Sen­so­ria: A 10-day cel­e­bra­tion of lit­er­a­ture and the arts

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Carolina Living - BY LYNN TRENNING Arts Cor­re­spon­dent

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:

LIT­ER­A­TURE

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.

THE­ATER

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.

VIS­UAL ARTS

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.

AN­DREW CENCI

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.

DON J. USNER

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.

STE­FANIE HAVIV

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.

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