Providing Lifelong Learning for over 30 years

Lifelong Learning Collaborative (LLC, formerly BCLIR) was established in 1984 as the Brown Community of Learning in Retirement, and has been an active educational model for lifelong learning for over three decades.  In May of 2008, we became an independent non-profit organization, an umbrella for continuing lifelong learning education in the Providence area. Most of our classes meet at Temple Beth-El.

Click to view/print Spring 2019 catalog (PDF).

Full course descriptions are available below.

Mondays
Concerts & Conversations (AM)
Knock, Knock! Who's There? A Course on Humor (AM)
Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the World (AM)
Hot Topics (PM)
Introduction to Street Photography (PM)

Tuesdays
Open Studio Art (AM)
The Modern World: Global History from 1760-1910 (AM)
On Writing A Memoir (AM)
Snapix (AM)
The Constitutional Convention: How It All Started (PM)
Building Science: Your Home and How It Works – And Doesn’t (PM)
Painting with Color (PM)
Scrabble Social Club (PM)

Wednesdays
Bioethical Quandaries at the Bedside, in the Community, and Around the Globe (AM)
Short Stories: Prize-Winning Writers Inspired by Paintings and Sculpture (AM)
Fascism and the Arts (AM)
Celebrating 50 Years of Gay Theater (PM)
Knitting: The Basics (PM)

Thursdays
Theatre Conversations 1 & 2 (AM)
Short Stories of Carver (AM)
Irish Films (PM)
The Silk Roads: Travels with an Ancient Chinese Monk and a Modern Archaeologist (PM)
Fiction Writing Critique Group (PM)
Mah Jongg Drop-In (PM)

Fridays
Mah Jongg (AM)

Course Descriptions

Monday mornings
RI Philharmonic Music School (667 Waterman Ave, E. Providence)
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 4-May 6 (Note earlier start time)
Fee: $60
Class size limit: 30

Concerts and Conversations
Coordinators: Bonnie Ryvicker, Linda Shamoon, Penney Stein

Join us for an exciting Spring concert season with the RI Philharmonic Orchestra. We will hear perennial favorites like Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, Rossini’s William Tell Overture, and Beethoven’s Violin Concerto, as well as wonderful but less-frequently performed pieces by the great masters, like Dvorak’s Symphony #5 and Shostakovich’s Symphony #9, which the composer called “a joyful little piece.” We will preview pieces on the March, April and May programs of the RI Philharmonic, and we will gain an insider’s view of the Phil’s programing when members of the RI Phil or its Music School faculty visit our class. As a bonus, we will sample a few musical treats from the RI Chamber Music Concerts, such as a saxophone adaptation of a Mozart Serenade and a world-class performance of a Brahms piano quartet. Whatever your starting point – from first time listener to concert connoisseur – this class offers you an opportunity to deepen your knowledge, ask your questions and share your insights into classical concert music, in a non-threatening, friendly setting. Click here to read more about the class and the syllabus.

Format: Coordinators and class members work together to develop collaborative classes by listening to music together, attending the concerts being studied, and discussing concert performances. Presentations are encouraged; active participation in the class’s conversations about music is expected. Attendance at RI Philharmonic concerts is expected and is encouraged at the RI Chamber Concerts.

Resources/Expenses: YouTube video performances, the class website, talks by area conductors and music scholars, suggested readings, and on-line concert program guides. Discount tickets for each venue are available for course enrollees.

Coordinators: Linda Shamoon, Penney Stein, and Bonnie Ryvicker have an intense appreciation of classical music and enjoy sharing the pleasures of concert-going with others.

 

Monday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
8 weeks
Mar 11-May 6 (No class Apr 1)
Fee: $40
Class size limit: 22

Knock, Knock! Who’s There? A Course on Humor!
Coordinators: Maggie Miles, Nick Miles

Have you ever stopped to think about the power of humor, its timelessness and its importance in our lives? What make something funny? How do we develop our sense of humor? What are its social and physical benefits? In this course, we will explore these questions as well as humor’s role in literature and various print, performance and social media – everything from satire to slapstick to standup. So, take a break, relax and laugh while you learn.

