BOLLI Lecture Series: “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents,” by Joyce Lazarus

February 18th, 2021

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents / Каста: истоки ...Every day we hear loud, urgent calls to address the problem of systemic racism in America. While we can all agree that racism continues to plague our nation, we may wonder what we can do to rid society of it.  In January, Bridget Kelleher, a doctoral student in American history at Brandeis, gave a two-part lecture series on award-winning author Isabel Wilkerson’s newest book, Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents (Random House, 2020). The lectures, followed by animated discussion in our large online BOLLI community, helped us to face up to our country’s troubled past and to confront the task of rebuilding a more just society.

Wilkerson’s beautifully written book is an indictment of America for its shameful legacy of slavery: Jim Crow laws, segregation, mistreatment of Blacks through police brutality, and political and economic policies that perpetuate racism. Read the rest of this entry »


Coming Soon: “‘The Dining Room’ – on ZOOM!'” by Mark Seliber

February 17th, 2021

       The Dining Room by A.R. Gurney | HubPages                

This story begins way back, in pre-Pandemic times – March 6, 2020 to be exact. That was the day the BOLLI theatrical group –CAST (Creative Acting, Storytelling and Theater)– held its first meeting of the spring semester, preparing to put on a production of A.R. Gurney’s play, “The Cocktail Hour,” to be performed during the last lunch hour of the term. Just three days later, Avi sent a note to all BOLLI members, announcing that, because of something known as “COVID-19,” all in-person gatherings were paused and BOLLI would resume online in two weeks, on Zoom, which was unknown to most of us.

But we all still really wanted to put on a show, as professionally as we could do it online. Our director, Richard Averbuch, proposed tackling another, more virtual-friendly, A.R. Gurney play, “The Dining Room,” which had appeared on Broadway in 1982. Read the rest of this entry »


“James Heazlewood-Dale’s Journey,” by Marilyn Brooks

February 4th, 2021

Australian musicians have become a part of the BOLLI scene. Many members will recall Georgia Luikens, who led several study groups during her time as a Brandeis PhD candidate. We have more recently been fortunate to have with us BOLLI lecturer and Study Group Leader James Heazlewood-Dale, who also hails from the Southern Hemisphere. Raised in Melbourne, he began his studies at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. James made the decision to pursue a career as a musician and to immigrate to America when, while on a tour of Australia, Maria Schneider, leader of the U.S.-based Maria Schneider Orchestra, invited him to join her ensemble to play the double bass. Read the rest of this entry »


“Living in the Shadow of the Freud Family,” by Naomi Schmidt (Banner Archives – October 2007)

January 18th, 2021

Most BOLLI members are aware that our own Sophie Freud is the granddaughter of the famous Viennese psychoanalyst. Until the recent publication of her memoir, however, we knew little of the details of her earlier life or of the interesting inter-relationships between members of the Freud family. The central character of Living in the Shadow of the Freud Family (published by Praeger) is neither Sophie nor her famous grandfather, but instead is his daughter-in-law Esti, Sophie’s mother.

The book is structured around passages from Esti’s autobiography and Sophie’s diary as a young girl, along with letters between individual family members, with the current Sophie looking back and commenting on their lives and their relationships. We learn how the two women left Vienna for Paris in 1938 when Sophie was 15 years old, and how a few years later escaped Paris on bicycles as the Nazis were about to enter the city. Read the rest of this entry »


“WHY BOSTON?” by Cecilia Dunoyer

January 5th, 2021

Cecilia Dunoyer - Maestro Musicians Academy of Lexington, MAEarlier this fall I had the pleasure and honor to lead a BOLLI study group for the first time, leading participants on a journey through musical Paris in the 1920s. I looked forward to Wednesday mornings, setting up my Zoom station, sitting at the piano flanked by two computer screens, anticipating the arrival of my new BOLLI friends on one screen and looking at YouTube videos on the other.

I moved to the Boston area just two years ago, and BOLLI has greatly contributed to creating a new life for me and to enabling me to feel a part of a community in this magnificent city. Read the rest of this entry »


Billy Flesch’s “Romeo and Juliet,” by Jack Curley

December 16th, 2020

Romeo

Brandeis Professor of Literature Billy Flesch, BOLLI’s “go-to guy” for deep reads of literary classics, is a master at making connections, and he wasted no time in doing so during his December lectures on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.

Billy began the first of five sessions by noting the play’s timeliness during the current epidemic and pointing out that the Bubonic Plague that raged through 16th century London was a plot element in this and others of Shakespeare’s plays. That is perhaps not surprising given that an estimated twenty percent of Stratford’s residents died of the plague during the year of Shakespeare’s birth, with additional outbreaks taking place throughout his lifetime. Read the rest of this entry »


“Tuning in to Modern Music,” by Carole Grossman – (2007 profile of Naomi and Peter Schmidt)

December 8th, 2020

BOLLI encompasses scholarship, teamwork, and conviviality. All were very much in evidence in the fall 2006 and spring 2007 courses Who’s Afraid of 20th Century Music? led by an outstanding husband and wife team, Naomi and Peter Schmidt.

Naomi and Peter met as graduate students in Physics at Columbia University in 1963 and married in 1967. Peter became an assistant professor of physics at Brandeis in the 1970s and later moved to a career in private industry as a machine vision engineer. Naomi taught math in a community college, taught computer science at Brandeis in the 1970s and 1980s, and then worked at Brandeis and M.I.T in the field of academic computing, helping faculty use information technology in teaching.

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“Norumbega on My Mind,” by Joyce Lazarus

December 1st, 2020

Take a stroll along the west bank of the Charles River facing the Marriott Hotel in Newton and you will notice an old boat house, some canoers enjoying a lazy fall afternoon, one or two swans, and hundreds of Canadian geese in the sparkling waters of the Charles. Cross a bridge and continue your walk east of the hotel and you will reach a thirteen-acre conservation area along the river, with trails passing through meadows, marshland, small forest groves, and picnic spots. Joggers pass by and dogs with their masked owners enjoy the open space. You might be surprised to encounter here and there the ruins of stone pillars and moss-covered walls, ghostly remains of a once magical place: Norumbega Park. Read the rest of this entry »


“The Boston Ethos,” by Larry Schwirian  

November 17th, 2020

Have you ever wondered why so much of what has been written concerning the early history of the United States is about events that occurred in or around Boston? Why was Boston the epicenter of events that led to the American Revolution rather than New York or Philadelphia? Both were more populous than Boston and were also ports dependent on international trade. All three cities, as well as the rest of the British American Colonies, were impacted by the various acts passed by the British Parliament. Why didn’t New York or Philadelphia have revolutionary leaders like Sam Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock? Why do we know so much more about the Boston Massacre than we do about a scuffle between patriots and Red Coats in New York in the same year? Why did the dumping of 46 tons of British tea into Boston harbor happen here and not New York or Philadelphia?   
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“Ellen’s Picks for Virtual Art Tours Around the World,” By Ellen Moskowitz

November 10th, 2020

Royal Ontario Museum

Since we can’t travel outside the country let’s virtually tour some of the great museums located outside the United States. When the pandemic is over, you’ll have some great ideas for future travel. I’ll suggest my favorite at each site but, of course, there’s so much more to see.

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“The Impact of the Pandemic on Movies: What Will be the New Normal?” by Marilyn Brooks

November 5th, 2020

Ty Burr

“Do the movies have a future?” was the opening question in Ty Burr’s October 30th presentation for BOLLI’s Lunch and Learn program, and his answer was both yes and no. Ty, an area native who grew up in Brookline, has been the film critic at the Boston Globe since 2002.  Read the rest of this entry »


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