Having just received rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival, the newest Frank Zappa film is making its next stop in New Jersey for the Asbury Park Music In Film Festival on April 9th at 7:30pm at the new House of Independents. Following the film, musicians will gather to celebrate the life of the famed iconoclastic composer and bandleader with performances from Project/Object and We Used To Cut The Grass.Entitled Eat That Question: Frank Zappa In His Own Words, the film features footage from performances and interviews, with a specific focus on what it means for Zappa to be creative. Filmmaker Thorsten Schutte recently spoke with Rolling Stone about the movie, “In a time lacking controversial, outspoken and polarizing iconoclasts, the life and art of Frank Zappa connects to the universal questions that so many can relate to: How can an artist stay true to his art and ideas? How does one handle rejection and the limitations of a creative output? And what is the ultimate price to pay for the freedom of expression?” Watch the trailer and find out next month at the Asbury Park Music In Film Festival. Following the film, the celebration of Zappa will continue with very special performances from New York’s own Project/Object and New Jersey’s We Used To Cut The Grass.Project/Object is the longest running alumni-based Zappa tribute in the world and was founded in the mid-90s by guitarist André Cholmondeley. Over the past twenty years they have proudly hosted more Zappa alumni onstage than anyone, other than the composer himself. Their legendary tours of the USA, Canada, and Europe have made them a household name among Zappa fans and helped pave the way for a rich variety of excellent, contemporary Zappa tributes. The group will feature original band members Ike Willis, Frank Zappa’s longtime vocalist and guitarist best known for his work on “Joe’s Garage,” and Don Preston, original keyboardist and pre-eminent fixture in the Mothers of Invention.Asbury Park’s own avant-garde large ensemble, We Used to Cut the Grass, will follow up with a look into the past, present and future of Frank Zappa as they perform a set that contains not only a wealth of complex Zappa pieces such as “The Black Page,” but also a study of the music that inspired him, including works by Edgar Varése and Igor Stravinsky, in addition to some of the ensemble’s original work. Lead by Cody McCorry, the group regularly features five horns, two drum sets, guitar, bass, and vibraphone, performing a vast repertoire of contemporary pieces, including the group’s own experimental music. The ensemble will be joined by multiple guests, including Ike Willis, who has toured with the ensemble twice in the past, guitarist Tom Monda and violinist Ben Karas of the nationally touring North Jersey-based prog band Thank You Scientist, and more to be announced as the show draws closer.Tickets for the screening and the concert, as well as for the concert alone, are on sale now. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.
A new book co-edited by a Harvard researcher pulls together a wide range of research on the successes and limitations of the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) program.The studies, said Philip Sadler, the F.W. Wright Senior Lecturer in Astronomy at Harvard, fall far short of consensus on many areas.“AP classes give a lot to the top students, but pouring money into the program and trying to give every student an AP education is not efficient or effective,” says Sadler.As the AP program becomes increasingly widespread in America’s public high schools, the student demographics that it serves have shifted and rapidly expanded. More than 25 percent of public high school seniors graduating last May took at least one AP test.The elite students the program once catered to have been joined by hundreds of thousands of students who may be less prepared for the rigors of AP course work. That means that the number of test-takers who do poorly on AP exams is growing, and some critics have begun to question the effectiveness of the program.Now, in “AP: A Critical Examination of the Advanced Placement Program” (Harvard Education Press, 2010), researchers present the most comprehensive picture yet of who really benefits from the millions spent each year on AP programs across the country.Most of the studies presented in the book focus on AP mathematics and science courses. Sadler is quick to point out the difficulties of conducting research on the program.“We can’t run control groups in ‘placebo’ classes,” he said. “Even with the best statistical tools, there is a large gray area.”Even so, Sadler and his fellow researchers agree that the AP program has expanded to reach the point of diminishing returns. As more students are pushed to take the courses, the number of students enrolled in them without sufficient foundational knowledge increases. Unprepared students do not gain more from an AP course than they would from a standard course, and schools promoting the program often end up funding the unnecessary failure of students who are pushed to take courses for which they are not ready.Sadler stresses that the effectiveness of paying to bring the AP to new districts must be analyzed school by school. One study in the book looks at Philadelphia, where the city has spent millions of dollars bringing the program to all of its public schools. The students passing AP tests, while low-income, overwhelmingly attend schools that use selective admissions. Students of similar income who attend the city’s regional high schools have a failure rate of at least 41 percent.“We found that AP courses can give strong students excellent preparation for college courses, especially if they earn a 5 on the AP exam,” Sadler says. “However, AP course work does not magically bestow advantages on underprepared students who might be better served by a course not aimed at garnering college credit.”
BRUSSELS (AP) — China’s European Union envoy is urging the 27-nation bloc to deepen its ties with his country even further and says he hopes the EU’s desire for “strategic autonomy” will guide its foreign policy in the future. The EU is China’s biggest trading partner and they are also economic competitors. But Chinese Ambassador Zhang Ming said Wednesday that China-EU ties have “stood the test of time.” The term “strategic autonomy” has sown confusion over Europe’s intentions. Some see it as a by-word for acting independently from the United States, others for greater trade protectionism or even for breaking away from the NATO military alliance. EU foreign ministers are still trying to establish exactly what it means.
3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr The heads of two agencies with rules that impact credit unions directly will be testifying on Capitol Hill this week. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Richard Cordray and U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Secretary Thomas Perez will appear before the House Financial Services Committee and the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, respectively.Cordray will appear as part of his semiannual report to the committee.“Director Cordray is expected to receive sharp questions from both sides of the aisle regarding the bureau’s rulemaking and supervisory actions,” said Ryan Donovan, chief advocacy officer at the Credit Union National Association (CUNA). “In recent weeks, we have pressed Congress and the bureau with our concern that the CFPB is not using its statutory exemption authority as fully as it could. We believe Congress gave the agency broad authority to tailor its regulations to the abusers of consumers, but the bureau has been very reluctant to use it as such.” continue reading »