March 11, 2012 § Leave a comment


David Rothenberg, author of WHY BIRDS SING and SURVIVAL OF THE BEAUTIFUL (“ecstatic” says the Wall St Journal, “triumphant” says the Guardian) will tell us why evolution is as much about survival of the beautiful as it is of the fittest; why Charles Darwin said the peacock’s tail made him sick. Showing us bowerbird sculptures and playing animal sounds from whales to cicadas, he explains why beauty is a necessary part of nature.

Which leads most naturally to a surreal performance by Irene Moon, of the Museum of Natural History and the Begonia Society, “What is Beautiful?”. In vignettes, biological organisms act out short PowerPoint plays emerging out of the creative fascination with detail that could only come out of the intimate relationship a scientist has with his or her subject. Song and imagery will make the disgusting beautiful – believe us. Moon’s actors include internal parasites–tapeworms, hookworms–and blood-sucking insects and their mouths–mosquitos, fleas, and, since this is New York City, bedbugs.


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