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1950’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Music Revisited -CLOSED

Alan Freed, Rock ‘n’ Roll and doo-wop dominated the 50’s This musical style originated and evolved in the US during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s and quickly spread to much of the rest of the world. We revisit the music we grew up with and learned to love — Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Buddy Holly, Richie Valens, Frankie Lyman and the Teenagers, The Platters and, of course, Elvis, just to name a few. With the help of music videos, we journey back to the “days of great American music.” Come join the fun and sing along with us.

No syllabus

American Empire: Grand Republic to Corporate State, Part I

American Empire balloon

We trace the evolution of the United States, from its colonial roots to the lofty status of global power. From the American Revolution to World War I, this captivating transformation is be captured in a variety of ways. We discuss the quest for land prior to, and following, the Revolution, up to the Spanish-American War in 1898. Manifest Destiny, the real American pastime, began as an agenda of Continental expansion to become a program for globalism. We address other facets of the burgeoning corporate state—the demise of the Citizen-Soldier concept; the rise of Big Business; control of the nation’s money; the Confederacy as a revolution; the concept of American government, a Republic or a Democracy; the escalating industrialization of the Grand Republic vs the Working Class.

Syllabus: American Empire: Grand Republic to Corporate State, Part 1 Mark Albertson

Week 1: We the People

The founding of the Grand Republic. A spirited inquiry into the political, social and economic motives that galvanized a colonial people, spurring them to emerge from the shackles of subservience to the crown of the world’s ranking imperialist power to a status of citizenship in an independent nation founded upon the principles of the Age of Reason/Age of Enlightenment.

Week 2: America: A Democracy? A Republic?

Many Americans are under the mistaken impression that this Nation was founded on the principles of Democracy . . . By referencing such standouts in American contributions to political literature, the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, the Federalist, the Notes on the Debates at the Constitutional Convention and the writings of the Founding Fathers, it becomes crystal clear that this Nation was called the Grand Republic for a reason.

Week 3: Well Regulated Militia

Follows the growth of American military power. From the Citizen-Soldier concept of the Militia Act of 1792, through the inexorable progression which saw America cast aside one of its paramount concerns of some of the Founding Fathers: “That a large standing army poses a threat to the American Republic.”

Week 4: Bondage of Black Southerners

1619, 20 Blacks arrived in Jamestown. By 1775, hundreds of thousands of Blacks were toiling in the British colonies of North America. This session will explore the economics of Slavery; why the Black Man was chosen over the Red Man; the institutionalization of Slavery; the breeding of Slaves; and, the long term effects of this insidious institution that have left an inerasable stain in the American fabric.

Week 5: The Confederacy as a Revolution

The abomination of Slavery has been the poster child expression towards understanding the Civil War; certainly a shortsighted assessment despite the issue’s gut-wrenching significance. The factors of States’ Rights, the financial dominance of Northern banks, the overweening industrial superiority of the North coalesce to create a friction of discord, doubt and eventually succession by the states below the Mason-Dixon Line. Yet by 1862, the belief in a system of States’ Rights will succumb to the war-related measure of centralized control that will offer a glimpse into the future of the Grand Republic.

Week 6: The Rise of Big Business

Follows the evolution of Big Business from the 19th century to the end of World War I. Time will be spent on the Railroads; followed by the Telegraph Companies. Wall Street finance will be explored as will Worker-Management relations, as the American economy grows in sophistication and power by 1914. Included, too, will be the rudiments of the Military-Industrial Complex.

Week 7: Power of the Purse

Starting with the Currency Act of 1764 as a generator for revolution, the importance of the control of money will be the objective. How Alexander Hamilton alleviated colonial debt just after the Revolution. Concerns about the power of a Central Bank as evidenced by President Andrew Jackson dissolving the Bank of the United States. Session will chart the issue of the Nation’s money situation out to the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.

Week 8: Decisive Day: April 6, 1917

Offers a panoramic view of America’s transformation to an empire, starting with the Louisiana Purchase to the Declaration of War issued by Congress on April 6, 1917. Explains the rise of America from a continental to a global power, showcasing Manifest Destiny as an exercise in imperialism which helped to chart America’s stupendous growth. For on April 6, 1917—a day of greater significance than December 7, 1941 or September 11, 2001—is one of the most decisive days in not only American history, but in European and World history as well.


Art of Storytelling: Getting Your Story Straight

 How do you tell a story? A master storyteller teaches us the art of the story while offering various techniques to discover what makes a good story. How do you to discover the true journey that each story represents? How do you edit your story? How do you cultivate general skills for public speaking in general? We learn how to extract the true core of a story and the facilitator takes great pleasure in coaching storytellers. Join us to present your stories for practice and critique.


Syllabus: The Art of Storytelling, John O’Hern

Week 1: Short discussion on the art of storytelling, examples of well-told stories

Week 2-8: Students will bring in stories to class and present them  

Battles that Shaped America: From Quebec to Tet

It has been said that the United States is a nation made by war.  This course tests that thesis by examining several of the key battles in American history.  Among those will be the Battle of Quebec, the Alamo, the Battle of the Wilderness, Custer’s Last Stand, the struggle for Western Europe in 1944-1945, the dropping of the Atomic Bomb and the Tet Offensive.  Each session makes use of film clips, discussion and lecture.

Paul Gettler earned degrees from NYU and the CUNY Graduate Center.  His interests focus on how film can be used to teach history and politics. He has taught in a number of continuing and adult education programs.


Battles that Shaped America: From Quebec to Tet, Paul Gettler

Week 1: Quebec and Saratoga
Week 2: New Orleans, the Alamo and San Jacinto
Week 3: The Overland Campaign, Sherman’s March and Little Big Horn
Week 4: San Juan Hill; Summer /Fall 1918
Week 5: D-Day and the Battle for Normandy
Week 6: The Atomic Bomb; Tet

Best of the Best – Plays on Broadway

Eight of the best plays drawn from previous classes covering outstanding drama on Broadway. Most plays to be discussed are under 100 pages in length.

