Artists and audiences this fall will explore troubled youth, embattled and grieving families, endangered shorelines, World War II losses and discoveries and, on the lighter side, will dance and sing to the sounds of Zimbabwe, the Highlands and contemporary America.
Celebrating its 10th year, East Tennessee State University’s Mary B. Martin School of the Arts opens fall 2018 with the first of six new independent films, three in fall and three in spring, from South Arts Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers. At ETSU, all Southern Circuit films are free and followed by a question-and-answer session and reception with the filmmakers. The films will be shown on Mondays this fall at 7 p.m. in Brown Hall auditorium.
On Sept. 10, the narrative film “Sadie” by Megan Griffiths will be screened. It features Sophia Mitri Schloss as an outcast 13-year-old who struggles with the absence of her deployed soldier father and her dreary trailer park existence.
Additional films this fall include “Man Made” (Oct. 22), a documentary focusing on four trans- gender men as they prepare to compete in the only all-trans- gender bodybuilding competition in the world, and “Chasing Portraits” (Nov. 5), the filmmaker’s story of pursuing her great- grandfather’s long-lost pre-WWII paintings of Jewish life.
“We’re fortunate to have a unique mixture of narrative and documentary films this semester,” says Anita DeAngelis, director of the Martin School of the Arts. “We get to meet people and characters on their own ground – Sadie, who is struggling as she comes of age, four body builders in various stages of gender transition and a Polish painter’s great-granddaughter on a personal and historic quest.”
The fall season also features three visual art exhibitions, starting with “The Shore Line Project,” a multimedia documentary project that looks at the tensions between unchecked development and climate change on coastal towns and cities around the world. It will be on display at ETSU’s Reece Museum Sept. 24-Oct. 5, with an artist talk by award-winning documentarian Liz Miller and reception on Sept. 25 at 6 p.m.
“Over half of the world’s population lives within 50 miles of a shoreline and three-quarters of our major cities throughout the world are along a coast,” DeAngelis says, “so coastal areas are certainly significant. We’ll learn just how significant during this fascinating digital exhibition.”
The following week, the sixth annual “FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Social & Politically Engaged Art” opens, featuring artworks of myriad media from around the globe that spotlight social and political issues.
“Entries come in from literally all over the world for the ‘FL3TCH3R Exhibit,’” DeAngelis says, “and this year, meeting graphic designer and juror David Carson will be a particularly important experience for our students.” “FL3TCH3R” runs from Oct. 8-Dec. 14 in the Reece Museum and will feature a juror’s talk by Carson on Nov. 1 at 5 p.m.
The School of the Arts will sponsor more visual art in October, with the “Upstate” photography exhibition, at Reece Museum Oct. 22-Dec. 14, featuring the work of ETSU Art and Design professor and American fine art photographer Tema Stauffer. “Upstate” features color photos exploring urban and rural environments and relics in or around Hudson, New York, that produce a “hushed, meditative and nostalgic mood,” says Alison Nordström in her essay on the collection, “suggesting a degree of timelessness …”
Nordström, an independent scholar, writer and curator specializing in photographs, will come from Massachusetts to give the prereception talk on Nov. 29 at 5 p.m., while novelist Xhenet Aliu will present a reading on Oct. 24 at 5 p.m. Stauffer will also give a talk in the ETSU Women’s Studies program’s “Women on Wednesdays” series on Nov. 7 at noon in the Reece Museum.
The Martin School’s fall season also includes three ticketed events, two from the music spectrum and one classic theater piece. On Sept. 28, Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack, the duo known as Switch- back, will combine their mix of mandolin, guitar, bass and vocals in a concert of contemporary Celtic Americana music that reflects their Irish heritage and Midwestern roots. Switch- back will perform at First Presbyterian Church, 105 S. Boone St., at 7:30 p.m.
October will bring a touch of classical drama with Actors From The London Stage (AF- TLS) performing Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in ETSU’s Bud Frank Theatre in Gilbreath Hall on Oct. 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 3 p.m. The play will be staged with minimal props, costumes and set, says AFTLS founding director Sir Patrick Stewart, to keep the focus on the Bard’s words, which continue to resonate with audiences 400 years later.
The fall season will close with a performance by Nobuntu, a female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe, on Nov. 13 at 7:30
p.m. at Central Baptist Church, 300 N. Roan St. Nobuntu interweaves traditional Zimbabwe- an Afro-jazz and gospel songs with pure voices, percussion on traditional instruments and authentic dance movements. “You don’t have to know the language to appreciate this music,” DeAngelis says. “It’s joyous and rhythmic, and the harmonies are phenomenal.”
“Each season is new, diverse and exciting for us at the Martin School of the Arts,” DeAngelis says. “This fall, we will balance deep conversations and perspectives on family, personal and societal issues, with joyous and toe-tapping music from other continents and our own. We look forward to sharing all these experiences with students and our friends in the community and Upper East Tennessee.”
For more information about the Martin School of the Arts or to purchase tickets, visit www. etsu.edu/martin or call 423- 439-TKTS (8587). For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Ser- vices at 423-439-8346. Follow the Martin School of the Arts on Twitter, and on Facebook.