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Winter 2018 Program  

Multi-Session Courses | Single-Session Courses | Tours |
Theater Productions & Classes


W1801 Creative Writing Workshop
Presenter: Jane Bridges
Dates: Thursdays, January 11, February 8, March 1 and 29
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. [Please note the 4:00 p.m. end time.]
Fee: Members $32; Nonmembers $45
Class Size: Enrollment for this class is limited to 12 attendees.

Led by published poet and retired teacher Jane Bridges, this workshop offers a relaxed setting for writers of all interests and levels. Jane will suggest methods for mining memories, maintaining a journal, and adding music and mystery to both prose and poetry. Whether you would like to delve into family history, memoir, or fantasy, or discover new formats, this workshop can help. Sharing your drafts with peers and listening to their reactions is a proven road to more effective writing. In this small group you will never feel overwhelmed or overlooked, and you will meet new friends whose lively company you will enjoy. Please bring 13 copies of your work for distribution among the participants – up to two pages for poetry, three pages for prose.

Jane Bridges grew up in Texas, New Hampshire, and in India. She has lived in Ann Arbor for more than 50 years and has taught writing in both public and private schools. Jane’s poems have been accepted for publication in the journals Paterson Literary Review, Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Third Wednesday, and The MacGuffin.


W1802 Mozart’s Operas
Presenter: Toby Teorey
Dates: Thursdays, January 18 and 25
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $16; Nonmembers $25

MozartWolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 -1791) was one of the most prolific and influential composers of the Classical era in Western music. His wide-ranging genius produced symphonies, concertos, chamber music, and choral masterpieces. In this course we will focus on Mozart’s operas, with Professor Robert Greenberg’s video lectures (the Great Courses series) telling us about the last five years of Mozart’s life. Mozart’s collaboration with librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte produced several of the most important operatic works in musical history. We will view and listen to historical background and excerpts from Mozart’s greatest operas: The Marriage of Figaro (1786), Don Giovanni (1787), Cosi fan tutte (1789), and The Magic Flute (1791). Audio and video recordings of some of the most beautiful arias from each of these operas will be played after each video lecture.

MozartToby Teorey is a former chair of the Elderwise Council and a long-time member of the Curriculum Committee. He is retired from the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan, and in retirement pursues his enduring love of classical music.


W1803 Jane Austen: Persuasion and Lady Susan
Presenter: George Stewart
Dates: Wednesdays, January 24, 31, and February 7
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $24; Nonmembers $35

Jane AustenThis year – 2017 – is the 200th anniversary of the death of Jane Austen. She’s gone, but her novels live on, as charming and popular now as they ever have been. Persuasion and Lady Susan are at either end of the spectrum of Austen's writing life. Persuasion is her final
completed book, finished shortly before her untimely death at age 41. Many count it as her finest work. Lady Susan, an epistolary novella, was written when Austen was about 19 years old. The wit, irony, and sharp-edged social observation that characterize the later novels are on full display in this early work. For the first class, please read the first 13 chapters of Persuasion, roughly one-half of this very short book.

George Stewart practiced law for many years in Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, New York City, and Ann Arbor. He is honing his retirement skills by reading, and rereading, great writers like Jane Austen. He looks forward to sharing the pleasures of both Persuasion and Lady Susan with like-minded readers.


W1804 Best-Seller Book Club
Presenter: Shirley Southgate
Dates: Mondays, January 29, February 26, and March 26
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $24; Nonmembers $35

Using prepared questions and our own observations, the discussion each month will explore a book from current best-seller lists. Selected books for the Winter 2018 semester are:

January: This Is How It Always Is, by Laurie Frankel (Fiction)  
February: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot (Nonfiction)
March: Glass Houses, by Louise Penny (Crime Fiction)

Please read This Is How It Always Is before the first class. A list of discussion questions for each book will be sent to registrants prior to each Book Club session.

Shirley Southgate is a long-time member of both Elderwise and the Best-Seller Book Club. She is an avid reader and looks forward to a lively exchange of ideas, opinions, and interpretations.


W1805 Gallery Walks
Presenter: Michael R. Kapetan
Dates: Fridays, February 2, 9, 16, 23, and March 9
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $32; Nonmembers $45

This is about art and about history, but it is not art history. Let's be footloose and fancy-free, and just follow our feet from one great gallery to another, from one museum to another, to an astonishing building here and a surprising home or factory there. Without any boundaries of time or space, let's enjoy the work of creative people, one by one, asking ourselves how the font of human ingenuity is opened and nourished and fulfilled.

Michael R. Kapetan is an artist whose own work is informed by the scientific, the aesthetic, and the spiritual as he creates holy images for churches, synagogues, and temples, plus unique solar sculptures that mark the turning of the seasons. Mike is retired from the University of Michigan School of Art. He holds a degree in art history from Harvard University, and a master’s degree in sculpture from the University of Michigan.


W1806 Blue Note: More Than Just a Label
Presenter: George Klein
Dates: Fridays, February 9 and 16
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. [Please note the 4:00 p.m. end time.]
Fee: Members $16; Nonmembers $25

Blue Note LabelAmong the labels that recorded jazz, especially in the 1950s and ‘60s, Blue Note is widely considered the best. During this course we will explore some of the reasons for this acclaim, with help from the documentary film Blue Note: A Story of Modern Jazz. The story includes founders Alfred Lion and Francis Wolff, Jewish immigrants from Germany, who had a rare affinity for the music and the musicians, along with master sound engineer Rudy Van Gelder, who did his best work for Blue Note. Even the look of Blue Note LP covers was special, thanks to the path-breaking creativity of graphic designer Reid Miles. As the civil rights struggle gained momentum in America, these early innovators helped to make Blue Note an effective showcase, primarily for African-American musicians.

George Klein taught humanities at Wayne State University and Eastern Michigan University (EMU), and directed EMU’s study abroad office. He was a music host for 30 years at WEMU 89.1, and is now an independent producer of jazz programs on and


W1807 A Celebration of Motown
Presenter: Michael Homel
Dates: Wednesdays, February 14, 21, and 28
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon
Fee: Members $24; Nonmembers $35

Motown CelebrationMore than a half-century later, the “sound of young America” still stirs us, evoking memories of lost youth. In the 1960s, a black-owned business made Detroit world famous for something more than automobiles. Mike Homel will describe how the combination of a vibrant community, an ambitious family led by a single-minded entrepreneur, abundant local talent, and wise musical and business strategies won spectacular cultural and financial success. In these classes we will listen to the wonderful music, meet the people who made it, learn of their loves and feuds, and hear about how the expansion of Motown’s reach led to its tragic downfall.

Michael Homel is Professor Emeritus of History at Eastern Michigan University, where he taught 20th century United States history and urban history. Mike is also a student of American pop culture, and has taught many classes at Elderwise dealing with history, current politics, and popular culture.


W1808 Two Films by Pedro Almodóvar: Volver and Talk to Her
Presenter: John Stewart
Dates: Thursdays, February 15 and 22
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. [Please note the 4:00 p.m. end time.]
Fee: Members $16; Nonmembers $25

Spain’s leading filmmaker, Pedro Almodóvar, has written and directed over 20 movies since he began his career in the 1970s. We will view two of his most accessible and acclaimed. Both films are rich with interesting characters, humor, and unexpected plot twists. In Volver (2006), we follow a family of related women from a superstitious rural community and observe the warm-hearted ways in which they deal with a series of deaths. At the Cannes Film Festival, Almodóvar received the award for best screenplay, and the combined female cast of Volver shared the award for best actress. In Talk to Her (2002), two very different men, each tending a comatose woman, meet at the hospital and establish a friendship. For this movie, Almodóvar received the Academy Award for best original screenplay and was nominated for best director. These films are in Spanish with English subtitles and are rated R.

