The Center for Life and Learning:
   Special-Topic Classes

Center for Life and Learning (CLL) special-topic classes bring in experts from the Chicago area to enrich our annual curriculum and provide a flexible avenue of participation. One need not be a CLL member to register. The special-topic classes cover a broad range of topics from politics to bridge to the humanities; come and check us out!

For information about our special-topic classes, contact Sue Hakes at 312.981.3389.


Beginning in November
   The Original “Road Scholars”: The Canterbury Tales and Its Pilgrims

Beginning in January
   Calvin College January Series 2018
   Joan of Arc: A Singular Life

   Winter Film Series
   Musical Partners

   Jews and Christians: Common Stories–Unique Conversations
   Six Weeks of Mozart Masterpieces

Beginning in Feburary
   History of Hollywood Musicals Part I

   Matter of Balance
   Beginner T'ai Chi
  
The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks

   Lunch and Learn: Dangerous Liaisons
   Easter Flower Making Workshop
   The Medici: Patrons of Art and Music


The Original “Road Scholars”:
The Canterbury Tales
and Its Pilgrims

   Mondays, November 6-December 11
   11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
   Led by Susan Quaintance
   Register online here

A fourteenth century poem, written in Middle English, about thirty religious pilgrims who entertain each other (and reveal themselves in the process) by telling a wide range of tales. Do twenty-first century Chicagoans really have anything to gain from spending their time on that? Oh, you bet! After a brief introduction to the literary form, historical context, and Geoffrey Chaucer himself, we’ll dig in to some of the funniest, sharpest, and most provocative stories written in English. Though time only allows for study of five or six of the twenty-four tales, there will still be plenty to learn, appreciate, and enjoy.

Susan Quaintance holds an M.A. in theology from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. She taught high school theology and English for more than twenty years and has facilitated many adult days of recollection and retreats.

$25 for CLL members   
$40 for guest registrants 

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Calvin College January Series 2018

   January 3-January 23, 2018
   11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
   Free and open to all
   Joint event between the Center for Life and Learning
   and Academy for Faith and Life

Please note that there will be no viewing on Monday, January 15 in observance of Martin Luther King Day 

The award-winning January Series of Calvin College is coming to downtown Chicago. From January 4 through January 23, 2018, Fourth Presbyterian Church will be one of 50 remote webcast locations worldwide to broadcast one of the nation’s leading lecture and cultural arts series.

The January Series lectures will be video streamed live at Fourth Presbyterian Church (126 E. Chestnut St.) from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CST, Monday through Friday. The lectures are free and open to the public.

For a full list of speakers and topics, visit Calvin College.

Wednesday, January 3
Mary Hulst, “Why Millennials Are the Hope of the Church”

Thursday, January 4                       
David R. Williams, “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequity Making us Sick?”

Friday, January 5
Randy Lewis, “No Greatness without Goodness: How a Father’s Love Changed a Company and Sparked a Movement”  

Monday, January 8                         
Shane Claiborne, “Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why it’s Killing Us”

Tuesday, January 9                         
Pashon Murray, “Detroit Dirt: Zero Waste from the Ground Up”

Wednesday, January 10
John Inazu, “Confident Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving through Deep Differences”

Thursday, January 11
Laura Sumner Truax, “Love Let Go: Radical Generosity for the Real World”

Friday, January 12                           
Caroline Webb, “How to Have a Good Day: Using Behavioral Science to Improve Everyday Life”

Monday, January 15                     
No program in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Tuesday, January 16                      
Katherine Boo, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity”

Wednesday, January 17               
Kevin Olusola in Concert and Conversation

Thursday, January 18                     
Jeremy McCarter, “Hamilton, Hope, and Change”

Friday, January 19                           
R. David Edelman, “Cybersecurity and Geopolitics”

Monday, January 22                      
Kevin Palau, “Unlikely: Exploring Partnership between Churches and Cities”

Tuesday, January 23                      
John Swinton, “Becoming Friends of Time: Disability, Timefulness, and Gentle Discipleship”

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Joan of Arc: A Singular Life

   Tuesdays, January 16–February 20
   1:15–3:15 p.m.
   Led by: Susanne Dumbleton
   Register online here

The story of Joan of Arc, who lived 1412-1431, has fascinated men and women across Europe and the Americas for almost 600 years. Historians have turned repeatedly to the verbatim records of her two long trials—the first, in which clergy and political foes worked to prove her claims of being inspired by God were heretical, and the second, 25 years later, in which those who knew her in daily life sought to overturn that defamy. Novelists, playwrights, composers, poets--even a choreographer—have imagined her onto the page, stage, screen and concert hall. Her image has been rendered on canvas, stained glass, bronze and the facades of churches. The question of the nature of Joan of Arc’s genius has intrigued people for centuries.

In this seminar we will consider that mystery through the lens of historians as well as playwrights, actors, composers, actors, and visual artists.

Susanne Dumbleton holds a PhD in literature (medieval) from the University at Albany and is Professor Emeritus and Former Dean at DePaul University. Her research focuses on women in leadership for social change.

