Midlothian, VA. 804.378.2527

Lifelong Learning Chesterfield

Literature, Poetry and Film - Spring 2018


Lifelong Learning Institute in Chesterfield                           

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Early Days of TV: Do You Remember...?                                               

Wednesday                                      EL181050             


Jan 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, Feb 7, 14

Instructor(s): Bob Ferguson

This extends a previous course by the same instructor on radio shows and movie serials. The course is not a history of TV, but is intended for you to enjoy some memories of a bygone era. Television became commercially viable after WWII. The networks needed shows and utilized many ideas from radio and movie serials. This course will take a snapshot of a few shows from the end of the 1940's to the end of the 1950's. Comedy, drama, adventure, and some kids shows will be viewed. One class will look at what was on the air 60 years ago, in 1957.


Film Appreciation                                          

Friday                                  EL181016             


Jan 5, 19, Feb 2, 16, March 2, 16, 30, April 13, 27

Instructor(s): Helene Wagner

Helene will present this class with nine carefully selected films: The Phantom of the Opera (Jan 5), The Verdict (Jan 19), Urban Cowboy (Feb 2), Reversal of Fortune (Feb 16), Fried Green Tomatoes (March 2), The Natural (March 16), Absence of Malice (March 30), An Officer and a Gentleman (April 13), In the Line of Fire (April 27). Additional information about the films will be available at the classes. Please note that class on January 5 will run an extra 30 minutes and class on January 19 will end 30 minutes early. Following the movie on February 2, there may be a live performance by our very own LLI Line Dancers!


Aspiring Writer's Critique                                          

Friday                                  EL181015             


Jan 5, 19, Feb 2, 16, March 2, 16, 30, April 13, 27

Instructor(s): Dorothy Moses

This course is for aspiring writers who want gentle feedback on their writing. Are you working on your memoirs, a short story, novel or screenplay? Bring in a few pages each time we meet and get feedback from the group while giving your own comments on others’ work. Learn to be a better writer through giving and receiving constructive feedback.


Poe's Tales of 1845                                        

Monday                                              EL181027             


Jan 8, 22, 29, Feb 5, 12, 26

Instructor(s): Chris Semtner

Edgar Allan Poe's 1845 collection, “Tales,” his second and final book of short stories, has been deemed the first great collection of detective stories. In addition to his groundbreaking detective tales, the book also contains a variety of works from comedies to science fiction. This course will explore this collection as an introduction to the range of Poe's short fiction.


The Movies of Billy Wilder                                        

Monday                                              EL181022             


Jan 8, 22, 29, Feb 5, 12, 26, March 5, 12, 19, 26, April 9, 16, 23

Instructor(s): Greg Hall

A screen writer in Europe and America long before he was a director, Billy Wilder was one of the most versatile and prolific film makers in the world. We will take a look at and discuss 13 of his best: Five Graves to Cairo (1943), Double Indemnity (1944), The Lost Weekend (1945), Sunset Boulevard (1950), Ace in the Hole (1951), Stalag 17 (1953), Sabrina (1954), Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Some Like It Hot (1959), The Apartment (1960), One, Two. Three (1961), The Fortune Cookie (1966), and The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (1970). Schedule will be available the first day of class.


The LLI Senior Storytelling Slams: New Words from Old Mouths                                              

Tuesday                                              EL181054             


Jan 9, March 13, April 10

Instructor(s): Les Schaffer

Story Slams are growing in popularity across the world. Based on the poetry slam format and similar to popular radio shows like NPR's "The Moth" or "This American Life", a story slam is a festival for the spoken word. LLI story-slammers can register to sign up to tell a short story on the day's theme. Stories may be no longer than eight minutes. Up to seven story-slammers will be selected from those registered for each starting line-up. At the live shows as time permits (see schedule), procrastinators or late starters may put their names in a hat to be selected to tell. The theme for this session's first Slam is “Resolutions Made or Broken: Those promises made to ourselves or to others, kept or not." Slammers may broadly define this topic, with the caveat that it must be mostly true, at least in the teller's mind. No notes, paper or cheat sheets allowed during the live performance. The audience will be expecting real-life adventures. The best stories have a beginning, middle and end. They have a point and should be clear about why it's important for you to tell. You'll have an opportunity to tell your story to a friendly, live audience of fellow LLI members. Les Schaffer will serve as the Slam MC and be available for phone or electronic consultation and coaching as you develop and polish your story. Students who plan to slam and students who just want to listen to a good story should both register.


Great Books                                      

Tuesday                                              EL181014              *$20


Jan 9, 23, Feb 13, 27, March 13, 27, April 10

Instructor(s): Wade Curry, Sara Unetic and Lorraine Nichol

This course will provide discussion of the last five short selections in the Great Books Foundation's Great Conversations 6. The books, which are strongly suggested, are optionally available for purchase through the LLI Office during open registration only, and payment is due at time of registration. Alternatively, students may attempt to acquire the book on their own or acquire each selection via an e-book, audiobook, or from a library. The Foundation claims that discussion yields greater insight than reading by itself and has selected works that are both provocative and wise. The schedule will be: Jan. 9 - Mann, "Mario and the Magician;" Jan. 23 - Mansfield, "The Daughters of the Late Colonel;" Feb 13. - Capek, "R.U.R.;" Feb. 27 - McCarthy, "My Confession;" Mar. 13 - Eisenberg, "Holy Week;" Mar. 27 and Apr. 10 - to be determined.


