ASU News

New faculty member's novel is next for ASU book group

April 1, 2015

The ASU Book Group will meet from noon to 1 p.m., April 29, to discuss “In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods,” by new English faculty member Matt Bell. The meeting will take place in room 316 of the Durham Language and Literature Building on the Tempe campus. Bell will be present at the meeting.

In Bell’s mythical debut novel, a newlywed couple escapes the busy confusion of their homeland for a distant and almost-uninhabited lakeshore, where they plan to live simply, fish the lake and trap in the nearby woods. cover of the book "In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods" Download Full Image

The build a house, and then begin trying to raise a family. But as every pregnancy fails, the child-obsessed husband begins to rage at this new world: “the song-spun objects somehow created by his wife’s beautiful singing voice, the giant and sentient bear that rules the beasts of the woods, the second moon weighing down the fabric of their starless sky, and the labyrinth of memory dug into the earth beneath their house.”

The novel explores the limits of parenthood and marriage – and of what happens when a marriage’s success is measured solely by the children it produces, or else the sorrow that marks their absence.

Bell studied at Bowling Green State University and has taught at Northern Michigan University and served as the senior editor at Dzanc Books and was the founding editor of The Collagist, a monthly online literary magazine.

His short fiction has also appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Conjunctions, ASU’s Hayden's Ferry Review, Gulf Coast, Guernica (magazine), Willow Springs, Unsaid and American Short Fiction. His stories have been anthologized in The Best American Mystery Stories, Best American Fantasy and 30 Under 30: an Anthology of Innovative Fiction by Younger Writers.

The ASU Book Group, sponsored by the Department of English, is open to all ASU faculty, staff and students, and the community. There is no membership fee. For more information, contact Judith Smith at

ASU News

'Car Dogs' movie cruises into Phoenix for Arizona debut

March 29, 2015

ASU film professor Adam Collis has built a pipeline into Hollywood and is hoping his new movie, “Car Dogs,” will strike oil for the university and benefit a feature film internship program for years to come.

Starring Patrick J. Adams (“Suits”), comedian superstar George Lopez (“Lopez Tonight”), Oscar nominee Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) and a special appearance by Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer (“The Help”), the 105-minute feature will make its Arizona debut at the 15th annual Phoenix Film Festival on March 31. But the story of how “Car Dogs” got made is as intriguing as the plot itself. Download Full Image

Scottsdale native Mark King’s movie script bounced around big Hollywood studios with marquee names attached for years – but like many screenplays, it never got to the silver screen. It sat on King’s shelf until his former film teacher, Collis, saw a perfect opportunity: ditch the big studios, go independent and, with a shoestring budget, make a great film while giving student interns and recent alums the chance the learn filmmaking on an actual motion picture set.

“Car Dogs” tells the story of a dealership sales manager, Mark Chamberlain, who needs to sell 35 cars to earn his own dealership and to finally get out from underneath the thumb of his sadistic father. The question is if Mark is willing to cheat his customers, betray his sales team and neglect his family all for the blind pursuit of profits. It’s a tough as nails film about the challenges of a dog-eat-dog world – but also a fun look behind the scenes at the true world of car salesmen and their shady tricks.

“The ASU School of Film, Dance and Theatre has accomplished something no other film school has ever done and that is to collaborate in the production of a feature film with an Oscar-winning cast and crew while training the next generation of filmmakers,” said Collis, who is the creator of the Film Spark Feature Film Internship Program, which is housed in ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. “What we’ve done in such a short amount of time is unprecedented. We made a great film and the learning experience for students was off the charts.”

Collis is an award-winning director whose first feature, “Sunset Strip,” was produced by Art Linson (“Fight Club”) for 20th Century Fox. The internship program gives students hands-on experience on movie sets with Hollywood cinematographers, producers, designers and artists serving as mentors as well as department heads, with students holding supporting positions alongside.

Collis worked with Jake Pinholster, director of the School of Film, Dance and Theatre, to create the academic program in early 2012. Work on the production commenced in the summer of 2012 when Collis and former ASU film professor F. Miguel Valenti, the founding director of the Herberger Institute Film and Media programs and a producer on the film, introduced students to the “Car Dogs” script, breaking it down to its budgeting and production elements. Collis worked for a year to secure independent funding, and the film was “greenlit” in November 2013. Some 271 students applied for jobs on the crew, of which 85 were given internship opportunities, which was a ten-week, one- to six-credit class.  