$40 for CLL members
$55 for guest registrants

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Winter Film Series

   Wednesdays, January 17–February 14
   1:45–3:45 p.m.
   Free, open to all 60 and older, no RSVP necessary

To make those dark days of winter a little more bearable, come check out some 2017 films in the awards season circuit!

Dunkirk (2017)
Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II. Running time: 1hr 46 min

Stronger (2017)
Stronger is the inspiring real life story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who captured the hearts of his city and the world to become a symbol of hope after surviving the 2017 Boston Marathon bombing. Running time: 1 hr 59 mins

The Big Sick (2017)
Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and grad student Emily Gardner fall in love but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness, Kumail finds himself forced to face her feisty parents, his family’s expectations, and his true feelings. Running time: 2 hr

The Florida Project (2017)
Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World. Running time: 1 hr 51 mins

Battle of the Sexes (2017)
The true story of the 1973 tennis match between world number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs. Running time: 2 hr 1 min

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Musical Partners

   Mondays, January 22–March 12
   11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
   Led by Stephen Kleiman
   Register online here

Musical Partners explores the relationship between two creative artists who put their talents together to create great works of art. We will discuss their lives, both apart and together, how they met, why they stayed together and the cause or causes of their eventual break-up. The class will take advantage of these partnerships and treasure the creative output of such partners as Gilbert and Sullivan, Lerner and Loewe, Rogers and Hammerstein and Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

Stephen Kleiman holds a bachelor’s degree from the Mannes College of Music and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan. An orchestra conductor in Europe and former music director of the National Chamber Orchestra in Washington, D.C., his compositions have been performed internationally and recently at Eastern Michigan University (Ypsilanti), International Chamber Artists (Chicago), the Longy School (Boston), the Newberry Library (Chicago), Music at Eden's Edge (Beverly Farms, Massachusetts) and the Chicago Danz Theatre.

$50 for CLL members
$65 for guest registrants

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Jews and Christians:
Common Stories–Unique Conversations

   Mondays, January 22–February 26
   11:00 a.m.–12:15 p.m.
   Led by Susan Quaintance and Hyma Levin
   Register online here

Though Jews and Christians share many parts of the Bible in common, that doesn’t mean we always read them in the same way. This class will take some of the key texts in the Tanakh/Bible (i.e. creation, the flood, the covenant, the commandments) and examine how each faith tells and interprets them. Understanding that stories shape us in powerful ways, we’ll learn about scripture, each other, and probably ourselves, as we encounter a host of colorful biblical characters.

Hyma Levin has been a Jewish educator for more than forty years. Having taught children and adults in a variety of settings, she is passionate about interreligious learning, believing that it enables each person to become stronger and more connected to his/her own faith tradition and to view other people with more respect and understanding.

Susan Quaintance holds an M.A. in theology from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. She taught high school theology and English for more than twenty years and has facilitated many adult days of recollection and retreats.

$40 for CLL members    
$55 for guest registrants 

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Six Weeks of Mozart Masterpieces

   Wednesdays, January 24–February 28
   10:15–11:45 a.m.
   Led by John Nygro
   Register online here

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s brilliant natural talent, superlative craftsmanship, and experimental skill have opened us to a world of humor, elegance, and beauty. We will view performances of some of Mozart’s masterpieces to discover his distinctive voice and shining genius.

John Nygro is a lecturer, musician, and actor with a career spanning more than thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from classical theater and opera to medieval and Renaissance music to film and television.

$40 for CLL members
$55 for guest registrants

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History of Hollywood Musicals Part I

   Thursdays, February 1–22
   2:30–4:00 p.m.
   Led by Wydetta Carter
   Register online here

It all began in the 1920’s with Al Jolson in “The Jazz Singer” and, the use of a new invention called the Vitaphone. Then cameThe Broadway Melody”, Busby Berkeley, Fred and Ginger, Deanna Durbin, Bing Crosby, Gene Kelly, Ann Miller and, of course Judy Garland to name a few.  We will start in the 1920’s and move onward through the 1950’s.  You will be humming and tapping your feet to the rhythms as we explore the Golden Age of the Hollywood Musical.

Wydetta Carter has been a singer and actress in the international theater scene for over twenty- five years. Her credits include the Broadway touring companies of How to Succeed in Business Without Really TryingDreamgirls; Hong Kong Disney production of the Lion King. Regional productions of Show Boat, All Shook Up, Hairspray, Nunsense, Little Shop of Horrors, Little Rock Nine, Porgy and Bess and numerous companies of the long running show Menopause the Musical. She is also a song presentation coach. A graduate of Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania, she also studied at the Denver Center Conservatory.

$35 for CLL members
$50 for guest registrants

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Matter of Balance

   Tuesdays, February 6–March 27
   12:30–2:30 p.m.
   Class taught by CJE Senior Life
   Register online here

This class is held in conjunction with The Village Chicago, Skyline Village and CJE Senior Life. Class is limited to 18 registrants (6 for the CLL)

A Matter of Balance is an eight-week evidence-based program that is designed to reduce the fear of falling and increase activity levels among older adults. Participants learn to set realistic goals to increase activity, change their environment to reduce fall risk factors, and learn simple exercises to increase strength and balance. Each week, the class features an exercise component and discussion. 

