Special Events 2020-21

Past Special Events (click to view):
---------------------------------------------------- Recent Special Events ----------------------------------------------------

Fran White:  COVID Virus Update – what you need to know
Wednesday, March 10, 1:30:  Fran White
In her talk Ms. White will discuss:
  • Impact of virus variants on us
  • Testing – when, how and where
  • Vaccine – Moderna, Pfizer, or Johnson and Johnson
  • Exposure after the vaccine
  • What is the new normal
For details and brief bio, click here

Susan Solomont  will speak about her book Lost and Found In Spain: Tales of An Ambassador’s Wife
Thursday, Jan. 28, 10:00 - 11:15

When her husband was appointed by President Barack Obama to be U.S. Ambassador to Spain and Andorra, Susan Solomont uprooted herself.  She left her career, her friends and family, and a life she loved to join her husband for a three-and-a-half-year tour overseas.  In a story that is part memoir and part travelogue, Solomont recounts a time of self-discovery as she navigates a new life in a foreign country.  She learns the rules of a diplomatic household, feeds her culinary curiosity with the help of some of Spain’s greatest chefs; finds her place in the Madrid Jewish community; and discovers her own voice as she creates new meaning in her role as a spouse, a community member, and a twenty-first century woman.

Lost and Found in Spain is an insider’s account of everyday life in an American embassy that reminds us we are all looking for our place in the world, whether on the international stage or in our own hearts.

Biography: From 2010-2013, Susan lived in Madrid Spain where her husband Alan Solomont served as the United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. While in Spain, Susan was actively involved in programs and projects that helped women business leaders connect. She chaired the American Chamber of Commerce Women’s Leadership Committee and at US Embassy Madrid, she created the Women’s Leadership Network, a series of events designed to promote the role of women’s in business and civic life.  The series focused on numerous issues including entrepreneurship, social media, marketing and corporate social responsibility, and it helped to shine a light on the leadership role of women in Spain.  Ms. Solomont also chaired the US Embassy’s Volunteers in Action program, which engaged Embassy employees and family members in volunteer activities throughout Spain. 

For a detailed biography, click here.

Don Bermont
The Good and the Bad of Our Times, a three-part discussion series.
First part:  Tuesday, Dec. 22, 10:00  am
Subsequent gatherings will be on Jan. 5 and Feb. 9

Don Bermont, one of our popular course leaders, will be leading discussions about things people are worried about as well as things people feel will make our lives better.

Instead of focusing on major news stories, we will talk about the developments, people, and events that are being overlooked in the constant blasts of the daily news cycle. We will talk about what is coming, and what we may have missed.  It could be developments in technology, medicine, or science; or art, literature or music.  Even anything special or frightening that has happened to you.

-------------------------------------------------- Past Special Events (Art) --------------------------------------------------

LLAIC Loves Art:  A new special program for members – included in your membership.
LLAIC is offering two courses for the fall semester on art topics – Suzanne Art’s course on Art Luminaries and Unexpected Collusion between Modern Art and the Brain.  Both of these courses are fully subscribed.

To respond to the interest expressed in these “sellout” programs, we introduce LLAIC Loves Art, a series of presentations on a variety of art topics and artists, offered by Beth Sanders whose extensive background includes being a docent at the Portland Art Museum, and a gallery instructor at the MFA in Boston.  See details of these programs below.

Beth Sanders:  Gardens Lost, Gardens Found: Italian Tradition, Anglo-American Inspiration:
Wednesday, Sept 2, 1:15 – 2:30

Gardens have existed on the Italian peninsula since Imperial era. Inspired by Persian, Egyptian and Greek cultures, they, in turn, influenced garden design from the Renaissance to the neo-classical period and modern gardens in England, France and the United States. The session will explore the creation of Roman Imperial gardens through literary sources, archeological evidence, pictorial records and horticultural tradition; reflect on three Renaissance gardens in Rome now lost or much diminished; and visit two gardens crafted by English and American gardeners who have reshaped Italian landscape in the 20th century.

