President Pence, and President Trump,” said Michaud. “We also got to tour around DC, which was a lot of fun!”
The cost to throw pies in certain College Republican club members faces will vary. “Students will be able to bid on the College Republicans to pie them,” said Michaud. “I’m hoping some Republican faces and pies will go for a lot of money!”
While the “pies” that students will be throwing will be pie tins filled with whipped cream instead of actual pies, Michaud still thinks that the event will be popular. “Who wouldn’t want to pie a Republican?!” he said.
Dan Mason, a junior and member of the College Republicans, is considering being one of the club members who will be pied by fellow students. “I know people who would want to pie me if I wasn’t a republican, so I might as well,” he said.
The UMF College Republicans club is very active on campus. During the election, the club collaborated with the College Democrats to host three debate watching parties and an election night party.
This year the club has also received a room for an office space, which is located where the Rainbow League’s original club space was.
“We applied to receive the office for two reasons: one to allow students access to our political materials more often, and two to allow a space for College Republicans to meet more frequently,” said Michaud. “From my understanding, we have never had an office before so we are really excited!” he said.
“It’s nice to have a physical space” said Mason.
Michaud said that the club is excited to further promote themselves on campus, and he hopes that by having an office and participating in Spring Fling, more students will gain an interest in getting involved with the club.