Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Midsummer Night's Eve - Monday, 6/20

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a comedy written by William Shakespeare between 1590 and 1597, portrays the events surrounding the marriage of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, to Hippolyta. The play is one of Shakespeare’s most popular works for the stage and is widely performed across the world.

Celebrate Midsummer Night’s Eve with author Jacopo della Quercia, who will discuss and sign his latest novel, License to Quill (St. Martin’s Griffin, 12/15/2015) on Monday, June 20 at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany at 141 Washington Avenue.

License to Quill is a page-turning James Bond-esque spy thriller starring William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe during history’s real life Gunpowder Plot. The story follows the fascinating golden age of English espionage, the tumultuous cold war gripping post-Reformation Europe, the cloak-and-dagger politics of Shakespeare’s England, and lastly, the mysterious origins of the Bard’s most haunting play: Macbeth.

A meet the author reception with light fare and cash bar will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the program commencing at 7:00. A book signing will follow the program, and books will be available for purchase. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the Club at 518-414-3555; by sending an email to ellen@universityclubalbany.com; or online. The event is sponsored by the University Club Foundation and one need not be a member of the University Club to attend.

Giacomo Calabria, who writes under the pseudonym Jacopo della Quercia, is an educator and history writer perhaps best known for his more than 100 articles on the comedy website Cracked.com. His work has been featured on BBC America, Business Insider, CNN Money, The Huffington Post, The New York Observer, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, Slate, WAMC’s The Roundtable, and academic resources offered by Brigham Young University, George Mason University, and Princeton University’s Electronic Bulletin of the Dante Society of America, among others.

As an academic, Calabria has taught classes on Medieval and Renaissance history, literature, and art since 2006. He has delivered lectures on Machiavellian political psychology at institutions such as Rowan University and the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU. Jacopo recently led a lecture and discussion series on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War for the New York Council for the Humanities.

His previous novel, The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy, is a heart-pounding adventure that only history could have made possible. This historical thriller is an equal-parts cocktail of action, adventure, science-fiction and comedy. The book follows a globe-trotting President Taft and Robert Todd Lincoln in a race to solve a mystery stretching back to the Civil War and the Lincoln assassination. Based on true events, readers will find themselves swept into a vast conspiracy spanning four continents and three oceans during the turn of the century. Fascinating technologies will be harnessed, dark secrets revealed, true villains exposed, and some of the most famous figures in history will take the stage.

The event is co-hosted by the Albany branch of the English-Speaking Union of the United States, a non-profit, non-political membership organization whose mission is to promote scholarship and the advancement of knowledge through the effective use of English in an expanding global community. It sponsors and organizes educational and cultural programs for students and teachers and provides lectures, social events, and travel opportunities for its members. The Albany Branch is one of 68 located throughout the United States and is part of a global network of ESUs in over 50 countries around the world. Visit www.esuus.org/albany for more information.

The University Club of Albany Foundation is a 501c3 corporation formed in 2009 to recognize and maintain the unique historic and architectural significance of the National Register-listed University Club building, its historic neighborhood and the city of Albany, where it has been located since its inception in 1901. Support for educational programming at the University Club is provided by AT&T.

For more information about the University Club, visit www.universityclubalbany.com.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

6th Annual Pinkster Celebration - 6/3

In the spring of 1811, the Albany Common Council banned Pinkster Day celebrations because of “rioting and drunkenness.” Two centuries later, in an effort to revive a tradition from Albany’s past, members of the University Club petitioned the Common Council to repeal the prohibition. The Pinkster ban was lifted on May 16, 2011.

On Friday, June 3, the Club will welcome award-winning author Scott Christianson to the 6th Annual Pinkster Celebration at the National Register-listed University Club of Albany. Scott Christianson, Ph.D. is an award-winning author of several distinguished non-fiction books, as well as a journalist, criminologist, historian, filmmaker, teacher and human rights activist.

Christianson will discuss New York’s history of slavery and abolitionism through the life of a man known only as “Caesar.” He lived his entire life on a colonial estate in Albany County, and was the last living slave north of the Mason-Dixon line. He was the last person in New York to die in bondage in 1852, though slavery ended in New York on July 4, 1827. Caesar is buried in the cemetery of the Nicoll-Sill House in Bethlehem.

In addition to the presentation on Caesar, Christianson will sign copies of two of his books, Freeing Charles: The Struggle to Free a Slave on the Eve of the Civil War (University of Illinois Press; January 22, 2010), and 100 Documents That Changed the World: From the Magna Carta to Wikileaks (Universe; November 10, 2015).

Freeing Charles recounts the life and epic rescue of captured fugitive slave Charles Nalle of Culpeper, Virginia, who was forcibly liberated by Harriet Tubman and others in Troy on April 27, 1860. It follows Nalle from his enslavement by the Hansborough family in Virginia through his escape by the Underground Railroad and his experiences in the North on the eve of the Civil War.  His account underscores fundamental questions about racial inequality, the rule of law, civil disobedience, and violent resistance to slavery in the antebellum North and South.

100 Documents that Changed the World offers a tour through history via declarations, manifestos, and agreements from the Magna Carta and the Declaration of Independence to Wikileaks. This fascinating collection gathers the most significant written documents that have influenced and shaped the way we think about the world and the course of history.

The Club’s first Pinkster Celebration featured readings from four centuries of scholarly and popular publications documenting the people and places of New York’s capital city. In 2012, the University Club Foundation welcomed Albany’s own Pulitzer Prize-winning author, William Kennedy. The featured speaker for 2013 was Stefan Bielinski, the director of the Colonial Albany History Project. In 2014 award-winning journalist and author Paul Grondahl discussed These Exalted Acres: Unlocking the Secrets of Albany Rural Cemetery; and in 2015 the Club hosted a 5th Anniversary Pinkster Celebration Concert with singer songwriter Beth Wood.

The Pinkster Celebration will feature a cocktail reception with light fare and cash bar from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m., followed by a presentation by Christianson. When the reception wraps up at 8:00 p.m., Pinkster revelers are invited to head downstairs for an after-party in the Grille Room with
The Greater Love Combo, performing classic, up-tempo jazz. On the first Friday of each month, the University Club serves as a venue for 1st Friday, the downtown arts walk that showcases Albany’s thriving and lively art scene.

Tickets for the Pinkster Celebration are $40 per person. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the University Club at 518-414-3555 or online.

Proceeds from the event benefit the University Club of Albany Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 corporation, and one need not be a member of the University Club to attend. The Foundation was formed to recognize and maintain the unique historic and architectural significance of the National Register-listed University Club building, its historic neighborhood and the city of Albany, where it has been located since its inception in 1901.

Support for educational programming presented by the University Club Foundation is provided by AT&T.