Classic Lit Redux: Huckleberry Finn (1885) by Mark Twain


10:00am-12:00pm, MONDAY— 11/6, 11/13, 11/20 (Class Limit:  20 – Member $25/Non-Member $50)  Presenter: Eileen Warburton

Ernest Hemingway famously declared: “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” Most people read this novel as adolescents. It’s a VERY different read for mature adults! Huck is one of the most important characters in all fiction and the tale of his journey is lovingly humorous, savagely satiric, and profoundly moral in equal measures. Mark Twain’s use of language reinvented American writing and also makes the book highly controversial today. Huck is often a banned book! Come with an open mind to engage with this amazing portrait of 19th century America, as disturbingly fresh as if it was published yesterday.  You must read the book completely in advance. Use any unabridged edition. Eileen Warburton will provide background, biography, and historical context while guiding the discussion with questions and themes.    

Cuba From The Eyes of Baby Boomers

12:45-2:45pm, FRIDAY — 11/3 (Class Limit:  35 – Member $10/ Non-Member $35) Presenters: Mark Kanter and Lynne Glickman

Have you always been curious about Cuba since it was closed off to US citizens since 1962? We have. In September 2016, we had the opportunity to visit the communist island nation on a legal US/Cuba baseball tour. We were presented with an overall view of our geographically close neighbor, just 90 miles from the Key West, Florida. The tour was not just focused on baseball. We stayed in an historic hotel in Havana that provided an interesting backdrop for history. Our guides ensured that we dined at Paladares (private family-run restaurants) including the one that then President Obama and family ate at during their visit to Cuba in March 2016. We discussed baseball, politics, religion and life with the Cuban people. We would like to share our visit and experiences with you. 

Current International Affairs In Review


12:45pm-2:45pm, WEDNESDAY— 9/27, 10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25, 11/1, 11/8, 11/15  (Class Limit:  25 – Member $65/ Non-Member $90)  Presenters: Ron Becker and Ben Riggs

This course is a workshop-style lecture and discussion series beginning with presentations of various country and regional overviews along with some political and socio-economic issues in the first hour, followed in the second hour by a moderated open discussion of current international events of the past week. The topics selected for the first hour will add to an understanding of the current events being discussed and often will be presented by outside speakers with relevant expertise. Class participation and presentations by attendees are encouraged, but not required.

Introduction to Chinese Medical Qi Gong

12:30pm-2:30pm,  THURSDAY— 11/2, 11/9, 11/16, 11/30, 12/7, 12/14  (Class Limit:  25 – Member $50/ Non-Member $75)  Presenter: Jesse Harding

This seminar will explore an introduction to Chinese Medical Qi Gong combined with practical ways of integrating principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine into everyday life. Medical Qi Gong is a time-honored Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention.  In addition to the study of the Philosophy, different types of meditation such as seated, standing, walking, and moving will be taught and practiced as an “art of living.”  Taoist Qi Gong exercises for health, well-being, stress reduction, clear thinking and peace of mind will be presented. At times, participants will be invited through a process of “Guided Self-Discovery” to engage in a series of exercises in “Experiential Learning”.

Japanese Americans and World War II

3:00pm-5:00pm, TUESDAY—10/10, 10/17, 10/24, 10/31  (Class Limit:  35 – Member $35/ Non-Member $60) Presenters: Ken Nomiyama and James T. McIlwain

WW II produced a cataclysmic upheaval in the lives of people of Japanese ancestry living in America, especially the 120,000 who, in the name of military necessity and national security, were forced from their homes on the West Coast and incarcerated in camps enclosed by barbed wire and armed guards. Two-thirds of the Japanese people were American citizens who found themselves and their immigrant parents denied their constitutional rights, including the right of due process.  We will look at the historical context of these events, at how life was lived in the camps, at the suffering that was endured, and the ways in which those affected responded to the challenges they faced.


12:30pm-2:30pm, THURSDAY— 9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19  (Class Limit:  15 – Member $40/ Non-Member $65) Presenter: Linda M. Morse

Have you wondered what Meditation is all about and if it is right for you? People of all cultures have meditated for thousands of years. Come to this very relaxed program and learn about the health and wellness benefits that can be gained from this age old practice of Meditation. This program is appropriate for those with an established practice, and those new to Meditation. You will have the opportunity to learn several different ways to meditate, look at ways of integrating mindfulness into daily life, and leave feeling relaxed and renewed. The program offers different ways to meditate to give you a ‘bag of tools’ to choose from for your daily life. Please wear comfortable clothing. Feel free to bring a yoga mat or cushion to sit on if you’d like. This program can be experienced from the chair.

Near Death Experience

What Happens When We Die? An exploration of how human consciousness exists outside of the body.   5:30 – 7:00, 3rd Thursday each month (No sessions in July/Aug/Dec) Class Limit:  25 – Donations Accepted  Presenter: Ben Riggs

This program began last March 2016, and is conducted as the Rhode Island Chapter of the International Association for Near Death Studies (“IANDS”  at The aim of the group is to explore and deepen our understanding of what has been learned about human consciousness from people who have had near-death experiences (“NDEs”) and have reported an amazing journey after they have been revived, along with the lessons they learned.  We will review and discuss actual documented experiences along with the findings of various researchers and scientists, all of whom have various theories about how this happens and what it can tell us about the transition from life as we know it, and what lies beyond. Some videos and guest speakers are utilized. This is not connected with any organized religion or religious belief. Some of the group’s current members include persons who have had NDEs, “after death” communications with loved ones, and related experiences of their own.

