Archive for Monday, January 27, 2003

Authors, filmmakers to speak at February festival

January 27, 2003


Following up on last year's symposium that celebrated the 100th anniversary of the birth of Langston Hughes, an annual festival to be held each February to celebrate literature and art in Kansas.

The five-day Langston Hughes February Festival will be held Feb. 19-23 at Kansas University and will include two writing conferences and a film festival.

Speakers invited include:

-- Gordon Parks, a Kansas native who is nationally known as a photographer, composer and author of "The Learning Tree;"

-- Paule Marshall, of New York University, who is the MacArthur Award winner and author of "The Fisher King;"

-- And Robert Day, author of "The Last Cattle Drive," who is a KU alumnus, from Washington College, Chestertown, Md.

Two films will have Lawrence premieres as part of the festival: "Confederate States of America," by Kevin Wilmott, a KU assistant professor of theater and film, and "Beyond Tara; The Extraordinary Life of Hattie McDaniel," by Madison Lacy, an independent film producer from New York. McDaniel, who won an Academy Award for her role in "Gone with the Wind," was born in Wichita.

Parks will speak at the Lied Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22. If his health permits, Parks will come to Lawrence. If not, his speech will be brought in through a satellite feed.

Maryemma Graham, who directed last year's Hughes conference, said the February festival was brought about by those who thought Hughes, who was born Feb. 1, 1902, should be recognized annually.

Hughes came to Lawrence as an infant with his mother, who lived in Lawrence and attended KU.

Graham said the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau and several campus sponsors joined to plan the festival of literature and film and conferences for teachers on writing, literature and the arts.

KU's 23rd Conference on Writing & Literature for elementary and secondary teachers of English and language arts will kick off the festival with events Feb. 19 and 20 in the Kansas Union ballroom on KU's campus.

Day will speak at noon Feb. 20.

The literature and film part of the festival begins at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Kansas Union ballroom with a talk by Marshall titled, " The Triangular Quest for Self and Community: Brooklyn>Barbados>Benin." Marshall's talk is sponsored by KU's Hall Center Humanities Lecture Series. It is supported by the Frances and Floyd Horowitz Lecture Fund.

The literature and film festival includes staged readings of 10-minute plays, written by six KU students, at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H.

That will be followed at 8 p.m. by the premier of Wilmott's "Confederate States of America," at Liberty Hall, 642 Mass.

The festival continues Feb. 22 with programs beginning at 9:15 a.m. in the Carnegie Building, Ninth and Vermont streets, concluding with "An Evening Honoring Gordon Parks," in KU's Lied Center.

On Sunday, Feb. 23, films by Lacy; St. Clair Bourne of Guilford, Conn.; and Pok-Chi Lau, KU associate professor of design, will be shown from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Haskell Indian Nations University auditorium, 155 Indian Ave.

A panel discussion follows with Lacy, Willmott and Lau. Also joining will be John Gronbeck-Tedesco, a KU professor of theater and film, and Paul Ellenstein, director of the William Inge Theatre Festival in Independence, Kan.

The Conference on New Literacies runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Lawrence Arts Center. The KU English department program focuses on how literature and the arts interact to expand and challenge traditional viewpoints, including using dance to interpret poetry.

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