Category Archives: Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“Acting is a nice childish profession — pretending you’re someone else and, at the same time, selling yourself.” — Katharine Hepburn

IMMORTAL

Quickie rec: David “Sonny” Lacks, son of Henrietta Lacks speaks at the Whittenberger Auditorium in the Indiana Memorial Union at 7pm.

He’s the son of Henrietta Lacks, who was the subject of Rebecca Skloot’s bestseller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” The story of Lacks mere brings to life issues of cancer, medical malpractice, stem cells, race, scientific research, individual dignity — you name it, the book has it.

Sonny Lacks will discuss his mother’s story and how it affected the Lacks family — as well as the rest of humanity — for generations to come. He’ll also sign copies of the book.

ACTORS AND THEIR SCALES

Just a thought: Why do Hollywood actors feel it imperative to lose or gain massive amounts of weight for the roles they play?

I understand it all has to do with what seems to be the illogical evolution of method acting. You know, the discipline that made Marlon Brando (or vice versa) some 60 years ago — live the role and be the part. I get it.

Brando, Getting Into A Part

That’s why pretty boys who are slated to star in cops and robbers dramas ride along with real police officers before shooting begins so that they can pretend they know what it’s like to to carry a badge.

The latest two stars who’ve turned themselves into broomsticks for their roles are Anne Hathaway and Matthew McConaughey, who are appearing in “Les Miserables” and “The Dallas Buyers Club,” respectively.

Hathaway & McConaughey, Sans Flesh

This trend goes at least as far back as 1979 when Robert De Niro was working on “Raging Bull.” He packed on approximately three-quarters of a ton of lard, the better to portray Jake LaMotta as a bloated 50-year-old.

A Meaty Role

De Niro won the Oscar for his portrayal but it wasn’t because he jammed cream puffs into his face for several months before production began. De Niro arguably was the best actor of his generation. He’d have won the Academy Award if he’d never even touched a bag of Cheetos®.

Now, Hathaway and McConaughey are capable actors, although neither breathes De Niro’s rarified air. I’m willing to bet they’d be convincing in their parts no matter what size their waistlines are.

A lot of this has to do with what we like to think of as reality. In a nation where significant portions of the population believe in angels, UFOs, ghosts, and three-year-old kids going to heaven and coming back to tell about it, yet don’t believe in man-made climate change, the movie-going public demands “realism” in its entertainment. We’re all mixed up.

So, I suppose Hollywood actors are giving us what we want. Which is heaping piles of bullshit.

It reminds me of a famous, if apocryphal, bit of acting advice offered by Laurence Olivier to Dustin Hoffman, his costar in “The Marathon Man.” Hoffman, the story goes, stayed awake and ran himself ragged for several days before shooting a key scene. Olivier asked him why he was putting himself through hell. Hoffman replied that he wanted to be convincing.

“Try acting, dear boy,” Olivier said. “It’s much easier.”

To Which Hoffman Replied….

SPEAKING OF BRATS GOING TO HEAVEN

How many times do I have to harp on this, people?

The latest New York Times Non-Fiction Trade Paperback Bestseller list is topped by “Proof of Heaven,” and “Heaven Is for Real.” Again.

The Burpos, On Earth

It’s the second week in a row the two fever dream retellings have ranked one and two on the list. (And let’s leave aside the obvious problem: These books are not nonfiction.)

What’s going on? Are the fundamentalist Christians who voted against Barack Obama trying to console themselves by fantasizing about a fab afterlife?

And another thing. What’s with the debate team topic titles? Are these people trying to convince us?

Or themselves?

HEAVENLY CRASH

Here’s a trivia bit that’ll make you a hit at the next holiday party.

The following bands and acts have recorded songs entitled, simply, “Heaven”:

  • All Saints (natch)
  • Better Than Ezra
  • Bryan Adams
  • Carly Simon
  • Hanson
  • Ice Cube
  • Jamie Foxx
  • Joan Armatrading
  • John Legend
  • Psychedelic Furs
  • Simply Red
  • Suicidal Tendencies
  • Talking Heads
  • The Rascals
  • The Rolling Stones

Heaven?

