On Saturday evening, Phish drummer and standing Lincolnville, ME selectman Jon Fishman made an appearance on Bangor, Maine-based late-night talk show, The Nite Show with Danny Cashman. After being introduced by the show’s host, Danny Cashman, Fishman strolled out to the desk as the house band played an instrumental snippet of Phish’s “Bouncing Around The Room”.The interview began with a discussion of Phish’s connection to Maine, from small club shows years ago to large festivals like The Great Went, Lemonwheel, and It. As Fishman explained, “It’s my home now. And the memories from the festivals are incredible. It’s been funny, since moving here, I realize that the whole state knows our band probably more than our home state of Vermont, because people would say ‘oh you’re that band…we couldn’t get beer for a week!’ It’s funny, most of the people I’ve met who know of us, it’s not because they listen to the music. They know about it from that situation.”Fishman also discussed what his role is like as a town selectman.”It’s like you’re a parent for a town…and everyone’s a teenager.” he laughed. “But I do love it. It’s a great way to get to know your town, it’s truly public service, and it’s humbling in that way. It’s good.” Cashman then asked about Fishman’s previous political experience, leading into the topic of his outspoken support of Bernie Sanders for president in 2016:As you might know, and as probably people have criticized me for [laughs], I was a huge supporter of Bernie Sanders in the last election. I was asked by the Sanders people to participate in getting people signed up to vote, so I got out there and did that as much as I could.Fishman also spoke about his busy schedule of music-based campaign events for Sanders. As he noted, “I had this one great day, I sat in with, I think, 9 bands in 12 hours from Portland to Fort Kent. It was a whole big sit-in, and to get people to sign up. I met a lot of musicians in Maine that day.” When Cashman commented on the potentially fraught relationship between the divisive nature of politics and the unifying nature of music, Fishman explained:That is exactly the reason that the band I’m in [Phish] doesn’t get into the political arena. Amongst my bandmates, there’s always been a debate about this. I’m kind of the activist in the group, although everybody is pretty active in their own, private ways. … I really wanted to do a Bernie Sanders benefit, but the band [said] exactly what you said: ‘Politics are divisive, and music is supposed to bring people together.’ There has to be a place for art for the sake of art. And I agree with that as well. And so, as a little mini-democracy that the band is, I’m the odd man out there [laughs]. But it’s okay because I do agree with that sentiment at its heart.Diving further into Phish, Cashman asked if Jon still felt excitement at toward their upcoming tour, even after all these years. “Yea, now more than ever,” Fish responded. “I’m 53 years old and I feel like I’m actually starting to get good.” He continued, after pausing for laughs:No, seriously, I’m starting to really break ground into areas of drumming that I haven’t heard from other people yet. And the band, I think, is starting to… We broke up from ’04–’09, and it took us some years to get back [to] where we left off. And I feel like we’re starting to get into new levels of listening and improvisational abilities and stuff that surpass where we left off in ’04, and it’s very exciting.When asked about his favorite style of music to play, he responded, as he has previously, by quoting James “Blood” Ulmer—”Jazz is the teacher, funk is the preacher, and one without the other you have nothing but the blues.”Finally, Fishman got to the political meat of his appearance, campaigning for public support of ranked-choice voting, which allows voters to rank their candidates in the order in which they would want them. The people of Maine have voted “yes” on the issue of keeping ranked-choice voting permanently multiple times, but the legislature continues to impede its implementation, calling new ballot referenda. As Fishman explains ranked-choice, “Rather than going and voting out of fear against the thing you’re scared of, you can vote for what you want and not be afraid that if that person doesn’t get elected, they will be a pariah or a vote-splitter…that you voting for someone you want causes something you don’t want.”You can watch all three released clips from Jon Fishman’s appearance on The Nite Show below via TheNiteShowMaine on YouTube:Opening Segment, Jon Fishman on Being in MaineNite Show Highlight: Jon Fishman on Phish Upcoming TourJon Fishman On Ranked Choice Voting[H/T Jambase]