John Stewart is a retired computer programmer with degrees in liberal arts and biology from the University of Michigan. He is not a movie maven, but he does enjoy watching foreign films and believes these two will appeal to Elderwise cinema lovers.


W1809 China and India: Asia's Rival Powers
Presenter: Jiu-Hwa Upshur
Dates: Tuesdays, February 20 and 27
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $16; Nonmembers $25

Asia's Rival Powers China and IndiaIndia gained independence from Great Britain in 1947 through peaceful means. Since then, India has remained a parliamentary democracy with elected governments. In 1949 China became a one-party totalitarian state as the result of a major civil war and the Communist Party’s military victory over the Chinese Nationalist Party. The Communist Party has ruled China ever since, with no possibility for political opposition. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, China has become, by far, the world’s most powerful Communist state. In this two-session course we will consider the differing political, economic, and social systems in China and India, the world’s two most populous countries. We will also examine their geopolitical relationship with each other, their territorial disputes, and the issue of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s religious leader, and his government in exile in India.

Jiu-Hwa Upshur received her B.A. degree from the University of Sydney, Australia, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of Michigan where she specialized in modern Chinese history. Jiu-Hwa retired from the Department of History at Eastern Michigan University in 2007.


W1810 Major Global and Domestic Issues: Vital Topics for Consideration
Presenter: Al Chambers
Dates: Tuesdays, March 6 and 13
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $16; Nonmembers $25

A primary objective for these two sessions will be reasoned discussion and consideration of what is known, set against what is disputed, regarding selected major global and domestic issues. The actual class topics will be chosen for relevance closer to the scheduled class dates. Topics might include: The Power of Asia, Fossil Fuels and Climate Change, Health Care Opportunities and Dilemmas, Increasing Socioeconomic Inequality, and The United States as a Positive or Negative International Force. Each class will likely focus on two or three subjects. Al Chambers will draw on his extensive communications experience to select the topics, and for these classes, in contrast to his Taking Apart the News, he intends to rely more on history and judgment and less on media.

Veteran instructor Al Chambers again applies his years of experience as a journalist and communicator to discuss the most current issues facing the American people and world populations. An important objective is interactive discussion involving as many class participants as possible.


W1811 The Merchant of Venice: Shakespeare, Shylock, and the Scourge of Anti-Semitism in Classic English Literature
Presenter: Kathleen O’Dowd
Dates: Tuesdays, March 20 and 27
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $16; Nonmembers $25
Text: The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. Folger Library Series
paperback, 2003. ISBN 978-0-7434-7756-7.

In this course we will take a close look at a "problem play,” The Merchant of Venice, and its contribution to and/or criticism of the history of scapegoating of Jews by self-proclaimed Christians. We will also look at its contribution to the traditions of Romantic Comedy, with special focus on its wise, witty, and (would-be) merciful heroine, Portia. Portia is arguably the most admirable of Shakespeare's independent, pre-feminist women, as she negotiates with the misogynist strictures of her culture, and manages to save the day – at least for the goyish “good guys” who have no clue how to counter the Jews' bloody but legal revenge. Class participants are asked to read the play thoughtfully in its entirety, and to come prepared with reactions to, and questions about, the play's themes and key characters which puzzle, offend, entertain, or please.

Kathleen (Katie) O'Dowd is Professor and Dean Emerita at Madonna University. She taught in the Department of English Language and Literature for 36 years and served as Dean of Arts and Humanities. Katie’s special interests include early British literature and women’s literature.


Mah-JonggW1812 The Game of Mah-Jongg
Presenter: Stuart Baggaley
Dates: Wednesdays, March 21 and 28
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $16; Nonmembers $25

Invented by Confucius thousands of years ago? By Chinese army officers during the Taiping Rebellion? Or, by two brothers from Níngpō in 1850? No one knows for sure, but the ancient board game of Mah-Jongg remains a popular pastime for millions of people around the world. Meaning “sparrow” in Chinese, Mah-Jongg appears to be enjoying a resurgence in North America. In this course Stuart Baggaley will present his simplified version of this addictive game, and will guide class participants in hands-on instruction. Our classes will include a brief lecture on the history and variants of the game.

Stuart Baggaley is a British World War II veteran (Royal Air Force), and a retired University of Michigan Medical School administrator (Anatomy Department). Moving to Norway after the war, Stuart lived in Oslo for nine years before leaving his position with the Fulbright Foundation and moving to the United States in 1957. He enjoys golfing, running and, of course, Mah-Jongg.




 W1813 Detroit: 1967
Presenter: Tim Kiska
Date: Monday, January 8
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Detroit 1967More than half a century has elapsed since the July 1967 events that upended social order in Detroit. We will look back at the riot/rebellion that resulted in 43 deaths, almost 1,200 injuries, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,500 looted or destroyed stores. This violent unrest was only one of a large number of urban disturbances across the United States during the long, hot summer of 1967. But, by the time it ended, Detroit’s riot had become one of the worst in American history. Veteran Detroit newsman and historian Tim Kiska will screen segments from a Detroit Free Press documentary, 12th and Clairmount, and discuss with us the traumatic five days and their lingering aftermath. What happened? Why did it happen? What was the response? And how did the news media nearly miss the biggest story in post-World War II Detroit?

Tim Kiska has a Ph.D. from Wayne State University and is the author of multiple books, including From Soupy to Nuts! A History of Detroit Television (2005). He is a former television writer for the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, a political consultant to WXYZ Detroit, and an associate professor of journalism and communication at the University of Michigan-Dearborn.


W1814 Lifestyle Keys to Vitality and Longevity
Presenter: Robert Breakey
Date: Tuesday, January 9
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Our “Standard American Diet” is largely responsible for America’s current epidemic of chronic diseases, including obesity, diabetes, chronic kidney disease, hypertension, heart disease, and several cancers. The good news is that, as we make great progress in identifying the root causes of these chronic diseases, we are also recognizing that all of them are largely preventable. By implementing some straightforward lifestyle changes, many are even reversible. By choosing whole plant based foods that are truly health supporting, engaging in at least moderate exercise, and ensuring that we sleep well, we have the opportunity to greatly enhance our health and vitality well into our elder years. Join us and learn how to add “years to your life, and life to your years.”

Robert Breakey, M.D., is a Family Physician who graduated from the University of Michigan and has practiced in Ann Arbor for 32 years. His strong focus is on assisting patients with health promotion, optimal nutrition, and positive wellness, and on supporting the natural healing process that we all have within us. He is currently the head of the Family Medicine Division with his medical group IHA, and is honored to be on the Best Doctors in America list for the past eight years.


W1815 Recent Exonerations and Continuing Litigation:
An Update from the Michigan Innocence Clinic
Presenter: David Moran
Date: Wednesday, January 10
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

In January 2009, Professors David Moran and Bridget McCormack (now a justice on the Michigan Supreme Court) launched the Michigan Innocence Clinic at the University of Michigan Law School to investigate and litigate claims of innocence by convicted prisoners in cases where DNA evidence is not available. In its first eight years, the Clinic's work has resulted in the release of thirteen men and three women, whose combined wrongful incarceration totaled more than 200 years. Professor Moran, the director of the Michigan Innocence Clinic, will return to Elderwise to discuss the several cases in 2017 in which the Clinic won final exonerations for its clients. He will also discuss some of the most interesting cases in which litigation is continuing.