The Glass Menagerie, Tennessee Williams. This highly personal, explicitly autobiographical play earned Williams fame, fortune and critical respect, marking a run that would last for ten years.

Doubt, John Patrick Shanley. A rigid Catholic nun who serves as principal of a 1960’s Bronx parochial school accuses a priest of molesting a black student in this Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play.

Glengarry Glen Rose, David Mamet. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, a scalding comedy about small-time, cutthroat real estate salesmen trying to grind out a living by pushing plots of land on reluctant buyers.

Fences, August Wilson. A spirit of the 60’s is changing the world and Troy Maxson is becoming a stranger, angry and afraid in a place he never knew and to a wife and son he understands less and less.

Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller. Willy Loman is recognized as a major American tragic character since the play’s 1949 debut.

Our Town, Thornton Wilder. The 1938 Pulitzer Prize winner dramatizes life in Grover’s Corners, a community that represents all of life.

Twelve Angry Men, Reginald Rose. This landmark play presents a conflicted jury that was initially a 1954 television production and went on to become a movie masterpiece starring Henry Fonda.

Brighton Beach Memoirs, Neil Simon. Eugene Jerome and his family fight hard times and sometimes one another in Depression-era Brooklyn.

Collage and Beyond

What is collage? How do you combine images, decorative papers and art materials to create this fascinating artwork? We learn elements of design and composition theories and how drawing and painting are integrated with collage.  Demonstrations and individual attention are given to each student. No experience necessary – just a willingness to try! Class size is limited.

Materials: archival glue stick, mat medium, decorative collage papers of the student’s choice (newspaper, magazines, colored or wrapping paper, tracing paper); scissors, pencils, any kind of paint and heavy weight paper or canvas. Photographs of other inspirational artwork can be used and transferring techniques are explained as well.  


Current Affairs (Section 2/Thursdays)

Framed by the week’s trending news, this course relies on rigorous yet respectful debate to enhance our understanding of divergent viewpoints in the reporting of current events. Discussions address politics, sex, religion and their effects on contemporary culture – issues that give life depth and meaning.  We focus on developing critical reasoning skills by examining the pre-conceived biases that affect our personal objectivity.


Current Affairs Wednesdays ROOM W208 -CLOSED

Current Affairs (Section 1/Wednesdays)
Please note, the room has been changed to W208

Framed by the week’s trending news, this course relies on rigorous yet respectful debate to enhance our understanding of divergent viewpoints in the reporting of current events. Discussions address politics, sex, religion and their effects on contemporary culture – issues that give life depth and meaning.  We focus on developing critical reasoning skills by examining the pre-conceived biases that affect our personal objectivity.


Drawing Flowers -CLOSED

We examine a different flower each week, looking closely at the parts and finding out which characteristics make it unique. Then we draw them in pencil with emphasis on accuracy and form. The facilitator supplies flowers and gives a short lecture on botany. For returning students, please note new types of flowers are discussed. We learn how to create form by shading, using a single light source. 

Bring to class: sketchbook (Hotpress), a range of pencils 2H-2B, kneaded eraser and a bud vase or small jar to hold flowers.

Syllabus: Drawing Flowers, Dick Rauh

Each week I will bring in a flower for each student. An attempt will be made not to repeat the flowers drawn in the previous terms class.

Week 1: We will do a number of exercises to get to understand the differences in the hardness and softness of the various pencils, both in line and tone. Then I will give a short lecture on the botany behind each flower and do a dissection to show the various parts. The rest of the section will be devoted to drawing. I will give a demonstration, then follow through with time with each student as they do their own work.

Week 2: The complexity of the flowers chosen will depend largely on the ability of the students, but I would prefer us to draw a lily I f possible, or a flower in the lily family.

Week 3: We will draw Iris or another spring flower

Week 4: We will draw an inflorescence, probably Snapdragon or Gladiolus 

Ecopsychology and Climate Change


How are we shaping the future of our planet? That question includes everyone, since the environmental challenges we are undergoing and their roots concern and affect us all. Beginning with Al Gore and his film Inconvenient Truth, which points to the risks of “global warming,” we examine the alarming increase in greenhouse gases. Since the Industrial Revolution the temperature of the atmosphere has been rising at an exponential rate, with implications on our current situation and the likely outcome for all species. We then review the outlook of the “new sciences” with their understanding of “chaos theory” and the “point of no return,” when everything has been irrevocably changed.  Finally, we discuss what must be done now so as to avert the inevitable disaster if no change is made.


Syllabus: Ecopsychology and Climate Change,  Dr. Fredrica Halligan

Week 1: Al Gore and Our Awakening             

Al Gore’s book and his dramatic film alerted Americans to what he labeled “An Inconvenient Truth.”  We could see then how the growth of greenhouse gases has gone off the chart in the past few decades, with no end in sight. Many began to realize that our situation is dire unless we change significantly.

Week 2: Cool It!  Are We Heading for Global Suicide?       

With the warming effect of greenhouse gases, the icebergs and glaciers are melting, which cause waters in the oceans to rise.  The polar bears and penguins will be the first species to die off, but many others will follow.  Humans will probably not all die, but many will starve and some will be washed away by storms such as hurricanes.  Earth quakes and tsunamis will take others.  Those who live on islands and in low-lying regions will be most at risk.  The poor will suffer most grievously.

Week 3: The Tipping Point: When Is It Too Late?

Chaos Theory is the name given to a new approach to physics, which includes such phenomena as the butterfly effect, fractals and (most importantly) the tipping point.  At that point a sudden shift occurs when everything changes; there is no turning back then; the change is irrevocable.

