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Creative Tech Week Kickoff Party

Together with Creative Tech Week and Harvestworks, the Art and Technology Committee and Young Members Committee at the NAC has lined up a series of brief talks and an innovative electronic movement performance from 7-8pm. At 8, the lights dim, music begins, and the rest of the night is yours to catch up with old friends and meet new people.

Free with RSVP:

RSVP Strictly Required.
A dress code is enforced at the NAC. No jeans, sneakers, or t-shirts; please dress in celebratory costume or cocktail attire.
Thursday, April 28th – The National Arts Club – 15 Gramercy Park South 10003

6:30-7:00 – Arrive and Mingle
7:00-7:20 – Toni Dove – a talk
7:20-7:40 – Heidi Boisvert – a talk
7:40-8:00 – Marco Donnarumma – a performance
8:00-11:00 – Drinks, mingling and DJ Mark Flynn (Volume Events)

This free event will sell out.

Your Hosts 
Carol Parkinson
Charlotte Kent
Danielle Cyr
Gary Shapiro
Isabel Walcott Draves
Persia Tatar von Huddleston
Steven Masur

Honorary Hosts
Andy Morris
Augustine Fou
Bernardo Joselevich
Courtney Pulitzer
Dawn Barber
Feisal Afzal
Howard Greenstein
Jack Hidary
Jeff Dachis
Jonathan Askin
Kyle Shannon
Laurel Touby
Murray Hidary
Steve Masur
Sunny Bates


Creative Tech Week Kick Off Party

Heidi Boisvert
Heidi Boisvert (PhD) creates groundbreaking games, web interactive, augmented reality and transmedia storytelling experiences for social change, as well as large-scale networked performances in dance and theatre using biotechnology. She co-founded XTH, a company exploring novel modes of expression through technology and the human body. She has been a Harvestworks Fellow with support by the Rockefeller Foundation whose works have been featured in Kotaku, TIME, Wired, Salon, Fast Company, Washington Post, the New York Times, and Atlantic, and showcased at EMPAC, Banff New Media Institute, Queens Museum, Kunsthalle and the Waag Society.

Marco Donnarumma
Marco Donnarumma (PhD) is an artist and writer merging sound art and performance art through science and technology. He is known for his wide range of performances, concerts and installations using and abusing human bodies, sound, infrasound, light, algorithms, body sensors and loudspeakers. He co-founded XTH, a company creating novel modes of expression through technology and the human body. Among other awards, he has been a Harvestworks Fellow with support by the Rockefeller Foundation, and his works have been featured at Sónar+D, ISEA, Venice Biennale, ZKM, transmediale, CTM, FILE, Panorama, NYEAF, Sound Art China, EMPAC, Stanford and CCRMA.

Toni Dove
Considered one of the pioneers of interactive cinema, New York-based artist Toni Dove creates hybrid performance, installation and screen-based art that fuses film, game or instrument based interaction, and experimental theater. Her work has been shown internationally at Banff Centre for the Arts, the Rotterdam Film Festival, the Museum of the Moving Image, ZKM, REDCAT, EMPAC, and the Kitchen. Dove creates large-scale responsive environments that connect embodied interface technologies, like vocal analysis or video motion sensing to media and robotics to create immersive narratives. In her work body motion creates an uncanny interface – a doubling – a sense of being in body and onscreen simultaneously.

Harvestworks’ mission is to support contemporary artists in the creation and presentation of art works achieved through the use of new and evolving technologies. Innovative use of new technologies in the arts can help acclimate people to change, help allow the absorption of new ideas and enrich the imagery of our culture. We are dedicated to presenting the highest quality work across the arts and technology spectrum to the public.

Creative Tech Week
Between April 28th and May 8th 2016 in New York City, Creative Tech Week draws together artists, professionals and educators working where technology and art intersect. From VR, 3D printing and hackathons to fashion tech, data visualization, digital art, interactive installations and STEAM, Creative Technology is front and center in innovation success stories across the corporate and non-profit landscape. Creative Tech Week is a free and ticketed crowdsourced convention created to showcase the cutting-edge research, art, media, and community initiatives being generated in the field of creative technology. Join us for art installations, talks, panels, workshops, performances, and more!

