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"Joyce with Gusto" to Feature Dance, Theater, Film and Discussions

Release Date: January 22, 2007

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo Humanities Institute, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and riverrun, Inc., will team up to present an elegant program in February about lesser-known aspects of Buffalo's most celebrated adopted son, James Joyce.

It isn't surprising, given Buffalo's Irish heritage, its Irish Classical Theatre (ITC), Irish dance and musical troupes, the area's large number of Joyce scholars and enthusiasts, the annual ICT-sponsored staged reading of "Ulysses" and UB's extensive (and often exhibited) archival collection of Joyce manuscripts, personal effects, photos, letters and family paintings.

The evening affair, "Joyce with Gusto," will take place Feb. 2 from 5-10 p.m. at the Albright-Knox. It will feature a bit of Irish song, dance, theater and film; two scholarly talks and a panel discussion of Joyce's effect on 20th-century literature. This will be followed from 10 p.m. to midnight with a reception in the gallery's restaurant.

It will free of charge and open to the public.

The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with a high-kicking, fast-footed performance of Irish step dancing by Buffalo's internationally ranked Rince na Tiarna (reen-kuh nah tee-ahr-nah) School of Irish Dance. The company holds an all-Ireland step-dancing title, three national titles and 13 regional dance titles.

James Joyce was an accomplished pianist and singer, a composer, opera buff and entertainer with a beautiful tenor voice and an encyclopedic mastery of music of every type and genre. At one time, he aspired to be a musician and in his work can be found thousands of musical allusions to singers, composers, instruments, musical venues and songs of various kinds -- all integral to the understanding of his poems, stories and novels.

With this in mind, "Joyce the Singer: Melodies of Thomas Moore" will begin at 5:30 p.m. Soprano Kelly Meg Brennan, baritone James Alexander Hurd and pianist Frank Scinta will present a musical tribute to this lesser-known aspect of the writer with a performance of songs written by Moore, the 19th-century Irish composer who had a profound effect on Joyce's writing.

Scinta, an adjunct professor of fine arts at Canisius College, directs the Canisius College Chorale, and is one of Western New York's most active choral directors and music educators. Hurd is an assistant professor of music at UB, where he teaches vocal performance and directs the Opera Studio. Brennan holds a degree in opera from the Cincinnati Conservatory and has performed in area professional musical, dramatic and comedic productions, including several at the Irish Classical Theatre.

At 6 p.m., Vincent O'Neill, associate professor of theater and dance at UB and founding director of Buffalo's Irish Classical Theatre Company, will present excerpts from his award-winning one-man play, "Joyicity," which premiered at Dublin's Abbey Theatre. Compiled from Joyce's life and work, the play offers delightful access to the playwright.

At 6:30 p.m., "Following James Joyce: Dublin to Buffalo," a 2004 film by Patrick Martin and Stacey Herbert, will be screened. It was filmed on location in Buffalo, and in cities that were home to James Joyce: Dublin, Paris, Trieste and Pola (Croatia). Martin is the director of riverrun, Inc., and a senior partner in the law firm Kennedy, Stoeckl and Martin, P.C. Herbert, former program director for Dublin's Samuel Beckett Centenary Festival and received a doctorate in comparative literature from UB.

At 7:30 p.m., Mark Shechner, Ph.D., UB professor of English will present a short talk titled, "Afterimages of Ulysses." Shechner teaches contemporary English and Jewish-American literature, including courses on James Joyce. He is the author of several books, his first being "Joyce in Nighttown" (1974).

From 8-8:35 p.m., a talk by noted Joyce scholar Anne Fogarty will be presented. It is titled "Parnell! Parnell! He is dead!" and will consider Joyce, Parnellism and the ethics of remembrance. Joyce grew up in the era of Charles Parnell, the 19th-century Anglo-Irish reformist and politician who was, throughout the author's life, one of the beloved martyred heroes of his work. There are many references to Parnell in "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man," "Ulysses" and "Finnegans Wake."

Fogarty is a professor in the School of English and Drama, University College Dublin and heads the International James Joyce Foundation and directs the world-famous James Joyce Summer School in Dublin. She is a noted Joyce author and editor (with Timothy Martin) of "Joyce on the Threshold" (University Press of Florida, 2005), a collection of 14 essays that explore Joyce's work in relation to the theme of liminality (eg. the tendency of his writing to straddle borders and explore the margins of sexuality, genre, nationality and language).

From 8:35-9:10 p.m. a panel discussion and question-and-answer period featuring Fogarty, Shechner and Lawrence Shine, professor of English at Buffalo State College, will take place. Shine served as narrator and co-writer of "Following James Joyce to Buffalo" and is co-founder and host of Bloomsday Buffalo and founder of the Ulysses Reading Circle.

After that, it will be music and more dance by Rince na Tiarna and music and song by Hurd and Brennan, followed from 10 p.m. to midnight by a cash-bar reception in "Muse," the Albright-Knox Gallery Restaurant.

Additional sponsors of the event include the UB classics journal Aresthusa, the Poetry Collection of the UB Libraries, UB departments of Comparative Literature and English, the Irish Classical Theatre Company, Paragon Advertising and Kennedy, Stoeckl and Martin, P.C.

For additional information, contact Michele Bewley, 716-645-600, ext. 1171.

Media Contact Information

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