Yahya Abdul-Mateen II is an Emmy Award-winning American actor best known for his portrayal of David Kane, the Black Manta in Aquaman, Bobby Seale in The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Cal Abar in Watchmen.
After starring in the musical drama series The Get Down, Abdul-Mateen appeared in numerous films, including Baywatch, The Greatest Showman, and Candyman.
Ki Hong Lee is a Korean-American screen and voice actor best known for his roles as Minho in the Maze Runner series and Dong Nguyen in Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Graduating with a B.A. in Psychology in 2008, Ki-Hong Lee worked at his parents' sundubu jjigae restaurant, Tofu village, in Little Tokyo while pursuing acting.
Josh Kun is widely recognized as a leading cultural historian whose scholarship at the intersections of popular music, media, race & ethnicity has been ground-breaking across culturla studies fields. Kun holds a joint appointment in the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, and in the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity. Kun is a 2016 MacArthur Fellow and the winner of a 2018 Berlin Prize and a 2006 American Book Award. He also works as a journalist, essayist, and curator.
Corey Flintoff has spent nearly 40 years as a radio journalist, serving most recently as National Public Radio’s correspondent in Moscow. He has covered the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Ukraine, the earthquake in Haiti, the revolution in Egypt and the revolution and civil war in Libya. During his four years as NPR's bureau chief in Moscow, Flintoff reported on Putin’s crack down on dissent and the seizure of Crimea.
Margot Adler was one of the signature voices on National Public Radio's (NPR’s) airwaves for more than three decades who was known for her wit and willingness to cover controversial issues. Adler joined the NPR staff as a general assignment reporter in 1979, and went on to cover everything from the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic to confrontations involving the Ku Klux Klan in Greensboro, N.C., to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. She was also the first reporter to interview J.K. Rowling.
Marco Polo "Mark" di Suvero is an abstract expressionist sculptor whose work has have been exhibited in the United States, France, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Germany, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom. Di Suvero is the first living artist to exhibit in Le Jardin de Tuileries and Les Esplanades des Invalides in Paris and at Millennium Park-Chicago. His work is in over 100 museums and public collections, and in 2010 di Suvero was a recipeient of the 2010 National Medal of Arts. His long career began after studying sculpture and philosophy at Cal.
Part-artist and part-cultural historian, Enrique Chagoya draws from his experiences living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and also in Europe to create mixed media works that juxtapose secular, popular, and religious symbols in order to address the ongoing cultural clash between the United States, Latin America and the world. Chegoya’s art is held in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and elsewhere. He currently teaches at Stanford University.
Vietnamese American author Viet Thanh Nguyen’s 2016 debut work, The Sympathizer, received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and his current collection of short stories, The Refugees, is a bestseller. Most recently Nguyen has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and MacArhtur Foundations. In addition to his literary work, Nguyen is also a contributor to theLos Angeles Timesand theNew York Times;and he holds the Aerol Arnold Chair of English and is a Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California.
Greil Marcus is an author, music journalist, and cultural critic based in Berkeley. He is known for his contemporary criticism and historical scholarship, which places rock music in a broader framework of culture and politics than is customary in pop music journalism. For the past three decades he has written a monthly column, Real Life Rock Top 10, forPitchfork Magazine, which offers incisive commentary on what he's called everyday culture and found objects—including songs, albums, movies, news, novels, commercials, TV shows, overheard remarks, and more.
Writer Joan Didion is a legendary voice of the American 1960s. Her collection of essays in Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968)—written while living in Berkeley—is one of the best-known books of the period. Non-traditional journalism mixed with a “cool” autobiographical edge has made Didion’s work, from Play It As It Lays (1972) to A Year of Magical Thinking (2005), has made her a staple of American literature.
Korean American novelist and artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha is best-known for her posthumously published Dictée, which explores the subject of loss: of country, language, memory, time. Its technique is a montage of family photographs, maps, diagrams, stories and prose poems. Cha was also an artist who experimented in performance and video. Her collection of works and archive are held by the University of California Berkeley Art Museum and were recognized there in the 2001 retrospective exhibition, “The Dream of the Audience: Theresa Hak Kyung Cha.”