David Moran holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in physics and mathematics, and he earned his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. He has argued six times before the United States Supreme Court. In 2010, Professor Moran was named “Lawyer of the Year” by Michigan Lawyer’s Weekly.


W1816 Meet a Civil War Soldier
Presenter: Ken Behmer
Date: Wednesday, January 10
Time: 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. [Please note the 3:30 p.m. end time.]

Civil War SoldierOur country recently completed a sesquicentennial commemoration of the American Civil War. Many of us, as we read this history, think in terms of generals and armies; but the real story is the individual soldier. This class will provide an overview of the war from its start through the Battle of Gettysburg in 1863, and will highlight the role of the 24th Michigan Volunteer Infantry. Our presenter, Ken Behmer, will use his reenacting uniforms and equipment to demonstrate what the Union soldier wore, the equipment he was issued, and how it was used.

Ken Behmer is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University and a retired community college administrator who has been studying the Civil War for more than 60 years. He has walked numerous battle-fields across seven states and has been a Civil War re-enactor since 1986. Ken also served as an extra in the 1989 Academy Award winning film Glory.


W1817 A Native American Challenge: Tecumseh or Tenskwatawa?
Presenter: Rochelle Balkam
Date: Thursday, January 11
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

In the years following the American Revolution, Native Americans were in conflict over the issue of how to face the threat of westward expansion into their lands. The defeat of their French allies in the French and Indian War left them alone to face first the British, and then the Americans. This struggle helped to define the course of Native American history. Two men whose actions would prove pivotal were the two Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa. Tecumseh favored oratory and building an alliance with other eastern nations. Tenskwatawa, the Prophet, chose action and confrontation. Two of the most important turning points for these indigenous peoples came at the 1811 Battle of Tippecanoe in Indiana, and the Battle at the River Thames in Ontario during the War of 1812. These battles destroyed all hope for a Western Indian Confederacy, and ultimately led, 29 years later, to the presidency of General William Henry Harrison, victor at Tippecanoe.

Rochelle Balkam has taught Michigan history at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) for 26 years. She holds an M.A. degree in history and an M.S. in historic preservation from EMU, and is a former board member of the Historical Society of Michigan.


 W1818 The Benefits of Meditation
Presenter: Layla Ananda
Date: Friday, January 12
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

In this class Layla Ananda will present information about the history and various methods of meditation. She will discuss the many benefits to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being that can result from a regular meditation practice. Class participants will learn that meditation can be long or short, with or without movement, quiet or with sound, and part of any spiritual practice (or none). There will also be an opportunity to briefly try several different methods of meditation. Previous experience with meditation is not necessary.

Layla Ananda, M.A., L.L.P., has studied and practiced meditation over the past 30 years. She is a retired psychotherapist and educator, most recently serving as a faculty member of the Psychology Department at Washtenaw Community College.


W1819 American Political History and the Internet
Presenter: Larry Kestenbaum
Date: Friday, January 12
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

In this class Larry Kestenbaum returns to share more of his experience over two decades of building and curating the website This website is the Internet’s most comprehensive collection of American political biography, featuring nearly 300,000 political figures in the United States from Colonial times to the present. We will hear about the lives and deaths of American politicians, the strange and complicated history of elections and vote counting, and the odd political appointments of postmasters and consuls. We will also learn about the impact of the World Wide Web, the role of Google, and the use of eBay to collect historical materials and to study political history.

Larry Kestenbaum is both the creator and webmaster of He has been Washtenaw County Clerk and Register of Deeds since 2005. The son of a history professor and a photographer, he grew up in East Lansing, attended Michigan State University, Wayne State University Law School, and Cornell University. Larry previously served as chair of the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission.


W1820 Enemy Prisoners in Michigan during World War II
Presenter: Gregory D. Sumner
Date: Monday, January 15
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Most people are not aware that nearly half-a-million German and Italian prisoners were shipped to the United States during WWII. About 6,000 ended up in work camps scattered around the State of Michigan, where they were held from 1943 until 1946. This talk, based on our presenter’s forthcoming book, examines the experience through the eyes of civilians, camp personnel, and internees, focusing on the bonds of friendship POWs made with the local people they encountered.

Gregory Sumner has been a professor of American history at the University of Detroit Mercy since 1993. He holds a Ph.D. in history from Indiana University and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Greg has been a Fellow with the National Endowment for the Humanities, and spent two semesters as a visiting Fulbright lecturer at the Universita di Roma Tre. His books include Detroit in World War II (2015) and Unstuck in Time: A Journey through the Life and Novels of Kurt Vonnegut (2011).


 W1821 Safe Driving for Seniors: Tips from the AAA
Presenter: Suzette Falletich
Date: Tuesday, January 23
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Even the most experienced driver can benefit from learning about the changes that affect us as we age. The AAA (American Automobile Association) Mature Driver Training program delivers tips and techniques to help older drivers compensate for changing vision, reflexes, and response time. The program also provides a quick refresher on driving defensively in a variety of situations, and demonstrates how many of yesterday’s driving methods have been replaced by more advanced, risk-reducing driving techniques. The primary focus is on ensuring that all of us drive safely.

Suzette Falletich is a fully licensed Driver Training Instructor with the American Automobile Association.


Shakespeare's SonnetsW1822 Breaking the Rules: Shakespeare's Sonnets
Presenter: Macklin Smith
Date: Wednesday, January 17
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Sonnets are 14-line love poems. Petrarch and Michelangelo wrote sonnets, as did Donne and Milton, Wordsworth and Shelley, Cummings, Frost, Yeats, and other modern and contemporary poets. Within this continuum, Shakespeare, more than anyone else, broke and changed the rules, converting a formulaic, polite, male-authored expression of romantic praise to an idealized woman, into something far more real and varied. He wrote sonnets to both a man and a woman, dealt directly with sex, explored codependency, jealousy, and self-doubt, and related love to larger themes like beauty, time, and mortality. Most of our attention in this class will be devoted to close reading of a half dozen of Shakespeare’s most provocative and/or beautiful sonnets.

Macklin Smith recently retired from the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Michigan, where he taught Medieval literature, Shakespeare, and a variety of poetry courses. Macklin has just completed a co-authored work, with undergraduate student Aurko Joshi, on the poetics of rap music.


W1823 3-D Printing
Presenter: Joan Bulmer
Date: Wednesday, January 17, at Maker Works, 3765 Plaza Drive, Ann Arbor
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Class Size: Enrollment is limited to 12 attendees.

A new technology called 3-D printing offers the possibility of making spare parts and other physical objects on demand. It also allows for the easy re-sizing and customization of existing objects. This class offers a live demonstration at a local Ann Arbor workshop for hobbyists and artists. As examples of the possibilities, Joan Bulmer will print some doll house furniture or fairy garden components, and discuss the use of 3-D printing for other hobbies. For this active workshop environment please wear closed-toe shoes. This class is for beginners and will provide a basic introduction to the technology.

Joan Bulmer developed a curiosity about 3-D printing that turned into a lovely fairy garden, and is now working on a furnished doll house. Joan is currently Elderwise Treasurer, and a member of Elderwise Council.