The National Arts Club

The National Arts Club is one of the country’s oldest institutions dedicated to the arts and artists.

Thursday, April 28, 2016 from 6:30 PM to 11:00 PM (EDT)

The National Arts Club – 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY 10003



Painting after Paik: The Influence of Nam June Paik on the Art of Russell Connor

A fateful 1968 meeting at WGBH in Boston with video artist Nam June Paik led to a major upheaval in the art of Russell Connor.  In his talk, the artist tells how it helped transform an abstract painter, ex-student of Josef Albers, into an artist who “plays seriously” with art history, in work he calls Masters in Pieces. At the time of their meeting, Connor was writer/host of the WGBH series, Museum Open House, from the Museum of fine Arts in Boston, and interested in the TV medium  itself as an art form. The encounter with Paik’s “dazzling inventiveness” led Connor to organize the world’s first museum show of video art at Brandeis  University in 1970, and to collaborate with Nam June in many of his productions through the seventies.  Paik’s free-wheeling humor inspired Connor to look again at his own immersion in art history and make it his painting subject, joining figures from famous paintings to make new compositions and new narratives. In addition to Connor’s “before and after Paik” painting, the artist will show excerpts from Paik’s work in which he participated.

A conversation with Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder and CEO of GLAMSQUAD & Co-Founder of Gilt

A conversation with Alexandra Wilkis Wilson,  Co-Founder and CEO of GLAMSQUAD; Co-Founder and Strategic Advisor of Gilt

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson is a digital entrepreneur who co-founded the influential e-commerce retailer Gilt and currently oversees the mobile app startup GLAMSQUAD, home-delivering affordable beauty services to tech savvy consumers.

Before co-founding Gilt, Alexandra managed retail operations at Bulgari, overseeing 15 North American stores. Before working at Bulgari, Alexandra managed Leather Goods Sales Planning for Louis Vuitton North America. She had previously worked at Financo for the late retail guru Marvin Traub, former Chairman and CEO of Bloomingdales. Alexandra began her career working for 3 years in investment banking at Merrill Lynch.

Alexandra holds a B.A. from Harvard College, where she graduated magna cum laude, and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. She speaks five languages.

Alexandra is on the Board of Directors of Perry Ellis International (Nasdaq: PERY). She has served on the non-profit boards of: Dress for Success Worldwide, The National Retail Federation Foundation, Women’s Forum, Inc and Fashion Group International. She is an active fundraiser for her alma maters The Brearley School, Phillips Exeter Academy, and Harvard University.

Alexandra, together with Gilt co-founder Alexis Maybank, is the author of the New York Times bestselling book By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop (Portfolio/Penguin).

THE COLLECTIVE JOURNEY: Transmedia & the Rise of a New Form of Story

The Internet continues to transform communication and commerce, but few anticipated how it has given birth to new narrative canvases capable of profound social and artistic expression. In this exclusive talk, Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment and pioneer in the field of transmedia storytelling, will describe how the time of the Hero’s Journey espoused by Joseph Campbell is now giving way to a fascinating new narrative model Gomez calls the Collective Journey. Signified by Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black, The Walking Dead, Minecraft, #BlackLivesMatter, the revival of Star Wars, and even the media tactics of ISIS, the shift to the Collective Journey presents soaring opportunities, says Gomez, but there are also dangers.

Jeff Gomez, CEO of Starlight Runner Entertainment, is a leading expert in the field of transmedia storytelling, specializing in the expansion of entertainment properties, premium brands and socio-political themes into highly successful multi-platform franchises and international campaigns.

As a transmedia producer, Jeff also develops the story worlds of films, television shows, toys, books, comics, apps, videogame titles, and theme park attractions across an array of media touchpoints, which deepens audience engagement, and generates massive fan communities and multiple revenue streams. Jeff’s pop culture work has impacted such blockbuster entertainment properties as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, James Cameron’s Avatar, Hasbro’s Transformers, Sony Pictures’​ Spider-Man and Men in Black, Microsoft’s Halo, and Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Jeff is currently the transmedia producer of Mark Burnett’s Lucha Underground TV series. Other current clients include Sesame Workshop and Disney Parks & Resorts.

