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Charles Kennedy to Sing and Discuss Songs of American Vaudeville

For Immediate Release

June 30, 2000

WILLIAMSTOWN, MA (June 30, 2000) - Songs like "My Turkish Opal from Constantinople" and "In My Harem" are the focus of the performance/lecture "Orientalism in American Vaudeville" on Tuesday, July 11, at 4:00 p.m., at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Charles A. Kennedy, professor of religion emeritus at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and a leading authority on American Orientalist music of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, will be accompanied by pianist William Wightman. Kennedy will sing and discuss many popular tunes related to the Clark's summer exhibition Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures: Orientalism in America, 1870-1930. Admission to the lecture is free.

Selected sheet music for Orientalist songs are among the one hundred objects on view in Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures. Beginning with paintings by American artists Frederic Edwin Church and John Singer Sargent and ending with a silent movie theatre showing such films as The Sheik and The Thief of Bagdad, the exhibition traces America's fascination with an imagined, "exotic" Middle East. Noble Dreams, Wicked Pleasures is on view at the Clark through September 4.

Kennedy's presentation is part of the Clark's American Orientalism lecture series, which will continue with the talk "The Orientalist Bible: Frederic Edwin Church and the American Protestant Fascination with the Middle East" by John Davis on Tuesday, July 18, at 4:00 p.m. On Tuesday, July 25, at 4:00 p.m., Jeanine Basinger will speak on "Sheiks and Harems: Valentino and Escapism in the 1920s." All lectures are free and open to the public.

The Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts.  The galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is free through May.  For more information call 413-458-2303 or visit www.clarkart.edu.

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