Five Free, Fun Things at Miami in November

Compiled by Susan Meikle, university news and communications

Miami Matters brings you five free, fun things to do at Miami each month. We’ve highlighted activities for November in Oxford and at the Regional campuses.  

Wednesday, Nov. 7: Learn it at Lunch — Wintertime Blooming Plants

plant-bloomsNoon - 1 p.m. The Conservatory, Hamilton

Enjoy blooming plants in winter: Several varieties naturally bloom under short day conditions of late fall and early winter. Learn what plants are best for holiday cheer and what conditions are required. 

No experience necessary - bring a lunch. 

Questions? Contact Brian Grubb, Conservatory manager, at

Saturday, Nov. 10: Erik Larson, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

lusitania7 p.m. Parrish Auditorium, Hamilton

The Michael J. Colligan History Project welcomes author and historian Erik Larson.  He will speak about the last crossing of the Lusitania, based on his best-selling book. On May 1, 1915, the S.S. Lusitania, among the fastest, most luxurious liners of its day, sailed from New York bound for Liverpool on an ill-fated voyage that changed history. The tragedy brought World War I home to many Americans for the first time. Larson’s talk coincides with the centenary weekend of the end of World War I. It is held in partnership with the Regional campuses celebration of Heroes Week, honoring all veterans.

The talk is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged. RSVP online at

Thursday, Nov. 15: Hefner Lecture, “How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog)”

tame-fox7 p.m. 102 Benton Hall, Oxford

Tucked away in Siberia, there are furry, four-legged creatures with wagging tails and floppy ears that are as docile and friendly as any lapdog. But, despite appearances, these are not dogs—they are foxes. They are the result of the most astonishing experiment in breeding ever undertaken — imagine speeding up thousands of years of evolution into a few decades. In 1959, biologists Dmitri Belyaev and Lyudmila Trut set out to do just that, by starting with a few dozen silver foxes from fox farms in the USSR and attempting to recreate the evolution of wolves into dogs in real time in order to witness the process of domestication.

Evolutionary biologist and science historian Lee Dugatkin, co-author with Trut of How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian Tale of Jump-Started Evolution (2017), will present an upbeat lecture about this experiment that resulted in foxes that crave human companionship.

Dugatkin is professor and University Scholar of Biology at the University of Louisville. His talk is the annual Hefner Lecture sponsored by the Hefner Museum of Natural History and other campus departments. Refreshments and a tour of the Hefner museum follow the talk. 

Monday Nov. 19: Frisch Marionettes "Puppets  Kapow!" Family Performance Series

fresh-puppets7-8 p.m. Oxford Community Arts Center, 10 S. College Avenue, Oxford

This fast-paced and fun-filled show features fabulous puppets performing fantastic feats. “It is a puppet explosion of marionettes; hand puppets; shadow puppets; blacklight puppets; rod puppets: Puppets singing, dancing and performing tricks that will have you laughing and shouting for more,” according to producer and director Kevin Frisch of the Frisch Marionette company.

The company performs in the traditional styles of 19th-century European puppetry.  Drawing inspiration from the great European troupes such as the Salzburg Marionette Theatre, they endeavor to bring one of the great old world arts to young, contemporary imaginations.

The Oxford Community Arts Center Family Performance Series is sponsored by the Miami University Performing Arts Series.

Wednesday, Nov. 28:  Music and Movies with the MUSO

theramin7:30 p.m. Hall Auditorium, Oxford

The Miami University Symphony Orchestra, directed by Ricardo Averbach, partners with the film studies program in this movie-focused concert. The orchestra will premiere the composition ”Vocalise” by Yovcho Krushev while accompanying a new movie produced by film studies students.

Pianist Siok Lian Tan, associate professor of music, will be soloist for the “Spellbound Piano Concerto,” based on the soundtrack from Alfred Hitchcock’s “Spellbound,” for which the composer Miklós Rózsa won the Oscar.

A unique characteristic of movie music is the use of the “theremin,” an eerie electronic instrument that perfectly portrays the chills associated with movie thrillers (pictured at right with inventor Leon Theramin). Guest artist Rob Schwimmer, former co-director of the NY Theremin Society, will perform the theramin solo for the love scene from Hitchcock’s “Vertigo.”