Format: Members of the class will be asked to join in discussions, research, make presentations and lead class discussion on a range of humor-related topics as defined in the syllabus. We also expect one or more guest humorists to speak to the class.

Expenses: Expenses are not anticipated.

Coordinators: Maggie Miles retired from a career of teaching high school English. Nick Miles retired from a career in communication and marketing. Both have coordinated a number of other LLC courses.

 

Monday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
8 weeks
Apr 1-May 20 (Note late start)
Fee: $40
Class size limit: 20

Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the World
Coordinators: Marilyn Kaplan, Susan Norrie

As First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt often acted as FDR’s ambassador and surrogate but also found her own mission in fighting racism, white supremacy and Jim Crow in the United States. But it was after her husband’s death in 1945, when President Truman appointed her to the United States delegation for the first United Nations assembly in London, that she emerged as an independent leader, working on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and continuing her civil rights and humanitarian work. We will examine the life and accomplishments of this extraordinary woman.

Format: The first two classes will be spent reviewing Eleanor’s formative years. For the following six weeks, class members will present material and lead discussions on Eleanor’s life and accomplishments from 1939 until her death in 1962.

Resources/Expenses: Participants may choose to read any or all of the following books: Blanche Wiesen Cook, Eleanor Roosevelt: The War Years and After 1939-1962; Joseph P. Lash, Eleanor: The Years Alone; Doris Kearns Goodwin, No Ordinary Time. All are available at local libraries or online used for under $5.00.

Coordinators: Marilyn Kaplan has Masters degrees in teaching and history and has coordinated several LLC courses. Susan Norrie relocated to Rhode Island from the Gulf Coast of Alabama six years ago and has been enjoying LLC courses since that time. Coordinating a course is a new experience and she looks forward to sharing and learning together.

 

Monday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 11-May 13
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

Hot Topics
Coordinators: George Champlin, Ed Mehlman

Do you enjoy talking with others about news of the day, hearing what they think is important, and why? If so, you’ll enjoy Hot Topics. We expect probing and exciting sessions that look at current items in the news. Members of the class take turns selecting a hot topic of the week – one that will stir discussion – and presenting key material to the class. The person presenting the topic gets things rolling with a few questions to stimulate discussion. Don’t be surprised if at times the discussions become intense and controversial. Class members should plan to read the Providence Journal and either The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal – or both – along with other news sources they might want to look into. Any medium will do, paper or electronic, if the topics are timely, and hot.

Format: Each week two members of the group will choose one article on current hot topics. After briefly presenting these to the group, they will pose the questions and lead the discussion. The coordinators will act as moderators of the session and help ensure that all viewpoints are heard.

Resources/Expenses: Participants will need access to Internet and will share articles drawn from newspapers, journals, magazines, and/or news releases with the group by email. No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: George Champlin and Ed Mehlman have coordinated this very popular course in prior semesters.

 

Monday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
7 weeks
Mar 11-Apr 22
Fee: $35
Class size limit: 11

Introduction to Street Photography
Coordinator: Tom Backman

Street photography is a pictorial study of the human condition that surrounds us. The participant will choose to present their unique view of their world in a creative way. This course will attempt to increase member skills to take photos of people interacting in their environment that are emotionally compelling and convey a pictorial story. This is a concentrated experiential course for people who are familiar with the operations of their camera as well as the elements of composition. It will begin with having the participant take photos within their comfort zone and gradually expand that zone to areas that feel more challenging.

Format: The course will cover the laws on photographing in public, the works of select street photography masters, street photography techniques and camera settings, going on shooting assignments, presenting photos and shooting experiences to class for discussion, and creating a photo story idea.

Expenses: No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinator: Tom Backman has been avid amateur photographer for over 25 years. He has been a coordinator of Snapix, and currently is a volunteer photographer for WaterFire. He has studied street photography under the Magnum photographer Constantine Manos on Cape Cod.

