Tag Archives: feature

JANUARY “BOOK NOOK”: Two BIG Novels

As the winter cold sets in,  Abby offers ideas for some good long-term reading time.   Here are two items you may have either missed along the way or might simply want to re-read.

THE FORSYTE SAGA

John Galsworthy, 1921

“He had long forgotten the small house in the purlieus of Mayfair, where he had spent the early days of his married life, or rather, he had long forgotten the early days, not the small house, – a Forsyte never forgot a house – he had afterwards sold it at a clear profit of four hundred pounds.”

There you have it. Nine hundred pages of delicious soap opera wrapped around sly commentary on the acquisitiveness and striving of the British upper-middle classes around the turn of the twentieth century. The Forsytes aren’t landed aristocracy like Lord Grantham of “Downton Abbey.” They’re only a couple of generations removed from farmers. But they’ve been successful in trade, in publishing, at the bar, and they live in ongepotchket Victorian splendor, faithfully served by retainers and housemaids, in London and its environs.

Galsworthy was himself the product of a wealthy family and trained as a barrister before traveling abroad, meeting Joseph Conrad and envisioning a different life. He fell in love with the wife of his cousin, an army major, and married her after a ten-year affair and her eventual divorce. He was among the first writers to deal with social class in his work and to challenge the mores and ideals reinforced by the Victorian writers who preceded him. Notably, but not surprisingly given his personal life, he defied the standard view of women as property and defended their right to leave unhappy marriages.

“’I don’t know what makes you think I have any influence,’ said Jolyon; ‘but if I have I’m bound to use it in the direction of what I think is her happiness. I am what they call a “feminist,” I believe…I’m against any woman living with any man whom she definitely dislikes. It appears to me rotten.’”

It is the unhappily married woman referred to here around whom much of The Forsyte Saga revolves. Irene (I-reen-ee), disastrously married to a “man of property,” is the antithesis of a Forsyte. She represents beauty and art and passion and free will. Before reluctantly marrying Soames Forsyte, she extracted a promise that he would let her go if it didn’t work out. His failure to do so drives the story and a multi-generational family estrangement. While Galsworthy thoroughly develops the other primary characters, Irene is a beautiful cipher at the center of the novel. We never get her point of view; we see her through the eyes of others and can only infer her thoughts and feelings.

The Forsyte Saga features a huge cast of characters but the family tree that accompanies most editions is needed only at the beginning. To Galsworthy’s credit, we quickly get to know the main characters and the chorus of peripheral relatives that swirl around them. There are births, deaths, betrayals, couplings, uncouplings, recouplings, and generational upheaval, all conveyed in deft, eminently readable prose, a short 900 pages. This is a sumptuous wallow of a book with redeeming social value.

EARTHLY POWERS

Anthony Burgess, 1980

A monumental novel that stuck in my mind for thirty years as an all-time favorite but needed to be reread to remind me why. An octogenarian British writer, said to be loosely based on W. Somerset Maugham, is tasked to attest to a miracle that will support the canonization of a Pope and writes his memoirs, giving us a personal tour of the 20th-century through his life as a homosexual, lapsed Catholic, successful but mediocre writer, and exile. Examines morality, the nature of evil, the role of religious belief and more. Linguistically playful and full of historical inaccuracies courtesy of its unreliable narrator, the novel features one of the best opening lines in literature* (sure to send you to the dictionary), and is funny, painful, thought-provoking, entertaining, challenging and rewarding. Shortlisted for the Booker prize in 1980, it often appears high on lists of best British fiction of the late 20th century.

*”It was the afternoon of my eighty-first birthday, and I was in bed with my catamite when Ali announced that the archbishop had come to see me.”

 

Screen Shot 2016-03-10 at 8.50.58 PM
“Book Nook” feature writer and Book Group co-leader, Abby Pinard

Abby is a lifelong book nut who retired from a forty-year computer software career in 2007 and ticked an item off her bucket list by going to work in a bookstore. She is a native New Yorker who moved to Boston recently to be among her people:  family and Red Sox fans.  She is a music lover, crossword puzzler, baseball fan, and political junkie who flunked Halloween costumes but can debug her daughter’s wifi.

