Actor Harry Lennix joins ASU sci-fi dinner series event


January 7, 2015

Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination and Project Humanities will present the latest installment of the Science Fiction TV Dinner series at 6 p.m., Jan. 22, at the Marston Exploration Theater on ASU’s Tempe campus.

The event, focused on the television series "Dollhouse," will feature one of its stars, Harry Lennix,* whose credits include the films "Man of Steel," "Ray," "The Matrix: Reloaded" and "Revolutions," and NBC's new hit series "The Blacklist." illustration of "Dollhouse" stars Harry Lennix and Eliza Dushku Download Full Image

The event is free and open to the public, with reservations requested through dollhousetvdinner.eventbrite.com. Dinner and beverages, including a vegan option, will be provided for free to attendees.

The Science Fiction TV Dinner series is a launch pad for imaginative, engaging conversations about science, technology, art and society. Founded in 2012, the series has developed an enthusiastic following on and off campus, providing the opportunity for people of all ages and backgrounds to come together, learn and explore visions of the future in an entertaining and informal setting. Previous events have featured episodes of popular science fiction shows, such as "The Walking Dead," "Star Trek" and "The Jetsons."

This installment of the series will feature a screening of “Ghost,” the premiere episode of "Dollhouse," created by celebrated screenwriter, director and producer Joss Whedon ("The Avengers," "Firefly," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"). The series imagines a future where neuroscience enables human personalities to be uploaded, reconfigured and downloaded into brains – or erased entirely. It wrestles with the ethical implications and technical challenges of “mind-wiping” while following the adventures of a group of clandestine operatives (“Dolls”) who are neurologically programmed to complete secret missions for wealthy clients.

Lennix plays the character Boyd Langdon, an ex-police officer and one of the “Handlers" who monitors and coordinates the activities of the Dolls. He stars alongside Eliza Dushku, who plays the series’ protagonist, Echo, as well as Fran Kranz, Tahmoh Penikett and Olivia Williams.

Following the screening, Center for Science and the Imagination assistant director Ruth Wylie will moderate a conversation with Lennix and Mary Lu Bushnell, a neuropsychologist at the Phoenix VA Medical Center and an appointed member to the Arizona Governor’s Council on Spinal and Head Injuries.

“The Science Fiction TV Dinner series uses compelling stories as a gateway to important issues in science and technology, as well as ethics and society,” says Wylie. “I’m excited to talk with Harry Lennix and Mary Lu Bushnell about the imagination and artistry that goes into creating "Dollhouse's" vision of the future, and the emerging neuroscience that underpins that vision.”

“Project Humanities is excited to be partnering again with CSI, this time in bringing back to ASU a dear friend and colleague, the accomplished Harry Lennix, who appreciates what we are doing to underscore the value of humanities and the arts in a moment where they still, for too many, seem afterthoughts, rather than essentials to our everyday living,” says Neal A. Lester, founding director of the award-winning Project Humanities.

For more information about the event and to register, visit dollhousetvdinner.eventbrite.com

*Update, Jan. 21: Lennix will be joining this event via Skype due to an unexpected change to the shooting schedule for his TV show, NBC's “The Blacklist.”

Joey Eschrich

program manager, Center for Science and the Imagination

480-442-2682

Heroin report by ASU journalism students expected to be ratings boon


January 7, 2015

Next week, every broadcast TV station and most radio outlets in Arizona that are used to competing will unite and simultaneously air a 30-minute, commercial-free documentary produced by Arizona State University journalism students.

“Hooked: Tracking Heroin’s Hold on Arizona,” an investigative report by ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in association with the Arizona Broadcasters Association (ABA), focuses on the state’s growing and alarming perils of heroin and opioid use. Camera operator and subject Download Full Image

The statewide simulcast will air on Jan. 13 on all 33 broadcast TV stations in Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott and Yuma, and more than 90 radio stations throughout the state. The air time will be 6:30 p.m. on most stations and 5 p.m. on Spanish language stations. The video and a series of multimedia stories will be available the evening of the showing, at http://hookedaz.cronkitenewsonline.com.

“Hooked” traces the rise of heroin use and its impact on Arizonans through the stories of addicts struggling with sobriety, families grappling for solace and law enforcement officials battling on the frontlines.

Christopher Callahan, dean of the Cronkite School and university vice provost, said “Hooked” is anticipated to be one of Arizona’s most watched shows this year, based on a similar project championed by the ABA in 2008.

Art Brooks, president and CEO of the ABA, developed the idea after learning of the seriousness of the issue and organized the backing of the state’s broadcast industry.

“The scourge of heroin and opioid addiction is killing hundreds of Arizonans, and the growing problem is reaching epidemic levels,” Brooks said. “Broadcast stations are fiercely competitive but our industry leaders are bonding together on this public danger in order to save lives.”

During and after the simulcast, the ABA will sponsor a call center for people seeking counseling or more information on heroin and opioid addiction. A 100-phone center with trained counselors will be set up in the studios of Arizona PBS on the sixth floor of the Cronkite building on ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus.

The special TV report was a semester-long project led by Jacquee Petchel, a Cronkite professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and editor. Callahan said the report, spearheaded by a team of 70 students and eight faculty members, shines a light on a critical issue.

“Our students traveled across the state interviewing Arizonans about their experiences with heroin,” Callahan said. “They found that the drug impacts all demographic and socioeconomic groups in Arizona.”

ASU will screen the documentary at various campus locations during the night of the broadcast. The Cronkite School will host a viewing and a panel discussion featuring some of the students who worked on the documentary at 6:30 p.m., Jan. 13, in the First Amendment Forum.

Reporter , ASU Now

480-727-5176