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 Fall 2018 catalog (PDF).

Click to view Fall 2018 catalog in browser.

Full course descriptions are available below calendar.

Concerts & Conversations (AM)
Winter Waterfowl Up Close! (AM)
Mah Jongg (AM)

Understanding and Countering Fundamentalism (AM)
Creative Photography (AM)
Into the Future: Promises and Perils of Modern Innovations (AM)
Australian Literature (AM)
Frankenstein at 200: The Monster as the Mirror of Humanity (PM)
Painting in Cafe Culture in Paris: 1860-1890 (PM)
History of Books (PM)
A Nation of Immigrants: A Look at How We Got to Today (PM)
Scrabble Social Club (PM; Registration not required)

The Short Stories of Hemingway (AM)
The American Revolution (AM)
Snapix: Photography (AM)
Exploring Improvisation (PM)
Knitting (PM)

Theatre Conversations 1 & 2 (AM)
1968: A Year in Chaos (AM)
Hot Topics (PM)
Ticket to the Opera (PM)
LLC Reads Banned Books! (PM)

Film Noir (AM)


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

*NOTE: This class starts on Wednesday, September 5, then continues to meet on Monday mornings from September 17-November 26.

Do you enjoy the music of George Gershwin, his Rhapsody in Blue, perhaps? Do you like the big sound of a Beethoven symphony or a dazzling performance by a virtuoso pianist? Perhaps you prefer the intimacy of a small group of musicians performing the lovely melodies of Mozart or a jazzy contemporary piece? Whatever your starting point and taste, this class offers you an opportunity to deepen your knowledge and appreciation of concert music from the classical to the postmodern. Plus, this season the RI Philharmonic will feature pieces and composers not often included in today’s classical music programs, and we will decide together if they deserve more frequent performance in our concert halls – and we will share our responses with members of the RI Phil or its Music School faculty when they visit our class. We will preview the September, October and November concerts of RI Philharmonic as well as the October and November programs of the RI Chamber Music Concerts. 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 encouraged at the RI Chamber Concerts. Discount tickets are available for course enrollees.

Resources/Expenses: YouTube video performances, the class website, talks by area conductors and music scholars, suggested readings, and online concert program guides.

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, RI Philharmonic Music School (667 Waterman Ave, E. Providence), 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 5-Nov 26 (No class Oct 8 or Nov 12), Fee: $60, Class size limit: 30.

Winter Waterfowl Up Close!
Coordinators: Bill Carpenter, Emily Westcott

Rhode Island’s southern shores and local ponds are a birding paradise in early winter. Join seasoned birders Bill Carpenter and Emily Westcott for a five-week course (two classroom sessions and three field birding sessions) to learn more about loons, buffleheads, goldeneyes, mergansers, grebes, and harlequins, to name just a few. The first class will meet at Temple Beth-El on Monday, November 5 from 10:00-12:00. We will meet at field locations Nov 19, 26 and Dec 3 and return to Temple Beth-El on December 10 for our final class. Participants will provide their own transportation (they will be encouraged to carpool to sites in South County, Jamestown and Middletown) and should be able to walk up to a mile and a half. Binoculars are essential for a good experience. Nov 5 and Dec 10 classes held at Temple Beth-El; Nov 19, 26, Dec 3 in the field.

Format: Field trips and discussions. Presentations are not required.

Resources/Expenses: Handouts, website information, and a brief bibliography will be provided. Expenses are not anticipated.

Coordinators: Bill Carpenter and Emily Westcott are birding enthusiasts who enjoy sharing the joys of this outdoor activity.

Monday mornings, Temple Beth-El and off-site, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 5 weeks, Nov 5-Dec 10 (No class Nov 12), Fee: $25, Class size limit: 12.

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.

Monday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 7 weeks, Sept 17, Oct 15, Oct 22, Oct 29, Nov 5, Nov 19, Nov 26, Fee: $35, Class size limit: 9.


Understanding and Countering Fundamentalism
Coordinators: Dave Hansen, Phil West

Almost every day front page stories stun readers. Religious terrorists murder innocent people – whether in Paris, New York, Jerusalem, Kabul, or Riyadh. How did we get here? Before the nineteenth century, most Jews, Christians, and Muslims accepted their scriptures as literally true. Then scholars began to apply scientific analysis to ancient texts. Archaeologists, paleontologists, and geneticists found evidence that contradicted what many had always believed. These discoveries provoked backlash in all three faiths against science and modernity. Groups in each tradition began to proclaim the inspired, literal, and absolute truth of their scriptures. Fundamentalism contributed to absolutist claims and bloody carnage.