 

 

 

 

BOLLI’S PHOTO GROUP: Getting the Picture

During the Fall Term, the BOLLI Photo Group treated us all to a glimpse of their activities in a wonderful lunchtime presentation.  It helped to introduce this very popular Special Interest Group to the membership as a whole and highlighted some of its activities.

Group organizer Joanne Fortunato kicked off the presentation with some images from the group’s October trip to the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.  She focused, in particular, on one outdoor installation called “Lincoln”  One would think the photographers’ images would all be quite similar considering that they were shooting the same thing.  But, clearly, this is never the case!  Note how very original these shots are!

Miriam Soybel
Miriam Soybel
Mel Markowitz (shooting Dick Hanelin)
Dick Hanelin
Joanne Fortunato
Joanne Fortunato
“Weathered” by Steve Schwartz
“Rabbit Hole” by Steve Schwartz
“Out of the Darkness” by Steve Schwartz

Other members of the group presented aspects of their work for the BOLLI lunchtime audience.

Linda Brooks shared her “Photography Projects with a Focus.”  She particularly likes working with themes and, after her “Windows and Doors Calendar” (which you can find on the blog by scrolling through SIG “Photo Group” items), she started creating books, including a dog story for children.  She photographed the 30 day gestation period taking place in the robin’s nest outside her kitchen window, and is now into flowers.

Helen Abrams provided “Photographing Trees: A Personal Journey.” As a docent at Mt. Auburn, she has an excellent opportunity to check out a huge number of different types of trees and focus on their fascinating differences–their twisted trunks and branches, their leaves…in all sorts of light.  She says that they eventually start to look like they’re going to move!  (You can find one leg of this journey in a very early blog item by scrolling back through the SIG “Photo Group” items.)

Steve Schwartz showed “Interpretations: Familiar and Artistic.”  He says that, as a CPA, photography fulfills his fascination with the intersection of precision and feelings.  His work, exemplified by his “Lincoln” photographs above, clearly does just that!

And, finally, the irrepressible BOLLI photo enthusiast/SGL/and field trip leader extraordinaire Arthur Sharenow rounded out the event by providing “Tips for Taking Good Pictures,” sharing some hits and misses.  Always a treat!

The group meets on one Friday afternoon per month–check the BOLLI calendar for meeting dates/times.  At each meeting, the group takes time to critique each other’s work, share ideas, and plan events.  Any interested BOLLI member–from beginner to professional–is welcome!  Coming up, another photography show featuring works by members of the group will be installed in the Purple Room for the spring term.

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

JANUARY TECH TALK WITH JOHN RUDY: PHISHING

DON’T FEED THE PHISH!

By John Rudy

Many of you have heard the term Phishing.  And phishing works like this.  You receive an email that looks like it came from a company you trust.  Typically, it indicates that there is a problem with your account and asks you to click on a link to resolve it.  Sometimes, it indicates that you have a gift waiting for you and asks you to click to receive it.  Any time you receive an unsolicited email like this, you should be suspicious.  Is it really from a site you can trust?  Once you click on one of its links, it is too late.  So, Message #1 is Do Not Click.

Then, look at the email address it came from.  In many cases, the words after the @ do not look  like those from the website you know.  Let’s take a simple example.  If you use PAYPAL, you know that their site is www.paypal.com.  I recently received a message, purportedly from PayPal, which came from noreply@gator4248.hostgator.com.  I think we can all agree that this doesn’t look as if it came from PayPal.  Recently, there have been a lot of phishing attacks purportedly from Amazon and PayPal.  Kim Komando has written an excellent article which should be required reading:   http://www.komando.com/happening-now/382417/top-story-paypal-and-amazon-phishing-scams-spreading-now/all

Kim Komando’s newsletter is free, and I recommend signing up to receive it.

