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Monsters are everywhere. They lurk in the shadows and stalk our imagination. They terrorize and fascinate us. But what, exactly, are they? Scholars differ on whether the word is derived from the Latin verb monstrare, “to show,” or from monere, “to warn.” Either way, as horror theorist John Halberstam writes, monsters are “meaning machines.” They embody our preoccupations and anxieties, and they reflect our morals. This is as true of the “real world” humans and creatures we label monstrous — sharks, serial killers, and “freaks” — as it is of the classic monsters that reside in our fictions, the vampires, zombies, and bogeymen.

BAASICS.5: Monsters brings together a diverse group of artists, scientists, and performers to consider all manner of monsters. Professor John Hafernik will introduce the audience to a parasitic fly that turns European honey bees into ZomBees; author and translator Erik Butler will explain how literature and film have made the vampire, a native of Eastern Europe, into a naturalized American with a preference for the Golden State; marine biologist David McGuire will disentangle the media-fueled myth of the shark from its true nature; artist Brynda Glazier will showcase her charismatic sculptures and discuss cultural standards of ugliness and “otherness.” These participants and others will join BAASICS co-founders and producers Selene Foster and Christopher Reiger for an entertaining evening of art, science, and wonder. It’s going to be scary good!

Immediately following the program, a reception will be held in the ODC Theater lobby. Join us for drinks and good conversation.

BAASICS.5: Monsters Participants:

Erik Butler ( – The California Vampire
Daniel Cohen, PhD – Making Monsters
Brynda Glazier ( – Ugliness Unplugged
John Hafernik, PhD ( – ZomBees Take Flight in the Dead of Night
Lion Dance ME ( – The Drunken Lion Dance
David McGuire, MEH ( – Sharks, Monsters of Our Imagination
Jill Miller ( – Bigfoot, Bacon, and Tree Knocking: My attempts at making contact with the elusive Sasquatch
George Pfau ( – Zombies, Identified

Also including documentation of projects by:
Joseph DeRisi, PhD (, and his malaria research team at UCSF/HHMI
Kyle Taylor (, Senior Scientist, The Glowing Plant Project
and music by: Georgeann Sack, PhD