Tag Archives: Melville Society

Moby-Dick Marathon, Jan. 4-6

MDM17_ButtonThe New Bedford Whaling Museum’s 17th annual Moby-Dick Marathon celebrates Herman Melville’s literary masterpiece with a 25-hour nonstop public reading of the book during a weekend of activities and events, January 4 – 6, 2013. This year’s marathon is generously sponsored in part by Rockland Trust and the Empire Loan Charitable Foundation. Admission is free to the marathon and museum galleries during the event. Donations are gratefully accepted.

On Friday, January 4 at 5:30 p.m. the weekend kicks off with a ticketed buffet dinner and cash bar in the Jacobs Family Gallery. For tickets to the dinner ($29), call (508) 997-0046 ext. 100.

Dinner will be followed by a free public lecture titled Moby-Dick in Pictures: A Drawing For Every Page, presented by artist Matt Kish, at 7:15 p.m. in the Cook Memorial Theater. In 2009, the Ohio artist began creating an image a day based on text selected from every page of Moby-Dick. The work, which took 18 months complete, utilizes a wide variety of mixed media, to create “a visual masterpiece that echoes the layers of meaning in Melville’s narrative.”

On Saturday, January 5 at 10:00 a.m., Stump the Scholars, returns by popular demand – a free program in which the audience is invited to pose questions to Melville Society scholars on all matters Moby-Dick in the Cook Memorial Theater. Patterned after a popular public radio quiz show, a prize will be awarded to those who can stump the scholars.  Questions may be submitted  in advance at mdmarathon@whalingmuseum.org or posed just prior to the program.

At 11:30 a.m. in the Bourne Building, Melville Society members will read many of the 80 brief Extracts related to whales and whaling, which Melville included before Chapter 1.

At noon, the Moby-Dick Marathon begins with “Call me Ishmael.” – the most famous opening line in American literature, read by retired Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank. With more than 160 scheduled readers, the marathon will continue through the night, ending early Sunday afternoon.

All reading slots have been booked. The public is cordially invited to come and go at any time during the marathon, or stay for the entire 25 hours and win a prize.

For the first time in the marathon’s history, a sight impaired participant will read from a Braille edition of the book.

On Saturday at approximately 1:30 p.m., marathon participants will walk next door to the historic Seamen’s Bethel (est. 1832) – located at 15 Johnny Cake Hill for the reading of Chapters  7, 8, and 9, titled “The Chapel,” The Pulpit,” and “The Sermon”  – all three chapters take place in the original “Whaleman’s Chapel.”  This segment will feature a performance by Gerald P. Dyck. Vocalist, composer and longtime music director of the New Bedford Choral Society, Mr. Dyck, holds a Master of Sacred Music degree from the Union Theological Seminary School of Sacred Music.

Culture*Park, a regional performing arts collaborative, will stage Chapter 40, “Midnight, Forecastle” in the Cook Memorial Theater.

Guests are also invited to the Wattles Family Gallery to chat with Melville scholars on Saturday from 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Sunday, 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., and with Melville artist, Matt Kish from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. On Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., meet Melville artist, Jason Hancock in the Centre Street Gallery (main level) where his contemporary works inspired by Moby-Dick are on exhibit.

The Museum’s website will provide livestreaming throughout the weekend. Tweet the marathon with hashtag #MDM17 and @whalingmuseum.

Related exhibits to see during the marathon include A Voyage Around the World: Cultures Abroad, Cultures at Home.

Images related to the book will also be projected in the Cook Memorial Theater throughout the marathon, presented by the Museum’s youth apprentices.

A midwinter tradition, attracting hundreds of Moby-Dick fans from around the world,

the marathon marks the anniversary of Melville’s January 1841 departure from the port of New Bedford and Fairhaven aboard the whale ship, Acushnet.

Refreshments will be available for sale throughout the Marathon.

The New Bedford Whaling Museum is the world’s most comprehensive museum devoted to the global story of whales, whaling and the cultural history of the region. The cornerstone of New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, the Museum is located at 18 Johnny Cake Hill in the heart of the city’s historic downtown.

Moby-Dick Marathon Weekend Schedule of Events

Friday, January 4

5:30 p.m.: Ticketed buffet dinner, Jacobs Family Gallery (cash bar: 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.)

7:15 p.m.: Public lecture, “Moby-Dick in Pictures: A Drawing for Every Page,” with artist Matt Kish, Cook Memorial Theater.

Saturday, January 5

10:00 a.m.: Stump the Scholars, Cook Memorial Theater.

11:30 a.m.: The Moby-Dick Extracts, read by the Melville Society, Bourne Building.

12:00 noon: Moby-Dick Marathon begins, BourneBuilding.

1:30 p.m. (approx.): Chapters 7– 9 in the Seamen’s Bethel with Gerald P. Dyck.