Newport’s First Architect

3:00pm-5:00pm, THURSDAY— 11/30, 12/7  (Class Limit:  25 – Member $20/ Non-Member $45)    Presenter: John Grosvenor

Peter Harrison was a British Tory who came to Rhode Island before the Revolution and became the first professionally trained architect in America. This lecture on Harrison explores his life and his influence on 18th century architecture in the Americas.  We will look at his works such as the Redwood  Library, the Brick Market and the Touro Synagogue and discuss the classically inspired Palladian vernacular that Harrison brought to the New World.

Researching Your Family Tree

10:00am-12:00pm, WEDNESDAY—10/4, 10/11, 10/18, 10/25  (Class Limit:  12 – Member $35/ Non-Member $60) Presenter: Johanna Becker

Learn basic techniques and sources for researching your ancestors in the United States with emphasis on the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Become familiar with repositories and websites to locate census records, vital records, immigration and naturalization records and other pertinent information.  The course will include some “beyond the basics” topics as well.  Familiarity with the internet is useful as the course will focus primarily on internet sources.

The Art Instinct

3:00pm-5:00pm, MONDAY— 11/6, 11/13, 11/20, 11/27  (Class Limit:  20 – Member $35/ Non-Member $60) Presenter: Barbara Olins Alpert

This class will use Elena Mannes brilliant television 2 part series  on Music and the Brain in which she discusses the subject with musicians and neuroscientists.  From this point of departure we will make similar connections with graphic art and the neurological response to line, form and color.  We will try to understand  how art and music can have such profound emotional effect on most of us. Students will be encouraged to bring in CD examples of music that move or please them and reproductions of art that gives them pleasure and enlarged vision.  Using what we have learned we will try, as a class, to determine why particular music and art can affect us emotionally and enrich our lives.

The Art and Science of Good Decision Making

10:00am-12:00pm, THURSDAY— 10/19, 10/26, 11/2, 11/9, 11/16  (Class Limit:  12 – Member $40/ Non-Member $65) Presenter: Hank Kniskern

This course explores the surprising influences and complexities involved in everyday decision making. Using lectures, videos, short readings and examples, we will discuss practical and proven techniques for assessing problems, structuring alternatives, and avoiding pitfalls. We will also emphasize ways to help others in the problem solving process. 

The Art of the iPhone Camera


10:00AM—12:00PM, TUESDAY— 9/26, 10/3, 10/17  (Class Limit:  15 – Member $25/ Non-Member $50)   Presenter: Jan Armor

It’s a new age. “It’s been said that the best camera is the one you have with you.” and the phone in your pocket does indeed offer a spontaneous new way to make good pictures.  In this three session workshop you will learn how to create artistic photographs with the camera in your  iPhone.  You will also learn how to edit and process your images using Apple “Photos”,  and other popular apps.  Elaboration —  If you have an iPhone and/or an iPad, you have a convenient and powerful tool for creating unique imagery. I will show you how to unlock the potential of these devices. Furthermore, with a rapidly growing number of photography “apps,” the possibilities are seemingly limitless. Be inspired wherever you are. Learn how the portability and connectivity of these mobile miracles allow you to shoot, edit, and share your creations wherever you go. Join me for an inspiring photography experience.

Please Note: This workshop covers how to use the CAMERA in your iPhone. This is not a workshop on how to use your iPhone.  Also please note,  this class is not for android users.

The Comedy Greats—A Laugh-a-thon in 5 Sessions

12:30pm-2:30pm, THURSDAY—9/21, 9/28, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19  (Class Limit:  25 – Member $40/ Non-Member $65) Presenter: Brett Morse

Come and join me for this 5-week laugh-a-thon, as we relive the golden years of comedy! Enjoy some of the funniest skits from such shows as The Carol Burnett Show, Your Show of Shows (Sid Caesar), The Red Skelton Show, The Jackie Gleason Show, The Colgate Comedy Hour, and so many others. We’ll enjoy the comic genius of Jonathan Winters, Bob Newhart, Carol Burnett, Rodney Dangerfield, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, Gilda Radner – just to name a few. We will discuss their history and background – and enjoy their special brand of humor. This class is designed to be FUN! So be prepared to laugh!  

Today’s Europe: It’s Tribal Roots and Current Challenges

10:00am-12:00pm, FRIDAY— 9/29, 10/6, 10/13, 10/20, 10/27, 11/3, 11/10, 11/17 (Class Limit:  25 – Member $65/ Non-Member $90)   Presenter: Ron Barks

Dissolution of the European Union, Brexit, antagonism to immigrants, etc. are arousing concerns throughout modern Europe as indicators of rising nationalism and re-emerging tribalism. So who were these Tribes (Peoples) and how have they influenced Europe through time? The Celts, Germans, Vikings and Slavs have been the dominant Peoples north of the Alps from Ireland to Asia, Scandinavia to the Mediterranean Sea between ~ 800 BC and 1200 AD. We’ll examine the differences within and both political and geographic conflicts between them for the origins of a number of current issues which developed as they progressed from tribal societies to nation states influenced by the Roman Empire (s) and Christian Church in the process. Some genetic surprises resulted!


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