Nassau notes

Choreographer Morris holds conversation with music scholar Morrison

Mark Morris (left) and Simon Morrison
Mark Morris (left) and Simon Morrison (photo: Joanne Savio)

Renowned choreographer Mark Morris and Princeton music scholar Simon Morrison, who have collaborated on a new production of “Romeo and Juliet,” will present a talk at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in McCosh 50.

The event, titled “A Conversation With Mark Morris and Simon Morrison,” is planned in conjunction with an 8 p.m. performance of the Mark Morris Dance Group at the Matthews Theatre of the McCarter Theatre Center.

Morris and Morrison collaborated on a production of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev’s original 1935 version of “Romeo and Juliet, On Motifs of Shakespeare.” For this production, Morrison reconstituted the composer’s original intentions and 20 minutes of previously unheard music, while Morris provided choreography. The production was premiered at the Bard Summerscape Festival in July 2008 and currently is on an international tour.

“What defines Mark Morris are his remarkable choreographic innovations as well as his sensitivity to, and respect for, archival sources,” Morrison said. “Morris goes back to source musical materials and reanimates them with his choreography. His works are historically minded, but they are not bogged down with history. They are about the present, chiefly the joy of being alive.”

Hailed as one of America’s greatest choreographers of the 20th century, Morris founded the Mark Morris Dance Group in 1980 and has collaborated with artists ranging from celebrated cellist Yo-Yo Ma to tabla legend Zakir Hussain to the jazz trio the Bad Plus. Morris is noted for his musicality, and his dance company is committed to performing with live music. He has worked extensively in opera, directing and choreographing productions for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, English National Opera and Royal Opera.

Morrison, a professor of music, teaches courses on 19th- and 20th-century music, with an emphasis on Russia and France. He is the author of “Russian Opera and the Symbolist Movement” (2002) and “The People’s Artist: Prokofiev’s Soviet Years” (2009) and the editor of the Bard Music Festival volume “Prokofiev and His World” (2008). He has reconstructed lost productions of Prokofiev’s ballet “Le Pas d’Acier” and the classic Russian drama “Boris Godunov” for world-premiere performances at Princeton.

The conversation, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Program in Theater and Dance in the Lewis Center for the Arts and by the Department of Music.

For information on tickets for the Mark Morris Dance Group’s performance, call the McCarter Theatre box office at 258-2787 or visit

Baker, Russell present reading

Fiction writers Nicholson Baker and Karen Russell will kick off the spring lineup of the Althea Ward Clark Reading Series at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, in the Stewart Film Theater, 185 Nassau St.

Baker is the author of seven novels, including “Vox” and “The Mezzanine,” and three works of nonfiction, including “Double Fold,” which won a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2001. His most recent work, “Human Smoke,” explores a critical time in history a few years before the United States entered into World War II.

Russell has been featured in The New Yorker’s debut fiction issue and New York magazine’s list of 25 people to watch under the age of 26. Her debut collection of stories is titled “St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves.”

The reading series is sponsored by the Program in Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Arts.

Sociologist Patterson presents ‘Short History of Freedom’

Orlando Patterson (photo: Stephanie Mitchell)

“A Short History of Freedom: The Origins and Institutionalization of Freedom” is the theme of three lectures to be delivered by sociologist Orlando Patterson at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 24-26, in McCosh 10.

Patterson’s talks will examine the history of the Western concept of freedom, focusing especially on the paradoxes of its development in America, where slavery and an ardent defense of democracy coexisted at the birth of the nation.

Known for his work regarding issues of race, gender, and poverty, Patterson is the John Cowles Professor of Sociology at Harvard University. Between 1972 and 1979 he served as an adviser on social policy to Michael Manley, then prime minister of Patterson’s home country of Jamaica. Patterson’s books include “Slavery and Social Death” (1982), “Freedom in the Making of Western Culture” (1991), which won the National Book Award for nonfiction, and “The Ordeal of Integration” (1997). He also has published three novels and is a frequent contributor of essays to The New York Times, Time and Newsweek magazines and other major publications.

The talks are designated as Stafford Little Lectures sponsored by the University Public Lecture Series and Princeton University Press.

Panel discussion, exhibition explore modern-day slavery

The exhibition “Bought and Sold: Faces of Modern-Day Slavery” by photographer Kay Chernush is on view through March 27 in the Bernstein Gallery, Robertson Hall. In this image, taken in 2005, a 9-year-old girl in Uttar Pradesh, India, toils at a brick kiln, a virtual slave because of generations of family indebtedness. (photo: Kay Chernush for U.S. State Department)

“Bought and Sold: Modern-Day Slavery,” a panel discussion planned in conjunction with a new exhibition on the subject, will take place at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in 16 Robertson Hall.