Format: Members of the class will be asked to research and make presentations on topics in two areas: historical analysis and comparisons of various ancient scriptures, and the impact of fundamentalist interpretations in modern conflicts over land, law, customs, or education. Outside authorities may speak to the class. Group discussion and debate will be encouraged.

Resources/Expenses: The syllabus will include an extensive list of references. No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: H. Philip West, Jr. is a scholar and activist. His paper on the Synoptic Problem has been widely cited. After 18 years as Director of Common Cause, he wrote an acclaimed first-person history, Secrets and Scandals: Reforming Rhode Island, 1986-2006. Dave Hansen has coordinated a number of LLC classes including the two previous Secrets and Scandals courses.

Tuesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 8 weeks, Sept 18-Nov 6, Fee: $40, Class size limit: 20.

Creative Photography
Coordinator: James Heath

This class will challenge us to see photographically, to select, arrange and compose the elements before us to create more imaginative and inspired photographs. That is, we’ll aim to make photographs rather than take photographs.

Prerequisites: Students are expected to be familiar with the operation of their cameras, the ability to create files for storing photo images, and to be able to email images for critiques. Any digital camera is OK. A tripod is necessary to complete certain assignments. Use of a flash drive is essential for backing up and bringing multiple shot assignments to class.

Format: Students will complete outside assignments studying the principles of photo composition. Weekly photo assignments will incorporate lessons we’ve reviewed in class, such as scale, point of view, balance, etc. Some class assignments will be shot on location. Photos will be critiqued in our weekly classes to reinforce learned principles and to contribute to creating visually stronger images.

Expenses: No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinator: Jim Heath is a retired psychologist and has worked as a news photographer and commercial photographer. This is his fifth photography course as an LLC coordinator.

Tuesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 18-Nov 20, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 11.

Into the Future: Promises and Perils of Modern Innovations
Coordinators: Suzanne Cane, Nancy Nowak

How is the human body modified by genetic engineering, cloning, brain implants, and regenerative medicine? How are our bodies read by biometric authentication, such as fingerprints, face recognition and retina scans? How can smart clothing and other wearable electronics protect us and provide us with useful data? Can human functions be replaced by artificial intelligence, by artificial organs? How will our food be modified by cultured meat grown in a lab, by vertical farming, and by GMO crops? Can our weather be adjusted through geo-engineering? How might our shelter and energy supply be altered by domed cities, zero-energy buildings, and airborne wind turbines? How will transportation be changed by unmanned vehicles, flying cars, hover-bikes, hover-trains, jet packs, and airless tires? We will discuss bioethics with a visiting expert, and we will visit a virtual reality room at Brown University.

Format: Each participant is requested to present information about a recent innovation and lead a short, lively discussion about its impacts, both positive and negative, on our lives.

Resources/Expenses: A syllabus outline will be available in advance as a topical guide, and the coordinators will suggest websites, articles and books or book chapters as resources for preparing presentations. No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: Suzanne Cane is a retired librarian. Nancy Nowak is a retired science teacher who has coordinated several LLC courses.

Tuesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 18-Nov 20, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 11.

Australian Literature
Coordinator: Christine Rose

The geography and history of the large and remote continent of Australia has resulted in a literary tradition that is linked to that of Great Britain, and at the same time, possesses a definite character of its own. Australian literature explores the themes of its relationship to the colonial power and to the Aboriginal population; its history as a convicts’ colony; “mateship” and mutual interdependence in a remote environment; the search for national identity; immigration and emigration; and life in the fearsome Australian bush country. The class will read selections that convey the history of Australia, as well as a sense of its unique environment. This course will include many notable Australian novelists and short story writers, such as Jack McPhee, Patrick White, David Malouf, Tim Winton, Thea Astley, and Elizabeth Jolley, as well as poets such as Les Murray and Banjo Paterson.

Format: Participants are expected to read the assigned material and come to class prepared for discussion. Each class member will be asked to but not required t make a presentation, lead a discussion, or bring in a guest speaker to lead one of the class sessions.

