We shake in our boots when we’re scared; leaves shake in the wind; the Earth shakes with sometimes disastrous consequences in geologically active places such as California and Haiti, and political shake-ups upend our lives. Shaking on the outside is always a manifestation of invisible forces at work—whether those forces are geological, cultural or the sheer joy and magic that explodes into music and dance.
Journalist Amy Wilentz, a passionate longtime observer of Haiti, reports on the uncanny resilience of the confounding country that emerged from the dust of the 2010 earthquake like a powerful spirit. Her newly publish and much acclaimed book, Farewell, Fred Voodoo, looks both back and forward--at Haiti's slave plantations, revolutionary history, totalitarian regimes and profound creative culture. With rock stars and voodoo priests, heartbreak and magic, her brilliant story brings Haiti to life as no one else could. Amy is an award-winning author of many books on Haiti and the California political/social scene. She writes frequently for The New Yorker and The Nation, and currently teaches Literary Journalism at U.C. Irvine.
Just as a shattered pane of glass has a network of cracks, southern California has a shattered crust with a complex network of faults that provide us with over twenty earthquakes per day. Ironically, tectonics brings Angelinos closer together since a kink in the San Andreas fault (called the Big Bend) is causing the region to shrink. Bob de Groot, manager of experiential learning at the Southern California Earthquake Center (SCEC), a 60+ institution research center headquartered at USC, will tell us about the work of the center including his multidisciplinary team of students. And yes, the Big One is coming, and Bob will tell us what to expect and how to prepare. He promises we will all be “proud to live in earthquake country!”
Finally, we will have a shakin’ performance by Francis Awe and the Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble. Together with his wife, lead dancer Omowale, Francis Awe formed The Nigerian Talking Drum Ensemble in 1985 in response to a growing international interest in this unique form of drumming. They have performed in Mexico, Germany, India, and extensively in the United States. Currently based in Los Angeles, the Ensemble has appeared at the J. Paul Getty Museum, the Bower Museum, and Disneyland, as well as at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, the John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, the Hollywood Bowl and many other major cultural festivals.