BOLLI Tech Talker John Rudy
BOLLI Tech Talker John Rudy

John Rudy, a long time computer expert and guide, provides his helpful hints in this monthly BOLLI Matters feature.  In the comment box below, provide questions on this month’s or any other computer/tech topic that you’d like to know more about in future Tech Talk articles.

john.rudy@alum.mit.edu (781-861-0402

 

THE CHEF’S CORNER with John Rudy: Tiramisu

We discover all sorts of interesting aspects as we get to know our BOLLI colleagues–who knew that John Rudy is not only a  knowledgable “techie” but an accomplished “foodie” as well?!    We at BOLLI Matters are pleased to introduce our new FOOD FEATURE–  

TIRAMISU

When in Italy for our 20th anniversary (1988) we had Tiramisu, a tasty creamy dessert, made from dozens of different recipes–including Tiramisu ice cream!  When we returned, we scoured the Italian cookbooks looking for a Tiramisu recipe but didn’t find anything that sounded right.  Then, for our daughter’s Bat Mitzvot, we asked our caterer to make one.  It was excellent, exactly what we wanted, but he refused to divulge any recipe details.

After continuing to look, in a casual way, over the years, we started to see tiramisu recipes, but, again, none were really quite right.  So,  I decided I’d try modifying a recipe I found–I omitted the wine and used sponge cake instead of lady fingers.  I contacted a local gourmet shop to find the Mascarpone cheese.  They asked if I was making Tiramisu.  When I said “yes” and that I wasn’t happy with my recipe, the fellow said that he was teaching an Italian cooking course and would be teaching Tiramisu the following week.   What follows is an amalgam of my recipe, his recipe, some things found in cookbooks, and a number of personal changes.  There are hundreds of different recipes available.  Many use brandy, Marsala wine or Amaretto, none of which taste right to me.  Very few use chunks of chocolate.

Tiramisu has a cake portion (I use home-made sponge cake; traditionalists use lady fingers which are dry), a coffee-liquor mix, and a cheese mix.  Make Tiramisu at least a day before so that it has time to sit.  Remove it from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving.

The following is enough for a Pyrex 8”x8” pan plus a Pyrex 9”x14” pan.  I use glass pans.  It takes ~2½ hours to make this dessert.  (If you want to use only the larger pan, use two-thirds of the following ingredients.)

The Cake

8                   Eggs, separated, at room temperature

2 cups        Flour, sifted BEFORE measuring

2 cups        Sugar, granulated

2 tsp.         Vinegar, white  (it causes the sponge cake to rise; but                                    leaves no taste)

  1. Beat egg whites in a large bowl until fluffy; slowly beat in sugar.
  2. Separately, mix yolks and vinegar;  beat slowly into whites.
  3. Sift flour, then measure, and sift into batter while slowly beating the egg-sugar mixture.
  4. Pour half of the mixture into the two pans. Do not flour or butter the pans.  Pour the other half of the mixture into an11x17x1 cookie sheet, which has been lined with wax paper.  This will later be used for the top layer.  If you use a smaller pan, it will not cover both surfaces.
  5. Bake at 350° for about 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick poked into the cake’s middle comes out clean.  Do not be surprised if the pans take different amounts of time.
  6. Cool the glass pans upside down so that the sponge cake does not shrink.

Soaking the Cake

2 cups        Cold Coffee  (the stronger the better)

¾ cup         Crème de Cocoa  (you could use another liquor)

As evenly as possible, pour half (or a bit less) into the two cake pans, onto the sponge cake.  This will be the lower half of the cake.  Save the remaining liquid.

Cheese Mixture

24 oz         Marscapone cheese.  (room temp).  Can use the microwave                      to soften but not for more than 15 seconds for an 8 oz                                  container

6                Eggs, separated

8 oz           Chocolate, bittersweet, coarsely chopped  (Guittard semi-                       sweet Super Cookie Chips or Nestles Chunks work well).

2/3 cup     Sugar, granulated

  1. Beat egg whites until fluffy.
  2. Whisk egg yolks in double boiler with very hot, but not boiling, water. Whisk in the sugar.  Cook for a few minutes.  Ensure that the yolks do not turn hard by whisking constantly.
  3. Mix in the egg whites and then stir in the softened Marscopone cheese. This will be very tight in the double boiler!  You may find it easier to add these ingredients to the larger egg-white bowl for blending, and then return the mixture to the double boiler for about 5 minutes.
  4. I use the extra large chocolate pieces for chocolate chip cookies and might chop some pieces. Fold the chocolate into to the mixture and remove from the heat.  Otherwise the chocolate will melt.  Or could sprinkle the chocolate after pouring the cheese mixture.
  5. Spread the cheese mixture over the soaked sponge cake.

