Category Archives: BOLLI Events

Coverage of BOLLI activities and events, including summaries of our weekly “Lunch & Learn” speaker series, “Scene-ior” acting troupe presentations, and other ventures.

ONE BOLLI, ONE BOOK

During the final week of our Fall Term, BOLLI’s “Book Group” engaged lunchtime attendees in a BOLLI-wide discussion of Philip Roth’s novel, Indignation.

Roth’s book is set in the 1950s and features a butcher’s son from Newark who escapes the family ties that bind by enrolling at a small, traditional college far from home in the rural Midwest.

The BOLLI Book Group’s co-organizers, Abby Pinard and Charlie Marz, moderated the event.  “I think the One Bolli, One Book conversation went extremely well,” Charlie says.  “I’m not very good at estimating the number of people in a crowd, but I would say there were at least 3 or 400 people in the room.”  Abby suggests that 30-40 were actively engaged in the conversation circle, and mentions that another 10-20 observed from the tables.

Abby Pinard and Charlie Marz (left) greet participants in the discussion circle
Abby Pinard and Charlie Marz (left) greet participants in the discussion circle

Charlie points to the conversation as having been lively and substantive.  “Rosalie Fink told me that, although she hadn’t read the novel, she found the discussion so interesting that she went out and bought it and read it,  and, since that time, she’s  become a bit obsessed by Roth, recommending that we do another one of his novels–American Pastoral or Nemesis.  Another ‘silent’ participant, Marty Kafka from The New Yorker Fiction Salon,  told me that, although he hadn’t read the book, he found the discussion so interesting that he stayed just to observe/listen.”

Both Charlie and Abby believe that the event may become an annual one, but, whether that happens or not, the BOLLI Book Group offers excellent reading and discussion opportunities on a regular basis.

Watch The Bulletin for specifics about the group’s upcoming reading and discussion plans.

Want to know more about BOLLI’s Special Interest Groups?  Click here:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33972419/SIGS.pdf

 

 

“RADIO FREE BOLLI” RETURNS TO RAVE REVIEWS!

“RADIO FREE BOLLI” RETURNS!

“Home Cooking Jazz” DJ’s Judith Stone and Nancy Connery with Trivia Maven Sue Wurster

After the successful launch of our term’s end “Radio Free BOLLI” show last spring, the cast and crew returned for an even more spectacular lunchtime presentation on Tuesday, December 6.  For the uninitiated, “Radio Free BOLLI” features the dulcet tones of members Judith Stone and Nancy Connery who provide a weekly “Home Cooking Jazz” show on Monday afternoons from 1-3 on the Brandeis station WBRS 100.1 FM.

This time around, Judith and Nancy–teamed, once again, with Sue as trivia maven, Emily Ostrower as show manager, and Megan Curtis as technician–provided a stroll down “The Great White Way” with Broadway numbers from shows spanning the decades.  All along the way, BOLLI members won amazing prizes in the form of stunning, top-quality plastic refrigerator magnets–but the event ended with a grand prize drawing in which members won places in our winter seminars and even a spring term membership!

As the show got going, the audience did too–eventually just breaking out into a Broadway sing-along thoroughly enjoyed by one and all!  It was an afternoon of hooting, humming, and simple hilarity–so watch for the springtime version of “Radio Free BOLLI!”

Steve Messinger nails a trivia question for a round of enthusiastic applause.
Steve Messinger nails a trivia question for a round of enthusiastic applause.
Sophie Freud, Naomi Schmidt, and Joyce Holman relish a
Sophie Freud, Naomi Schmidt, and Joyce Holman relish a “South Pacific” moment
Harriet Gould and Libby Saks join the hilarity as Phyllis Freeman and Susan Bradford, in the background, prepare to take the next trivia question.
Harriet Gould and Libby Saks join the hilarity as Phyllis Freeman and Susan Bradford, in the background, prepare to take the next trivia question.
Lynn Chernoff and Hella Hakerem inspect the high quality, rare, artistically arresting refrigerator magnet awarded for correctly identifying a number from The Pajama Game.
Lynn Chernoff and Hella Hakerem inspect the high quality, rare, artistically arresting refrigerator magnet awarded for correctly identifying a number from The Pajama Game (or maybe it was Cats…)
And, finally, show manager Emily Ostrower holds the winning ticket for
And, finally, show manager Emily Ostrower holds the winning ticket for “Radio Free BOLLI’s” Grand Prize spring membership winner!

