A bright red dress hanging from a tree in a verdant setting
Mike Lovett

Bright red dresses hung from tree branches around the Brandeis campus last fall, part of an art installation with a serious message. Students in the Introduction to Creativity, the Arts and Social Transformation course, taught by cultural anthropologist Toni Shapiro-Phim, worked with Canada-based artist Jaime Black to create the Brandeis installation of Black’s “REDress Project,” which calls attention to the thousands of missing and murdered Indigenous women in North America. Students met with Black virtually, identified locations for and hung the dresses, and developed accompanying materials for the installation.

In 2021, for the first time ever, a holiday play won a Tony. In fact, Broadway’s “A Christmas Carol,” co-produced by Alexandra “Xan” (Weinstein) Weiser ’11, won a total of five Tonys in September — for Best Original Score, Best Sound Design, Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Costume Design — making it the most-awarded play of the 2019-20 season.

If you’ve watched streaming services or cable TV recently, you may have seen several Brandeisians featured in critically acclaimed movies and series. Annette Miller ’58, GSAS MFA’76, appears alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence in “Don’t Look Up,” a satirical film about a looming end-of-Earth catastrophe, written and directed by Adam McKay for Netflix. Tony Goldwyn ’82 stars as a microbiologist in “The Hot Zone: Anthrax,” a National Geographic series about the post-9/11 anthrax-letter panic. And lawyer/activist Pauli Murray (1910-85) is profiled in “My Name Is Pauli Murray,” a documentary film on Amazon Prime. During the civil rights era, Murray was a pioneering figure in the fight to end racial and gender discrimination, producing legal critiques and memorandums that influenced the thinking of Thurgood Marshall and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Murray taught American studies at Brandeis from 1968-73.

“Walk With Me,” a biography of civil rights hero Fannie Lou Hamer by Kate Clifford Larson, published by Oxford University Press in September, was one of eight books chosen by book-review magazine Kirkus Reviews as the Best Biographies of 2021. Larson is a visiting scholar at Brandeis’ Women’s Studies Research Center.

Musician/composer Yoni Battat ’13 is playing Camal, an Egyptian violinist, in a 25-city North American tour of the Tony Award-winning musical “The Band’s Visit.” The role requires Battat to play the oud and the violin as well as sing and act. The tour runs through July.

Joel Christensen ’01, GSAS MA’01, professor of classical studies, is one of several writers who co-created and will co-author a column titled “Pasts Imperfect” in the Los Angeles Review of Books. The column explores how narratives about the ancient world influence the world we live in today. The first installment discussed whether the idea of a “hero’s journey,” developed by mythology expert Joseph Campbell, is a useful framework for thinking about life.