Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Free intellectual and cultural events for the week beginning Thursday,February 4

I continue to be amazed at the variety and number of events available to us FREE.  If you haven't checked out the new exhibit at Smithsonian's reopened Renwick Sunday would be a great day to see it along with a special concert.

I'm also delighted that Reddit's publicity has given me an audience of 10,000, many of whom asked me questions.  That gives me a chance to continue to share my 90  year old thoughts with a young audience.  Hope you'll check it out at

Thursday, 4
Booktalk;: James Mayer - "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right" - P&P - 7PM

Film: "Rosenwald:A Remarkable Story of A Jewish Partnership with African American Communities" - Introduced by director Aviva Kempner - National Archives - 7PM

Film: "Journey into Europe: Islam, immigration and identity" –with Ambassador Akbar Ahmed Healy family student center – Georgetown University –  reservation - – 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Concert: "Beyond the Sphere of time: a musical journey" music from the English choral tradition" – Washington National Cathedral – 7PM

Lecture: Jeffrey Rosen, President of the National Constitution Center discusses "Is the voting rights act of 1965 in jeopardy?" – Room 360 – Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – 6:30 PM

Booktalk: Peter Sleven "Michelle Obama: A life" - room 301 – Marvin Center – George Washington University – 821st St., NW – 7 PM

Friday, 5
Film:  "Predator" - R rated film of  human/alien encounters from the 35 mm collection - Pickford Theatrre - Madison Building - Library of Congress - 7PM

Film: "Valentino's ghost: Why We hate Arabs" – Jerusalem fund – Palestine Center – 7:45 PM reservations requested –

Book lecture: Julian Borger: "The Butcher's Trail: How the Search for Balkan War Criminals Became the World's Most Successful Manhunt" – P and  P – 7 PM

Performance: "A Chinese celebration of the lunar new year" - various performers from China – Millennium stage - Kennedy Center – 6 PM

Saturday, 6
Book lecture: Alec Ross – "The Industry of the Future" – P&P – 1 PM

Book lecture: Daniel Oppenheimer – "Exit Right:The People Who Left the Left and Reshaped the American Century" – P&P – 3:30 PM

Book lecture: Mia Fong – "One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment" – P&P – 6 PM

Concert: Soprano Lucy Shelton and the 21st century Consort - "Crosscurrents" - Varied classical music - McAvoy Auditorium – Smithsonian American Art – 5 PM

Lecture: Jamie Steihm discusses "Frederick Douglass/Harriet Tubman: parallel lives from the Eastern Shore"– Georgetown library – 1 PM

Sunday, 7
Poetry book talk: Jean Nordhaus – "Memos from the Broken World" and Mary Ann Larken – "On Gannon Street" – P&P – 1 PM

Concert: NSO young artists interpret some of Opera's favorite composers – grand salon – Smithsonian Renwick Gallery – 17th St. and Pennsylvania Avenue – 2 PM

Concert: Minneapolis-based men's vocal ensemble performs "The Four Loves" -  W. Garden Court – National Gallery of Art – 3:30 PM

Film: New Greek cinema features 2014 film "Xenia – two brothers search for their estranged biological father – East building Auditorium – NGA – 4 PM

Monday, 8
Book lecture: Gail Lumet Buckley: "The Black Calhoun's: From Civil War to Civil Rights with One African American family" – P&P - 7 PM

Book lecture: Michael Shuman – "Confucius and the world he created" – room 211 – car barn – 3520 Prospect St. NW. – Georgetown University – 2 PM

Book lecture: Varied authors discuss – "Queer Brown voices: personal narratives of Latina/o LGBT activism" – Busboys and Poets – 2021 14th St. NW. – 6:30 PM
Tuesday, 9
Lecture:  Curator Nicholas Alexander Brown discusses - "Hair Gel and Groupies: Boy Bands in the Library of Congress" - Whittall Pavillion - Jefferson Building - Library of Congress - Noon