W1824 Monet: Framing Life
A Discussion of the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Exhibition
Presenters: DIA Docent Specialists
Date: Thursday, January 18
Time: 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. [Please note the 2:30 p.m. end time.]

MonetThe intimate exhibition Monet: Framing Life focuses on an important painting in the DIA collection – Claude Monet’s 1876 Rounded Flower Bed (Corbeille de fleurs), formerly known as Gladioli and recently retitled based on new research. Monet created this work during his residency in the Paris suburb of Argenteuil between late 1871 and early 1878. Monet’s time in Argenteuil was especially productive, for it was here that he and fellow avant-garde painters formed the fraternity of artists now known as the Impressionists. By bringing the DIA’s painting together with ten other Argenteuil paintings by Monet and fellow Impressionist Pierre-Auguste Renoir, the exhibition presents a more comprehensive story about the creation of Rounded Flower Bed (Corbeille de fleurs) and how it fits into Monet’s body of work, as well as into the history of Impressionism more broadly.

DIA Docent Specialists will discuss many of the exhibition’s nearly 70 works of art depicting the evolution of the careers of these superb artists. Additional information about the exhibition itself at the Detroit Institute of Arts can be found at the DIA website, Monet: Framing Life is currently on display through March 4, 2018.


W1825 Film Noir at its Best! The Postman Always Rings Twice
Presenter: Julie Teorey
Date: Thursday, January 25
Time: 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. [Please note the 3:30 p.m. end time.]

This 1946 film noir is considered one of the finest examples of tension between good and evil. It begins on a sunny day in a roadside diner, with beautiful Cora Smith (Lana Turner) who is bored with her husband and her life prospects. She wants to make changes to the diner, but her husband Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway) owns the diner, and runs it with a cheerful determination to never change things. Then one day, the drifter Frank Chambers (John Garfield) comes into the diner looking for lunch and a job. Nick happily hires him, much to Cora’s displeasure. Gradually Cora realizes she can use Frank to gain control of the diner. How will she do that? Join us to find out what happens, and why the film is titled The Postman Always Rings Twice. Your extra bonus will be watching Hume Cronyn play the part of Arthur Keats, Cora’s sleazy attorney. The screenplay for this film was based on the novel by James M. Cain, who also wrote the novels and the screenplays for Double Indemnity and Mildred Pierce.

Julie Teorey received her B.A. (education) and her M.A. (journalism) from Michigan State University. She is a big fan of classic movies.


W1826 Donald Trump’s Unprecedented Presidency: Year One
Presenters: Jeffrey Bernstein, Michael Homel, Larry Kestenbaum
Date: Friday, January 26
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Donald Trump PresidencyDonald Trump has now been President for one year. By any rendering, it has been a controversial, interesting, and unusual year in American politics. Our panel of discussants will review President Trump's first year – his legislative victories and defeats, his executive orders, his foreign policy, and the continuing investigations of his administration. The panel members will help us look ahead to 2018 and 2020, while considering the likelihood of Democratic victories in either year. They will also offer perspectives on the Age of Trump. Are we seeing a temporary blip in the ongoing American experiment with democracy, or has Donald Trump changed American politics in permanent ways?

Jeffrey Bernstein studies and teaches political science and American politics at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). He specializes in public opinion and political behavior.

Michael Homel is Professor Emeritus of History at EMU. Mike’s special expertise is in the fields of 20th century American history and American urban history.

Larry Kestenbaum is the Washtenaw County Clerk/Register of Deeds. Larry is the creator and owner of, the Internet’s most comprehensive source for American political biography.


W1827 "Why Talk If One Can Shout?" Introducing Postwar Polish Poetry
Presenter: Leonore Mohill Gerstein
Date: Tuesday, January 30
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Text: Postwar Polish Poetry, edited by Czeslaw Milosz. Third edition, paperback.
University of California Press, 1982. ISBN 0520-04476-a.

Anna Swir, whose intriguing phrase is quoted above, is one of the trenchant Polish lyricists we will read in this class. Our text is the invaluable anthology, Postwar Polish Poetry, edited by poet and scholar Czeslaw Milosz, who emigrated to the United States after World War II. We will read the works of highly individual poets emerging from trauma, and reaching, sometimes bitterly, toward a new humanism. Participants may request copies of the selected readings by contacting the Elderwise office on or before January 16, 2018.

Leonore Mohill Gerstein was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and spent many of her formative years in Israel, first at a kibbutz, and then in Jerusalem, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in English and Philosophy. Leonore is passionate about poetry and is always eager to explore a variety of works with veteran and new Elderwise members.


W1828 Asia's Cultural Contrasts: Japan, China, and Thailand
Presenter: George Jabol
Date: Wednesday, January 31
Time: 1:00 to 3:30 p.m. [Please note the 3:30 p.m. end time.]

Japan, China, and Thailand. Countries that are just short plane rides apart, but culturally are worlds apart. In this narrated slide show Japan reveals its frantic and serene dualities in a tour contrasting hectic downtown Tokyo with the city’s traditional Yanaka District, followed by even calmer visits to Mt. Fuji and Lake Hakone. China’s amazing and more lengthy history is seen in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, and the Great Wall, as well as in Shanghai’s Museum and the Bund, and in Xian with its unearthed terra cotta soldiers. China’s vast scenic beauty is displayed in cruises on the Yangtze and Li rivers. Finally, Thailand shows us why it is both exotic and unforgettable in a tour of Bangkok’s Grand Palace and Floating Markets, and a visit to the ancient temple site at Ayutthaya.

George Jabol received his B.A. degree from Muskingum College in Ohio, and a Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of Michigan. Retired from a career with the federal government, George is currently self-employed as a consultant on Social Security.


W1829 Decluttering and Downsizing: What Should I Do With All That Stuff?
Presenter: Dina Shtull
Date: Thursday, February 1
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Acquiring is easy; downsizing is hard. Whether rearranging or relocating, by choice or not, sometimes we just need to get rid of “stuff.” This class offers helpful information on both reducing clutter and on downsizing. It addresses such questions as: Should I sell or donate? What if I cannot part with an item? Do I need an appraisal? In this presentation, Dina Shtull offers an abundance of analysis and practical advice on how to get started and keep the process going. Helping seniors with potentially difficult decisions is her specialty. She believes that downsizing is not simply a one-time project, but also a way of life, and that the downsizing process is not only about what to give away, but also about what to keep.

Dina Shtull is an expert on the decluttering and downsizing processes. She is the founder of Downsize with Dignity, LLC, and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, and of the Hoarding Task Force of Washtenaw County. Dina has advanced degrees in both social work and business.


Climate ChangeW1830 Climate Change: What We Know and What We Are Working Toward Knowing
Presenter: Brent Lofgren
Date: Thursday, February 1
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Science is about finding things that are not obvious, yet are true. This includes knowledge about human-caused climate change. The building blocks of this knowledge have actually been assembled over centuries. Some of the major ways in which these pieces fit together have been thoroughly and reliably interpreted and reasonably verified by observation – i.e., gradual increases in the temperature of air and water on a worldwide basis due to the trapping of heat by carbon dioxide and other gases. Other outcomes are more tenuous, such as what this change will do to water levels of the Great Lakes, or what it will do to trees in this area.

Brent Lofgren is a physical scientist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Brent holds a bachelor’s degree in physics from Augsburg College and a Ph.D. in atmospheric and oceanic sciences from Princeton University. He is the author of many articles related to climate change and the Great Lakes.


