Bell named school’s artist in res­i­dence

Berke­ley po­lit­i­cal satirist is ap­pointed to Sina­tra Chair

The Mercury News Weekend - - LOCAL NEWS - By Chuck Barney cbar­ney@ ba­yare­anews­ Con­tact Chuck Barney at 925-952-2685.

Berke­ley co­me­dian and po­lit­i­cal satirist W. Ka­mau Bell has been named an artist in res­i­dence at Santa Clara Univer­sity.

Bell was ap­pointed to the Frank Sina­tra Chair in the Per­form­ing Arts for the 2017-18 school year. He will kick off his res­i­dency with a pro­gram hosted by the Col­lege of Arts and Sciences Cen­ter for the Arts and Hu­man­i­ties on Nov. 7.

The pro­gram will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Louis B. Mayer The­atre on cam­pus. Tick­ets are free and will be avail­able start­ing Oct. 9.

Bell is a crit­i­cally ac­claimed so­ciopo­lit­i­cal co­me­dian and host of the CNN doc­u­men­tary se­ries “United Shades of Amer­ica,” which re­cently was hon­ored with an Emmy Award.

In ad­di­tion to his work on tele­vi­sion, Bell hosts the public ra­dio show “Ka­mau Right Now!” on KALW in San Fran­cisco and co-hosts two pod­casts: “Den­zel Wash­ing­ton is The Great­est Ac­tor of All Time Pe­riod” and “Po­lit­i­cally Re-Ac­tive.”

As Sina­tra Artist-in-Res­i­dence, Bell will men­tor and en­gage with stu­dents, fac­ulty, and the Santa Clara Univer­sity com­mu­nity. In ad­di­tion to his pro­gram in the fall, Bell will be in res­i­dence the weeks of Feb. 12, 2018, and April 30, 2018.

Den­nis Gor­don, pro­fes­sor of po­lit­i­cal sci­ence and direc­tor of the Cen­ter for the Arts and Hu­man­i­ties at Santa Clara Univer­sity, said Bell will chal­lenge stu­dents’ think­ing but also help them tackle dif­fi­cult top­ics with bold­ness and sen­si­tiv­ity.

“W. Ka­mau Bell is a force to be reck­oned with,” Gor­don says. “As stu­dents strug­gle with their own iden­ti­ties and to un­der­stand why our na­tion is di­vided along so many lines, he of­fers a greater un­der­stand­ing of the dan­gers that racism, sex­ism, ho­mo­pho­bia, in­come in­equal­ity, and the dumb­ing-down of our po­lit­i­cal dis­course present.”

Bell re­cently re­leased his third com­edy al­bum, “Semi-Promi­nent Ne­gro,” which is the au­dio fromhis Mor­gan Spur­lock-pro­duced com­edy spe­cial of the same name. His first book, “The Awk­ward Thoughts of W. Ka­mau Bell: Tales of a 6’4”, African Amer­i­can, Het­ero­sex­ual, Cis­gen­der, Left-Lean­ing, Asth­matic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama’s Boy, Dad, and StandUp Co­me­dian,” came out in May.


Berke­ley co­me­dian, po­lit­i­cal satirist and tele­vi­sion host W. Ka­mau Bell will kick off his year as artist in res­i­dence at Santa Clara Univer­sity with a pro­gram on Nov. 7.

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