Today, Lettuce has given their fans something funky to get excited about: a full pro-shot video of their October 31st, 2017 performance at Asheville, NC’s New Mountain Theater. The performance marked the final show on their extended fall tour and saw the band work a Halloween-appropriate jam on the Stranger Things theme song into their mid-set “Trap”. You can watch a pro-shot video of the performance below (video by Barry2theB):Lettuce – Asheville, NC – 10/31/17 [Pro-Shot][Video: LettuceFunk]Setlist: Lettuce | New Mountain Theater | Asheville, NC | 10/31/17Set: Requiem, Blaze, Prince SMNZ, Trillogy, 116th St., House U, By Any Shmeeans Necessary, Ready To Live, Trap > Stranger Things Theme > Trap, Chief It Up, Purple Cabbage, Sounds Like A Party To Me, SquadliveLettuce is set to perform on Friday, May 25th at Summer Camp Music Festival, followed by performances at Candler Park Music Festival in Atlanta, GA (Friday, June 1st) and Purple Hatter‘s Ball at the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park in Live Oak, FL (Saturday, June 2nd). The following weekend (Friday, June 8th), Lettuce will return to Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison Colorado for their annual Rage Rocks celebration, this year with co-headliners The Floozies and support acts JAW GEMS and The Funk Hunters.Following a run of dates in the Northeast from June 20th–23rd, Lettuce will begin their intimate residency at the iconic Blue Note Jazz Club in New York City’s West Village. The residency will see the band play multiple separately-ticketed shows per night over the course of 5 nights, with a total of 12 sets planned in all.For a full list of Lettuce’s upcoming tour dates, head to the band website.
Now that the calamitous faux-festival has once again captured the public consciousness following a pair of recently released documentaries, Jorma Taccone has confirmed that the project is, indeed, still in the works.“Oh yeah,” Taccone tells The Daily Beast in a new interview. “I don’t want to divulge all the details but we’re figuring it out right now. You’ve seen the docs, right? It’s crazy. This is something that Akiva and Seth cooked up, and we’re figuring it all out right now.”Jorma also notes that he has seen the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary, Fyre: The Greatest Party that Never Happened, three times. He’s a particular fan of Andy King, the festival’s fixer-turned-meme who was willing to go to some, uh, serious lengths to try to save the event. “I was like, I would hire that dude for anything… Hire that dude!” Taccone jokes. “That guy is a champion.”This would not be The Lonely Island’s first project concerning the music industry. In 2016, the team released Pop Star: Never Stop Never Stopping, a mockumentary about a misguided young pop star.Here’s hoping this new festival failure film from Seth Rogen and The Lonely Island comes to fruition sooner rather than later.[H/T The Daily Beast] Ah, Fyre Festival—the schadenfreude gift that keeps on giving. Ever since the purported luxury music getaway imploded in April of 2017, the saga of the doomed festival and its con man founder, Billy McFarland, has provided onlookers with plenty to smirk at. After all, while some good people surely lost out over the Fyre Festival debacle, the situation as a whole is undeniably amusing.You couldn’t write a more perfect story of high profile failure. Well, that’s not entirely true—If you recall, back when the story of the Fyre Festival’s trainwreck was breaking, Seth Rogen tweeted that he and musical comedy trio The Lonely Island (comprised of Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer, and Jorma Taccone) had already been working on a new movie about a music festival that goes horribly wrong. As The Lonely Island joked a the time, they were even “thinking about suing Fyre Festival for stealing our idea.”