Week 4: Ecologically Troubled Times

We no longer call it simplistically “global warming.” Although the overall temperature of air and water is increasing and causing all the changes in our atmosphere, the local effects vary. Some areas are wetter than usual, while others experience droughts.  Some regions are warmer while others experience marked cold spells.  Undoubtedly, storms such as hurricanes are more frequent and more intense.  In the U.S. Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012 were very costly in terms of loss of life as well as property. In these troubled times, we must consider what can be done.  What must we do to avoid leaving our children and grandchildren with an unsolvable problem? As Pope Francis stated, “Doing nothing is not an option!”

Essentrics Movement Class -CLOSED

Essentrics is a dynamic, one hour, low impact weight-free fitness program that strengthens the muscles in the elongated position, quickly creating a long, lean and rebalanced body. The unique fluid movement of Essentrics tones and slenderizes the waist, thighs, arms and back, while improving posture, flexibility, agility and strength. Essentrics rapidly and safely conditions the full body so that it can be done daily, helping you feel energized, positive, healthy and strong.

A pre-participation medical screening form will be sent to all enrolled members and must be returned to our office at least one week in advance of the start date.

Please note: persons with a disease or condition that might result in health issues when engaging in low-level movement activity should not enroll in the course.



Essentrics Movement, June Bird

Essentrics is a dynamic workout, based on the theories of Miranda Esmonde-White, that simultaneously lengthen and strengthen every muscle in the body, resulting in greater joint mobility and lean, long muscles. This workout draws on the flowing movements of tai chi which create health and balance, strengthening theories behind ballet which create long, lean, flexible muscles and the healing principles of physiotherapy which create a pain free body. As a result of actively participating in Essentrics the student will acquire improved strength and flexibility, improved range of movement and improved posture.

Weeks 1—4: The student will learn how to engage their muscles and develop a better awareness toward the choreographed movements.

The student will learn how to utilize the Essentrics techniques such as: the positional techniques, joint movement and the neuromuscular techniques to provide them with the tools for improved body fitness.

Weeks 5—8: The student will select a reasonable single goal (either aesthetic, health or athletic) and learn how to improve or progress toward that goal.

Exceptional Women in American History -CLOSED

The exploits and contributions of some very exceptional women in American history challenged the male-dominated society. From Abigail Adams to the Seneca Falls Convention to present-day, we examine a number of these courageous inner-directed women and their struggles to be recognized as equal partners to their male counterparts. Some of these exceptional women are Lucy Stone, Sojourner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells. Emma Goldman, Margaret Sanger, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Eleanor Roosevelt, Daisy Bates, Joan Baez and Lena Horne. Men are encouraged to join as equal opportunity attendees.


Syllabus: Exceptional Women in American History, Elliot Kalner

Lucy Stone – A stone with a lot of gall
Sojourner Truth – Ain’t I a woman?
Elizabeth Cady Stanton/Susan B. Anthony – Let’s put it to a vote
Ida B. Wells – Just hanging around
Emma Goldman – No rules
Margaret Sanger – Speaking for her diaphragm
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn – She went into Labor
Daisy Bates – Then there were nine
Eleanor Roosevelt – Make my day
Joan Baez – Pax vobiscum
Lena Horne – Let’s toot Lena’s Horne

Exploring The Movie Soundtrack, ROOM E220 -CLOSED

It has been said that one doesn’t see a movie as much as feel a movie. We explore how and why this happens as we analyze epics, thrillers, documentaries, as well as sci-fi, blaxploitation, action and espionage movies.  Examples reviewed include footage from John Williams movies, and excerpts from Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, Citizen Kane, Vertigo, Psycho, High Society, West Side Story, Shaft, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Victory at Sea, Good Morning Viet Nam, Koyaanisqatsi, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and other selections.


Syllabus: Exploring the Movie Soundtrack, Joshua Berrett

Week 1: The ever versatile John Williams
Week 2: Max Steiner and the European sensibility
Week 3: Bernard Herrmann, Alfred Hitchcock and the thriller
Week 4: The blaxploitation movie
Week 5: Stanley Kubrick, sci-fi and the predetermined musical score
Week 6: Music and the documentary; war and ecological crisis
Week 7: Louis Armstrong and High Society
Week 8: Tan Dun, Yo-Yo Ma, Ang Lee, and re-defining the action movie

      8 sessions starting Wednesday, March 15 at 1:10 PM

FDR and the New Deal: The Birth of Modern American Politics

Born out of the economic crisis of the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal ushered in a new era of federal initiatives intended to stabilize the economy and improve social welfare. It was during this time that the proverbial American debate over larger vs. smaller government was born. Although many New Deal initiatives survive to this day, the Supreme Court ruled some, such as the National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) unconstitutional. We explore the content, conflicts and legacy of the New Deal and how it serves as a useful primer for any student of contemporary American politics.

Syllabus: FDR and the New Deal: The Birth of Modern American Politics,  Art Gottlieb

Week 1: The Legacy of Herbert Hoover
Week 2: The Stock Market Crash of 1929
Week 3: The Great Depression
Week 4: FDR and the Brain Trust
Week 5: New Deal Programs Part 1
Week 6: New Deal Programs Part 2
Week 7: New Deal Programs Part 3
Week 8: Constitutional Challenges and Packing of the Supreme Court            

Genealogy & Computers 1: Beginners

Genealogy & Computers I: Beginners

The course is for genealogy novices who need instruction on using computer software and the Internet. We cover the fundamentals of genealogy, including lessons in documentary evidence, family history research methodology, and the Genealogical Proof Standard. Students are introduced to the types of documents and the sources used most frequently by genealogists: census records; birth, marriage and death records; immigration records; naturalization and military records, city directories and newspapers. There is also instruction on computer basics, including Internet browsers, search engines and security; Hot keys; Windows; uploading and downloading; external devices; and saving and organizing one’s work. While taking the course, students are encouraged to go to their local public library and take advantage of the services provided by the research librarians.


