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Literature, Film, Television and Theatre

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This class explores contemporary memoirs by writers from diverse social backgrounds.  How do authors translate lived experiences of family life, travel, immigration, work, artistic expression, and politics into compelling literary works?  How do they chronicle the creation of complex identities shaped by race, class, gender identity, geography, and religion?  Analyzing both the achievements and the limitations of the memoir genre, we will discuss how authors map the emotional landscape of private life while addressing broader themes in history, politics, and culture.  Come share your ideas with other passionate readers in a stimulating yet relaxed environment.  Please read Born A Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah before our first class meeting.  Other assigned books include: The Skin Above My Knee by Marcia Butler, Rebel Mother: My Childhood Chasing the Revolution by Peter Andreas, and In the Darkroom by Susan Faludi.      

Schedule : Weekly - Wed 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM; 4 sessions; starting 9/13/2017, ending 12/6/2017 ; Class Skip Dates : (No class on 9/20/2017, 9/27/2017, 10/4/2017, 10/18/2017, 10/25/2017, 11/1/2017, 11/15/2017, 11/22/2017, 11/29/2017)

Please read: Class meets on: Four Wednesdays, 9/13, ...More

Tuition: $120.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Lori Rotskoff 



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From the time of Phillis Wheatley to Walt Whitman to today, poets have always raised their voices to describe, applaud or protest matters of public concern.  This course will look at contemporary poetry that addresses issues of environment, science,  immigration and the structure of a free society.  What makes these poems memorable or effective?  We will analyze the effect of specific techniques, language use and tone and compare the work of American poets with that of other cultures and former times.  Everyone will be invited to participate in a wide-ranging discussion.  

Schedule : Weekly - Tue 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM; 6 sessions; starting 10/24/2017, ending 12/5/2017 ; Class Skip Dates : (No class on 11/7/2017)

Tuition: $180.00

Location : Scarsdale Public Library Location : 
  Scarsdale Public Library.

Instructor : Ruth Handel 



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Art and Film Historian Jill Kiefer will introduce each movie, and lead a discussion that will separate fact from fiction following each film.   The Hours (2002)   This film spans multiple timelines and geographies to describe how the novel, Mrs. Dalloway, affects three generations of women, all of whom, in one way or another, have had to deal with suicide in their lives.  With the exception of the opening and final scenes, the action takes place within the span of a single day, in three different years, and alternates between them throughout the film.  Nicole Kidman (as Virginia Woolf) delivers one of the greatest performances ever.  Stars Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, Claire Danes, and Ed Harris.  Directed by Stephen Daldry.    

Schedule : Weekly - Tue 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM; starting 11/28/2017, ending 11/28/2017

Tuition: $20.00

Location : Scarsdale Public Library Location : 
  Scarsdale Public Library.

Instructor : Jill Kiefer 



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Art and Film Historian Jill Kiefer will introduce each movie, and lead a discussion that will separate fact from fiction following each film.   Trumbo (2015)   This biopic is about screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Roman Holiday) and other Hollywood figures of the 1940s who were successful until they were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs.  The film recounts how Dalton used words and wit to win two Academy Awards and expose the absurdity and injustice of the blacklist.  Stars Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, John Goodman, and Louis C.K., in stellar performances.  Directed by Jay Roach.    

Schedule : Weekly - Tue 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM; starting 12/5/2017, ending 12/5/2017

Tuition: $20.00

Location : Scarsdale Public Library Location : 
  Scarsdale Public Library.

Instructor : Jill Kiefer 



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Art and Film Historian Jill Kiefer will introduce each movie, and lead a discussion that will separate fact from fiction following each film.   Sunset Boulevard (1950)   This classic film is the story of Joe Gillis, a struggling screenwriter swimming in debt who is on the verge of returning to his hometown to work in an office.  Gillis ends up in the dangerous web of Norma Desmond, a former silent film star who persuades him to write a comeback script for her.  She soon sinks into a downward spiral of jealousy and insanity when Gillis falls for a younger screenwriter.  Sunset Boulevard deserves every bit of its classic status.  The film is filled with memorable lines and unforgettable noir images, all anchored by some of the most amazing performances ever captured on film.  This masterpiece is a bitter and tragic tale that proves Hollywood is where dreams go to die, literally.  Stars William Holden and Gloria Swanson.  Directed by Billy Wilder.        

Schedule : Weekly - Tue 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM; starting 12/12/2017, ending 12/12/2017

Tuition: $20.00

Location : Scarsdale Public Library Location : 
  Scarsdale Public Library.

Instructor : Jill Kiefer 



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  We will read and discuss novels about art and artists.  Every author reserves the right to taken some “artistic license” and we forgive each author for doing so!  But we will make a point to separate the facts from the fictions in this program.  Attendees are asked to finish reading each novel, prior to the class session.  Students may register individually or for all classes within the January book discussion series.     The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham   Loosely based on the life of painter Paul Gauguin, this 1919 novel tells a story in episodic form by first-person narrator Charles Strickland, a middle-aged English stockbroker, who abandons his wife and children abruptly to pursue his desire to become an artist. Monday, January 8 • 1 – 3pm • Westchester Reform Temple   A Painter of Our Time by John Berger   This 1958 detective story, set in 1956 as Soviet tanks are rolling into Budapest, centers around the mysterious disappearance of fictional Hungarian painter Janos Lavin following his triumphant one-man show at a fashionable London gallery.  The clues to his whereabouts may lie in the artist’s diary, discovered by his friend John, an art critic.  With uncanny understanding and aesthetic insight, John Berger, a novelist and author of several works of art criticism, has written one of the most convincing portraits of a painter in modern literature.   Monday, January 22 • 1– 3pm • Westchester Reform Temple The Recognitions by William Gaddis   This 1955 novel is a masterwork about art and forgery and the increasingly thin line between the counterfeit and the fake.  A series of interconnected plots portray the Faustian adventures of a Calvinist minister’s son, Wyatt Gwyon, who rejects the ministry to follow the call of the artist.   Monday, January 29 • 1– 3pm • Westchester Reform Temple  

Schedule : Weekly - Mon 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM; 3 sessions; starting 1/8/2018, ending 1/29/2018 ; Class Skip Dates : (No class on 1/15/2018)

Tuition: $75.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Jill Kiefer 



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    Loosely based on the life of painter Paul Gauguin, this 1919 novel tells a story in episodic form by first-person narrator Charles Strickland, a middle-aged English stockbroker, who abandons his wife and children abruptly to pursue his desire to become an artist.  

