The Colleges return with jam-packed events schedule

Moving vans containing modular furniture and dreams are once again appearing on the streets of Claremont, as hopeful college students get settled into their dorms for the 2018-2019 school year.

With the exception of Pomona College, which kicks things off next week, Claremont Colleges fall semester classes get underway the first week of September.

Every year Claremont as a whole benefits from the many mostly free lectures, concerts and other cultural happenings that take place throughout the nine campuses, and this year is no exception, with several thought-provoking events scheduled for the near future.

Among the highlights are Michael Brewster: The Shape of Sound, Acoustic Sculptures and Sonic Drawings at Claremont Graduate University’s East and Peggy Phelps Galleries from September 4 through September 28. A free and open to the public opening reception happens Sunday, September 9 from noon to 3 p.m. at the gallery, located at 251 E. 10th St., Claremont.

Combining one of the late artist and CGU professor’s acoustic sculptures, one of his sonic drawings, and several of his rarely exhibited design plans, this show premieres the range of his aesthetic practice. Also included in the exhibition is a timeline illustrating Mr. Brewster’s connections to other artists and his importance to the history of the arts. More info is at (909) 621-8071.

At 7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 5, Kamau Bobb, an authority in STEM education, will discuss the national challenge of establishing equity in education in a time of deep social and political divisions in a free and open lecture at Harvey Mudd College’s Shanahan Center, 320 E. Foothill Blvd., Claremont.

“The demand for a technical and talented workforce is increasing unabatedly,” a press release read. “Coincident with that demand, the demographics of the country are swiftly changing, never to return to what they once were. Mr. Bobb will address the tensions inherent in a social structure that is resistant to change and an economy that requires it.” More info is available at or via email at

Writer, editor, cultural historian and critic Greil Marcus is in town Thursday, September 13 for a free lecture as part of Pomona College’s Fail Better series, which will continue throughout the year. Mr. Marcus will speak on “How Failure Makes History” at 7 p.m. at Pomona’s Rose Hills Theatre, Smith Campus Center, at 170 E. Sixth St., Claremont.

The talk will be followed by a book signing. An editor and critic over the past five decades for Rolling Stone, Creem, the Village Voice and Pitchfork, Mr. Marcus is the author of Mystery Train: Images of American in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music, Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century, Like a Rolling Stone: Bob Dylan at the Crossroads and nearly two dozen other books. More information is at

Pitzer College’s MCSI Lecture series kicks off its season with a timely, free and open talk, “Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy” with Siva Vaidhyanathan from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Benson Auditorium, 1050 N. Mills Ave., Claremont.

Mr. Vaidhyanathan, the Robertson Professor of Modern Media Studies and Director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia, will explain how Facebook devolved from an innocent social site dreamt up by Harvard students into a force that, while it may make personal life just a little more pleasurable, makes democracy a lot more challenging.

Mr. Vaidhyanathan is the author most recently of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy, The Googlization of Everything—and Why We Should Worry and numerous additional books and articles. More info is available at

Pomona College Museum of Art, at 330 N. College Ave., Claremont, hosts Art After Hours events throughout the academic year. This year gets started Thursday, September 20 with a 7 p.m. screening of Seed: The Untold Story, followed by seed planting and succulent terrarium building in conjunction with the Sustainability Festival, co-sponsored by Pomona’s Sustainability Office, EcoReps and the Organic Farm. More info is at

The Claremont Colleges Library, 800 N. Dartmouth Ave., is hosting a festival celebrating and examining the work of renowned avant-garde composer John Cage (1912-1992) Monday, September 24 through Friday, September 28.

Mr. Cage attended Pomona College from 1928 to 1930, and is considered one of the most influential composers of the 20th Century. The culminating event takes place at 8 p.m.on  Friday, September 28 with a performance of Mr. Cage’s Electronic Music for Piano at Bridges Hall of Music, 150 E. Fourth St., Claremont.

Performing is an international group made up of British experimental/improvisational pianist Tania Chen; former Sonic Youth guitarist and songwriter Thurston Moore from New York; London College of Communication professor and member of minimalist 1970s pop group The Flying Lizards, David Toop; and Jon Leidecker, aka Wobbly, respected San Francisco experimental musician and composer.

The group will perform the one hour-plus Electronic Music for Piano, “a piece that contains all elements of what Mr. Cage envisioned with his work—the artist using technology to keep a piece of art current, revealing and astounding,” a press release read.

COURIER readers can expect to see a whole lot more of what the Colleges will be up to in the arts and humanities in the coming months. It promises to be another fascinating and culturally rich year.

For a look at what’s in store, click over to the Colleges’ master calendar at

—Mick Rhodes


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