Mark Twain in the West

Friday, May 13, 2005

Mark Twain’s Adventures Out West

Through songs and monologues Jim Post interprets Mark Twain’s life and writing during his travels West. Drawn in part from the book Roughing It, Post’s original one-man show recounts Twain’s 1862 trip into the untamed American West. The portrayal shows Twain not only as a profound and caustic thinker, but a global charmer and influence peddler. Jim Post’s performance has been lauded by theChicago Tribune for “stay[ing] away from the usual sardonic characterization, offering instead a well-meaning, exuberant and flailing Twain with a clear tenor and not much irony.”

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Mark Twain Roughin’ It

Lecture : Mark Twain’s San Francisco
San Francisco in 1865 was a rustic metropolis, built from a combination of wealth and rugged individualism. Bernard Taper, author of Mark Twain in San Francisco, will discuss the Barbary Coast of the 1860s and the luminaries that Twain interacted with during his time on the Bay.

Lecture: Recent Discoveries from the Archives

As the largest recipient of Twain writings from recently archived collections throughout the US, the Mark Twain Papers & Project has embarked upon the large task of examining and publishing new Twain journals. The Project’s General Editor Robert Hirst will touch upon the importance of their most recent findings.


A short collection of Twain writings from his time on the Pacific, including the famous Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, will be read by acclaimed Twain interpreter Jim Post.

Lecture: Mark Twain, the West, and the Genteel Tradition

Undoubtedly one of the most influential and outspoken writers of his, Mark Twain captured the sentiment of a new, post-Civil War nation. Gregory Camfield (University of the Pacific) will share the pivotal experiences of Mark Twain’s youth in the South and his time in Nevada, California and Hawaii and how his perspective on the national landscape influenced his later writings.

Panel Discussion

All participants join a panel discussion moderated by Robert Hirst.


Gregg Camfield, English, U of the Pacific

George Hammond, writer, Humanities West

Janet Smith Post, cello

Jim Post, Mark Twain interpreter

Forrest Robinson, American Studies, UC Santa Cruz


Beauty and Treasures of Imperial Beijing

Herbst Theatre, 401 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco

Moderator: Uldis Kruze, Professor of History, University of San Francisco

Friday, February 11, 2005

Dynastic China and the Forbidden City

Lecture: Legacy of Beauty: The Ming Dynasty
The Ming dynasty (1368-1644) was founded by a Han Chinese peasant and former Buddhist monk turned rebel army leader. The dynasty reached its zenith of power during the first quarter of the fifteenth century. Richard Vinograd (Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History, Stanford University) will explore the story of the empire through its greatest artistic achievements.

Performance: From Beijing Opera to Contemporary Legend
Dimensions Performing Arts will demonstrate and explain the key dance movement, make-up, and martial art elements of Peking Opera. Premiere Taiwanese performer Hsing Kuo Wu will perform a segment from his landmark work “Kingdom of Desire”, in addition to excerpts from the “Monkey King” and the “Riding Horse.”

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Beijing: Seat of Empire

Lecture: Religion and the Forbidden City under the Manchu Court

Famous worldwide for its striking architecture and precious collections of cultural and art objects, the imperial city is filled with royal secrets, scandals, romances and tragedies. Susan Naquin (East Asian Studies Department Chair and Professor of History, Princeton University) will explore the Forbidden City and its rulers.

Lecture: Imperial Rebuses: Hidden Meanings in the Decorative Arts of the Qing Dynasty

Porcelains, jades, and textiles made for the palace have specific meanings. Terese Tse Bartholomew (Curator of Himalayan Art and Chinese Decorative Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco) will discuss the typical blessings, such as good marriage, sons, wealth, and longevity, as well as those that symbolized bumper harvests and one long reign without end.

Performance & Demonstration

Local performer and educator Mary Dotter will give an explanation and demonstration of the art of traditional Chinese storytelling.

