Grace Slick Licenses Song To Chick-fil-A, Gives Proceeds To LGBTQ Rights Organization

first_imgDuring the 2017 Grammys broadcast, you may have seen a new ad for notoriously ultra-religious and socially conservative fast food chain Chick-fil-A featuring cows passing out VR headsets with Starship‘s 1986 hit “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now” playing underneath. While the commercial is undoubtedly entertaining, the use of this song in a commercial by such a right-leaning corporation was surprising, given that Starship (and it’s various earlier incarnations) was a central piece of the free-loving, psychedelic San Francisco music scene during the 60s. You can view the commercial in question below:In an editorial posted by Forbes, singer Grace Slick puts to rest any head scratching and “sellout” allegations from fans with a complete explanation of her decision to allow Chick-fil-A to use her music. “Chick-fil-A pisses me off,” proclaims Slick. “The Georgia-based company has a well-documented history of funding organizations, through their philanthropic foundation WinShape, that are against gay marriage. In interviews, CEO Dan T. Cathy has critiqued gay-rights supporters who ‘have the audacity to define marriage’ and said they are bringing ‘God’s judgment” upon the nation.’ I firmly believe that men should be able to marry men, and women women. I am passionately against anyone who would try to suppress this basic human right. So my first thought when ‘Check’-fil-A came to me was, ‘F**k no!’However, Grace Slick devised a plan that would tangibly help the cause in question, rather than merely showing her ceremonial support by declining Chick-fil-A’s offer. Explains Slick, “I am donating every dime that I make from that ad to Lambda Legal, the largest national legal organization working to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people, and everyone living with HIV. Admittedly, it’s not the millions that WinShape has given to organizations that define marriage as heterosexual. But instead of them replacing my song with someone else’s and losing this opportunity to strike back at anti-LGBTQ forces, I decided to spend the cash in direct opposition to ‘Check’-fil-A’s causes – and to make a public example of them, too. We’re going to take some of their money, and pay it back.”You can read Grace Slick’s full op-ed on the Forbes blog here.last_img read more

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Toubab Krewe Announces Fall Tour Ahead Of The Release Of Upcoming New Album

first_imgToubab Krewe holds a special place in the hearts of many, with their eclectic and unique merging of world music, jazz, and jam gaining them fans far and wide. Today, the dynamic instrumental quintet announced they will be returning to the road this fall with the announcement of an extended fall tour. Since late 2014, Toubab Krewe—composed of Drew Heller (guitar), Justin Perkins (kora/kamelngoni), Luke Quaranta (percussion), Terrence Houston (drums), and Justin Kimmel (bass)—has limited themselves to primarily festival appearances during their extended hiatus that ran from 2015 through 2016, making this tour a particularly exciting one for fans of the band.This upcoming fall tour is in promotion of the group’s fourth album, which is due out early next year. Before its release, Toubab Krewe will perform sixteen dates across mid-August through mid-November, including two Utopia Fest pre-parties in Texas, a stop at New Orleans’ Blue Nile (following their rare club performance during this year’s Jazzfest), and performance at the Brooklyn Bowl, to name a few. You can check out Toubab Krewe’s full plans for this fall below, or check out their website here for more information!last_img read more

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L4LM Staff Picks: Our Favorite Bust Outs Of 2017

