Monday, September 17, 2018

In memoriam: ‘Polly’ Nooter Roberts, art historian and scholar of African art

Roberts’ legacy lives on in the lives she touched, her cultural contributions and how she shaped curriculum at UCLA

Roberts advocated for women’s health through her work in UCLA’s world arts and cultures/dance department and its commitment to arts activism and global health.

Mary “Polly” Nooter Roberts, UCLA professor of world arts and cultures/dance, died peacefully in her sleep at home on Tuesday, Sept. 11. She was 59, and had been living with stage four metastatic breast cancer for more than eight years.

Roberts was trained as an art historian and became one of the world’s foremost scholars of African arts. She focused her research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where she undertook long-term dissertation research among Luba peoples, and in Senegal, where she conducted field research on the arts of a local Sufi movement called the Mouride Way.

Roberts studied the philosophical underpinnings of African visual and performance-based arts and was celebrated for her sensitive and innovative translation of cultural experience into museum exhibitions. She authored or co-authored 15 books; more than 100 scholarly articles published in noted books, academic journals, and online; countless brief entries in exhibition catalogues and encyclopedias. She also presented hundreds of keynotes, panel presentations and museum talks. Through courses like “Curating Cultures,” “World Arts/Local Lives,” and “Arts of Memory,” she brought her wealth of experience to UCLA undergraduate and graduate students.

Her influence was deeply felt in the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. Roberts served as a mentor to a great many students interested in arts theories and practices, inspiring them to question their own identities even as they explored arts of diverse cultures throughout the world. Through her museum work Roberts also reached out to many communities, and in 2017, she was awarded the Dai Sensei/Master Teacher Award of the Ethnic Arts Council of Los Angeles. As the award statement read, through Roberts’ “remarkable teaching and speaking skills… the more we learn the more excited we become; the more we seek the more you give.”

These same abilities led to Roberts being awarded the lifetime Leadership Award of the Arts Council of the African Studies Association in 2017 as the most significant recognition in the academic field of African art studies. In 2007, she was decorated as a Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters by the Republic of France for her promotion of French and Francophone cultures and arts.

“A brilliant scholar, beloved teacher, colleague, wife and mother, Polly brightened so many of our lives with her brilliant mind, luminous spirit, unyielding optimism and boundless generosity,” said Brett Steele, dean of the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture in an email to the school community.

“Polly exuded physical, intellectual and spiritual strength, both before and during her illness. In fact, she rejected the ‘battle’ metaphor for living with cancer,” said Dan Froot, chair of the world arts and cultures/dance department. “Instead, she insisted that it opened up unimagined perspectives for her, and new pathways for sharing her passions, inquiries and discoveries with students, audiences, readers, museum-goers, colleagues, friends and loved ones.”

Embodying the notion that knowledge and wisdom should be shared, Roberts was scheduled to be among the speakers for UCLA Arts’ “10 Questions” series — a hybrid academic course and public event series that brings together leading minds from across the university to discuss fundamental questions.

Though born in the United States, Roberts spent her childhood in Uruguay and Liberia as the family moved with her father’s posting in the foreign service. Roberts mother was a former artist and scholar of the arts of Africa, who worked at the National Museum of African Art.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Scripps College and her graduate degrees in art history from Columbia University, Roberts worked for a decade as senior curator at the Museum for African Art in New York City. Her major exhibitions included “Secrecy: African Art that Conceals and Reveals” and “Memory: Luba Art and the Making of History,” which was awarded the College Art Association’s Alfred Barr Award for Outstanding Museum Scholarship.

In summer 1999, Roberts moved to Los Angeles to serve as deputy director and chief curator of the Fowler Museum at UCLA, a position she held through 2008. She curated or oversaw many important exhibitions, including: “Body Politics: The Female Image in Luba Art and the Sculpture of Alison Saar”; “Inscribing Meaning: Writing and Graphic Systems in African Art”; and “Continental Rifts: Contemporary Time-Based Works of Africa.”

