Campus Community Health • HEERF I, II & III

Center Stage

Fall 2019 Center Stage Events

This page is provided for historical purposes. 

Supported by student fees, the Center Stage series presents lectures, concerts, exhibits, readings, dramatic performances, and other events that promote greater appreciation of the fine arts and better understanding of diverse ideas and world cultures.

Admission to Center Stage events is free unless otherwise noted. Tech students are given priority if seating is limited. Tech students can attend each event for free just by showing their Eagle Card ID.

Many Center Stage guests also provide educational opportunities for students through workshops or master classes. Call 931-372-3637 for more information.


Aaron McIntosh: Invasive Queer Kudzu

Art Installation: Sept. 23, 9-4, BFA lobby
Public lecture: Sept. 24, 11 am, Appalachian Center for Craft

McIntoshAaron McIntosh, Professor of Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, is a fourth-generation quilter who grew up in Kingsport, TN, a factory town in the Appalachian foothills. In his work, will come to TN Tech to deliver a two day comprehensive array of visiting artist activities: public lecture, conduct a workshop open to all TN Tech students and conduct studio visits. The main focus will be on the public Invasive Queer Kudzu workshop, which the artist describes as:

Engulfing hills, trees and old buildings in a dense stranglehold, a tender vine colonizes: alien landscapes emerge.

Southerners have a slippery relationship with kudzu, a non-native species imported at mid-century from Japan to stabilize poor soils. Both environmental nuisance and fixture of the landscape, this tenacious vine contributes much to our Gothic mythologizing of the South.

Invasive kudzu—much like homophobia—taps into our fears of complete otherness. I cannot help but connect such anxiety to the still-extant fear of a “homosexual agenda” that rapaciously recruits heterosexual youth to build a “gay nation”. Today, as many parts of the US “naturally” move towards gay marriage equality and expanded rights for LGBTQ people, the land of kudzu is often contrasted as backsliding into entrenched homophobia. Lost in this politicized fray are the lives, memories, stories and archives of Southern queers and their ingenuity contending with the status quo.

Invasive, a project for Southern queers and their allies, subverts the negative characterization of invasive species and uses queer kudzu as a demonstrative tool of visibility, strength and tenacity in the face of presumed “unwantedness.”

Traveling across the Southern states, I will collect the stories of living LGBTQ people through workshops at community centers and historical documents from archival centers. Drawing on the preeminence of quilting in Southern folkways and my own background, I will embed these printed stories, photographs, and archive documents into quilted leaves that will be sewn onto vines, eventually forming a phenomenal and undeniable mass of queerness.


Maggie Jaszczak, Mixed-Media Craft-Based Sculpture Exhibit

JDAG Exhibit | Sept. 3-26
Gallery Talk: Sept. 26 | 4:30 p.m.
Joan Derryberry Art Gallery | Roaden University Center

Work by Maggie JaszczakMaggie Jaszczak is a potter and mixed media artist from Ontario, Canada. After completing her undergraduate studies at Kootenay School of the Arts in Nelson, BC and Alberta College of Art + Design in Calgary, AB, she received her MFA in Ceramics from the University of Minnesota in 2013. She has participated in ceramic residency programs at the Yingge Ceramics Museum in New Taipei City, Taiwan, the Archie Bray Foundation in Helena, MT, the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach, FL, Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Snowmass, CO and Medalta Potteries in Medicine Hat, AB.

She currently lives in North Carolina where she and her husband, Tom Jaszczak, are resident artists at Penland School of Craft.


An Evening with the Author, Natalie Sypolt

Public Reading Sept. 18 | 7 p.m.
Backdoor Playhouse

natalie sypoltNatalie Sypolt lives and writes in West Virginia. Her work has appeared in Glimmer Train, Appalachian Heritage, Still: The Journal, Switchback, r.kv.r.y., Ardor Literary Magazine, Superstition Review Online, among other fine journals. She won the Glimmer Train New Writers Contest, the Betty Gabehart Prize, the West Virginia Fiction Award, and the Still fiction contest. She serves as a literary editor for the Anthology of Appalachian Writers, on the selection committee for the prestigious Weatherford Award in fiction, participates in Women of Appalachia (a juried reading series) and coordinates the high school workshop for the West Virginia Writers Workshop at West Virginia University.