Finishing it off

1 pint         Cream, whipping  (beat cold, in cold bowl)

¼ cup        Sugar, granulated

1 tsp          Cocoa, un-sweetened  (can use regular cocoa or flaked chocolate)

  1. Take the waxed paper off the other piece of sponge cake and cut it so that it fits over the cheese mixture in the two pans.
  2. Pour the remaining coffee-liquor mixture over the cakes so that it soaks in.
  3. Whip the cream and sugar and, using a rubber spatula, spread over the two cakes covering any cracks in the sponge cake and also keeping in the moisture. Use a sponge to clean the edges.
  4. Sprinkle the cocoa over the cakes for decoration. This is done most easily by putting the cocoa into a fine-mesh sieve and tapping the sides while moving it over the cake.  Use a sponge to wipe the sides of the pans, removing any extra whipped cream and cocoa.  Cover carefully with Glad Wrap
  5. Let sit, covered, refrigerated, for at least 24 hours before serving. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving.  This dessert can be frozen
  6. It should really be covered, but plastic wrap can damage the top. Sometimes I just put wax paper over it–it is usually eaten before it dries out.
Chef John Rudy says that his mother inspired his lifelong love of cooking and baking. (She cooked vegetables in boilable packages.)

DECEMBER SENIOR MOMENT: ELLSVILLE

This month, Liz David reflects upon having had to make an important decision…one that many of us have either had to make or may face in the coming years.  As always, she shares her experience with warmth and sensitivity.

ELLSVILLE

By Liz David

When I was pregnant with our fourth child, Ted, in 1969, Barry and I
bought a piece of land south of Plymouth in Manomet.  It was a ¼ acre lot on a bluff overlooking Cape Cod Bay.  We could see, seemingly forever, from the sweep of the Cape at Plymouth to PTown.

We built a Stanmar four-bedroom house with floor to ceiling glass sliders facing the view.  It was an easy to maintain, efficient second home.  Facing the water, a small grassy area led to a flight of seventy-seven stairs.  Standing on the landing looking down and across the view, it felt like we could take flight!

In Manomet, the coastline is rugged–with sand, pebbles, rocks, shells, boulders, forlorn broken lobster traps and buoys.  Oh, and don’t forget the seaweed. Ted collected buoys which were hung around the house on the deck.

In 1972, our fifth child was born, and our family was complete: four sons and a daughter–Jon, Larry, Marc, Ted, and Betsy.  I told Barry I would not be a weekend wife, and he agreed, arriving in time for dinner most nights, braving the traffic from his office in Waltham.

We did what most families do at the beach. We sunbathed, swam, boated, entertained guests, entertained guests, and entertained guests. We had a permanent guest for about 7 years–my mother, Violet.

As time went by, the children grew up. Imagine that!  Barry and I decided to sell the house and look for another in the same general area. We didn’t want to have to deal with the Sagamore Bridge traffic to get to our 2nd home. We thought that maybe, just maybe we would find a home to retire to.  After about a year, we found just the place in Ellisville, South of Manomet. Ellisville was originally a Native American settlement used for fishing and farming, and, later, for many years, it was a fishing village with an inlet that provided safe harbor.

I knew when we approached the house and sat in the car at the top of the driveway that this was the place.  We could see through the windows of the house that it had an expansive view overlooking a marsh that stretched out to the sea.  It was–and, of course, still is–breathtaking.  The house became a home in ways that the first house did not, at least in appearance.  It was built for permanence.  The bedroom was my favorite room.  We could see the sunrise and the moonglow from the bed.  I told Barry, “this is where I want to die.”

Well, it’s not where I’m going to die because  the second home in Ellisville became too much to manage, and we decided to sell rather than move so far away from our family.   Ted, who was born in 1969, is now 47 and  lives in Lincoln with his precious family–his wife Nandini and  daughters  Maya, Mira and Lakshmi.  That is the best reason for staying put!

I wrote the following poem shortly after the sale.