“A Saint in the City: Sufi Arts of Urban Senegal,” funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and co-curated with her spouse, Allen F. Roberts, also a professor of world arts and cultures/dance, opened at the Fowler in 2003 and traveled to five other American museums through 2008. The New York Times hailed the exhibition as one of the year’s 10 best on any theme in any U.S. museum, and the accompanying book won the two most prestigious prizes in African studies.

After shifting from her appointment at the Fowler to become a professor, Roberts was named consulting curator of African arts at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She helped found a new gallery for African arts at LACMA, brought several immensely important African sculptures into LACMA’s collections, and she curated important exhibitions. These included “Shaping Power: Luba Masterworks from the Royal Museum for Central Africa,” “Senses of Time: Video and Film-Based Works from Africa,” which was seen at three museums, and “The Inner Eye: Vision and Transcendence in African Arts.” She was planning “Performing the Extraordinary: Monumental Masquerades of Africa” for a LACMA opening in 2020.

Over these last eight years, Roberts’ passions for learning and teaching were extended to living with metastatic breast cancer. As she often said, her new circumstances, as dire and daunting as they most certainly were, permitted her to gain new insights that she shared with her UCLA students. Roberts worked closely with other women living with metastatic breast cancer to create large seminars sponsored by the Komen Foundation, that disseminate information about health care resources and breakthroughs, while urging that — like her — they never lose hope.

Roberts is survived by her parents, her husband Al Roberts; and their three children: Avery, her husband James, and their sons Zane and Felix; Seth and his wife Molly; and Sid; and four siblings and their families.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

2018 Dallas Cowboy Over/Under Season Win Total

In seven of his last nine games, dating back to last season, Prescott has not thrown for 200 yards and he has not thrown a touchdown pass in six of his last nine games.
For more than 10 years, I have listened to Bill Simmons and Cousin Sal talk about sports betting on their podcasts. There were a couple of times that I was interested in making a bet just for fun. These opportunities were mostly season long bets rather than individual games.

After listening to their over/under podcast for the 2018/19 NFL season, I finally took the plunge and opened an account with an online sports book. In a series of podcasts over the last couple of seasons, Simmons has been really negative about the Dallas Cowboys and their head coach Jason Garret (first coach fired?).

I made a bet on the under for Cowboys season wins. It will be fun to follow this over the course of the season and poke at Rod Renteria online and at the annual fall dinner party!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Night Under the Stars

Night Under the StarsSharon and I went with Sanborns to A Night Under the Stars BBQ Gala at the California Aerospace Museum. The Sanborn's friend Dave and Beth also attended. We were all sitting at at the Placer Valley Sunrise Rotary table. This fundraising event supports the museum’s hands-on STEM educational programs and is their biggest fundraiser of the year.

Quest also had a table. Sam Samms was there. He said that this was their fifth STEM event.

Before dinner, we wandered through and into the planes and helicopters outside. After dinner, five awards were presented. Although Sharon and I didn't know it ahead of time, the second award--the Bob Hoover Dreams Take Flight Award--was to be given to Harrison Ford. When they got to his award, the emcee said "Harrison Ford couldn't make because he is too tired from working on his current movie." They showed a very short clip of him speaking and went on to the next award. I got the feeling that there were a number of people who felt that they had been bait and switched.

After the awards, there was a band playing outside. The night ended with a spectacular fireworks display.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Rey Azteca

Sharon and I finished the week with dinner at Rey Azteca. It has been a while since we have eaten there. We talked about the arc of the next four years and how I am thinking I will respond to a seminal event scheduled in October.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

California Historical Landmark #313

With my job change in the fall of 2016, I haven't been traveling quite as much. Taking advantage of Sharon and Janie being in Wichita, I decided to spend the afternoon tracking down a number of historical markers. I ended up visiting eight markers, including: Hooker Oak [#313]; Old Suspension Bridge [#314]; Bidwell's Bar [#330]; Last Yahi Indian [#809]; Posted Water Notice Site [#831]; Chico Forestry Station and Nursery [#840.2], and; Mother Orange Tree of Butte County [#1043].