Veteran music photographer Bob Minkin is hoping to release his next photography book on the late Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia, through the help of the Dead community. On Friday, the photographer announced his plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign to financially support a proposed limited edition coffee table book of never-before-seen Jerry Garcia photographs, which were taken starting in 1977 until the guitarist’s death in 1995.According to the campaign’s page, the proposed title for the large format photo book will be “Just Jerry,” and is set to feature over 150 color and black & white images of Garcia displayed full page or larger. Minkin had browsed through every single photograph he’d ever shot of the famous guitarist in hopes of finding and selecting the most special shots to include in his latest collection. Some fans will remember that Minkin released a book just last year titled, “The Music Never Stopped,” which is filled with Grateful Dead photographs taken over the years.Related: Listen To Jerry Garcia Band’s “Mission In The Rain” Off The Forthcoming ‘Electric On The Eel’ Box SetThe proposed coffee table book will include shots of Garcia taken at notable venues ranging from Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre and San Francisco’s Winterland Ballroom, to New York’s Radio City Music Hall, The Capitol Theater, and Madison Square Garden, just to name a few. The book will also include a mix of anecdotes submitted by people who were close to Garcia. Minkin only plans to print a total of 1,000 copies, which will all be hand signed by the photographer himself.Fans have until the end of March to help raise money for the campaign, which, as of 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon, has already raised nearly $6,000 towards the overall goal of $20,000. Fans can head over to the campaign’s Kickstarter page for the full list of details and donation options.
Harvard Review Editor Christina Thompson has been awarded a Creative Writing Fellowship in Prose by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Thompson was one of 42 nonfiction and prose writers chosen from an applicant pool of about 1,000. The award carries a $25,000 stipend.Thompson’s work-in-progress explores the history of Polynesian people and how they came to inhabit the Pacific region. Thompson, who grew up in Boston, became enamored with the area while studying in Australia on a graduate school fellowship. She enrolled as a doctoral student at the University of Melbourne and, on a trip to New Zealand, met Seven, a Maori man who would become her husband. Their relationship is prominently featured in her book, “Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All,” a historical memoir that inspects interactions between Westerners and Maoris.“This new project takes off from a chapter in that book called ‘Hawaiki,’ and goes back in time to recount the ancient Polynesian colonization of remote Oceania,” said Thompson.Thompson received a grant from the Literature Board of Australia in November — more funding that, along with the award from the NEA, will enable her to travel alongside her husband and sons to conduct research in far-flung places like Vanuatu, Tonga, New Zealand, Australia, and French Polynesia. “We’re hoping to visit a couple of archaeological sites and get to some of the more out-of-the-way islands, including an atoll or two.”“The NEA fellowship is a very lucky break for me because I’ve been wanting to write this book for a few years,” said Thompson. “I can do a large part of the background research right here in Widener [Library], but when it comes to getting the feeling of the places — the color of the sky, the feel of the air, the temperature of the water — there is really no substitute for getting your feet in the sand.”Thompson’s work has appeared widely in publications such as Vogue, American Scholar, the Journal of Pacific History, and Australian Literary Studies, and in the 1999, 2000, and 2006 editions of Best Australian Essays. She has been the editor of Harvard Review since 2000, and teaches creative writing courses at Harvard Extension School, where she won the James E. Conway Excellence in Teaching Writing Award in 2008.
