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Liz Roche Company’s “Yes and Yes!” Performance

By Ethan Shea

Yes and Yes by Liz Roche Company

On Tuesday, September 13, Liz Roche Company put on the first professional dance performance in the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. This performance, titled “Yes and Yes!”, is inspired by the 18 sections of James Joyce’s magnum opus, UlyssesThe show ran for a total of 70 minutes with no intermissions and was met with a standing ovation.

Formed in 1999, Liz Roche Company is an Irish contemporary dance group led by choreographer Liz Roche. In 2020, Roche herself was elected to Aosdána, an affiliation of artists whose work has contributed significantly to Ireland’s creative arts. Among other achievements, Liz Roche Company has produced more than twenty original productions and performed in several nations, from China to the United States.

Regarding Tuesday’s show, there were a total of four dancers who took on the demanding performance (Diarmuid Armstrong, Sarah Cerneaux, Grace Cuny, and Mufutau Yusuf), and each of them left everything on the stage.

The performance managed to fit an immense amount of material from Ulysses‘s lengthy body of text into the relatively brief performance. In a post-performance Q&A with Dr. Joseph Lennon, Villanova’s Director of Irish Studies, Roche explained that she was taken aback by how clear Joyce portrays location throughout the piece. “Yes and Yes!” strives to maintain that quality of the text through Roche’s choreography.

Liz Roche Company would not have graced the stage of the John and Joan Center for the Performing Arts without the help of the Center for Irish Studies. With study abroad opportunities, Irish language courses, and classes offered in seven different disciplines, Irish Studies at Villanova is full of exciting academic opportunities.

If you’re interested in learning more about Irish Studies, check out the Irish Studies Research Guide on Falvey Library’s website.

Moreover, Falvey grants access to ample amounts of information on contemporary dance. For example, you can learn all about contemporary dance with Marc Strauss’ book Looking at Contemporary Dance: A Guide for the Internet Age, available for viewing online.

Keep an eye out for more Irish events planned for the Fall Semester, including a musical performance by Ian Lynch of the Dublin folk music group “Lankum” on October 20.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: What are you listening 2?

By Ethan Shea

"Woman Listening to Music and Reading"

Nearly a year ago I wrote a “Cat in the Stax” blog titled “What are you listening to?”. At the risk of recycling old ideas one too many times, I’ve decided to bring the topic back for a “What are you listening 2?” if you will. 

This blog is especially fit for this week because nothing pairs with music like dance, and in a matter of days, Villanova will be welcoming a highly acclaimed dance company to our campus. Specifically, on Tuesday, September 13, the Liz Roche Company will put on the first professional dance performance in the John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts. 

"Liz Roche Company"

Photo Credit: José Miguel Jiménez

This performance, titled “Yes and Yes” celebrates the centennial of James Joyce’s Ulysses. The performance will lead the audience through the eighteen episodes of Ulysses, which are based upon Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey.  You can learn more about Joyce’s Ulysses from this blog. 

On another tangentially related note, at the beginning of the year, it’s important to get acquainted with Falvey’s subject guides, so I recommend any and all audiophiles check out the guide dedicated to music. Here, you’ll find contact information for Falvey’s Subject Librarian, Robert LeBlanc, our First-Year Experience and Music Liaison Librarian. Especially if you’re interested in researching music in a more academic sense, Falvey has your back. 

However, at its core, this blog isn’t exactly academic. It’s a brief reflection on the music I’ve been enjoying lately, so without further delay, here are a few recently released albums I’ve been listening to! Don’t be shy, and share your favorite 2022 releases in the comments below!

"Gemini Rights"Gemini Rights – Steve Lacy 

Alternative R&B and pop artist Steve Lacy is a multi-talented musician who got his start as a high schooler by producing viral hits on his iPhone. This sophomore solo album from Lacy is indicative of his eclectic taste. From the latin influence that drives the song “Mercury,” to the lovable, boyish hit “Bad Habit,” Lacy has a little bit of something for everyone. A personal highlight is the song “Amber,” which delivers Lacy’s storytelling skills over a charming piano medley. A crescendo occurs throughout the entirety of the track, culminating in a wailing guitar solo that cries in unison with Lacy’s falsetto ad-libs, perfectly encapsulating the regret this song portrays.