Hooker Oak
California State Historical Landmark #313

See this location on Yahoo Maps in Flickr
See this location on Google Maps

This landmark is located at 1928 Manzanita Avenue, Tidwell Park, Hooker Oak Recreation Area, Manzanita Ave between Vallombrosa and Hooker Oak Avenue, Chico in Butte County. There are 10 other California State Historical Landmarks in Butte County. The GPS coordinates for this location are N 39° 45.591 W 121° 47.861.

California Historical Landmark #313

In 1887 Annie E. K. Bidwell named this huge oak after English botanist Sir Joseph Hooker. When it fell during a windstorm in 1977, it was estimated to be over a thousand years old - it was nearly a hundred feet tall and 29 feet in circumference eight feet from the ground. The largest branch measured 111 feet from trunk to tip - circumference of outside branches was nearly five hundred feet.

California Historical Landmark #313

California Historical Landmark #313

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Black Panther

Saturday night when Sharon was in Chicago, I watched Black Panther. The film is a 2018 superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The only other films that I have seen in series are Iron Man and Iron Man 2.

The film stars Chadwick Boseman as T'Challa/Black Panther, alongside Michael B. Jordan [Creed], Lupita Wyong'o [12 Years A Slave], Danai Gurira, Martin Freeman, Daniel Kaluuya [Get Out], Letitia Wright, Winston Duke, Angela Bassett, Forest Whitaker, and Andy Serkis. T'cholla is crowned king of Wakanda following his father's death, but his sovereignty is challenged by an adversary who plans to abandon the country's isolationist policies and begin a global revolution.

I am not a Marvel Comics fanboy. I don't have a particular passion for all of these interrelated super hero movies. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie and recommend it.

The main reason that I watched the movie is that there is a lot of buzz about Black Panther being nominated for an Oscar. I am starting my quest to watch potential Oscar nominated films early this year. Other films on my list for the next couple of months are BlacKkKlansman, First Man, Widows and A Star is Born.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Jack's 2018 Fall Semester Classes

ARTH 250 - Modern Architecture 1750-2000
This course surveys modern architecture in Europe and the United States from 1750-2000. Beginning in England, changes in architectural styles and the designs of key architects will be discussed within the framework of their cultural context. Visionary forms, urban plans, new technology and ornament will be analyzed. In addition, this course surveys the skyscraper's development, the Arts & Crafts movement, the International Style and later modern forms. Students will learn to recognize and describe the major characteristics of architectural movements in Europe and America during this time frame and become familiar with the ideas underlying these forms. Among the many architects and designers to be addressed are Jefferson, Morris, Gaudi, Wright, Le Corbusier and Graves.

We will visit Washington, D.C. architectural sites and/or relevant museum exhibitions as part of this course.

OPIM 230 - Operations Management
A firm has the opportunity to create competitive advantage through proficient management of its operations—manufacturing and services. To do so, the firm must first recognize and establish the strategic role of its operations within the organization. Then, at the more detailed operational level, the firm must execute effectively and efficiently. This course examines the strategic role that the operations function can play, and offers specific tools and techniques that the firm can use during implementation.

OPIM 257 - Develop/Managing Data Bases
The objective of this course is to introduce the student to the key principles and activities associated with the design, use and administration of business databases. The course will discuss important database design principles and sophisticated data retrieval and mining techniques. These principles and techniques will be demonstrated using various computerized database tools, including Oracle and Access. The course will cover critical issues related to database development and administration in the context of consumer-oriented, electronic commerce (Internet and World Wide Web) environments. Formerly offered as MGMT 257.

STRT 261 - International Business
A first course in the theory and practice of international business. After building a foundation of international trade, foreign direct investment, exchange rates, and government policy, the course emphasis is on the application of concepts to the solution of international business problems. It focuses on areas such as international market entry, the internationalization of the marketing, finance and management functions within the firm, and the development of global business strategies.

STRT 283 - Strategic Management
Strategic management deals fundamentally with the ways in which firms build and sustain superior competitive positions and profitability. Successful strategy design and implementation requires a holistic understanding of the firm’s external environment and its internal resources and capabilities. Although we will draw on your prior studies in finance, marketing, accounting, and operations for insights to analysis of firms and their environments, strategy is a stage-setting activity that should drive—rather than be driven by—functional area decisions and actions.