“It had always been a dream of mine to work on a feature film,” said Amy Harmon, a student who worked on the production side on “Car Dogs.” “To see this movie go from ground zero to the first day of filming was the coolest thing to watch.”

In addition to the 85 student interns, “Car Dogs” was helped and staffed by many ASU film friends and alumni. Notables include Emmy-nominated television producer Howard Burkons, a 1976 theater alumnus; casting director John Jackson (“The Descendants,” “Sideways”); and sound editor/designer Hamilton Sterling (“Fury,” “Gangs of New York,” “War of the Worlds”). “Car Dogs” was written by former ASU student Mark King.

The Feature Film Internship Program, which will produce its third feature this summer, is one component of the larger Film Spark program, which also includes industry seminars, guest speakers and other programs designed to connect students to the film professions. Since the program’s start, Collis has connected School of Film, Dance and Theatre students with:

• four Oscar winners
• five Oscar nominees
• three major studio chiefs
• the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
• the President of the Director’s Guild of America
• the producers of “Batman Begins,” “The Help,” “Star Trek,” “Requiem for a Dream,” “Foxcatcher,” “Moneyball,” “Boyhood” and “Dazed and Confused”
• many other active film industry professionals

With a robust Film Spark program and the Legislature’s contemplation of two current film-related tax incentive bills, Collis believes more motion pictures could come to Arizona in the near future. 

“It’s Arizona’s business to capture if we want it. From Hollywood’s perspective, Arizona is a highly attractive place to shoot film and television,” Collis said. “The state has a strong crew base and very attractive locations from the great urban environments of Phoenix to the magnificence of the Grand Canyon and everything in between. Add to the fact that Arizona is a quick hour flight from Los Angeles, and you can see why Hollywood would love to be shooting in Arizona.”

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU In the News

ASU dean on 'state of the arts' in the Valley

The Phoenix New Times published a “State of the Arts” cover story March 19 that includes insights from several key players in the Valley's art scene. One of the people interviewed at some length is Steven J. Tepper, dean of ASU’s Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, who came to Arizona from Nashville, Tennessee about a year ago.

In a KJZZ piece about the New Times story, Tepper talks about what makes the Valley a unique place and how its art scene might flourish.

“People are actually asking the question of 'what we can become and who are we' and I think that really creates a dynamic energy and a kind of aspirational energy that I think is really the root of what a creative city is all about,” said Tepper.

Visit the link below to hear more of Tepper's interview.

Article Source: KJZZ
ASU News

ASU Gammage educational outreach celebrates 15 years

March 24, 2015

For 15 years, local theater/storytelling artist Fatimah Halim has worked with nearly 300 inmates through Journey Home, an arts residency program designed to enable incarcerated women to discover a personal sense of constructive identity through performance, visual arts, creative writing and storytelling.

Halim, of Life Paradigms Inc., conducts Journey Home in collaboration with ASU Gammage. women making signs Download Full Image

At 3 p.m., March 28, 25 incarcerated women (ages 21 to 55) will participate in the program's 15th annual public performance at Estrella Jail in Phoenix.

For six weeks prior to the public performance, the inmates meet weekly and go through training in movement, visual arts, creative writing and storytelling. The intent is to help them build personal skills and self-esteem, and demonstrate alternative methods to avert destructive behavior through the arts. The women then begin to see themselves as productive, creative people.

“The Journey Home program has changed my life," said Sandra*, a past participant in Journey Home. "I mentally transformed into the woman I wanted to become.”

This year’s theme is “Living By Design, Not by Default.” The theme reflects on the value of finding purpose and joy internally rather than being controlled by outside influences.

The team also includes director and choreographer Teniqua Broughton and mental health specialist Imani Muhammad.

The program originated in 2001 from dancer/choreographer Pat Graney’s national program, “Keeping the Faith” prison project. Since that time, ASU Gammage has sustained the event locally. The program has allowed the inmates to develop tools to make positive choices and encourages them to break the negative patterns in their lives.

“Journey Home has allowed these women to develop creative tools that can help them make positive choices, and encourages them to break the negative patterns that lead to incarceration," said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director of ASU Gammage. "We are the only performing arts venue in the country doing work like this within the prison system; it goes back to our mission of connecting communities.”

