Happy 2013, brainiacs.
If you resolved to be a better, smarter you this year, you're in luck. Phoenix is rife with opportunities to up your I.Q., and this January is no different. Here are five lectures to start the year off smarty pants-style.
"Heels, Hemlines, and High Spirits: Shoe Fashion" @ Phoenix Art Museum Famously shoe-obsessed and unlucky in love, Sex and The City character Carrie Bradshaw mused that she would end up a most literal old woman who lived in her shoes, based on the whooping 40K she had spent on frilly footwear.
While women of the 1920s likely didn't have that kind of dough, the fascination with well-heeled hooves can be traced to that period.
Why shoes? Well, for the first time in history, ladies' hemlines rose above their previously scandalous ankles, revealing whatever fashion statement adorned their feet. Bata Shoe Museum curator Elizabeth Semmelhack will discuss the flapper's newfound need for fancy footgear during her talk "Heels, Hemlines, and High Spirits: Shoe Fashion" at Phoenix Art Museum.
Explore the origins of Bradshaw's bounty on Wednesday, January 9, at 5 p.m. Admission is free. The lecture is in conjunction with the fashion exhibition "Modern Spirit: Fashion of the 1920s."
"American Indian Warriors: the Veteran Experience and History" @ Heard Museum Supplementary to the ongoing exhibition "Navajo Code Talkers: Photographs by Kenji Kawano," Heard Museum will host a series of lectures in January and February that touch on ancillary topics.
The second installment on Saturday, January 13, will find Vietnam veteran Tom Holm, who is Creek and Cherokee, discussing the experience of the American Indian soldier, warrior, and code talker in the Steele Auditorium. Holm is a professor of American Indian studies and political science at University of Arizona.
The lecture takes place at 1:30 p.m. It's free to attend with museum admission, which is $18 for adults.
"Catherine the Great and The Theater of Power" @ Changing Hands Too often discussions of history revolve around the prettiest, richest, and Frenchest. Case in point: Marie Antoinette gets a helluva lot more airtime than Catherine the Great. Never mind that Antoinette totally sucked at queening, and German-born Russian Empress Catherine had drama (and successes) aplenty.
Mark Cruse and Hilde Hoogenboom will give ol' Cath her due during their talk "Catherine the Great and The Theater of Power." The lecture will focus on how the ruler put up a strong front for her people, in spite of tumultuous events including, but not limited to, her hubby's assassination by her baby daddy's brother. Where's her Sofia Coppola adaptation?
Get a heaping helping of history at 7 p.m. Tuesday, January 15, at Changing Hands. Admission is free. RSVP at www.catherinethegreat.eventbrite.com.
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"Citizen Who" @ Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts Eric Liu knows a thing or two about America, politics, and race. The former speechwriter for the Clinton administration and author of The Accidental Asian has made a career based on all of the above. He'll further explore those topics during his talk, "Citizen Who," which details five Americans' stories of what it means to be a citizen and how they came to that realization.
Catch Liu from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, January 23, on Stage Two Theater at Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.
"The Many Manifestations of the Satanic Hunter in Medieval English Literature" @ ASU's Language and Literature Building Why, yes. This one does win for most impressive title. But we're sure that David Scott-Macnab's discussion of Chaucer and other Medieval authors' usage of the devil disguised as a hunter in their works will prove just as interesting as it sounds. The lecture is free and open to the public, taking place in LL 316 on ASU's Tempe campus.