Jeff’s proprietary transmedia development and implementation methods have also been applied to educational and geo-political causes, accelerating positive social movements and increasing resistance to organized crime, violent extremism, and corruption. Through applications of transmedia population activation, he has helped to address crises in Mexico, Colombia, and the Middle East North Africa region. He has recently started work at Curtin University to use transmedia techniques and a new narrative model he calls the Collective Journey to increase retention among first-year students, particularly those from Low Socio-Economic Status, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and Regional and Remote backgrounds.

The Art of Drones: A Conversation about Creativity, Coverage, and Controversy

This conversation will bring together Randy Scott Slavin, NYC Drone Film Festival Founder, and Greg Agvent, the Sr. Director of News Operations at CNN, to talk about drones and what space they occupy within the editorial and creative landscapes.

Randy Scott Slavin is a drone cinematographer who founded the NYC Drone Film Festival, the world’s first film festival exclusively dedicated to drone cinema. The 2016 Drone Film Festival (being held in NYC on March 5) has received over 335 submissions from 45 countries. Randy is also a regular drone contributor on Good Morning America, and has been featured in the New York Times, Fast Company, and Time.

Greg Agvent is the Sr. Director of News Operations for CNN/U.S., responsible for designing and executing the technical, logistical and production strategies that support CNN’s editorial mission. Greg has participated in the development of CNN’s broadcast coverage of virtually every significant domestic news story of the last decade. He’s been involved with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) since CNN initiated its research efforts with the Georgia Tech Research Institute and the Federal Aviation Administration. He’s also a member of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and serves on the advisory boards of several UAS related groups.

Eclectic Music Salon

An intimate evening with the film composer Duke Bojadziev on piano, featuring his talented collaborators. His guest this evening is the musical prodigy on clarinet from Juliard, Ismail Lumanovski. A cinematic musical journey blends the art of classical romanticism with the traditional roots of Eastern European melodies, while exploring the technology of layering sound experiences.

Duke Bojadziev (a.k.a. Duke B) is a New York City-based music composer for motion pictures, record producer and pianist. Born and raised in Macedonia, he began playing the piano at a very early age. Taking after his father – who balanced successful careers in both music and medicine – Duke earned his medical degree while simultaneously cultivating his passion for music. Deciding to pursue music as a full time career he than moved to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. Upon graduating in 2001, he moved to NYC and jumpstarted his trajectory as a musician. He has produced remixes for Cyndi Lauper and the Blue Man Group, and honed his inventive style through performances with various ensembles at NYC’s Carnegie Hall, Highline Ballroom, Cipriani Ballroom, among many others.

The Macedonian/Turkish clarinetist, Ismail Lumanovski, grew up in the Balkans cherishing his recordings of Western classical music, jazz, hip hop and rock. His ability to perform both Western Classical music and Balkan folk music with such inimitable skill is a rarity this writer has never witnessed close up before.

Lumanovski is perhaps the first Roma (Gypsy) clarinet player to graduate from the renowned Juilliard School of Music in New York, and his understanding of Mahler and orchestral playing is as developed as his profound passion for and skill in playing the music from his ethnic childhood.

The Art and Business of Music with Jason Flom, Moderator Ronan Farrow

“I knew nothing about escrow when I first started out — I actually thought it was an Italian vegetable,” Lava Records CEO Jason Flom told 1000 real estate brokers as he delivered the keynote address at the ReInvent Conference. Flom, the former Chairman and CEO of Atlantic Records, Virgin Records and Capitol Music Group, and the son of the late mergers and acquisitions legend Joseph Flom has helped to redefine the art and business of music while remaining a leader in the field of criminal justice reform. He is a founding board member of The Innocence Project which focuses on freeing innocent inmates and he also serves on the boards of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, The Drug Policy Alliance and The Legal Action Center. MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow, an activist, journalist and lawyer himself, will interview Flom about discovering and breaking multiplatinum artists like Tori Amos, Stone Temple Pilots, Jewel, Kid Rock, Matchbox Twenty, The Corrs, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Katy Perry, Jessie J and Lorde, as well as his cause based work and what we can expect from music in the future. It promises to be an incredible evening.


