Could our genes affect our romantic choices? Does love inhabit a particular region of the brain? If this song makes us too sad to drive straight, why are we playing it on repeat?
Rapper and essayist Dessa launches her event series in The Greene Space - a collision of art, music and scientific research on love, sex and human adventures in pair-bonding.
She begins with an exploration of how research on voles might reveal a genetic basis for monogamy in humans, and how booze affects it.
Bring a date. Find a date. (But please don’t leave your date with us—we’re taking some me time right now.)
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Dessa is a rapper, singer and essayist whom the Utne Reader calls, “A one-woman powerhouse…with a literary sensibility and an aversion to genre clichés.” As a musician she tours as a solo artist and as a member of Doomtree, the innovative Minneapolis-based hip-hop collective. On stage she's funny and ferocious, but also tender—her live show includes rapid-fire rap songs, heartbreak ballads, catchy choruses, and some charismatic banter fueled by wit and whiskey. Dessa has published two literary collections, contributed a track to the Hamilton Mixtape (which reached #1 on the Billboard charts) and is currently at work on her first book-length collection of personal essays. She splits her time between Minneapolis and New York. For pictures, performances schedules, tour stories and other assorted nonsense, follow her at @dessadarling.
About the Guests
jeremy messersmith is a singer-songwriter born in Charleston, SC and raised in rural Washington. He began playing music in church at a young age, and like many homeschoolers, counts Sandi Patti, Carman, DC Talk and Michael W. Smith amongst his earliest musical influences. After a promising trumpeting career was tragically cut short due to braces, he turned to the guitar as his instrument of choice and eventually relocated to Minneapolis, MN to study music. A thoughtful, clever lyricist with a tender voice, jeremy crafts songs that are catchy and relatable, and span the emotional gamut from poignancy to whimsy. NPR writes, "He’s relentlessly committed to making these rich, lush, pretty pop songs and he does it incredibly well." His second release with Glassnote Records is due out later this year.
Jon Bernstein is a composer, musician, and producer based in Queens, New York. Known primarily for work on serial fiction podcasts such as Welcome to Night Vale and Alice Isn’t Dead, Jon has also done sound design work in the experimental theater world including productions such as WAKE (Connelly Theatre 2014) and The Downtown Loop (3LD 2013), is a producer and keyboardist for NYC singer Henny Hendrix, and has released 13 original albums as Disparition in genres ranging from beat driven electronic music to works for solo piano.
Allison Anacker, PhD, is a behavioral neuroscientist researching how our brains are programmed for social behavior. She investigates interactions between social relationships and alcohol drinking (strictly in the lab, of course), development of same-sex connections, and how social behavior responses are different in models of autism. She is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Columbia University. She has published 17 scientific articles on her work, and her research demonstrating effects of alcohol on pair bond development has received attention from the media.