Arts and Lecture Series

Arts and Lecture Series

Penn State Berks 2018-19 Arts & Lecture Series

Animal Adventures and Ed Laquidara

August 23, 2018
6:00 PM
Perkins Lawn, Under the Tent

Ed Laquidara, curator of Animal Adventures and Head Speaker and Animal Handler for EdLaquidara.com, is a passionate wildlife conservationist and educator. He has been rescuing exotic animals for over 35 years. Ed and his team deliver hundreds of lectures and seminars each year to private organizations, corporations, science centers, museums, public & private schools, universities, colleges as well as many other venues. Ed’s two favorite presentations were when he was being recognized and invited as the keynote speaker at the National Science Awards and the Youth Leadership Summit.

Ed is recognized as a leading Crocodilian Biologist, a Herpetologist (Specialist in Amphibians and Reptiles) and holds a PHD in Zoology. He is highly sought after by professional and state organizations to teach animal control and environmental control officers how to safely capture and handle wild and extreme animals. Ed brings his animals to the stage and welcome you to learn more about them! Individuals with disabilities are welcome. Call 610-396-6076 for information.

Michael Franzese: Former Mob Boss for the Colombo Crime Family in NY

September 4, 2018
7:00 p.m.
Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Michael Franzese grew up as the son of the notorious Underboss of New York’s violent and feared Colombo crime family. At his most affluent, he generated an estimated $5 to $8 million per week from legal and illegal businesses. It was a life filled with power, luxury…and deadly violence. In 1986, mafia boss, Michael Franzese was named one of the biggest money earners the mob had seen since Al Capone, by Vanity Fair. At the age of 35, Fortune Magazine listed him as number 18 on its list of the “Fifty Most Wealthy and Powerful Mafia Bosses”, just 5 behind John Gotti. Michael Franzese is the only high ranking official of a major crime family to ever walk away, without protective custodies, and survive.

Determined to use the compelling experiences of his former life for the benefit of corporate executives, professional and student athletes, at-risk youth, church audiences, and for anyone seeking the inspiration to beat the odds and make positive changes in their lives, he has become a highly regarded motivator and a source of invaluable information. Franzese candidly describes how he survived dozens of grand jury appearances, 5 major racketeering indictments, 5 criminal trials, 7 years in prison and a Mafia death sentence. He tells how he engaged bankers, corporate executives, union officials and professional and student athletes in a wide variety of financial scams. His open and honest presentations are fresh and unique. Audiences are captivated by stories of his personal experiences in organized crime and genuinely affected by his powerful anti-crime messages and eye opening revelations. Individuals with disabilities are welcome. Call 610-396-6076 for information.

Hilary Corna

October 2, 2018
7:00 PM
Perkins Student Center Auditorium

As seen on/in The Muse, Forbes, Woman, & The New York Times, Hilary Corna is an Author, serial entrepreneur and female advocate for change. Hilary’s mission is to inspire students to become global leaders. You can expect Hilary to share vulnerable, thought-provoking stories and lessons learned while working at Toyota that cover topics such as leadership, diversity & women empowerment. Students will learn how they can apply these lessons on their campus and how to thrive in our global society. Individuals with disabilities are welcome. Call 610-396-6076 for information.

Ash Beckham

October 17, 2018
7:00 PM
Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Ash Beckham is a bold, dynamic presenter who speaks about empathy, respect and the power of having real conversations. Online videos of her TEDx talks “Coming Out of Your Closet” and "Owning Your Duality" and her Boulder Ignite speech “I am SO GAY” have gone viral with more than 10 million YouTube views. Significantly, her message has also become a topic of global discussion. Ash reaches millions every day as her inspiring speeches are experienced in classrooms, boardrooms and auditoriums around the world. Individuals with disabilities are welcome. Call 610-396-6076 for information.

The Science of TV

November 7, 2018
7:00 PM
Perkins Student Center Auditorium

The CSI franchise, Bones, The Blacklist, Rizzoli & Isles, Rosewood and Lucifer have a combined worldwide audience of over 300 million people.  They have radically changed the landscape of popular entertainment and have brought hard science out of the dark recesses of the laboratory and into the zeitgeist of mass entertainment.  Each and every one of these programs depends on the distillation of complicated scientific data into easily digestible plot points that are crucial to the production of procedural television. Chemistry, biology, mathematics, the law and a wide array of forensic disciplines such as odontology, entomology and DNA analysis among others, take center stage in this unique, often over looked aspect of the creative process.  

In this unique presentation, Jon and David will detail the exciting process of how each episode of procedural television is created, from the story’s conception in the writer’s room all the way through post production and finally on to your television screen. You’ll learn how the world’s most popular TV shows are researched and view excerpts that illustrate how that information is incorporated into each episode.

The Gorgeousity

January 23, 2019
12:15 PM & 7:00 PM
Perkins Student Center Multi-Purpose Room

The Gorgeousity is for everyone, and it can happen just about anywhere. All you need is a gathering space - where your group can sit and draw comfortably - and some room to play and move about.  WE BRING THE REST.

You color and make new friends in a relaxed environment for a while. Usually there are snacks. Sometimes there is beer. Then, you and your Gorgeousity Guides create and perform in your own music-filled, epic adventure. You bring your psyche and your own, gorgeous self. We bring decades of immersive theater making and teaching experience and, together, we make a little magic. Also, there is lots of laughing. The Gorgeousity is a fun way to meet new folks and connect. It's a great tool for collaboration, team building and problem solving. It can be a little revelatory about our relationship to art and play as adults. It is most decidedly NOT earnest, but it does contain a few thousand times the daily recommended dose of empathy-building. There are as many ways to Gorgeous as there are people. Come. Gorgeous with us.