 

Tuesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
9:30 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 12-May 14
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 12

Open Studio Art
Coordinator: Kathy Webster

Are you an artist (or budding artist) who enjoys working in the company of other artists and wants to keep in form over the cold winter months? Please join us for an informal meeting of artists who will pursue the paper/canvas medium of their choice using acrylics, oils, watercolor, pastel or drawing independently. There will be no instruction, just camaraderie and informal sharing by all.

Note: This class will be held in the Temple craft room which is upstairs above the offices, with no elevator access.

Resources/Expenses: There will be water and trash available in the room, and ample lighting. It is suggested you bring a small tabletop easel if desired. No expenses required other than supplies you want to use.

Coordinator: Kathy Webster is a summer Plein Air painter since joining LLC. Kathy has co-coordinated many LLC courses.

 

Tuesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
9 weeks
Mar 12-May 7
Fee: $45
Class size limit: 18

The Modern World: Global History from 1760-1910
Coordinator: David Gagnon

The world was transformed between 1760 and 1910. How did these changes come about? This course will examine the cultural, political and economic themes that resulted in the 20th century world. Making use of an online course (Coursera) developed by the University of Virginia and conducted by Professor Philip Zelikow, we will follow the online topics as presented.

Format: Students will sign up for the online course (which is free) and review videos, of approximately one hour in length, on each subject area. Participants will be assigned two different Wikipedia topics to research and present for 10-15 minutes at two different classes. Discussion will focus on these topics and the Coursera presentation. Active class discussion and interaction is encouraged.

Resources/Expenses: The online course is free and there are no additional expenses.

Coordinator: David Gagnon has coordinated several LLC courses. His undergraduate degree was in history. He remained a history buff, while his professional life was in health care administration and international consultation.

 

Tuesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 12-May 14
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 13

On Writing A Memoir
Coordinator: Sheila K Lawrence

If your head is filled with memories bursting to be set free and passed down to children and grandchildren of what life was like in youth, young adulthood, mid-life and beyond, then this is the class for you. Through classroom exercises and homework assignments, we will craft our memories into memoirs. By the end of the Spring session, you will be able to complete ten separate essays that will be a lasting book of memories – The History of You. This class is appropriate for writers and novices. No previous writing experience is needed, only the desire to write is required.

Format: Members are expected to participate fully in writing assignments, critiques and classroom discussions.

Resources/Expenses: Memoirs, handouts, reading materials and websites will be suggested on an on-going basis. Members must have writing materials and/or laptop for classwork. No expenses anticipated.

Coordinator: A former journalist, Sheila K Lawrence is the author of A Leap of Faith – A History of Sophia Academy: 2004-2014. She has coordinated many LLC courses, including fiction and memoir writing workshops.

 

Tuesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:30 PM (Note extended class time)
10 weeks
Mar 5 optional "bootcamp"
Mar 12-May 14
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 18

Snapix
Coordinators: Tom Amsterburg, Sally Barker, Donna Parker

This is an interactive photography course that will focus on basic camera settings and correct exposure, composition and lighting, common photography mistakes, pre-visualizing, “working” the scene, and shooting creatively. We will also demonstrate the use of photo editing software and related post-production techniques, including creating black and white images from your color photos. The course is open to photography enthusiasts of all levels. The only requirement is that you have a digital camera, have a basic understanding of its operation, and a willingness to learn and try new things. Note: Content will be similar to the Fall 2018 Snapix class but with more emphasis on understanding camera settings, more time for students to practice in class, and a greater focus on editing and post-processing photos. Photo shoots will be in different locations.  There will be an optional camera “bootcamp” session Tuesday, March 5 at 10 AM at Temple Beth-El to help people with some camera basics.

Format: Participants will be given weekly homework assignments consisting of readings, YouTube videos, and individual photo shoots with photo submissions to the class for discussion. Classroom format will consist of discussing the participants’ submitted photos, demonstration of different photography topics, and periodic group photo shoots, which could possibly be on different days and times.