The primary objectives of the course are to improve your ability to:
  • Evaluate strategic opportunities in a firm’s external environment and assess the resources and capabilities that a firm can bring to taking advantage of opportunities.
  • Develop superior strategies that will promote sustainable profitability.
  • Determine the appropriate scope of a firm’s activities for expansion and growth.

Jack's 2017 Fall Semester Classes

Sunday, September 09, 2018

Sharon and Janie's Chicago Adventure - Day 5


Sharon and Janie spent the morning roaming Millennium Park.

After lunch on a rooftop, they walked along the river in the afternoon.

They caught 6:55 pm Southwest flight nonstop from Midway to Sacramento. Sharon was home in Carmichael about 10:30 pm.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Sharon and Janie's Chicago Adventure - Day 4

Sharon and Janie's Saturday in Chicago focused on two tours. From 11 am to 2 pm, they did a food tour. They checked in to start the tour at Lou Malnati’s, a deep dish pizza restaurant.

In the evening, they did a Haunted Evening Chicago Pub Tour starting from the Red Loin Pub.

Friday, September 07, 2018

Sharon and Janie's Chicago Adventure - Day 3


Sharon and Janie did a Chicago Crime and Mob Tour in the morning.

They had lunch at RL Restaurant. This is one of the Ralph Lauren restaurants. We ate at another Ralph Lauren Restaurant--the Polo Bar--when we were in New York in March.

After lunch they jumped on the Hop On Hop Off Bus and headed to the Willis Tower. It is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. They visited the Skydeck. At 1,353 feet in the air, the ledge's glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck.

They finished the night with a late dinner at Nellcote.

Sac Yard

After work, I met Snipes for a couple of beers at the Sac Yard.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Sharon and Janie's Chicago Adventure - Day 2

Sharon and Janie's plan for the morning was to catch the Hop-On Hop-off Bus. Walking to the bus stop, it was pouring rain.

They took the bus to the Art Institute of Chicago. After spending some time at the museum, they had lunch at Luke's of Chicago.

Taking the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus back to the Miracle Mile, they shopped and walked back to the hotel. Sharon said that her feet were wet for most of the day.

In the early evening, they took a River Boat Architecture Cocktail Tour. They finished the day with cocktails and small plates at The Aviary. They were still hungry and ended up stopping for some bad nachos on the way back to the hotel...

VMWare Executive Briefing

I spent the day at the VMWare Executive Briefing Center in Palo Alto. The agenda included: VMWare and Innovation in Healthcare; VMWorld Recap; Security, NSX & SDN; VMWare Cloud Strategy; VMWare Digital Workspace, and; Global Premier Support - Business & Mission Critical Support.

We finished the night with dinner at Osteria Tosana in Palo Alto. I had LINGUINE TUTTO MARE [Manila clams, PEI mussels, salmon, scallops, prawns, fresh catch,tomato, white wine, olive oil].

I always try to walk away from an executive briefing with one or two nuggets of information. There was a lot of talk today about virtual desktops [Digital Workspace]. I continue to be skeptical that this is real solution of any of our current challenges...

Wednesday, September 05, 2018

Sharon and Janie's Chicago Adventure - Day 1

Working to take advantage of Janie's Southwest companion pass, Sharon and Janie took off for long weekend in Chicago.

They caught a 10:30 am Southwest flight from Sacramento to Denver and then on to Chicago. They didn't have to change planes. They had the two seat exit row the whole trip. They were on the ground at 5:50 pm local time about 5 minutes early.

Sharon and Janie are spending four nights at Chicago Marriott Autograph Collection.

They walked to the City Winery, but it was closing. They ended up having dinner at Smith & Wollensky.

To Sonora and then Palo Alto

After a stop at Creekside, I spent the morning winding my way to Sonora. I had lunch with the Site IT Director and the Site Services Administrative Director. After checking on the team measuring the EMR speed in the clinics and rounding with the Site IT Director, I headed across the Central Valley to Palo Alto. I spent the night at the Residence Inn Palo Alto Menlo Park.

Sunday, September 02, 2018

Labor Day Weekend Hike plus

The plan for the day was to head to the Napa Valley for a hike, lunch and a stop at a winery. Rolling from Carmichael about 8:15 am, we were in Skyline Park before 9:30 am.

