AT&T Performing Arts Series Center Announces Speaker Series 2017 Season

Garrison Keillor

The AT&T Performing Arts Center announces the 2017 season of #hearhere – a speaker series with dynamic discussions from leaders in the arts and sciences. Featuring thought leaders whose work has become a cultural phenomenon, #hearhere removes the barrier between audiences and some of the most interesting minds of our time.

This third season features the return of American astrophysicist, cosmologist, author and science communicator, Neil deGrasse Tyson, delivering his most popular talk entitled “The Cosmic Perspective;” American author and social commentator known for her sardonic perspective on American life, Fran Lebowitz; one of America’s greatest storytellers, Garrison Keillor; and one of the most celebrated writers of our time, Neil Gaiman.  

“The #hearhere series is one of the most engaging, discussion-provoking and inspiring tickets in town,” said Doug Curtis, president and CEO of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. “We always strive to present thought leaders, challenging thinkers and tastemakers, and this season does just that.”

The 2017 season begins in February with Neil deGrasse Tyson. The season continues in March with Fran Lebowitz and in May with Garrison Keillor. The 2017 season will culminate in July with Neil Gaiman.

Four-show packages are on sale now and range from $352 to $155 and may be purchased online, by telephone at 214-880-0202 or in person at the AT&T Performing Arts Center Winspear Opera House Box Office at 2403 Flora Street. The Box Office will be open 10 a.m.

6 p.m. seven days a week and before performances.

Seating in the Center Circle Orchestra section is available exclusively to Center Circle members at any level.  Call Membership Services at 214-978-2888 for information.

Purchase of the four-show series includes the right to renew the same seats for future seasons and a discounted parking option.

#hearhere – 2017 Season

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Neil deGrasse Tyson  

Winspear Opera House Tuesday, February 14 – 7:30 p.m.

Neil deGrasse Tyson was born and raised in New York City where he was educated in the public schools clear through his graduation from the Bronx High School of Science. Tyson went on to earn his BA in Physics from Harvard and his PhD in Astrophysics from Columbia.

Tyson’s professional research interests are broad, but include star formation, exploding stars, dwarf galaxies, and the structure of our Milky Way.

In 2001, Tyson was appointed by President Bush to serve on a 12-member commission that studied the Future of the US Aerospace Industry. The final report was published in 2002 and contained recommendations (for Congress and for the major agencies of the government) that would promote a thriving future of transportation, space exploration, and national security.

In 2004, Tyson was once again appointed by President Bush to serve on a 9-member commission on the Implementation of the United States Space Exploration Policy, dubbed the Moon, Mars, and Beyond commission. This group navigated a path by which the new space vision can become a successful part of the American agenda. And in 2006, the head of NASA appointed Tyson to serve on its prestigious Advisory Council, which will help guide NASA through its perennial need to fit its ambitious vision into its restricted budget.

In addition to dozens of professional publications, Dr. Tyson has written, and continues to write for the public. From 1995 to 2005, Tyson was a monthly essayist for Natural History magazine under the title “Universe.” And among Tyson’s ten books is his memoir The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist; and Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution, co-written with Donald Goldsmith. Origins is the companion book to the PBS-NOVA 4-part mini-series Origins, in which Tyson served as on-camera host. The program premiered on September 28 and 29, 2004.

Two of Tyson’s recent books are the playful and informative Death By Black Hole and Other Cosmic Quandaries, which was a New York Times bestseller, and The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet, chronicling his experience at the center of the controversy over Pluto’s planetary status. The PBS/NOVA documentary The Pluto Files, based on the book, premiered in March 2010.

For five seasons, beginning in the fall of 2006, Tyson appeared as the on-camera host of PBS-NOVA’s spinoff program NOVA ScienceNOW, which is an accessible look at the frontier of all the science that shapes the understanding of our place in the universe.

During the summer of 2009 Tyson identified a stable of professional standup comedians to assist his effort in bringing science to commercial radio with the NSF-funded pilot program StarTalk. Now also a popular Podcast, and a limited-run television series on the National Geographic Channel, StarTalk combines celebrity guests with informative yet playful banter. The target audience is all those people who never thought they would, or could, like science.

In its first year on television it was nominated for a “Best Informational Programming” Emmy.