FOND PARISIEN, HAITI — Nearly a month after a massive earthquake devastated Haiti, paramedic Anthony Croese looked into the crowd outside a destroyed orphanage near Port-au-Prince and spotted an emaciated baby cradled in his father’s arms.The baby looked far too tiny for his eight months of life, and a short conversation explained why. His mother died in the Jan. 12 quake, and his father, Emilio Eliassaint, in the weeks since had been feeding him sugar water, devoid of the nutrients in mother’s milk.Croese, who feared the baby wouldn’t survive long on such a diet, bundled him into a car and sent him to a field hospital that has sprung up amid the thorny trees and dried grass at Fond Parisien, near the border with the Dominican Republic.There, the baby began a diet of formula, eating ravenously, to the relief of workers.Sandwiched between mountains and a large lake, the site has become an oasis of medical care and hope in this still-reeling nation, where many thousands died and many more have been injured. The field hospital was willed into existence by two Harvard faculty members and researchers from the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI), an interfaculty program designed to harness expertise across Harvard’s Schools to understand and improve the response to disasters, both natural and man-made.The hospital was started less than a week after the earthquake by Hilarie Cranmer and Stephanie Rosborough, both HHI researchers, emergency medicine doctors at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and faculty members at Harvard Medical School (HMS).When the two first arrived, 25 patients already were huddled under sparse trees. The patients, some of whom still had open wounds and exposed bones, had gathered at the site, which contains an orphanage, church, and school run by the nonprofit group Love A Child Inc. Despite the exhortations of the group’s founder, the patients refused to go into a nearby church, where they had been resting the night before when a large aftershock struck.Rosborough and Cranmer, who is also an assistant professor at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), immediately set to work. Drawing on training and extensive field experience in disaster settings, they secured tents, generators, toilets, food, medical supplies, and volunteers. Power and plumbing arrived in the form of the Rescue Task Force, which showed up one day and offered assistance that Cranmer gratefully accepted.Drawing on an extensive network of Harvard affiliates, former students, and colleagues in the disaster relief field, HHI marshaled an array of volunteers, including doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and Haitian staff.The result is an HHI-led field hospital that has about 200 patients and also runs outreach operations that provide vaccinations and other care for smaller area clinics. It collaborates with other organizations, including Love A Child (whose compound and permanent buildings provide the facility’s structural backbone), the University of Chicago, and the governments of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Though those groups have the major organizing role, the volunteers providing care hail from institutions around the world. In addition to the field hospital, there is a nearby displaced-persons camp run by the American Refugee Committee, where some patients go after finishing treatment.The hospital focuses on rehabilitation, taking in patients from other hospitals, including the giant U.S. hospital ship Comfort moored off Port-au-Prince, the devastated Haitian capital. These patients’ broken bones, crushed limbs, and other injuries have received initial care but require additional treatment, whether it’s for handling follow-up care or complications such as new infections.With physical therapists as part of the volunteer corps, the hospital not only continues the bodily repair begun after the quake, but also begins the long, slow recovery process.HHI Director Michael VanRooyen applauded the efforts of all involved, particularly the guiding hands of Cranmer and Rosborough. To get the hospital up and running so quickly required putting into practice many of the principles taught by HHI, which not only conducts research, but which also runs courses in disaster relief, including a weekend-long simulated disaster workshop in New England’s forests.VanRooyen, who is also an emergency medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an associate professor at both Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health, has begun the process of formalizing arrangements and collaborations that, of necessity, have been ad hoc until now. Last weekend VanRooyen was in Haiti for whirlwind meetings with officials from the Haitian and Dominican governments, the U.S. Agency for International Development, Love A Child, and representatives of the relief and nonprofit agencies that are lending a hand. He hopes to establish a sturdy administrative structure and secure support that will allow the field hospital to complete care of its patients and slowly transition them back to local health providers, a process that could take six months to a year.Key needs, VanRooyen said, include gaining enough funds to keep the operation running, and partnering with other nongovernment organizations. The work so far has been financed by a combination of in-kind contributions from volunteers and relief organizations, HHI funds, and even personal funds from those involved. Gaining permanent funding may well determine the ultimate success of the effort, VanRooyen said.