  • Uncle Kracker
  • Warrant

Want more? Okay. Here’s a list of selected movies with the word heaven in the title:

  • “Kingdom of Heaven”
  • “Just Like Heaven”
  • “Between Heaven and Earth”
  • “Pennies from Heaven”
  • “Days of Heaven”
  • “Heaven and Earth”

  • “All Dogs Go to Heaven”
  • “Far from Heaven”
  • “Heaven Can Wait”
  • “Heaven Only Knows”
  • “Heaven with a Gun”
  • “Heaven”
  • “My Blue Heaven”
  • “Back Door to Heaven”
  • “7th Heaven”
  • “Gates of Heaven”
  • “Chance at Heaven”
  • “All This and Heaven, Too”
  • “East Side of Heaven”
  • “Heaven Is a Playground”
  • “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison”

What Could Steve Martin Have Been Thinking?

Believe it or not, some of these films are good. Many of them, though, are dogs. Perhaps the bow-wow-iest is “My Blue Heaven” in which Steve Martin tries to play a “Goodfellas”-type mobster for laughs. I love Steve Martin but he made his biggest mistake by simply opening up this script.

The only events listings you need in Bloomington.

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallGuest Recital: Jonathan Biggers on organ; 12:15pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Art MuseumNoon Talk Series: “The Light Fantastic,” Presented by Rob Shakespeare; 12:15-1:15pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallArtist Diploma Recital: Nathan Giem on violin; 5pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World Cultures — “Posters from the Revolution: The Anthropology of Graphic Arts in Cuba,” Gerrie Casey talks about her collection; 5pm

WORKSHOP ◗ Monroe County Public Library, Auditorium — “Serve IT: Get Engaged!” Program to help non-profits use social media; 5:30pm

LECTURE ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallSchool of Music Lecture Series: Steven Zohn on “Norality, German Cultural Identity, and Telemann’s Faithful Music Master“; 5:30pm

ASTRONOMY ◗ IU Kirkwood ObservatoryOpen house, Public viewing through the main telescope; 6:30pm

DISCUSSION ◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger AuditoriumDavid Lacks, son of Henrietta Lacks (subject of the bestseller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”), speaks about his family’s experiences; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ Bloomington High School NorthFall Concert, Performed by the BHSN Concert Bands; 7-8:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Cinema — SOLD OUT: “On the Road“; 7pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts Center Recital HallSenior Recital: Anastasia Falasca on violin; 7pm

PERFORMANCE ◗ Unity of Bloomington ChurchAuditions & rehearsal for Bloomington Peace Choir; 7-8:30pm

ROUNDTABLE ◗ IU Ballantine Hall — “Elections 2012: What Went Right, What Went Wrong, and Where To From Here?“; 7:15pm

STAGE ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron Center, in the Rose FirebayDrama, “The Rimers of Eldritch“; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The Player’s PubAfro Hoosier International; 7:30pm

FILM ◗ IU Woodburn HallMedieval Studies Movie Series: “Ostrov (The Island)“; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ Max’s PlaceOpen mic; 7:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Musical Arts CenterSymphony Orchestra, David Effron, conductor, Gulrukh Shakirova, piano; 8pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Auer HallContemporary Vocal Ensemble, Dominick DiOria, conductor, Mason Copeland, organ; 8pm

DANCING ◗ Harmony SchoolContra dancing; 8-10:30pm

MUSIC ◗ IU Ford-Crawford HallDoctoral Recital: Daniel Bubeck, countertenor; 8:30pm

MUSIC ◗ The BluebirdThe Personnel; 9pm

MUSIC ◗ The BishopMaserati, The Young, Majeure; 9:30pm

ONGOING:

ART ◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “Paragons of Filial Piety,” by Utagawa Kuniyoshi; through December 31st
  • “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers,” by Julia Margaret, Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan; through December 31st
  • French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century;” through December 31st
  • Celebration of Cuban Art & Film: Pop-art by Joe Tilson; through December 31st
  • Threads of Love: Baby Carriers from China’s Minority Nationalities“; through December 23rd
  • Workers of the World, Unite!” through December 31st
  • Embracing Nature,” by Barry Gealt; through December 23rd
  • Pioneers & Exiles: German Expressionism,” through December 23rd

ART ◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits through December 1st:

  • “Essentially Human,” By William Fillmore
  • “Two Sides to Every Story,” By Barry Barnes
  • “Horizons in Pencil and Wax,” By Carol Myers

ART ◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits through November 16th:

  • Buzz Spector: Off the Shelf
  • Small Is Big

ART ◗ IU Kinsey Institute GalleryExhibits through December 20th:

  • A Place Aside: Artists and Their Partners
  • Gender Expressions

ART ◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesExhibits:

  • “¡Cuba Si! Posters from the Revolution: 1960s and 1970s”
  • “From the Big Bang to the World Wide Web: The Origins of Everything”
  • “Thoughts, Things, and Theories… What Is Culture?”
  • “Picturing Archaeology”
  • “Personal Accents: Accessories from Around the World”
  • “Blended Harmonies: Music and Religion in Nepal”
  • “The Day in Its Color: A Hoosier Photographer’s Journey through Mid-century America”
  • “TOYing with Ideas”
  • “Living Heritage: Performing Arts of Southeast Asia”
  • “On a Wing and a Prayer”

BOOKS ◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibits:

  • The War of 1812 in the Collections of the Lilly Library“; through December 15th
  • A World of Puzzles,” selections from the Slocum Puzzle Collection

ARTIFACTS ◗ Monroe County History CenterExhibits:

  • Doctors & Dentists: A Look into the Monroe County Medical Professions
  • What Is Your Quilting Story?
  • Garden Glamour: Floral Fashion Frenzy
  • Bloomington Then & Now
  • World War II Uniforms
  • Limestone Industry in Monroe County

The Ryder & The Electron Pencil. All Bloomington. All the time.

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“The agenda of the Republican Party is to limit access to health care services. It’s to deny women equal pay for equal work. It’s to cut funding for Planned Parenthood. And it’s to select as a vice presidential nominee someone who co-sponsored legislation with Representative [Todd] Akin to redefine ‘rape’.” — Elizabeth Warren

KEEP TALKING, WOMAN!

Quite frankly, I haven’t had enough of Elizabeth Warren, candidate for the US Senate from Massachusetts. So here’s more:

FREE SPEECH

Here are some of the guests speakers at IU this fall, straight from the Themester announcement page:

  • Werner Herzog, filmmaker — Friday, September 14th
  • Chaz Bono, LGBTQ activist — Wednesday October 4th
  • Robert Gibbs, former White House press secretary, & Karl Rove, Republican political strategist — Thursday, October 16th
  • David Lacks, son of the subject of the bestseller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” — Wednesday, November 14th

Rove

All are open to the public.

ORAL ARGUMENTS

Have you checked your state’s statutes recently?

If not, you may find that you broke the law last night. Or this morning. Or even as you read this.

That’s because as many as 18 of these great United States have laws on the books banning the catch-all “sodomy,” which includes the giving and receiving of fellatio and cunnilingus.

So the next time you hear the phrase, “Pitchers and catchers report,” it might not mean baseball spring training is about to begin. It may mean you’d better start packing your toothbrush for an extended stay in your state’s correctional inn.

Enjoy Your Stay!

Teehee — I’ll bet there’s a mad dash of Pencillistas doing Google searches right now.