RENAISSANCE – Beyoncé "RENAISSANCE"

I don’t think anyone saw this stylistic shift coming, but per usual, Beyoncé delivered with her latest release “RENAISSANCE.” Almost every song has an irresistible groove, and the transitions from track to track are incredibly smooth, so the party never stops during the album’s 62-minute runtime. In addition to the record’s electronic and funk influences, Beyoncé’s vocal performances, especially on the song “PLASTIC OFF THE SOFA” are top-notch. In spite of what might seem like a chaotic groove, you can tell this album was meticulously crafted, and each vocal inflection is calculated. If you’re looking for music to play at the gym or something to give you an energy boost in the middle of a long work day, I recommend giving this album a listen!

"Upstate"Upstate – Almeda 

I’d like to introduce everyone to Almeda, a band formed five years ago by a group who were undergraduates at Georgetown University at the time. Since then, the band’s members have gone their separate ways, but the music they recorded during their time together has been thoroughly mixed and mastered over the past few years. It wasn’t until recently that Almeda’s debut album, “Upstate,” was finally released after five years in the making. This R&B rock band features Adaeze Eze, an incredibly talented vocalist with a silky voice that glides over a range of catchy tunes. Danny O’Brien is both a guitarist and keyboard player for the band, and Dan Sheehan is featured on the drums.

One of my favorite songs, “Artificial Wings,” is one of the project’s jazzier cuts. It features a groovy bassline performed by bassist Nick Quirk and an impressive tempo change that highlights the band’s ability to perform complex rhythms in unison. If you’re into alternative rock and R&B, or even if you’re a fan of cover music (this album features a jazzy cover of Kendrick Lamar’s hit “Swimming Pools”), check this record out!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a graduate student in the English Department at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library


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Bloomsday Marks Ulysses’ Centennial Celebration

By Ethan Shea

"James Joyce Ulysses Books in Falvey"

On Feb. 2, 1922, James Joyce’s 40th birthday, this Irish author’s masterpiece, Ulysses, was published in its entirety for the first time. The book’s publisher, Sylvia Beach, was Joyce’s saving grace after several proprietors refused to print his text because of its critiques of Catholicism. Bloomsday is a celebration that takes place in Dublin, Ireland and around the world. It commemorates Thursday, June 16, 1904, which is the day depicted in Joyce’s novel Ulysses.

"James Joyce's statue in St, Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland"

James Joyce’s statue in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, Ireland

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this movement-defining text, feel free to take some time to learn about the story. The best thing to do is simply kick back and read the book, but not everyone has the time to read all 265,222 words on a whim. Fascinatingly, these hundreds of thousands of words describe only one day in the life of the story’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom.

It is also worth noting that the text is based on Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, hence the title Ulysses, which was chosen to match the Latin name of the Greek king of Ithaca and Homeric hero, Odysseus.

James Joyce is the author of other major works such as the collection of short stories Dubliners; novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Finnegan’s Wake; and the play Exiles.

Falvey Memorial Library is home to many resources on Joyce, like research on his work such as James Joyce by Steven Connor. Additionally, you can visit The James Joyce Centre website to learn more about the author’s life or even take part in Ulysses Fantasy Football.

Note: This article was originally published Feb. 2, 2022. 


Dig deeper into the author James Joyce and learn more about Ulysses as well as how you can celebrate Bloomsday—whether you are in Ireland or near Philadelphia.

Links curated by Sarah Wingo, English Literature, Theatre, and Romance Languages and Literature Librarian.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Cat in the Stax: Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

By Ethan Shea

""

It seems like a lot of these Cat in the Stax blogs are turning into holiday celebrations, but as we all know, tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day, and because of Villanova’s enduring ties to Ireland, I’d love to talk about how you can celebrate Irish heritage here at Falvey.

"Emma Dabiri"

Irish Author Emma Dabiri

To begin with some of the history of St. Patrick’s Day, the holiday originated as a celebratory feast to honor the death of St. Patrick, who is known to have brought Christianity to Ireland. The Irish symbolism of the clover stems from St. Patrick, as he is rumored to have explained the concept of Christianity’s Holy Trinity to the people of Ireland with the help of a clover.

Villanova University has a top-notch Irish Studies program, so we know there is no better way to celebrate St. Patrick than by reading some prominent Irish authors. Villanova is especially lucky to have one particular Irish author, Emma Dabiri, as the Charles A. Heimbold Jr. Chair of Irish studies this semester. Her books Twisted (published as Don’t Touch My Hair in Ireland) and What White People Can Do Next were both remarkably successful and met with critical acclaim. Dabiri will be speaking on April 4 in Falvey’s Speaker’s Corner, so make sure you stop by! A recording of Dabiri’s recent Literary Festival reading is also available for viewing here.