 

AFTER THE SALE

With Recognition to Edna St. Vincent Millay

With my eyes closed I see the sea                                                                      Soft waves undulating toward the shore                                                      Sails flapping, ships calmly traveling in the distance

Closer by – the breeze brushes the marsh grass

Soft green in Summer                                                                                                          Rust in Autumn                                                                                                                      Dull gray as Winter sets in

Herons stretch their graceful necks

Egrets step daintily – feeding                                                                                        Swans a swimming – regal, aloof                                                                                  Crows perched in the trees – calling in conversation

And the hummingbirds fluttering in their perennial dance

With my eyes closed let me pretend                                                                 That the rustle of the leaves in the wind in Sudbury                                     Is the sound of the sea in Ellisville

*

Eleanor and Liz
“Senior Moments” feature writers Eleanor Jaffe and Liz David

Liz says…Years ago, when we were in our 40’s, my husband and I bought a sundial with the saying “grow old along with me–the best is yet to be.”  I’m not sure whether or not I believed it then, and I’m wondering whether I believe it now. Stay tuned.

FINDING “HIDDEN GEMS” OFF-SITE: A Unique New BOLLI Course

FINDING “HIDDEN GEMS” OFF-SITE

By Elaine Dohan and Class Participants

addison-at-andover-academy
“Hidden Gems” participants at the Addison Gallery of American Art at Andover Academy.  (From left:  Anne Walker, Fran Goldberg, Diane Winkelman, Hannah Delfiner, Sandy Traiger, Elaine Dohan, Lenore Goldstein, Tamara Chernow, Joyce Plotkin, Helen Kadish, Patsy Benincasa.)

Years ago, Tamara Chernow, Eileen Mitchell, and I planned and organized docent-led tours of many different museums located in the area.  Lunch was always included, and sometimes buses were provided as well.  These outings were very popular for social as well as educational reasons.  It was a huge job, and I guess you could say we “wore out.”  Eventually, though, it seemed to be something worth bringing back to life.  The result?  Hidden Gems, the very first “off site” BOLLI course designed to tap into the rich cultural community we enjoy here in the Boston area.

This term, participants in our five-week Hidden Gems course traveled to museums with excellent docents who expanded upon the readings that the group read preceding their visits.  But the first meeting of the course took place at 60 Turner Street when Nancy Alimansky provided our introductory lecture.  She really set the stage for the course, offering us tips on how to “access” pieces of art.  She focused on aspects of contemporary and modern art, providing slides and referring to the greatest of these artists.  She even referred to the wonderful photographs hanging in the Blue Room, executed by our own artists and available to us all the time.  Nancy clearly knows and loves her subject, making her the perfect example of what makes a good teacher.

After that wonderful opening session, we embarked on our visits to the Addison Gallery at Andover Academy, the Fuller Craft Museum, the Davis Museum on the Wellesley College campus, and Brandeis’ own Rose Gallery.   Lenore Goldstein, Anne Walker, Joyce Plotkin, and Diane Winkelman have provided some details about each of our visits to these gems.

AT THE ADDISON GALLERY OF AMERICAN ART

By Lenore Goldstein

addison-1

The Addison Gallery of American art was created by alumnus Thomas Cochran “to enrich permanently the lives of the students of Phillips Academy.”  The Gallery is a teaching resource as well as an art center for the students and faculty of the Academy, for other students, teachers and scholars and for the general public. Its collection of more than 17000 objects of American art dating from the 18th century to the present is one of the most comprehensive in the world.

Our BOLLI class visited two exhibits—“Manzanar: Photographs by Ansel Adams” and  “Eye on the Collection:  Fall, 2016.”  We were led by a terrific docent who gave us insight into many of the pieces in the museum’s collection.  But it is the Manzanar exhibit that stays with me.

manzanar-nurse

Manzanar was one of the War Relocation Centers during World War II.  The purpose of Adams’s photographs was to provide propaganda showing that the Japanese (who, for the most part, were American citizens) suffered a great injustice but created a vital community within the Relocation Center in the desert.  Most of his photographs were of happy, productive families engaging in happy, productive activities.  That upset me.  I understood Adams’ motive, but I couldn’t put behind me that the Japanese were prisoners who had been kicked out of their homes, lost their jobs, their possessions, their lives.  And of course I thought of the Holocaust.

This museum has so much to offer.   Opening this week is an exhibit called “The Deception of Perception.”  It focuses on distortion and ambiguity in photography.   This “Hidden Gem” is well worth a trip to Andover.