W1831 The Beatles: Fifty Years and Beyond
Presenter: Raymond Stocking
Date: Friday, February 2
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.
[Please note the 4:00 p.m. end time.]

The BeatlesIn this presentation Ray Stocking takes us back in time to a place we call The Sixties. Our memories will focus on The Beatles and how their arrival in the United States in 1964 rescued a nation still in mourning over the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. We will see and hear how The Beatles influenced an entire generation more than any other group or individual during that unique decade. The Beatles challenged both themselves and the recording industry by changing the way popular music would be recorded and performed. We will learn how The Beatles influenced music and musicians during the 1960s and how, more than 50 years after their rise to stardom, they continue to influence generations of all ages all over the world.

Ray Stocking is a long-time resident of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He has studied, recorded, and performed the music of The Beatles for more than 35 years. Ray is also a self-taught Beatles historian, and enjoys sharing his abundance of Beatles details with anyone who wants to listen. Ray is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University where he received his B.B.A and M.B.A. degrees in business management. Ray and his wife Alena live in Ann Arbor with their two teenage children, Shannon and Christopher.


W1832 A Daughter’s Search for Her Father’s Story:
Germany’s Prisoners during World War II
Presenter: Laura A. Edge
Date: Tuesday, February 6
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Lawrence Witt was a devoted family man, faithful Ford employee, and avid gardener. Yet, for decades, no one knew his story. Family and friends did not know that he served with the Army Air Force during World War II, or that his plane was shot down over Germany and half his crew killed, or that he was once a prisoner of war. These topics were off limits. But, Witt’s daughter Laura was curious and began digging into her father’s past. She interviewed his surviving crewmates, fellow prisoners of war, and forced-march companions. She sent for military records, traveled to Germany to collect eyewitness accounts, and poured over the telegrams, letters, and postcards her father sent home from the war. In this class we will focus on Laura’s research journey and the story she uncovered.

Laura A. Edge is retired after more than 30 years as an elementary school teacher and principal. She holds a Master of Social Studies Education degree from the University of Michigan, and is the author of On the Wings of Dawn: American Airmen as Germany’s Prisoners.


W1833 The Hanseatic League: An Early Attempt at Globalization
Presenter: Gerlinda Melchiori
Date: Monday, March 5
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

During the 13th century in Europe, merchant guilds from towns in 16 countries around the Baltic Sea allied to open up new harbors, create trading monopolies, develop international maritime laws, support and defend each other, and fend off pirates. Known as the Hanseatic League, this collaboration effectively controlled northern Europe’s commerce and culture for 400 years. The League disseminated Norse mythologies, facilitated beautiful regional architecture and urban characteristics, and shared the Protestant faith and work ethic. These alliances created a wealthy merchant class, and the cultural impact is still with us today. We find it in the paintings of Hans Holbein and Edvard Munch, the music of Edvard Grieg, Jan Sibelius, and Frederic Chopin, the writings of Thomas Mann, and in Hanseatic museum collections. Over time, the League’s cities ranged in number from 70 to 186. In this class we will visit several, including Visby, Hamburg, Bergen, Bruges, and Gdansk.

Gerlinda Melchiori holds advanced degrees in history and business, and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Michigan. She has served as an international
consultant to universities around the world.


Michigan OwlsW1834 The Owls of Michigan
Presenter: Michael Kielb
Date: Tuesday, February 13
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Michigan OwlsOwls are among the most skilled predatory birds, a species known to the world of ornithology as raptors. Last spring Mike Kielb told us about Michigan’s diurnal or daytime avian predators, such as the hawks and falcons. Owls are more generally nocturnal. They hunt by night. In this class we will learn about these intriguing hunters, and get a close-up look at those both familiar and rarely seen – such as the Barred Owl, the Great Grey, the Snowy, the Great Horned, and the Eastern Screech Owl. We will learn how to identify them, and we will learn about their behavior and migratory patterns. Michigan boasts a wealth of avian predators, and all of them lead extremely interesting lives.

Michael Kielb is a faculty member in the Department of Biology at Eastern Michigan University. He is a contributing author for several books on birds, and has written the accounts of the raptor species for The Birds of Michigan (Lone Pine Publishing, 2003).


W1835 Wilderness Survival: The Sacred Four, Part II
Presenter: Andrew Buesser
Date: Wednesday, February 14
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Wilderness SurvivalExpanding on information presented last spring in Part I, Andy Buesser will share his knowledge about securing the “sacred four” essentials for living in the wilderness – procuring, maintaining, and conserving shelter, water, fire, and food. He will focus primarily on fire and food, which are the third and fourth priorities in a wilderness survival situation. Studying survival practices not only sustains life in the physical sense, it reawakens that part of the human mind that evolved out of the necessity to alter our environments in order to survive. Andy’s approach to wilderness survival is not one of man against nature, which is the typical adversarial model promoted on television shows. Rather, it is one of becoming a steward of the earth in order to better understand that the true law of nature is “flourishment of the most cooperative.”

Andy Buesser is a master carpenter who has spent much of his life studying wilderness survival. Under the tutelage of legendary tracker, Tom Brown, Jr., Andy learned the knowledge and skills of Stalking Wolf, a Native American elder and the last of the Apache scouts.


W1836 Gene Therapy: Medicine’s Ultimate Frontier
Presenters: Maria G. Castro and Pedro R. Lowenstein
Date: Wednesday, February 28
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Gene TherapyMaria Castro and Pedro Lowenstein have spent the last 20 years pursuing what can be considered “the ultimate frontier” in cancer research and therapy. In this class they will discuss how, as a team of scientists, they developed a gene therapy strategy that can enable the human body to fight malignant brain cancer. The technology underpinning gene therapy resembles science fiction, using as a Trojan Horse a highly disabled virus that can deliver therapeutic cargoes. Genetically engineered viruses, known as vectors, are launched in combination to kill cancerous tumor cells and elicit an anti-tumor immune response. With FDA approval, this technology is currently being tested in a Phase I clinical trial at the University of Michigan – the first-ever clinical trial using two different gene therapy vectors.

Maria G. Castro, Ph.D., is the R.C. Schneider Professor of Neurosurgery and Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of Michigan Medical School. Her research program is dedicated to developing novel treatments for brain tumors based on immune-mediated gene therapy.

Pedro R. Lowenstein, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Neurosurgery and Cell and Developmental Biology in the University’s Medical School. His research is focused on understanding the molecular basis underlying brain tumor growth and invasion, and harnessing these mechanisms for treatment.


W1837 Modern Classical Composers
Presenters: Mark Charles and Toby Teorey
Date: Friday, March 2
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Many extraordinary and talented classical music composers were born in or near the second half of the 20th century. Most of them are still living today. In this class we will briefly explore the backgrounds of several of these composers and offer examples of their incredibly beautiful works. The range of their musical output extends from folk style (Jim Brickman, Evan Chambers, Mark O’Connor), to movie soundtracks (James Horner), minimalist style (John Coolidge Adams, Steve Reich), and a style categorized broadly as modern classical (John Luther Adams, Michael Daugherty, Alan Hovhaness, Libby Larsen, Shulamit Ran, John Rutter, Frank Ticheli). Join us for this joyous fest of today’s best classical music.

Mark Charles has been working in the area of computer assisted design. He is currently a contributing member of Elderwise and an avid fan of contemporary music.

Toby Teorey is a former chair of the Elderwise Council. He is retired from the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering, and in retirement pursues his enduring love of classical music.


