FALL 2020
Tuesday, September 13 - Thursday. November 5th

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.

American Popular Music from the End of the Big Bands to the Beginning of the Beatles (1945-1964)

Let’s take a look at the music that dominated airplay in the short period of time from the end of the Big Band Era to the first Beatles song.  This time span of roughly 20 years featured crooners, instrumental music, early rock, country,
folk, comedy and some of the best performers and groups. This period also gave us the early years of some of the all time greatest entertainers.

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

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow

A New York Times Bestseller, and the inspiration for the hit Broadway musical Hamilton! Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ron Chernow presents a landmark biography of Alexander Hamilton, the riveting story of  the founding father who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the
result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. ISBN-13: 9780143034759. Available on Amazon in paperback for $17.33 and on Kindle for $14.99

Bonaparte, the Man, the Mystery, the Truth

Napoleon Bonaparte was a key figure in the formation of 19th Century Europe. He had a profound effect on politics, law and economics. Topics for this class may include his early years, his role as statesman, emperor, and military leader, the Napoleonic Wars, the collapse of his empire, his cultural legacy, the Napoleonic Code and reforms, his exile to Elba and Saint Helena, his marriages and children, etc.

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

1920: A Hundred Years Ago

What happened in 1920?  Our class will look at major and not so major events such as the beginning of Prohibition, the Polish-Soviet War, the Treaty of Versailles, the League of Nations, the United States Railroad Administration, the founding of the ACLU and the League of Women Voters. This year was also when Syria became independent.  We can also look at the Palestine Riots, the Mexican Revolution, the Olympics, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, Negro National League Baseball, the Treaty of Moscow, KLM’s first flight, the USPS ruling, border treaties, the first Scout Jamboree, and much, much more.

New Yorker

Discussion of articles in the current or archived editions.


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


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.

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut. Did This 1952 Novel Predict American Society Today?

This class will read Kurt Vonnegut’s first novel, Player Piano, a dystopian view of American society where automation has divided the country into two groups, the elites who run the automated factories and the unemployed or underemployed workers known as the “Reeks and Wrecks.” The class discussions will look at this book, as well as the parallels between Vonnegut’s vision and today’s economic realities.  How does the management
class of the novel compare with the increasing number of positions in American society held by college graduates?  Are Vonnegut’s “Reeks and Wrecks” a forecast of the workers in today’s gig economy?  How does this book compare to previous dystopian visions of the future, such as Brave New World, Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four, We, etc.  The paperback edition is available on Amazon was listed as $12.99 and on Kindle for $12.99.

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

Foreign Language 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.

Beautiful Gardens of the World

There are fabulous gardens all around the world, and they are all special in different ways. We will explore the history of each garden, and how they came to be what they are today. Consider what makes each garden so special and different from others. Examples would be the tulip garden at Keukenhof in Holland, or the gardens at Versailles with its 600 fountains. Enjoy finding your favorite garden and telling the class about it.

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

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

Wilkie Collins’s masterpiece, hailed by many as the greatest English detective novel, is a brilliant marriage of the sensational and the realistic. The Moonstone is often said to be the godfather of the classic English detective story, its founding text.  Certainly, Collins adheres faithfully to the rules of detective fiction: a mysterious and compelling crime takes place in an English country house; a large cast of potential suspects is assembled, each with plenty of motive, means and opportunity; an incompetent constabulary replaced by a celebrated sleuth/ investigator who, after a “reconstruction” of key elements in the crime, comes up with a satisfying explanation of the puzzle. ISBN 9780486841830. Available in paperback on Amazon for $11.95 and on Kindle for $1.99.

Ancient Egypt (Part II)

Topics will include the Second Intermediate Period, New Kingdom, Third Intermediate Period, Late Period, Persian Period, Hellenistic Period, Alexandria, the Ptolemies, Roman Egypt, Pharaohs and Mesopotamia, Pharaohs and Africa, Pharaohs and Greece.