Be sure to join us for our spring edition of “Radio Free BOLLI” when we return to Broadway’s Golden Age for another rousing sing-along and trivia fest!

radio-free-bolli
The “Radio Free BOLLI” Production Crew

From left, our crew consists of Megan Curtis, Technical Director; Sue Wurster, Trivia Maven and “Gypsy” Dancer; Nancy Connery, Co-Creator and DJ Deluxe; Emily Ostrower, Production Manager and Prize Guru; and Judith Stone, the Other Co-Creator and DJ Extraordinaire.

CAST PRESENTS: “Going Solo”

During the last week of the fall term, the BOLLI Membership Committee sponsored lunchtime presentations celebrating ourselves and our activities, providing our fellow BOLLI members with entertainment, discussion, and more!  First up, that week was our intrepid group of actors providing a program called “Going Solo.”

                                                                 CAST                                                                               (Creative Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre)On Monday, our CAST Our CAST members performed monologues drawn from plays (many of them one-character shows) featuring characters from real life.  The performers provided the following glimpses of fascinating people–

CAST Coach/Performer Sue Wurster as Stein

Sue Wurster started off the program with a piece drawn from the play Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein Gertrude Stein by Marty Martin.  The play, a single-character work, featured Pat Carroll in its off-Broadway run in New York in the ’70s and takes place on the eve of Stein’s eviction from her Paris apartment.  In this portion of the work, she talks about the inner self as well as what she was trying to accomplish in her work.

 

Monique Frank as Emily Dickinson

We then moved back in time (and place) from the Paris of 1933 to the Amherst, Massachusetts of the mid-19th Century.  In this scene from William Luce’s one-woman play, The Belle of Amherst, the reclusive poet talks about her father, her sister, and, of course, her poems.

Bunny Cohen as Amelia Earhart

In 1932, the National Geographic Society awarded its Gold Medal to Amelia Earhart for becoming the first woman (and the only person since Charles Lindbergh) to achieve a solo transatlantic flight.  In this passage from Laura Annawyn Shamas’ one-woman play, Amelia Lives, the aviatrix reflects with some amazement upon the extraordinary public response to her flight as she accepts the medal for her achievement.

Becki Norman as Vivien Leigh

In Marcy Lafferty’s one-woman show, Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference, drawn from the Leigh’s own words, we are given a portrait of the troubled and gifted actress not long before the end of her life.  Here, she talks about her most determined campaigns in life:  marrying Laurence Olivier and landing the role of Scarlett O’Hara.

Eileen Mitchell as Eva Peron

In a very unusual piece, First Lady, playwright Erica Christ has provided a unique look at the woman who used her position as Argentina’s first lady to fight for women’s rights and care of the poor. Here, Peron (after her death) reflects upon what it means to be a woman in Argentina…and more.

Sandy Clifford as the irrepressible Molly Ivins

Twin sisters Margaret and Allison Engel have provided a vivid image of brassy Texas newspaper columnist Molly Ivins in their one-woman play, Red Hot Patriot: The Kick-Ass Wit of Molly Ivins.  In this portion of the play, Ivins turns her humor on Texas politics as she tries to write about her father.

Bette Winer as J. Robert Oppenheimer

A scientist herself, Bette Winer was drawn to this particularly powerful monologue from Carson Kreitzer’s compelling play, The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer.   In this passage, the scientist reflects upon the volatile age that he and his Los Alamos crew ushered in when they invented the modern devil, the atomic bomb.

The Cast of CAST’s “Going Solo” Presentation

So, is CAST a closed group?  NO.  Does one have to audition in order to be involved?  NO.  What if you’ve never been on stage in your life but are kind of interested in maybe trying some acting–is this something you could join?   YES!  And so, how would you go about doing that?