$40 for all registrants

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Beginner T'ai Chi

   Tuesdays, February 6–May 15 (15 weeks)
   2:00–2:45 p.m.
   Led by Hau Kum Kneip
   Please note this class is limited to 18 registrants
   Register online here

T'ai Chi Chuan is an effective exercise for anyone seeking to enhance balance, strength, and coordination. It is made up of a fluid series of postures joined with deep breathing exercises. In this class, beginning students will learn the history and fundamentals of T'ai Chi Chuan and will be prepared to join the intermediate class upon completion of the beginner series.

Hau Kum Kneip studied with Chinese T'ai Chi masters in Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, and Hawaii beginning in 1978. She has taught T'ai Chi Chuan at the CLL since 1995 and focuses on increasing balance, strength, and focus in her students.

$90 for CLL members
$105 for guest registrants

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The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks  

   Wednesday, February 21, 2018
   2:00–3:15 p.m.
   Led by Julia Bacharach
   Register online here

During the late 1830s, when Chicago's nascent local government adopted the motto, "Urbs in horto," a Latin phrase meaning "City in a garden," there were few green spaces or policies to promote park development. The city's slogan, however, has since proved to be prophetic. For more than 175 years, Chicago's citizens have rallied for the creation and protection of parkland, and the city's parks have long served as a national testing ground for revolutionary ideas, programs, and social reform efforts. Nearly a quarter of Chicago's 600 existing parks were created or shaped by some of the nation's most significant architects, landscape designers, and artists, such as Frederick Law Olmsted, Daniel H. Burnham, Jens Jensen, Alfred Caldwell, and Lorado Taft. This presentation by landscape historian Julia Bachrach highlights the fascinating development of Chicago’s parks.

Julia Bachrach is the author of several books including The City in a Garden: A History of Chicago’s Parks. She is a consulting historian, preservationist, and urban design professional. To learn more, go to JBachrach.com.

$15 CLL members
$20 guest registrants

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Lunch and Learn: Dangerous Liaisons

   Thursday, February 22
   11:00 a.m.–1:45 p.m.
   Led by John Nygro and Jeff Nigro
   Register online here

In this sumptuous and insightful film, the social and erotic intrigues of a group of 18th century French aristocrats leads to heartbreak and tragedy.  An all-star cast includes Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, and Keanu Reeves.

The instructors will begin with an exploration of the film’s source, the novel of the same name by Choderlos de Laclos, as well as the use of period music, art direction and lavish costuming in the film.  A complete showing of Dangerous Liaisons will be followed by a class discussion. Bring your lunch!

Jeff Nigro is an art historian, lecturer, and educator. Jeff has had a professional relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago for twenty-five years, first as a staff lecturer and then as Director of Adult Programs in the Department of Museum Education.

John Nygro
 is a lecturer, musician, and actor with a career spanning more than thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from classical theater and opera to medieval and Renaissance music to film and television.

$15 for CLL members
$20 for guest registrants

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Easter Flower-Making Workshop

   Tuesday, March 6
   11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.
   Led by Virginia Wolff
   Space is limited to 14 registrants
   Register online here

Join CLL member, Virginia Wolff as she teaches us how to do easy and imaginative floral arrangements for the Easter holiday with flowers you can get from your local grocer.  Each participant will come away with their very own floral creation.

Over Virginia's 40 year career as an event florist, she has done décor for the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Martha Stewart, and even former President Barack Obama. 

$20 for CLL members
$27 for guest registrants

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The Medici: Patrons of Art and Music

   Tuesdays, March 6–April 10
   1:30–3:00 p.m.
   Led by Jeff Nigro and John Nygro
   Register online here

The Medici of Florence were the first ruling family to realize that their path to immortality lay through the arts. This class will focus on the most significant Medici patrons of art and music during the family’s Renaissance heyday. The family was among the first to use the revival of classical antiquity in the visual arts for their own greater glory, all while continuing to support the creation of sacred art. The music they inspired ranged from the spiritually contemplative to the intimate and personal to the exhilarating grandeur of theatrical spectacle. Among the artists to be discussed will be Donatello, Fra Angelico, Botticelli, and Bronzino. Composers will include Dufay, Isaac, and Cavalieri. These creative geniuses exalted the Medici through the dynasty’s favorite themes of the Return of the Golden Age and the Harmony of the Spheres.

Jeff Nigro is an art historian, lecturer, and educator. Jeff has had a professional relationship with the Art Institute of Chicago for twenty-five years, first as a staff lecturer and then as Director of Adult Programs in the Department of Museum Education.

John Nygro
 is a lecturer, musician, and actor with a career spanning more than thirty years. As a lecturer, he has spoken on a number of subjects from classical theater and opera to medieval and Renaissance music to film and television.

$45 CLL members
$60 guest registrants

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