W1838 Human Trafficking: Reflections on the Michigan Reality
Presenter: Jane P. White
Date: Friday, March 2
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Human trafficking is modern-day slavery. It exists not just abroad, but in the United States, the State of Michigan, and our local communities. We are now receiving increasingly reliable knowledge-based information, and making continued progress with identifying once-silent victims. Yet, questionable statistics and fictional accounts still exist and reinforce, rather than debunk, widespread myths. The reality is that Michigan is an origin, transit, and destination state for human trafficking. It is also now only one of two states in the nation that has legislatively mandated human trafficking education for health care professionals and social workers. The coordinated response of Michigan’s Human Trafficking Task Force enlists over 135 member agencies focusing on awareness, advocacy, collaboration, prosecution of offenders, and support of victims in their effort to become survivors.

Jane P. White is a former Lansing police officer, and Director and Founder of the Michigan Human Trafficking Task Force in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. She has worked extensively with police agencies and criminal justice organizations all over the world.


W1839 Jazz Piano Genius: A Repertoire
Presenter: Nik Thompson
Date: Wednesday, March 7
Time 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Pianos offer a musician the unparalleled ability to play 88 notes over 7 octaves, allowing for standout renditions of the simplest melodies, most complex harmonies, and even contrapuntal textures. In turn, jazz offers audiences some of history’s finest pianists – and what a diverse group they are! From the classically trained swingers, to the boogie-woogie barrelhousers, to the be-boppers, arrangers, and composers, jazz piano has provided more than a century’s worth of eclectic and exciting listening opportunities. Join us here for a repertoire from master soloists, specializing in the full array of stylistic modes – Jelly Roll Morton, Thelonious Monk, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, and many more.

Nik Thompson is a lifelong lover of all kinds of music. His eclectic tastes are evident in the music he selects as host of WEMU’s 89.1 FM jazz program, Sunday Best. Nik tells us that he returns to jazz again and again for inspiration. He has been hosting jazz, blues, and roots music programs at WEMU since 1999.


W1840 Reflecting a Complicated Conflict: Postal Systems during the American Civil War
Presenter: Edward Couture
Date: Wednesday, March 7
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Although America’s Civil War was fought more than a century and a half ago, its after-effects are still being felt to this day. Much death and destruction occurred on both sides. The battles and politics have been intensively studied, and hundreds of books about this war have appeared. However, little has been written about the postal systems of the two warring nations. It is a very complicated story. The Federal and Confederate Post Offices were much alike, yet there were notable differences. The situation required new ideas to resolve unique problems. As a stamp collector specializing in this stressful period of American history, Edward Couture hopes to clarify the many questions that class participants may bring to this subject.

Edward Couture earned his Master’s degree in French and Russian from Middlebury College in Vermont. He began collecting stamps in his youth, later specializing in stamps from the United States of America, the Commonwealth of Canada, and the Republic of France. Edward moved to Ann Arbor in 1997, after retiring from 35 years of teaching in the Los Angeles City schools. He is a student of languages and history.


W1841 Canine-Assisted Search and Rescue
Presenters: Tony and Annette Zintsmaster
Date: Thursday, March 8
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Canine Assisted Search and RescueOur speakers spent many years training dogs for specialized police and emergency rescue work. Shortly after the collapse of the two World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, they responded to a call from FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) and rushed to New York, where they entered the massive ruins with their dogs and joined in the frenzied search for survivors. Tony and Annette will describe this experience and show pictures not seen previously in the public media. We will learn about the remarkable contributions dogs can make, and how they are trained for this sort of work. Tony will also touch upon his rescue missions to areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005, by Hurricane Ike in 2008, and by the 2005 Bluebird Canyon landslide near Laguna Beach, California.

Tony and Annette Zintsmaster are owners of Runyan Pottery Supply in Clio, Michigan. Previously, in addition to their regular jobs, they worked as civilian specialists for FEMA – Tony for over twenty years and Annette for over ten. They spent almost every weekend training dogs and preparing
them for federal certification.


W1842 Lost and Forgotten Art Movements
Presenter: Boyd E. Chapin, Jr.
Date: Friday, March 9
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Lost and Forgotten Art MovementsIn this class we will view and discuss examples from seven little-known art movements that came and went after Impressionism upset our artistic view of the world. The movements went by the names Synthetism (circa 1877 to 1893), Tonalism (1880s and ‘90s), Rayonism (1910s), Synchromism (1910s and ‘20s), Purism (1918 to 1925), Precisionism (1920s and ‘30s), and Lettrism (1942 to the 2000s). These were movements which initially seemed promising but did not quite catch on. They have largely been forgotten, some perhaps deservedly, but their ideas continue to exert subtle influences within the art world.

Boyd Chapin is a graduate of Wayne State University and a senior attorney with the Detroit firm of Garan Lucow Miller, PC. Boyd is a former docent with the Detroit Institute of Arts and has an ongoing passion for all forms of art which he pursues through his own work in pencil, oil, and acrylic.


W1843 Satire, Slapstick, and Social Commentary: The Crime Fiction of Carl Hiaasen
Presenter: David Geherin
Date: Monday, March 12
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Texts: Skin Tight (1989) or Skinny Dip (2004) by Carl Hiaasen.
Penguin Books, paperback. ISBN 978-0-399-13489-0 or 0-375-41108-9.

Crime Fiction of Carl HiaasenCarl Hiaasen has been variously described as “the Mark Twain of the crime novel,” “one of the funniest crime writers to come along in decades,” a “superb national satirist,” and a “great American writer about the great American subjects of ambition, greed, vanity, and disappointment.” A columnist for the Miami Herald for over 30 years and an award-winning author of young-adult novels, Hiaasen is best known for the 14 crime novels he has published since 1986. In this class we will examine his unique blend of outrageous comedy and biting satire by focusing on Skin Tight (1989) and Skinny Dip (2004). Class participants are asked to read either or both of these novels prior to the class.

David Geherin is a professor emeritus of English at Eastern Michigan University. He is the author of eight books on crime and mystery fiction, two of which were finalists for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Allan Poe Award. David’s latest book is Funny Thing about Murder: Modes of Humor in Crime Fiction and Films (2017). He is currently writing a book on Carl Hiaasen.


 W1844 Escape and Evasion in Wartime Europe
Presenter: Warren B. Carah
Date: Wednesday, March 14
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Escape and Evasion in Wartime Europe

Some 3,000 American soldiers and airmen successfully escaped or evaded capture by the Germans in occupied Europe during World War II. For these men, every minute in Nazi-controlled territory was fraught with betrayal, capture, and death. Evaders had to negotiate their way through escape routes where food was scarce, suspicion high, and treachery common. This is the story of one airman evader and his unique odyssey to reach freedom at the height of the conflict. Along the way, we will learn about members of the French resistance who routinely risked their lives to help make such escapes possible.

Warren B. Carah recently retired as president of a firm providing equipment and engineering services to nuclear power facilities. He holds environmental science and engineering degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and from Washington State University. Warren comes from a military family and has been researching his father’s wartime experiences for over 25 years. He has written numerous articles on WWII and on the history of his Cornish ancestors during the California Gold Rush.


