The Witte Lectures

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Maira Kalman
Friday, April 6 @ 7:00pm
Saturday, April 7 @ 2:00pm

Art & the Power of Not Knowing

Maira Kalman is the author and illustrator of 25 books for children and young adults including Why We Broke Up, which she created with Daniel Handler, as well as the recent illustrated work Beloved Dog. A longtime contributor to The New Yorker magazine, Kalman is currently at work on an illustrated column based on her travels to museums and libraries. She is also in collaboration with choreographer John Heginbotham on a ballet inspired by her work The Principles of Uncertainty. In addition to  performing in the ballet, Kalman has also created the costumes, sets and libretti. Other celebrated projects include an illustrated edition of the Strunk and White classic The Elements of Style. She and composer Nico Muhly created an “opera”of the text that was performed at the New York Public Library, Dia Beacon on the Hudson and Lincoln Center. Kalman’s design work is as extensive and successful as her literary work. She has designed fabrics and accessories with Isaac Mizrahi, Kate Spade, Michael Maharam and the Target Corporation, as well as ballet sets and costumes for the Mark Morris Dance Company and mannequins for Ralph Pucci.

Masha Gessen
Friday, April 27 @ 7:00pm
Saturday, April 28 @ 2:00pm

The Future is History

A self-proclaimed “opposition journalist in Russia,” Masha Gessen is the author of many books, including Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot. As a journalist living in Moscow, Gessen experienced the rise of Vladimir Putin firsthand. In her 2012 bestselling book The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin, she gave a chilling account of how a lowlevel, small-minded KGB operative ascended to the Russian presidency and, in a short time, destroyed years of progress and made his country once more a threat to her own people and to the world. Gessen will speak about her new book The Future Is History, won the National Book Award for non-fiction in 2017, in which she follows the lives of four people born at what promised to be the dawn of democracy in Russia. Each of them came of age with unprecedented expectations, some as the children and grandchildren of the very architects of the new Russia, each with newfound aspirations of their own—as entrepreneurs, activists, thinkers and writers, sexual and social beings. Gessen charts their paths against the machinations of the regime that would crush them all, and against the war it waged on understanding itself, which ensured the unobstructed reemergence of the old Soviet order in the form of today’s terrifying and seemingly unstoppable mafia state.


Newport Beach Public Library
1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach
7:00pm Lecture and Q&A
8:15pm Book signing, light supper & wine

Newport Beach Public Library
1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach
2:00pm Lecture and Q&A
3:15pm Book signing, dessert & coffee

Free parking available in the Central Library lot and the parking structure at the Civic Center.


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Speaker Archives

The Witte Lectures Committee
Karen Clark
Lisa Edwards
Janet Hadley, Chair
Diane Hafer
Signe Keller
Gordon McAlpine
Mark Murray
Natasha Palmaer
Ellen Shockro, Ph.D
Jene Witte
Lizanne Witte