Ivy Cubell:  A Cross-Cultural Look at Women and Art at the MFA Boston
Wednesday, Sept. 9, 1:15 - 2:30

The second special presentation in this series will show how perceptions of femininity have been transformed into visual arts since antiquity.  Using the MFA’s unparalleled collection for an overview, our speaker, Ivy Cubell, will explore women both as subjects and as makers of art. 

How does the representation of women reflect the customs and mores of diverse cultures, from the ancient through to the modern?  Although women artists have been involved in the making of art throughout history, their work has often been obfuscated or ignored. Who were some of the brave and influential women to break through the barriers?  What and how did they choose to represent the world in which they lived?

Beth Sanders:  Lois Mailou Jones, A life in Vibrant Color … in Her Own Words
Wednesday, Sept 16, 1:15 – 2:30

Lois Mailou Jones looms large in the pantheon of artists with roots in the Harlem Renaissance. She rarely received proper recognition especially in her early years in Boston and on Martha’s Vineyard in the face of the challenges as a Black woman. Her career was distinctive for several reasons: the variety and range of her artwork, the places she lived and the artists she inspired. Together we will explore her career beginning with textile design, watercolor landscapes, and bold and emblematic painting with Haitian and African motifs, through primary sources and her own voice.

Beth Sanders:  Winslow Homer and the Civil War
Wednesday Sept 30, 1:15 – 2:30

In October 1861, Homer went to the front with McClellan’s Army of the Potomac, artist correspondent for Harper’s Weekly. By the war’s end he was its leading artist, with more full-page spreads, cover designs and choice positions than anyone else. His images covered the battle but as well as the home front. He did not neglect the savagery of the war but also depicted the inactivity, the waiting between engagements…a sketcher and painter of life and nature who happened to be at war. Beginning with his fir oil painting, A Sharpshooter on Picket Duty, he painted 17 images of the human face of the Civil War. We will explore the evolution of the artist during this period.

Beth Sanders 
has pursued an artistic, culinary and botanical path in Boston, Switzerland, North Carolina, Padua and Rome in Italy, and Portland, Maine at museums, universities and botanical gardens. She was a docent and artist-in-residence at the Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University, where she also served on the advisory board, and as a master gardener for the Durham County Extension service.

Currently, she is a docent at the Portland Museum of Art and its Winslow Homer Studio. At the MFA Boston, she is a gallery instructor, a liaison to the Boston Public Schools, and former vice-chair of the gallery instructor advisory board. As a member of the board of Beacon Hill Seminars (2014-2020), she served as chair of membership and marketing committee and is currently a member of the curriculum committee. Her botanical illustrations and calligraphy are found in international collections. 

Photography and Painting: A Sibling Rivalry in Focus -
Wednesday, October 28,
1:15 – 2:30
Ivy Cubell, Museum of Fine Arts

"From now on, painting is dead!" exclaimed French painter Paul Delaroche upon seeing the first photograph in 1839.  Before photography, painters had the sole role in recording the world.  With the sudden birth of photography, some worried painters tried even harder to portray visual reality. Luckily, other painters felt free to experiment and expand their creative vision away from traditional representation to increasing abstraction of form - and, voila, all the "isms" were born! This presentation will explore the fascinating history of photography, and also reflect on the continual push-pull relationship between photography and painting, the ways the two arts have influenced each other over the last 150 years.
Because a large number of signups is expected, this program will be offered as a webinar. Requests for invitations will be accepted starting October 18.

Ivy Cubell

is passionate about art and history and making connections between the two in dynamic and thought-provoking ways.  As a Gallery Instructor since 2002 at the MFA Boston and former Vice-Chair of the Gallery Instructor advisory board, she leads specially themed tours through the various collections and special exhibitions for both student and adult groups, develops tours and training curricula for MFA docents, and leads professional development teacher workshops for schools throughout New England.  In addition to her degree in Art History from University of Michigan and Columbia University, she holds an MSW and a JD from Boston University. 