The media is invited to witness the women’s final performance and to observe some of the six-week workshops. RSVP no later than March 26 to guarantee a spot by emailing Dana McGuinness at

*Sandra's full name has been witheld for privacy.

ASU News

Broadway blockbuster 'Wicked' to return to ASU Gammage

March 23, 2015

After breaking box office records and selling out in record time in 2012, "Wicked," Broadway’s biggest blockbuster, will return to ASU Gammage, Aug. 26 through Oct. 4.

Tickets for the return engagement go on sale at 10 a.m., March 30 at the ASU Gammage Box Office and at Ticket prices start at $34. Kara Lindsay and Laurel Harris Download Full Image

Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the Land of Oz. One – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood. The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular. "Wicked" tells the story of their remarkable odyssey and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.

“We are thrilled to have "Wicked" back for our 50th anniversary season. It will be a wonderful way to end our 50th year with this beloved show,” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director of ASU Gammage.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz and book by Winnie Holzman, "Wicked" is directed by two-time Tony Award-winner Joe Mantello and features musical staging by Tony Award-winner Wayne Cilento.

Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, "Wicked" is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.

The musical is the winner of over 100 international awards (including a Grammy and three Tony Awards) and currently has eight productions around the world – in New York, London, Japan, Latin America, the United Kingdon, an Australasian tour and two concurrent North American national tours.

Since its New York premiere a decade ago, "Wicked" has grossed over $3.6 billion worldwide and has been seen by over 44 million across the globe. "Wicked" has been performed in over 100 cities in 13 countries around the world (U.S., Canada, England, Ireland, Japan, Germany, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, The Philippines and Mexico) and has been translated into five languages: Japanese, German, Dutch, Spanish and Korean.

For more information about "Wicked," visit

ASU News

International conference explores creative solutions to environmental problems

March 20, 2015

A concert in the middle of Tempe Town Lake. A hot air balloon constructed from recycled shopping bags. An acoustic ecology workshop in Beaver Creek Biosphere Reserve.

This is just a small selection of the events coming to Arizona State University this month for Balance-Unbalance 2015, the fifth annual international conference that looks to art as a catalyst for exploring the intersections between nature, science, technology and society. desert landscape Download Full Image

The three-day conference will take place March 27-29 on ASU’s Tempe campus.

The Balance-Unbalance 2015 International Conference, co-convened by Sabine Feisst from the ASU School of Music and Garth Paine from the ASU School of Arts, Media + Engineering, both in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, is coming to the United States for the first time to look, specifically, at issues of water, climate and place.

“We are living in a world at the tipping point, where the equilibrium between a healthy environment and the energy our society needs to maintain its interconnected economies could collapse more quickly than expected,” said Paine. “Today’s delicate balance is at a critical point, with the potential to herald a new reality where unbalance is the rule.”

International, national and local artists, scientists, philosophers, politicians, policymakers, academics, aid agencies and community activists will descend on ASU in late March to participate in this conference. Balance-Unbalance 2015 received submissions from 24 countries, and will offer a keynote lineup of high-profile presenters from art, business, music, the Red Cross, water research and community engagement with rain forest initiatives in South America.

The conference program features more than 150 papers, panels, performances, exhibitions and other activities, which will investigate sustainability and environmental issues through the arts, science, technology and local and global communities with the goal of exploring emerging intersections as a platform for developing transdisciplinary solutions to unprecedented ecological challenges. Many of the events are open to the public.

Indigenous involvement is a major component of the Balance-Unbalance 2015 conference. Videos from a project to record Native American Youth's responses to water and climate change will be shown throughout the conference. There will also be a welcome song and dance, and an indigenous panel bringing indigenous people from the Pacific Ocean, Australia and America together to discuss water stories and land management in a time of climate change. This will take place at 10:30 a.m., March 27.

Founded by Argentinian-born artist-scholar Ricardo Dal Farra in 2010 to promote novel forms of creativity that can help solve environmental problems, Balance-Unbalance is sponsored by the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, Leonardo Journal, UNESCO, the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology, the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology and the Ear to the Earth Foundation.

Public events:

“Maritime Rites”
3:30 p.m., March 27, Tempe Town Lake

Tempe Town Lake will be transformed into an enormous concert hall, with 100 musicians in boats performing the composition “Maritime Rites,” by the renowned American composer and conference keynote speaker Alvin Curran, who will be present to direct the work. The public will be able to view the performance from Tempe Beach Park.