Coming to the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), I knew that I would find an intellectually rich environment, one at the cutting edge of policy and development discourse. A friend of mine had finished the program two years ago and had told me how great she found it. Yet I wasn’t clear about what makes Harvard and the Kennedy School stand out.I’m a Palestinian enrolled in the Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/M.P.A.) program as a Mason Fellow. In my previous life, I worked as an adviser to Palestinian negotiators on border issues. I did that for five years, and before that spent three years with a nongovernmental organization that monitored Israeli settlement activities in the occupied territories.At HKS, I’m taking courses that focus on communications and leadership, areas in which I have hands-on experience. I’m interested in learning some of the theories behind those areas to attain deeper and broader knowledge.When I arrived at HKS, I wondered how much of its fame was borne out of the historical reputation of the place and how much came on its own merit. Being a prestigious school in itself attracts great scholars, and arguably that could be enough to sustain a reputation.But whether they taught international relations, development economics, or power in the 21st century, the HKS professors demonstrated an impressive grasp on their disciplines. While these professors have strong opinions, they still manage to present and explain thoroughly other schools of thought, with their accompanying strengths and weaknesses. That gives students ample room to dive deeper in the causeways that are most useful to them and what they want to get out of their Harvard education. That approach makes for a substantially richer discussion of topics in class and out, and allows students to get the most out of courses. It’s an approach that’s often lacking in institutions that take a one-size-fits-all approach.In addition, the professors have experience in their fields that’s grounded in the real world. Having work experience myself, and having gone through the transformative process of realizing the difference between theory and practice, I’ve learned to appreciate the opinions of those who spent considerable time tackling problems far from academia. Moreover, the professors’ hold on theory is so substantive that they can convey the relationships, both strong and weak, between theory and practice. For example, when Ricardo Hausmann, professor of the practice of economic development, talks about an economic theory and its application in a development setting, he can decouple elements that are useful for the policy situation from those that have to do with theoretical or more philosophical and ethical aspects. The ability to navigate both realms with ease is what I think students most appreciate in the learning that happens at the Kennedy School.I found my public narrative course especially insightful. It’s providing me with a rich set of lenses through which to see and analyze what’s happening back home. I also find the discussion in class and outside it helpful in generating ideas and imagining alternative futures for my country. I had left my job because I felt that it was not effective in changing the situation at home. I’m hoping my year here will give me a few ideas on how to help to do that.Another special thing about the School is the kind of people who come to study there. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that it would be almost impossible to find another place that brings together so many people with such diverse backgrounds (professionally, geographically, and in years of experience) and yet with the same attitudes toward their responsibility to make this world a better place. They come from many countries, from nonprofits, for-profits, and government sectors, and with 10, 20, and 30 years of experience. Since they have backgrounds varying from energy, health, education, politics, and business, one would be hard-pressed to find a conversation uninteresting.The wealth of knowledge and experience that such diverse students bring to class enhances discussions. Professors are often challenged when they present examples from a country or a sector, since classes usually include someone with substantive knowledge of that specific example that exceeds the instructor’s. In the end, we learn as much from each other as we do from the professors.The combination of the two, the extensive knowledge that the professors bring and the richness of the cohort of students, creates a multiplier effect that makes for an intense and effective learning experience. The saying I once heard about Harvard has proven true: “Learning at Harvard is like trying to drink from a fire hydrant.”If you’re an undergraduate or graduate student and have an essay to share about life at Harvard, please e-mail your ideas to Jim Concannon, the Gazette’s news editor, at [email protected]
