WCU arts and culture series opens 2011-12 season with Doxita

A checkpoint on the Pakistan-India border and Peruvian workers traveling by boat to an island of birds are just two of the scenes from the upcoming opening of the Arts and Cultural Events Performance Series at Western Carolina University.

The ACE series opened at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20, in the theater of the A.K. Hinds University Center with Doxita, a film festival that began in 2008 and showcases documentaries under 40 minutes in length. This year, Doxita consists of four films, each centered on a common theme of “inside/outside.” The films are “Guañape Sur” (Janos Richter, Italy), about Peruvian workers who harvest soil from an island of birds; “Wagah” (Supriyo Sen, Germany), about national identity expressed daily by thousands of spectators at a flag ceremony on the border between India and Pakistan; “My Name is Sydney” (Melanie Levy, USA), about the complex inner life of a severely autistic teenage girl; and “Arsy Versy” (Miro Remo, Slovakia), a quirky portrait of a man who follows his own spirit.

The program represents a variety of documentary styles – domestic and foreign, short and longer format, serious and funny – and is designed to profile the content and artistic vision that nonfiction short films provide but that people don’t often get a chance to see. This is the second year that Western Carolina has presented Doxita. “Last year we packed the house,” said Lori Davis, assistant director of programs at University Center. “You’ll probably never find these films anywhere but here.”

The Arts and Cultural Events Performance Series (formerly the Lectures, Concerts and Exhibition Series) is presented annually at WCU and is designed to appeal to and be accessible to everyone, Davis said. “The point of the arts is to open minds. It’s never too late to learn to love them.”

Other upcoming ACE events are as follows:

Shanghai Opera Orchestra, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, Bardo Arts Center. The Shanghai Opera Orchestra is a premier Chinese orchestral ensemble making its first United States tour. The program features Chinese traditional and contemporary music performed on traditional instruments. This event is sponsored by ACE, WCU’s College of Fine and Performing Arts and its School of Music, and Folkmoot. Ticket prices are $10 ($5 for students). The Second City presents “Laugh Out Loud,” 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the Bardo Arts Center. America’s famed comedy troupe, The Second City, brings in the comedy world’s next generation for an evening of sketch comedy and trademark improvisation. Ticket prices are $10 ($5 for students).

Jeff Biggers, 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21, in the University Center Grandroom. Author of “Reckoning at Eagle Creek,” “The United States of Appalachia” and “In the Sierra Madre,” Biggers has worked as a writer, educator and radio correspondent across the United States, Europe, India and Mexico. His award-winning stories have appeared on National Public Radio and Public Radio International and in the Washington Post, The Nation, The Atlantic and Salon. Biggers is the recipient of many literary honors, including an American Book Award. This event is free as part of the 2011 Rooted in the Mountains Symposium. For more information about Rooted in the Mountains, visit rootedinthemtns.wcu.edu.

“The Miles Davis Experience: 1949-1959,” 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, at the Bardo Arts Center. This performance recaptures the sound and historical and cultural context of a critical period of American history through the lens of jazz music and its most iconic innovator, Miles Davis. The show includes live music performed in the manner it was first presented, with photos and film clips brought together by a beat poet-style narrator. Tickets go on sale Oct. 11 and cost $10 ($5 for students).

The Poetry Revival, 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, in the Bardo Arts Center. An uplifting spoken word experience, the Poetry Revival features writer/poet Derrick Brown; Anis Mojgani, a two-time individual National Poetry Slam champion; and Buddy Wakefield, a two-time individual World Poetry Slam champion. Tickets go on sale Nov. 14 and cost $5.

Flamenco Vivo presents “La Pasión Flamenca,” 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 13, in the Bardo Arts Center. Carlota Santana, called the “Keeper of Flamenco” by Dance Magazine, and Flamenco Vivo provide passion and drama in this eclectic program of Spanish dance and music featuring solos, duets and company dances. Experience a journey back to the cultural crossroads of Andalusia, the southern region of Spain and the birthplace of flamenco. Tickets go on sale Jan. 9 and cost $10 ($5 for students).

Nick Flynn, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22, in the recital hall of the Coulter Building. Flynn is the author of two memoirs and the recipient of the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir. This event is free as part of the 2012 Literary Festival at WCU. For more information about the Literary Festival, visit www.litfestival.org.

For tickets or information on shows appearing at the Bardo Performing Arts Center, contact the box office at 828-227-2479 or visit bardoartscenter.wcu.edu. For more information about ACE, or to propose ideas for future ACE events, contact Davis at 828-227-3622 or visit ace.wcu.edu.