Sasha's picks for ARTS FIRST '18

AF18 jpgNot sure how to choose from more than 100 events at ARTS FIRST 2018? Our blogger has you covered with three highlights he's looking forward to seeing during the annual festival at Harvard. 

By Sasha Barish '20

We asked each of our Harvard Arts bloggers to submit picks for events during ARTS FIRST 2018. Sasha Barish '20 weighs in here with three fascinating recommendations. To see what else is happening during ARTS FIRST April 26-29, or to get more details about Sasha's picks, download the official ARTS FIRST Guide

6:30 p.m. Sunday, April 29
Harvard Stadium
No tickets. Just show up.
I’m biased because I was one of the translators, because I know and respect so many members of the staff and cast, because I’ve already written an article on it. But that said, there’s still a lot I don’t know about what the performance is going to be like. I want to see how the stadium is lit, what the music sounds like, what the blocking and acting are like, and how the performers interact with the weird inflatable objects that are going to fill the stage. I can’t wait to see how our script, with its odd balance of old-fashioned and new-fangled language, sounds coming out of the actors’ mouths.

BOW AND ARROWBow & Arrow Press Birthday Party
1-3 p.m. Saturday, April 28 and Sunday April 29
Adams House, B-Entry, Bow Street
Various events at Harvard, especially a series of workshops at Houghton library during Wintersession this year, have introduced me to the wonder that is antiquarian book arts. Nowadays when I buy a cheap, mass-produced, printed book, it’s easy to focus on its content and ignore the physical form altogether. But before word processors or the ink-jet printer, before the paperback, before the Industrial Revolution, before book covers could be glued on, for many centuries a book was a luxury item that required step after step of labor and artistry. A book from colonial New England has within it the paper-makers’ water-marks, the binder’s stitches, the printer’s list of corrections and the decorations pressed in gold into the leather of the cover; it mediates the relationship between the written word and the material world, an object of monetary value as well as a storage vessel for intellectual wisdom. I find that this wonder at the physical forms of books is recaptured in the books that today’s artists make using early modern aesthetics and methods. One of those methods is letterpress printing – making a book by fixing little metal letters together by hand and rolling them in ink – and that’s what the Bow & Arrow Press is for. Printing presses are fun whether you love materials science or Dürer prints, whether you want to learn about labor history through the generations of workers who helped make books or just want to play around with an old-fashioned device and make a really cool-looking keepsake. So this event sounds like it’s worth stopping by.

Public ArtPublic art in Harvard Yard
Thursday, April 26-Sunday, April 29
Artist talks on the hour Saturday, April 28. See Guide for times.
As Harvard students, we’ve experienced the Yard as a residential and social space, a cluster of buildings where either we or most of our friends lived in our first year of college. We’ve experienced it as an academic space, where we go to classes and run into professors. We’ve seen that for many people it’s a tourist destination, a symbol of learning and culture, worth visiting to take a photo with an old statue and a big library. I’ve gone to job interviews, peer counseling and so much more in Harvard Yard. Every year during ARTS FIRST, the Yard gets transformed into a new type of space, a sort of outdoor art gallery where our daily paths from one building to another are interrupted by strange installations all over the lawn. I really appreciated seeing the art around campus last year, and I look forward to this year’s public art as well.

ARTS FIRST is Harvard's annual showcase of student and faculty creativity. Produced by the Office for the Arts, with support from the Board of Overseers of Harvard University, the festival is a public event with many free performances and activities for Harvard and community members of all ages.