9/16/2004

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Contact: Bill Tsutsui, Center for East Asian Studies, (785) 864-9435

50th birthday bash for Godzilla at KU, Lawrence begins now through October

LAWRENCE -- When two University of Kansas Godzilla aficionados sat down to plan a 50th birthday party for their favorite "king" of monsters, they wanted it to be really big.

William Tsutsui (pronounced Soot-Sue-e) KU associate professor of history and Michiko Ito (pronounced E-toe), KU librarian for Japanese studies, have invited a host of Godzilla and monster scholars and experts not only to a three-day conference and film festival Oct. 28-30 but also to events that began Sept. 11 and continue through October.

With one exception, all the lectures, films, exhibits, children's workshops and conference events are free, because that's how Godzilla would have wanted it, Tsutsui says.

Conference registration is required by Oct. 15. Registration forms are available online at www.g2004.net/godzilla/registration.asp

A documentary film crew also plans to be in Lawrence to interview fans and film parts of the conference. As of Sept. 1 about 50 people had registered, including a few from New York and Los Angeles and one from the Philippines.

Tsutsui expects about 200 to 250 people to attend the conference but possibly double that number to attend the films. In July 2000, a "Godzilla Takes Kansas" film festival attracted about 400 people to Lawrence.

Related events begin this month, including the "Pop Goes Godzilla" exhibit that opened Sept. 11 at KU's Spencer Art Museum and continues through Dec. 16; and a Sept. 16 talk, "Godzilla and the Myth of Monsters," by paleontologist Larry Martin KU and herpetologist John Simmons, both of KU.

Funding from the Japan Foundation and the Toshiba International Foundation as well as from the KU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Hall Center for the Humanities, KU Center for Research, the Kansas Asia Scholars and the Kansas Consortium for Teaching About Asia is making Godzilla's 50th birthday party in Lawrence free to the public.

The Toshiba International Foundation, based in Tokyo, helps promote international exchange and understanding of Japan while contributing to local and global community development. The Japan Foundation is a semi-governmental organization whose objective is to promote international cultural exchange and mutual understanding. KU is a past recipient of Japan Foundation library support and staff expansion grants.

Events scheduled to date are listed below. A full list of Godzilla events at KU and in Lawrence is available at www.g2004.net.

Sept. 11 to Dec. 16
Art exhibit: "Pop Goes Godzilla," Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Mississippi St. (785) 864-4710

Sept. 16 Thursday
4 p.m.: Lecture,"Godzilla and the Myth of Monsters" by KU Natural History museum paleontologist Larry Martin and herpetologist John Simmons, Ecumenical Christian Ministries, 1204 Oread Ave.

Sept. 23
7 p.m.: Children's film "Spirited Away" by Hayao Miyazaki, Spencer Museum of Art Auditorium.

Sept. 30 Thursday
12:15 p.m.: Tour du Jour of the "Pop Goes Godzilla" exhibit by Hillary Pedersen, Carpenter Foundation intern in Asian art, Spencer Museum of Art.

Oct. 1-Nov. 19
Exhibit of faculty and staff collections of Godzilla toys and library collections of Japanese popular culture materials, Watson Library Level 4, KU campus.

Oct. 5
7:30 p.m.: Lecture, "Japanese Manga and American Comics: The Pop Culture Mind-Meld" by Frederik Schodt, author and U.S. expert on Japanese manga (comic books), Alderson Auditorium, Kansas Union.

Oct. 7
7 p.m.: Children's film, "Princess Mononoke" by Hayao Miyazaki, Spencer Museum of Art Auditorium.

Oct. 15-Nov. 12
Exhibit and scavenger hunt for children, "Godzilla Body Parts Tour," KU Natural History Museum. Free. Prizes awarded.

Oct. 18
7 p.m.: Reading from "Godzilla on My Mind," by William Tsutsui, Lawrence Public Library, 707 Vermont St.

Oct. 26
8 p.m.: "Zodgyra and the Seven Deadly Sins," 10-minute play presentations by KU students staged by the English Alternative Theatre, Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire St.

Oct. 27
5:30 p.m. Book signing, Bill Tsutsui, author of "Godzilla on My Mind," and a special display of Godzilla books, DVDs, posters and other items, Oread Books, Kansas Union, Level 2.

Oct. 28
TBA: Inflation of gigantic "Godzilla" balloon on rooftop of Liberty Hall, 642 Massachusetts St.

7:30 p.m. screening of rare Godzilla film (title to be announced) at Liberty Hall, 642 Massachusetts St. Discussion afterwards with Gregory Cushman, KU assistant professor of history.

Oct. 29
8:15 a.m.-4:30 p.m.: Conference, "In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage," Lawrence Arts Center Auditorium, 940 New Hampshire St. Free to the public but registration is required. Register online www.g2004.net/godzilla/registration.asp or call KU's Center for East Asian Studies (785) 864-3849 or send email to g2004@ku.edu.

7:30 p.m.: Film, "Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster," Liberty Hall, 642 Massachusetts St. Discussion afterwards with Bob Beatty, Washburn University.

Oct. 30
8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.: Conference, "In Godzilla's Footsteps: Japanese Pop Culture Icons on the Global Stage," Lawrence Arts Center Auditorium, 940 New Hampshire St. Free to the public, but registration is required. Register online www.g2004.net/godzilla/registration.asp or call KU's Center for East Asian Studies (785) 864-3849 or send email to g2004@ku.edu.

10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.: Children's art appreciation class, "Japan-a-mania!" Spencer Museum of Art. Fee. Preregistration required, call Karen Gerety (785) 864-0137 or kcgerety@ku.edu.

7:30 p.m.: Film, "Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack," Liberty Hall, 642 Massachusetts St. Discussion afterwards with Chuck Berg, KU professor of theatre and film, and Michael Baskett, KU assistant professor of theatre and film.

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