january 2008 programmes

  

wednesday 2nd january
6.30 pm ‘
The Influence of India in Contemporary American Art’ – an illustrated talk by Kathryn Myers

thursday 3rd january
Dialogues of Faith Series  at The India International Centre

6.30 pm ‘Songs of Connectivity as the Imagined Histories of the Sacred Word’ – by Madan Gopal Singh

 friday 4th to sunday 6th january 
Comic Book Workshops conducted by Parismita Singh and Sarnath Banerjee 

thursday 10th january
7.00 pm Readings from Mark Twain’s The Diary of Adam & Eve by The First City theatre group

 monday 14th january
6.30 pm  ‘Stravinsky’ a talk (with music) by Punita Singh

wednesday 16th january
6.30 pm ‘Sustainable Livelihoods in Tasar Silk- Pradan’s Experience’

thursday 17th january
Dialogues of Faith Series  at The India International Centre

6.30 pm ‘The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha – The Three Jewels of Buddhism’ a talk by Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche 

friday 18th january

2.30 to 7.00 p.m. An introduction to 'The Gurdjieff Work' – an interactive workshop conducted by Ravi Ravindra & others  

 

wednesday 23rd january
7.00 pm
Extracts from two engaging, bold and coincidentally coloured plays David Hare’s THE BLUE ROOM & Joe Penhall’s BLUE/ORANGE by The First City theatre group

 

sunday 27th january
6.00 pm
4th Open Baithak presents Bob Holman



 

 

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wednesday 2nd january
6.30 pm ‘
The Influence of India in Contemporary American Art’ – an illustrated talk by Kathryn Myers
 

Kathryn Myers will speak about the significant influence that Indian art, culture, philosophy and religion has had on contemporary American art and the complex nature of artistic interactions between East and West. 

Through a variety of types of art including painting, printmaking, sculpture and installation she will show how a range of Indian influences, from ancient philosophical and ritual concepts and processes, to the materials and methods used in various types of art including traditional, ritual and popular, interact, intersect, and overlay with the work  of American artists grounded in western art forms and traditions as well as their own  individual cultural or religious backgrounds.

 
She will present the work of a range of artists including those who have  
 had long relationships with India as well as those who have created a more limited or specific body of work based on travel or research.  

Kathryn Myers is a painter and professor of studio art at the University of Connecticut. She had a Fulbright to India in 2002 and in 2004 organized a major exhibition of Indian art titled; “Masala; Diversity and Democracy in South Asian Art” at the William Benton Museum of Art at the University of Connecticut.

 

                                                             Dialogues of Faith

This series of 8 talks and 4 performances is meant to highlight the syncretic nature of India’s religious and musical traditions.   They will show that there are no absolutist distinctions in the mélange of ideas, concepts and teachings that form our religions, music and art. That India has the unique distinction in its tolerance and diversity where there is no ‘other’ , where the concepts of nirvana, ahimsa, martyrdom, asceticism, moksha, charity and  shariat exist side by side, where gurbani, choir, sufi and bhajan music are all part of a common heritage.

 This series is organized jointly by The Attic and The India International Centre.

 

thursday 3rd january
Dialogues of Faith Series  at The India International Centre
 

6.30 pm ‘Songs of Connectivity as the Imagined Histories of the Sacred Word’ – by Madan Gopal Singh 

From the time of Guru Nanak the first Sikh Guru , ‘Gurbani’, ‘the sacred word’ has been spread through hymns and kirtans, at first by his companions Bala (a Hindu) and Mardana (a Muslim) and later by the ‘Sangats’ that grew around the 10 Gurus. The chanting of these ‘Shabads’ (Hymns)and those of about 15 Hindu and Muslim saints ( Kabir, Ravi Das, Naam Dev, and Sheikh Farid ) are incorporated in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikhs. 

The Shabads are arranged in 31 main Ragas of Hindustani Classical music. They are written in various meters and rhythms and were originally in many different languages Braj, Old Punjabi, Khariboli, Sanskrit and Persian.  Both the religious and non religious music of the Punjab also has a strong Sufi influence. In terms of content and basic musical form the kafi and the shabad are very similar. 

