Fanfare's "Then and Now" Lecture Series turns 10
Contact: Tonya Lowentritt
HAMMOND – Not only is 2010 the 25th anniversary of Fanfare, it is also the 10th anniversary of the popular “Then and Now” Fanfare History and Politics Lecture Series sponsored by the Department of History and Political Science (HIPS).
According to Department Head William Robison, HIPS faculty members have participated in Fanfare since its inception in 1986. However, in 2001 the department established a more formal annual lecture series during the October festival of the arts, humanities and social sciences.
“The copy for the Fanfare brochure that year labeled the series ‘Then and Now,’ and the name has stuck since,” Robison said.
The series covers a broad variety of topics relating to history, politics and philosophy and consistently attracts large audiences, often filling Pottle Auditorium to capacity.
“In large part, this is because the lively lectures combine genuine scholarship with a knack for entertainment,” Robison said. “Many presentations have been filmed and shown repeatedly on the Southeastern Channel, and some have been nominated for regional Emmy awards.”
Since 2003, HIPS had dedicated each year’s series to someone who has contributed to the department’s success.
“Appropriately, the department has dedicated this year’s series to Donna Gay Anderson, who recently retired as director of Fanfare and the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts after 10 spectacularly successful years on the job,” Robison said.
Anderson, who vacated her post this summer, was thrilled upon hearing the news.
“Then and Now has always been one of my favorite Fanfare ingredients,” she said. “I am honored to be receiving the series’ dedication; it is always well constructed and presented.”
Over the years, most presenters in the series have included HIPS faculty, although the department also has a tradition of inviting faculty from other departments on campus to participate as “honorary HIPSters.”
HIPS has also brought in high profile outside scholars, including former Lt. Gov. and current New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; former State Rep. Ron Gomez; former Times-Picayune columnist Chris Rose; New Orleans expert Roberts Batson; historians William Cooper, Ronald Fritze and Paul Paskoff; political scientist Wayne Parent; sociologist Anthony Margavio; science writer Gerard Helferich, and even Baton Rouge’s Bayou Shimmy belly dance troupe.
The series has several recurring features, including “History Goes to the Movies,” in which the lecturer examines how cinema depicts a particular aspect of history, focusing on the aesthetic quality of the films in question, their accuracy, and what they reveal about the time in which they were made.
Another feature is the “More-or-Less Annual Halloween Lecture,” which Robison presents each year. Past subjects include the history of Halloween itself, as well as Frankenstein, Nostradamus, vampires, werewolves, witches and wizards. Though serious in subject, the lecture is usually accompanied by some sort of comedic antics and culminates in the throwing of candy to the audience.
The 2010 series features six speakers, beginning with Randy Sanders, who will present “Delivering Demon Rum: Prohibition Era Rum-Running in the Gulf of Mexico,” at 7 p.m., Oct. 4, at the Maritime Museum, 133 Mabel Drive, Madisonville.
The remaining lectures will be held in Pottle Auditorium and include philosopher Barbara Forrest’s “The First Amendment: The Good, the Bad, and the (Really) Ugly”; terrorist expert and political scientist Margaret Gonzalez-Perez on “Nuclear Politics: It’s the Bomb!”; communications expert Joseph Burns’ “What Was the First Rock and Roll Record?”; historian Craig Saucier’s “Mything in Action: The Fantasy of the ‘Special Relationship”; and Robison’s “Guy Fawkes, Gunpowder Plot, and the Great Pumpkin: Mid-Autumn Mayhem, Murder, and Mystery.”
For more details about the 2010 Then and Now Lecture Series, contact Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts / Fanfare at 985-543-4366.