Just watch the Bulletin for announcements of our upcoming meeting times (next at BOLLI on Thursday, January 5 from 12:00 – 1:30) when we engage in lots of fun activity–we do some warm-ups, play some theatre games, engage in some improvisation, read scenes and/or plays, and so on.  No experience necessary–just a desire to have some creative fun!

Want to know more about BOLLI’s Special Interest Groups?  Click here:  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/33972419/SIGS.pdf

LUNCHTIME FARE for Week 10 (Dec. 5 – 8): LET’S CELEBRATE!

This week, the last of our Fall 2016 semester, is full of wonderful celebrations sponsored by the Membership Committee and some of our BOLLI Special Interest Groups.  Join us for a wonderful array of festive frolic!

MONDAY:  CAST “Going Solo”

(Creative Acting, Storytelling, and Theatre)

Seven of our BOLLI thespians will present monologues drawn from plays featuring real-life characters.  Above, rehearsal shots feature: Monique Frank as Emily Dickinson, Eileen Mitchell as Eva Peron, Sandy Clifford as Molly Ivens, and Becki Norman as Vivien Leigh.  Others include Bunny Cohen as Amelia Earhart,  and Bette Winer as J. Robert Oppenheimer!   Come and support the remarkable work of these wonderful performers!

TUESDAY:  RADIO FREE BOLLI RETURNS!

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 12.34.30 PM

Back by popular demand!  “Home Cooking Jazz” DJ’s Judith Stone and Nancy Connery take their weekly radio show on the road to 60 Turner Street.  This week’s show features great musicals through the ages.  Come and enjoy music pulled from Broadway shows from the 1920s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and so on.  Along the way, we’ll provide exciting trivia opportunities (complete with exciting prizes) and end up with a Grand Prize Drawing!

radio-free-bolli
Music Producer Megan Curtis, Trivia Master Sue Wurster, DJ Nancy Connery, Production Manager Emily Ostrower, and DJ Judith Stone

 

WEDNESDAY:  “One BOLLI, One Book!”

indignation

BOLLI’s Book Group, led by Charlie Marz and Abby Pinard, will moderate a BOLLI-wide discussion of Philip Roth’s novel, Indignation.  The novel takes readers back to the 1950s with a butcher’s son from Newark who escapes the family ties that bind by enrolling at a small, traditional college far from home in the Midwest.  What could possibly go wrong?

The group’s next  “One BOLLI, One Book” event will take place on Friday January 6 at 12:30 when the discussion will focus on Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel who depicts life before and after the collapse of civilization in this gripping, surprisingly beautiful novel about the endurance of art and the shared stories that connect us and make us human.  Then, on Friday February 3 at 12:30, the discussion will be about Atticus by Ron Hansen.  An aging Colorado rancher, in trying to unravel the mystery of his son’s death, struggles to come to terms with his life.  A moving and beautifully written novel about blame and responsibility and the illogical, consoling, and ultimately redemptive power of the human heart.

 

THURSDAY:  A 21st CENTURY TEVYE

tevye

Boston based actor Jeremiah Kissel stars as Tevye in a new production of the acclaimed musical, Fiddler on the Roof, at Watertown’s successful New Rep Theatre.  On Thursday, Kissel will join us at BOLLI to talk about his experience in this show, offering his perspective on playing a “21st Century Tevye.”  The show, directed by Austin Pendleton (award winning director and HB Studio acting teacher who originated the role of Motel Kamzoil the tailor on Broadway), opens on Friday, December 2 and has already been extended to run through January 1.

fiddler

JOIN US IN MARCH FOR OUR NEXT  LUNCH & LEARN TERM!

And, by the way, if you have ideas for Lunch & Learn presenters, please be sure to let the committee know by clicking here to access the L&L Google form.

The BOLLI Journal’s First Annual Literary and Artistic “Salon”

KICKING OFF THE 2018 BOLLI JOURNAL

by Maxine Weintraub, Editor 

The BOLLI Journal committee hosted its first lunchtime program on Monday. November 14th—a literary and artistic “salon” in the spirit of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas.  We drank alcohol-free bubbly and indulged in cheese and crackers, brownies and grapes as we explored the creative process and its place in the BOLLI Program.  Steve Goldfinger’s poetry (below left), Barbara Jordan’s photos and paintings (middle with Marjorie Roemer), and Jane Kay’s (right with Margie Arons-Barron) tale of a lovingly remembered childhood icon, a blue glass slipper, delighted the audience.  Listening to each of these creative BOLLI members answer questions from Marjorie Roemer, Sue Wurster, and Margie Arons-Barron brought into focus the way in which BOLLI members change and grow as they explore and develop new talents within the BOLLI environment.