W1845 Historic Detroit: More Postcards from the Past
Presenter: Charles Gehrke
Date: Wednesday, March 14
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Historic DetroitDrawing from his collection, and supplementing with current photographs of surviving building interiors, Chuck Gehrke will take us once again on a picture postcard tour of historic Detroit. The city's rich church, hotel, and commercial building architecture has been preserved on vintage postcards. Long forgotten, or perhaps unknown, entertainment sites, as well as the history of medicine in the African American community, can be visited through these images. The history of a trip to Belle Isle, including the buildings and all the ways visitors could enjoy the island, can be relived through these timeless postcards. Please join us for this pictorial tour of Detroit’s unique history.

Charles Gehrke is a native Detroiter and retired physician who went to school in downtown Detroit and regularly saw and admired the city’s historic buildings at their best. With this presentation, Chuck combines his interest in Detroit’s history and current revival with his hobby of collecting vintage postcards.


W1846 Churches of Italy
Presenter: Marcella Corona
Date: Thursday, March 15
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Churches of ItalyIf travelers to Italy want to explore some of the greatest art and architecture ever created, they have no choice but to visit the country’s magnificent churches, shrines, and monasteries. Milan’s Gothic cathedral, Il Duomo di Milano, seat of the Archbishop of Milan, took nearly six centuries to complete. It is Italy’s largest Gothic building and the third largest church in the world. St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and is the world’s largest church. The Papal Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi is one of the most important sites of Christian pilgrimage in Italy. Basilica di San Marco is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Venice, and one of the best known examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture. Join us as Marcella Corona guides us on a tour of these and other, perhaps lesser known, Italian cathedrals and churches.

Marcella Corona was born and raised in Italy, where she went to school, worked, and traveled widely. She came to the United States at age 22 and received an associate’s degree from Henry Ford Community College. Marcella returns to Italy almost every year.


Dawn of Civilization in MesopotamiaW1847 The Dawn of Civilization in Mesopotamia: Explaining the Earliest States, Part II
Presenter: Henry T. Wright
Date: Friday, March 16
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

In this class Henry Wright will summarize the earlier archaeological work he discussed last spring, and then trace the last 20 years of research on state and urban origins, using archival images and artifacts from the University of Michigan’s Museum of Anthropological Archaeology. Our world’s first urban economies and political states emerged in the valley of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers about 4,000 BCE. The next states appear along the Nile about 3,400 BCE, so we can be certain that Mesopotamians made their key breakthroughs without contributions from yet older states. Dawn of Civilization in MesopotamiaHowever, Mesopotamia is a difficult place to study, first and foremost because it is so very old. In some places, geological processes have eroded landscapes, and in others these processes have buried important landscapes under many meters of flood silt. Key sites have often been reoccupied repeatedly, burying the remains of the earliest cities. Finally, this ancient heartland of Mesopotamia is currently divided among four different nations, often in conflict, making research difficult and dangerous.

Henry T. Wright has studied the development of complex societies since the early 1960s, focusing on early Mesopotamia with work in Iraq and Iran from the mid 1960s to the late 1970s, and continuing fieldwork most recently in Syria in the 2000s. At the University of Michigan, he is Professor of Anthropology and Curator of Near Eastern Collections, Museum of Anthropological Archaeology.


W1848 Town Bands in the Washtenaw Area: From the Civil War to 1920
Presenter: Jerry Robbins
Date: Friday, March 16
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Veterans of Civil War bands took their instruments home with them after the war, and continued to play for the public. These veterans taught younger men to play and these young men, in turn, taught even younger generations. In addition, various immigrant groups, especially Germans, brought musical traditions and skills with them from abroad. As a result, there were tens of thousands of “town bands” in America. Beginning around 1920, automobiles, movies, recorded music, and radio, along with the rise of college and (later) high school bands, made town bands obsolete. In the early 20th century, the Washtenaw County area had its share, perhaps more than its share, of these instrumental groups, which are now, unfortunately, mostly forgotten. Join us as we hear about the rise and fall of these organizations and hear bits of their music from the period along the way.

Jerry Robbins began his teaching career as a high school band director. From 1998 to 2011 he served as the conductor of the Washtenaw Community Concert Band (WCCB), and in 2009 organized a 20-piece “vintage” ensemble called the Town Band, which he continues to conduct. This group performs only music of the 1880-1920 period, with period-appropriate instruments and attire.


W1849 Sundays at Seven: The Golden Age of Network Radio
Presenter: Henry B. Aldridge
Date: Monday, March 19
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Golden Age of Network RadioDo you remember The Jack Benny Program? How about One Man’s Family, Suspense, or The Lone Ranger? Network radio programs were a fundamental part of our childhoods, and their sounds linger on decades later. During this class we will listen to excerpts from several shows, talk about the evolution of the networks, and enjoy photos of many great radio stars.

Henry B. Aldridge is Emeritus Professor of Electronic Media and Film Studies at Eastern Michigan University, and has published widely on a number of topics relating to broadcasting and film history. He is also an active volunteer at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor where he has served as an organist for many years.


W1850 Sustainable Business: A Tour of the Current Landscape
Presenter: David Gard
Date: Wednesday, March 21
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon


Public attention to global sustainability and local resilience is on the rise. As our society wrestles with effective responses to climate change, resource pressures, loss of biodiversity, and other challenges, the business sector is playing an important role. Companies large and small are trying to understand both the risks and opportunities in becoming more “green.” What is corporate social responsibility? How are firms responding to growing customer demand for cleaner products and greater transparency? Which companies are leading the way? In this class we will explore these kinds of questions.

David Gard works for 5 Lakes Energy, a Michigan-based policy consulting firm that promotes clean energy and sustainable practices. Previously, he spent more than a decade at the Michigan Environmental Council, worked as an engineer, and served in the U.S. Navy. David holds master’s degrees in business and natural resource policy from the University of Michigan. He earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Northwestern University. David is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio.


W1851 Mcity: An Autonomous Vehicle Research Center
Presenter: Huei Peng
Date: Thursday, March 22 at the Red Cross Building
Time: 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. [Please note the 11:30 a.m. end time.]

Autonomous Vehicle Research CenterMcity is a partnership among industry, communities, government, and the University of Michigan, and was formed to transform global mobility by dramatically improving transportation safety, accessibility, efficiency, and sustainability. Mcity draws on the University’s broad strengths in engineering, urban planning, energy and information technologies, business, law, and the social sciences. The objective is to accelerate progress in diverse areas such as connected-vehicle systems, driverless vehicles, and shared vehicle and advanced propulsion systems. Located on the University’s North Campus, Mcity’s model deployment allows researchers to test emerging concepts in connected and automated vehicles, in both off- and on-road settings. Mcity also addresses the many social, political, regulatory, and economic issues inherent in the transition to new mobility technologies.

Huei Peng is Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan, and Director of the University’s Mcity program and facility. He has been involved in the design of various vehicles for both electric and hydraulic hybrid concepts. He previously served as the Director of the Clean Energy Research Center sponsored by the United States Department of Energy.


W1852 The Poetry of William Blake (1757 – 1827)
Presenter: Russell Robert Larson
Date: Tuesday, March 20
Time: 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
Text: William Blake's poems are readily available online. Selected poems will be provided.

William Blake wrote poetry during a very tumultuous time in English history. George III began having episodes of insanity in 1788; religious controversy was a constant; the French Revolution began in 1789, gathering support among the English themselves and launching 25 years of war between France and England. Although Blake’s life was rather simple, his beliefs were radical, and his artistic achievements were significant, both as a writer and as an illustrator. In this class we will look at Blake’s Songs of Innocence, Songs of Experience, and The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. Pay particular attention to these poems: “The Lamb,” “The Little Black Boy,” “The Chimney-Sweeper” (both versions), “Holy Thursday” (both versions), “Nurse’s Song” (both versions), “The Garden of Love,” “London,” and “The Tyger.” For all registrants, a course pack will be available for pick-up at the Elderwise office one week in advance of the class.