Genealogy & Computers I: Beginners, Janine Bjork  

Week 1: Introductions; Goals for the course; Introduction to Genealogy

Week 2: Documentary evidence; what’s in a name; The U.S. Census

Week 3: The U.S. Census continued; State censuses; Foreign country censuses

Week 4: Vital records; Birth, Marriage and Death

Week 5: Religious records; Cemetery records;

Week 6: Immigration and Naturalization records

Week 7: Military records

Week 8: Online newspaper resources

Genealogy & Computers 2: Advanced Beginners

 Genealogy & Computers 2: Advanced Beginners

The course is for those who have significant experience with computer software and the Internet but who are new to genealogy. Students learn the fundamentals of genealogy, including lessons in documentary evidence, family history research methodology, and the Genealogical Proof Standard. They are also introduced to the types of documents and the sources used most frequently by genealogists: census records; birth, marriage and death records; immigration records; naturalization records, military records, city directories and newspapers. While homework is optional, it is highly recommended.


Genealogy & Computers II: Advanced Beginners, Janeen Bjork

Week 1: Introductions; Goals for the course; Introduction to Genealogy

Week 2: Documentary evidence; what’s in a name; The U.S. Census

Week 3: The U.S. Census continued; State censuses; Foreign country censuses

Week 4: Vital records; Birth, Marriage and Death

Week 5: Religious records; Cemetery records;

Week 6: Immigration and Naturalization records

Week 7: Military records

Week 8: Online newspaper resources

Genealogy & Computers 3: Intermediate/Advanced

Genealogy & Computers 3: Intermediate/Advanced

The course is for those who have at least six months experience using the Internet for genealogy. At the beginning of each class, introductions to and instructions about new genealogy websites and new features of popular existing websites followed by independent lab time. The facilitator circulates during the lab time, answering questions, making suggestions and offering guidance to individuals and to the group. While homework is optional, it is, highly recommended.

Genealogy & Computers III: Intermediate/Advanced Janeen Bjork

Week 1: Introductions; Goals for the course; Getting more from*
 *Significant parts of this site require a subscription or access through a local library

Week 2: Getting more from

Week 3: Getting more from

Week 4: Getting more from*

Week 5: Getting more from the U.S. National Archives

Week 6: Getting more from

Week 7: Getting more from your DNA test results

Week 8: Getting more from online newspapers   

Great American Songs & Stories

In a classroom setting with a piano keyboard, Dr. Joe reviews and creatively plays the music of the 1950’s Great American Songbook. He discusses the clever lyrics and plays Frank Loesser’s wonderful music from Guys & Dolls which includes Luck Be a Lady, I’ve Never Been in Love Before, If I were a Bell and more. The 1950’s was a big era for Broadway shows, especially Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I which introduced many favorites like Getting to Know You, Hello Young Lovers, I Have Dreamed, I Whistle a Happy Tune, Shall We Dance, etc. Dr. Joe discusses these and many other songs along with behind-the-scenes stories.

GAS Utterback    

Healthy Relationships: Personal, Professional and Platonic

In a friendly atmosphere conducive to a lively discussion, participants are able to explore what makes for healthy relationships, personal professional and platonic. We discuss the age-old question: Can men and women be friends? Individuals are encouraged to share what has worked for them and what changes are necessary for today’s society. Join us for an interactive discussion on healthy relationships.

Syllabus: Kenneth Ormand
Healthy Relationships: Personal, Professional and Platonic

Week: 1: Past and present criteria for healthy personal relationships.

Week 2: Can men and women be friends and what are your expectations for a personal, platonic, and work relationship

Week 3:  Can workplace relationships develop into a more serious one, and if so, what are the possible consequences?

Week 4: How does the sum total of our relationship experience affect or influence our current relationships?

Week 5: How are the dynamics of interpersonal relationships affected and influenced by the attitudes from our upbringing?

Week 6: When people age, our priorities about personal, professional and platonic relationships change

Week 7: What are the ever-lasting criteria that sustain personal and platonic relationships?

How Teddy Roosevelt Won the Nobel Peace Prize

How Theodore Roosevelt, as President, demonstrated his unique mediation and diplomatic skills to end the Russo-Japanese War in 1905 is the subject of this little-known story. Revealing the work of a master diplomat – a peacemaking side of TR too often overlooked – this course describes how his unrelenting determination bridged the inflexible divide between Japan and Russia. Acclaimed worldwide, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his uncommon personal style of diplomacy of “speaking softly” rather than “carrying a big stick.”

It is recommended that students read the following book in advance: Ambassador for Peace: How Theodore Roosevelt Won the Nobel Peace Prize, by Stanley Wien.
Available for $18.95 at BooksaMillion.
Click here for the link  

Syllabus: Stan Wien
How Teddy Roosevelt Won the Nobel Peace Prize

Week One
General Overview of Book and Theodore Roosevelt. Introduction to the book, why it was written and a brief summary of TR’s life.  Review of the massive change taking place at the start of 20th Century.  How the Russo-Japanese War started and why TR felt it important to intercede.

Week Two
TR’s back channel team and why it was important to his success. How TR interjected himself into the peace process. Review of how he influenced Japan and Russia to agree to a peace conference.  Obstacles that were present and how TR overcame them. The importance of public opinion and the “citizen diplomacy” of the Portsmouth, NH business and social citizenry.

Week Three
The climax of the negotiations and how TR’s last-minute mediation efforts convinced the antagonists to sue for peace.  Accolades for TR’s efforts; and the downside impacts of the Portsmouth Peace Treaty.

