By KAREN MATTHEWS, Associated Press Writer Sat May 31, 9:17 AM ET
NEW YORK - Noted neurologist Oliver Sacks has found common ground with the pastor of Harlem's Abyssinian Baptist Church:
Sacks, the best-selling author of "Awakenings" and "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat," was to share the church stage Saturday with the famed gospel choir as part of the inaugural World Science Festival, a five-day celebration of science taking place in New York this week.
"It should be an exciting and unusual event," Sacks said in an interview this week.
Sacks' most recent book is "Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain," which examines the relationship between music and the brain, including its healing effect on people suffering from such diseases as Tourette's syndrome, Parkinson's, autism and Alzheimer's.
"Even with advanced dementia, when powers of memory and language are lost, people will respond to music," he said.
A Baptist church is an unusual venue for Sacks, a professor of clinical neurology and clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center who was brought up Jewish but is not a religious believer.
But the central role of music in church makes Abyssinian a good place to discuss the myriad ways that music affects the human brain, said Sacks, who was played by Robin Williams in the movie version of "Awakenings."
Abyssinian's pastor, the Rev. Calvin O. Butts III, said the choir is looking forward to performing with Sacks.
"What we have been studying ... is that when you pray, there's actually a physiological change in the body," he said.
Abyssinian was founded by Ethiopian sea traders in 1808 and is celebrating its bicentennial.
The event there is one of two Sacks is participating in during the World Science Festival.
The festival was conceived by Columbia University physicist Brian Greene and his wife Tracy Day, a broadcast journalist.
"Our intent is to help shift the public perception of science, so that people realize that science is as important as art, literature, film, theater," Greene said.
Panelists include Nobel laureates as well as actors, dancers, philosophers and science journalists.
Greene said he hopes the festival will spread to other cities.
BILLBOARDS THAT LOOK BACK:
DID YOU KNOW?
***There are 122 pebbles per square inch on a Spalding basketball.
***On November 29, 2000, Pope John Paul II was named an "Honorary Harlem Globetrotter
*** Basketball superstar Wilt Chamberlain holds 56 NBA records.
***Shaquille O'Neal's shoe size is 22.
***In the U.S., the sport that causes the most injuries among the age group of 15-24 is basketball.
"The thing that impresses me the most about America is the way parents obey their children." --King Edward VIII (1894-197
LBN-HISTORY: On May 31, 1977, the trans-Alaska oil pipeline, three years in the making, was completed.
HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Today) 5/30/08
Stepping fully into Jamie Lee Curtis territory, the demure Liv Tyler stars in Rogue Pictures’ home invasion thriller ‘The Strangers’.
“I’ve never pursued a part like this in my entire life,” says Tyler of her work.
“I was moved by how rare and detailed the relationship was between the couple,” says Tyler of the lovebirds portrayed by herself and Scott Speedman.
Seeking romance and relaxation, the couple isolate themselves in a rustic country house.
The McDreamy-like Scott Speedman proves a good foil to Tyler in a film that requires the actors to share nearly every shot.
Writer/director Bryan Bertino’s edgy script for ‘The Strangers’ captivated Tyler.
After the storm of success following her turn in Peter Jackson’s epic ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, Tyler’s next career move was wide open.
Expectations burn brightly that ‘The Strangers’ will be a newborn franchise like ‘Saw’, yet it remains to be seen if Tyler’s character will survive into future installments.
Here’s to the summer of Liv!
‘The Strangers’Rating: R for violence/terror and languageDistributor: Rogue PicturesRunning Time: 1 hr. 30 min.Release Date: May 30th, 2008 (USA)