THE FULLER CRAFT MUSEUM

By Anne Walker;  photos by Hannah Delfiner

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Who knew?  Wonders abound in the Metrowest, and I barely knew it!  For instance, Brockton has one of the very few museums devoted entirely to “work of the hand.”

Fuller Craft Museum was an eye- opening experience.  From the ultra-edgy “Steam Punk” installations to an appealing gift shop, it is a marvelous surprise.  Gorgeous, satiny finishes on contemporary furniture, sensuous wood-grained bowls and platters, books recycled into expertly detailed hand-cut constructions were a source of unexpected delight as well.

One of the most surprising aspects of the Fuller Craft museum is that it is sited on a beautiful lake with walking trails and an outdoor collection of sculptures which we must see in the spring!

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THE DAVIS MUSEUM AT WELLESLEY COLLEGE

by Joyce Plotkin with gallery photos byHannah Delfiner

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Our trip to the Davis Museum at Wellesley College was timed beautifully – just after a three-year transformation of the galleries was completed – which enabled the Museum to double the number of art works on display.  The Davis, opened in 1993, was designed by Spanish architect Rafael Moneo, winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize, and features art objects from antiquity to the modern day.

We started in the basement of the museum and first saw an exhibit titled Partners in Design:  Alfred Barr and Philip Johnson.  Barr, who taught the first undergraduate art course in modern art at Wellesley College, and Johnson, Museum of Modern Art’s first curator of architecture, together were responsible for bringing modernism to North America in the form of the German Bauhaus movement which concentrated on stripping down objects to their simplest form (with no ornamentation) and focused on rational and functional design.  The exhibit contains furniture from both Barr’s and Johnson’s apartments including a cantilevered chair that, when viewed at a particular angle, looks like it is floating on air.

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Also on display were examples of kitchen and household objects stemming from the movement that was active in the 1920’s and early 30’s but was ultimately shut down by the Communists.  It was interesting to me to see this phase of Philip Johnson’s work, as my husband and I recently saw, in Madrid, the Gate of Europe towers –the first inclined skyscrapers in the world – designed by Johnson and another colleague and completed in 1996. It was described by our tour guide as a building that typified the architecture of the future.

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Our second stop was the top floor of the museum which hosted the most recent works of art in a beautifully re-decorated, very inviting, high-ceilinged gallery with natural light pouring in from the skylights above.  As we entered the gallery, we were met by a terrific Alexander Calder mobile hanging from the ceiling and wandered through the fifth floor gallery observing a pairing of great paintings by Jackson Pollock and his wife Lee Krasner, interesting representative works by female artists Grandma Moses, Helen Frankenthaler and Louise Nevelson, a boldly colored Andy Warhol sculpture of Brillo and Campbell soup boxes as well as wonderful offerings by Picasso, de Kooning, and many others.  Personally, what delighted me beyond the wonderful art was the fact that the Museum featured the works of numerous women.  I hope the museum continues and expands the trend of acquiring and displaying works of art by women.

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Since we did not have time to see the whole museum during our class time, my husband and I went back to the Davis two days after this visit to see all of the exhibits.  We were delighted with the European and American exhibits and definitely recommend the Davis as an interesting destination for other BOLLI members.

 

THE HIDDEN GEM IN OUR OWN BACK YARD:  

THE ROSE GALLERY

by Diane Winkelman

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BOLLI’s new “Hidden Gems” class ended with the jewel in our own back yard.  We were treated to a curator/docent led tour of the exhibits currently on view at the Rose.   Learning about contemporary art with a curator who had recently come from the Museum of Modern Art in New York was extraordinary.   Our initial view of the museum was of David Reed’s painting – from afar and then close up. The experiences were dramatically different. We learned about his use of paint to create large dramatic canvases that had never been seen all together in one room until this show at the Rose.

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Each gallery had a show by a different artist.   Sarah Sze’s: Timekeeper combined sculpture, installation art, and painting to produce a visually fascinating statement about time and perception.

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Do go and explore the rest. If you get fatigued in museums, don’t  forget to rest in Mark Dion’s room installation ” The Undisciplined Collector” … a permanent room installation that might make you feel right at home.

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The Undisciplined Collector

 

Thank you, Elaine, for a wonderful experience!