Resources/Expenses: The text for the course will be Australian Literature: An Anthology of Writing from the Land Down Under by Phyllis Fahris Edelson, available on Amazon from $3.00 used. There are no additional expenses.

Coordinator: Christine Rose, an Australian native, has coordinated many literature classes for LLC.

Tuesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 8 weeks, Sept 18-Nov 6, Fee: $40, Class size limit: 15.

Frankenstein at 200: The Monster as the Mirror of Humanity
Coordinators: Bob Kemp, Lois Kemp

Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is 200 years old this year. This story has been endlessly retold and has inspired legions of writers, artists, scholars, and theatrical producers. In the past two years alone, new books have been published inquiring into the life of its nineteen-year-old author, investigating the science behind the story, annotating the work for scientists and engineers, and considering how the monster has become a cultural icon. In this course we will use a beautiful new annotation as well as other secondary works to explore some of the themes presented by Frankenstein, including myth, science fiction, scientific ethics, tragedy, morality, and acquisition of language, as well as the influence of the story on literature, art, the movies, and popular culture.

Format: Participants will read the text and lead a discussion of any theme that resonates with them. Participants are encouraged to use supplementary materials and media they feel will bring additional life to their selected theme.

Resources/Expenses: The required text is The New Annotated Frankenstein, edited with a foreword and notes by Leslie S. Klinger, New York: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2017. NOTE: It is important that we have a common version to facilitate discussion. The book is available from for about $24 and from other booksellers at varying prices.

Coordinators: Bob Kemp, a retired corporate attorney, has always been interested in the written word and the world of ideas. Lois Kemp is a retired reading specialist and a lifelong lover of literature and art.

Tuesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 18-Nov 20, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 22.

Painting in Cafe Culture in Paris: 1860-1890
Coordinators: Mary Ball Howkins, Mary Snowden

When Baron Haussmann transformed Paris during Napoleon III’s Second Empire, Parisian social classes found themselves in an environment suited to outdoor and sidewalk leisure yet anxious about the broad physical changes to their city. Artists as diverse as Edward Manet and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec painted scenes of high-brow and low-brow subjects as classes mingled in cabarets, horse races and cafes. At the onset of the industrial revolution, Parisians boarded trains, rented row boats, enjoyed gas and electric light, drank Absinthe and lingered at café tables beside paved streets. Peasants streamed into the city to find work. Prostitution flourished. How did artists cope with these changing dynamics? Join us as we explore these urban realities together.

Format: Participants will be asked to give presentations and lead discussions in this course.

Resources/Expenses: The coordinators may suggest reading material and online resources. Access to a computer and the internet is essential. No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: Mary Snowden and Mary Ball Howkins have both coordinated multiple courses at LLC. Mary Snowden is a painter, and Mary Ball Howkins is an art historian.

Tuesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 10 weeks,Sept 18-Nov 20, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.

History of Books
Coordinator: Walker Rumble

Everybody seems to think books are doomed. Nonsense, only changing! And what better time to take a look at how they’ve changed so far. Books have evolved from papyrus scrolls to Penguin paperbacks, with Hypnerotomachia Poliphili and Deadwood Dick in between – and a “Great Cat Massacre” along the way. We’ll explore the “bookishness” of books. We’ll find our way among many riches.

Format: Participants are expected to read the assigned text, engage in class discussions and select a subject (book or technology) from a supplied list and talk about it for 15-20 minutes. They will also be asked to bring in an old book of theirs and talk about it as part of their presentation. Possible field trips may include Brown University’s John Hay library, RISD’s Fleet Library, the Providence Athenaeum and the Providence Public Library.

Resources/Expenses: Martyn Lyons, Books: A Living History is available from Amazon or your favorite local bookstore (perhaps Books on the Square, nearby). The latest edition, in hardcover from Amazon, costs $23.50, slightly less in soft cover. An earlier, 2011, edition costs less, especially in soft cover, and is sufficient for our purposes. The book search website can supply you with options from $10.00-$15.00.

Coordinator: Walker Rumble has been a college history professor and a printer, and now writes essays on the history of printing.

Tuesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 8 weeks, Sept 25-Nov 13, Fee: $40, Class size limit: 20.

