The Fort Atkinson Club Community Center presents....
Tuesday, October 1: Monica O’Connell
“South by Midwest: How Claiming Aspirational Lineages Has Helped me Navigate A Life of Music, Cake, and Wonder”
In this talk, an ethnomusicologist turned small town baker explores ways the bonds and lessons of historical and cultural kinship – what she calls her aspirational lineages – have helped her navigate a life of risk-taking and curiosity from Atlanta to New York to Chicago and finally, Fort. She will share stories about some of the women who have served as guides through her professional life as a grad student, research director, diversity consultant, and self-taught pastry chef. These include performing legends Hazel Scott and Lena Horne and chef and Southern food icon Edna Lewis.
Monica Hairston O’Connell is the owner and founder of Curtis & Cake, an independent, small-batch cake and sweets studio inspired by the tastes of the American South and the women who created them. She specializes in design- and flavor-forward celebration cakes and one-of-a-kind wedding cakes, but also makes a range of baked goods and confections using the best ingredients possible. Curtis & Cake uses the seasonal sweets table as a way of thinking about and practicing celebration, connection, and creativity. In a previous life, she studied these elements through the lens of music. She played French horn in college, holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from NYU and served as Executive Director of the Center for Black Music Research at Columbia College Chicago for eight years.