Thanks to all who came and participated.  We look forward to many more such programs and invite all of our BOLLI members to become involved with the next Journal issue.  Please submit your poetry, fiction, non-fiction, photos, and art to the Journal – submissions open from now until June of 2017.  In the spirit of sharing, we include the brownie recipe–not from the Toklas’ cookbook and with no hidden ingredients.  In fact, the recipe includes no leavening agents at all!

For specifics on the submissions process, please click here for the BOLLI Journal flyer.

brownies

MAXINE’S (Not Alice’s) BROWNIE RECIPE

Grease and flour a 9 x 12” pan                                                                     preheat oven to 350                                                                                                        in saucepan, melt two sticks of butter and one 4 oz package                            unsweetened chocolate                                                                             remove from heat                                                                                                         beat in two cups of sugar and one teaspoon vanilla                               beat in four eggs                                                                                                             mix in one cup of all-purpose flour                                                                       fold in one package semi-sweet chocolate bits                                           pour into prepared pan                                                                                            bake until done (about 25 minutes, depending upon your oven)     cool on rack and try not to eat them all at one sitting.

Possible variations on this recipe are endless.  Any kind of chocolate chips will do.  Try adding a fruit cup mix at holiday time.  Nuts. Almond flavoring.

Maxine Weintraub reading
BOLLI Journal Editor, Maxine Weintraub

Maxine Weintraub, who heads the 2018 BOLLI Journal committee as editor, is no stranger to arts and letters magazines.  She is a regular contributor to The Goose River Anthology and has produced two volumes of her short stories.

 

CLIMATE CHANGE Presentation and Video

Missed Dr. Emanuel’s Presentation?
emanuel presentation
On Tuesday November 1, 2016 the Lunch and Learn Committee presented MIT’s Dr. Kerry Emanuel,  a world renowned expert on Climate Change.  He was gracious enough to provide us his material and Matt has placed it on the web within Google Docs.  Click here to access this presentation on Google Docs.
Dr. Emanuel gave a similar talk two years ago which is available through YouTube.  You can click here to go directly to that video.
emanuel video
Dr. Emanuel in Action

THE SCENE-IORS ARE IN “THE DINING ROOM”–MAY 19

DINING ROOM 1

During the Lunch & Learn hour on Thursday, May 19th, the Scene-iors, BOLLI’s intrepid troupe of actors, will present a staged reading of A.R. Gurney’s play, The Dining Room.  Gurney’s play provides audiences with what the Samuel French acting edition describes as “an in-depth portrait of a vanishing species: the upper-middle-class WASP.” Under the able direction of Becky Myers with assistance from veteran Scene-ior  Eileen Mitchell, a small cast of actors portrays a wide array of characters in a collection of vignettes that bring the dining rooms of a dying culture to life.

The Dining Room cast includes: Sandy Clifford, Davida Loewenstein, Becki Norman, and Bobbe Vernon as both young and old, male and female characters. Irwin Garfinkle portrays all of the families’ patriarchs, and Sue Wurster serves as their maids.

When asked how she chose the play for the group, director Becky Meyers said:

The Dining Room was a good candidate because of its structure–a series of vignettes with essentially unrelated characters.  I knew that I’d be able to pick & choose which scenes to include, depending on who and how many were in the group.  This semester, we have six cast members, and, of course, everyone has several different roles.  Due to the play’s structure, one of the most challenging aspects of my director’s role has been to work out the blocking.

“Choreographing all the entrances & exits has truly been like herding cats–but a fine herd of cats it is!  I think the most challenging thing for cast members will be, not the blocking and the costume changes, but the getting truly into & out of different characters multiple times!

