Winter 2021
Tuesday, January 12 - Thursday, March 4, 2021

Virtual Learning

Our new reality now includes the wonderful Zoom classes that allow us to see each other while maintaining distance and keeping safe. Based on our success to date, we may continue to offer some Zoom classes when our normal in-person meetings resume.

We definitely look forward to the joy of learning and socializing together again face to face.


Tuesday 9:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Hot Topics

This is an open-ended class.  Participants can use any qualified source (newspapers, magazines, radio, television, books, etc.) covering the recent political or social scene and historical events with current relevancy.  Issues can be local, national or international.  Controversial topics are welcome as they engender discussion.  Join us if you enjoy lively, stimulating discussions.

Film Composers

The unsung heroes in the movies are not the actors, but the musically adept creators of the scores that play as a background to the actors’ scenes. On the list of all-time greats are John Williams, Max Steiner, Elmer Bernstein, David Raksin, Alex North, Jerry Goldsmith, Miklos Rozsa, Bernard Hermann, James Horner, Leonard Bernstein, John Barry, Franz Waxman, Maurice Jarre, Dimitri Tiomkin, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, and Henry Mancini. Each member in this study group will examine an individual who scored films and the melodies he created.

Tuesday 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Netflix Movies

This class is for members who have a Netflix account (preferably streaming). Class members will select a movie they wish the class to view. Each week class members will view one or two movies prior to class. One possible list of titles comes from Esquire magazine, which lists the “The 55 Best Movies to Stream on Netflix Right Now.”  During the class, the class member who selected the film will lead a discussion about the movie. Among the topics the class may want to address are character, plot, conflict resolution, structure, scenes, dialogue and visuals.



Slavery is as old as civilization and probably much older.  It has been practiced by practically every human society around the world and is still thriving in some places today.  We will discuss all aspects of this “peculiar institution” including the practical and moral reasoning for and against it, and the variations of its practice in different times and cultures.

Wednesday 9:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

Media Conglomerates

By 2011, 90% of United States media were controlled by six media conglomerates: GE/Comcast (NBC, Universal), News Corp (Fox News, Wall Street Journal, New York Post), Disney (ABC, ESPN, Pixar), Viacom (MTV, BET, Paramount Pictures), AT&T (Time Warner, CNN, HBO, Warner Brothers). In this class, participants will select a media conglomerate and educate classmates on its history and current status including the influence it carries. Topics can include U.S. and/or international media conglomerates such as BBC.RT. NHK and others.. Class members can also look at individuals who played a dominant role in the consolidation of media, such as Rupert Murdoch and Sumner Redstone.

Understanding Gender

Many people now view gender as a spectrum rather than a man/woman binary. What determines gender identification?  What are the various designations for gender, and how many are there? Is gender different from sexual orientation?  How has gender diversity been handled down through history and through religion? What fears and problems do we face as a result of the new understanding of gender?


Wednesday 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Snow by Orhan Pamuk

Nobel Prizewinner Orhan Pamuk’s novel is set between 1999 and 2001 in Kars, a remote and dilapidated city in far eastern Turkey, known for its spectacularly awful weather.  The exiled poet Ka returns to Kars to investigate the suicides of young religious women.  From this start Pamuk weaves a story both political and personal, with strands that include the conflict between Islam and secularism, terrorism, violence, and a love story.  The tone of the novel shifts from the poetic to the philosophical to the farcical as Pamuk brings us to an awareness of a culture we may have known little about.  Available from Amazon for $12.68 in Vintage paperback, ISBN 0-375-70686-0.

Rock Legends of Laurel Canyon in the 1960s and 1970s

One of the most sacred musical places in the baby boomer bible sits just above the Sunset Strip in the once-ramshackle Laurel Canyon neighborhood. The era’s own Garden of Eden, the labyrinthine neighborhood became a tangled nest of creativity that housed rising artists including Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Frank Zappa, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and members of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, The Doors, The Mommas & the Papas, The Monkees, Love, The Eagles and dozens of other soon–to-be famous artists. Join us as we explore the lives, loves and music of Laurel Canyon’s residents during this fascinating period in L.A.’s musical history.

Thursday 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Aldous Huxley Novels: Chrome Yellow and Brave New World

Huxley’s first novel, Chrome Yellow (ISBN-13 : 979-8630357274) is a funny, satirical look at British society in 1921.  It takes place at a party and contains a pre-figuring of his (and our) second book, Brave New World (ISBN-13: 978-0060850524).  The first book is a satire on the British upperclass and the second will give us the opportunity to see in what ways his predictions were on or off the mark.  Good fun.

My Favorite Trip

Now, since we will not be traveling in the near future, it might be fun to reminisce about travels past.  Pick your favorite trip and provide us with a travelogue, sharing your photos and favorite memories of past adventures.  Tell us why you chose this destination; the most and least memorable aspects of the trip; what your learned; and how this trip changed your understanding of the world.

Thursday 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.

Streaming Documentaries

Each class member will choose a documentary from one of the streaming services that classmates can access at no or low cost: e.g., Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and Kanopy (available free with your library card number). Everyone will watch the selected films (two per class) before our Zoom sessions, and the individuals who selected them will lead the discussion. We will look at the movies in terms of overall quality, themes, key message(s), issues raised, points of view, etc. The intent is to cover a wide range of topics and perspectives with films that are informative, impactful, provocative, and engaging.

America’s Wealthiest Families

For over 200 years, our country has always had a few exceptional families that were able to accumulate vast wealth.  The patriarchs often led colorful and sometimes controversial lives.  The generations that followed usually perpetuated the family wealth.  For this class, the size of their fortunes is not of paramount importance.  THE EMPHASIS SHOULD BE ON HOW THE FAMILIES USED THEIR WEALTH TO ENHANCE OR DAMAGE THE FAMILY NAME.  List may include Astors, Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Buffets, Rockefellers, Bezos, Kennedys, DuPonts, Kochs, Mellons, Fords, Gates, etc.