2:30 p.m. (approx.): Marathon continues, Jacobs Family Gallery.

2:00 – 3:00 p.m.: Chat with a Melville scholar, Wattles Family Gallery.

6:00 – 7:00 p.m.: Chat with Melville artist, Matt Kish, Wattles Family Gallery.

7:00 p.m. (approx.): Chapters 35 – 40. “Midnight, Forecastle” performed by Culture*Park, Cook Memorial Theater.

8:00 p.m. (approx.): Marathon continues, Jacobs Family Gallery.

Sunday, January 6

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.: Chat with Melville artist, Jason Hancock, Centre Street Gallery.

9:30 – 11:00 a.m. Chat with a Melville scholar, Wattles Family Gallery.

1:00 p.m. (approx.): Marathon concludes with the Epilogue.

Moby-Dick Marathon reader call-in, Nov. 12

The 17th Annual Moby-Dick Marathon is scheduled for January 5-6, 2013 and all those interested in reading are invited to contact the museum, starting at 12:01 a.m. Monday, November 12. Call (508) 717-6851 or email: mdmarathon@whalingmuseum.org to request a 7-10 minute reading slot. Be sure to provide your full name and preferred reading time as well as two alternate times.

Every January, the world’s largest whaling museum marks the anniversary of Herman Melville’s 1841 whaling voyage from New Bedford with a 25-hour nonstop reading of America’s greatest novel – Moby-Dick. The weekend includes three days of activities, January 4-5-6, 2013, including a ticketed buffet dinner and lecture on Friday evening.

A midwinter tradition, the marathon attracts hundreds of readers and listeners from around the world. The reading begins at noon on Saturday, January 5 and finishes at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 6. Snow and cold will not stop this literary happening. Come at any time; leave at any time, or stay 25 hours and win a prize!

For more information, contact: Robert C. Rocha, Jr. Science Director: (508) 997-0046, ext. 149,  rrocha@whalingmuseum.org

Moby-Dick Marathon set records

A capacity crowd gathers in the Jacobs Family Gallery to hear the conclusion of Moby-Dick

The 16th Annual Moby-Dick Marathon is now one for the history books, in so many ways. High media interest and unseasonably warm weather for January encouraged record numbers of visitors to drop in for a look-see. Over the course of the weekend (January 6-8, 2012) more than 2,900 visitors came to the Museum. Many stayed and listened longer than ever before to the book often described as the greatest work of American literature.

Among the more than 150 readers, many notables particpated, including Congressman Barney Frank, Congressman William Keating, Mayor Jon Mitchell and several former New Bedford Mayors, as well as Peter Whittemore, the great, great grandson of Herman Melville.

Nearly 100 guests enjoyed the ticketed buffet dinner in the Jacobs Family Gallery on Friday evening (January 6), which kicked off a weekend of activities surrounding the Marathon.

Following dinner, a lecture titled “Moby-Dick in American Popular Culture,” presented by the Melville Society’s Dr. Timothy Marr (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill), was attended by 187 Melville fans in the Cook Memorial Theater.

Melville Society scholars were kept busy with questions throughout the event, holding court in the Wattles Family Gallery, discussing all matters Moby-Dick and Melville. With much good humor, they were also peppered with perplexing queries of the widest sort, posed by the public in the Stump the Scholars II program on Saturday morning. General order and alacrity of the proceedings were ably kept by the moderator, Michael Dyer, Maritime Curator, with laughs aplenty throughout.

Congressman Barney Frank

One highlight of the weekend was a performance at the Seamen’s Bethel by the critically acclaimed tenor, Jonathan Boyd. He performed the hymn from Chapter 9 to music by Philip Sainton, penned for the film score for John Huston’s 1956 film. Boyd will star as “Greenhorn” in Jake Heggie’s new opera, “Moby Dick,” set to premiere at the San Diego Opera in February. A contingent of museum trustees and members will travel to the West Coast to see it.

Rev. Dr. Edward R. Dufresne delivered an inspired reading of Father Mapple’s sermon on Jonah and the Whale in the Bethel.

And again, this year’s Marathon was live streaming on the museum’s website and was viewed by unprecedented numbers; more on that in another post.

Imagining Moby! opens Nov. 4

"Ahab" by Leonard Baskin, from his "Moby Dick Suite" of lithographs, 1970.

MOBY! – The New Bedford Whaling Museum and the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center come together to celebrate the iconic tale of the great white whale November 3-5.

Imaging Moby!, an exhibition of contemporary art inspired by Herman Melville’s novel, “Moby-Dick” opens at the Museum on Friday, November 4 at 5:00 p.m. and includes works by Rockwell Kent, Leonard Baskin, and Richard Ellis. Admission is free to the exhibit.