LOVE TO LOVE YOU, BABY

Something for you to listen to while you flout the laws of this holy land.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present/&/CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bear’s PlaceAl Cobine Big Band; 5:30pm

Malibu GrillSteve Johnson Trio; 6-9pm

Rachael’s CafeRick Hornyak; 7pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Silver Bullets”; 7pm

◗ IU Neal-Marshall Black Culture CenterAuditions Soul Revue; 7pm

The Player’s PubOpen mic, hosted my Martina Samm; 8pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “The Avengers”; 8pm

Serendipity Martini BarTeam trivia; 8:30pm

The BluebirdThree Story Hill; 9pm

Max’s PlaceStuttering Ducks; 9pm

The BishopPsychic Twin, Brownie Mountain; 9:30pm

Max’s Place220 Breakers; 10pm

◗ IU Memorial Union, Whittenberger Auditorium — UB Films: “The Avengers”; 11pm

Max’s PlaceFifth on the Floor; 11pm

ONGOING

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th

  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

The Pencil Today:

THE QUOTE

“In science, ‘fact’ can only mean ‘confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent.’ I suppose that means apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.” — Stephen Jay Gould

COSTELLO’S WORLD

Soma Coffee may not be the next Starbuck’s but owner Bob Costello has opened up his second location in Bloomington this week.

Soma World Headquarters

Throwing the doors open Monday, the new Soma at 3rd and Jordan looks to draw students who’ll walk across the street from the IU campus. Just don’t try parking there.

Costello’s empire now includes the original Soma and the Laughing Planet Cafe at Kirkwood and Grant and the Village Deli just around the corner.

Speaking of Soma, some habitués have begun to play euchre there every Saturday morning. Steve Llewellyn has dubbed them the Euchre-ists.

THEY’LL BLIND US WITH SCIENCE

After a fit and a start or two, Bloomington’s Science Cafe returns to life Wednesday, September 12th.

Alex Straiker and his colleague at IU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, Jim Wager-Miller, have at last got the ball rolling for the weekly series of lectures and discussions open to the public on any and all areas of science.

Our town’s original Science Cafe was started by Erika Biga Lee but she found herself too busy to run the show after a while. Straiker worked under her while the Cafe’s first incarnation was still up and running.

Rachael’s Cafe will be the home of the new version, every Wednesday evening at 6:30.

BTW: Straiker points out another big science event on campus this fall. The son of Henrietta Lacks will visit IU November 14th to talk about the part of his mother, who died more than 60 years ago, that’s still alive.

Henrietta Lacks

Lacks died of cervical cancer in 1951. Cells from the growth were cultured to produce the HeLa Cell Line which has been used by scientists for research since then. In fact, Straiker says his gang over at the IU brain lab have used some of those cells in their own work. Lacks’ story got plenty of pub when the book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” became a New York Times best seller. The book was published two years ago but still ranks No. 2 on the NYT paperback nonfiction list.

Details are still being worked out for David Lacks’ appearance here. Stay tuned to the IUB Themester Facebook page for more info.

AILUROPHOBIA

My fave part of the Pussy Riot story?

Pussy Riot

Imagining the mental gymnastics previously staid radio and TV newscasters have to go through to say the words Pussy Riot without falling to pieces.

They redeem their decorum by stating the girl band has been found guilty of hooliganism. I bet they want to repeat the word hooliganism over and over again, just to wash the taste of Pussy Riot out of their mouths.

IN THE NOT-TOO DISTANT FUTURE…

The theme song from one of my fave TV shows of all time, Mystery Science Theater 3000.

Here’s how I waste my time. How about you? Share your fave sites with us via the comments section. Just type in the name of the site, not the url; we’ll find them. If we like them, we’ll include them — if not, we’ll ignore them.

I Love ChartsLife as seen through charts.

XKCD — “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language.”

SkepchickWomen scientists look at the world and the universe.

IndexedAll the answers in graph form, on index cards.

I Fucking Love ScienceA Facebook community of science geeks.

Present & CorrectFun, compelling, gorgeous and/or scary graphic designs and visual creations throughout the years and from all over the world.

Flip Flop Fly BallBaseball as seen through infographics, haikus, song lyrics, and other odd communications devices.

Mental FlossFacts.

The UniverseA Facebook community of astrophysics and astronomy geeks.

SodaplayCreate your own models or play with other people’s models.