Balloon Launch
8 a.m., March 27, Tempe campus

Pablo Suarez, the associate director for research and innovation at the Red Cross/Red Crescent Climate Centre, will lead the launching of his project "The Way Forward," a large hot air balloon constructed from recycled shopping bags and inflated by the heat of the sun. The public is invited to attend the balloon launch and is welcome to get involved in a workshop to construct the balloon.

PechaKucha performance
6-7 p.m., March 27, Katzin Concert Hall, Tempe campus

An opening night PechaKucha event in the unique 20 by 20 snappy PechaKucha format will feature musical performances and leading speakers, including a member of Al Gore’s Climate Reality project and the founder of the Balance-Unbalance conference, Ricardo Dal Farra.

The conference also boasts numerous art installations in ASU’s School of Art galleries and the Digital Culture Gallery, as well as at the Night Gallery in Tempe Market Place and at Grant Street Studios in downtown Phoenix. There are free lunch-time music concerts and evening concerts; at 9 p.m., March 27, in Katzin Concert Hall, students from the ASU School of Music will present “Arid Landscapes,” a concert of original string quartet compositions responding to the Southwest desert.

Registrations for the three-day program are now open. A limited number of one-day tickets and tickets to keynote presentations will also be available at

Conference registration:

• full conference: $325 ($275 for ASU faculty and staff)
• day registration: $130
• student registration: $40 with volunteering
• single events (keynote presentations and single sessions): $25

For program information and registrations, visit

ASU News

ASU Carillon Society to sponsor annual Spring Hymn April 7

March 19, 2015

The ASU Carillon Society will sponsor its third annual Spring Hymn Sing from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, at the Symphonic Carillon, located on the Lower Level of Old Main on ASU's Tempe campus.

The 258-bell Symphonic Carillon, the largest instrument of its kind in the United States, was given to Arizona State University by Associated Students in 1966. It is a memorial to those in the ASU community who gave their lives for their country. student playing a carillon Download Full Image

For more information about the carillon, send an e-mail to

The hymn sing is co-sponsored by the Aslan Society, an organization for Christian ASU faculty and staff.

ASU News

Electronic music composer to wow crowd at ASU's West campus

March 18, 2015

Hailed as a “genius of electronic music,” Oneohtrix Point Never will perform at Arizona State University’s West campus at 8 p.m., March 26. The evening will be a multimedia immersive experience where the sounds and projections invite the audience to step into a unique world.

Oneohtrix Point Never is the recording name of composer Daniel Lopatin. The Brooklyn-based musician is known for deftly balancing the experimental with the accessible, and defies simple description as an artist. Oneohtrix Point Never Download Full Image

Lopatin creates highly conceptual worlds of ambient sound, and his passion to find personal meaning in failed new-age utopias and liminal science fiction environments often brings his compositions to the brinks of minimalism, drone, proto-techno, noise and pop, clarifying the past through a blissful repetition of its signifiers.

Performed with the projected visual creations of artist Nate Boyce, the concert will allow the audience to be immersed in the environment of sound and image, which has been described as “like a cracked mirror refracting the sounds of the past.”

Admission is free. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. performance.

The West campus is at 4701 W. Thunderbird Rd. in Phoenix, with the concert to be held in the Sun Devil Fitness Center. There is special event parking on campus for this evening.

Information about this and other upcoming events to be held at ASU’s West campus may be found at The series of artistic events is presented by ASU’s New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences.

ASU News

ASU School of Music pays tribute to 'Father of the Symphony'

March 18, 2015

Composer Joseph Haydn was a friend of Mozart, a teacher to Beethoven and is considered by many historians to be the “Father of the Symphony.” His masterpiece, "The Creation," is the subject of a series of events that explores the implications and inspiration of Haydn’s music.

Hosted by the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts School of Music, “The Creation Project” includes an exhibit, a lecture, a symposium and stories, and culminates in a performance of the 18th century oratorio. David Schildkret Download Full Image

“Haydn established an important form of music making as well as a style that people still enjoy and find uplifting,” said David Schildkret, director of choral activities who is heading up the project. “He more or less created the symphony as we know it. It’s a defining moment in Western music that really creates the language that we know today for everything from symphonies to popular music.”

