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Michael R. Jackson and Dr. Hedy Kober

How do our cravings overcome us in times of estrangement? How do we come to terms with these feelings of attachment and our desires for the outcomes that “could have been”? Michael R. Jackson, (the living, breathing composer of a Pulitzer-prize and Tony-award winning musical) does not shy away from these difficult internal conversations in his hit stage creation A Strange Loop. Centered around “a gay black man writing a musical about a gay black man writing a musical,” Jackson’s semi-autobiographical character, Usher, is surrounded by cravings relating to his sexuality, body image, family relationships, and identity as an aspiring musical artist and composer.

Michael R. Jackson will unpack these vulnerable thoughts with scientist Dr. Hedy Kober, an associate professor of Psychology at Yale University whose studies specialize in cravings much like those which (de)motivate Usher in A Strange Loop. Ticket holders have the opportunity to join author and performer Kevin Townley for a gallery tour prior to the theater program at 6:00 PM or directly following the program at 8:30 PM. Tours are 35 minutes and will explore the permanent collection and the interactive Mandala Lab installation which inspired the Brainwave: Emotion talk series. The program will examine how both sacred and secular art can help us to unlock the wild wisdom of human emotion.

Please note that this event may be filmed or recorded.

About the speakers

Michael R. Jackson

Michael R. Jackson is one of Time‘s 100 most influential people of 2022. A Strange Loop (Playwrights Horizons 2019 world premiere in association with Page 73 Productions) won Tony Awards for Best Book and Best Musical, the Pulitzer Prize and New York Drama Critics Circle award. The New York Times called it a “laparoscopy of the heart, soul, and loins”¦ [a] gutsy, jubilantly anguished musical with infectious melodies”. The New Yorker wrote “To watch this show is to enter, by some urgent, bawdy magic, an ecstatic and infinitely more colorful version of the famous surreal lithograph by M. C. Escher.” Awards and associations include Dramatist Guild Fellowship, Page 73’s Writers Group, New Professional Theatre Festival Award, Jonathan Larson Grant, Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Award, ASCAP Foundation Harold Adamson Award, Whiting Award, Helen Merrill Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, Drama Desk Award, Obie Award, Antonyo Award, a Fred Ebb Award, and a Windham-Campbell Prize.

Dr. Hedy Kober

Dr. Hedy Kober runs the Clinical & Affective Neuroscience Laboratory through the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University. Research in Yale’s Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Lab takes a cognitive-neuroscience approach to clinical questions, uses state-of-the-art neuroimaging methods, and organizes around a few interrelated themes: Craving, regulation of craving, substance use disorders, treatment for substance use disorders, neural mechanisms of change, emotion regulation in psychopathology, emotion-cognition interaction, and, importantly, mindfulness and meditation. She has presented to the World Economic Forum on the role of meditation in changing the brain’s default mode network in a way that makes us more resilient to stress and disease.

About Our Guide

Kevin Townley is a writer, filmmaker, actor, singer, and meditation instructor. His film and television work include appearances in My Super Ex-Girlfriend, Men in Black III, The Detour, and Law & Order. He has written extensively for the Waterwell theater company and for Rookie magazine. He has also led hundreds of art tours in museums across the country including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, and the Rubin Museum of Art. His first book, Look, Look, Look, Look Again: Buddhist Wisdom Reflected in 26 Artists is published by Lionheart Press and available at the Rubin Museum shop. (Members’ price: $27.39 incl. tax) www.kevintownley.nyc


Lead support for Brainwave is provided by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Major support is provided by Gerry Ohrstrom with additional support provided by Cheryl Henson.

. NYC Cultural Affairs

Tickets: $25

Member Tickets: $18.75 (25% discount)

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