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SUNDAY BRUNCH | CULTURE WATCH

Goodbye, 20th Century

September 28, 1997|BEVERLY BEYETTE

What are the big questions as we hurtle toward the millennium?

No, they aren't about Los Angeles getting a pro football team or whether Susan Lucci will ever get an Emmy.

"The Big Questions" will be explored in the Central Library's lecture series of the same name celebrating the library's 125th anniversary. Programs will be at 2 p.m. Sundays starting today in the Mark Taper Auditorium.

We asked a few of the speakers--invited as modern-day thinkers "known for challenging accepted theories"--for a little preview of the big answers.

* Writer-performance artist Guillermo Gomez-Pena, a native of Mexico and 1991 recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant will speak on "The New World Border?"

What if the continent turned upside down? What if Spanish was English? What if Americans were nomadic minorities crossing illegally into Latin America to work for very low wages?

* Alexander Capron, USC professor of law and medicine, will address "Is the Growing Knowledge of Human Genetics a Blessing or a Curse?"

[Suppose] we had a single gene for homosexuality. We could say, "you've got it" and, as long as homosexuality remains a deviant lifestyle, that would be like slapping the Nazi pink triangle on you.

* Poet Carolyn Forche, a civil rights activist in El Salvador whose poetry deals with war and genocide, will discuss "Why Remember? Bearing Witness in the 20th Century."

The question is not one of remembering, but of not forgetting. There are ways to remember the past which absolve us of it, putting us to sleep and closing down the possibility for our continued growth, and ways to remember the past that offer an opening for the future.

Opening "The Big Questions" series today will be Romanian-born poet-journalist Andrei Codrescu. His topic: "How Do You Say Goodbye to the 20th Century?"

The cost is $8 per lecture or $55 for the series. For more information, call (213) 228-7025.

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