She currently works at Pierpont Community & Technical College as an assistant professor.


One World Multicultural Evening: World Dance

Wednesday, Sept. 25 | 6 p.m.
Multipurpose Room | Roaden University Center

One World, a student-led organization at Tennessee Tech, will host its multicultural evening. One World is all about introducing people and interacting with different cultures from around the world, ultimately to achieve understanding and harmony.

The event will feature guests demonstrating world dances. A variety of food from world cultures will be provided, on a first-come, first-served basis.


African Impressions in 18th-Century Britain with Dr. Rebekah Mitsein

Thursday, Sept. 26 | 7 p.m.
Backdoor Playhouse | Jere Whitson Building


Rebekah MitseinRebekah Mitsein is Assistant Professor of Eighteenth-Century British Literature and Culture at Boston College. She received her Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2016. Her work has appeared in Studies in Travel Writing, Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Eighteenth-Century Fiction, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Digital Defoe, and Romanticism. She also has chapters forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook to Daniel Defoe (Oxford UP, 2020) and Cultural Economies of the Atlantic World: Objects in the Transatlantic Imagination (Routledge).
Her talk comes from her current book project, “African Impressions in British Literature, 1660-1790,” which examines how geographical contact with African self-expression shaped the British imagination and Enlightenment ideas about the self and world.



Katelyn Chapman, Painting Exhibit

JDAG Exhibit | Sept. 29 – Oct. 24
Gallery Talk: Oct. 24| 4:30 p.m.
Joan Derryberry Art Gallery | Roaden University Center

Katelyn ChapmanKatelyn Chapman received an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the University of Georgia in 2018 and a BFA with an emphasis in Drawing from Clemson University in 2014. Her work is inspired by her deeply rooted familial and rural ties to the South. Her work has been in both national and local group exhibitions and publications. While at UGA, Chapman was awarded the Wilson Center Graduate Research Award and was a two time recipient of the Looney Foundation Graduate Fellowship. Chapman was the youngest finalist for the inaugural Hopper Prize in 2018. She was also awarded 3rd Place at the 30th Anniversary Juried Exhibition at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia, SC and chosen as one of ten finalists to exhibit work for the 2019 Miami University Young Painters Competition for the William and Dorothy Yeck Purchase Award.

Most recently, Chapman was awarded a grant from The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation.


Trafficking at the Intersection: An Evening with Advocate Dawn Schiller

Tuesday, October 1 | 7 p.m.
Derryberry Hall Auditorium

Dawn SchillerIn 2010, Dawn Schiller wrote a book telling her story in detail about her relationship with famed porn star, John Holmes. After courting Schiller, Holmes seduced her and began a sexual relationship with her when she was underage, manipulating her with alcohol and drugs. He physically and emotionally abused her for several years. After the famed Wonderland murders in 1981, Holmes and Schiller fled to Florida, where she ultimately broke free and turned him over to the police.

She has since become an active advocate against domestic violence, working with Eastern Oregon University to revise their sexual harassment policy. She received the Women of Vision and Courage award from the President’s Commission on the Status of Women and has been a consultant with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office for Victims of Crime and Training and Technical Assistance Center. She serves on the boards of several organizations, including an advisory board member for the National Center for Victims of Crime in Washington, D.C., the Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center, and Voices Set Free. She is a member of the National Survivor Network (NSN) and Survivor 2 Survivor (S2S) for trafficking victims.

She founded the non-profit E.S.T.E.A.M. (Empowering Successful Teens through Education, Awareness & Mentoring), dedicated to assisting teens who are struggling to find a safe and successful path to adulthood. She developed the “Mirrors of Me” girl’s art, writing and mentoring camp for at-risk and marginalized youth.

Schiller is an active member in her recovery program and has practiced a clean and sober lifestyle since 1998.


An Evening with Poet, Sharon Olds

Public Reading October 3 | 7 p.m.
Backdoor Playhouse | Jere Whitson Building

sharon oldsSharon Olds is the author of eleven volumes of poetry. Her poetry, says Machael Ondaatje, is “pure fire in the hands,” and David Leavitt in the Voice Literary Supplement describes her work as “remarkable for its candor, its eroticism, and its power to move.” With sensuality, human, sprung rhythm, and remarkable imagery, she expresses truths about domestic and political violence, sexuality, family relationships, love, and the body. Often compared to “confessional” poets, she has much been praised for the courage, emotional power, and extraordinary physicality of her work. A reviewer for The New York Times hailed her poetry for its vision: “Like Whitman, Ms. Olds sings the body in celebration of a power stronger than political oppression.”