Eat Sleep DrawAn endless stream of artwork submitted by an endless stream of people.

Big ThinkTapping the brains of notable intellectuals for their opinions, predictions, and diagnoses.

The Daily PuppySo shoot me.

Electron Pencil event listings: Music, art, movies, lectures, parties, receptions, games, benefits, plays, meetings, fairs, conspiracies, rituals, etc.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ivy Tech-BloomingtonCenterstone Breakfast Learning Series: Social worker Marsha Carr leads a workshop on Youth with Sexually Maladaptive Behaviors; 8am

Brown County Art Guild, Nashville — Author James Capshew remembers Herman B. Wells; 6-8pm

The Venue Fine Arts & GiftsOpening reception: “The Art of the Horse” by Della Wood; 6pm

Tibetan Mongolian Buddhist Cultural CenterAni Choekye leads a workshop on Goals and How to Avoid Them; 6:30pm

◗ IU Fine Arts Theater — Ryder Film Series, “The Well Digger’s Daughter”; 6:45pm

◗ IU CinemaFilm: “Beasts of the Southern Wild”; 7pm

◗ IU Wells-Metz TheatreDrama, “Solana”; 7:30pm

◗ IU Bill Armstrong StadiumHoosier women’s soccer vs. Arkansas State; 7:30pm

Oliver WineryTunes on the Terrace: Tad Robinson; 7pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Whiskey Mystic; 7-9pm

◗ IU Woodburn Hall Theater — Ryder Film Series, “The Pigeoneers”; 8pm

Bear’s PlaceColonel Angus; 8pm

Cafe DjangoNate Johnson & the Keepers CD release party; 8pm

The Comedy AtticNick Griffin; 8pm

Bryan ParkRyder Film Series, Movies in the Park: “The Wizard of Oz”; 8pm

Max’s PlaceThe Hot Karls; 8-10pm

◗ IU Memorial UnionUB Films: “The Hunger Games”; 8pm

◗ IU Fine Arts Theater — Ryder Film Series, “Polisse”; 8:45pm

The BluebirdCorey Smith; 9pm

Muddy Boots Cafe, Nashville — Kade Puckett; 9:30-11:30pm

Max’s PlaceMoor and the Northmen; 10pm

The BishopGuardian Alien, You’re a Liar; 10pm

The Comedy AtticNick Griffin; 10:30pm

ONGOING:

◗ Ivy Tech Waldron CenterExhibits:

  • “40 Years of Artists from Pygmalion’s”; through September 1st

◗ IU Art MuseumExhibits:

  • “A Tribute to William Zimmerman,” wildlife artist; through September 9th

  • Willi Baumeister, “Baumeister in Print”; through September 9th

  • Annibale and Agostino Carracci, “The Bolognese School”; through September 16th

  • “Contemporary Explorations: Paintings by Contemporary Native American Artists”; through October 14th

  • David Hockney, “New Acquisitions”; through October 21st

  • Utagawa Kuniyoshi, “Paragons of Filial Piety”; through fall semester 2012

  • Julia Margaret Cameron, Edward Weston, & Harry Callahan, “Intimate Models: Photographs of Husbands, Wives, and Lovers”; through December 31st

  • “French Printmaking in the Seventeenth Century”; through December 31st

◗ IU SoFA Grunwald GalleryExhibits:

  • Coming — Media Life; August 24th through September 15th

  • Coming — Axe of Vengeance: Ghanaian Film Posters and Film Viewing Culture; August 24th through September 15th

◗ IU Kinsey Institute Gallery“Ephemeral Ink: Selections of Tattoo Art from the Kinsey Institute Collection”; through September 21st

◗ IU Lilly LibraryExhibit, “Translating the Canon: Building Special Collections in the 21st Century”; through September 1st

◗ IU Mathers Museum of World CulturesClosed for semester break, reopens Tuesday, August 21st

Monroe County History CenterPhoto exhibit, “Bloomington: Then and Now” by Bloomington Fading; through October 27th

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