RSVP required at:

Graham Hancock

From Fingerprints of the Gods, published in 1995to his explosive new book Magicians of the Gods, soon to be published on November 10, 2015, Graham Hancock has spent 20 years in the front lines of historical and archaeological controversy. In this special talk at the National Arts Club he shares his unique experiences and perspective on the mysteries of the human past and explains why he’s convinced we are a species with amnesia forced, more than 12,000 years ago, to begin again like children with almost no memory of what went before. An entire episode of the human story has been lost — an advanced civilisation very different from our own, with different technologies, different priorities, a higher level of consciousness and a deep connection to spirit. In the teeth of opposition from orthodox historians, and an ideologically driven consensus, a new paradigm of prehistory is emerging that will change everything we have been taught to believe about ourselves.

An Evening with Burning Man Founder Larry Harvey

In 1986, Larry Harvey instigated the now-renowned Burning Man festival on a renegade creative impulse on a San Francisco beach. This creativity was the spark that led to the 30-year evolution of the annual festival that Larry has aesthetically and philosophically shepherded through its transformation into ​a non-profit organization, and ​a global force for creative culture on six continents and in more than 50 countries.

Artist, NAC member and 15 year Burner Kate Raudenbush, began attending the event in 1999 in the Black Rock Desert, Nevada. In 2004, on an inspired whim and thanks to her first Art Grant from Burning Man, Kate began her first step in an uncharted creative journey​,​ which evolved with Burning Man funding her ​many ​creations​ of intricately crafted​,​ allegorical steel sculpture, reaching heights of 42 feet. Like Burning Man, her artwork has evolved into more creativity across the ​world, ​where it has been exhibited ​at museums in the US and ​internationally, and featured at festivals, galleries and fine art fairs.

Please join us as they discuss creative risk-taking, the power of artistic themes, Burning Man creative culture​,​ and more.

Sleeping Through a Revolution: The Moral Framework of the Technology Revolution

The Art + Tech Committee is excited to host Jonathan Taplin, author of Outlaw Blues and Adventures in the Counter-Culture Wars. Jonathan is a professor at the University of Southern California, and the producer of Scorsese’s Mean Streets and The Band’s The Last Waltz.

The comedian Louis CK has remarked that in our smartphone-obsessed world, “everything is amazing and nobody is happy.” Could it be that some core ethical principles are being neglected as we drive towards ever more addictive apps? Jonathan will discuss some of the problems the consolidation of the Internet business poses for content owners in movies, music, books, journalism and games.

The Birth of Hip-Hop with Tommy Silverman & Lee Quiñones

The Art & Technology Committee brings you Tommy Silverman, founder of both Tommy Boy Records and the New Music Seminar, and Lee Quiñones, leading innovator of the street-art movement in New York and pioneer of subway graffiti art.  Tommy and Lee will break down for us how the eclectic ramshackle culture within five square miles of the South Bronx in New York City changed art, dance, music and entertainment for the next thirty years.  Tommy worked with such hip-hop pioneers as De La Soul, Digital Underground, Afrika Bambaataa and Queen Latifah.  Early attendees at New Music Seminar included Madonna, Nirvana, Ice Cube, GWAR, James Brown, and Lou Reed.

Graffiti Artist Lee Quiñones became a legend in the late 1970’s for his unique artwork seen throughout the New York subway system. Lee was a major contributor to one of the first-ever whole-train graffiti murals, and many of his iconic works can be found in such exhibits as the Whitney Museum of Art and the Museum of the City of New York. Lee also contributed several pieces to one of the most sold art books in history, Subway Art.

Alexandre Tannous: Exploring Sound

Please join us on Tuesday, April 21, at 8 p.m. as the Art & Technology Committee welcomes its next speaker, Alexandre Tannous, composer and ethnomusicologist, as he discusses sound and its connections with the body, mind and spirit.

