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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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Christoforos Sassaris Joins Falvey as Distinctive Collections Coordinator

My name is Christoforos Sassaris, and I recently joined Falvey Memorial Library as a Distinctive Collections Coordinator. In this position, I take part in the Distinctive Collections and Digital collections, lovecraft, joyce, Engagement department’s efforts at preserving rare books, archives, and artifacts. This position is a perfect fit for me, as it nicely combines my interests in cultural heritage and digital technologies. I am particularly excited to digitize sources in the Scan Lab and make them accessible to students, researchers, and the public through Falvey’s website.

I was born in Athens, Greece (where I still visit as often as possible) and moved to the US in 2011. I got my BA in English literature at West Chester University (WCU), where I was both an intern and a research fellow at Francis Harvey Green Library’s Special Collections. These experiences imbued me with a passion for heritage librarianship, which I pursued through additional internships at the Library Company of Philadelphia and the Brandywine River Museum of Art.

Just before joining Falvey, I was a Graduate Assistant in Villanova’s Writing Center and English department while I completed my MA. I also volunteered in two digital projects at Falvey, the Edward T. LeBlanc Memorial Dime Novel Bibliography and Honoring the Fallen: An Interactive Memorial Map. During the past two years, I developed a deep appreciation of Falvey’s collections, which I consulted during my studies.

When I was introduced to these collections, one item that immediately drew my attention was a journal of astronomical observations belonging to horror writer H. P. Lovecraft, whose fiction I examined in my MA thesis. Interestingly, the journal possibly contains the real-world inspiration for the short story “The Colour Out of Space.” I was also drawn to Falvey’s extensive holdings in Irish and Irish-American literature, such as an original copy of James Joyce’s Ulysses. This 1922 modernist novel was the focus of my final capstone paper at WCU, titled “‘A Last Attempt to Retrieve the Fortunes of Greece’: Joyce, Hellenism, and Addressing Arnoldian Attitudes in Ulysses.” I am enthusiastic about preserving and facilitating access to treasures such as Lovecraft’s journal and Joyce’s novel through my work at Falvey.

I look forward to working with the Falvey team and continuing my involvement in the Villanova community in the coming years. Feel free to visit me at my desk in Access Services on the first floor of Falvey, or contact me at psassari@villanova.edu!


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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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Last Modified: February 2, 2022