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Release: Feb. 11, 2000


NOTE TO EDITORS: RECITAL BY KRISTIN THELANDER FEB. 23 CANCELLED -- The recital by Kristin Thelander scheduled for 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23 in Clapp Recital Hall and listed on University of Iowa calendars, has been cancelled. Please remove this event from your calendars.

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LECTURE AND DEMONSTRATION FEB. 23 AND 24 - Independent scholar and illustrator Susanna Campbell Kuo, an authority on Japanese stencils, will present a slide lecture at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 23 in the University of Iowa Museum of Art.

This presentation is part of the weekly Perspectives series held Wednesdays at the museum. Admission is free to both the museum and the series.

Kuo will give a stencil carving demonstration at the museum, 10:30 a.m.-12:20 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24. The UI Center for the Book, chaired by Timothy Barrett, is co-sponsor of the demonstration.

The slide lecture and demonstration are given in conjunction with "Carved Paper: The Art of the Japanese Stencil," an exhibition of katagami stencils, on display at the Museum of Art through March 5.

Katagami (literally, "pattern paper") stencils are used in the textile dyeing process known as katazome. A dye-resistant paste is applied to cloth through patterns carved into the stencils, which are made of mulberry paper and waterproofed with persimmon juice. When the cloth is dyed, the pattern that was carved into the paper stencil appears in the undyed areas of the cloth.

Apart from the functional nature of the stencils, the exceptional beauty of the katagami patterns and the masterful carving on their rich brown paper have captivated western collectors, designers and artists for the last 50 years.

Kuo, co-author of the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, is the only foreigner ever to have served an apprenticeship in the Ise Stencil Carving Guild. For centuries, stencil carving has been concentrated in small communities of Japan's Ise region. Kuo studied with five master paper carvers specializing in five different techniques.

"Despite being a prized collectors' item and part of museum collections everywhere, stencils are still an obscure phenomenon to the public," Kuo said.

"Their allure as visual objects is immediate, but it's important to realize stencils are also tools, a means to an end in an exquisitely refined textile process that's lasted more than a thousand years and is now vanishing. There is no manufactured equivalent to the marvelous variety and fineness of design in the stencils."

Kuo's Wednesday slide show will include photographs taken during her apprenticeship of dyers, designers and carvers at work in what has remained a largely pre-Industrial craft. Among the slides will also be Japanese prints depicting people in stencil-dyed kimonos.

Her demonstration on Thursday will involve what she terms a "sampler" stencil, into which four different patterns will have been partially carved. The sampler will be smaller than the full-sized stencils, which generally use only one pattern. Kuo will demonstrate the four techniques required by the four patterns and will also provide paper samples and tools for audience examination.

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open 10 a.m. to
5 p.m. the days of Kuo's presentations. Admission is free.

M.C. Ginsberg Objects of Art, Inc. of Iowa City is the corporate sponsor for the 1999-2000 Perspectives series at the UI Museum of Art, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

For information on the UI Museum of Art, visit on the World Wide Web. Information is available on other UI arts events at .

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RUMSEY READS FEB. 24 — University of Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate Tessa Rumsey will read from her first collection of poems, "Assembling the Shepherd," at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 24 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

The free reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series originating on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910, and simulcast on WOI AM 640 Ames/Des Moines.

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham calls "Assembling the Shepherd" "a truly stunning first collection. Tessa Rumsey writes poems without irony, with grief, often astonished with grief -- and yet shot through with a stubborn willingness to endure the dapplings of truth as they come within reach of the mind, recede, re-approach, leaving formal beauty in their wake. Honest and brilliantly resonant images abound."

Forrest Gander writes, "This is freshly imagined, a poetry that won't be readily folded into familiar trends . . . Densely lyrical, driven into splendidly original forms, rich in their lexical range and syntactically inventive, the poems accrue and resound, intensifying their meanings throughout the collection. Rumsey has a nervy, energetic intelligence that makes 'Assembling the Shepherd' a keen, sustained pleasure."

Tessa Rumsey's poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, The New Republic, and many other publications. She lives in San Francisco.

For more information on the "Live From Prairie Lights" readings, visit the series' web page at .

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DUBUS READS FEB. 25 — Fiction writer Andre Dubus III will read from his recent novel "House of Sand and Fog," which was nominated for this year's National Book Award, at 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25 in the Prairie Lights bookstore at 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.

Dubus is the son of the late writer Andre Dubus, a University of Iowa Writers' Workshop graduate who was widely regarded as one of America's finest writers of short fiction.

The free reading will be broadcast on the "Live from Prairie Lights" series originating on UI radio station WSUI, AM 910, and simulcast on WOI AM 640 Ames/Des Moines.

James Lee Burke writes, "Dubus has taken his place with Nelson Algren and James Cain. No one who reads this novel will ever forget it. I have never felt so strongly about the talent of a young writer."

The Washington Post Book World calls "House of Sand and Fog" "elegant and powerful. . . . An unusual and volatile literary thriller." And a review in the Philadelphia Inquirer praises the novel for, "Exceptional storytelling, true to life . . . searing and insightful. . . . You can't help but be impressed."

Andre Dubus III is the author of two previous books, "Bluesman" and "The Cage Keeper." He lives in Newburyport, Mass.

For more information on the "Live From Prairie Lights" readings, visit the series' web page at .

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CHAMBER ORCHESTRA CONCERT FEB. 27 -- The Chamber Orchestra from the University of Iowa School of Music will present a free concert 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 27 in Clapp Recital Hall.

The performance will be under the direction of Beverly Everett, a doctoral candidate in orchestral conducting at the School of Music.

Three works will be featured on the program: The Overture to "Il Signor Bruschino" by Gioacchino Rossini, the Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber and Beethoven's Symphony No. 2

Barber was one of the most successful American composers of the 20th century. His music was played and sung by leading performers throughout his professional life. One of his first major works was his String Quartet, written when the composer was 26. The quartet's slow movement has subsequently become one of Barber's most successful and popular works, in an arrangement for string orchestra known as the Adagio for Strings, which was used on the soundtrack of the Stanley Kubrick film "Full Metal Jacket."

Beethoven's symphonies are often thought of in pairs, each consisting of a light-hearted symphony followed by a more serious work. Thus the cheerful Fourth Symphony was followed by the dramatic and powerful Fifth; the whimsical Eighth Symphony was followed by the monumental Ninth.

According to this reckoning, the Second Symphony is the lighter counterpart to the heroic Third Symphony. It was composed 1801-02, during the time that Beethoven became aware that his increasing deafness would be permanent. The finishing touches were put on the symphony in the summer of 1802, while Beethoven was staying in the village of Heiligenstadt outside Vienna. While there Beethoven wrote an anguished letter, describing his deafness, which was never mailed but found in his effects after his death. In a surprising contrast to the despairing mood of this "Heiligenstadt Testament," however, the Second Symphony is one of his most cheerful and relaxed compositions.

Everett holds degrees in conducting and organ performance from Baylor University and has studied at the Aspen Music Festival and School. In addition to her doctoral studies in conducting, she is pursuing a master's degree in organ performance and pedagogy, and she serves as organist at Wesley United Methodist Church in Muscatine.