first_imgAs the year comes to a close, it’s time to look back at the wild ride and whirlwind that was 2017. For this series of Live For Live Music staff picks, we’ll be reliving many of the glorious musical moments from the past year. We’ve already taken a look at a select few of the awesome jams that went down this year, and today, we’re revisiting our staff’s favorite bust outs of 2017. Enjoy!L4LM Staff Picks: Our Favorite Jams Of 2017String Cheese Incident | “Parker’s Blues” | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 7/22/2017During the String Cheese Incident’s three-night Red Rocks run over the summer, the group wowed the audience during their Saturday night show when they busted out “Parker’s Blues” after thirteen years. The tune hadn’t seen airtime since 2004, during the band’s first of two encores (the latter featured Taj Mahal on “She Caught The Katy”) at Uptown Theatre in Kansas City, Missouri. Read more about the opening night of String Cheese Incident’s Red Rocks run here.[Video: SoaP]Widespread Panic | “Don’t Tell The Band” | Park Theater | Las Vegas, NV | 10/29/2017During the final night of Widespread Panic’s Halloween run this year on October 29th at the Park Theater in Las Vegas, Nevada, the band busted out “Don’t Tell The Band” for the first time since June 25th, 2002, making for a gap of over one thousand shows. It was a particularly poignant moment during the show, as the title track from the band’s 2001 album hadn’t been played since founding member Mikey Houser’s days with the band before his death in August of 2002. You can read more about the last night of Widespread Panic’s Halloween run here.[Video: Steve Kiefer]Umphrey’s McGee | “Pooh Doggie” | Brooklyn Bowl | New York, NY | 10/22/2017Umphrey’s McGee capped off their three-night New York run this fall with a more intimate show at Brooklyn Bowl in New York City following two fiery shows at The Capitol Theatre. In honor of Dan Delaney, a hardcore Umphrey’s fan who was celebrating his 400th show, the group played the ultra-rarity “Pooh Doggie”—a song last played on November 10th, 2006 in Dallas, Texas, marking a gap of 1180 shows—to close out the first set. Read more about this stellar bust out during Umphrey’s Brooklyn Bowl show here. The Disco Biscuits | “Solstice” | Montage Mountain Performing Arts Center | Scranton, PA | 7/14/17During The Disco Biscuits’ annual music festival Camp Bisco this year, the group treated attendees to a rendition of “Solstice” to kick off their second set on Friday. Considering how diverse Camp Bisco’s lineup has become over the years and its status as one of the premier EDM festivals of the summer (meaning it draws a considerably younger crowd increasingly), the song was an awesome treat for more longtime fans in the audience, as the song hadn’t been played since May 20th, 2007, making for a gap of 492 shows. You can check a recap of the Disco Biscuits’ first two days at Camp Bisco 2017 here.[Video: The Disco Biscuits]Phish | “Izabella” | Madison Square Garden | New York, NY | 8/6/2017On the final night of Phish’s epic thirteen-night Baker’s Dozen run at Madison Square Garden, the group surprised fans everywhere when they busted out their cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “Izabella”—a tune they had last performed on July 31st, 1998, or a 574-show gap—to close out set one of the night. Everyone will agree that the energy on this final night was electric, and when this song started, absolutly everyone went crazy. You can listen to a clip of the song below, or listen to it in its entirety here. Relive the magic of the “Glazed” night thirteen of Baker’s Dozen here.last_img read more

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Marco Benevento Shares Free Download Of Late-Night NOLA Set

first_imgIt’s been a few weeks since New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and we’re still wrapping our head around the magic that occurred throughout the city during all hours of the day and night. Marco Benevento especially had a powerful presence in the city during the two-week marathon, with multiple shows with Joe Russo’s Almost Dead as well as his solo band–which features Karina Rykman on bass and Andy Borger on drums.On Thursday night / Friday morning of the second weekend, Marco Benevento played a show with his band at the legendary Tipitina’s that started after 2:00 in the morning. That set was recorded live, and Marco himself mixed and multi-tracked the tape for fans to download for free. You can cop your own free download here via Royal Potato Family.Setlist: Marco Benevento | Tipitina’s | New Orleans, LA | 5/4/18The Story of Fred Short (Suite), Greenpoint, Heartbeats, Pepper, Dropkick, Coyote Hearing, RISD, Woah!!!, You Don’t Know How It Feels, Bus Ride, At The ShowUpcoming Marco Benevento Dates:May 19 – Miami, FL – Rhythm Foundation BenefitMay 25 – Chillicothe, IL – Summer CampJune 1 – Weston, MI – Camp GreenskyJune 14 – Baltimore, MD – 8×10June 15 – Hammonton, NJ – BeardfestJuly 14 – Greenfield, MA – Green River FestivalSeptember 8 – Austin, TX – Waterloo Music FestivalSeptember 14 – Telluride CO – Telluride Blues & Brews FestivalSeptember 15 – Denver, CO – Cervante’s Other Sidelast_img read more