Week Four
Controversy surrounding TR’s winning of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906. Intriguing similarities between Alfred Nobel and TR. TR’s impact on U.S. foreign policy and its on-going legacy today.

How to Reduce Stress in Your Life – Canceled

Stress is a killer, and even if it doesn’t kill you, it saps your life of energy, joy and years. All sources of stress cannot be eliminated but they can be controlled and minimized, using some easily learned strategies. Join us for instructive and participatory sessions as you identify your real sources of stress and learn how to reduce and possibly even eliminate some of them. Come and prolong your life.


Syllabus: Gilda Simkin
How to Reduce Stress in Your Life

1. What causes stress 
2. Outlook, attitudes and self-talk
Time as a stressor
People as a stressor
Problem-solving your other stressor
Creating a life strategy      

I Love to Read

Always New! Join six LLI members as they lead interesting and lively discussions of contemporary title and old classics.

March 13—Silas Marner by George Eliot, Michael Mugnolo facilitator

George Eliot transformed herself from a provincial girl of modest means into one of the preeminent intellectuals of the nineteenth century. This largely autobiographical novel examines the relationship of the individual to his community and faith in a rapidly changing England. Silas’s life is transformed when the gold locks of a foundling replace the gold he was hoarding to compensate for his loss of connection to the village that had shunned him.


March 20—Zoli by Colum McCann, Heather Hopkins facilitator

A novel of the life of a Romani woman that takes us into the world of the traveling Gypsies of Europe and tells us about their traditions. Exploring the persecution of the Roma during WWII and their lives under Communist totalitarianism, it is the story of a woman torn between her people and her creative spirit.


March 27—A Walk in the Sun by Harry Brown, Mark Albertson facilitator

Set in 1943 of World War II, this novel introduces us to a Texan infantry platoon which lands at Salerno. The objective is a farm house six miles from the beach. There is not much action; rather, it is a story about the interaction of the men as they get off the beach and begin their trek inland, accentuated by excellent dialogue. In other words, this is a soldier’s story.


April 3—Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbot, Angela Vicenzi facilitator

This masterpiece of science (and mathematical) fiction is a delightfully unique and highly entertaining satire that has charmed readers for more than 100 years. The work of English clergyman, educator and Shakespearean scholar Edwin A. Abbott (1838-1927), it describes the journey of A. Square, a mathematician and resident of two-dimensional Flatland, where women—thin and straight lined—are the lowest of shapes, while men may have any number of shapes, depending on their social status. Flatland is not only fascinating reading; it is still a first-rate introduction to the multiple dimensions of space.


April 10—Looking for Alaska by John Green, Dick Auwater facilitator

Miles Halter is fascinated by famous last words—and tired of his safe life at home. He leaves for boarding school to seek what the dying poet Francois called the “Great Perhaps.” Much awaits Miles at Culver Creek, including Alaska Young. Clever, funny and screwed-up, Alaska pulls Miles into her labyrinth and catapults him into the “Great Perhaps.” Green was awarded the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award for this novel. It is taught in many high school and college classrooms and has been published in over 30 languages.


 April 17—The Door by Magda Szabo, Miwako Ogasawa facilitator.

Magda Szabo, who died in 2007 at the age of ninety, was one of Hungary’s best known writers. Thanks to Len Rix’s prizewinning translation, The Door, one of modern Europe’s masterworks, has become available in English. It is a story about two very different women, a writer and her taciturn elderly housekeeper. Depicting their evolving relationship, Szabo writes with eerie fascination about class dynamics, female friendship and the power of will and, furthermore, the sufferings of 20th century Hungary. 

Iconic Israeli Leaders: Their Successes and Failures -CLOSED- Moved to Rm W220

Please note: this course meets on 3/13, 3/20, 3/27, 4/3, 4/10, and 4/24. It does not meet on 4/17.  

Covering Israeli leadership from the founding of the State to some of the more recent Prime Ministers is the subject of this intriguing story. We discuss their achievements and their failures and describe the backgrounds against which each of these men and women had to work in this most volatile region of the world.


Syllabus: Stan Gershman
Iconic Israeli Leaders

Week 1: David Ben-Gurion

Week 2: Menachem Begin

Week 3: Yitzhak Rabin

Week 4: Golda Meir

Week 5: Ariel Sharon

Week 6: Benjamin Netanyahu

Introduction to Pastel

Students discover the beautiful art of pastels. This is not mere chalk, but a beautiful, exciting and versatile medium of pure pigment in every color imaginable. Participants explore the various types of pastels, surfaces, application methods and under-painting techniques. An introduction to design, composition, color and values is given through hands-on demonstrations and observations. Experience in painting or an artistic background is not required—just a willingness to experiment, explore and be creative.

Life and Work of Marc Chagall: Focus On Jerusalem Windows CLOSED

Chagall mixes what he sees with dream images in combination with his life experiences. His life takes him from Russia to France and back, then onto America and back to France. His work spans many decades. We take a particular look at his Jerusalem Windows – the Tribes of Israel.  We come to understand his quote “Soul wanders between heaven and hell on the desert earth.” No previous knowledge of art is necessary. Come and be passionate with us to enjoy the very interactive exploration.


Syllabus: Darby Cartun,
Life and Work of Marc Chagall: Focus on Jerusalem Windows       

Week 1: Early Years and Influences 1887- 1922

Week 2: 1922-1985

Week 3: Russia France Russia/ France America France

Week 4: Theatre spaces and holy spaces — Chagall, Rothko

Week 5: Windows- Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah

Week 6: Windows-Zebulun, Issachar, Dan, Gad

Week 7: Windows- Asher, Naphtali, Joseph, Benjamin

Week 8: Wrap Up


Looking Back in American History: America’s Civil Rights Movement 1954-1968

Look back in history to revisit the civil rights era and the men and women whose extraordinary actions launched a movement that changed the fabric of American life. With the aid of award winning documentaries, slides and handouts, we examine the movement from 1952-1968: from Brown vs. Board of Education, through Little Rock, Freedom Riders, Sit-ins, Freedom Summer, Selma to Montgomery marches, and the March on Washington. We listen to the music of the movement and take a video tour of the new National Museum of African American History in Washington DC.