Humans have been drawn to music since the beginning of time. Ancient and contemporary religions, shamanic societies, mystical and spiritual sects have revered sound to be the ultimate source in the universe and intricately connected to consciousness. Using case studies Alexandre will talk about the benefits of sound as a tool for therapy, to explore spiritual dimensions of consciousness, to reveal the higher self, and to enhance self-awareness. Alexandre will explain what gives sound this power and what causes the physiological effects on the body and mind.

Alexandre, who has studied and taught at Columbia University, has been investigating the therapeutic and esoteric properties of sound from three different perspectives – Western scientific, Eastern philosophical, and shamanic societal beliefs – to gain a deeper understanding of how, and to what extent, sound has been used to affect human consciousness. As an ethnomusicologist his approach entails a social scientific study of sound use in several traditional contexts: religious, spiritual, holistic, and cultural.

Alexandre continues his research on sound and practices as a sound therapist.

This event is free and open to the public. We hope you can join us.

Zuzanna Skalska: Awareness of Change

Please join us on Tuesday, March 3rd at 7 p.m. as the Art & Technology Committee hosts its next speaker- Zuzanna Skalska. Zuzanna is a celebrated trend watcher, and will share how, in a world characterized by innovation frenzy and hyper-acceleration, she analyzes and intuits forces of change in the economy, society, technology, environment, and politics – long before such trends become obvious to others.

Zuzanna will illustrate the art and science of trend watching by discussing the latest design trends in different industries, and will deliver colorful and beautifully visualized storytelling that inspires the imagination.

This event is free and open to the public. We hope you can join us.


Drones: Creativity and Controversy

The Art & Tech Committee of the National Arts Club is excited to announce our next talk – a candid conversation about drones and art.

This evening will bring together Randy Scott Slavin, Brendan Schulman and Mark Devries to talk drones and what space they occupy within the legal and creative landscapes.
Randy Scott Slavin is a drone cinematographer who founded the NYC Drone Film Festival, the world’s first film festival exclusively dedicated to drone cinema. Brendan Schulman is the preeminent drone lawyer who is fighting the most famous drone case in the US. Mark Devries is a young documentary filmmaker whose first documentary “Speciesism” gained a lot of attention when he used a drone to get footage of “factory farms” hidden deep in remote areas of the countryside. 

WYLIE DUFRESNE at the National Arts Club

The Art & Technology Committee of the National Arts Club is excited to announce its next speaker, a culinary visionary, chef Wylie Dufresne.

Through a synthesis of art and science, Wylie transformed the New York restaurant scene with his innovative and groundbreaking cuisine at wd~50 and has brought a modern interpretation of pub food to life with his newest restaurant Alder. He has been awarded the James Beard Foundation’s Best NYC Chef and was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University.

Wylie will join us at the club on January 29th at 8pm to talk about modern American cuisine and the relationship between food and science.
This is going to be a fun event. It is free and open to the public, but space is limited. We hope you can join us.

VITO ACCONCI at The National Arts Club

On December 4 at 8:00 pm the Art & Technology Committee welcomes Vito Acconci.  From poetry and provocative performance art to sublime architecture and beyond, Mr. Acconci is one of the most iconoclastic and influential artists of our time.  This will be the Art & Technology Committee’s last event of 2014.

Vito Acconci’s design & architecture comes from another direction, from backgrounds of writing & art. His poems in the late 60’s treated language as matter (words to look at rather than through) & the page as a field to travel over; his performances in the early 70’s helped shift art from object to interaction; later in the 70’s, his installations turned museums & galleries into interactions between spaces & people; in the early 80’s, his architectural-units were meant to be transformed by users. By the late 80’s his work crossed over & he formed Acconci Studio, a design firm that mixes poetry & geometry, computer-scripting & sentence-structure, narrative & biology, chemistry & social-science.

The Studio uses computers to give form to thinking; they use forms to find ideas. They make not nodes so much as circulation-routes, they design time as much as space. Their design starts with clothing & ends with vehicles – in-between, they design buildings that slip into landscape & vice versa; they make spaces fluid, changeable & portable; they make architecture subservient to people & not vice versa — they anticipate cities on the move.

