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Lectures and Cultural Performances


Wednesday, September 3, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Multi-Purpose Room

Fusing signature vocals and guitar with the deep pulse of the didgeridoo, the soaring highs of the bagpipes, and tribal percussion, Brother is wholly original. The band’s powerhouse live performances are an energetic celebration; captivating and engaging the audience from the first song to the last. Brother originally formed in Australia and their music is a fusion of traditional Celtic sounds and sounds native to the Aboriginal people of Australia. The band has shared stages with Joe Walsh, Linkin Park and Alicia Keys and are the only independent band to have played the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Kayla Harrison

Wednesday, September 10, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Many athletes received gold medals at the 2012 Olympic Games in London, though only Kayla Harrison can say that she was the first American to win gold in a Judo event. The gold medal represents the culmination of countless hours spent training and competing on the mats. But for Harrison, the time-spent training only begins to scratch the surface of her journey to London. Her competitive success masked an unimaginable personal struggle. At the age of 16, Kayla revealed the fact that she had been for years sexually abused by her coach.  After the story came to light, Kayla moved from Ohio to Massachusetts to train with Jimmy Pedro, a two-time Olympic Bronze medalist and his father Jim Pedro, Sr.  The Pedros became Kayla’s coaches but also her surrogate family.  When  she  arrived  in  Massachusetts,  she  entertained  suicide,  was  depressed,  hated  judo  and  wanted  to  run  away.   Through  discipline,  tenacity,  and  the  support  of  others  she  fought  through  the  pain  both  on  and  off  the  mat,  transforming  herself  into  a  strong,  confident, articulate young woman who happens to be a world-class athlete.  

Legalize It

Wednesday, September 17, 2014, 7:00 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Nationwide, the public is divided about whether to legalize marijuana, though support has grown over the last decade. Legalize It is a debate featuring two men at the forefront of the drug legalization discussion. Aaron Houston, 35, co-founded Marijuana Majority and is a nationally recognized expert on drug policy and marijuana law. He is currently serving as a strategist for Ghost Group, a private equity company that owns marijuana-related technology companies. Between 2010-2013, as executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Aaron coordinated the efforts of students on more than 200 campuses worldwide, and from 2005 to 2010, he served as the only full-time marijuana legalization lobbyist on Capitol Hill. Dr. Kevin Sabet, 34, was dubbed the “quarterback of the new anti-drug movement” by Salon Magazine and is a former three-time White House drug policy advisor. He currently is the Director of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), which he co-founded with Patrick J. Kennedy. He is also the Director of the Drug Policy Institute at the University of Florida and an Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine. He is the author of Reefer Sanity: Seven Great Myths About Marijuana (2013, Beaufort) and a consultant to numerous domestic and international organizations, including the United Nations, through his company, the Policy Solutions Lab.

Dan Gediman: This I Believe

Wednesday, October 15, 2014, 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Dan Gediman is executive director of This I Believe, Inc., a non-profit organization that engages people in writing and sharing stories describing the core values that guide their daily lives. These short statements of belief have been featured on public radio since 2005, and the Essay Collection of more than 120,000 statements of belief can be found at thisibelieve.org.  Gediman is the coeditor of the New York Times bestseller This I Believe, as well as This I Believe II, and six other collections of This I Believe essays on subjects including love, life lessons, fatherhood, and motherhood. His work has been heard on All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Fresh Air, Marketplace, Jazz Profiles, and This American Life. He has won many of public broadcasting’s most prestigious awards, including the duPont-Columbia Award.

Lorraine Warren: America’s Top Ghost Hunter


Due to Ms. Warren's health, this lecture has been canceled and will not be rescheduled. 

Darius Puff: Native American Story-Telling

Monday, November 17, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Multi-Purpose Room

Darius Puff is a retired Berks County police officer, having served with the Boyertown Police Department for approximately 32 years with the last 20 as Chief of Police.  He is a Penn State University graduate with an Associate’s Degree in Community Service and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice.  A few years prior to retirement he became involved in giving talks about his Native American heritage to various civic groups in his area.  He decided to add to his lifelong love of history and his own native background by learning as much as possible about the Lenape people and their culture.  His programs teach others about the early lives of these people and the changes that their society went through in the 18th century through the use of artifacts (real and reproductions), furs, and traditional storytelling. This program will focus specifically on the stories used by the Lenape people as a teaching method. 

