A lot is happening at Butler University this fall: a performance of The Merchant of Venice, a tribute to composer Gustav Mahler (who turns 150 this year) and a host of other dance and musical performances.
On the lecture circuit, the university is offering two lectures about Jerusalem. One, on Sept. 15, explores the history of the nation and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Another, on Oct. 20, focuses on Israeli culture, with an emphasis on its poetry.
The visiting writers this year include Andrew Levy (Sept. 9), Walter Mosley (Sept. 15), Jorie Graham (Sept. 23), C.J. Hribal (Oct. 6), Katie Ford (Oct. 19), Michelle Huneven (Oct. 28) and Nick Flynn (Nov. 11). I have to admit, I'm not wild about this list: It includes a lot of talented writers whose work I haven't actually read.
Finally, there's the J. James Wood Lectures in the Sciences and Mathematics, which always offer something interesting and unexpected. First up this year is Alison Gopnik (Oct. 5), who will discuss "The Philosophical Baby: What Children's Minds Tell Us about Truth, Love and the Meaning of Life."
The next offering is Doug Tallamy (Nov. 3), who will focus on the importance of home gardening. Finally, we have Sandra Steingraber (Nov. 16), whose lecture is titled "Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment."
Butler certainly offers a rich, diverse cultural calendar -- and almost every event on the schedule is free of charge. That's priceless.