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John Mayer Will Be So Busy Collaborating At LOCKN’, He Might Not Even Bring A Guitar Case [Listen]

first_imgThis coming weekend, LOCKN’ will return to Arrington, VA, for its sixth-annual festival. As always, the 2018 edition of LOCKN’ will bring together some of the most exciting acts in the extended jam band scene for a weekend of special performances and collaborations. Leading the way this year is Dead & Company, the modern Grateful Dead spinoff featuring Bob Weir, Bill Kreutzmann, Mickey Hart, Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti, and John Mayer. The band is scheduled for four sets at LOCKN’ this weekend—their last performances of 2018—including one collaborative set with jazz saxophonist and ongoing GD guest performer Branford Marsalis.However, according to a conversation with SiriusXM‘s Tales From The Golden Road on Sunday evening, Mayer has a feeling his busy LOCKN’ schedule will not be confined to Dead & Co’s scheduled sets. As the guitarist explained, “I am looking forward to LOCKN’. There’s a lot of bands that I want to go see. My guitar will not be in its case very much, while that festival is going on.”He elaborated, “If I go to LOCKN’ and stay in my hotel room the whole time, pardon my French, but I’m just a dick…I don’t even know that I’ll have a guitar case with me while I’m there. I want to go play as much as I can.”Mayer will have a long list of potential collaborators to play with when he arrives in Arrington this week. In addition to Dead & Company, the festival will feature two sets of Tedeschi Trucks Band, three sets of Umphrey’s McGee (including one Led Zeppelin set with help from Jason Bonham), three sets of Lettuce (including a special tribute to Jerry Garcia Band with Eric Krasno), Widespread Panic (with help from Margo Price), George Clinton & P-Funk, Toots & The Maytals, Turkuaz, Band of Changes, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Foundation of Funk, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Keller & The Keels, Sheryl Crow, Blues Traveler, and many more.For a full list of scheduled sets at LOCKN’ 2018, or to grab your passes now, head to the festival website.[H/T Relix]last_img read more

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Bob Weir And Wolf Bros Welcome Mikaela Davis For Neil Young Cover [Full Show Audio/Video]

first_imgBob Weir And Wolf Bros continued their debut North American tour in Syracuse on Thursday night in the new band’s ongoing quest to create fresh identities for the Grateful Dead live catalog. Weir, along with drummer Jay Lane and bassist Don Was filled their 18-song performance at the Landmark Theatre on Thursday with plenty of Dead favorites like “Jack Straw”and “Loose Lucy”, in addition to a mix of covers like their spin of Neil Young‘s “Down by the River” to open their two-song encore with help from local 26-year-old harpist Mikaela Davis.Footage of the band playing the rock song from Young’s 1969 Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere album on Thursday night can be watched below. Viewers can immediately pick up on Davis’ presence on stage, as the notes from her harp clearly flutter throughout the venue atop the band’s rhythm section to heavy audience applause. Davis even takes the lead on vocals as the song’s first verse begins at the 0:35 mark. Weir can be seen and heard stepping up to join Davis during the song’s anthemic chorus, which is followed by a wonderfully rich harp solo adventurous enough for any passionate Dead fan.The band’s rendition of “Down by the River” wasn’t the audience’s first introduction to Davis last night. The musician from Rochester also joined in to play with the trio at the end of the first set to sit in on covering Jerry Garcia‘s “Bird Song”, and returning in the second half of the show to help play on “Wharf Rat” (also see below) followed by early Dead favorites “China Cat Sunflower” > “I Know You Rider”. She also stayed on stage following the Neil Young cover to close the show with a cover of the Garcia’s beloved folk ballad “Ripple”.The band also sprinkled in a few other tasteful covers into the night’s set including Bob Dylan‘s “All Along the Watchtower” and The Temptations‘ Standing on Shaky Ground”.Bob Weir and Wolf Bros – 11/8/18 [Audio: binto37]Bob Weir And Wolf Bros with Mikaela Davis – “Down by the River” [Neil Young Cover][Video: nochevys]Bob Weir And Wolf Bros with Mikaela Davis – “Wharf Rat”[Video: nochevys]Weir and his Wolf Bros comrades continue their fall trek this weekend with a two-night run at the famous Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York on Friday and Saturday. Fans should expect the band to possibly continue their tour tradition of welcoming a special guest to join them for at least one of the nights, as they’ve already jammed with artists like Jane’s Addiction’s Perry Farrell, Margo Price and John Oates so far on this tour.Setlist: Bob Weir and Wolf Bros | Landmark Theatre | Syracuse, New York | 11/8/18 Set One: Jack Straw, Gonesville, Me And My Uncle, Peggy-O, Deep Elem Blues, Althea, Loose Lucy, Bird Song(with Mikaela Davis)Set Two: Easy To Slip, Two Djin, All Along The Watchtower, The Music Never Stopped > Shakey Ground, Wharf Rat (with Mikaela Davis) > China Cat Sunflower (with Mikaela Davis) > I Know You Rider (with Mikaela Davis)Encore: Down By The River(with Mikaela Davis), Ripple (with Mikaela Davis)[H/T JamBuzz]last_img read more

