Did you resolve to up your IQ this year? Lucky you, the Valley's home to plenty of brainiacs who host lectures year-round. Here's a sampling of some of the coolest-sounding talks going down in metro Phoenix this month.
"Along Old Route 66" John Craft, a professor at ASU's Cronkite school, leads an evening lecture about the storied, gloried Route 66, also known as the Mother Road, touching on its cultural significance via roadside attractions and historic landmarks. Northern Arizonans will supplement the talk with personal stories about how the former highway impacted their lives and communities.
The free event, which also includes footage from a pair of Arizona-produced documentaries, runs from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 8, Pueblo Grande Museum.
"From the Bedroom to the Boulevard: Chintz & the Rise of Informal Fashion" Used to be jeans were for working class toughs and T-shirts were underwear. Call it the casual-ization of fashion, but the way style has changed over the past 100 years is drastic. Curatorial assistant at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco Department of Textile Arts, Kristen Stewart will discuss the fall of petticoats and corsets along with the rise of stretch fabric and dressing down during her talk at Phoenix Art Museum.
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Put on by the Arizona Costume Institute, the lecture begins at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, January 8. It's free with museum admission, which is $15 for adults. There's an optional luncheon that starts up at 11:30 a.m. and costs an additional $31 for non-ACI members and $26 for members. Visit www.phxart.org.
"Growing Up Maya: Prehispanic Head Shaping Practices, Social Meanings and Ethnicity" "Head shaping," also known as artificial cranial deformation, a.k.a. making kids heads into shapes they wouldn't naturally be, is the focus of Dr. Vera Tiesler's "Growing Up Maya" lecture on Thursday, January 23. The Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán professor will discuss how and why Mayan people carried out the practice, which, when complete, signified a person's social status. Tiesler will follow up this talk with "Age and Dynasty: New Approaches Towards the Assessment of Age, Health and Lifestyle Among Classic Maya Courtiers" on January 24.
The Center for Bioarchaeological Research, part of ASU's School of Human Evolution & Social Change presents the first lecture at 10:30 a.m. in SHESC's room 254. Admission is free, and the event is open to the public.