Please note, the correct dates for this class: 3/14, 3/21, 3/28, 4/4, 4/11, 4/18, 4/25 and 5/2.  
Class does not meet on 5/9.

No syllabus

Matisse & Picasso: An Artistic Conversation -CLOSED

Mat PICASSO Girl Before Mirror Matisse Les Capucines



Although these two artistic giants spend their careers sizing each other up and pursuing diverging artistic goals, their personal relationship was limited, the artistic level of their connection was sustained and limitlessly important to one another. There were profound affinities of motivation and attitude. Rivalries and curiosity about each other’s work and a need for the other’s approval abounded.


Syllabus: Darby Cartun
Matisse and Picasso: an Artistic Conversation        

Week 1: Biographies of Picasso and Matisse

Week 2: Early 1900’s Paris Influences and paintings

Week 3: Still Life

Week 4: Cubist Years

Week 5: Creative Copies

Week 6: Connection of the muralist to the architect

Week 7: Shared Themes

Week 8: Wrap Up – War Years and After


Pablo Picasso, Girl Before a Mirror, 1932 MoMA Museum of Modern Art, NY

Henri Matisse, Les Capucines (Nasturtiums with The Dance II), 1910–12, Pushkin Museum PD-US, httpsen.wikipedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=40686375

More Bad Girls: Witches in Fantasy and Fiction

Fly with us over the landscape via broomstick and figure out the fantasy with wands. Witches from all ages have personified female strength, which has turned over many a cauldron. Join us as we discover the twists and turns of witches in fantasy and fiction.


Syllabus, Dr. Elissa Kaplan
More Bad Girls: Witches in Fantasy and Fiction

Week 1: The Really Old Bad Girls

The Witch of Endor leaps off the pages of the Bible and Circe bewitches many men on an Odyssey

Week 2: Double Trouble

The Witches in Shakespeare’s Macbeth give us more than double trouble. Is double double quadruple the trouble?

Week 3: American Witches

From Massachusetts to Kansas, we see witch trials in Salem and flying monkeys in Oz. Looking for “good witches” among the bad girls.

Week 4: British Witches

What do Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis have in common? Is there more to witchcraft than tea leaves – or afternoon tea?

Week 5: Children’s Witches

Is Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola really able to control a town through pasta? What about Mrs. Which from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, who controls things through her light? Whether cooking or mysterious light is involved, supernatural powers gently abound.

Week 6: Non Traditional Witches

Serafina Pekkala from The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman and Morwen from The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede do not stay at home to stir the cauldron or do anything else conventional. They try save the world – each it their own way.

Politics Via Film: The Great Directors -CLOSED

Great film directors have used film to explore some of the most important political issues of our times. Directors to be discussed include Spielberg, Redford, Stone, Eastwood, and Coppola. Clips from their films will be used as the basis for discussion and analysis.


Syllabus: Paul Gettler
Politics Via Film: The Great Directors

Week 1: Steven Spielberg

Week 2: Robert Redford

Week 3: Clint Eastwood

Week 4: Oliver Stone

Week 5: Francis Ford Coppola

Week 6: Sidney Lumet

Pop Music 2: After “Rock Around the Clock” CANCELLED

This course has been cancelled, as per the facilitator.



Redirecting/Relaunching Your Career

Designed for people who wish to work beyond normal retirement age or change career direction after age 50.  Each class includes readings and work assignments for people striving to relaunch/redirect their careers. Participants are expected to work together in small groups.


Syllabus: Erick Rambusch
Redirecting Your Career

Exploring Your Options
Defining Your Target Market
Preparing Your Initial Resume
Networking and “Bracketing Your Niche”
Preparing Your On-Line Presence
Sustaining Your Campaign
Negotiating and Winning the Offer





Six Russian Operas – moved to Room W126

This is not a lecture course about opera. It is instead a total immersion experience, where we see extended selections from these operas on the best available videos. We view and listen to excerpts from six Russian operas that range from Tchaikovsky to Borodin to Glinka to Rimsky-Korsakov. No previous experience with opera is assumed.


Syllabus: David Shafer
Six Russian Operas 

Week 1:   Excerpts from Glinka’s opera A Life for the Tsar

Week 2:   Excerpts from Borodin’s opera Prince Igor

Week 3     Excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s opera Eugene Onegin

Week 4:   Excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s opera The Queen of Spades

Week 5:   Excerpts from Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Sadko

Week 6:   Excerpts from Glinka’s opera Ruslan and Lyudmila


Socratic Discussion Group of Important and Challenging Topics

Either one or two topics of both a practical and/or philosophical nature is discussed in each session. The facilitator provides initial short general background on each topic and then open a discussion period. The dialogue is expected to include both learned arguments and facts along with any pertinent information or anecdotes pertinent to the subjects. If any topics are controversial, the rules of civil discussion will be applied. 


Syllabus: Marvin Felsen
Socratic Discussion Group of Important and Challenging Topics

Session 1:

Theodore Roosevelt said, “This country will not be a good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a good place for all of us to live in.”  Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  What supports your opinion?  Do what we know about modern world history and living conditions throughout the world today reinforce or refute Roosevelt’s statement? A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.Do you agree with this statement?  Does changing our view of the world mean abandoning tried and true principles?  Should a person’s view of certain things never change?