Qadim Ensemble – Sacred Folkloric Music of the Near East

Wednesday, November 19, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Acclaimed for their passionate performances, The Qadim Ensemble is comprised of accomplished and acclaimed musicians. The San Francisco-based band has attracted a growing global audience who are responding to their authentic musicianship and timely message. Qadim is a word found in both Arabic and Hebrew meaning ‘ancient’ as well as ‘that which will come.’ Their repertoire includes Arabic, Jewish, Turkish Sufi, Hebrew-Yemenite, Armenian, Ladino and Moroccan music, celebrating the common musical and spiritual heritage of the region’s cultures, while honoring the great diversity found within them. Qadim's most recent album, Eastern Wind, received rave reviews worldwide, and reached  #7 on Billboard’s World Music charts!

Kaitlin Roig: Inspirational Teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary

Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

On the morning of Dec. 14, 2012, in Sandy Hook Elementary School, first grade teacher Kaitlin Roig endured one of the worst tragedies the world has ever seen. The heroic teacher is credited with saving the lives of all 15 of her students by acting quickly upon hearing the sounds of gunfire and locking them all in a small bathroom until the 'good guys' came to let her know that it was over and they were now safe to come out. Kaitlin M. Roig attended UCONN and was accepted to the NEAG School of Education, where she completed her Masters of Education with honors in 2006. Kaitlin began her teaching career as a Reading Specialist in Westport, CT. While there, she worked with first and second grade students. Kaitlin worked closely with teachers, and administration to implement strategies and action plans for struggling readers. In 2007, Kaitlin began teaching first grade at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where she has taught ever since. During her lecture, Kaitlin will share her personal account of the events that took place at Sandy Hook Elementary in December, 2012.

Linda Stein: The Chance to be Brave, The Courage to Dare

Wednesday, January 21, 2015, 6:00 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Linda Stein is a feminist, activist-artist addressing issues concerning strength, power and justice in contemporary culture. She uses her art as a starting point to spark the audience’s imagination and to help them find that personal place where they feel most authentic and empowered. It is her thought that by doing that, individuals can help inspire the same sense of empowerment for others. Stein’s tour de force lecture includes 150 video/still images in a powerful 30 minute presentation encompassing stark truths and funny anecdotes about masculinity and feminism - as well as bullying and bigotry -extending from the local to the global.

Sean Burch: Mind Over Mountains

Wednesday, February 4, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Sean Burch has been described by National Geographic as “One of the world’s top extreme adventurers.” Considering his impressive résumé of world records, it’s easy to see how he has earned this distinction. Burch holds the world record for the fastest crossing of Nepal, the fastest winter ascent of Mt. Fuji, and the fastest ascent of Mt. Kilimanjaro, just to name a few. In 2014, Sean, along with two other teammates, won National Geographic Channel’s Ultimate Survival Alaska TV show.  During his lecture, Sean will introduce new habits to the audience on how to achieve and perform at their highest levels both professionally and personally, taken from his expedition experiences.

The Music of Mardi Gras with Perseverance Jazz Band

Wednesday, February 11, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Penn State Berks will welcome the music of Mardi Gras with Perseverance Jazz Band.  Based in Philadelphia, Perseverance Jazz Band brings New Orleans to our region with its enthusiastic and soulful interpretations of Ragtime, Dixieland and Traditional Jazz. Their performance will feature great music along with some music history presented by one of their members, Dr. Robert Rawlins, Professor and Coordinator of Music Theory in the Department of Music at Rowan University. He is the author of The Real Dixieland Book, Jazzology: The Encyclopedia of Jazz Theory (with Nor Eddine Bahha) and A Simple and Direct Guide to Jazz Improvisation. Audience members will be able to learn about the cultural influences that helped form the New Orleans jazz scene.

Nina Tandon, “Tissue Engineer”

Wednesday, February 18, 2015, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

As a scientist and entrepreneur, Nina Tandon’s study of our fundamental nature is changing how we think about the body to push the boundaries of human life itself. Beyond the MIT doctorate, Columbia MBA, and credentials too numerous to reel off, Tandon’s investigative nature is palpable in her warm and candid discussions of – for instance – creating a human kneecap from scratch. In her lab at Columbia and in the classes she teaches at Cooper Union, Tandon delves into the secret language of cells, coaxing them into transcending their nature for medical and scientific advancement. As much at the forefront of bioethics and business as she is medicine, Tandon is committed to developing her field without infringing upon privacy and fair treatment.

The Muslims Are Coming!

Wednesday, March 18, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

The Muslims Are Coming! is a 2013 American comedy-documentary film co-directed and co-starring Negin Farsad and Dean Obeidallah. It follows a team of Muslim-American comedians as they tour the American South and Southwest performing free standup shows, and engaging in community activities, with an aim to "reach out to Middle America" and counter Islamophobia. This presentation will include a screening of the film as well as commentary from one of the film’s co-stars.