Madan Gopal has traveled to ancient Sufi towns in Iran and Turkey. He talks this evening about the imagined histories of the sacred word and sings the Sufi music which connects all of Punjab into one cultural community, particularly the legendary love story ‘Heer Ranjha’. 

Madan Gopal Singh is a composer, actor, screenwriter lyricist and editor. He has written and lectured extensively on cinema, art and cultural history. He co-wrote the screenplay, dialogues and lyrics for the film ‘Name of a River’, composed the music for the documentary film ‘Paradise on a River of Hell’ and for the film ‘Khamosh Pani”. He was a Presenter – Performer at the Smithsonian Folklife festival 2002 and performed at the 2nd Sufi Soul World Music Festival. He teaches English Literature at Satyawati College in Delhi.   

friday 4th to sunday 6th january 
 
Comic Book Workshops conducted by Parismita Singh and Sarnath Banerjee

Comic Book WorkshopsSarai-CSDS and the French Information and Resource Center (FIRC) are collaborating on a series of events to popularize and promote a wider dissemination of comic books, graphic novels and graphic literature.

France has a rich history of comic book practice and has been a focal point in the emergence of the new genre in the comic form – the Graphic Novel.
Sarnath Banerjee is India's most recognized comic book author .His  graphic novels ('Corridors', [1994] and `The Barn Owl's Wondrous  Capers',[2006] ) have been  critically acclaimed and significant in promoting a comic book culture in India.
Parismita Singh's first graphic novel is soon to be published by Penguin.

Registration required. Contact
Marielle Morin,
Director, French Information Resource Centre
2 Aurangzeb Road, New Delhi 110011
(
director@fircdel.com)
     OR
Amitabh Kumar,
Sarai-CSDS
29 Rajpur Road,
Civil Lines, Delhi -110054(
amitabh@sarai.net
)

 

thursday 10th january
7.00 pm Readings from Mark Twain’s The Diary of Adam & Eve by The First City theatre group

                                         "The new creature says its name is Eve. That is all right, I have no objections. I said it was superfluous then. The word evidently raised me in its respect; and indeed it is a large, good word and will bear repetition. It says it is not an IT, it is a SHE. This is probably
doubtful ..."
The story of Creation is one of the best known of all time, yet little is ever made of the experiences of the first man and woman in that Edenic garden, save for their fateful beguilement by the serpent. In THE DIARY OF ADAM AND EVE, master storyteller Mark Twain hilariously recreates those very first days, and reveals that the garden was by no means free of the gender battle that has inspired so many later writings. His Adam is something of a recluse, a man who enjoys his own company, and was ill prepared for the arrival of Eve, a talkative, emotional and highly-charged female. In time, and after many humorous moments of conflict, they gradually learn to live together ...

  
THE DIARY OF ADAM AND EVE is an ingenious, witty and ultimately delightful retelling of the dawn of human creation with many a grain of truth for today's gender disputes. The First City Theatre Foundation presents a selection of entries from the diaries and also from Mark Twain's additional Adamic tales. The readings will be
punctuated by three short sketches that will preview the Foundation's production POSITIONS #2 - to be performed at the Alliance Francaise auditorium in February.

  

monday 14th january
 6.30 pm  ‘Stravinsky’ a talk (with music) by Punita Singh
 

“A musical revolutionary whose own evolution never stopped” says Philip Glass of Igor Stravinsky, the iconic composer of the twentieth century, whose music for the ballet “Rite of Spring” created an unparalleled scandal at its premiere in Paris in 1913.  The pounding irregular rhythms, discordant chords and primitive brutality of the music led to a riot in the theatre and brought in modern era with a literal bang.
Other collaborations with Serge Diaghilev, Nijinsky and the Ballets Russes produced masterpieces such as “The Firebird” and “Petrushka” replete with innovative use of syncopated

CORCORAN GALLERY OF ART, HO/AP PHOTO
  
rhythms and polytonal harmonies.  While influenced by his
Igor Stravinsky in 1946    
                  
Russian heritage, Parisian exposure and Austro-Germanic concepts of music, Stravinsky evolved his own unique style even as he experimented with virtually every genre of the time.  Sometimes called a cubist, primitivist, neoclassicist, expressionist, impressionist, even a “fauvist”, Stravinsky’s music defies being labeled and offers its own unique appeal that continues to intrigue and inspire subsequent generations of musicians and listeners.