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Umphrey’s McGee Releases “Push & Pull” Video From New SiriusXM ‘Jam Files’ Session [Watch]

first_imgUmphrey’s McGee recently stopped by SiriusXM‘s Jam On for a special in-studio performance, which premiered on Monday as part of the satellite radio station’s Jam Files sessions.On the heels of sharing video of “In The Kitchen”, Umphrey’s McGee has shared another video from their Jam Files session with “Push & Pull”. Written by guitarist Brendan Bayliss, the song was released on Umphrey’s 2018 it’s you album, a follow-up to the band’s it’s not us.  Both albums were released last year coinciding with the band’s 20th anniversary. Since debuting the song live at Summer Camp Music Festival last May, the band has only unleashed “Push & Pull” live eight times since.Watch video of Umphrey’s McGee performing “Push & Pull” from their Jam Files episode below:Umphrey’s McGee – “Push & Pull”[Video: SiriusXM]Hosted by Ari Fink during the band’s recent three-night New York City run, Umphrey’s Jam Files episode will continue to air at the following times on Sirius XM’s Jam On (channel 29) throughout the week:Saturday, March 9th, at 9:00 a.m. (EST)Sunday, March 10th, at 3:00 p.m. (EST)Head to Umphrey’s McGee’s website for a full list of their upcoming tour dates and ticketing information.last_img read more