Session 2:

Being informed; being educated, being intelligent…. What are the similarities; what are the differences? How is the world better off, or worse off, with the differences exhibited in the human population? Education in America. What works, what doesn’t work? What are our goals and how do we best achieve them? What is the role of Government in the education system of America?


Session 3:

Are wars and confrontations necessary to achieve peace between distinct groups and countries? Should we follow the Constitution to the letter or adhere to the spirit, which may be necessary because of a rapidly changing world.


Session 4:

Do you find that particular things, both serious and trivial, cause you to dwell on a situation? How can you deal with them constructively? Are wars and confrontations necessary to achieve peace between distinct groups and countries?”


Sessions 5-8 topics will be chosen by the class


Sustaining the Good: Processes of Progress, Decline and Recovery

 Sustaining the Good: Processes of Progress, Decline and Recovery

Realizing the Human Good seems to describe continuous social processes that seek after, construct, achieve and then often lose goods and services (the good) which enable human life and promote good living. Why is this so? What might be the causes in either human nature or human social living? Do human achievements have any permanence, or do they typically have a limited time span? How do we secure them, and make them continuously sustainable? We function as a group learning project in pursuing these questions. Looking at various narratives/case studies which involve both realization and loss of achievement, we try to discern the causes/ingredients both to progress, decline and recovery, including bias, resentment, conflict and resolution.


Syllabus: Rev. Dr. Don Thompson
Sustaining the Good; Processes of Progress, Decline, and Recovery


Overview: Brainstorming the issues, identifying our cognitional processes, looking at our resources, structuring the course.

Seeking the Good: Needs, Desires, Longing, Empathy and Sympathy, Social Animation and Organization, Politics.

Constructing the Good: Articulating, Promoting, Organizing, Cooperating, Personal and Social Decision-making.

Achieving the Good: Ordering, Involving, Including, Equating, Valuing, Accommodating, Delegating.

Losing the Good (decline): Complacency, Avoidance, Fear, Resentment, Contagion, Conflict, Despair

Recovering the Good: Conciliation, Forgiveness, Peace-making, Accepting, Sharing, Team-building.


The Great Patriotic War: Titanic Clash Between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union

The class embarks on a sojourn into history focusing on the greatest of all land wars: the titanic clash between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The Decision on the Eastern Front determined the course of the land campaign for all of World War II. This issue was not decided in the Pacific, North Africa, Sicily, Italy or France, even after the Normandy landings. In size and scope, there has been nothing like the Eastern Front, before or since; for this conflict pitted German against Russian; Nazi against Communist; Hitler against Stalin. And it is the latter which largely accounts for the cruelty with which this conflict was waged. The Eastern Front featured some of the most pivotal engagements of the Second World War—Kiev, Leningrad, Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk, Operation: BAGRATION and Berlin. At the conclusion of the course, the Eastern Front—a savage no-holds barred conflict which claimed upwards of 30,000,000 lives—will be better understood as the land war that broke the back of the Third Reich.

Great Patriotic Clash Nazi Great Patriotic Clash Soviet






The Great Patriotic War: Titanic Clash Between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union
Mark Albertson,

Week 1: Road to War
Traces the course of events leading up Hitler’s invasion of the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Includes the Versailles Treaty; rearmament of Germany; Stalin’s program of forced industrialization; Hitler’s ascension to power in 1933; Stalin’s purges of the 1930s; the Nazi-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, August 24, 1939; the dismemberment of Poland; the Winter War; Hitler’s invasion of Western Europe and the battle of Britain.

Week 2: 1941: BARBAROSSA
Hitler hurls 139 divisions—3.3 million men—against the Soviet Union. This session traces the first year of the conflict. Includes a comparison of the opposing forces; the importance of the Tank on the Russian Front; the battles of Minsk, Smolensk, Leningrad, Kiev, Vyazma, Bryansk and Moscow. Also analyses how the war in Europe became a global conflict.

Week 3: 1942: Year of Decision
The second year of Man’s greatest land war. Hitler launches his second summer offensive of the War in the East. Objectives? The Soviet oil fields in the Caucasus; the industrial region of the Donbas; the city of Stalingrad; and, destroy once and for all the Red Army. The resulting contest of attrition on the banks of the Volga is one of the pivotal battles of World War II.

Week 4: The Siege: Leningrad
From September 8, 1941 to January 27, 1944, the city founded by Peter the Great was cut off and besieged by Hitler’s armies. For almost 900 days, Leningraders endured the worst of the Nazis. The stirring epic of this heroic city stands as one of the greatest sagas of the 20th century. The price for this storied place in history cost the heroic defenders more lives than the combined war dead of Britain and America.

Week 5: 1943: Turning Point
On the heels of the great battle of Stalingrad, Hitler’s beleaguered forces are able to regroup and check the Red Army’s winter offensive. Thus the stage is set for the greatest air-land battle in the history of war—Kursk. Attention will be focused on this pivotal battle and its decisive affect on World War II.

Week 6: 1944: Steamroller
Examination of the inexorable Soviet advance towards the heart of the Third Reich. Highlights include Operation: BAGRATION, the greatest Allied land offensive thus far in the war; the Warsaw Uprising. And, how at this stage of the conflict, with regards to land forces, how Stalin’s Soviet Army is the world’s premier killing machine.

Week 7: 1945: Gotterdammerung
FDR, Churchill and Stalin at Yalta. The tragedy of Poland. The battle of Berlin and the fiery death of the Third Reich.

Week 8: Postscript
Potsdam. Stalin. The Soviet colossus. Soviet invasion of Manchuria and the Atomic Bombings of Japan. Evaluation of Lend-Lease to the Eastern Front. The beginnings of the Cold War. The strategic and historical significance of the Great Patriotic War.