Built in the last decade are, in Graz, a person-made island where the theater, a bowl, twists to become a playground on its way to becoming a dome, a restaurant; in Tokyo, a clothing store as soft as clothing; in Coney Island an elevated subway-station façade that waves & bulges to make views & seats; in Toronto, a building-complex fence that twists & rises up the building to make wind-screens, & splits to make public-places. Being built now, in Indianapolis, is an interactive tunnel through a building where pedestrians & cyclists activate sensors that set off lights that swarm around them like fireflies.

An Evening with Milton Glaser

Graphic design legend, Milton Glaser, speaks on all of our favorite topics, Art, Design, Love & Sex, in what will surely be a memorable and thought provoking evening.

Milton Glaser revolutionized the fields of art and design through decades of iconic work including the “I Love New York” logo (and after September 11th, was transformed into I Love NY More Than Ever), the DC Comics “DC bullet” logo, the famous Bob Dylan album cover and the recent MadMen poster. He co-founded New York Magazine, which became the prototype for city magazines and service journalism across the country.

Milton Glaser (b.1929) is among the most celebrated graphic designers in the United States. He has had the distinction of one-man-shows at the Museum of Modern Art and the Georges Pompidou Center. In 2004 he was selected for the lifetime achievement award of the Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum. As a Fulbright scholar, Glaser studied with the painter, Giorgio Morandi in Bologna, and is an articulate spokesman for the ethical practice of design. He opened Milton Glaser, Inc. in 1974, and continues to produce an astounding amount of work in many fields of design to this day.

Photo by Michael Somoroff

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Shane Smith: Vice and the Art of Storytelling

Join the Art & Technology Committee for an evening with Shane Smith, founder and CEO of Vice Media. Vice launched in 1994 as a punk magazine distributed on the streets of Montreal, and has since become a global youth media brand with offices in 34 countries. It operates an international network of digital channels, a television production studio, a record label, an in-house creative services agency, a book-publishing house and a feature film division. Shane is also a critically acclaimed journalist. As the executive producer and host of the Emmy nominated news series, Vice, on HBO, Shane has reported from the world’s most isolated and difficult places, including North Korea, Iran, Afghanistan, Kashmir and Liberia. Shane makes no secret of his desire to help bring about the changing of the guard within the media. He believes young people are starting to find a voice, and they are not looking to traditional media to reflect that. With its upcoming launch of a global news channel, Vice is well on the way to becoming that voice. RSVP required at:

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Graham Hancock To Speak On Exploring Consciousness: From Upper Paleolithic Cave Art to Modern Day Shamanism

Join the Art & Technology Committee for an evening with Graham Hancock as he introduces his new book War God and shares his thought-provoking views on non-ordinary states of consciousness. Graham is a best-selling author, having sold over 5 million copies of his books worldwide, and is recognized as an unconventional thinker who challenges entrenched views of orthodox scholars.

Graham’s research into the ancient Egyptian books of the dead, shamanism, Upper Paleolithic cave art and sacred plants, and his studies of phenomena construed by different cultures at different times as encounters with “gods”, “angels”,”demons” ,”spirits”, “fairies” and most recently as “aliens” have led him to propose that non-ordinary states of consciousness have played a fundamental role in the story of humanity.

Graham will weave a compelling story of these seemingly unrelated phenomena, and will tell us why our culture ignores their significance at its peril.


Graham- Hancock

Please join us Thursday October 9 at 8:00 pm as Graham Hancock returns to speak about exciting
new evidence that supports his controversial thesis that a civilization flourished deep in prehistory and was destroyed.

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Medal of Honor : Dr. Neil degrasse Tyson

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson is widely regarded as the world’s most renowned astrophysicist and science communicator. A graduate of the Bronx High School of Science, Dr.Tyson’s passion for astronomy was evident from his lectures on the subject at the age of 15, which gained him early fame in the community.

Today he is the Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space. His career has been distinguished by Presidential appointments, including the “Moon, Mars and Beyond” commission, which helped develop U.S. space exploration policy. He is the recipient of countless awards, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the highest civilian honor bestowed by NASA. Known for his vibrant character and cheerful
demeanor, Dr. Tyson appears regularly in the media, including PBS NOVA scienceNOW, The History Channel’s “The Universe” and his radio talk show “Star Talk.” He has written more than a dozen books on the mysteries of the universe, and lectures frequently on diverse topics from spirituality to art.On June 27 we honor Dr. Tyson with the Gold Medal of Honor for his contributions as an exemplary educatorand scientist. The night promises to be spectacularcelebration of the man People Magazine calls the “Sexiest Astrophysicist” alive.