Tyson is the recipient of nineteen honorary doctorates and the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest award given by NASA to a non-government citizen. His contributions to the public appreciation of the cosmos have been recognized by the International Astronomical Union in their official naming of asteroid 13123 Tyson. On the lighter side, Tyson was voted Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive by People Magazine in 2000.

In February 2012, Tyson released his tenth book, containing every thought he has ever had on the past, present, and future of space exploration: Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.

Recently Tyson served as Executive Editor and on-camera host & narrator for Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, the 21st Century continuation of Carl Sagan’s landmark television series. The show began in March 2014 and ran thirteen episodes in prime time on the FOX network, and appeared in 181 countries in 45 languages around the world on the National Geographic Channels. Cosmos, which is also available in DVD and Blu-ray , won four Emmy Awards, a Peabody Award, two Critics Choice awards, as well as a dozen other industry recognitions.

Tyson is the fifth head of the world-renowned Hayden Planetarium in New York City and the first occupant of its Frederick P. Rose Directorship. He is also a research associate of the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History.

Neil deGrasse Tyson lives in New York City with his wife, a former IT Manager with Bloomberg Financial Markets, and their two kids.

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Fran Lebowitz

Wyly Theatre Friday, March 31 & Saturday, April 1 – 8 p.m.

Purveyor of urban cool, witty chronicler of the “me decade” and the cultural satirist whom many call the heir to Dorothy Parker, Fran Lebowitz remains one of the foremost advocates of the Extreme Statement. She offers insights on timely issues such as gender, race, gay rights, and the media as well as her own pet peeves – including celebrity culture, tourists and strollers.

In a recent interview in the New York Observer, Ms. Lebowitz holds forth on NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “We don’t have time for Bloomberg… there are certain things that are in the public sphere and certain things that are in the private sphere… What people eat? It’s their own business. Bedbugs he should take care of. That’s a public health issue. Did you ever hear anyone say, ‘Do you like New York?’ ‘No, too salty.’”

Lebowitz on multiculturalism: “It’s pathetic. Of course the world is diverse. And the differences always express themselves. It’s much more important that you emphasize similarities… there is practically nobody willing to identify themselves as American anymore because everybody is too busy identifying themselves with the area of their lives in which they feel the most victimized.” On aging: “At a certain point, the worst picture taken of you when you are 25 is better than the best picture taken of you when you’re 45,” and “What everyone says when you turn 60 is, ‘It’s better than the alternative.’ If the only thing worse than being 60 is death, that’s pretty bad.”

That is Fran Lebowitz off the cuff. Her writing — pointed, taut and economical — is equally forthright, irascible, and unapologetically opinionated. Fran Lebowitz’s first two classic books of essays, Metropolitan Life and Social Studies, have been collected in the Fran Lebowitz Reader. She is also the author of the children’s book, Mr. Chas and Lisa Sue Meet the Pandas. A documentary film about Fran Lebowitz, Public Speaking, directed by Martin Scorsese, premiered on HBO in November 2010.

 

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Stories from Lake Wobegon featuring Garrison Keillor

Winspear Opera House Tuesday, May 9 – 8 p.m.

One of the most prolific American storytellers of all time, Garrison Keillor is a writer and humorist best known for his popular live radio variety show, A Prairie Home Companion, which attracts more than 4 million listeners on more than 600 public radio stations each week.

Keillor is also the host of the daily radio and online program, The Writers Almanac, and the editor of several anthologies of poetry, most recently, Good Poems: American Places. A best-selling author, he has published more than two dozen books, including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Pilgrims, Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny, and Homegrown Democrat. In 2006, Keillor played himself alongside a cast that included Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin and Kevin Kline, in the critically acclaimed film adaptation of A Prairie Home Companion, directed by Robert Altman.

With Grammy, ACE, and George Foster Peabody awards, Keillor has also been honored with the National Humanities Medal, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Offering insight and stories from his journey as one of America’s greatest storytellers, Keillor captivates audiences with his unique blend of comedy, charisma and wisdom.

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An Evening with Neil Gaiman 

Winspear Opera House Friday, July 7 – 7:30 p.m.

“I make things up and write them down” is the way Neil Gaiman describes his varied art. Today, as one of the most celebrated writers of our time, his popular and critically acclaimed works bend genres while reaching audiences of all ages. Gaiman’s bestselling contemporary fantasy novel, American Gods, took the Hugo, Nebula, Bram Stoker, and Locus awards—as did his bestselling young adult story, Coraline.