The Military-Industrial Complex -CLOSED

We examine the evolution, from Levee en Masse during the Great French War to the present; that rationale for conscripting entire populations and economies for war.  Beginning with the end of the 18th century and the evolving Industrial Revolution, the idea of fighting wars with professional soldiers and volunteers had become outmoded. As nations modernized and grew more sophisticated, the waging of modern war was being accommodated and acclimated to this shifting posture of politics, economics and social structures.   Modern conventional war, as practiced during the Great French War, American Civil War, the global conflicts of the 20th century, all demonstrate a gravitation towards the modern Military-Industrial Complex.


Syllabus: Mark Albertson The Military-Industrial Complex

Week 1: Levee en Masse

With the Great French War—the French Revolutionary Wars, 1792-1802 and the Napoleonic Wars, 1803-1815—a fundamental shift was occurring in waging war. No longer was it possible to engage in conflict with only professional soldiers and volunteers. Conscription (hardly a new phenomenon) was of importance; organizing entire populations and economies to wage war. With the snowballing of the Industrial Revolution, more weapons could be produced; and with the evolution in technology feeding on itself, weapons of greater virulence were being fielded by opposing armies. Hence the greater harvest of humanity necessitated the conscription of more people to be fed into the charnel house of modern war, even, Total War.


Week 2: The Confederacy

The premise of States’ Rights was a hallmark of the Confederacy as a Revolution. But the Southern Aristocracy, with its Slave Economy and the credo of States’ Rights would be subsumed by the industrialization of the South. The effort in building a Military-Industrial Complex so as to be able to wage conventional war helped to undermine the Confederacy; as a government billed as having been the standard bearer of the Founding Fathers’ idea of an independent American Nation gives way to a centralized form of government built on waging war, a war which would see to the end of the Confederacy. The Confederacy would die in a losing effort of Total War.


Week 3: Manifest Destiny

As the Grand Republic spread across this great land, the foundations of the economic dynamo that will be America was being forged: The rise of Big Business; the New Steel Navy; the Spanish-American War; the Great White Fleet; Dollar Diplomacy; American Finance Capital; Federal Reserve Act, 1913.


Week 4: America in World War I

April 6, 1917, Congress issued the Declaration of War sought by President Woodrow Wilson four days before. In doing so, Congress codified the fact that America was now a Global Power. The significance of this phenomenon will be discussed; in conjunction with the decline of Britain and France as colonial powers.


Week 5: Stalin’s Revolution

Joseph Stalin and the rise of the Soviet Military-Industrial Complex. Understanding that the Versailles Treaty was hardly a firewall for prevention of another conflict, the unflappable Stalin would embark on a program of industrializing the Soviet Union. In 21 years, he will forge a backward peasant economy to become an industrial power and achieve the Atomic Bomb.


Week 6: Rudiments of the Corporate State

The fallacy of Versailles. Rebound of American Industry. American and Soviet Military-Industrial Complexes help win the war, 1939-1945. Demise of Britain and France and the rise of America as the determinant of the Western strategic-political-military agenda.


Week 7: NSA or National Security Act of 1947

The reorganization of the American military establishment to accommodate Superpower-hood and Empire. Consolidation of the Defense Industry. Korea. New Look Defense and Massive Retaliation. Flexible Response and Vietnam. Includes monetary facts and production figures; a handout of the structure of the National Security Act of 1947 will be provided for a better understanding of this post-1945 development.


Week 8: Empire of Reason

Permanence of the Military-Industrial Complex, affected as it was by the collapse of the Soviet monolith; the New Great Game—Corporate Resource Wars; 9/11; demise of the Grand Republic.


Watercolor: Beginners

Become a budding artist. Discover the joys and challenges of watercolor.   This course offers step-by-step guidance in techniques—brush strokes, color mixing and composition—that create realistic landscapes, seascapes and still life paintings.  Pre-created scenes are available for purchase. Do not purchase any art supplies until you receive a list at the first class.  If you already have supplies, bring them.  The instructor offers supplies for purchase. This course is limited in size.


Watercolor: Intermediate

If you are an intermediate-level watercolorist, here’s a chance to improve your technique. This course is a step-by-step guide to painting traditional landscapes, seascapes and still life. We cover these techniques: textures, perspectives, transparent washes, masking, planning and composition.  Bring paints (tubes preferred), a palette, your favorite brushes, watercolor paper and a water container to class.  Some pre-created scenes and supplies are available for purchase. This course is limited in size.


Who Ever Thought up Numbers and Why?

Numbers were invented. We study why they were needed and how they helped mathematics grow. First is “0,” then “1,” then “Pi,” then “Square Root,” and finally “i.” We begin back in ancient Egypt and end in the 20th century. You have a chance to see mathematics in a new light. No math background is needed.



Syllabus: Dr. Anne Peskin
Who Ever Thought Up Numbers, and Why?

Week 1: Why Zero Came About

Week 2: Why “1” Was Necessary

Week 3: How Pi Developed through the Ages

Week 4: Why Was It Necessary to invent the Square Root?

Week 5: “i” Takes Us to a New Dimension


Women and Power

Join us to focus on the sharing of power between women and men in society and the political, social and economic implications involved. Primary attention is on the US but may include women’s status globally with a look at historical figures and those in current high-ranking positions. We address specific benefits having women in positions of leadership while discussing the challenges impacting their rise to the top. Discussion topics are drawn from articles investigating ways some women face gender inequality. Students are encouraged to talk and envision how women can support women in the public and private sphere in a culture resistant to female power.


Syllabus: Patricia Spoor
Women and Power

Week 1: Introduction to class content, and lecture on historical background of women and power.

Week 2: Selected historical figures and their rise to power

Week 3: Hillary Clinton: power and leadership and social media target for sexism

Week 4: Social, Economic and Political benefits of women’s leadership

Week 5: Current analysis of women in power today

Week 6: Class reports

Week 7: Class reports

Week 8: Summary