Sensoria: A 10-day celebration of literature and the arts
Sensoria. The word itself promises a cornucopia of esthetic delights. Central Piedmont Community College’s 10-day celebration of literature and the arts from April 5-14 brings rising stars, established luminaries, and local favorites to its classrooms and stages.
There will be readings and plays, workshops and lectures, performances and demonstrations. Sensoria is designed to expose CPCC students and the community to artistic excellence.
Here’s how Sensoria works: First, there are dozens of free daytime events that occur in classes on six CPCC campuses. Students are expected to attend, and the public is welcome. In order to fit into assigned class times, some of the theatrical performances are abridged.
Second, there are evening performances, to which students are granted free tickets and the public is charged a nominal fee.
The breadth of offerings ranges from quirky to illuminating to profound. Here are highlights:
Carolyn Forché is a poet, anthologist, translator, and author of the new memoir “What You Have Heard is True.” She coined the phrase “poetry of witness” to describe those who write under severe duress, such as imprisonment and war. She is the editor of the poetry anthology “Against Forgetting,” which documents atrocities and events from the Armenian Genocide to proDemocracy demonstrations in China.
“We have so many students who identify as international, so for them to see us say this is important, that matters,” said Amy Bagwell, English instructor and co-chair of the Literary Committee.
Charlotte author Judy Goldman is being awarded the Irene Blaire Honeycutt Lifetime Achievement Award. “She is so beloved and so important to the literary circle in this region,” said Bagwell, “in addition to being so accomplished in so many forms.”
Hanif Abdurraqib scored a prized spot on the New York Times Best Sellers nonfiction list with his recent, “Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to a Tribe Called Quest.”
“He’s a multi-tool player, where his poetry and his performance of his poetry are both stellar,” said Bagwell, whose class burst into applause after watching a video of his “Ode to Kanye West.” “It connects with Forché because to me it is poetry of witness, what it is like to be a young African-American living in our country today.”
Author Stephanie Burt recounts stories of the bootleggers, serial killers and swindlers who called Charlotte home in her book “Wicked Charlotte: The Sordid Side of the Queen City.”
Photographer Jim Herrington will discuss the creation of his book “The Climbers.” Herrington, whose photographs have graced pages from Esquire to Outside, spent almost 20 years chronicling mountain climbers of note. The book features 60 black and white photographs that capture the character and humanity of these athletes.
MUSIC AND DANCE
Igor Stravinsky’s “Les Noces” or “The Wedding,” is the third annual in a series of collaborations between CPCC Music and Dance and UNC Charlotte’s College of Arts and Architecture. Director Alan Yamamoto describes the piece as unique in its instrumental combination of seven percussion instruments, four pianos, solo mixed vocal quartet, and mixed chorus.
Stravinsky used metric modulation to create “complex tension within the musical fabric,” explained Yamamoto. This rare performance of Les Noces in its original form features CPCC student dancers performing new choreography. Vocalists include present and former professors and students from five area colleges.
The CPCC Early Music Ensemble breaks out instruments from the Renaissance to entertain with music from the Middle Ages. Featured instruments include the viola de gamba and the hurdy-gurdy.
The “Our Town” in Thornton Wilder’s Pulitzer Prize winning drama is Grover’s Corners. Its universal themes are reflected in the titles of its three acts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage,” and “Death and Eternity.”
If you want to taste a play before committing to it, here are three opportunities. “Coming of Age: Decisions,” was written by CPCC English Instructor Mariot Valcin; an excerpt will feature students from several CPCC classes.
The cast of BNS Production Company, which recently performed August Wilson’s “Two Trains Running,” at Spirit Square, will reprise an excerpt followed by a discussion.
An abridged version of “Romeo & Juliet” performed by Shakespeare Carolina will take advantage of the ambience of the Cato Campus Amphitheater.
The best student photography, jewelry, sculpture, painting, ceramics, and drawing will be celebrated in a juried show that runs March 27-June 3 in the Ross Gallery on CPCC’s Central Campus.
Visual Artist Andrea Vail will discuss “Bridging,” a textile representation of CPCC’s student community that she created with their collaboration. Vail asked students to identify patterns that in some way reflected their culture and to submit them to Instagram under a specific hashtag. The resulting fabric installation is on display in the Overcash Lobby outside Halton Theater on the main campus.
FOOD AND WINE
Consider the art of cooking and the inspiration induced by wine as reasons to include Sensoria Food and Wine Festival in this literary celebration. CPCC Culinary Arts teams with Piedmont Culinary for a food and wine pairing event featuring locally sourced dishes from 15 Charlotte chefs.
Bruce Moffett, the chef who brought us Barrington’s, Good Food on Montford, and Stagioni, will provide a cooking demonstration to that coincides with the publication of his new book, “Bruce Moffett Cooks.”
BUSINESS AND ACCOUNTING
In an attempt to synergize all that CPCC offers, the Business and Accounting department is represented at Sensoria for the first time.
Coca-Cola Vice President of Culture, Engagement & Stewardship, Reginald Bean, will give an evening lecture about human resources followed by a Q & A session with the audience.
Civil litigation attorney and Miss North Carolina USA 2019, Cheslie Kryst, will hold a discussion on “Business, Law, and Beauty.” She created the blog “White Collar Glam” to help people navigate fashion in the workplace.
Is Sensoria primarily for students or the community? “I don’t see them being two different things,” said Bagwell. “Our students deserve to hear from people who are achieving the highest level of their art form or area of expertise in the community. And that’s what members of the community also want to encounter. We think of the students first always because we are a college, but the community is not an afterthought.”
This story is part of an Observer underwriting project with the Thrive Campaign for the Arts, supporting arts journalism in Charlotte.
Hanif Abdurraqib will presents poetry and prose at Sensoria, including work from his new book “Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest,” which scored a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers nonfiction list.
Poet and memoirist Carolyn Forché will be featured at two Sensoria events. Forché is editor of the poetry anthology “Against Forgetting,” which documents events from the Armenian genocide to pro-Democracy demonstrations in China.
Bruce Moffett, the Charlotte chef behind Barrington’s, Good Food on Montford, and Stagioni, will hold a cooking demonstration as part of Sensoria. The April 9 event will celebrate his new cookbook.