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Forward into the past

first_img A whale of a time Full-size whale skeletons hang from the ceiling of the renovated Hall of Mammals inside Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ). Touchy feely Omura and Hoekstra examine pelts that, as “type specimens,” help define the species for science. Box of bones These deer mouse bones were collected by Hoekstra, who is studying the impact of natural selection on deer mice fur color. Mammal people Hopi Hoekstra, Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences and curator of mammology, and Mark Omura, curatorial assistant, talk amidst the MCZ’s mammal collection. Self-portrait, with antlers Suspended antlers frame Omura inside another of the MCZ’s unique collections. Hall of Mammals Inside the Hall of Mammals, animal skeletons live alongside their furred, lifelike companions. In the eye of the giraffe In the “attic,” Hoekstra uncovers a giraffe whose neck is as tall as she. MCZ celebrates 150 years Animal applause With an animal audience behind him, Omura discusses specimens in the MCZ’s mammal collection. center_img Toys in the attic Omura walks among treasures stored in the MCZ’s “attic.” At Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ), there’s a New Guinea butterfly whose collector was himself captured and eaten by cannibals. There’s a 150-million-year-old kronosaurus, whose toothy skeleton covers an entire exhibit wall. There’s a now-extinct black mamo, a bird with a long curved beak caught on explorer James Cook’s 1778 voyage to Hawaii, which he “discovered” for Europeans.The now-extinct species in the museum’s display cases, drawers, and cabinets include a dodo and a great auk, a passenger pigeon and ivory-billed woodpeckers, a Steller’s sea cow and a Tasmanian tiger. There are many thousands of present-day creatures too, including giant whales, giraffes, and gorillas.The museum, which marks its 150th anniversary this year, is full of musty, dusty specimens, about 21 million and counting.But if you thought the MCZ is frozen in time, you’d be dead wrong. The digital and the DNA revolutions have arrived in full force, and the museum is roaring headlong into the Internet age.Museum staff members already have loaded almost 700,000 digital records onto the Web, where they are accessible to researchers and students alike, and officials hope to complete the process within five years. DNA testing, which was unknown when many of the specimens were gathered decades ago, has become a master key in tracing animals’ lineage and evolution. Even the oldest samples generally yield telltale DNA.In short, the museum is stuffed full of specimens, from basement to attic — where a blue whale resides — but it has never been about the specimens, as such. It was, and is, about the knowledge that they contain. A whale of a time Full-size whale skeletons hang from the ceiling of the renovated Hall of Mammals inside Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology (MCZ). Gorillas in the mist Against a pitch background, this gorilla skull can really shine. Brown panther Skin and fur, claws and whiskers of a panther — one of the MCZ’s valued “type specimens.” Photos by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer The beetles, bats, and other beasts sitting in drawers, cabinets, and display cases constitute both a vast library of life and a scientific time machine. They tell scientists who are savvy enough to ask not just the details of a specific bird or lizard or snail, but about where it lived and when.In this anniversary year, the MCZ is allowing itself a reprieve from the frenetic pace of collecting, educating, and researching to remember its past. Yet in examining the intent of its founder, Louis Agassiz, it also finds itself looking at its future.MCZ Director James Hanken said Agassiz’s vision of the museum as a place for education and research on the origin, history, and diversity of life endures today. And though the traditional collections remain, that search for knowledge is executed increasingly through modern methods. There are several major drives under way to digitize the museum’s collections, beginning with the so-called metadata, the written details accompanying a specimen, where it was collected, when, and by whom.Other information is being added as it becomes available, such as digital images, X-rays, and field notes. The digitized, online database for the ichthyology collection, for example, shows 23 specimens of piranha, the famed flesh-eating fish that haunts South American waterways. The records show where, when, and by whom the fish were collected, and that two species, despite the piranha’s fearsome reputation, are fruit eaters.Examining specimens with a mouse clickAnother effort, begun last summer, raises the bar on the type of information available to far-flung scholars over the Internet. A program called Aves 3D uses advanced laser scanners to create three-dimensional digital images of the museum’s 12,000 bird skeletons, which include such gems as a complete skeleton of the extinct dodo. The effort will result in an online database available to scholars and schoolchildren alike that will allow those interested not only to see the bird bones, but to measure and manipulate them in three dimensions.Hanken reeled off a list of other digitization efforts, among them HerpNet for reptiles and amphibians, FishNet for fish, ORNIS for birds, and MaNIS for mammals. There are others, each with a different wrinkle in the nature and type of information available.Hanken said the museum’s digital strides have already resulted in increases in the number of scholars using the collections and decreases in the number of requests for in-person visits or for specimens to be mailed to researchers’ home institutions. That has the twin benefit, Hanken said, of increasing the collection’s usefulness while decreasing wear and tear on the specimens.“We’re basically going to digitize everything associated with the specimens. Anyone, anywhere can pull up information anytime for free,” Hanken said. “We’re sitting on a gold mine of information. The trick is to get this stuff out there. Many scientists don’t know what we have.”The digitization effort across the MCZ has already generated 687,210 records, encompassing more than a million specimens. Though funding may prove a limiting factor, Hanken said he expects the process to be completed in the next five years.Then there are the myriad cutting-edge uses for DNA, that revelatory foundation of modern science, which is in every MCZ specimen. It is held in death as it was in life, in tissues preserved in various ways, soaked in alcohol, dried, or held in feathers or fur.In recent years, investigating a creature’s DNA has become as important as measuring its beak size or skull dimensions in science’s efforts to understand a creature and how it interacts with its environment. Hanken and the MCZ’s faculty curators say that the rising prominence of DNA in scientific inquiry has made the museum’s specimens more relevant, not less.Hopi Hoekstra, the MCZ’s curator of mammals and Loeb Associate Professor of the Natural Sciences, said that for virtually every mammal specimen collected a bit of tissue is also taken and held frozen as a DNA specimen. That practice is true for other collections as well, Hanken said, and the museum plans to create a holding area for deep-frozen tissues as part of a centralized collection.