Lecture: Mandate of Heaven: The Forbidden City

The Forbidden City is not merely a seat of imperial power, but an instrument of its projection. Mary Scott (Professor, Department of Humanities, San Francisco State University) will discuss the Forbidden City’s overall orientation, the sequence of courts and halls, the private imperial family quarters, and the various service areas as a series of purposefully designed and inhabited ritual spaces.

Lecture: Beijing (Interrupted)

As a result of wars and invasions, there are few existing buildings in China predating the Ming dynasty (1368–1644). Jeffrey Riegel (Professor of Chinese, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, UC Berkeley) recently spent a year in Beijing working on recently excavated manuscripts and other early texts. He lived in an old house right outside the east gate of the Forbidden City, close to long-time Beijing residents. He will share insights from his studies and experiences of the dramatic changes taking place in the city.

Panel Discussion

Discussion with all participants moderated by Uldis Kruze. Written audience questions to be addressed.


Therese Tse Bartholomew, Curator, Himalayan Art, Asian Art Museum

Uldis Kruze, History, U of San Francisco

Susan Naquin, East Asian Studies, Princeton

Jeffrey Riegel, East Asian Languages, UC Berkeley

Mary Scott, History, San Francisco State University

Richard Vinograd, Asian Art, Stanford


Italian Gems: Urbino, Mantua, and Ferrara

Friday, October 15

A Tale of Three Cities

Lecture   Portraits of Power
From the patronage of the courts of the Gonzagas, Isabella D’Este and the Duke of Montefeltro came works by Bellini, Mantegna, and others. Joanna Woods Marsden (UCLA) will survey the court personalities and politics of the day through the portraiture of Pisanello, Mantegna, Piero della Francesca, and Titian.

Performance   A Night in Ferrara
A showcase of Renaissance madrigals from Ferrara will be performed by the six voice ensembleInQuire.

Rebirth in the Hills

Saturday, October 16

Lecture  Remote Grandeur: Works from the Studioli of Mantua, Ferrara and Urbino
As examples of a unique patrimony in Italian architecture and paintings, the buildings of Ugo Sissi and Giulio Romano and paintings of Dosso Dossi, Bellini and Titian were monumental for their time. In this lecture, Loren Partridge (Professor of Art History, UC Berkeley) will discuss Alfonso D’Este’s Camerino d’Alabastro and its paintings in the context of Renaissance studies (studioli) and their significance in respect to other cities, including that of Federigo da Montefeltro of Urbino.

Lecture  The Original Grand Tour: Exploration within Italian Universities
Heightened scientific exploration during the Renaissance yielded major progress in medicine and universal thought. From anatomy to genetics, from astronomy to physics, Paula Findlen (Co-Chair, Science, Technology and Society Program, and Ubaldo Pierotti Professor in Italian History, Stanford University) will outline how the Renaissance showed humankind’s potential to survey the world around them and how the universities of Italy were at the forefront of research and discovery.

The classic alta capella ensemble Alta Sonora performs on period instruments.

Lecture  Renaissance Politics off Center Stage
Around the region, Florence, Rome, and Venice were the dominant seats of power during the Renaissance, yet the courts of their neighbors had heavy hands in the politics of the day. Robert Harrison (Rosina Pierotti Professor in Italian Literature and Chair, Department of French & Italian, Stanford University) will examine court interplay through literary works by Ludovico Ariosto and Castiglione, among others.

Lecture  Behind the Scenes, Influential Renaissance Women
Despite the shrouds of public decorum, women of the Renaissance yielded power with the same purpose and authority as their male counterparts. Lisa Regan (Lecturer, UC Berkeley) will explore the lives of women in the courts and their infinite, including Isabella D’Este and Catherine De Medici.

Panel discussion with all participants


Paula Findlen, History, Stanford

Robert Harrison, Italian, Stanford

Loren Pardridge, Art History, UC Berkeley

Lisa Regan, Italian, UC Berkeley

Joanna Woods-Marsden, Italian Art, UCLA