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UW-Eau Claire Summer Session Programs Continue

RELEASED: June 11, 2007

Papa John Kolstad and Clint Hoover
Papa John Kolstad and Clint Hoover

EAU CLAIRE — Nationally known recording artist and performer Papa John Kolstad and harmonica virtuoso Clint Hoover will present an outdoor concert Monday, June 18, at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, highlighting a week of free Summer Session Programs.

With a deep collective knowledge of blues, jazz and folk material, Kolstad and Hoover will perform from 7 to 9 p.m. on the Central Campus Mall. Refreshments will be sold. Audience members are invited to bring blankets or folding chairs for lawn seating. Refreshments will be sold, and popcorn is free.

Their music is subtle and well performed, punctuated with stories, anecdotes and humor. Kolstad sings and performs mainly on 12-string guitar, his primary instrument for more than 40 years. His accomplished finger-picking style is solidly based in tradition. Clint Hoover is one of the few masters of both the diatonic harmonica (blues harp) and the chromatic harmonica. His playing is brilliant, melodic and lyrical, and his solos are show stoppers.

The Jazz at Noon series also continues Monday, with shows from noon to 1 p.m. every weekday in June on the Central Campus Mall (rain site The Cabin of Davies Center). Jazz groups perform under the direction of UW-Eau Claire graduate Steven Hobert, a freelance musician, music contractor, teacher and composer. Hobert plays piano, accordion and woodwinds with ensembles ranging from jazz combos to such local bands as Daredevil Christopher Wright and Fat Maw Rooney.

Photograph of Sen. John F. Kennedy

Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy was captured by campus photographer Gilbert Tanner in February 1960, as he campaigned in Eau Claire for the Democratic Presidential nomination. Six weeks later Kennedy and his rival, Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey, were caught by filmmaker Robert Drew for his landmark documentary "Primary" — some of which was filmed in the Eau Claire area. This photograph and several others from the 1960 primary campaign hangs in The Dulany of Davies Center — the site of an informal discussion that will precede Wednesday's screening of "Primary."

Combining documentaries with thoughtful dialog, the Summer Cinema series will continue Tuesday through Thursday, June 19-21, with two landmark documentaries by cinéma vérité pioneer Robert Drew: "Primary" (1960), and "Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment" (1963). Both films center on John F. Kennedy — the first as he campaigns in the 1960 Wisconsin primary, the second as he faces one of his greatest political and moral challenges as President. Running 60 and 52 minutes, respectively, the black-and-white films (not rated) will be presented at 7 p.m. all three days in Davies Theatre.

Wednesday's screening will be preceded by an informal discussion at 6 p.m., led by Geoffrey Peterson, UW-Eau Claire associate professor of political science. Peterson teaches courses titled "Film and Politics" (examining film from a production and content dimension, and exploring how filmmakers communicate political messages), and Parties, Campaigns and Elections (examining the electoral process of U.S. national elections, the role of parties in American politics, and how political campaigns are run). The pre-screening discussion will take place in The Dulany of Davies Center, where photographs of John and Jacqueline Kennedy and Minnesota Sen. Hubert Humphrey campaigning in the 1960 Wisconsin primary are displayed. Free food and beverages will be provided.

"Cinéma vérité in 1960 did not mean a hand-held camera or a camera tucked away in someone's brown-bag lunch," wrote The New York Times in 1999, when Robert Drew's films were restored and released. "In those days it meant a team of two or three people, one lugging a bulky camera, another toting bulky sound equipment and possibly a third to carry extra film and equipment. All of that had to be hauled from place to place as the subject of the film moved through the day. Nothing about the effort was unobtrusive. The secret, Mr. Drew said, was winning the subject's trust and doing nothing to violate it."

The other technicians toting cameras and sound equipment included Albert Maysles and D.A. Pennebaker, beginning their own distinguished filmmaking careers. "Primary" is the first film in which synchronized sound cameras moved freely, following Kennedy and Humphrey as they campaigned throughout Wisconsin over four days in April 1960. The novelty of such technology allowed the filmmakers to capture their subjects in moments of unimaginable candor.

"It was, as Drew himself grandly refers to it, 'a new kind of history,'" wrote The Washington Post in 2003. "For the first time, the documentary camera moved with its subjects, following them down receiving lines and into back rooms, even accompanying them on car rides in the gray Wisconsin spring. There were no interviews in the traditional sense, no subtitles, no March-of-Time theatrics. Narration was pared to a few dozen words. The camera and sound simply caught the candidates and their caretakers in the act of being themselves. ... While its sound is shaky and its black-and-white photography often splotchy (even in its new digital form), 'Primary' is ultra-modern in another important sense. Drew and his team of talented technicians had unrivaled access to Kennedy and Humphrey, and captured them in ways that contemporary media-savvy candidates would never permit. As crude as the film's technical quality is, it reveals a paradox of modern campaign coverage: We see more now, but we learn less."

Kennedy loved "Primary," and kept a promise he made to Drew — that he would one day allow him to film inside the White House. The result was "Crisis," filmed in June 1963.

"Reuniting Drew and Pennebaker with Kennedy after his ascent to the presidency," wrote The Onion A.V. Club, "'Crisis' chronicles, with thrilling intimacy, the behind-the-scenes maneuvering of the White House as it deals with good-old-boy segregationist Gov. George Wallace, who insists on physically preventing the integration of the University of Alabama by two black students. Kennedy radiates youth and vigor in 'Primary,' but in 'Crisis,' he looks as if the weight of the world rests on his shoulders, which isn't far from the truth. Nothing less than the political future of the South seems to hang in the balance as Kennedy, his attorney-general brother Robert, and Robert's deputy try to take a stand for tolerance and integration without humiliating the politically powerful governor or losing the South altogether. Much of 'Crisis' is almost unbearably tense, but wonderful moments of humor alleviate that tension."

Funded by the students of UW-Eau Claire, Summer Session Programs continue through Aug. 2. A complete schedule is available from the Activities and Programs office, Davies Center 133, 715-836-4833, or online.

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JS/LWG

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