A Nation of Immigrants: A Look at How We Got to Today
Coordinators: Lenore Levin Bunting, Pat Nickles

This course will guide us in exploring the path of immigration and the role of law in the process of our becoming a diverse nation. We will begin with the first settlers, and move onto slaves as involuntary immigrants, to No Irish Need Apply, to the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese internment, to the Jewish, Italian and Portuguese experiences, to DACA and end with present day law and practice.

Format: Students will be asked to present, either singly or in pairs, on an immigrant group of their choice. The focus will be on what motivated or drove people to immigrate, the law at the time, their reception upon their arrival, and their difficulty with assimilation.

Resources/Expenses: Links to online resources such as websites and publications will be provided. No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: Lenore Levin Bunting retired as an attorney a year and a half ago. She is a great-granddaughter and granddaughter of early 20th century Jewish immigrants from Lithuania. She married into a Protestant family whose forbears came to Massachusetts from England in 1632. In addition, while practicing in Southeastern Massachusetts, many of her colleagues and clients were first generation Portuguese and Spanish speaking immigrants. Patricia Nickles is a retired municipal planner and novice potter. Both her Irish and German grandparents were first generation Americans who were born here at the dawn of the twentieth century.

Tuesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 18-Nov 20, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.

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.

Tuesday late afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 3:30 - 5:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 18-Nov 20. There is no fee for this course, but you must be a member of LLC. Registration is not required. Just drop in and play.


The Short Stories of Hemingway
Coordinator: James Heath

Hemingway is best known for his novels such as The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls, and The Old Man and the Sea, works that have contributed to the image of a mythic macho man who loved boxing, hunting and fishing, bull fighting, and heavy drinking. But within his 61 short stories is revealed a deeply sensitive man who as a writer explored issues such as romantic love in a world of racism, the impact of a woman’s decision to have an abortion, the subtle, sweet connection between fathers and sons, and how does one meaningfully face death in a meaningless world.

Format: This course will explore the short stories of this Nobel Prize winning author, and incorporate into this exploration the rich biographical history of his travels, passions, and wives. The class will be conducted as directed discussion through which we will explore the way Hemingway gave expression to these 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, and to participate actively each week.

Resources/Expenses: The required text is The Complete Short Stories of Ernest Hemingway, The Finca Vigia Edition (available from Amazon for $12.71).

Coordinator: Jim Heath has coordinated several LLC classes in Creative Photography. An aspiring short story writer in a previous life, this is his first time coordinating a class in literature.

Wednesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 12-Nov 14 (Sept 19 class is off-site), Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.

The American Revolution: From Glory to Dishonor
Coordinators: Eugene Mihaly, Bruce Ruttenberg

The American Revolution and the writing of the Constitution contained many glorious elements of the Age of Enlightenment but left a bitter legacy of death and empty civil rights. We shall present the story of this epochal era in an exciting and provocative manner – from the French and Indian wars of the mid 18th century to Hamilton’s fatal duel with Aaron Burr and the intense, angry presidential election of 1800; from the glorious moral driven doctrines of the initial founding fathers to John Adams’ espousal of bitter campaigns against farmers, tradesmen and the like; from colonial unity to rival State ambitions and, above all, we shall explore the horrific attitudes and total lack of care or concern for native Americans (almost to the point of their destruction) AND the perpetuation of slavery that bequeathed us the Civil War, racial bias, Negro killings, Jim Crow and today’s racial turmoil.

Format: Each participant is encouraged, but not required, to choose a relevant topic from the syllabus and prepare a class presentation and/or discussion.

Resources/Expenses: Participants are urged to read The American Revolution: A History by Gordon Wood, a short book, available in paperback at Amazon for less than $12. Also encouraged is Joseph Ellis’ dramatic Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation which is available in paperback from Amazon for about $11.

Coordinators: Bruce Ruttenberg is a retired Senior Partner of Chace Ruttenberg and Freedman and an experienced LLC coordinator. Eugene Mihaly is a former university professor and business executive. He is a Jamestown Town Councilor and has coordinated many LLC courses.

Wednesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 9 weeks, Sept 12-Nov 14 (No class Sept 19), Fee: $45, Class size limit: 20.

Snapix: Photography
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.

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. A suggested and optional book would be Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Composition, available used from Amazon for $10.00. 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.