“The Creation Project” commenced March 16 with an exhibit at Hayden Library on the Tempe campus and will be a part of the spring 2015 Humanities Lecture Series at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. Schildkret’s “Creating and Recreating Haydn’s 'The Creation'” starts at 6:30 p.m., March 19, at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, 555 N. Central Ave., Phoenix.

The lecture series, hosted by ASU’s College of Letters and Sciences, is free and open to the public.

In 1796, the 64-year-old Viennese composer sought to compose a large work for chorus, orchestra and solo singers – an oratorio – that would tell the story of the creation of the world described in the Book of Genesis in poetry and music. He spent close to two years on the oratorio, which was instantly hailed as a masterpiece. It has been performed continuously throughout the world in a variety of languages.

“In our performance, we want to convey to the audience what Haydn was trying to do,” Schildkret said. “Written music is sort of like a recipe that requires a certain amount of knowledge and understanding to execute the instructions. Like in cooking, it never comes out the same way twice. There's always this element of trying to figure out what the instructions mean and how best to carry them out so that you end up with something like what Haydn had in mind.” The lecture will explore these challenges in Haydn’s work and the solutions the ASU performances will use.

“The Creation Project” will conclude on April 29 with a performance of the oratorio by the ASU Barrett Choir, Chamber Singers, Concert Choir, Choral Union, Symphony Orchestra and student soloists conducted by Schildkret.

Reporter , ASU Now


ASU News

Experimental filmmaker to headline ASU lecture on indigenous time-keeping

March 17, 2015

Multimedia producer Victor Masayesva, Jr. (Hopi) is the featured speaker in the spring 2015 installment of the Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community. He will present "Indian Time," a talk, discussion and film screening at 7 p.m., March 19 at the Heard Museum in Phoenix.

Masayesva’s transdisciplinary work addresses the subject of calendars and time-keeping in modern and ancient eras. “Calendars are not only tools to measure time; they can also be magnificent instruments to connect cosmic time with human time,” he said. Victor Masayesva Download Full Image

“They are doors that allow men to access the mystery of the cosmos and, at the same time, to correlate the activities of men with the rhythm of the stars. Indigenous peoples from the Americas have been tracking time since their arrival.”

According to Masayesva, the term “Indian Time” has been used to denigrate native people’s way of being and to keep them from inclusion in the dominant culture. But, he says, the notion of being “part of a larger order” of cosmic time-keeping can instead help indigenous youth celebrate their place within society.

“Over seven thousand years, [indigenous] lunar calendars have accurately determined ecosystems and agricultural cycles,” said Masayesva. “Their precise recordings of Venus as morning and evening star affirmed their ever-cyclic relationship with the cosmos above them and the underworld beneath. By reinvigorating the sense of cosmic time, we can initiate the dialogue that our individual existences are a part of the larger planetary consciousness and reclaim ‘Indian Time.’”

A member of the Hopi Tribe from Hotevilla, Arizona, Masayesva has been a life-long advocate for the ascendancy of the indigenous aesthetic in multimedia productions. He has promoted this aesthetic by curating programs at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and serving as artist-in-residence at the School of Art Institute of Chicago, Walker Art Center, and Banff Centre for the Arts, and featured director and jurist at the Yamagata International Film Festival and the CLACPI Festival in La Paz, Bolivia.

Honored with the American Film Institute’s Maya Deren Award, Masayesva has been at the forefront of independent, experimental filmmaking in the Native American media community. His publications include “Husk of Time” from the University of Arizona Press, and his media work is included in the permanent collections at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona; the Museum of Modern Art in New York City; the Houston Museum of Art in Houston, Texas; and the Corcoran Gallery in Washington, D.C.

The Simon Ortiz and Labriola Center Lecture on Indigenous Land, Culture, and Community at Arizona State University addresses topics and issues across disciplines in the arts, humanities, sciences and politics. Underscoring indigenous American experiences and perspectives, this series seeks to create and celebrate knowledge that evolves from an inclusive indigenous worldview and that is applicable to all walks of life.

ASU sponsors include the American Indian Policy Institute; American Indian Studies Program; Department of English; School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies; Women and Gender Studies in the School of Social Transformation (all units in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); Indian Legal Program in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law; School of Art in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts; and Labriola National American Indian Data Center. The Heard Museum is our community partner.

Kristen LaRue

coordinator senior, Department of English