The panel will include photographer Kay Chernush, whose exhibition, “Bought and Sold: Faces of Modern-Day Slavery,” is on view through March 27 in the Bernstein Gallery of Robertson Hall.

Photos in the exhibition depict exploited women in brothels, bonded child laborers in textile and brick factories, enslaved children on fishing vessels, parents in search of their stolen children and other images “to put a human face on the statistics and headlines, to tell the stories of modern-day enslavement and the journey toward freedom,” according to Chernush.

Chernush’s interest in issues related to human trafficking began with an assignment for the U.S. State Department, resulting in work that has been exhibited at the United Nations in New York and Vienna and at the World Bank in Washington, D.C. She currently is working on an audiovisual project on sex trafficking to be exhibited in Amsterdam next fall.

The other panelists are Benjamin Skinner, a fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and Kathy Maskell, U.S. advocacy director at Love146, a nonprofit organization that works toward the abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation. The discussion will be moderated by Stanley Katz, a lecturer with the rank of professor in public and international affairs at Princeton.

A public reception will follow the panel at 6 p.m. in the Bernstein Gallery. The event is sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

Bush speechwriter Gerson to speak

Michael Gerson, who served as a speechwriter and policy adviser for former President George W. Bush, will speak on “Global Health and Development: Prospects in a New Administration” at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.

Gerson currently is the Roger Hertog Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, working on issues related to global health and development, religion and foreign policy, and democracy. He is the author of “Heroic Conservatism: Why Republicans Need to Embrace America’s Ideals (And Why They Deserve to Fail If They Don’t).”

Gerson joined Bush’s presidential campaign in early 1999 as chief speechwriter and senior policy adviser. He served in speechwriting and advisory roles in the White House until 2006.

The event is sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Office of Graduate Career Services.

Attorney Remes to discuss closing of Guantánamo facility

David Remes, a human rights attorney who has defended 16 detainees at the Guantánamo Bay Naval Base in Cuba, will deliver a lecture on the closing of the facility at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 26, in Dodds Auditorium, Robertson Hall.

The talk, titled “The Challenge of Closing Guantánamo: Experiences and Reflections of a Guantánamo Habeas Lawyer,” is sponsored by the Program in Law and Public Affairs.

Upon taking office last month, President Barack Obama signed an executive order calling for the closure of the detention camp at Guantánamo over the next year, reflecting concerns about living conditions and the legal status of detainees at the center.

Remes has been deeply involved in the litigation on behalf of Guantánamo prisoners since 2004. He represents 16 Yemenis and has made several visits to Yemen to press for his clients’ release and brief their families.

Remes was among the lead counsel for the petitioners in Boumediene v. Bush, in which the Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the prisoners have a constitutional right to challenge their detention in court. He also represented retired generals and admirals and coordinated the friend-of-the-court briefing in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, in which the court ruled, in 2006, that President George W. Bush’s military commissions were unlawful.

Remes was a longtime partner at the law firm Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, D.C., but in July 2008 gave up his partnership to found Appeal for Justice, a nonprofit firm dedicated to Guantánamo and other human rights litigation.

At McCarter: Kris Kristofferson in a rare solo acoustic concert

Kris Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson (photo: Mary Ellen Mark)

Celebrated singer and songwriter Kris Kristofferson will present a rare solo acoustic concert — featuring classic hits and songs from his new album, “This Old Road” — at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, at the McCarter Theatre Center. Kristofferson has written hits including “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down” and “For the Good Times.” He is a member of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, a three-time Grammy Award winner and a Golden Globe winner for his role in “A Star Is Born” with Barbra Streisand. For tickets, call the McCarter box office at 258-2787 or visit

Exhibition focuses on Israeli teens

An exhibition of photos by junior Talia Nussbaum titled “in arms” will be on view Wednesday through Friday, Feb. 25-27, in the Lucas Gallery, 185 Nassau St.

Driven by Nussbaum’s personal experience, the exhibition explores the dynamics of relationships between Israeli teenagers at a time when most are required to serve in the military. The show will feature photographic portraits accompanied by audio recordings of interviews with the subjects.

The exhibition will be on view from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. An opening reception is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 24, in the Lucas Gallery.

The exhibition is sponsored by the Program in Visual Arts in the Lewis Center for the Arts.