Another children’s novel, The Graveyard Book, is the only work to win both the Newbery (US) and Carnegie (UK) Medals – awarded by librarians for the most prestigious contribution to children’s literature. Gaiman’s groundbreaking Sandman comics, which has garnered a large number of accolades including nine Eisner Awards, was described by Stephen King as having turned graphic novels into “art.” Hailed by the Los Angeles Times as the greatest epic in the history of the form, an issue of Sandman was the first comic book to receive literary recognition, the World Fantasy Award for Best Short Story. Two of Gaiman’s speeches have gone viral. One of them, “Make Good Art,” an inspiring commencement address from 2012, received 1.5 million views (Vimeo and YouTube), and proved so popular it was released as a book illustrated and designed by Chip Kidd. In 2011, Gaiman’s script for an episode of Doctor Who led The Times of London to describe him as “a hero.” Indeed, Gaiman is an adventuresome creator—not only of fiction and comics, but also of screenplays, song lyrics, poetry, journalism, and multimedia works. He turned his novelette “The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” into a performance that was a synchronized mix of music, art, and storytelling. It debuted at the Sydney Opera House in 2010 and toured the US and UK in 2014, including an appearance at Carnegie Hall.

Gaiman is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty books. His works for adults include Neverwhere (broadcast as a BBC radio adaptation starring Benedict Cumberbatch); Anansi Boys; Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett); and the short story collections Smoke and Mirrors and

Fragile Things. His novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, was described by The Guardian as “a book that summons both the powerlessness and wonder of childhood, and the complicated landscape of memory and forgetting.” It too was a #1 New York Times bestseller, and was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards. Coraline was adapted as a musical by Stephin Merritt in 2009. Other works for younger readers include The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish (illustrated by longtime collaborator Dave McKean); The Wolves in the Walls (made into an opera by the Scottish National Theatre); Odd and the Frost Giants (written for 2009’s World Book Day, illustrated by Brett Helquist); The Dangerous Alphabet (illustrated by Gris Grimly), and Fortunately the Milk, another bestseller.

Gaiman has appeared as himself on The Simpsons and an episode of Arthur, and has written for the hit television series Babylon 5. He has also penned screenplays for the original BBC TV series of Neverwhere; Dave McKean’s first feature film, “Mirrormask,” for the Jim Henson Company; and co-wrote (with Roger Avary) the script to Robert Zemeckis’s “Beowulf.” Other of Gaiman’s work has been adapted for film, television, and radio, including Stardust (starring Robert DeNiro and Michelle Pfeiffer); Coraline (an Academy Award nominee and the BAFTA winner for Best Animated Film); Sandman (currently in development as a major motion picture); and American Gods (a forthcoming television series). American Gods, was also the first selection of the One Book, One Twitter book club. In 2014 he published a new version of Hansel and Gretel illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti. Hansel & Gretel is a Kirkus Best Book of 2014. In 2015 he published a New York Times bestselling collection of short stories titled Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances, as well as a fairy-tale illustrated by UK Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell titled The Sleeper & the Spindle. His newest book is a collection of nonfiction titled The View from the Cheap Seats. He is currently working on a book titled Norse Mythology (February 2017 / WW Norton). In 2016 he will also release a new edition of Neverwhere illustrated by Chris Riddell.

A self-described “feral child who was raised in libraries,” Gaiman credits librarians with fostering a life-long love of reading. He is a passionate advocate for books and libraries, and a supporter and former board member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. His blog has more than a million regular readers, and more than two million people follow him on Twitter. Born in England, Gaiman lives in the United States and teaches at Bard College. He is married to artist/musician Amanda Palmer, with whom he sometimes performs. Neil Gaiman has been honored with numerous awards around the world. Altogether, he has received 4 Hugos, 2 Nebulas, 1 World Fantasy Award, 4 Bram Stoker Awards, 6 Locus Awards, 2 British SF Awards, 1 British Fantasy Award, 3 Geffens, 1 International Horror Guild Award, 2 Mythopoeic Awards, and 15 Eisner Awards. Other honors include the Shirley Jackson Award, Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Prize (for his body of work), Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Defender of Liberty award, and an Honorary Doctorate from the University of the Arts, one of the oldest American universities dedicated to the visual and performing arts and design.

 

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