Thursday, September 29, 2016

PSC Students Return to the Plum Creek Literacy Festival, September 2016

On Saturday, September 24, Gina Bitner and I--as we have done for the past two years--drove two vans filled with students to the Plum Creek Literacy Festival, where, among other internationally recognized illustrators, they got to meet Aaron Reynolds.

There, as the photographs suggest, the students enjoyed meeting authors and illustrators, and getting their autographs.  Thanks to a Student Enrichment grant, the students got to attend the festival and the banquet; they also got a couple children's books of their choice for their favorite folks to sign. 

I took special pleasure from talking briefly with Louis Sachar, author of the National Book Award- and Newbery Prize-winning novel Holes.

In addition, I bumped into a former student of the Mari Sandoz Young Writers' Workshop from quite a few years ago.  Melissa Pohl now teaches high school English. 

This year's guests included many of the top folks in the field of Children's Literature. I listened to presentations by a number of people including Peter Brown, Brian Floca, Aaron Reynolds, Louis Sachar, and singer-songwriter Emily Arrow.

To give you an idea of the fun our students experienced, give the following short videos a watch.

Emily Arrow Sings:

Louis Sacher talks about how his journey to become a writer:

And Aaron Reynolds is both crazy and brilliant:

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Beautiful Day on September 17 but a Bobcat Loss

What a beautiful day for a football game, and we enjoyed a busy afternoon in the press box where I enjoy helping keep statistics for the game, putting my birding binoculars to use. We all thought that the Bobcats would come out ahead late in the fourth quarter.

The game also featured the coaches' support for funding the fight against Muscular Dystrophy. And at halftime, the youngsters from the cheer camp performed with the PSC cheeleaders.

In addition, PSC athletes from Volleyball, Golf, Baseball, and Basketball received Heart of America awards for their athletic and academic success.

So, a full day at the Bobcat Bowl.

As always, I enjoy walking around with my camera before the game and at halftime. And as usual, you can find all the photographs from the day on my Flickr page. Download what you like.

Oh, and my Harvey Pekar doll appeared here and there.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Great Plains Chamber Winds At PSC

Tuesday evening at 5:30 in the Fine Arts Recital Hall, The Great Plains Chamber Winds entertained an appreciative but small audience for 90 minutes.
This concert marked the sixth time this exceptional group visited the college.

I posted photographs on Flickr from the evening and uploaded a couple videos for your further entertainment. 
I divided the two videos in a most unimaginative fashion:

Great Plains Chamber Winds PART ONE:


Great Plains Chamber Winds PART TWO:

Enjoy the music and the photographs, especially if you were unable to attend and listen to these talented people:  Larry Dietrich, Sue Hraban, Scott Ziegler, Linda Mannering, Marty Gardner, and Anne Sheedy Gardner.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Joyce Brabner Visits Peru State College

Peru State College and the Creative Writing Series presented Joyce Brabner on September 19 and 20.

Special thanks go to PSC graduates Sam Atkinson  and Dawn Plympton for moving me in this direction. In addition, miracle-worked Brenda Trail and VPAA Dr. Tim Borchers played important roles.

On Monday and Tuesday, September 19 and 20, award-winning comics writer and political activist Joyce Brabner visited Peru State College and gave four presentations on campus. I posted some photographs.

Married to American Splendor author Harvey Pekar for over twenty-five years, Joyce is a political cartoonist most recently recognized for her graphic novel Second Avenue Caper for which she earned a Lamda Award. 

This comic/graphic novel focuses on personal accounts of the AIDS epidemic in New York City during the 80s.

On Monday morning at 9:30, Joyce visited with my Comics as Literature Class in CATS 205. Her presentation focused on her life and work with Harvey, especially Our Cancer Year, a Harvey-Award Winner.. 

Joyce appeared regularly in American Splendor and collaborated with Pekar on Our Cancer Year, a moving and disturbing account of Pekar's second bout with lymphoma, the cancer that eventually led to his death in 2010.

Focusing on Second Avenue Caper and her other work in comics that includes Real War Stories, Joyce Brabner  also talked at 2:00 in the CATS Conference Room about the power of comics as a vehicle for social and political protest and change.

On Tuesday morning at 9:30 in AV Larson 114,  Joyce visited Sheli Petersen's Graphic Design class. For this presentation Joyce spoke in more general terms about crafting comics and the dynamic relationship between words and images. 

Joyce also took an interest in PSC's Pride students and stopped to talk with them after lunch and prior to her requested visit to the Freshmen Studies class I teach.

I teach the College 101 class for History and English majors. Kelli Petersen brought her College 101 students, Art and Music majors, to my room for Joyce's talk.

Joyce's presentation pretty much combined the four majors, for she read from her comic Activists. The first story, "What If,"  documents how banned rock music played a role in the rise of democracy in Czechoslovakia when in 1989 the writer Václav Havel became president of the country. 

She read another story from Activists focused on the Civil Rights movement. "Firebrand," a true story, focuses on Prince Edward County, VA, and the fight organized by a young black student named Barbara Johns  to achieve equal schooling for the segregated school districts.

In the following short video, Joyce Brabner reads from both stories.

For further information about Joyce's current activities and interests, check out her interview with Jillian Steinhauer.