The Beast: Indie Jazz and Progressive Hip Hop

Wednesday, March 25, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Beautifully rebellious and refreshingly original, The Beast is one of the most imaginative bands to emerge from North Carolina’s burgeoning music scene. The Durham-based quartet fearlessly navigates worlds of hip hop and jazz with compelling lyrics, progressive compositions and a gripping live show. The Beast developed its sound at UNC-Chapel Hill where pianist Eric Hirsh, drummer Stephen Coffman, and bassist Peter Kimosh studied jazz, while emcee Pierce Freelon developed his intelligent lyricism in classrooms and music venues across campus.

Taikoza: Japanese Taiko Drum and Dance

Wednesday, April 15, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Taikoza uses the powerful rhythms of the Taiko drums to create an electrifying energy that carries audiences in a new dimension of excitement. The Taiko is a large, barrel-like drum that can fill the air with the sounds of rolling thunder. Roughly translated, Taiko means big drums-and that’s exactly what Taikoza brings. Big Drums, powerful rhythms, and electrifying, room-thumping energy. This exciting group draws from Japan’s rich tradition of music and performance to create a highly visual performance. In addition to drums of assorted sizes, Taikoza incorporates the shakuhachi, the fue (both bamboo flutes) and the Koto (a 13 string instrument).

Chuck Klosterman

Author of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and NYT Magazine Ethicist

Tuesday, April 21, 7:30 p.m.

Perkins Student Center Auditorium

One of the most singular and exciting cultural critics of our generation, Chuck Klosterman captures what it feels like to navigate our pop-obsessed, media-saturated culture. In bestsellers like Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, he shows us why "pop" is a conversation anyone can join in on, and why it matters. Chuck Klosterman is a contributor to the sports site, Grantland, and the bestselling author of several non-fiction books, including Killing Yourself to Live and Fargo, Rock City, of which Stephen King said, "writing about pop culture doesn't get any better than this, or funnier." Chuck uses that wit and charm to write the NYT Magazine's Ethicist column, where he dispenses uncommon wisdom on moral conundrums.

Art Exhibitions

Art of Light: Lyn Godley

September 4 – October 16

Reception: September 4 at 6 p.m.

Lyn Godley will present an installation called Waterfall that tested her theories on the power of light. Explains Godley, “During my solo exhibit in Cologne, Germany we witnessed many viewers sit down in the gallery for up to three hours and return multiple times to do the same. They did not want to talk to each other, or the curator; they just wanted to be there, sitting quietly with the work. This is not a typical response; the average amount of time viewers spend in front of a piece of artwork is 30 seconds.” Penn State Berks is pleased to offer this compelling exhibit.

In Black and White: Gretchen Kreitler

October 30 – December 11

Reception: October 30 at 6 p.m.

Gretchen Kreitler was given a radiograph pen while she was an art student at Lockhaven University. That tool, and the hundreds purchased over the years, became nearly the sole medium for her drawings. Living in such diverse places as Berks County, North Carolina, and an old firehouse in Brooklyn, Kreitler became a keen observer of animals and their relationship to the environment and humankind. In Berks, she drew what was around her: dogs, bovines and hens; in North Carolina, she observed maritime creatures, including turtles, frogs, and sharks; while in New York, her companions in the firehouse were her dogs and cats. Kreitler’s innate and nurtured talent (she was brought up in a family with a graphic designer father, a mother who taught high school art and a painter brother) became intertwined with her interest in the “delicate balance of the environment and how it is connected to all creatures and life.” The drawings in this exhibit reflect this interest, masterfully created, are the works on view in this exhibit.

Transformation of Gender: Linda Stein

January 15 – February 5

Lecture: January 21, 2014 at 6 p.m.

Artist, Linda Stein’s exhibit, The Chance to be Brave, the Courage to Dare, includes sculpture pieces that resemble body armor, but only as a feminist might envision such a thing. The sculptures are wearable and will be worn when Stein visits the Penn State Berks Campus for a day of events on January 21, 2015. Made from vinyl, metal, chains, leather, and other material, the sculptures present the female form, not as a vulnerable image of the "weaker sex" but as a force of power, strength and grace. Please see the lecture portion of this brochure for more information about Stein’s talk.

Paper Trails

Curated by Emily Branch

March 26 – April 23 2014

This group exhibit focuses on artists using reclaimed fibers (paper, photographs, plant material, etc.). In an age of “throwaway products” and more recently, an awareness to re-commission post -consumer products as reusable fodder for art (and other things) this exhibit explores the variety and inventiveness of those willing to try.