Born in Chicago in 1928 and raised in Berkeley, Philip K. Dick was a popular science fiction author who published 44 novels in his lifetime and wrote approximately 121 short stories. Although Dick spent most of his career in near-poverty, ten of his stories have been adapted into popular films since his death, including Blade Runner, Total Recall,andMinority Report. In 2005, Time magazine named Ubik one of the one hundred greatest English-language novels published since 1923, and in 2007 Dick became the first science fiction writer to be included in The Library of America book series.
Stan Lai or Lai Sheng-chuan is a highly influential award-winning US born Taiwan based playwright and theater director—according to the BBC, Lai is “the best Chinese language playwright and director in the world.” The Beijing News calls his 2008 play, The Village, "the pinnacle of our era of theatre." After earning his Ph.D. in Dramatic Arts at UC Berkeley in 1983 Lai has gone on to author thirty plays and a best-selling book on creativity. He has received Taiwan’s National Arts Award twice and has been inducted into the Chinese Theater Hall of Fame. "
Charles Henry Ferguson is the founder and president of Representational Pictures, Inc., and director and producer of No End in Sight: The American Occupation of Iraq(2007) andInside Job(2010), which won the Academy Award for Best Documentary. Ferguson is also a software entrepreneur, writer and authority in technology policy, and he has published several books on the topics, including:Computer Wars(1993),The Broadband Problem(2004); andPredator Nation(2012), a citational companion to the 2010 filmInside Job.
Born in Berkeley in 1940, Philip Lesh is a musician and was a founding member of the iconic rock band the Grateful Dead, with whom he played bass guitar. During his brief time at Cal in 1961 Lesh met Grateful Dead keyboardist Tom Constanten, and the rest is history. Lesh was an innovator in the new role that the electric bass developed during the mid-1960s San Francisco Sound in new rock music and is known for the “improvised excursions” he would take during songs— Lesh's bass became as much a lead instrument as Garcia's guitar.
Young Jean Lee is a Korean-American playwright, director, and filmmaker. She is the Artistic Director of Young Jean Lee's Theater Company with which she has written and directed nine shows. Lee has been called “hands down, the most adventurous downtown playwright of her generation” by the New York Times. She is also the recipient of two OBIE Awards, the Festival Prize of the Zürcher Theater Spektakel, a 2010 Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, and a 2012 Doris Duke Artist Award.
Businessman and investor Peter Chernin is the chairman and CEO of The Chernin Group (est. 2010), which manages, operates and invests in businesses in the media, entertainment, and technology sectors. Previoulsy Chernin was with News Corporation (1996-2009) where he gained a reputation as an executive with a unique mastery of both the creative and corporate sides of the entertainment business.
Jay De Feo is known for her contributions to the 1960s California art scene. Resisting what she called "the hierarchy of material," De Feo employed plaster and mixed media to experiment with the surface effects of her painting-sculptures. Her best-known work, The Rose (1966), was created over an eight-year period and weighs more than one ton. Since her death in 1989, De Feo’s works and her position in the California art scene have been the subject of much attention, receiving a retrospective exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2013.
A physicist by training, British American author and entrepreneur Chris Anderson spans the fields of journalism and technology. He began as a contributor to The Economist, where he was for seven years, before joining WIREDmagazine in 2001 as the editor-in-chief. Under his direction, the magazine moved toward mainstream business coverage and long-form narrative features, winning eight National Magazine Awards between 2005 and 2009.
Jimmy López is a classical music composer known as “one of the most interesting young composers today.” Pieces composed by López have been performed by leading orchestras around the world, including: the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra of Peru, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. His works have been performed in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Sydney Opera House, and during the 2010 Youth Olympic games in Singapore.
Founders of the fashion label Rodarte (est. 2005), Kate and Laura Mulleavy quickly become two of the hottest names in popular culture after attracting the attention of Vogueeditor Anna Wintour who featured their work in countless issues of the magazine. The Mulleavy sisters produced lines for Gap (2007) and Target (2009); and in 2010 made the foray into Hollywood, co-designing the costumes for Darren Aronofsky’s award-winningBlack Swan. In 2017 the sisters’ first film,Woodshock, premiered to critical acclaim.
Prolific actor Stacy Keach has played to grand success a constellation of the classic and contemporary stage's greatest roles, and he is considered a pre-eminent American interpreter of Shakespeare. His run as "King Lear" at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. received rave reviews, earning Keach his third prestigious Helen Hayes Award for Leading Actor in 2010. In addition to his stage work, Keach has also appeared in numerous films and television series in the U.S. and in Germany; and he is an accomplished pianist and composer.