Resources/Expenses: There will be no required expenses for this course. It is possible that a photo shoot will require an entrance fee such as to the zoo or another photo shoot location. However, this will be discussed and agreed to in class.

Coordinators: Tom Amsterburg is an avid amateur photographer and a member of the Stonybrook Camera Club and the Greater Boston Night Photographers. He is currently interested in landscape, nature, and night photography. Sally Barker taught in Textiles and Freshman Foundation at RISD for decades but has always used photography as part of her “sketchbook” practice. Fleeting traces of light have been a long-standing focus, and birds are a more recent subject. Donna Parker has been a photographer for many years and is a member of the Art League of Rhode Island and the Stonybrook Camera Club. She enjoys all types of photography, particularly flowers and landscapes, as well as black and white photography.

 

Tuesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
8 weeks
Apr 2-May 21 (Note late start)
Fee: $40
Class size limit: 20

The Constitutional Convention: How It All Started
Coordinators: Kevin Culley, Robert Lev

How we elect our Presidents, choose our Senators, get into wars – it all started when 55 men sat down through the summer of 1787 to create “a more perfect union”– and invented a completely new form of government. If you are still scratching your head about the Electoral College, or the unbalanced representation in the senate, or about presidential powers you may want to join us for a revisit to Philadelphia and take a close look at the likes of James Madison, Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton. We will focus on a number of topics including: the pros and cons of having a Supreme Court, two houses of the legislature, a single person in charge of the executive branch and the Electoral College. More flashpoint topics include issues around slavery, impeachment and how to handle “insurrections” in and between states.

Format: Each week two class participants will present a topic and lead the discussion, with assistance from the coordinator. The presenter will focus on a single subject of the convention’s debates, identify the main players on that subject and explain the reasoning behind the final product.

Resources/Expenses: Miracle at Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May – September 1787 by Catherine D. Bowen is available in paperback at Amazon for $13.95. Used copies are available from $2.99. Other suggested resources are 1787: The Grand Convention by Clinton Rossiter; The Framers’ Coup: The Making of the United States Constitution, Michael J. Klarman; Plain, Honest Men: The Making of the American Constitution; Richard Beeman and Yale University’s Avalon Project: Madison’s Debates which can be found online at no cost.

Coordinators: Kevin Culley is a retired fire officer from New York City who is currently a part-time teacher at the National Fire Academy on FEMA’s campus in Maryland. He is a life-long student of the sciences, history and the law with an undergraduate degree in chemistry and a law degree. Robert Lev is a retired pathologist.

 

 

Tuesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 12-May 14
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

Building Science: Your Home and How It Works (And Doesn’t)
Coordinator: Bob Opaluch

Do you own or rent a house, condo or apartment? Are you thinking of remodeling, improving the comfort of your house, or making it safer or more energy efficient? Or do you just want to understand how it all works? Then this course is for you. Learn what makes your home tick and view it anew. Most of us know little about the science, engineering, building materials and practices used to design, build and maintain a home. Specific course topics may include structural integrity, heat loss, solar heat gain, water and water vapor management, resistance to hurricanes and earthquakes and fires, indoor air quality, soundproofing, plumbing and electrical hazards, pest control, and sustainable materials and practices. Understand better cold winter drafts, why some wood rots, how mold can accumulate, and how to improve your indoor air quality.

Format: Participants will be encouraged to give a presentation on a topic of interest, design a home improvement project, or address a problem in their own home which incorporates course material.

Resources/Expenses: A list of resources will be provided to registrants. Expenses are not anticipated.

Coordinator: Bob Opaluch is an educator, house renovator, designer and builder of a passive solar home in Boulder, CO. He has led an LLC course in Sustainable Architecture and published on the subject.