Panel:  Distinguished panel including L. Douglas Wilder, Virginia's second African American governor discuss "Race in America today: a panel discussion" – Busboys and Poets Brookland – 6:30 PM

Book lecture: Peter Bergen – "United States of Jihad: Investigating America's Homegrown Terrorists" – P&P 7 PM

Concert: Mike Flarhety's "Dixieland Direct" performs New Orleans jazz – Church of the Epiphany – 1317 G St. – 12:10 PM

Concert: National Opera young artists perform Kurt Weill''s "Lost in the Stars" (preview performance) – millennium stage – Kennedy Center – 6 PM

Panel discussion: "Building peace, security and prosperity in Pakistan" extremely distinguished panel – reservations required – - John Hopkins University – 1740 Massachusetts Ave. NW. – 12:30 PM

Film: "Films with the purpose: black study center documentaries for Black history month" features "Zora's roots: the life of Zora Neale Hurston" and "American experience: Jesse Owens" – 6 PM MLK Memorial Library – 6 PM

Wednesday, 10
Book Talk:  Ira Berlin: "The Long Emancipation: The Demise of Slavery in the United States" - National Archives - Noon

Concert: Florian Kitt, cellist and pianist Harald Ossberger perform various classical works - reservations required – – Austrian cultural forum – 3524 International Court NW. – 7:30 PM

Lecture: Chris L. Jenkins, assistant editor the Washington Post discusses "Is it a challenge today to discuss race in America, publicly?" – MLK Library – 6:30 PM

Thursday, 11
Book Lecture:  Nancy L.:Cohen – "Breakthrough: The Making of America's First Woman President" – P&P – 7 PM

Panel:   Distinguished panel of former members of Congress - "The History of Finance in American Politics" - National Archives - 7 PM

Book Lecture:  Ted Gioia - "Love Songs: The Hidden History" - Montpelier Room - Madison Building- Library of Congress - 7 PM

Book lecture: A. O.  Scott – "Better Living Through Criticism: How to Think About Art, Pleasure, Beauty, and Truth" - P&P - 7 PM

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Free Intellectual and Cultural Programs for the week beginning Thursday, January 28

It;s been a fascinating week with over 13,000 hits on my two blogs in five days.  Both blogs have new features this week.  For the first time I am listing on this blog an event at the United States Institute of Peace - that "Dove-like" looking building on Constitution Avenue that one sees as they enter the District across the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge.

And remember, Wednesday noon check out the tribute to Sinatra at 100.  I've seen the show and it's even worth skipping lunch if you have to!.

More dramatic changes are incorporated on my Rant blog at  I'm no longer ranting or raving, I've begun responding to the thousands of questions sent me on the Internet's Reddit program used primarily by young people.  I hope you will give it a trial this week to see some of the provocative questions youth asked.  YOU are invited to take part in the discussion.

Thursday, 28
Book talk: T. H. Brien – "George Washington's journey: The president forges a new nation" – P&P - 7 PM

Panel:  "Money, War and the Business of Power in the Horn of Africa" - United States Institute of Peace - 2301 Constitution Avenue - Entrance on 23rd Street NW - 10:30AM - Noon

Friday, 29
Film:  "Thunderbirds Are Go" - British Sci-fi film - Pickford Theatre - Madison Building - Library of Congress - 7PM

Concert:  Merlin Ensemble from Vienna with violin cello and piano with music of Koerber Mendelssohn Liszt and others – Austrian cultural forum – 3524 International Court NW. – 7:30 PM

Saturday, 30
Lecture:  Dance Historian Graham Christian discuss his new book, "A Playford Assemby" celebrating the country dance and song - Collidge Auditorium - Jefferson Building - Library of Congress - 1PM

Booktalk:  Jim Wallis - "America's Original Sin: Racism, White Privilege and the Bridge to a New America" - P&P 3:30PM