In this talk, Dr Punita Singh will introduce the music of Stravinsky, highlighting some of the major landmarks of his life and works.  Some of the musical concepts he experimented with will be illustrated and audio and video excerpts presented.  

Punita is a musicologist, linguist, psychoacoustician, editor and educator based in New Delhi. Special areas of interest and expertise include Christian sacred music, music of the Renaissance, twentieth-century music, Flamenco, and contrastive aspects of Indian and Western classical music.

wednesday 16th january
6.30 pm ‘Sustainable Livelihoods in Tasar Silk- Pradan’s Experience’ 

There are more than a million people living in the tribal heartlands of the central and eastern Indian plateaus. Tasar sericulture is one of the most preferred livelihood options for the poor families in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Eastern Maharashtra, Orissa, West Bengal and Jharkhand.

Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN) a national level NGO has created a sustainable livelihood model for rural poor women in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. The business is silk yarn making and the activity is seeded in villages with the help of government and funds from other philanthropic bodies. The day to day operations are now sustainable and are a source of wage opportunity for over 1800 women. 

Khitish Kumar Pandya is one of the new breed of young men and women who are devoting their lives to the uplift of those less fortunate then themselves. He is an MBA from Xavier Institute of Management, Bhubaneswar and has been working with PRADAN as anchor of its Tasar marketing.

He talks this evening about his work in the tribal areas and the successful collaboration between The Union Ministry of Rural Development, Central Silk Board and PRADAN in enabling over 10,000 families below the poverty line gain robust livelihoods in tasar sericulture.

 thursday 17th january
Dialogues of Faith Series  at The India International Centre 

6.30 pm ‘The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha – The Three Jewels of Buddhism’ a talk by Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche

The ‘Three Jewels’ are the foundation of all Buddhist practice. Buddha the 'awakened one’, one who has attained enlightenment is the First Jewel. The path of awakening – ‘The Dharma’ is the Second Jewel. The followers of the Buddha’s teachings who have recognized the Four Noble Truths are ‘The Sangha’, The Third Jewel.  

Buddhism with its early roots in India and its subsequent development as it spread to other countries particularly Tibet will be examined with an emphasis on the Buddha’s spiritual journey with its parallels that can be seen reflected in the lives of the Tibetan refugee community in exile. With the invasion of Tibet in the 1950’s  and the departure of the great Buddhist masters for safe haven in India and eventually the west. The place of Buddhism in the world today will also be examined.   

Her Eminence Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche is the daughter of His Holiness Mindrolling Trichen, head of the Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, and one of the most renowned Tibetan lamas currently teaching in the west. Born into the Mindrolling lineage, which throughout its history has had many accomplished female masters, Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche was recognized at the age of two by His Holiness the 16th Karmapa as the re-incarnation of the Great Dakini of Tsurphu, Khandro Ugyen Tsomo, who was one of the most renowned female masters of her time. Thus, the present Khandro Rinpoche came to hold the lineages of both Nyingma and Kagyu schools. She has received teachings and transmissions from some of the most accomplished masters of the 20th century. 

Rinpoche has been teaching internationally for twelve years and teaches extensively in both Europe and North America. She has also established and heads the Samten Tse Retreat Centre in Mussoorie with students from East and West living together in spiritual community. She also founded Lotus Garden, a dharma center in Stanley, Virginia, USA. She is the author of This Precious Life: Tibetan Buddhist Teachings on the Path to Enlightenment. 

friday 18th january

2.30 to 7.00 p.m. An introduction to 'The Gurdjieff Work' – an interactive workshop conducted by Ravi Ravindra & others

 

The teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff are based on the esoteric wisdom expressed and the truth found in ancient religions and spiritual teachings. These, specially the self-awareness in one's daily life and humanity's place in the universe were adapted by Gurdjieff for contemporary sensitivities and needs. The aim of the work is the conscious evolution and transformation of human beings.