Russell Larson is Professor Emeritus of English Language and Literature at Eastern Michigan University (EMU). He holds a Ph.D. in 19th century English literature from the University of Michigan and joined the teaching faculty of the Department of English Language and Literature at EMU in 1970.


W1853 Card Making Make-and-Take
Presenter: Barbara Theurer
Date: Friday, March 23
Time: 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. [Please note the 4:00 p.m. end time.]
Fee: Members $13; Nonmembers $20 [Fee includes $5 for materials.]
Class Size: Enrollment for this class is limited to 16.

Come join us for an afternoon of "me time," creating handmade greeting cards you can send to family and friends. These themed cards can be used for all occasions. No previous experience is required. Bring your imagination, a ruler, and a pair of small, pointed, sharp scissors. Materials, instructions, and space and time to create will be provided. YOU add that special touch that makes each of your cards one of a kind.

Barbara Theurer will be the class facilitator. Her credentials include a love of teaching, and delight in helping others create special cards that are unique. Barbara is a self-proclaimed card making addict, always on the lookout for new ideas. (So many ideas, so little time!)


W1854 The History of Children’s Book Illustrations: An English Triumvirate
Presenter: Sue Grossman
Date: Thursday, March 29
Time: 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon

Children's Book Illustrations

In the mid 19th century, in London, England, three of the first and most important creators in the field of children’s picture book illustration were born: Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Kate Greenaway. Until that time, books for children were aimed primarily at adults, who used them to teach religion and morals to their young charges. This 19th century British group of artist-illustrators included authors as well, and they began creating books for children simply to enjoy. In this class we will view and discuss a colorful presentation about the lives and careers of Caldecott, Crane, and Greenaway, including many examples of their art.

Sue Grossman earned her undergraduate degree in Child Development and Teaching from Michigan State University (MSU), her master’s in Counseling and Personnel from Western Michigan University, and her doctorate in Early Childhood Education from MSU. In 1995, Sue became a faculty member at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) in the Early Childhood Program Area of the Department of Teacher Education. She retired from EMU in 2012.


W1855 Round Table Coffee Hour
Fond Memories: The Early Days of Radio and TV
Facilitator: Elderwise Host
Date: Friday, March 30
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Our popular Round Table Coffee Hour will continue with an entirely new topic at the end of the winter semester. The theme will focus on our individual memories of the early days of radio and television, and the first shows we listened to or watched, by ourselves or with family members. We can share important context (where we were living and what we were doing at the time), the most memorable program characters we got to know, and why they made such a big impression on us. We warmly welcome all Elderwise members, nonmember friends, and guests. This collegial gathering is free of charge, but we do ask you to register in advance on the Registration Form provided in this catalog.




W1856 Matisse Drawings: Curated by Ellsworth Kelly from The Pierre and Tana Matisse Foundation Collection
Exhibit Tour, University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA)
Presenter: UMMA Docent Specialist
Date: Thursday, February 15 at the Museum of Art, 525 South State Street
Time: 11:00 a.m. to 12 noon [Please note the 11:00 a.m. start time.]
Fee: Members $8; Nonmembers $15
Class Size: Enrollment for this exhibition tour is limited to 20 attendees.

MatisseThis exhibition at the University of Michigan Museum of Art showcases the master craftsmanship of two of the most significant artists of the 20th century: Henri Matisse (1869–1954) and Ellsworth Kelly (1923–2015). Curated by Kelly in 2014, the exhibition speaks to his admiration for Matisse, as well as to the centrality of drawing in the practices of both artists. To accompany the 45 rarely exhibited works by Matisse, which reveal his process and range of creativity, Kelly selected 9 of his own lithographic drawings, derived from his time in France during the 1960s when he studied Matisse’s sketches. Together, the works by Matisse and Kelly form a thought-provoking, visually striking artistic dialogue, allowing viewers to experience one artist through the eyes of another.

The exhibition is displayed in the museum’s A. Alfred Taubman Gallery I, and the tour will be led by a museum Docent Specialist. Tour participants should enter the new wing and assemble at the museum shop.


W1857 Extraordinary Excavations: Karanis and Seleucia-on-the-Tigris
Presenters: Kelsey Museum of Archaeology Professional Staff
Date: Wednesday, March 28, at the Kelsey Museum, 434 South State Street, Ann Arbor
Note: The museum’s public and accessible entrance is on Maynard Street.
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Fee: Members $8; Nonmembers $15

Excavations: Karanis and Seleucia-on-the-TigrisThis tour of the permanent collections at the University of Michigan Kelsey Museum focuses on the artifacts recovered from two important sites: Karanis, in Egypt, and Seleucia-on-the Tigris, in Iraq. Approximately half of the museum’s collections were excavated from these sites. Karanis was an agricultural village in the Egyptian countryside during the Graeco-Excavations: Karanis and Seleucia-on-the-TigrisRoman period. The University initiated excavation at Karanis during the 1920s and 1930s, and recovered material that tells us much about the life, culture, religion, and magical practices of this agrarian community. By contrast, Seleucia-on-the-Tigris in Iraq was a vital trading center at the confluence of the Tigris River and a major canal from the Euphrates River. This vibrant urban center rose, flourished, and dwindled away between 307 B.C. and 215 A.D. Artifacts from the Seleucia site (also excavated during the 1920s and 1930s) reveal the high level of cultural blending that resulted from the Hellenizing of the Near East after the campaigns of Alexander the Great.

Kelsey Museum Professional Staff will guide our tour of the Karanis and Seleucia collections, including Roman glass, tools, pottery, amulets, jewelry, and much more.



THEATER Back to top


The Trojan Women
Profound and Poetic Tragedy
Adapted by Ellen McLaughlin.    Directed by Jennifer Graham.

A brutal war to retrieve the beautiful Helen has ended.  The city of Troy has been laid to waste; its men slaughtered, its women forced to the beach where the conquering Greeks will soon take them as the spoils of war.  Having survived the bloodshed and battles, the female captives now face being torn from their homes and submitting as slaves and concubines to the victors.  As they await their fate, Queen Hecuba, her daughter Cassandra, and the other women confront the travesties and utter devastation of war.  Ellen McLaughlin's contemporary adaptation of Euripides' centuries-old drama is a lucid and humbling perspective on refugees of war.

Sponberg Theatre, EMU Campus
February 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 at 7:00 p.m.
February 4 and 11 at 2:00 pm
Suggested for ages 16+
Tickets:  EMUTIX.COM



Pakistani/American Adjustment
Written by novelist and screenwriter AyadAkhtar.      Directed by Joe York.

This play is centered on sociopolitical themes such as Islamophobia and the self-identity of Muslim-American citizens.  It focuses on a dinner party of four people with very different backgrounds.  As discussion turns to politics and religion, the mood quickly becomes heated.  Described as a "combustible powder keg of identity politics," the play depicts racial and ethnic prejudices that "secretly persist in even the most progressive cultural circles."  It is also said to depict the challenge for upwardly mobile Muslim Americans in post-9/11 America.

Riverside Theatre, Ypsilanti
February 22, 23, 24, and March 1, 2, 3 at 7:00 p.m.
February 25 at 2:00 p.m.
Ticket Office:  734.483.7345

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