We hiked up the Marie Lake Road to the Marie Creek Trail. Once we got to the lake, we hiked back on the Marie Lake Road. Moving steadily, we covered 4.80 miles in an hour and 52 minutes. I would definitely like to come back and hike the Skyline trail.
Labor Day Weekend HikeLabor Day Weekend HikeLabor Day Weekend HikeLabor Day Weekend HikeLabor Day Weekend Hike
After the hike, we headed to St. Helena for lunch. We had lunch at The Charter Oak. This restaurant is in the building where Tra Vigne was previously located. Sharon and Tom had lunch there in June. Sharon had the cheeseburger [pickled jalapeƱo relish, fries], while I had salad of chicken, almond, goat cheese and plum.

After a quick stop at the outlets in Napa, we headed to Bouchaine Vineyards. Sharon has been a wine club member here since 2010. I was shocked at how many people were there. We did a tasting and picked up the wine shipment.

It was a long day. We rolled back to the house after 6:30 pm. Thankfully, the traffic on the way home was light.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

I Feel Pretty

Saturday night, Sharon and I watched I Feel Pretty as a rental on the AppleTV. Playing the trailer on my phone while we were having hors d'oeuvres on the deck, Sharon latched onto the idea of watching the movie.

Released on April 20, 2018, the movie is an American comedy. The film stars Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams, Emily Ratajkowski, Rory Scovel, Aidy Bryant, Busy Philipps, Tom Hopper, Naomi Campbell, and Lauren Hutton. The plot involves an insecure woman who, after suffering a head injury, gains extreme self-confidence in her appearance.

The movie is mildly entertaining. Sharon enjoyed it more than I did. I don't recommend going out of your way to watch it...

Friday, August 31, 2018

Golfing at Ancil Hoffman

Kicking off the long Labor Day weekend

To kick off the long holiday weekend, Sharon organized a golf outing at Ancil Hoffman with the Gainsleys, Sanborns and Gerbecs. Teeing off a little after 10:30 am, Sharon and I played with the Gainsleys. The Sanborns played with the Gerbecs and teed off in front of us.

With the Golftec lessons in the first half of the year, I feel like I am striking the ball more consistently. Using tips from my last lesson, I also chipped better. Unfortunately, my putting on the front nine was horrible. I four putted the first green and then three putted six of the next seven greens. I had an 26 putts on the front nine! I ended up shooting 62 on the front nine.

I only three putted two greens and used 19 puts on the back nine. I shot a 51 on the back nine. My winter rules 113 was only 2 strokes worse than the 111 that I shot at Ancil Hoffman in early May. The scorecard is here.

I have already played six rounds of golf this year. This is probably already more golf that I have played in a year in more than 35 years.

We finished the day with dinner at our house. I barbecued a beef tenderloin. The dinner included a tomato salad, green beans, rice from Marlene and peach pie.

One random note, Donna started working for me at Sutter Health 20 years ago today...

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Dinner with Pat and Bernard

While I wound my way back from Tulare, Sharon had dinner with Pat and Bernard at Piatti.

To Tulare and Back

My boss and I spent the day driving to Tulare, touring the Tulare Regional Medical Center, meeting with the Market IT team and then driving back. It was a long twelve hour day with 450 miles and 7 hours of driving. I drove.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Raising Junior [Jack back to school]

Finishing two plus weeks at home, Jack headed back to Georgetown to start his junior year. I got up about 4:10 am. Sharon and Jack were moving just after 4:30 am. The three of us left the house just after 5:10 am.

Jack caught a 6:55 am Southwest flight from Sacramento to Baltimore. He was on the ground about 10 minutes early at 2:45 pm. Catching an Uber, he was back on the Georgetown University campus a little after 4:20 pm eastern time. It took an hour and twelve minutes from BWI to the Georgetown campus. Jack starts classes tomorrow!

This is the first time we have sent Jack off to start the year at Georgetown by himself. We helped him move in at the beginning of his freshman year and his sophomore year. It is difficult for me to believe that Jack is already half way through college.