Spring 2021
Tuesday, April 6 - Thursday, May 27, 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.

 Native Americans of the Southwest

In light of all the recent focus on immigrants in the United Sates and since all but Native Americans are immigrants, this class will look at the various tribes of the Southwest – what has happened to them and what contributions they have made. Among the Native American peoples that we may want to discuss are the Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo, Apache and many more.

Tuesday 1:00 p.m. - 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, 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), points of view, etc. We will aim to cover a wide range of topics with films that are informative, impactful, provocative, and engaging.


The High Middle Ages, 1100-1400

This is a heroic period in European history, the Age of Chivalry and of the Crusades, of wandering friars and gothic cathedrals, of the Hundred Years’ War and the Black Death, of women in high places in church and state. The Plantagenet and Capetian dynasties’ rise, Aristotle is rediscovered, and the influence of Innocent III, history’s most powerful pope, reaches into every kingdom.

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

Titans of Jazz

During the more than a century that jazz has been in existence, there have been a number of performers who have taken this musical art form in new directions and excelled in this type of music. This study group will focus on notable jazz men like Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Wynton Marsalis. Participants will provide information on the lives and share examples of their works that made them jazz titans.

Speeches that Changed the World

The world’s great speeches lift hearts in dark times, give hope in the face of despair, enhance humanity character, inspire bravery, give courage to the disheartened and honor the admirable.  Join us as we explore these wonders of human oratory and examine who gave your choice(s), the events leading to the speech and why your selection is significant.  Performance will be encouraged.


Wednesday 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure and All’s Well That Ends Well

Sexual harassment is not new. In these two “problem comedies” Shakespeare clearly condemns Angelo’s coercion of Isabella, but does he condone Helena’s pressure on the un-consenting Bertram? Be comforted, all ends well. Both plays are available on Amazon for $5.99 each.

Modern Robber Barons?

Robber Barons were originally 19th century businessmen who engaged in unethical and monopolistic practices, exerted corrupt political influence, faced almost no business regulation, and amassed enormous wealth.   The 21st century has produced a new kind of business tycoon. People like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Ellison have used technology to create massive monopolistic corporations.  But such industry leaders are not limited to the Silicon Valley moguls. They include people like the Koch Brothers, the Walton family, Sumner Redstone, Rupert Murdoch and many others. What has been their impact on modern society?  Are we tolerant of their enormous profits because we have become addicted to technology, or is it because we also embrace elegant design, efficiency, and global interconnectedness?  We invite you to pick a mogul and tell his or her story.  Are these people the Robber Barons of today?

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

International Films 

Watching a foreign movie is getting a peek into another world. Seeing another place, its culture, listening to its story as it is told from a local person’s point of view. It is second only to traveling there yourself. Every week we will watch a movie from another country: we will laugh, cry, get intrigued, watch its uniqueness and universality as the story touches us in so many ways.

We will give you a list of movies to choose from, movies we can stream on Netflix, Prime (sometimes for a small fee), Kanopy ( a free LA Library application), and even YouTube. You will watch it in the comfort of your home. The presenter will give us the background story, and we will all discuss the movie together.

John Adams by David McCullough

Recent SAGE classes have read biographies of Jefferson and Hamilton. Course participants would read David McCullough’s biography of John Adams who played important roles in the constitutional convention and as vice president and president. Members who have taken the Jefferson and Hamilton biographies will see a different picture of Adams from reading the other biographies, but the course should be interesting to those who have not read either. On November 10, 2020, the paperback version of McCullough’s Adams biography was $15.69 from Amazon. ISBN-13  978-0743223133

Thursday 1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

One of the 20th century’s enduring works, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a widely beloved and acclaimed novel known throughout the world, and the ultimate achievement of the Nobel Prize- winning author’s career. The novel tells the story of the rise and fall of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the family. It is a rich and brilliant chronicle of life and death, and the tragicomedy of humankind. In the noble, ridiculous, beautiful, and tawdry story of the family, one sees all of humanity, just as in the history, myths, growth, and decay of Macondo, one sees all of Latin America. One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves the political, personal, and spiritual to bring a new consciousness to storytelling.  The book is available on Amazon for $13.99.ISBN-10 : 0060883286

Nothing to Fear but Russia Itself

Why is the West so suspicious of Russia?  The Western world (not Asia, Africa, or Latin America, where perceptions are quite different) has, for perhaps 500 years, been gripped by what may be called “The Russia Anxiety” – a cycle of fear, disregard and contempt — and the anti-historical idea that Russia is doomed endlessly to repeat its historical disasters. The class will not be limited to just looking at the two previous red scares, but at the present state of fear and the historical ones. At times Russia/Soviet Union has been an ally and at other times an adversary. We will look at the good, the bad and the ugly.