Imaging Moby! is drawn from the collection of Elizabeth Schultz, scholar, poet, professor emerita at the University of Kansas, and author of “Unpainted to the Last”: Moby-Dick and Twentieth-Century American Art (1995). Dr. Schultz has been collecting art inspired by Moby-Dick for decades. A member of the Melville Society, she donated her collection of twentieth-century paintings, prints, and other graphic works to the museum earlier this year.

Dr. Schultz noted, “the special joy of having the collection at the Whaling Museum is that, along with the Melville Society Cultural Project, I imagine working with many committed groups to develop new ways of using these visual images to present Moby-Dick and the stories of whales to diverse audiences – children and adults, Americans and people from other cultures.”

A reception in the Jacobs Family Gallery in honor of Dr. Schultz will follow the exhibit opening.

The Imaging Moby! exhibit is part Moby! – a series of related programs in art, on screen, in the community and on stage to mark the 160th anniversary of Melville’s classic – in partnership with the Zeiterion Performing Art Center, the New Bedford Whaling Museum and New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park.

Celebrate Herman Melville’s Birthday

Calendar of Events:

Friday, July 30,  3:00 pm:
New Bedford Symphony Orchestra Woodwind Quintet: Down to the Sea In Ships

A musical celebration of all things nautical, presented in honor of Herman Melville’s birthday. The program includes Malcolm Arnold’s Three Shanties, George Chadwick’s Three Sea Sketches, hornpipes (sailor’s dances) from Water Music by George Frederic Handel, as well as music of Scott Joplin, a hot tango by Astor Piazzolla, and a medley of George M. Cohan’s greatest hits.

Friday, July 30, 5:00 pm:
Melville Society free public lecture: Discovering Whales, Petroglyphs, and Moby-Dick on the Olympic Peninsula in June 2008, with Robert K. Wallace

This illustrated talk will highlight some of the discoveries Robert Wallace made on the Makah Indian Reservation of the Olympic Peninsula during a two-week trip with landscape painter Kevin Muente. Wallace will emphasize his encounters with gray whales, a humpback whale, and ancient Ozette petroglyphs in a sequence of events that brought Melville’s Moby-Dick to life before his very eyes. Robert K. Wallace is a founder of the Melville Society Cultural Project at the New Bedford Whaling Museum.  He is author of Melville and Turner, Frank Stella’s Moby-Dick, and Douglass and Melville. He has taught Literature and the Arts at Northern Kentucky University since 1972

Saturday, July 31, 10am-2pm

You’re Invited to a whale of a party celebrating Herman Melville’s birthday! It features free activities for kids 12 years and younger on the plaza and in selected galleries. The day includes music by the Sea Chantey Chorus, art projects, historical characters, story readings, fun learning activities, kids art show, and birthday cake.

Ongoing activities:
Make whale hats, bookmarks & whale magnets
See the new 15-minute film, Around the World!
Take a new iPod tour
Story readings: pop-up kids’ Moby-Dick, and The Whale and the Snail
Kids’ Art Show
Hourly drawings to win family membership

Museum Store – Whale of a Tent Sale
Scheduled activities:
10-12pm – Make, sail & take home a toy model of the Pequod
11am – Kids’ poetry workshop
11:30am – Whaling wives, Ruth and Abby
12pm – Sperm whale activity with museum youth apprentices
1-2pm – Kids paint Moby Dick’s statue
1:30pm – Sea Chantey Chorus performance
2pm – Happy Birthday, with the Sea Chantey Chorus & birthday cake.
Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Herman Melville Family Day is hosted by the Museum’s education department in partnership with the Melville Society Cultural Project, New Bedford Whaling National Historical Park, and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

“Fast Fish Loose Fish” by Ashley Theissen and Christian Hardy

Created in response to the opening of the exhibition “Moby Dick: Heart of the Sea” at the Rockford Art Museum in Rockford, Illinois on April 17, 2009 by Ashley Theissen and Christian Hardy.  Ashley began the film as a project in her 2009 Spring Semester class in Melville and the Arts at Northern Kentucky University, taught by Bob Wallace.  She and Christian expanded the film into its finished form so it could be exhibited as part of “Chasing Whales in Northern Kentucky: Local Artists Respond to Moby-Dick”, which ran from August through November 2009 at the Gallerie Zaum in Newport, Kentucky.

Moby-Dick Marathon

By Don Cuddy, originally posted to Southcoasttoday.com

The 14th edition of the annual “Moby-Dick” marathon, now a winter tradition at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, got under way at noon Saturday.

The nonstop reading of Herman Melville’s epic tale drew an enthusiastic crowd that included many who were coming to New Bedford for the first time, as well as the serious Melville fans who would not miss the 25-hour marathon. For many, to quote Ishmael himself at the outset of the whaling voyage, opening the book allows “the great flood-gates of the wonder-world” to swing open.