"Chalice in 'Thirst for the Divine' Exhibit"

Chalice in “Thirst for the Divine” Exhibit

Another famous Irish writer, James Joyce, recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of his classic novel Ulysses. You can read all about the centennial celebration on this blog.

A personal favorite novel of mine, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was written by the Irish poet Oscar Wilde. Although Wilde is known for his poetry, this work of prose is timeless and has even been adapted to film.

I’d also like to draw your attention to an article by Rebecca Oviedo, a Distinctive Collections Archivist here at Falvey. Oviedo noted that this article features Villanova “as the first collection in a new series on ‘Global Archives’ from RTÉ Century Ireland, which highlights the rich historical collections available to researchers of the Irish Revolution in archives at home and abroad.” You can read the article for yourself here!

Furthermore, Villanova recently opened an exhibit for a medieval chalice that came from Ireland over 500 years ago. This chalice has not been used in a Mass in over half of a millennium, so given Villanova University President the Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, intends to do just that during Mass on March 20 at 10:30 a.m. in St. Thomas of Villanova Church, a historic moment is just around the corner.

In addition to the chalice, Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement (DCDE) has several items on display in support of the exhibit. If you would like to see these artifacts for yourself, the exhibit is available for viewing until April 20 at the Connelly Art Center Gallery.


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Library.


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“Ulysses” Centennial Celebration

By Ethan Shea

"James Joyce Ulysses Books in Falvey"

On Feb. 2, 1922, James Joyce’s 40th birthday, this Irish author’s masterpiece, Ulysses, was published in its entirety for the first time. The book’s publisher, Sylvia Beach, was Joyce’s saving grace after several proprietors refused to print his text because of its critiques of Catholicism. Bloomsday is a celebration that takes place in Dublin, Ireland and around the world. It commemorates Thursday, June 16, 1904, which is the day depicted in Joyce’s novel Ulysses.

"James Joyce's statue in St, Stephen's Green, Dublin, Ireland"

James Joyce’s statue in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin, Ireland

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this movement-defining text, feel free to take some time to learn about the story. The best thing to do is simply kick back and read the book, but not everyone has the time to read all 265,222 words on a whim. Fascinatingly, these hundreds of thousands of words describe only one day in the life of the story’s protagonist, Leopold Bloom.

It is also worth noting that the text is based on Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey, hence the title Ulysses, which was chosen to match the Latin name of the Greek king of Ithaca and Homeric hero, Odysseus.

James Joyce is the author of other major works such as the collection of short stories Dubliners; novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Finnegan’s Wake; and the play Exiles.

Falvey Memorial Library is home to many resources on Joyce, like research on his work such as James Joyce by Steven Connor. Additionally, you can visit The James Joyce Centre website to learn more about the author’s life or even take part in Ulysses Fantasy Football.

Dig deeper with resources complied by Sarah Wingo, Librarian for English Literature, Theatre, and Romance Languages and Literature:


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library. This article was originally published Feb. 2, 2022. 


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Celebrating James Joyce’s Life & Legacy

By Daniella Snyder

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ’Cat in Falvey Library’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how Falvey can play a large role in your success here on campus!

Hey Wildcats…I’m excited to invite you to the biggest birthday bash of the year! Head on over to McShea’s Pub in Ardmore on February 4 at 7 p.m. to celebrate James Joyce‘s 182nd birthday!

photo of James Joyce

So, this week, this cat’s book stack is comprised of Joyce’s most famous tomes and tales.

James Joyce (1882–1941) is one of Ireland’s most influential and celebrated writers. His most famous work Ulysses (1922) follows the movements of Leopold Bloom through a single day on June 16, 1904. Ulysses is based on Homer’s The Odyssey. Some of Joyce’s other major works include the short story collection Dubliners (1914), and novels A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) and Finnegans Wake (1939).

For more information on the author, visit The James Joyce Centre website.

The birthday party, which is sponsored by the Villanova University Irish Studies department, will feature Irish step dancers, traditional music, and live readings of Joyce’s work.

Want to learn more about Joyce? Check out Joyce’s works in Falvey’s collection, including a wide variety of Joyce-specific academic journals.


Daniella Snyder Headshot

Daniella Snyder, Graduate Assistant in the Communication and Marketing department at Falvey, was inspired to read Joyce after attending his birthday party last year.


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Last Modified: January 29, 2020