Stories this week at WFU

ALTERNATIVE HOLIDAY FILMS FOR THANKSGIVING — During the holidays, most people gravitate towards feel-good family films. But, if you want more food for thought from your holiday movies, Reynolds Professor of Film Studies Peter Brunette recommends two recent American independent films set at Thanksgiving. Not your standard, overwhelmingly optimistic fare, “The Myth of Fingerprints” and “Pieces of April” offer more realistic views of family during the holidays. “These films give what is perhaps a more nuanced, and thus more insightful version of these usually warm but sometimes forced and dispiriting gatherings,” Brunette said. “The Myth of Fingerprints” stars Julianne Moore and Noah Wyle, and is the more serious film of the two. It subtly explores the intertwined relationships of a largely dysfunctional family as they gather around the dinner table. “Pieces of April” stars Katie Holmes and Patricia Clarkson. It tells the story of a daughter hosting her first Thanksgiving dinner for her neurotic family, headed by a mom whose health is failing. Her oven breaks down as she begins to prepare the food, and she is forced to seek help from neighbors in her New York City apartment building.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.


DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, REALITY OR NOT? — The new television show “Desperate Housewives” has focused attention on the lives of housewives. Angela Hattery, associate professor of sociology, is the author of the book, “Women, Work and Family: Balancing and Weaving,” which explores how mothers with young children make decisions about being stay-at-home or working mothers. She can comment on the trend of more women staying at home and other issues related to women and family.

Contact: Cheryl Walker, or 336-758-5237.


ECONOMIC OUTLOOK GOOD FOR NEXT FOUR YEARS — The recession has ended and the economy is doing fairly well at this point, says Jac Heckelman, associate professor of economics and McCulloch Family Fellow at Wake Forest University. “Without any major surprises in the next few years, unemployment should continue to slowly decline and growth should continue to make progress,” Heckelman said. In addition, the Bush administration tax cuts that are set to expire could likely be made permanent, he said, thanks to Republican gains in both the House and Senate. He can comment on the connections between elections and the economy and has published papers concerning voter turnout and political business cycles. Heckelman can also provide historical election analysis.

Contact: Maggie Barrett, or 336-758-5237.


EXIT POLLS REVEAL IMPORTANT SHIFTS IN VOTER BEHAVIOR — The geographical divide between “red” and “blue” states has gotten most of the press in the wake of the 2004 presidential election, but John Dinan, Zachary T. Smith Associate Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University, says there are several other interesting trends revealed by exit polls taken during the election. Republicans narrowed the traditional gender gap, with George W. Bush losing among women by only three percentage points this year as opposed to 11 percentage points in 2000, Dinan said. In addition, Republicans made inroads among the rapidly growing number of Hispanic voters, with Bush increasing his share of that vote from 35 percent in 2000 to 44 percent in 2004. The 2004 election also revealed significant trends in the relationship between religion and voting behavior. “Of particular interest is the direct relationship between frequency of church attendance and support for Republicans, in a way that rivals the long-established relationship between income level and Republican support,” Dinan said.

Contact: Jacob McConnico, or 336-758-5237.


CONCERT FEATURES CHOREOGRAPHY OF WALT DISNEY CASTING DIRECTOR — Kenneth Green, casting director for Walt Disney Entertainment, will be among six artists presenting choreography at the Fall Faculty/Guest Artist Dance Concert featuring the Wake Forest Dance Company. His jazz piece “Idol Songs” is set to music by “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard and runners up Clay Aiken and Tamyra Gray. Work will also be presented by North Carolina native and guest artist Tina Yarborough, artistic director of Otésha Creative Arts Ensemble, and four other faculty members. Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18-20 and at 2 p.m. Nov. 21. Tickets are available at the door; $10 for adults and $5 for students, seniors and children.

Contact: Pam Barrett at or 336-758-5237.


The News Service, along with most administrative offices on campus, will be closed Nov. 25-26. Students’ Thanksgiving holiday is Nov. 24-28.

Categories: Arts & Culture, Community, Events, University Announcement