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Things to Do, May 17

Sep 02, 2023

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County joins growers and garden groups at the Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale, May 18 at Ithaca High School.

Game design showcase

Explore new computer games developed by students in the Game Design Initiative at Cornell, May 17 from 4-7 p.m. in Carpenter Hall's ACCEL Labs.

The Cornell Game Design Initiative Showcase is free and open to the public. All ages are welcome. Attendees can play the new games and vote for their favorite; award winners (including the most popular and innovative games) will be announced in a ceremony at 6:45 p.m.

This year, new games include Flourish, a strategy game for Mac and PC that recently won the Faculty Prize at BOOM 2019. Players gather sunlight and nutrients to grow a plant, while denying those resources to opponents.

In Starstruck, a two-player cooperative game for Mac and PC, players coordinate their movements to steer two astronauts, attached by a tether, to safety. Cluck-Cluck-Moose, a strategy game for mobile phones, requires players to strategically balance chickens atop a moose's antlers; the chickens then battle for dominance. And in Family Style, a cooperative game for mobile phones, players each have a chef at a table and must pass ingredients to each other to complete their recipes.

An interdisciplinary program in the Department of Computer Science, the Game Design Initiative at Cornell offers a minor in game design available to all Cornell students. It is directed by Walker White, the primary instructor for game design courses.

Mayfest, local and international

Mayfest, the annual spring chamber music festival presented by the Department of Music at Cornell, returns May 17-21. International guest artists and Ithaca-based musicians will perform under the artistic direction of senior lecturer Miri Yampolsky and professor Xak Bjerken.

Xiao-Dong Wang

"The concerts are special," Bjerken said, "because the audience can see up close the way people communicate and adjust in the moment; it's a constant conversation that reflects the drama and sensitivity of the music."

Christina Bouey

The opening night performance May 17 includes a Beethoven trio for oboe, cello and piano, and Prokofiev's "Scenes from ‘Romeo and Juliet.’" On May 18 are two Brahms works plus Schumann's "Romances," while the concluding May 21 concert features Marcello's Oboe Concerto and blockbuster piano quintets from Elgar and Brahms. Concerts begin at 8 p.m. in Barnes Hall.

The festival concert at the Lab of Ornithology, May 19 at 4 p.m., features "Music of Nature: Zemlinksy's ‘Lilies-of-the-valley blossomed everywhere’" for soprano and strings. And May 20, at 8 p.m. in the Carriage House Loft, is an intimate evening with music by Richard Strauss and Glinka, and the Ithaca High School Jazz Quartet.

Visit for tickets and festival passes, plus program and parking details. Tickets are also available at the door. Single tickets are $25, $5 for students. Patrons under age 18 will be admitted free with an adult.

Invited artists include new faces: Beatrice Muthelet, principal violist with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; Dudu Carmel, principal oboist of the Israel Philharmonic; and Chezy Nir on French horn, former principal of the Israel Symphony Orchestra. Returning musicians include cellist Zvi Plesser, violinist Xiao-Dong Wang and Cayuga Chamber Orchestra concertmaster Christina Bouey.

Making gardens grow

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County master gardeners will join more than 40 area growers and garden groups at the Spring Garden Fair and Plant Sale, May 18, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Ithaca High School. Admission is free.

The sale features a huge variety of annuals, herbs and specialty perennials; organically grown and heirloom vegetables; flowering shrubs; trees; hardy roses; fruit crops; rock garden plants and more. SNAP benefits will be accepted for edible plants. Bring a wagon or cart to transport purchases to your vehicle.

The fair includes a 4-H Club food concession; educational displays and information from local garden groups; and master gardeners offering free soil pH testing and volunteer training information. More information and a list of vendors is online; or call 607-272-2292.

Absent and vanishing species

"Traces," an exhibition of embossings based on extinct and vulnerable plant species, is on display through May 31 at Cornell Botanic Gardens’ Brian C. Nevin Welcome Center.

The embossings are from an ongoing project by Emma Ulen-Klees, M.F.A. ’20, cataloging and rendering plant species that are endangered or thought to be extinct in New York state. Each piece was researched and based on a physical specimen in the collections of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium Herbarium at Cornell and the C.V. Starr Virtual Herbarium at the New York Botanical Garden.

Seven species are displayed, representing a small percentage of plants that are either extirpated or considered endangered historical species, not having been recorded in 20 to 30 years. The embossings serve as an homage to the absence of an increasing number of the region's flora. Despite their detail, the embossings capture only a shallow impression, preserving a plant's form while acknowledging its absence.

Energy solutions

The Cornell Center for Materials Research will host a symposium on electrochemical energy storage and conversion, May 22 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Physical Sciences Building.

"An Electrified Future?" will address technical solutions for adopting future batteries with higher capacity and improved safety, using responsibly sourced, eco-friendly materials. The event includes poster sessions and demonstrations, with industry partners such as Corning, Indium and ThermoFisher showing some of the latest advances in batteries and fuel cells.

Speakers will discuss the challenges in durability, reliability and scalability of fuel cells; and the development of an infrastructure for supply, demand and distribution to ensure successful transition to an electrified future. The symposium is geared to research scientists and technicians, engineers, technical directors, and interested product managers and consultants.

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Game design showcase Mayfest, local and international Making gardens grow Absent and vanishing species Energy solutions