 

Tuesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
6 weeks
Mar 12-Apr 16
Fee: $30
Class size limit: 11

Painting with Color
Coordinators: Patricia Bisshopp, Mary Snowden

Improve your painting! This is a class that will focus on a variety of issues concerning color in painting: the best way to mix color, how to get back to a color you have already used, limited palettes, the use of color with light and shadow. This is a repeat of last year’s course.

Note: The painting room is on the second floor, so it will entail climbing stairs, as there is no elevator.

Format: The class is limited to the use of oils or acrylic paints. We will work from still life and photographs of your choosing. This is a class for both beginners and those with more experience.

Resources/Expenses: Supply list will be sent out before class begins.

Coordinators: Mary Snowden, a retired Professor of Painting, has coordinated many courses on art for LLC. Patricia Bisshopp is an avid reader of history and coordinated a course on women explorers.

 

Tuesday late afternoons
Temple Beth-El
3:30-5:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 12-May 14
There is no fee for this course, but you must be a member of LLC.
Registration is not required.
Just drop in and play.

Scrabble Social Club
Coordinators: Pete DuPont, Bob Goodwin

Do drop in any Tuesday by 3:30 for a friendly game or two of Scrabble. All levels welcome, including any who have never played before. No fee, no sign up, just show up. Hopefully, you’ll become a regular. We generally have three to five games in play and there is room for more. Cathy will be on hand for documentation and rule clarification. Sheila will create our groups of threes and twos each week and we shall see if Pete will continue to hold onto his distinction as our Scrabble Icon. Then join us afterwards, if you wish, for supper at a local restaurant. We may touch on many interesting topics or just relax and unwind in a convivial group. Game boards provided.

Coordinators: Bob Goodwin is a long-time LLC coordinator who relishes bringing people together informally. Pete DuPont is a more recent member of LLC. He and Bob have also collaborated on group hikes with LLC friends and others.

 

Wednesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 13-May 15
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

Bioethical Quandaries at the Bedside, in the Community, and Around the Globe
Coordinators: Ruth Levy Guyer, Frank Schaberg

Bioethical issues, from the personal to the communal to the global, confront us regularly. Advances in science (for example, genetics), medical care (for example, end-of-life issues), and industrial practices (for example, water and air pollution) prompt us to sober deliberations about how to protect individual autonomy, distribute scarce and expensive resources equitably, and save the planet. What should we do when these conundrums present themselves? Who decides? And how do we assure justice? This course will focus on major concerns in these three broad and vexing areas. We will apply basic ethical principles and use case studies in our analyses and deliberations.

Format: Participants should come prepared to discuss assigned materials. They will be encouraged to do half-hour presentations on a syllabus topic of their own choosing.

Resources/Expenses: There is no text and there are no anticipated expenses. The coordinators will distribute handouts in class.

Coordinators: Frank Schaberg is a retired surgeon. During his 40-year career, he frequently helped patients and their families make difficult health care decisions, dealing with serious illness, surgical risks and benefits, and end of life care. He has coordinated several LLC courses, including Moral Reasoning. Ruth Levy Guyer taught courses in medical ethics and bioethics at Haverford College, and in the graduate writing program at Johns Hopkins University. She is co-director of the Arts & Ethics in Palliative Care program at Brown’s Alpert Medical School, and is a member of the Miriam Hospital ethics committee.

 

Wednesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
8 weeks
Mar 27-May 15 (Note late start)
Fee: $40
Class size limit: 30

Short Stories: Prize-Winning Writers Inspired by Paintings and Sculpture
Coordinators: Celene Healy, Nondas Hurst Voll, Mary Welch

The text Alive in Shape and Color, gathers 17 superbly crafted short stories. Author and editor Lawrence Block put together an A-list of writers, such as Lee Child, Joyce Carol Oates, and Gail Levin with whom visual art deeply resonates. The resultant stories are in various genres inspired by cave paintings of Lascaux, sculptures by Michelangelo and Rodin, oil paintings by Dali, Renoir, O’Keeffe and more. Each is introduced by a copy of the specific work of art as well as a description of the author.