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Dennis McKenna Returns to The National Arts Club


In 2010 the Art and Technology Committee hosted a presentation by Dennis McKenna in which he shared his ideas about the origins of the human imagination. We’re pleased to announce that Dennis will return to discuss his new book entitled Brotherhood of the Screaming Abyss.

In Brotherhood, Dennis Talks of his life with his late brother Terence, well known as a radical philosopher, futurist, raconteur and cultural commentator. Dennis and Terrence’s ideas advocate strongly for the arts. Terence once proclaimed that

“art’s task is to save the soul of mankind, and anything less is a dithering while Rome burns. Because if the artists who are self-selected for being able to journey into the Other, cannot find the way, then the way cannot be found.”

Dennis will place the roll of art and creativity into historical context, particularly with respect to the development of cognition in our species. And well hear why, in a world dominated by accelerating technological change, art represents an endeavor through which we can maintain our humanness.

Books will be available for purchase, and Dennis will be available to sign them and answer questions. We hope you’ll join us for what promises to be an insightful and fun evening.


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Origins of The Human Imagination Plant-Human Coevolution

Imagination makes us human. Certainly it’s at the heart of all art. Yet we rarely stop to consider where the imagination came from. If evolution endows nature’s creatures with traits that aid in survival and reproduction, what may she have intended when she created the imagination? And from a physiological perspective, how may the imagination have come about.

Please join us as renowned ethnopharmacologist Dr. Dennis McKenna discusses how our ancestors’ interactions with plants over millions of years may have laid the foundation for imagination.

The biochemical co-evolutionary relationship between plants and insects are well-studied. The same principles apply to co-evolution with herbivores which includes humans. Interactions between plant chemical compounds and our complex neural machinery, which can trigger synesthesia- the nexus where sound, vision and symbol come together-may have been the stimulus for the cognitive evolution of the mind. Many have experienced these effects in the form of the psychedelic experience, but their impact on our culture predates the 60’s by several million years. In fact, plants may have given us the ability to understand meaning and abstractions, therefore laid the foundation for language. And with language came the ability to share ideas across continents and centuries, which reacted the very foundation for culture.

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Social Media / Visually Informed

Please join us as social media expert and futurist Dennis Mancini shares his vision of the world – a unique take on where we are today, and the consequence of where we’re headed. We’ll hear how social media, virtual worlds, genetics, artificial intelligence, and nano are weaving tomorrow’s reality, together with economics, demographics, culture and human nature.  We’ll hear why being part of a community grounds us, and why presence of mind will be essential to navigating tomorrow’s world. Mancini will illustrate the lecture with his unique drawings – visual representations of trends, relationships and phenomenon that define our world.


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Sounds (de)mystified

We experience much of the world through our ears and auditory system, which sense and translate the vibrations around us into the sounds we hear. Although we are immersed in sound nearly ever moment, like a fish that is unaware of the water, we are barely aware of the miracles at work.

Sound’s impact on human culture extends far beyond speech and music. The ancients revered sound as the ultimate source in the universe, and recognized its intricate connection to consciousness. And shamanic societies used sound to perform healing ceremonies at a level that is still beyond our understanding.

Alexandre Tannous, an ethnomusicologist who studied and taught at Columbia University, has been investigating the therapeutic and esoteric properties of sound from scientific, shamanic, historical, practical and theoretical perspectives. This evening, Alexandre will discuss his attempts to bridge the Western scientific understanding of sound with Eastern philosophies and shamanic societal beliefs. He will discuss basic acoustic principles, sound phenomena, music mathematical ratios, the physiological effects of sound on the body and mind, and how sound impacts consciousness, quantum physics and the nature of reality.

With gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, bells, and tuning forks, Alexandre will conclude with a short sound meditation, and will demonstrate how harmonic overtones can help us disconnect from energetic, physical, mental, emotional and psychological habitual patterns.