Note for the Public: Sign-ups are required for this event – Berks Students Only.

Aneesah Smith

February 20, 2018
7:00 PM
Perkins Student Center Multi-Purpose Room

Aneesah Smith is a Queer, Christian, Cisgender, woman of color who is OUT and proud in all aspects of her life. She is a proud graduate of West Chester University (WCU), obtaining a B.S. in Health Education and M.S. in Counseling/Higher Education. Currently she is a national speaker, activist and social justice educator who inspires those she meets to live OUT loud. Her purpose in life is to use her story to save lives, her passion to raise awareness through education and her privilege to uplift the voices of the oppressed. Her Student Affairs career began 13 years ago at Penn State Berks as the Program Coordinator for EOP. Recently, she served for 5 phenomenal years as the Director of LGBTQA Services at her alma mater WCU.

Her presentations and keynote speeches have been featured at a variety of conferences including; Creating Change, NASPA, Mid Atlantic LGBT Conference and the Philadelphia Trans Health Conference. She is also a faculty member for the Campus Pride – Advisor Academy, where she leads a weeklong camp for collegiate advisors who serve LGBTQ students. She just recently served as one of the four elected co-chairs for the National Creating Change Conference on LGBTQ Equality which was held in her home city of Philadelphia. When she is not out changing the world, Aneesah enjoys baking gourmet cupcakes, playing Pokémon cards with her 11-year-old son Avery and enjoying beach time with her fiancée Surera.

It's Alive! Breathing Life into a Puppet: Presented by Cory Palmer

March 13, 2019
7:00 PM
Perkins Student Center Multi-Purpose Room

What makes a puppet anyway? Until a puppeteer breathes life into an object it is simply a still life. During this workshop we will explore various materials and how they move to create a living being. Based on the principle that every creature has focus, breath, look, gravity, and movement - we will explore how to bring everyday objects to life to tell their story. This workshop will explore everything from everyday objects as living creatures to Muppet style puppets and how they look, move, and breathe to become a living being with emotion and stories to tell. Please come dressed to move!

Note for the Public: Sign-ups are required for this event – Berks Students Only.

Colonel Eileen Collins

March 20, 2019
7:00 PM
Perkins Student Center Auditorium

NASA astronaut Eileen Collins reveals encouraging perspective and insight on the leadership skills needed to break barriers and become a successful pioneer in your field. One of America’s most admired women, Col. Collins became the first female to pilot a U.S. spacecraft with the Discovery shuttle flight in 1995, and the first female commander on the 1999 Columbia shuttle flight. In 2005, NASA tapped Col. Collins to command the space shuttle Discovery’s historic “Return to Flight” mission, NASA’s first manned flight following the loss of space shuttle Columbia in 2003. While logging 872 hours in space, Col. Collins earned a reputation for coolness under pressure. With that same calm demeanor, she shares how her career as an astronaut took shape, from her early years in the U.S. Air Force to her ground-breaking experience with NASA.

Drawing from her career experiences, Eileen reveals valuable insights learned from both her successes and her failures. From the importance of working with others to achieve lofty goals, to successful leadership in dynamic environments, her perspective inspires you to embark on your own original journey. For audiences interested in space exploration, she can also provide insight into the future of space travel as the world turns to exciting new space frontiers.

Taylor Mali

April 2, 2019
7:00 PM
Perkins Student Center Auditorium

Mali has done little more than write & perform poetry—and teach others to do the same—since 2000. His poems “are clear. They are almost always hysterically funny, often sentimental, appealing, accessible. And smart” (Bob Holman). He is a vocal advocate of teachers and the nobility of teaching, having taught in one capacity or another since 1990. A flagrant WASP, Mali is a 12th-generation New Yorker and descendant of Dutch settlers who arrived in New Amsterdam in the 1620s. He spent nine years in the classroom teaching everything from English and history to math and S.A.T. test preparation. He has performed and lectured for teachers all over the world, and his 12-year long Quest for One Thousand Teachers, completed in April of 2012, helped create 1,000 new teachers through “poetry, persuasion, and perseverance,” an achievement he commemorated by donating 12 inches of his hair to the American Cancer Society.

Formerly president of Poetry Slam, Inc., the non-profit organization that oversees all poetry slams in North America, Taylor Mali makes his living entirely as a spoken-word and voiceover artist these days, traveling around the country performing and teaching workshops as well as doing occasional commercial voiceover work. He has narrated several books on tape, including The Great Fire (for which he won the Golden Earphones Award for children’s narration).

Viva Kultura

April 18, 2019
7:00 PM
Perkins Student Center Auditorium

VIVA KULTURA is an internationally acclaimed performing arts group that aims to probe the most universal and intimate of human emotions—love, joy, belonging—as they are expressed in cultures from around the world. Artists from 15 different countries display their multifaceted identities through an array of art forms such as ballet, classical Indian dance, hip-hop, jazz, folk music, and poetry. Their performances are visually stunning. Viva Kultura draws from the ancient traditions and text of the world to inspire audiences to tap into their own sacred sense of self. Viva Kultura has traveled through Poland, Australia, Brazil, Moldova, and most recently have reached the shores of the New World, and have been enthusiastically received in New York City, Penn State, MIT, Rutgers, and the Rochester Fringe Festival, among others.