Study, research, and public service have taken Melissa Tran ’10 around the world. You’d never guess that four years ago she was reluctant to leave her home near San Jose, Calif., to attend college 3,000 miles away.She said that during her first year she felt insecure and wondered if she might be an example of that Harvard urban legend, the “admissions mistake.”“It wasn’t until after my sophomore year, when I went abroad and started working on my thesis, when I realized that, ‘Hey, I am actually doing really cool things,’ ” said Tran. “Now, I am the person that my freshman self hoped to become someday.”When she arrived at Harvard, she knew she was interested in public service, but was undecided about her concentration, stuck between history and sociology. The class that sparked her passion and solidified her path was an overview of contemporary American immigration taught by Mary Waters, M.E. Zukerman Professor of Sociology.During the summer after her sophomore year, Tran interned at a nonprofit in Argentina through the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies. She also traveled to Uruguay and Peru. Tran spent the fall term of her junior year studying in Seville, Spain. Not one to stay put for long, while in Europe she also visited Morocco, Portugal, Germany, France, and Gibraltar.While her peers expressed concern that she might miss out on opportunities at Harvard while abroad, she said that these globe-trotting experiences have defined her time at Harvard.“I have done things that I never thought that I would do or would want to do,” said Tran. “For example, when I went to Peru for the week after Argentina, I backpacked by myself for four days. And I was completely by myself. I just had this little backpack. I never thought that my Spanish would be good enough to do that. I never thought that I would be able to get the nerve to do that by myself.”Last summer, Tran worked with recent Harvard graduates in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, where her parents were born and raised. The opportunity came through Harvard’s Office of Career Services Lowe Loan Fund for career exploration.Most recently, Tran traveled to Mexico to conduct research for her thesis about the social networking Web site miAltos, which connects immigrants from the Los Altos region of Mexico with friends and family back home. It primarily includes those who hail from San Julián, a city within Los Altos. After interviewing residents of San Julián about their experiences on the site, Tran flew to Chicago to interview former residents who had moved to the United States and stayed in touch with loved ones through miAltos.The Pforzheimer House resident has also advocated for immigrant rights as president of Harvard College Act on a Dream, a student organization working to help undocumented students gain citizenship. The group has raised awareness on the Harvard campus about the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, legislation that would give undocumented students a pathway to citizenship. Many people are unaware that there are undocumented students at U.S. colleges, Tran said. Often they came to America at a young age, attended high school here, and have lived typical American lives.Her Harvard experience has opened up the world to her, but it has also brought her closer to home, empowering her to fight for immigrant and undocumented-students’ rights. The students’ experiences, she said, are not dissimilar from her own as the daughter of immigrants.Tran noted that she had no control over the fact that she was born in the United States, just as many undocumented immigrants had no control over the fact that they were brought into this country at young ages. “The injustice comes from the fact that I will have limitless opportunities when I graduate in May, but they will have almost none,” she said.Next year, Tran plans to continue in public service and immigrant rights advocacy, and she says she is itching to travel again.
Shao-Liang Zheng can manipulate the tiniest of molecules, but he has a harder time manipulating words.Zheng, who manages the Center for Crystallographic Studies in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department, is by his own admission “a little shy.” And his pronounced Chinese accent often makes for unwieldy conversation with Americans. The communication problems Zheng could frequently avoid as an isolated postdoctoral researcher came to the fore when he began teaching others how to use the center’s complex X-ray machinery.“The first time I ran the workshop here, students complained they couldn’t understand me,” he said.Determined to work on his public speaking skills, Zheng sought the help of the masters — specifically, the Crimson Toastmasters. The four-year-old chapter meets every other Tuesday afternoon with the goal of helping Harvard faculty and staff to overcome the nerves, tics, and other barriers to communication that can plague even seasoned public speakers.“It’s given me the confidence, and it helps me with organization of my thoughts,” Zheng said.Most people have heard of Toastmasters International, the nonprofit public-speaking organization founded in 1924. With its 10-step path to “competent communication” and its members-only mystique, Toastmasters has acquired a reputation as a cross between Alcoholics Anonymous and Six Sigma, the popular business methodology.“I actually thought it was a cult,” admitted Sarah Liberman, a coordinator in the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s academic affairs office. Despite her skepticism, she attended the club’s inaugural meeting, sponsored by the Center for Workplace Development, and is now its vice president for membership. “It’s a really good opportunity to network,” Liberman said.For some, Toastmasters conjures an image of a fusty old man in a dinner jacket and ascot, raising a coupe of champagne to commandeer the room’s attention.“I thought that it might be more formal than it is, maybe more elitist,” said Christie Gilliland, a newer member of the club and a Harvard Library assistant. “But it was the exact opposite.” Even though Gilliland is naturally outgoing, she said she likes the regular practice that Toastmasters provides.