“People routinely collect materials for genetic analysis,” Hanken said. “It’ll hold hundreds of thousands of specimens.”While tissues collected specifically for DNA analysis are valuable, Hoekstra said one strength of the MCZ collections is that for many specimens, even the older ones, usable DNA can still be extracted.Hoekstra’s own research, which has added 3,000 specimens to the mammal collection in the past two years, examines natural selection’s impact on the coat color of deer mice.“A lot of our work depends on collections from 100 years ago, so we can compare temporally,” Hoekstra said. “We can … get DNA out of ancient specimens. We can look not only at differences in color but also at genetic change through time. Some older specimens have been skinned, dried, and dipped in benzene, and we can still get useful DNA out of them.”Hoekstra and Hanken said that with an extinction crisis under way amid a warming world, museum collections are more important than ever in helping to unravel the changes taking place.“If you think about global climate change, we can document changes in the ranges of animals. Things are being found in places they never have before and are lost in places where they once were,” Hoekstra said.So much for the idea that the museum is a musty home for stuffed animals.A collection born amid controversyThe MCZ was founded in 1859 by famed Swiss scientist Louis Agassiz, who was known for discovering the Ice Ages. Agassiz came to Harvard intent on starting a museum that would rival the great institutions of Europe. Today, however, Agassiz is as much remembered for being on the wrong side of the evolution debate as he is for his work at the MCZ or for his earlier scientific findings.His efforts not only established an enduring scientific institution, but also drove collecting efforts that enriched it. One expedition to the Amazon, during which Agassiz hoped to find evidence against Charles Darwin’s theories of evolution, gathered specimens representing 2,200 species, an astounding 2,000 of which were new to science.Agassiz’s son, Alexander, furthered his father’s efforts. He became the museum’s second and longest-serving director and used his great personal wealth to bring his father’s museum vision to fruition.There have been nine directors since the museum’s founding, including prominent scientists such as evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr, who led the institution from 1961 to 1970. In addition to the museum’s directors, research is conducted by faculty curators of 12 departments and the Concord Field Station, covering subjects and collections from entomology to vertebrate paleontology. These curators also hold appointments in Harvard’s Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.Presenting a popular public faceThough research and teaching are the MCZ’s main reasons for being, its public galleries have been an important component of its educational mission since its founding.In 1998, the MCZ joined with two other Harvard institutions, the Harvard University Herbaria, owner of the famed Glass Flowers collection, and the Mineralogical and Geological Museum to form the Harvard Museum of Natural History (HMNH). The HMNH manages the three institutions’ public programs, employing museum professionals who collaborate with curators to design exhibits, arrange lectures, and put together weekend classes and workshops.The galleries represent a mix of historical and modern museum sensibilities. New exhibits on color in nature; on the broad array of insects, crustaceans, and other arthropods; and on evolution employ the latest in museum-presentation techniques, with eye-catching, interactive displays, explanatory placards, and sometimes dazzling arrangements of specimens.But the museum also contains galleries as Agassiz intended them. Agassiz was widely praised after the MCZ’s opening for his arrangement of specimens according to geographic location, something that was not done at other museums and that allowed visitors to gain a better understanding of the natural context in which creatures were found. To this day, several galleries remain organized according to those guidelines, presenting animals from Africa, South America, and other locations.To celebrate its anniversary, the museum renovated one of its gems, the Great Hall of Mammals. The two-story room, surrounded by a gallery level holding more exhibits, is the last survivor of the original halls that filled the museum building when it opened. The others became victims to the space squeeze that has been a constant at the museum, their galleries floored over, and their space divided up to other purposes.Soaring and bright, the Mammal Hall now holds a full-sized giraffe, camels, and other large mammals enclosed in glass cases, presented today as they were when the museum opened. Hanging from the rafters — at eye level from the gallery — are large skeletons of a sperm whale, a fin whale, and a right whale. The renovation saw the floors refinished, the walls painted, and the exhibits cleaned and rearranged, but the effort kept the hall true to its original grandeur.“The idea was to very much retain its Victorian look. That’s one of the [unique] things of this museum, it’s a museum of museums,” Hoekstra said.Harvard’s “museum of museums” is alive and well, at least from the visitors’ standpoint, with their numbers increasing, approaching 200,000 last year.“We’re one of the University’s best ‘front doors,’ ” Hanken said.Hanken believes that the museum’s most valuable collections are its holotypes, the first members of a species to be collected and named. These sample specimens are taken and kept in museums as examples of new species, providing critical reference points for future biologists working on them. The MCZ, Hanken said, has tens of thousands of type specimens, including the gorilla, the wolf, the Florida panther, and the fox.With aging specimens providing massive amounts of fresh knowledge, at the MCZ, the past is prologue.last_img read more

