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MNE Cultural Series: Comedy, tunes & alt-facts

Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 11:15am

Throw in a few alternative facts and a couple Celtic tunes and you have an entertaining and eclectic spring season courtesy of the Mercyhurst North East Cultural Series.

Creativity as a Metaphor for Change 

It begins Wednesday, Feb. 22, with a program titled “Creativity as a Metaphor for Change” presented by Erie County Poet Laureate Marisa Moks-Unger at 7 p.m. in Alex Theatre on the North East campus. A workshop leader, public speaker, poet and social activist, Moks-Unger encourages her audience to look at art through the lens of poetry as a means of enhancing well-being. Her first book of poetry, Mud and Stars, was recently released by Night Ballet Press of Cleveland.

A Comedy Tonight

Theatrical comedy comes alive when students from Mercyhurst North East take the stage in an uproarious production of A Comedy Tonight. Performances run Thursday through Saturday, March 30 to April 1, at 7 p.m. in Alex Theatre. The show features situational-themed comedies set in varied locations that promise to keep audiences laughing. Musical numbers and narrations tie each of the comedies together to create an evening to amuse people of all ages. A Comedy Tonight is produced by Patti Sullivan, who directs the cultural series each year, and directed by Michael Malthaner.

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

This performance with the Erie Dance Theatre, Sovereign Ballet, Mercyhurst Dancers and SoMar Dance Works showcases four elite dance ensembles in short selections. The performance on Sunday, April 9, at 2 p.m. in the Ridge Library Great Room  highlights multiple dance styles, ranging from classical to contemporary, and include excerpts from Sleeping Beauty’s Wedding. Bring the family to meet Princesses Aurora and Florine, Blue Bird, Little Red Riding Hood, Puss ‘n Boots and more. A reception immediately follows the performance.

A History of Ireland in Song and Story

Next up is a musical performance by the Celtic Hooligans, one of Erie’s premiere Irish bands, slated for Wednesday, April 19, at 7 p.m. in Alex Theatre. Featuring Michael Dunlavey, Tom Wilkinson and Randall McCaslin, the Celtic Hooligans play traditional Celtic tunes and folk songs. Their concert, A History of Ireland in Song and Story, features driving rhythms, melodic virtuosity and strong vocal harmonies.

Facts, Alt-Facts and Anything but the Facts: Politics in the Digital Age

The 2016 election introduced the electorate to myriad realities, including the existence of “alternative facts.” What have alternative facts contributed to the national discourse since the election? And what do they mean for the future of the democratic state? Jim Wertz, director of the honors program at  Edinboro University, will explore the history and power of the alt-fact state as well as discuss Pennsylvania’s pivotal role in the recent election. His program, “Facts, Alt-Facts and Anything but the Facts: Politics in the Digital Age,” is offered Wednesday, April 26, at 7 p.m. in Alex Theatre. Wertz is a contributing editor to the Erie Reader, and is an author and presenter on issues including economic development, journalism and education.

All cultural series events are free and open to the public. Reservations are not required. For more information, call Patti Sullivan at 814-725-6277.