Schedule : Weekly - Mon 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM; starting 1/8/2018, ending 1/8/2018

Tuition: $25.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Jill Kiefer 



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When moviegoers reflect upon and discuss those elements that contributed to their enjoyment of a film, comments such as “terrific acting,” “wonderful dialog,” “beautiful period costumes,” and “lush scenery” usually dominate the conversation.  Often overlooked is the work of the most important individual on the set, the director.  In post-WW II France the term auteur theory became prominent, eventually becoming an essential part of film lexicon among lovers of cinema not only in Europe but in the United States.  This theory equates the director of a film with that of the author of a book in the sense that the finished product reflects his personal creative vision.  By means of video clips from a variety of classic movies, this program will attempt to demonstrate just how essential good direction is to the overall film experience.  We will have an opportunity to examine how great directors past and present such as Stanley Kubrick, Orson Welles, Martin Scorsese, Alfred Hitchcock, and Steven Spielberg make use of key elements such as montage, tracking, effective editing techniques, and musical cues to make their films enjoyable even after repeated viewings.  

Schedule : Weekly - Wed 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM; starting 1/10/2018, ending 1/10/2018

Tuition: $20.00

Location : Temple Israel New Rochelle Location : 
  Temple Israel New Rochelle.

Instructor : Richard Knox 



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Is this "the best of all possible worlds?"  Is the solution to "cultivate our own garden?"  Do we need Voltaire and his Candide more than ever?  For four Fridays in January, heat up with this brilliant little novel!  Please use the paperback edition published by Bantam Classics in 1984 and translation by Lowell Barr.  

Schedule : Weekly - Fri 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM; 5 sessions; starting 1/12/2018, ending 2/9/2018

Tuition: $150.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Estha Weiner 



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This 1958 detective story, set in 1956 as Soviet tanks are rolling into Budapest, centers around the mysterious disappearance of fictional Hungarian painter Janos Lavin following his triumphant one-man show at a fashionable London gallery.  The clues to his whereabouts may lie in the artist’s diary, discovered by his friend John, an art critic.  With uncanny understanding and aesthetic insight, John Berger, a novelist and author of several works of art criticism, has written one of the most convincing portraits of a painter in modern literature.  

Schedule : Weekly - Mon 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM; starting 1/22/2018, ending 1/22/2018

Tuition: $25.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Jill Kiefer 



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With a career spanning over five decades and having won three Academy Awards as best director, William Wyler has been acclaimed by critics and fans of the classics as one of the greatest American filmmakers in the history or Hollywood.  This program will provide an opportunity to reflect on many memorable scenes from timeless classics including: Wuthering Heights, Roman Holiday, Ben Hur, Funny Girl, The Best Years of Our Lives, Mrs. Miniver, The Heiress and The Big Country.  Included in the presentation will be excerpts from interviews of prominent actors such as Gregory Peck, Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn and Barbra Streisand reflecting on their experiences working “on the set” with Wyler and how his perfectionism and creative genius enhanced their performance in front of the camera.  

Schedule : Weekly - Wed 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM; starting 1/24/2018, ending 1/24/2018

Tuition: $20.00

Location : Temple Israel New Rochelle Location : 
  Temple Israel New Rochelle.

Instructor : Richard Knox 



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  We will read and discuss novels about art and artists.  Every author reserves the right to taken some “artistic license” and we forgive each author for doing so!  But we will make a point to separate the facts from the fictions in this program.  Attendees are asked to finish reading each novel, prior to the class session.  Students may register individually or for all classes within the January book discussion series.     The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham   Loosely based on the life of painter Paul Gauguin, this 1919 novel tells a story in episodic form by first-person narrator Charles Strickland, a middle-aged English stockbroker, who abandons his wife and children abruptly to pursue his desire to become an artist. Monday, January 8 • 1 – 3pm • Westchester Reform Temple   A Painter of Our Time by John Berger   This 1958 detective story, set in 1956 as Soviet tanks are rolling into Budapest, centers around the mysterious disappearance of fictional Hungarian painter Janos Lavin following his triumphant one-man show at a fashionable London gallery.  The clues to his whereabouts may lie in the artist’s diary, discovered by his friend John, an art critic.  With uncanny understanding and aesthetic insight, John Berger, a novelist and author of several works of art criticism, has written one of the most convincing portraits of a painter in modern literature.   Monday, January 22 • 1– 3pm • Westchester Reform Temple The Recognitions by William Gaddis   This 1955 novel is a masterwork about art and forgery and the increasingly thin line between the counterfeit and the fake.  A series of interconnected plots portray the Faustian adventures of a Calvinist minister’s son, Wyatt Gwyon, who rejects the ministry to follow the call of the artist.   Monday, January 29 • 1– 3pm • Westchester Reform Temple  

Schedule : Weekly - Mon 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM; starting 1/29/2018, ending 1/29/2018

Tuition: $25.00

Location : Westchester Reform Temple Location : 
  Westchester Reform Temple.

Instructor : Jill Kiefer 



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