Format: Participants will read selected stories and lead, if interested, a discussion of their chosen story. Presentations are not required, although encouraged along with active participation in class discussions.

Resources/Expenses: Alive in Shape and Color, edited by Lawrence Block, is available in hardcover at your local library, book store or at Amazon used for $2.88 and up. No other expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: Celene Healy, a retired Middle School English teacher, has coordinated several courses in short stories and museums. Nondas Hurst Voll, also a former English teacher, has coordinated classes in theatre, criminal justice, museums, and short stories. Mary Welch, a long-time RISD Museum docent, spent many years in the public relations field before retiring. Art, theater, gardening and reading are among her favorite things.

 

Wednesday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 13-May 15
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 21

Fascism and the Arts
Coordinator: Duncan Smith

The arts of the Third Reich during the German experience of Fascism after 1933 were intended to demonstrate the superiority of Nazi era cultural production. We will review how it all happened in the “country of poets and thinkers” and compare the situation in Germany and elsewhere with what is happening today. We will explore fascism’s most recent history by looking at the productions of the arts in those countries where authoritarianism had become encouraged instead of despised or even just tolerated. Why does fascism continue to fascinate?

Format: Participants will be expected to present a report on a topic in visual arts, music, theater, film, literature, or architecture in Nazi Germany, or in the decades since the end of the war – in Germany or elsewhere in the world.

Resources/Expenses: The coordinator will assign/suggest online articles, book chapters, and videos. Participants must be comfortable with accessing websites, reading online material, and using YouTube. The syllabus will be available as the Spring term approaches, and it will include recommended topics for presentations. The only expenses anticipated would be the rental of a film to use for research or to augment your presentation.

Coordinator: Duncan Smith is a professor emeritus of German and media studies at Brown University, and he has been a frequent visitor to Germany (including the former East Germany). He is also the author of Walls and Mirrors, a book on the German Democratic Republic.

 

Wednesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 27-May 29 (Note late start/end)
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 30

Celebrating 50 Years of Gay Theater
Coordinators: Pat Moriarty, Arthur Richter, Pam Romano

Would you believe that in the last 50 years (just since 1968) almost 100 plays and musicals with gay themes have been presented on and off Broadway? Join us as we read, watch and discuss many of these iconic productions. We will explore such topics as: homosexuality, lesbians, coming out, transgender issues, transvestites, politics, sexual identity, AIDS and homophobia.

Format: Class members will individually watch videos on YouTube, Amazon Prime, Netflix or on DVD’s from the local library. Guest speakers will join us to discuss some of the plays. We will encourage collaborative presentations where members of the class will lead discussions of the various plays and their themes. We look forward to lively, interesting class conversations.

Resources/Expenses: Resources will be provided and some costs will be associated with viewing the plays. We will take a class trip to the Wilbury Theatre to see the New England Regional Premier of Fun Home. Admission cost will be $15.00.

Coordinators: Pat Moriarty, Arthur Richter, Pam Romano have created and coordinated classes such as Making A Difference, Made In Rhode Island and The Wonderful World of Marc Chagall.

 

Wednesday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
7 weeks
Apr 3-May 15
Fee: $35
Class size limit: 9

Knitting: The Basics
Coordinator: Doris Briggs

Do you want to learn to knit or brush up on skills? In this class, you will learn the two knitting foundation stitches KNIT and PURL, how to cast on and bind off stitches and to finish your project. You will learn the language of knitting – what it all means, as well as how to read a simple knitting pattern.

Format: In this class, each participant will produce a simple scarf with both purl and knit stitches. The relaxed environment allows for interaction among participants.

Resources/Expenses: Coordinator will provide copies of the knitting pattern. You will purchase your own yarn and needles, details will be provided.

Coordinator: Doris Briggs is a happily retired Registered Nurse who has been knitting for many years. Her interests include knitting samples for a yarn shop, spinning fiber, weaving, wine making, volunteering with WaterFire as a boat captain and learning new things.

