Good Day Sunshine State: How the Beatles Rocked Florida

with Bob Kealing

Saturday, March 25th

4pm – FREE with registration

Author Bob Kealing takes us through the momentous two weeks the Beatles spent in 1964 Florida: Miami Beach, Key West and Jacksonville. His lecture will include their seismic influence on a fraternity of future Rock and Roll luminaries in and around Gainesville: Tom Petty, Tom Leadon, Bernie Leadon, Don Felder, Ronnie Van Zant and others.

Kealing previewed his book in October at Tom Petty Weekend. It includes more than thirty new primary-source interviews and access to Beatle letters, artwork and historic documents from the Hard Rock Collection and the Flagler College Digital Civil Rights Collection.

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The Hippodrome Theatre is Celebrating its 50th Anniversary!

with Nell Page Rainsberger and Robert Robins

Thursday, March 30

7pm – Free with registration

In partnership with the Hippodrome Theatre, we are excited to welcome Nell Page Rainsberger (Actor and Development Consultant) and Robert Robins (Production Manager/Lighting Designer) – two of the Hipp’s longest serving employees – on March 30th as they share the history of the theatre.

From its inception in 1973, the Hippodrome Theatre has brought stories to the stage that explore and celebrate the human condition. 50 years ago, six determined individuals, (Marilyn Wall, Bruce Cornwell, Greg Von Hausch, Kerry (McKinney) Oliver-Smith, Mary Hausch, Owen Wechsberg) took a leap into the unknown, creating a theater that challenged expectations.

Throughout its history, The Hippodrome has pushed the limits of storytelling, creating memorable productions like Equus, The Elephant Man, Amadeus, The Royal, and The Mountaintop. The Hippodrome Improvisational Teen Theatre (HITT), Open Stages and TYA (Theater for Young Audiences) brought innovative works beyond the walls of the theater and into the Gainesville schools and community, proving that theater is an important tool that can be used to explore deep issues, educate, and spark discussion. Today The Hippodrome Theatre is Gainesville’s Downtown Art House, with theatre, educational programs, a cinema, art gallery, and events for all ages.

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The Poetics of Resistance in Gainesville and the States

with Alejandro Aguirre

Friday, April 14th

7pm – Free with Registration

We are hosting a poetry workshop with Alejandro Aguirre in partnership with ARTSPEAKSgnv’s Bard and Broadside: North Central Florida Poetry Festival. The festival runs from April 13-16 and this year’s theme is “Unity in the Community Through Text and Image.”

This workshop explores the place of poetry in response to a history of segregation. Following a discussion of examples from Natasha Trethewey, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, and Jericho Brown, visitors will compose a collaborative poem via the “exquisite corpse,” a technique invented by the surrealists. A paper will be passed around the room. Each visitor will add two lines to its poem and fold away the first so that the following contributor may only draw inspiration from the last line. (Those less inclined to writing original lines may write an erasure poem instead, transforming transcripts of oral histories from the exhibition into poems.) Responding to the exhibits at the Matheson, particularly We’re Tired of Asking: Black Thursday and Civil Rights at the University of Florida, guests will leave the workshop with a new poem of resistance to recite and share.

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The Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream

with Jason Vuic, Ph.D.

Thursday, April 20

7pm – Free with Registration

In partnership with the University of Florida Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience, and the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine we are excited to welcome historian and author Dr. Jason Vuic to share about his latest book The Swamp Peddlers: How Lot Sellers, Land Scammers, and Retirees Built Modern Florida and Transformed the American Dream.

In his lecture, Vuic will dive into the history of the “installment land sales industry,” which seemingly appeared out of nowhere to sell billions of dollars of Florida residential property, sight unseen, to retiring northerners. For only $10 down and $10 a month, working-class pensioners could buy a piece of the Florida dream: a graded homesite waiting for them in a planned community when they were ready to build. The result was Cape Coral, Port St. Lucie, Deltona, Port Charlotte, Palm Coast, and Spring Hill, among many others–sprawling exurban communities with no downtowns and little industry but millions of residential lots. These communities allowed generations of northerners to move to Florida cheaply, but at a price: high-pressure sales tactics begat fraud; poor urban planning begat sprawl; developers cleared forests, drained wetlands, and built thousands of miles of roads in grid-like subdivisions, which, fifty years later, played an inordinate role in the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis.

This program is sponsored by the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere with support from the Humanities Fund, the Gulf Research Program of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine under award number 2000013562, and the Florida Institute for Built Environment Resilience (FIBER).

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The Water State: Exploring Florida’s Interconnected Waterways

with Vasilios Kosmakos

Saturday, May 6th