Photo by David W. Oliveira, Standard-Times, Rev. Edward Dufresne has the crowd's attention during “Moby-Dick Marathon”

Dana Westover has read at every marathon. “I became a huge fan of Melville and Conrad as a kid. It was a world that no longer existed, but the language was so delicious you could roll it off your tongue,” he said. “‘Moby-Dick’ is a lovely book, but you have to be patient with it. I’m surprised more people don’t get the humor. Some of it is very funny.”

Over the years, the marathon’s reputation has spread far beyond New Bedford and has attracted international media attention, such as last year’s feature in London’s Financial Times.

Read the full article here:  For the curious, the fans and the scholars, ‘Moby-Dick’ redux

Admission is free.

Moby-Dick Marathon, Today!

Today!14th annual Moby-Dick Marathon

A young bearded sailor will appear at noon Saturday, January 9, in the 19th-century garb of a whaleman and say, “Call me Ishmael.”

Thus begins the Museum’s 14th annual Moby-Dick Marathon, a nonstop reading of the great American classic commemorating the anniversary of the departure from the whaling port of New Bedford of the Fairhaven ship Acushnet with 21-year-old Herman Melville aboard.

From the moment those words are uttered to approximately 25 hours later when Ishmael is rescued from the Pacific by the Rachel, about 150 readers each will have read a short passage from this novel. Some will have read in Portuguese, Japanese, Italian, Danish, Spanish, or French, followed by that same passage in English. Traditional whaleship fare will have been consumed, washed down by coffee and cider. And a few hardy souls will have stayed for the whole adventure.

Readers will include descendants of Herman Melville and their families, professors, fishermen, schoolteachers, selectmen, students, journalists, legislators, physicians, clergy, and other lovers of Melville and Moby-Dick. Spectators are welcome at any time. Admission for the entire event is free.

Gearing up for the Moby Dick Marathon

The Johnson County Library is featuring a Moby-Dick literary event and online book discussion. This discussion has been rescheduled to start on 1/24/2010. It’s all online so you can read, post, and comment as your schedule permits. Readers everywhere are welcome.

  • The “Reading Moby-Dick” blog
  • The Johnson County Library website about this project
  • Register for Johnson County Library’s special event with Dr. Elizabeth Schultz, rescheduled for 1/24/10.

Follow our 14th annual Moby Dick Marathon via twitter using the tag: #mdm14

Starting  this year our marathon will the held on the first non-holiday weekend in January. For more complete information visit our website program page for the marathon.

Gearing up for the Moby-Dick Marathon

American Icons: Moby Dick, Studio 360 (Listen in here)

Posted by Elizabeth Schultz,
In 2003, WNYU Radio’s Studio 360 decided to launch a series on American Icons which continues to this day, with Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick chosen to be the first American Icon in the series. Not the Empire State Building, not the Golden Gate Bridge, not “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but Moby-Dick!

I was delighted by this news and was delighted to be invited by Studio 360’s executive producer, Julie Burstein to be invited to help their staff think about the diverse perspectives which might be used in a radio-presentation of Moby-Dick. Called to New York for a brain-storming session, I joined the staff in a day of brainstorming to discuss the novel’s characters and themes as well as the art, music, and cartoons inspired by the novel.

It was evident that the staff was concerned to create a program which would reflect a range of responses and to generate the excitement which readers of the novel experienced. They wanted to know why science fiction writer Ray Bradbury, artist Frank Stella, playwright Tony Kushner, or an academic like myself would be moved by Moby-Dick. They considered the contrasting sounds of Lori Anderson’s Moby-Dick music and a two-minute summary of the novel in the voice of teenage surfer alongside Melville’s wondrous words in the novel. In April, 2005, the Peabody board, gave Studio 360 its award for “illuminating and revitalizing a masterpiece,” further testifying, “This is great radio.” As Studio 360 continues in 2009 to run its program on Moby-Dick, I receive enthusiastic emails from all over the country, feeling, in Melville’s words, that “the mingled, mingling threads of life” continue to connect Moby-Dick readers everywhere.

Elizabeth Schultz’s grandfather was the youngest ship captain on the Great Lakes during his day. She herself grew up sailing Michigan’s inland waters and has subsequently spent summers sailing among many of the world’s archipelagos. Above all, however, she has sailed with Herman Melville in search of Moby Dick.  She wrote “Unpainted to the Last”: Moby-Dick and Twentieth-Century American Art, co-edited a collection of essays on Melville and women, and published essays on Melville and Moby-Dick in relation to illustration, popular fiction, popular culture, race, gender, and the environment. Retired from the English Department at the University of Kansas, she was a founding member of the Melville Society Cultural Project at the New Bedford Whaling Museum and involved in diverse cultural and education programs during her six years of service.

Join us  for the 14th annual Moby Dick Marathon Noon, Saturday, January 9, 201o .

The non-stop reading of the Melville Classic.