 

Thursday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 14-May 16 (First play Mar 13)
Fee: $70
Section 1 Class size limit: 30
Section 2 Class size limit: 23

Theatre Conversations 1 and 2
Section 1 Coordinators: Kathy Webster, Mike Webster
Section 2 Coordinators: Maggie Miles, Nick Miles

Join our popular Theater Conversations course, a successful collaboration with Trinity Repertory Company and the Gamm Theatre. We will feature two plays at Trinity (The Song of Summer by Lauren Yee and Little Shop of Horrors by Howard Ashman), and one at the Gamm (True West by Sam Shepard), all of which we will attend as a group. We will also independently attend East of Eden (based on the Steinbeck book, adapted by Frank Galati) at the Burbage Theater and Constellations by Nick Payne at the Wilbury Group.

Format: Participants will obtain and read the script and attend a performance of each play. Class members also are expected to present material or lead short, lively class discussions on aspects of a play, including production aspects, themes, the playwright’s background and intent as well as the director’s interpretation. Actors or other members of the theater companies will join both sections of the class on several occasions to enrich our understanding of the plays and the production process. Some classes may be at locations other than the Temple.

Resources/Expenses: There will be costs related to the purchase of scripts and attending the Gamm ($20) and other performances ($15 each). We will be attending the Trinity dress rehearsals at no charge for class members.

Section 1 Coordinators: Kathy and Mike Webster have co-coordinated this class for several semesters. They are active and avid supporters of our local theater companies.

Section 2 Coordinators: Maggie and Nick Miles have co-coordinated this class for several semesters. They are active and avid supporters of our local theater companies.

 

Thursday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 14-May 16
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

The Short Stories of Raymond Carver
Coordinator: James Heath

Despite a turbulent upbringing in an alcoholic family, and his own struggles in overcoming alcoholism, according to the New York Times, Raymond Carver was “The most influential writer of the short story in the second half of the twentieth century”; he is credited with reviving the short story genre. This course welcomes you to the world of people, animals, occupations, living arrangements, and the constant struggles of living on the edge, all in a strange and off-beat and humorous and upside-down way. At times shocking until one realizes, well yeah, that’s really the way it is, we just don’t talk about it. Raymond Carver talks about it… or, writes about it. Masterfully. Through his work we will meet a woman fighting for her financial survival selling multi-vitamins door to door; be visited by a man with no hands who appears at the door selling house portraits; join a wife’s blind former boyfriend who comes to dinner and shows her husband another way to see; accompany a husband and wife who visit another couple over dinner for the first time and discover they have an ugly baby and a peacock in the house.

Format: The class will be conducted as directed discussion through which we will explore the way Carver gave expression to important themes and how he developed as a writer. Participants will be expected to read one or two stories each week, to develop questions for and lead one discussion, individually or in pairs during the semester, and to participate actively each week.

Resources/Expenses: Raymond Carver: Collected Stories (Library of America), available at Amazon for $16.00 and up and at local libraries.

Coordinator: James Heath has coordinated several LLC classes in Creative Photography, and last semester’s Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway.

 

Thursday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 14-May 16
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 25

Irish Film
Coordinator: Tim Walsh

Because of its size and limited financial resources, Ireland may seem like an unlikely country to have developed a film industry and film culture. Nevertheless, the Irish long ago achieved prominence in literature, drama, and poetry. As a nation with much to say, the Irish were naturally attracted to the cinema as a form of expression. Many classic Irish films have often been directed by British and Americans, although this has changed more recently.

NOTE: A trip to Ireland is being offered to visit many of the places that have inspired the course’s films. Click here to learn more and see the itinerary.

Format: We will view two films per week (at home/on our own) and discuss them in class. Approximately half of the films must be rented, while the others are available for free online. Discussions will be led by class members and the class coordinator.

Resources/Expenses: Film rental fees ($3.00) on some films if not viewed on Netflix.

Coordinator: Tim Walsh taught history and Irish studies at Tabor Academy and was wrestling coach at MIT. Since his retirement, he has coordinated courses on Irish history, James Joyce’s Ulysses, and Melville’s Moby Dick.

