Arts Around Town

Arts Around Town: Fuller's inventions, contributions subject of exhibition

A survey of Buckminster Fuller's most important inventions and cultural contributions is the subject of a new exhibition opening Friday at the Williams Center Gallery of Lafayette College in Easton. Although Fuller's most architecturally iconic invention that many of us are familiar with is the geodesic dome, his ability to think across disciplines – connecting the worlds of science, engineering, architecture, environmental design and art – was an equally important and lasting contribution. Fuller (1895-1983), concerned about economic sustainability, integrated energy and material efficiency in his designs.

"Buckminster Fuller: Architect, Engineer, Inventor, Artist" will run through November 19 at the Williams Center for the Arts, 317 Hamilton Street, Easton. It centers on the Inventions print portfolio – a collection of Fuller's key patents, including the 4D house, the Dymaxion car, and the geodesic dome, plus the Dymaxion Air Ocean world map, his radical reimagining of the way we draw the map of the world; extensive archival material, including documentary films; his rowing needle, a 21-foot catamaran with twin hulls, which he designed for use in choppy waters off the island in Maine where he resided; Closest Packing of Spheres, 1980, and the spectacular duo-tet star polyhedras, 1980.

Work in the exhibition is on loan from Carl Solway, Cincinnati, Ohio, who worked with Fuller to realize many of his projects and who generously assisted in organizing the exhibition at Lafayette College.

In the summers of 1948 and 1949, Fuller taught at the legendary Black Mountain College in North Carolina, where he met John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Robert Rauschenberg and other artists and writers who would influence his thinking and who he would, in turn, influence greatly.

One of Fuller's students, Thomas T.K. Zung, will present a lecture, "The Dymaxion World of Buckminster Fuller," on September 14 at 4:15 p.m., at the Williams Center for the Arts. Zung was a student of Fuller and, with Fuller's Synergetics Inc., designed the elongated geodesic dome in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1968. He has worked on various geodesic domes, including the Jitterbug sculpture, Tensegrities, the Fly-Eye's Dome, and Fuller's last invention, the Hang-It-All. Zung is the president of Buckminster Fuller, Sadao, and Jung and serves as a board member of the Buckminster Fuller Institute.

Following the talk, a reception with Zung will feature a book-signing of "Buckminster Fuller, Anthology for the Millennium," a volume Zung edited and which was originally published as "Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for the New Millennium." Zung updated the volume of chapters from Fuller's many books, each chapter introduced by such notables as Arthur C. Clarke, Steve Forbes, Valerie Harper, and Calvin Tomkins. The revised edition, which includes images omitted from the first edition, reflects a culture that has changed with time, much of that change predicted by Fuller.

Footnote: How can we be effective in making the world work for everyone? What must be done to get the planet to work? These were conversations that philosopher Buckminster "Bucky" Fuller, dedicated to humankind, made before packed houses in major cities throughout the country in the late 1970s, sponsored by the Werner Erhard (est) Foundation. All proceeds went to support the work of Fuller. I had the opportunity to cover one of these daylong conversations, "One and One Make Three," at Radio City Music Hall in New York City in 1979 when I was working at a New Jersey daily. We all listened, questioned and interacted with Fuller and Erhard and found out how we, as individuals, could make an impact on our community, society and world.

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Actress, comedian and Nazareth, Northampton County, native Kate Micucci will host two special screenings and talkbacks of her new film, "Unleashed," on September 9 at 5:30 and 8 p.m., at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks' Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas in Bethlehem. Following the screenings, Micucci will answer questions about the film and her work.

"Unleashed" tells the story of Micucci's 'Emma,' described as a brilliant but awkward app designer who moves to San Francisco after a massive betrayal by her boyfriend, with only her beloved pets, an adorable cat and an energetic mutt in tow. One night, drawn by the light of a super moon, Emma's pets escape into the night and are transformed into full-grown men, forcing Emma to reconsider her outlook on dating and hilariously work out her trust issues.

The film also stars Steve Howey and Justin Chatwin, both of the Showtime series, "Shameless."

Micucci is best known for her critically-acclaimed film, "Don't Think Twice," and her work with partner Riki Lindhome in the comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates. She started her career at Upright Citizens Brigade theater in Los Angeles and has appeared on TV's "Raising Hope," "Scrubs," "The Big Bang Theory," and "Steven Universe."

