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  • DePaul Student Center (Room 120) (map)
  • 2250 North Sheffield Avenue
  • Chicago, IL, 60614
  • United States


5:15 – 7:00 p.m. Screening of the movie “First Orbit” (2011)
7:00 – 9:00 p.m. Performances and lectures

Free sweet treat that will put you in orbit for the first 100 audience members in attendance!




Roshanna Sylvester, Associate Professor of History, DePaul University
Courtney Giannone, professional dancer, choreographer
Sean Kirkland, Associate Professor of Philosophy, DePaul University
The Bach & Beethoven Ensemble*

* World premiere of new music by Mark Nowakowski and Kurt Westerberg.

Thomas Aláan - countertenor
Brandi Berry - violin
Mark Nowakowski - composer
Anna Standoff - viola da gamba
Kurt Westerberg - composer


In 1957 Sputnik I became the first artificial satellite to orbit the Earth. Later that year, Laika the dog became the first living being in orbit. In 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man—followed in 1963 by Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova, the first woman—to orbit the Earth. Long before the Soviets dominated “the space race,” though, ancient cosmology turned to circles and spheres to make sense of the workings, and the beauty, of the cosmos. In January, the DHC comes full circle, too, bringing all of these traditions together in an investigation that includes a screening of the film that tells the real-time story of Gagarin’s flight, the world premiere new music by Mark Nowakowski and Kurt Westerberg inspired by orbits, an artistic performance on the Cyr wheel by a master “orbiter,” and lectures that investigate the feminist future imagined by young Soviet girls who wrote letters to Tereshkova, as well as the importance of ancient Greek cosmological thinking—Aristotelian orbs and all—for today.