 

Thursday afternoons
Temple Beth-El
1:00-3:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 14-May 16
Fee: $50
Class size limit: 20

The Silk Roads: Travels with an Ancient Chinese Monk and a Modern Archaeologist
Coordinator: Bob Martin

In 1900, Hungarian-born archaeologist Marc Aurel Stein led the first of many archeological expeditions that explored northwest India and western China. Almost 1,300 year earlier, Buddhist monk Xuanzang had embarked on a 16-year journey to India, through much of Central Asia, in search of early Buddhist texts and teachings. Both men travelled dangerous mountain passes and desert footpaths, relying on horses, camels, yaks, and donkeys, while braving glaciers, snow drifts, and brutal desert heat. Following along, we will learn about several ancient cities that both visited: Turfan, Bamiyan, Khotan, Loulan, and Dunhuang. Both wanderers were fascinated by the famed Mogao Caves, filled with stunning artwork and painted walls portraying scenes from Chinese history and Buddhist legend. Click here for class website and syllabus.

Format: The success of the course depends on each of us reading assigned materials and taking an active part. Each participant is encouraged to choose a relevant topic from the syllabus and prepare a class presentation and/or discussion.

Resources/Expenses: The coordinator will assign online articles, book chapters, photos, artwork, and YouTube videos. Participants must be comfortable with accessing websites, reading online material, and using YouTube. The only required text will be Journeys on the Silk Road: A Desert Explorer, Buddha’s Secret Library, and The Unearthing Of The World’s Oldest Printed Book, by Joyce Morgan and Conrad Walters, available used online for $3.00 and up.

Coordinator: Bob Martin is a retired healthcare administrator and history buff who has coordinated courses on the history of India and on the Ottoman Empire.

 

Thursday late afternoons
Temple Beth-El
3:15-5:00 PM
10 weeks
Mar 14-May 16
Fee: $20
Class size limit: 10

Fiction Writing Critique Group
Coordinator: Mary Ball Howkins

Do you write fiction? Or can you imagine turning some of your life experiences into fiction? Join a group of writers who conjure tales of far away and nearby, who love telling stories and have many to tell. In an intimate and supportive group, learn how to hone your writing, explode it into something brand new, or extract it sentence by sentence from a tremulous brain with cheers and encouragement from others. No judgments allowed – only constructive assessment to urge you on to finding or asserting your writer’s voice.

Format: Participants will submit a story or chapter online to class members by the Monday before the Thursday class meeting date. Class members will print or email the material with comments, suggestions, and editing corrections by that Thursday. The writer will be expected to ask for specific feedback when submitting the story or chapter to others so that the class will have some direction while reading and commenting.

Expenses: No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinator: Mary Ball Howkins has coordinated many LLC courses and is an active writer of fiction, an international wildlife volunteer, and art historian.

 

Friday mornings
Temple Beth-El
10:00 AM-12:00 PM
9 weeks
Mar 15-May 17 (No class Apr 26)
Fee: $45
Class size limit: 11

Mah Jongg
Coordinator: Carol Desforges

Enjoy playing a challenging game and forming a social group? Learn how to play Mah Jongg, a tile game formerly played only by Chinese royalty, which may have originated with Confucius about 500 BC. The American version has a set of 152 tiles marked with Chinese symbols. Though the game is played worldwide, it did not become popular in the U.S. until the 1920’s. At that time, it was the most popular board game in the United States exceeding even Monopoly. In order to play the game you must learn the symbols on the tiles, the patterns of hands on a score card, the many rules of the game, and the protocols of play. It is a challenging game to learn but we will guide you through it. Once you master it, Mah Jongg is addicting and you will not want to stop playing it.

Coordinator: Carol Desforges is a retired high school science teacher who loves to play and teach Mah Jongg. She has been teaching Mah Jongg at senior centers, with social organizations, and in private homes since 2007.