Jacob Lawrence, The American Struggle
Friday, November 6,1:15-2:30
Rick Woodland, PEM

Join Peabody Essex Museum guide Rick Woodland for an interactive discussion of the exhibition, Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle. He will introduce you to the first museum exhibition of the series Struggle: From the History of the American People (1954–56) by the best known Black American artist of the 20th century, Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000). Created during the modern civil rights era, Lawrence’s thirty intimate panels interpret pivotal moments in the American Revolution and the early decades of the republic between 1770 and 1817 and, as he wrote, “depict the struggles of a people to create a nation and their attempt to build a democracy.”

For more details, click here.

Rick Woodland

Rick Woodland has been a Guide at the Peabody Essex Museum since 2003.  After a career in the technology industry he left to pursue other interests including his desire to help people connect with art and each other. 

----------------------------------------------- Past Special Events (Other) ------------------------------------------------

David Mirsky, M.D.
From Hippocrates to Homelessness: A Short History of Psychiatry.
Friday, Dec. 4, 1:00 - 2:30

The talk will present a survey of the care (and abuse) of the mentally ill from ancient times to the present.  
Biography: A product of the South and educated at Bard College and Western Reserve School of Medicine, I pursued (an aborted) residency in neurology in New York and then spent two years in  England, working for the National Health Service in two innovative psychiatric hospitals (Claybury and the Marlborough Day).(As a medical student, I spent two summers at Charenton Hospital, the Parisian equivalent of Bellevue, but with a long history of humane care for the “aliénés“, as patients were called, and the last refuge of the Marquis de Sade. I completed my adult and child psychiatry training in Boston and have spent the subsequent decades working in community mental health programs in Massachusetts and teaching in medical and nursing schools.  Mentors, colleagues and patients have illuminated my path, along with the insights of Sigmund Freud, Dante Alighieri, Marcel Proust, Michel de Montaigne and, most recently, Bill Griffith (“Zippy” in the Boston Globe) -- “outsiders” all, and exemplars of the compassionate life.

Seth Kaplan  "What You Need to Know Abut Gun Violence"
Wednesday, October 7, 1:15-2:30

The presentation will include:  the genesis and growth of gun violence in America, touching briefly on the 2nd Amendment; the insights derived from statistical analysis into understanding the nature of firearm violence today; present the back story of several mass shootings in America; solutions offered by municipalities; the micro view of why I got involved in the fight against gun violence. 

For more details and bio, click here

Barbara Beckwith:  "How I Became a Racial Justice Activist"

Wednesday, September 23, 1:15-2:30

During this pandemic, we can still take time to look back at our lives, put current realities into perspective, and use our voices to contribute to our country's future. Join Barbara as she shares her journey toward racism awareness and racial justice activism, and invites you to share yours as well.
For more details and bio, click here

---------------------------------------------------- The LILAC Players -----------------------------------------------------

  • Fall 2020: The LILAC Players performed Not Smart by Wilbur Daniel Steele and He Said and She Said by Alice Gerstenberg via Zoom. For the program, click here

  • Spring 2020: The LILAC Players presented Arsenic and Old Lace in three Zoom sessions: May 27, 28, 29 (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday), all at 1:30 p.m. For the program, click here.
                                   Abby                  Martha                       Teddy                     Elaine                     Mortimer


Spring 2020 semester - Special presentations given by Zoom video-conferencing:
  • Friday, April 24, 1:00-2:00:  Dr. Don Goldman - Epidemiology of infectious diseases
  • Friday, May 1, 1:00- 2:00:  Phil Radoff - Puccini's Tosca
  • Wednesday, May 13, 1:00-2:00:  Annual Meeting, approval of slate for Board membership

Updated March 11, 2021

Peter E. Schmidt,
Sep 17, 2020, 4:35 PM
Peter Schmidt,
Mar 6, 2021, 4:38 AM
Peter Schmidt,
Sep 23, 2020, 7:25 AM
Peter Schmidt,
Dec 8, 2020, 12:59 PM
Peter Schmidt,
Oct 4, 2020, 6:14 AM
Peter Schmidt,
Dec 30, 2020, 6:37 AM
Peter Schmidt,
Dec 21, 2020, 11:39 AM