Favianna Rodriguez is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural organizer, and political activist based in Oakland, California. Her art and collaborative projects address migration, economic inequality, gender justice, and ecology. In 2009 she co-founded Presente.org, a national online organizing network dedicated to the political empowerment of Latino communities, and she is currently the Executive Director of CultureStrike, a national arts organization that engages artists, writers and performers in migrant rights.
Sculptor Bruce Beasley is known for his abstract expressionist forms that push the boundaries of industrial technique. Beasley’s works are held in museum collections around the world (the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Guggenheim Museum; the Smithsonian Museum of American Art; the National Art Museum of China; the Pompidou Center, Paris) and appear in numerous cities as public art works, including right here at Cal. Recently, Beasley has embarked on a series of collaborations with other artists, such as Cal faculty Lisa Wymore on the Dancing the Rondo series.
Emmy-nominated filmmaker, author, and public speaker Tiffany Schlain is widely regarded as an internet pioneer. Shlain is the founder of the Webby Awards and co-founder of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences. She served as advisor to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the Internet and technology—topics on which she has delivered talks at Google, Harvard, NASA, and was the closing speaker for TEDWomen and TEDMED. Her filmic work has also been included in the U.S. State Department’s selections for screening at embassies around the world.
Actor John Cho began his career with the famed Asian American theater company East West Players, but is best known for his role in helping to define popular film culture for nearly two decades, starting with breakthrough in the American Pie franschise as John (MILF Guy No. 2), who popularized the term " MILF" in the American Pie films; then as Harold Lee in the Harold & Kumar films; and, most recently as Hikaru Sulu in the Star Trek reboot film series.
Writer, historian, and activist Rebecca Solnit has emerged as one of the leading public intellectuals in the contemporary media landscape, and in 2017 the New York Times named her “the voice of the resistance.” In addition to her role as a columnist for Harper’s Magazine, Solnit is the author of twenty books on feminism, western and indigenous history, popular power, social change and insurrection, wandering and walking, hope and disaster. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the National Book Critics Circle Award in criticism, and the Lannan Literary Award.
Following his time at Cal, Chris Pine studied acting at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco before making his feature film debut in 2004 opposite Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement. Other roles in film and television followed, but he became an international star when he was cast as James T. Kirk in the hugely successful franchise reboot, Star Trek (2009). Most recently Pine starred opposite Gal Gadot in the title role of Wonder Woman (2017), a film that became his biggest domestic earner.
Trevor Paglen is an artist and geographer whose work spans image-making, sculpture, investigative journalism, writing, engineering, and numerous other disciplines. Paglen’s work has been exhibited around the world, from Frankfurt to San Francisco. He has launched an artwork into distant orbit around Earth in collaboration with Creative Time and MIT and created a radioactive public sculpture for the exclusion zone in Fukushima, Japan.In 2017 Paglen was a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and in 2018 he was one of forty artists invited to the World Economic Forum.
Internationally acclaimed artist and filmmaker Shirin Neshat is known for her powerful photographs and video installations, which bring visibility to the the gender and cultural conflicts of her native Iran. Neshat’s work has found acclaim since her first photographic series, Woman of Allah(1993–97), which combined images of women with written words taken from religious texts. In 1997, she won the 48th Venice Biennial prize for her film Turbulent, and has been awarded two Rockefeller Fellowships in recent years.
Vijay Iyer is a jazz pianist, composer, bandleader, producer, and electronic musician who has been described by Pitchfork Magazineas “one of the most interesting and vital jazz pianists today.” During his time at Cal Iyer shifted disciplines, moving from a Ph.D. in Physics to an interdisciplinary degree that combined technology and the arts. Since the mid-1990s Iyer has been performing with jazz legends like Steve Coleman and George Lewis. In 2013 Iyer was a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship, and in 2014 he joined the faculty of Harvard University.
Film director and author Errol Morris is a legend of American independent film. His work has won awards at festivals and competitions around the world, including at the Oscars, Sundance, and the Berlin International Film Festival. Roger Ebert called his first film, Gates of Heaven (1978), one of the ten best films of all time. Morris’s work is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art, and he has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Foundation (1989).
