Gangsta rap originator, author, and actor Ice T, along with comedian Preacher Lawson, will headline the Fall semester lineup of the Mohawk Valley Community College Cultural Series. Tickets for these and all events in the series go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday, Aug. 26, at www.mvcc.edu/tickets.
Ice T will present the lecture “Race in America, Bridging the Gap” at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in the Robert R. Jorgensen Athletic/Event Center Field House at the Utica Campus. Admission is $20 general, $15 for MVCC employees, and free for MVCC students. Ice T not only invented gangster rap, he has lived it. An only child whose parents died when he was very young, Ice T became involved in L.A. gangs before spending four years in the Army. Through his music, his roles in TV and film, his books (“The Ice Opinion,” “Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life,” and “Redemption — from South Central to Hollywood”), and his lecture tours of America’s prisons, high schools, libraries, and colleges, Ice T has become an influential spokesman for America’s youth, regardless of color. He has starred in NBC’s “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” as Detective Odafin Tutuola for 20 years. In 2017, he produced and starred in “Who Shot Biggie & Tupac” for Fox, released a new Body Count album, and produced and hosted “In Ice Cold Murder” for Oxygen. His lecture is for mature audiences only.
Preacher Lawson, a comedian known for making it to the finals in 2017 on “America’s Got Talent,” will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7, in Schafer Theater, Information Technology Building, at the Utica Campus. Admission is $15 general, $10 for MVCC employees, and free for MVCC students. Lawson, one of the most animated characters you’ll ever see perform, has a clean, goofy, energetic style that will keep you on your toes and laughing. He was invited to compete on “America’s Got Talent: The Champions” in 2019, where he advanced to the finale after receiving the most votes from “superfans.” Lawson also runs a YouTube channel where he posts travel vlogs, cooking guides, and music videos, all with a comedic twist. Learn more at preacherlawson.com.
Other series highlights include:
- Character Breakfast with the “Hill City Ice Queen”: 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 14; Dining and Community Hall, Plumley Complex, Rome Campus. $15 general, $10 for MVCC employees and children younger than 12. Bring the kids and enjoy breakfast with your favorite princess, the Hill City Ice Queen. Includes a meet-and-greet, pictures, autographs, a dance party, and more. Kids are encouraged to come dressed in their favorite costumes.
- Lecture “Earth to Marz: A Comic Writer’s Journey,” with American comic book writer Ron Marz: 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, Information Technology Building room 225, Utica Campus. Marz is well-known for his work on “Silver Surfer” and “Green Lantern,” as well as the Marvel vs. DC crossover and “Batman/Aliens.” He also worked on the CrossGen Comics series “Scion,” “Mystic,” “Sojourn,” and “The Path.” At Dark Horse Comics, he created “Samurai: Heaven and Earth” and various “Star Wars” comics. He has also done work for Devil’s Due Comics’ Aftermath line, namely “Blade of Kumori.” He will discuss and share his journey of the changing landscape of comics. Admission is free.
- Lecture “From Mud to Art: A Journey of an Immigrant Artist,” with Vartan Poghosian, Artist and Director of 4 Elements Studio: 3 p.m. Monday, Sept. 23, Alumni College Center room 116, Utica Campus. Armenian artist Poghosian, director of 4 Elements Studio in Downtown Utica, will share his life experiences based on following instincts, self-discovery, identity, and the four elements. Admission is free.
- Lecture “Two Old Hippies Start a Coffeehouse, So What?” with Kim and Orin Domenico, owners of Café Domenico: Noon Monday, Oct. 7, Alumni College Center room 116, Utica Campus. A story of following a utopian dream in the midst of an urban apocalypse. In 2002, at mid-life, Kim and Orin Domenico, with daughter Molly and help from son Nick, opened the Café Domenico in Uptown Utica. They share their vision of revolutionary, improvisational, and cultural activism. Admission is free.
- MVCC Drama Club and Theatre Program Production: Adam Szymkowicz’ “Pretty Theft,” directed by Paul Cruskie: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Oct. 24-26, Schafer Theater, Information Technology Building, Utica Campus. $10 general, $5 for MVCC employees. “Pretty Theft” is a play about ballerinas, boxes, and the dangers of beauty. After losing her father, Allegra falls under the wing of bad girl Suzy, only to find an unexpected friendship with Joe, an autistic savant. When things take a violent turn, Allegra and Suzy escape cross country and befriend Marco, a mysterious thief who claims he cannot be caught. Produced by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.
- Presentation “Experiencing Nirvana,” with Bruce Pavitt, founder of Sub Pop Records: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, Schafer Theater, Information Technology Building, Utica Campus. $15 general, $10 for MVCC employees. An inside look into the early touring life of Nirvana, the Seattle grunge band whose spirit came to define the ’90s. In this multi-media presentation, Pavitt captures intimate moments of Kurt Cobain and his new band as they travel through Europe in 1989. By the time they reach London for a Sub Pop showcase, the relatively unknown Seattle group is proclaimed “Sub Pop’s answer to the Beatles” by the British press. Within two years, Nirvana would become the biggest rock act of its generation. Pavitt will also reflect on independent media and its power to change global culture.
- Drag show: Glam Drag Performers “Summers” and “Myles”: 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 22, Schafer Theater, Information Technology Building, Utica Campus. $10 general, $5 for MVCC employees. Drag involves more than slipping into a dress and pasting on thick eyelashes. It is a persona, it is a performance, and it is art and culture. Drag shows have become more popular with the documentary “Paris is Burning” and shows like RuPaul’s “Drag Race.” This performance will include song and dance. For mature audiences only.
Tickets for all Cultural Series events can be purchased at the MVCC Box Office, Information Technology Building room 106, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday-Friday, and at the College Stores on the Utica and Rome Campuses; online any time at www.mvcc.edu/tickets; or by calling 315-731-5721. The Cultural Series is brought to you by MVCC’s Cultural Events Council, in collaboration with MVCC’s Program Board, with significant support from the Student Activity Fee. For the complete series lineup and ticket sales, visit www.mvcc.edu/culture.