“You have to learn how to work through the racing heart, keep your mind focused even when your hands are shaking,” Gilliland said.The oft-quoted statistic that more Americans fear public speaking than death — the common belief that, as Jerry Seinfeld famously joked, “If you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than doing the eulogy” — appears to be the stuff of urban legend. But a 2001 Gallup survey did reveal that public speaking is the second-most-common fear in America, after snakes.And even those who don’t dread the spotlight aren’t necessarily good at handling it.“I come across a lot of people who are professionals at a really high level who can’t give a good presentation,” said Leon Welch, a purchasing assistant at Harvard University Health Services and the club’s president.Toastmasters is everywhere. There are 164 clubs in Massachusetts alone, many affiliated with universities, businesses, or churches. Harvard students have their own Toastmasters club, Harvard Toastmasters, which meets weekly at the Harvard Kennedy School.All Toastmasters clubs follow the same meeting format, where members take turns being master of ceremonies and giving speeches that range from an opening joke to an inspirational thought. Some members are assigned to offer critiques — and yes, one person tallies all the “ums,” “likes,” and “sos.” But any Toastmaster will insist that clubs have their own personalities, from the militant to the relaxed.“What sets our group apart is a tremendous amount of compassion and understanding,” Welch said. “We have one of the most amicable groups I know of.”Welcoming or not, a room full of strangers can seem like a hostile environment to a newcomer, especially one who fears public speaking. Even though no one is required to take a turn in front of the group, “We’ve had people cry,” Welch said.Crimson Toastmasters is small but growing, Welch said. Many members discover the club by word of mouth. “A lot of people are looking to become more proficient in the way they present themselves,” he said. “I think that the Toastmasters approach is attractive, because you move at your own pace.”Jason Pryde, a web and database manager at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, said the group has helped his professional life in unexpected ways. He has gotten better at recognizing people and remembering their names. And he has become attuned to the reciprocal aspect of public speaking: listening.“It’s fairly easy to let your mind wander off when people are speaking,” Pryde said. “But it’s dangerous. I’ve disciplined myself to stay engaged.”In uncertain times, people often look for ways to bolster their public speaking skills to gain a competitive edge in the work force, said Steven Cohen, author of the recently released “Lessons from the Podium: Public Speaking as a Leadership Art.” Cohen, a Harvard Kennedy School graduate who teaches a course on public speaking at the Harvard Extension School, said he has seen a spike in interest in public speaking across the University in recent years. In the five semesters he has taught the class, it has filled up in a matter of days, with a waitlist.“Especially with the economic downturn, people are doing whatever they can to stay on top,” said Cohen. “Public speaking is one of those areas that can make or break you.”It’s certainly had a real impact for Zheng and the Center for Crystallographic Studies. When Zheng arrived at Harvard in 2009, only eight students and postdoctoral researchers knew how to use the X-ray equipment he oversees. Thanks to his training workshops, that number now stands at 22, not counting the 7 new students currently taking a new course Zheng is teaching.“It makes me so happy,” Zheng said with a grin. “It’s very hard to stand up and speak, but it’s important for my job. It’s important for the students.”
The 2011 Elliot Norton Awards, presented on May 23 at the Paramount Theatre in Boston, honored the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) with six awards in the Large Theater category.A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus received the Outstanding Director Award for her productions of “Johnny Baseball,” “Prometheus Bound,” and “HAIR,” which also received the award for Best Visiting Production.Thomas Derrah received the Outstanding Actor Award for his performance in the one-man show “R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe,” which ran in January and February at the Loeb Drama Center.Uzo Aduba received the award for Outstanding Musical Performance for her role of Io in “Prometheus Bound.” “The Blue Flower” garnered the award for Outstanding Musical Production, as well as Outstanding Design — honoring Jim Bauer and Ruth Bauer, creators and videography; Marsha Ginsberg for set design; Carol Bailey for costume design; Justin Townsend for lighting design; and Clive Goodwin for sound design.The Elliot Norton Awards were established in 1982 to recognize distinguished contributions to Boston-area theater during each season. The awards were founded in honor of distinguished critic Elliot Norton upon his retirement, following his 48 years as a drama critic for Boston newspapers and moderator of “Elliot Norton Reviews” on WGBH-TV. The selection committee comprises local critics Don Aucoin, Jared Bowen, Terry Byrne, Carolyn Clay, Iris Fanger, Joyce Kulhawik, Sandy MacDonald, Robert Nesti, Jenna Scherer, Ed Siegel, and Caldwell Titcomb.