Wednesday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00-12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 12-Nov 14 (No class Sept 19; Oct 6 off-site photo shoot), Fee: $50, Class size limit: 15.

Exploring Improvisation
Coordinator/Leader: Naida Weisberg; Guest Leaders: Barry Marshall, Lorraine Keeney

Come and share life’s daily drama, humor and what if’s where learning and spontaneity are the coin of the realm. By starting with simple, directed activities, we stretch body, mind and imagination. It’s well known that the act of playing and improvising can influence the quality, depth and breadth of our creative work, interaction, and group discussion.

Format: Active participation (but no preparation – except that provided by life experience) is expected of all participants.

Resources/Expenses: No expenses are anticipated.

Coordinators: Naida Weisberg has her MA in Arts in Education for Social Change. She co-founded !Improvise! Inc. and co-edited Expressive Arts with Elders (Jessica Kingsley Publisher, London, 2004). Naida has worked and played with all ages, ill and well. Barry Marshall has his MFA from Yale School of Drama. He taught drama at Moses Brown School for 30 years and has written and directed plays with a wide range of ages and social groups. Lorraine Keeney is Past program coordinator, Rhode Island Committee for the Humanities (History Theatre of Ideas), Fairy Princess. She attended UC Berkeley.

Wednesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 6 weeks, Sept 26-Oct 31, Fee: $30, Class size limit: 11.

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.

Wednesday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 12-Nov 21 (No class Sept 19), Fee: $50, Class size limit: 9.


Theatre Conversations 1 and 2
Section 1 Coordinators: Kathy Webster, Michael Webster
Section 2 Coordinators: Maggie Miles, Nickerson Miles

Join our popular Theater Conversations course, a successful collaboration with Trinity Repertory Company and the Sandra Feinstein Gamm Theatre. Due to a delay in construction of the Gamm’s new location we are forced to rearrange our plan as follows: We will feature two plays at Trinity (Pride and Prejudice, based on the Jane Austen novel, and A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens), and The Night of the Iguana by Tennessee Williams at the Gamm, all of which we will attend as a group. We will also independently attend Shakespeare in Love (from Tom Stoppard) at the Burbage before 9/13 and How I Learned to Drive (Paula Vogel) at the Wilbury before 9/27.

Format: Participants will obtain and read the script and attend a performance of each play. They also will lead short, lively class discussions on all 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: In addition to the registration fee, there will be costs related to the purchase of scripts and attending the Gamm, Burbage and Willbury performances ($20 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, Sept 13-Nov 15 (First play opens Aug 24), Fee: $70, Section 1 Class size limit: 30, Section 2 Class size limit: 17.

1968: A Year of Chaos
Coordinators: Jerome Grieder, Richard Philbrick, Melvin Zurier

The January 1968 Tet Offensive in Vietnam launched a year of anti-war protests, riots and chaos. A war-weary public learned that their government had lied about the progress of the war. President Johnson’s announcement that he would not run for a second term was followed by the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy. The Democratic Convention in Chicago was an angry, often turbulent affair; nationally college campuses experienced sometimes violent turmoil while draft card and flag burnings became frequent occurrences. Meanwhile the world witnessed the tragedy of the Prague Spring, student barricades in Paris and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in China. This difficult year, a half-century ago, was possibly a turning point with significance for our present times.

Format: Participants in this class should be prepared to engage in class discussions, and it is hoped that all will be willing to make a presentation or lead a discussion on a relevant topic.

Resources/Expenses: There is no required text. Information on the major events of this year is plentiful on the internet and in libraries. The book Coming Apart by William L. O’Neill is recommended for an overview of the period and The 60s: The Story of A Decade is a recommended anthology of New Yorker pieces from the time, interspersed with interpretive essays by leading authorities.

Coordinators: Dick Philbrick and Jerry Grieder are retired history teachers; Mel Zurier is a retired lawyer. All three have previously coordinated numerous courses for BCLIR/LLC.

Thursday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM,10 weeks, Sept 13-Nov 15, 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.

Thursday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 13-Nov 15, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.