Born in San Francisco, Sharon Olds studied at Stanford University and Columbia University. Her numerous honors include a National Endowment for the Arts grant; a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship; the San Francisco Poetry Center Award for her first collection, Satan Says (1980); and the Lamont Poetry Selection and the National Book Critics Circle Award for The Dead and the Living (1983). Her other books of poetry are Strike Sparks: Selected Poems 1980-2002 (2004), Blood, Tin, Straw (1999), The Gold Cell (1997), The Wellspring (1995), One Secret Thing (2008), The Unswept Room (2002), The Father (1992), and Odes (2016). In 2018 her collection, Stag’s Leap, was made into a theatrical piece by Nancy Borgenicht. Olds’ poetry has appeared in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Poetry y, Atlantic Monthly, and New York Times.


The Big Trouble

Fri., Oct. 4 | 7:30 p.m.
Wattenbarger Auditorium | Bryan Fine Arts Building

The Big TroubleIvan Trevino is a Mexican-American composer and percussionist who has become a recognizable voice in the percussion community. His honest blend of contemporary, percussive and indie-rock compositions have become standard repertoire in the field of percussion and are regularly performed around the world. He is a multi-award winning recipient of the Percussive Arts Society’s International Composition Contest and has over 70 compositions to his name.

In 2017, Trevino co-founded The Big Trouble alongside composer and percussionist, Drew Worden. The percussion and songwriting collective received a Boston Foundation Artist grant in its inception year, produced and released their self-titled debut album and was a featured performing ensemble at the 2018 Percussive Arts Society International Convention. spotify


Fighting to Keep Immigrant Families Together: An Evening with Marty Rosenbluth

Monday, October 7 | 7 p.m.
Derryberry Hall Auditorium

According to a 2015 study, only about 6% of detainees had a lawyer to represent them.

Marty RosenbluthMarty Rosenbluth is an attorney and advocate with over 35 years involvement with social change, human rights issues and NGOs. In 2017, he moved from Hillsborough, NC to Lumpkin, GA to help refugees being detained there because there were no other lawyers in the town and the closest other lawyers were 140 miles away in Atlanta. Stewart Detention Center is in Lumpkin, near the Alabama border.

For Reference


An Evening with Daisy Hernandez – Feminist, Memoir Author, Journalist and Cultural Activist

Tues., Oct. 22 | 7 p.m.
Derryberry Hall Auditorium

Daisy HernandezDaisy Hernandez is the author of the award-winning memoir A Cup of Water under My Bed and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. The former editor of ColorLines magazine, she has reported for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate. She has written for NPR’s All Things Considered and CodeSwitch. Her essays and fiction have appeared in Aster (ix), Bellingham Review, Brevity, Dogwood, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, Juked, and Rumpus among other journals. She is also a contributing editor for the Buddhist magazine Tricycle.

Daisy Hernandez is currently an assistant professor in the creative writing program at Miami University in Ohio.


Eric Reinemann, Painting Exhibit

JDAG Exhibit | Oct. 28-Nov. 21
Gallery Talk: Nov. 21 | 4:30 p.m.
Joan Derryberry Art Gallery | Roaden University Center

Eric ReinemannEric Reinemann works with his daily environments, which he can construct, reimage and remember in a new way on the pictorial plane. “The sense of completeness we experience in everyday seeing and observing becomes dissected,” Reinemann says when describing his process. “Visual information is filtered through the mind, coded with a color, translated into a line, and reassembled onto the surface.”

Inspired by the complexity and richness of everyday scenes, Reinemann has chosen his studio locations in areas of crude, natural beauty. Years in the north country of New York, the woods around Eugene, Oregon, the mountain wilderness of New Mexico and the hill towns of western Massachusetts, have each informed his process and his philosophy of painting.