"Unleashed" will open September 8 at the ArtsQuest Center and continue through September 14. The film was named audience favorite at the 2016 Mill Valley Film Festival in San Rafael, California, and winner of the Linny and Beall Fowler Audience Award and best narrative feature film award at Bethlehem's own 2017 SouthSide Film Festival.

Also at Frank Banko Alehouse Cinemas: Pink Floyd fans will have a one-night-only opportunity to take part in the worldwide screening of David Gilmour's "Live at Pompeii" on September 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Filmed by director Gavin Elder during the famed guitarist's two July 2016 concerts in the ancient Pompeii Amphitheater, "Live at Pompeii" collects highlights from both shows to present a career-spanning set that revisits Floyd favorites as well as Gilmour's solo work. The film features lasers, pyrotechnics, and a huge circular screen on which specially-created films complement selected songs.

The July 2016 concerts came 45 years after Gilmour first played at Pompeii Amphitheater for Adrian Maben's classic film, "Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii." The 2016 concerts were the first-ever rock performances played to an audience in the ancient Roman amphitheater (there was no audience for the Pink Floyd filming). Gilmour is the only performer to play to an audience in the arena since the time of the gladiators, almost 2,000 years ago.

At the Musikfest Café: Actor and singer Matthew Morrison will perform on September 7 at 8 p.m. Nominated for Tony, Emmy and Golden Globe awards, Morrison has appeared in numerous Broadway musicals, including "Footloose," "Hairspray," "South Pacific," and most recently, "Finding Neverland." He also appeared as Mr. Schuester in FOX's musical comedy series, "Glee." Morrison's show in Bethlehem will feature Broadway standards along with a backing band.

Comedian, actor and Emmy Award-nominated writer Rob Schneider will perform on October 5 at 8 p.m. He worked on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" as a writer and actor creating such characters as "copy machine guy." Schneider recently starred in the film, "The Ridiculous Six," with Adam Sandler. He currently stars in the Netflix series, "Real Rob."

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If you want to learn about art deco in the Lehigh Valley, the Sigal Museum, 342 Northampton Street, Easton, has a new exhibition on the emergence of art deco style in the valley and the social and cultural environment of the 1920s and 1930s. It's titled "The Cat's Meow: Lehigh Valley in the Age of Art Deco & the Roaring Twenties," opening September 9.

The exhibition is divided into sections, including a prologue which outlines the after-effects of World War I, when European artists in opposition to the absurdity and tragedies of the war brought forth new artistic ideas that set the stage for the stylistic components of art deco. From 1890-1910, the art nouveau ("new art") aesthetic was embraced by well-to-do Europeans. Traditional "academic" art was rejected and replaced by sharp geometric designs, straight lines, and rare expensive materials – the pinnacles of luxury. A mechanizing world came about in the 1920s, with the valley as one of the top producers of silk in the world and Bethlehem Steel as the second leading producer of steel in the entire nation with its products used in the construction of major bridges in the country.

The era of modern design shows the art deco style as an expression of an industrial society. Building forms were streamlined and simple with decorative ornamentation. Zigzags, geometric designs, and stylized floral motifs were created with glazed bricks, mosaic tiles, or metal. Tile and glass were predominant materials. Local art deco architecture in the valley includes Bank Street Annex, Mayer Building, and Verizon Building in Easton; Hotel Bethlehem, and Bethlehem Armory in Bethlehem; Roxy Theatre in Northampton; Lehigh Valley Dairy (late deco) in Whitehall Township, and PPL Building, Civic Theatre, and Allentown Post Office in Allentown.

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Pennridge Gallery of the Arts marks its 49th year as a juried art show, craft exhibit, and sale on September 17 from noon to 5 p.m., along Main Street in Sellersville, Bucks County.

There will be a children’s area with live animals, art station, tie-dye demonstration, balloon-shaping clowns, karate and Irish dance demonstrations, and live music.

A new feature is Art in the Parlours at The Washington House Hotel and Restaurant, where unique pieces of art from Bucks County’s finest artists will be judged in their own category.

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