Diane Winkelman, Tamara Chernow, Anne Walker, Joyce Plotkin, Elaine Dohan, Helen Kadish, Hannah Delfiner, Sandy Traiger, Fran Goldberg, Lenore Goldstein

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEET MEMBER MARILYN BROOKS: MYSTERY MAVEN

At BOLLI, we seem to have a host of members who enjoy good mysteries. So, when I discovered that Marilyn Brooks writes a blog in which she reviews mysteries old and new, I went right for it–and it is, of course, terrific…as is Marilyn herself!

MEET MEMBER MARILYN BROOKS

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I’ve always been a reader, starting with Nancy Drew (my favorite, of course) and going on to Cherry Ames and Sue Barton.  The last two are nurses, but there were always mysteries in the novels.  I think I find mysteries so satisfying because there’s a definite plot to follow, a storyline that has to make sense to be successful.  And, of course, there’s always the fun of trying to guess the ending!

I don’t collect in that I don’t buy first editions or valuable books, but I do have a couple of hundred mysteries in my house.  Since I started writing my blog more than six years ago, publishers have even been sending me books to review, so I’ve been gratefully adding those to my bookshelves.

My husband Bob and I, both originally from Brooklyn, have been living in Needham for forty-six years.  We have two grown sons, two daughters-in-law, and four grandchildren.  I was the academic administrator for the Latin American and Latino Program at Brandeis for seventeen years, retiring in 2010.

Our older son Rich, who owns a web site design and social media company in Portland, Maine, kept saying I should start a blog because I read non-stop.  I countered by saying that I could not imagine why anyone would care what I thought.  He countered by saying that I knew more about mysteries than anyone he knew.  Eventually, he convinced me, and I reluctantly started blogging.  Turns out I love doing it.

I should add that, after a couple of years of blogging, my husband suggested contacting the author of each book I covered, letting him/her know about the review.  I started doing that, and I’ve been amazed by the positive responses I’ve had from authors, ranging from first-time writers to those who’ve been writing for decades.  Some have even linked to my blog from their Facebook pages or Twitter accounts.  Those letters, plus the excitement of getting new books from various publishers, add to the pleasure I get from writing a weekly blog.

I joined BOLLI in 2010, shortly after I retired from Brandeis.  Since then, I’ve taken two courses each semester and have also taken several winter/summer seminars–they’ve all been stimulating and enjoyable; I’ve learned so much on so many topics.  The SGLs have been uniformly excellent, and I’m always impressed by the knowledge that my classmates have on a wide variety of subjects.

My blog, published every Saturday, is www.marilynsmysteryreads.com.

MEET MEMBER DICK HANELIN: “WELL-GROUNDED” PRINTMAKER

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BOLLI Member Dick Hanelin shares linoleum prints based on his photography with the Camera Club.

At a meeting of the Camera Club during the spring term, relatively new BOLLI member Dick Hanelin shared linoleum prints he has made from photos he has taken.  The amount of detail and intricacy in his work are quite stunning.  Here’s what Dick has to say about his art.

I was an elementary school teacher for 37 years and taught in New York City and Newton, MA.   As a teacher,  I integrated the visual and performing arts into all curriculum areas.  After retirement, I took a variety of art courses and found I was most smitten by creating sculptures and linoleum prints.  Through Arthur Sharenow’s course at BOLLI,  my interest in photography was rekindled, and I have used some of my photos as a springboard for creating some of my linoleum prints.

I was drawn to linoleum prints because of the bold and graphic images that can be created through the use of contrasts.  In seeking out subjects for my prints, I am always thinking about shape, texture, line, and value. These elements of design are my driving force. That is why, for example, I find construction sites and basements (not your typical subjects) as fertile ground for my prints. I try to create a tension and movement in my pieces by using both realistic and imaginative elements in my compositions.

The printmaking process begins with making a drawing and then transferring it onto a block of linoleum.  I then carve into the linoleum with a variety of tools that create marks of different thicknesses. After this, ink is rolled onto the block of linoleum. (For my prints, it’s black ink.)  Where I have cut out the linoleum, white lines, shapes, and textures will appear, while the rest of the print will be black or gradations of grey.  This process takes much time, but I find it very enjoyable.

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Dick and his wife Isobel, both career educators,  are now active BOLLI members who serve on the Study Group Support Committee. We are all benefitting from the wealth of their experience!