 

Dr. Ravi Ravindra has worked directly with Madame Jeanne de Salzmann, the closest pupil of Gurdjieff. He is associated with the Gurdjieff Foundation of New York through Gurdjieff Society of Atlantic Canada.
 

This workshop is organized by the Gurdjieff Foundation of India ( www.gurdjieffindia.in)

For registrations, contact:
Subhash Khandelwal
9810012665
F & F Tower, Plot No. 42, Sector 32,
Institutional Area, Gurgaon.

Registration Charges Rs 1000/-

wednesday 23rd january

7.00 pm Extracts from two engaging, bold and coincidentally coloured plays David Hare’s THE BLUE ROOM & Joe Penhall’s BLUE/ORANGE by The First City theatre group

  “give me a kiss”

The Blue Room is based on Reigen, ‘‘round dance,’’ a series of vignettes  written by Dr. Arthur Schnitzler in 1896. It was set in  fin de siecle, Vienna and depicted a number of characters in a continuous chain of sexual liaisons. When the work was actually performed in Vienna in 1921, it was closed by police for its scandalous content. Actors in a Berlin production the same year were taken to court on obscenity charges. In Hare’s retelling (written for the stage and film director Sam Mendes), the story remains the same – ten characters fall in and out of bed with each other, never quite finding fulfillment but the setting is no longer Vienna. The backdrop for The Blue Room is described ambiguously as ‘‘one of the great cities of the world, in the present day.’’ And Hare’s version has only two actors performing all the parts. However, the play retains Schnitzler’s essential subject, which is the gulf between what we imagine, what we remember and what we actually experience. The Blue Room premiered in London in September 1998.

 “give me a cigarette, doc”

Blue/Orange, Joe Penhall’s first play for the Royal National Theatre is an incendiary tale about race, madness and a Darwinian power struggle at the heart of a dying National Health Service (NHS) in England. In a London psychiatric hospital, an enigmatic patient claims to be the son of an exiled African dictator. As the drama unfolds, his story becomes unnervingly possible … Charles Spencer of the Daily Telegraph writes, “Penhall belongs to the new wave of dramatists that has flooded British theatre with exciting work in recent years … He tackles tricky, interesting themes with a spare, laconic style that puts you in mind of a young Pinter … an impression of depth, undercurrents of unease beneath the surface of the dialogue.” Blue/Orange premiered in London in April 2000.

In the intermission between the two readings, the Foundation presents a short preview of its play Mouse, one half of a double-bill production that will go up at the Alliance Française on 5, 6 and 7 February 2008.

 

sunday 27th january

6.00 pm 4th Open Baithak presents Bob Holman

Outstanding poet and poetry activist, who was recently dubbed a member of the "Poetry Pantheon" by the New York Times Magazine. Holman has been a central figure in the slam, spoken word and performance poetry movements in the US and in the movement to bring poetry back into
people's daily lives. He was instrumental in the reopening of the legendary Nuyorican Poets Cafe and was the original slammaster there. He later founded the Bowery Poetry Club in New York, which has set a standard for making poetry accessible, and for bringing together established and emerging artists from various genres together. Holman founded a record label, produced pieces for PBS, and has written several books, most recently "A Couple of Ways of Doing Something" a collaboration with Chuck Close (Aperture). He is visiting Professor of Writing at Columbia University and NYU.

The evening will feature its usual Open Reading where poets perform their poetry and really give you something to listen to.
 
For questions contact Monica Mody at openbaithak@gmail.com or
www.openbaithak.wordpress.com

OPEN BAITHAK is a contemporary gathering of poets who want to perform and entertain. We name as our lineage mushairas, open mics, people's theatre, performance art, technology, storytelling and any other tradition that grabs our fancy.