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A maestro and a wordsmith

first_imgThis is one in a series of profiles showcasing some of Harvard’s stellar graduates.It’s often been said that the Harvard undergraduate experience is what one makes of it. Senior Matt Aucoin took that message to heart. He leaves campus having immersed himself in Harvard’s rich worlds of poetry and music, with a degree in English, a passion for writing and composing, and a future destined for The New Yorker, or the conductor’s podium, or both.A resident of Kirkland House, Aucoin was poetry editor of the literary journal The Harvard Advocate. His thesis, a collection of poetry titled “Aftermusic,” recently won a Thomas T. Hoopes Prize for outstanding scholarly work or research. In 2009, he received several coaching sessions with classical music legend James Levine, and he used a 2010 Artist Development Fellowship from Harvard’s Office for the Arts to study at the famed opera house La Scala in Milan. He also is the recipient of the 2012 Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts, which recognizes outstanding artistic talent.Aucoin’s mother is musical, his father is a writer, and there were always hundreds of books, and plenty of scores lying around the house. But his parents, he said, “never forced me into anything.”He was smitten with music the moment he banged on the keys of his grandparents battered, out-of-tune, upright piano at age 6. Soon, a composer was born.With composition, said Aucoin, “The thoughts aren’t always clear. It’s a kind of need. And for me, that need was awoken by Beethoven.” He recalled wandering his backyard after hearing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony and wondering, “How could something this good have been created?”He composed his first piece, “a twangy sort of Americana thing,” shortly after, and soon fell in love with opera’s fusion of words and song, completing his first libretto and score at age 9. Years of intense study of the piano followed, but by the time he was a teenager he suffered “a crisis of faith” in classical music. He retreated, playing the keyboard with his indie-rock band Elephantom and studying jazz. The break reinvigorated his love of the classical canon and inspired him to look beyond the conservatory to a place where he could chart his own musical path.“It seemed I could make my own musical life [at Harvard] in a way I couldn’t anywhere else. I really loved that independent spirit,” he told the Gazette in February.While at Harvard, Aucoin blazed his own artistic trail. He wrote and directed two operas, including “Hart Crane,” based on the troubled American poet, which premiered at the Loeb Drama Center in April. He also coached and accompanied countless Harvard singers, and served as music director for the Dunster House Opera Society and as assistant conductor for the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra (HRO).“I think he is an unstoppable force of nature … beyond talented and gifted,” said HRO Director Federico Cortese. “He is a hypersensitive poet with amazing abilities and a voracious taste for music.”A classmate and fellow musician called Aucoin “the kind of person that really makes you glad you went to Harvard.”Aucoin said his introduction to poetry came later because “as a really young kid you are open to music in a way you are not open to nuances of language quite yet. To understand poetry, words need to have accumulated multiple shades of meaning for you.” He credits the creative energy of his peers at The Harvard Advocate and of his mentor, Boylston Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory Jorie Graham, for helping him to develop a “personal language in which you find your own rules.”Aucoin arrived for a recent morning interview with a mop of curly wet hair, en route to observe a rehearsal at the Boston Symphony Orchestra for the remainder of the day. This fall he will work at the Metropolitan Opera, study composition at the Juilliard School, and direct the new orchestra/opera company at the Peabody Essex Museum.It’s hard to imagine Aucoin, whose face doesn’t hold even the promise of a wrinkle, leading professional musicians, many of whom have been performing longer than he has been alive. But he sees the job as inspiring confidence in players and performers regardless of their age.“I think of it as being a lightning rod, not the hand of Zeus,” he said. “You have to be able to give an intensity back to the orchestra.”If his Harvard career is any indication, Aucoin will have intensity to spare.last_img read more

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Former MIT president to serve as visiting professor at Harvard Kennedy School

first_img Read Full Story Susan Hockfield, who served as the 16th president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been named the Marie Curie Visiting Professor at Harvard Kennedy School,  Dean David T. Ellwood announced Sept. 7.Hockfield is a distinguished life scientist who has focused much of her research on the development of the brain and on glioma, a deadly form of brain cancer. She joined the faculty of Yale University in 1985 after serving on the scientific staff at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. From December 2004 through June 2012, Hockfield served as the first female president of MIT, where she continues to hold a faculty appointment as professor of neuroscience.“I have long admired Susan Hockfield’s passion and dedication as a research scientist, university leader and national policy advocate,” said Ellwood. “Hers is a track record of remarkable distinction, and we are thrilled to welcome President Hockfield to the Kennedy School.”At the Kennedy School, Hockfield will be affiliated with the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, where she plans to continue her work on behalf of sound policies and practices for sustainable energy and a resurgence in American manufacturing.  She also plans to explore neural foundations of community and leadership.last_img read more

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