“The first time I directed, I chose Love of One’s Neighbor, a satire by Leonid Andreyev, a very funny social commentary that had lots of small roles.  Another year, three one-act plays by Susan Glaspell provided a humorous take on very serious topics, such as feminism and Freudian analysis.  Another one with a serious bent was Waiting For Lefty, which, again, was a series of vignettes providing multiple parts for cast members.

“I love this stuff.  The plays themselves, the cast members, the camaraderie, the BOLLI audience!”

SCRS 3
Director Becky Meyers with cast members (from left) Bobbe Vernon, Davida Loewenstein, Sandy Clifford, and Becki Norman

The cast members are equally enthusiastic about The Dining Room. Sandy says that “I love having the opportunity to explore many different characters that range in age from a young boy to an old woman.”

Bobbe echoes Sandy’s sentiments, adding that “the challenges are making quick costume and personality changes, but the hardest part will be trying to sing on key!”

“I really enjoy the opportunity to play both older and younger characters,” says Becki Norman, “and, of course the friendship and camaraderie of the group.”

SCRS 4
Irwin Garfinkle awaiting an entrance

When asked what he most enjoys about his experience with the show, Irwin grins and says sheepishly, “My harem.”

THE NEW YORKER FICTION SALON: A “Taste” of BOLLI

                           THE NEW YORKER FICTION SALON
Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 8.50.58 PM
Discussion Leader Abby Pinard
The New Yorker Fiction Salon”  has been discussingNew Yorker short stories since 2004.   Early in the term, the group provided BOLLI’s lunchtime audience with a taste of its activity.
The audience split into groups (led by Abby Pinard, Emily Ostrower, and John Hose)  to discuss “Bedtimes” by Tim Parks.  Kay Sackman provided a brief biographical sketch of the author.  “I’ve never come to the group before,” indicated one member in the discussion  being led by Emily Ostrower.  “I think this was a great idea.”   Another member, Erika Cohen,  on the other hand, has been participating in the group for some time, saying, though, that she doesn’t really consider herself to be a big reader, “But I get so much from what the others have to say.”  When asked, the Salon’s leader Sandy Traiger said she chose the story because, “It was short!”  But she then added thoughtfully, “It was also very provocative–and we like provocative stories.”
During the term, The New Yorker Fiction Salon meets on Wednesday mornings from 9:30–11:00.  No sign-up, registration, or ongoing commitment is required.  “Drop-ins” are always welcome.  Each week’s story can be accessed via a link in the Bulletin.

 

 

THE WRITERS GUILD – Another “Taste of BOLLI”

ANOTHER “TASTE OF BOLLI” – THE WRITERS GUILD

The BOLLI Writers Guild meets on Fridays from 12:30-2 in the Gold Room
The BOLLI Writers Guild meets on Fridays from 12:30-2 in the Gold Room

On Thursday, the six members of BOLLI’s writing group provided a glimpse of what the guild is all about. Group organizers Maxine Weintraub and Sue Wurster started the group last spring as they came to the end of their five-week course with Betsy Campbell, “Five Short Stories in Five Weeks.” Both were concerned that, without such a group, they might not keep up the momentum they had developed during the course. Since that time, the group has met, weekly, to generate, share, and get feedback on their writing to help them improve their skill.

The high standard of their work was evident in their reading, and the pieces they chose to read demonstrated the wide range of styles and genres they have explored. Margie Arons-Barron shared fiction and memoir; Judy Blatt provided some of her characteristic “surprise ending” fiction; Larry Schwirian shared fiction and a personal reflective essay; Karen Wagner provided poetry; Maxine presented memoir; and Sue read fiction rooted in both imagination and real-life.

The group is provided with a writing prompt for each week, which some use while others don’t. But, on Thursday, the BOLLI audience was provided with a prompt and was given five minutes in which to “free write” in response to it. Bunny Cohen volunteered to share hers, saying, “I am not a writer” as she stepped to the microphone. And yet, what followed was a lovely, short poem–demonstrating, once again, that we are all writers!

PROMPT
Bunny Cohen responded to this group prompt with a very short, strikingly poetic piece featuring her aunt.

The group meets in the Gold Room on Fridays from 12:30 to 2:00. Prompts are provided in the weekly Bulletin.  All are invited to attend!