Eric Reinemann received his MFA from the University of Oregon in 2003 and BFA from the State University of New York at Plattsburgh in 2000. His works are on display at GF Contemporary in Santa Fe, New Mexico and have been acquired by numerous public and private collections across the country. He lives and works out of North Adams, Massachusetts.


Ruthless, the Musical (Music by Marvin Laird; Books and Lyrics by Joel Paley)

October 31-Nov. 9 | See Backdoor Playhouse for times/dates
Backdoor Playhouse | Jere Whitson Building
*Tickets must be purchased from the Backdoor Playhouse.

Ruthless the Musical“Ruthless” is a hilarious musical that has been an off-Broadway smash hit since premiering in 1992, and was a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle award winner. This all-female production spoofs Broadway musicals, like Gypsy and Mame, and movies such as The Bad Seed and All About Eve. It is the story of Tina, a precocious eight-year-old who knows she was born to play Pippi Longstocking in her school play, and will do anything to get the part.

“A spoof that has enough absurd plot twists and multiple identities to fill several old movies… The fun comes from the sheer brazenness!” – The New York Times


“What You Were Wearing”

Nov. 4, 5, 6 | all day
Tech Pride Room | Roaden University Center

What Were You Wearing*Content Warning*
“What You Were Wearing” is an installation aimed at dispelling myths regarding how sexual assault may be caused by a person’s wardrobe. Survivors of sexual assault are often asked “what were you wearing when you attacked?” The question implies that their clothes provoked the assault. This reflects the faulty reasoning that the victim is to blame and excuses their attacker.

The installation will feature garments worn by sexual assault victims at the time of sexual assault, accompanied by stories of the assault.  For reference


Concert with Callie Day

Nov. 4 | 7:30 p.m.
Wattenbarger Auditorium | Bryan Fine Arts Building

Callie DayCallie Day is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She has performed with the Miami University Opera, the Cincinnati Opera, the Bowling Green State Opera, and in recent years, a touring member of the American Spiritual Ensemble. She traveled extensively performing across the nation, and in Europe and Central America.

In August 2016, Callie released her first single, “Hear My Prayer,” a Moses Hogan composition arranged by Day, Lan Wilson, G. LeRon Rainey and Mark Lacy. The maxi-single CD featuring “Hear My Prayer” and “I Know The Lord” is currently available.

Day received her Bachelor degree from Bowling Green State University in Vocal Performance, her Master’s in Education with a Music Concentration from the University of Dayton. Day is a candidate for the Masters of Fine Arts (Miami University, OH) and Doctor of Music (University of Kentucky) degrees. Her doctoral project is titled “Exploring the Role of African-American Opera Singers in the Establishment of the Spiritual as a Musical Art Form from 1900-1920.”



D.M. Aderbigbe, Poetry Reading

Thursday, Nov. 14 | 7 p.m.
Backdoor Playhouse | Jere Whitson Building

AderbigbeD.M. Aderbigbe graduated with a BA in History and Strategic Studies from University of Lagos in 2014. Born and raised in Nigeria, he earned is MFA in poetry from Boston University. He is currently a Ph.D. student at Florida State University. He is the author of a chapbook, In Praise of Our Absent Father, selected for the New Generation African Poets Series of the African Poetry Book Fund. His poems have appeared in the African American Review, The Nation, Ninth Letter, Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Rattle and elsewhere.

For reference


Nani Agbeli, Ghanaian Drum & Dance

Sat., Nov. 23 | 7 p.m.
Derryberry Hall Auditorium

AgbeliReturning to campus this fall, Nani Agbeli, known for his energy, athleticism and precision on stage, is one of the leading Ghanaian dancers of his generation. Born into a family of prominent dancers and drummers in Ghana’s Volta region, Agbeli was trained by his father, the late Godwin K. Agbeli, who performed with the Arts Council of Ghana Folkloric Company and later served as chairman of the Ghanaian National Association of Cultural Groups.

In the United States, Agbeli has taught Ghanaian drum and dance and led performing ensembles, notably at Tufts University and Harvard University. In addition, he has taught at Berklee College of Music, the Edna Manley School in Jamaica, Bowling Green University and the University of Virginia.

Nani Agbeli currently lives in Los Angeles where he is a professor and director of Ghanaian West African Music, Dance and Arts at The Herb Alpert School of Music at California Institute of the Arts.