A Ticket to the Opera
Coordinators: Penny Backman, Linda Shamoon, Penney Stein

Welcome opera buffs and those just beginning their acquaintance with this exciting art form that combines timeless music, glorious singing, intense (or comic) acting, interesting librettos, artistic set design, and superstar personalities. Thanks to the technology of HD video, we will take (virtual) front row seats at live Metropolitan Opera performances, and “stand next to” the stars between acts. For each opera, we will preview the story line, meet the composer, talk about the setting, performers, set design, and any other topic of interest. After the performance, we will share our thoughts about the acting, interpretation, music, costumes, set, and more. By the end of the course we aim to deepen our knowledge and appreciation of this art form and, perhaps, join the millions of dedicated opera fans worldwide. The operas will be viewed in HD at selected area theaters on October 6 (Aida), October 20 (Samson and Delilah), October 27 (La Fanciulla del West) and November 10 (Marnie).

Format: Presentations are encouraged but not required.

Resources/Expenses: Ticket prices are about $25 each.

Coordinators: Penney Stein has been a member of LLC for five years and, along with Linda Shamoon and Penny Backman, co-coordinator of the Concerts and Conversations class. She is an avid fan of classical music, opera, jazz, folk and classic rock and looks forward to sharing the joy of watching the Metropolitan Opera in HD with enthusiastic classmates. Penny Backman has always been a classical music and opera enthusiast. She lived many years in Cleveland, loving the Cleveland Orchestra, and often returns to hear them again. When traveling, she locates the opera/music halls as soon as she lands. Linda Shamoon is an opera enthusiast and a fan of live performance of all kinds of music, especially symphonic music, chamber music, Broadway and jazz.

Thursday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 13-Nov 15, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.

LLC Reads Banned Books!
Coordinators: Sidney Okashige, Tim Walsh

LLC Reads Banned Books! features books from the past that are of very high quality – although sometimes banned. The coordinators have chosen a selection of titles that bear re-reading or reading for the first time: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Ulysses, Forever Amber, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and The Sun Also Rises. Participants who register for the course will make the final choices. We have found LLC book and short-story groups especially inclusive and supportive of each other, producing remarkable insights and rich discussion. Also, every time we re-read a book it is a new book!

Format: During the ten-week session, the group reads two or three books that they have chosen collaboratively. If reading and discussion move faster/slower than scheduled, presenters and coordinators will modify the schedule. Each week, everyone in the class reads a designated part of a book for discussion and two class members each lead an hour of discussion. Leading a discussion is voluntary. Discussion leaders are encouraged to create a discussion prompt that has been prepared beforehand to guide the reading. Everyone is encouraged to collaborate via email exchanges in the preparation of a discussion prompt.

Resources/Expenses: Books may be obtained through the public library or may be purchased in advance. Please contact a coordinator if cost is an obstacle.

Coordinators: Sidney Okashige and Tim Walsh have coordinated a wide variety of LLC courses over the years and share a fondness of good literature. Tim is especially well acquainted with Ulysses and has offered to support and guide all presenters through the text.

Thursday afternoons, Temple Beth-El, 1:00-3:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 13-Nov 15, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.


Film Noir
Coordinators: Dennis Flavin, Mel Shelly, Stephen Zrike

This French named, German influenced, British pioneered, but uniquely American film genre is all about style and mood and image and light and shadow and loneliness and intrigue and betrayal and inevitability. So why would you want to join in? Three reasons: 1) It's very likely that at least one of your own five favorite films is noir; 2) Whether you know a little or a lot about noir you probably want to know more – this is your chance; 3) Watching and discussing these films is guaranteed to be pleasurable and memorable. Think Maltese Falcon, Laura, Double Indemnity, Touch of Evil, Chinatown, Bogart, Mitchum, Welles, Cotton, Houston, Grahame, Hayworth, Turner.

Format: Class members will view assigned films prior to each class. Each will present and/or lead a discussion about one film during the semester.

Resources/Expenses: Coordinators will assist class members in accessing the films online. Participants need access to a computer and Internet. These films will be available to view online at a cost of $3 or $4. Many are also available from local libraries. Coordinators will suggest useful online and print resources to enrich viewing experience.

Coordinators: Steve Zrike has frequently coordinated LLC courses on film history. Dennis Flavin has coordinated a variety of LLC courses. Mel Shelly shares their love for great films and collaborative learning.

Friday mornings, Temple Beth-El, 10:00 AM-12:00 PM, 10 weeks, Sept 14-Nov 16, Fee: $50, Class size limit: 20.