Renowned Taiwanese architect Kris Yao’s works include an enormous array of building types: corporate/industrial, residential, cultural, educational, medical, retail, and transportation. He is also known for his superb interior architecture. But he maintains a special passion for cultural and historically related projects, as well as projects that involve complex technology. This passion for art and technology in fact inspired the name of his firm, Artech Architects.
Critic, writer, and editor Wendy Lesser is the founding editor of the arts journal The Threepenny Review, an independent literary magazine offering fiction, memoirs, poetry, essays and criticism.In addition to her work as editor,Lesser is also a contributor toThe New York Times Book Review, the London Review of Books, andThe Times Literary Supplement, and she isthe author of eleven books, includingWhy I Read(2014) which won critical acclaim upon its release. Lesser has been the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Amos Gitai is an Israeli filmmaker best known for his documentaries and feature films that visualize and analyze the Middle East and Jewish-Arab conflict. Gitai's work has been recognized in several major retrospectives, including at the Pompidou Center, Paris; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; the Lincoln Center, New York; and the British Film Institute, London. Between 1999 and 2017 ten of his films were entered in the Cannes Film Festival for the Palme d'Or as well as the Venice Film Festival for the Golden Lion award.
Entrepreneur, author and journalist John Battelle is best known for his work in creating digital media properties. Battelle helped to found WIREDmagazine in the 1990s and in 2005, he founded the online advertising network Federated Media Publishing. Also in 2005 his bookThe Search: How Google and Its Rivals Rewrote the Rules of Business and Transformed Our Culturewas released, quickly becoming a bestseller that has gone on to be translated into 25 languages.
Composer Terry Riley launched what is now known as the Minimalist movement with his revolutionary classic IN C in 1964. This seminal work provided a new concept in musical form based on interlocking repetitive patterns. Its impact was to change the course of 20th century music and its influence has been heard in the works of prominent composers such as Steve Reich and Philip Glass. Since 1960, while at Cal, Riley has worked with a range of influential artists, including San Francisco-based dancer Anna Halprin and members of the Fluxus movement.
Joan Acocella has written for The New Yorker, mostly on books and dance, since 1992, and became the magazine’s dance critic in 1998. Additionally, Acocella has written about dance, literature, and other arts for The New York Review of Books, the Times Book Review, andArt in America.
New York fashion retailers-turned-designers Carol Lim and Humberto Leon are known for their irreverent and playful take on fashion. They are founders of trendsetting boutique Opening Ceremony (est. 2002) and, since 2011, creative directors at Parisian label Kenzo. Close friends ever since they met as students at the Cal, the duo spent a decade in “corporate” jobs—Leon as a design director at The Gap and then Burberry and Lim as a management consultant—before launching Opening Ceremony.
A Bay Area local from birth, Jack London was a 19th century American author and journalist, best known for the adventure novels White Fang and The Call of the Wild. A prolific writer, he published more than 50 books over the last 16 years of his life while also working as a journalist, covering topics from the Russo-Japanese War in 1904, to Hawaii and the sport of surfing. London’s life and writings remain a primary case through which to examine the contradictions in the American character, along with key movements and ideas prominenat during the Progressive era.
Artist and filmmaker Lynn Hershman Leeson is internationally acclaimed for her contributions to the field of media art. She is widely recognized for her pioneering work in investigating the relationship between people and technology. Hershman Leesonis has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the USA Artist Foundation. In 2016 her practice was recognized with a retrospective exhibition at the leading media art museum, the ZKM | Center for Arts and Media in Karlsruhe, Germany; and in 2017 she was the recipient of the College Art Association Lifetime Achievement Award.
Alice Waters is a chef, restaurateur, activist and author. She is the owner of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse restaurant (est. 1971), which is famous for its organic, locally grown ingredients. Additionally, Waters has written several books on food and cooking, including 40 Years of Chez Panisse.In 1996 she founded the Chez Panisse Foundation and created Berkeley’s Edible Schoolyard program. Waters also serves as a public policy advocate on the national level for school lunch reform and universal access to healthy, organic foods.
Trained as a pianist from an early age, musician and producer Robert Hurwitz was the President of Nonesuch Records from 1984 to 2017 where he worked with some of the most important musicians of our time, including: Steve Reich, Stephen Sondheim, John Zorn, Björk, Kronos Quartet, k.d. lang, The Black Keys, and Laurie Anderson, to name just a few. During his time as President of the label Nonesuch releases won 42 Grammy Awards.