Enjoy Poetry                                     

Friday                                  EL181043              *$17


Jan 12, 19, 26, Feb 2, 9, 16, 23, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

Instructor(s): Bob Ferguson and Timothy Pace

This course will continue to cover American poets of the past and present and add in a few English poets as well. Students will both read poems and listen to Youtube videos of poetry readings to keep the class interesting. All are encouraged to discuss their reactions to the poems, but the main objective is simply to enjoy the poetry. Students are encouraged to bring in their favorite poems to share them with the class. The goal is to share the experience of poets as artists who paint with words. Most poems will come from either "101 Great American Poems" (Dover Thrift Edition) or "Sailing Alone around the Room" (Random House, 2002) by a contemporary poet, Billy Collins. These texts are recommended but not required. The two books can optionally be purchased as a set through LLI during Open Registration only, and payment is due at registration.


Dr. Seuss Teaches Us to Be Better Adults: You're Only Old Once                                              

Tuesday                                              EL181055             


Jan 16, 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6

Instructor(s): Les Schaffer

Universally beloved children's author Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) published 46 books for the younger set (plus a few for adult eyes) over the course of his sprawling career. This doesn't mean that his books are just for tykes and toddlers. The power of the good doctor's words spans all ages and teaches us how to be better adults. Seuss' whimsical turns of phrase and larger-than-life situations instill ideas, values and concepts that teach old heads as well as little young ones. Seuss claimed not to imbue his stories with morality on purpose. Still, the author’s pedagogical, ethical, moral, political, spiritual and environmental beliefs are apparent in his stories and illustrations. This class will explore Seuss’ works for children as well as the books more directly aimed at old and older audiences. We won't shy away from the current controversies flaring around the Dr.'s work. We'll also take a side trip into the life and work of Maurice Sendak and some other of Dr. Seuss' contemporaries. Come join us for a fun adventurous journey along the Seuss-ography and discover how he continues to help us be better adults and prepares us for the road ahead. To paraphrase the good doctor, "Oh the places we'll go and the thinks that we'll think!"


Connecting With Books: A Book Discussion Group                                          

Wednesday                                      EL181052             


Jan 17, Feb 21, March 21, April 18

Instructor(s): Pam Bachman

In case we yearn too much for lost youth, our selections for this session will take us into the lives of young people with more than enough to deal with at such a young age. The titles are: "Last Bus to Wisdom" by Ivan Doig (January); "Child of My Heart" by Alice McDermott (February); "Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks (March); and "Saint Maybe" by Anne Tyler (April). In these critically-praised reader favorites, there will be much to enjoy, to discuss and to ponder.


Advanced Memoir Writing                                        

Tuesday                                              EL181009             


Jan 23, 30, Feb 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27

Instructor(s): Harry Rast

In this class, students will continue writing their memories and experiences that they started in previous classes. They will share their writings each class. Many times a shared memory from one student brings back a long-forgotten memory to another student. Hopefully, students will just have fun writing and sharing. Everyone has a story. Continue to come and share yours!


Beginner Memoir Writing                                          

Tuesday                                              EL181048             


Feb 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13, 20, 27

Instructor(s): Harry Rast

Webster's Dictionary defines a memoir as "a narrative composed from personal experience." In this class new students will start writing and organizing their memories and experiences in five sections, so they will have a brief memoir covering the early stages of their lives. Everyone is encouraged to share their writing each week. Many times a shared memory from one student brings a long-forgotten memory back to another. Everyone has a story. Come and share yours!


Virginia Moonshine                                      

Monday                                              EL181056              *$10


Feb 26, March 5

Instructor(s): Larry Braja

“The Wettest County in the World” by Matt Bondurant is a novel based on a real Virginia family during the heyday of moonshine production in Franklin County, Virginia. The author’s grandfather and granduncles were notorious moonshiners during that period of time. There will be a short historical introduction to Virginia’s moonshine past followed by a group discussion of the novel. The book can optionally be purchased through LLI during Open Registration only, and payment is due at registration.


American Humor from Franklin to Keillor: Keep Them Laughing                                              

Wednesday                                      EL181049             


Feb 28, March 7, 14, 21, 28, April 11, 18, 25

Instructor(s): Vic Thompson

In American Literature, humor is not just a laughing matter. At its best it addresses some of the major concerns of the American people. This course will use this statement by our leading humorist, Mark Twain, as a guiding principle: "The humorous story is strictly a work of art--high and delicate art,--and only and artist can tell it...The art of telling a humorous story....was created in America, and has remained at home." In a lecture and discussion format, students will discuss representative works of American humor from different eras of American history. No reading is required, but a recommended reading list will be provided.


The Poe Shrine, a Book Talk                                       

Monday                                              EL181028             


March 5

Instructor(s): Chris Semtner

The Poe Shrine tells the true stories behind the world's most coveted Edgar Allan Poe artifacts. This author talk will introduce some those artifacts, discuss the new information they each provide us about Poe's life and work, and follow the journeys they took from collector to collector before arriving at the Poe Museum.


About Fees
Your Lifelong Learning Institute membership gives you access to all of LLI classes and trips, most without any additional costs. There are some classes and trips which require additional fees. Where there are additional fees, those fees must be paid at the time of registration. Fees can be paid by check, cash or credit card. If paying by check, please clearly indicate the classes and trips being covered.