Booktalk  David Kaezynski - "Every Last Tie: The Story of the Unibomber and his Family" - P&P:

Discussion/Exhibition:  Photographic display and lecture of scenes from the District in 1960 - 70 Historical Society of DC - Carnegie Library - 801 K St. NW Noon - 2PM

Chinese New Year Family Festival:  Crafts, art work and performances - Smithsonian American Art Museum - - 11:30AM - 3PM

Concert:  NSO Flute, Horn and Piano perform Various Classical Works - Millennium Stage - Kennedy Center - 6PM 

Sunday, 31
Book Talk:  Roger Rosenblatt - " Thomas Murphy" - P&P - 1PM

Concert:  National Gallery of Art Vocal Ensemble ,, "Songs of Myth and Grandeur from the 19th and 20th Century" - West Garden court - NGA -3:340 PM

Film:  Iranian Film Festival - "Avalanche" with discussion by the film's star - East Building Auditorium - NGA - 4 PM

Monday, 1
Booktalk: Ian Buruma _ Their Promised Land:My Grandparents in Love and War - P&P - 7PM

Tuesday, 2
Concert:  "The Heartbeat of God: Sacred Drumming" - drums will be provided and all will be taught - Washington National Cathedral - 7 PM  

Book Talk:  Jeffrey Stern - " The Last Thousand: One School's Promise in a Nation at War" - Kramer Books and Afterwords - 6:30 PM

Wednesday, 3
Concert:  "Sinatra Turns 100" -  Bob McDonald with combo from the Smithsonian Jazz Appreciation Orchestra - St. John's Church - Lafayette Park - 12:10PM - 12:45PM

Booktalk:  Ruta Sepetys - "Salt to the Sea"- Embassy of Lithuania - 7PM

Booktalk:  Sonja B. Williams - "Word Warrior: Richard Durham of the Chicago Defender"- Montpelier Room - Madison Building - Library of Congress - Noon - 1PM

Booktalk: Rashod Ollison discusses his memoir "Soul serenade: rhythm, blues and coming of age through vinyl" – Kramerbooks and Afterwords – 6:30 PM

Lecture: GWU Prof. Christopher A. Bracey discusses "the Dred Scott decision: slavery, secession and its aftermath" – room 316 – Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – 6:30 PM

Concert with interpretation:" Lost in the stars: an evening of music and insight exploring the themes of Washington National Opera's production of "Lost in the stars" – based on the novel "Cry the beloved country" with reflections on South Africa by former ambassador Ebrahim Rasool and theologian Kelly Brown Douglas – Washington National Cathedral – 7 PM

Thursday, 4
Booktalk;: James Mayer - "Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right" - P&P - 7PM

Film: "Rosenwald:A Remarkable Story of A Jewish Partnership with African American Communities" - Introduced by director Aviva Kempner - WILL BE A VERY POPULAR PROGRAM - Register now at National Archives Foundation -  National Archives - 7PM

Film: "Journey into Europe: Islam, immigration and identity" –with Ambassador Akbar Ahmed Healy family student center – Georgetown University –  Will be very popular - Make reservation NOW - – 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Concert: "beyond this there of time: a musical journey" music from the English choral tradition" – Washington National Cathedral – 7PM

Lecture: Jeffrey Rosen, President of the national Constitution Center discusses "Is the voting rights act of 1965 in jeopardy?" – Room 360 – Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library – 6:30 PM

Booktalk: Peter Sleven "Michelle Obama: A life" - room 301 – Marvin Center – George Washington University – 821st St., Northwest – 7 PM

Friday, 5
Film:  "Predator" - R rated film of  human/alien encounters from the 35 mm collection - Pickford Theatrre - Madison Building - Library of Congress - 7PM

Film: "Valentino's ghost: Why We hate Arabs" – Jerusalem fund – Palestine Center – 7:45 PM reservations requested –

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Free intellectual and cultural events in D. C. beginning Thursday, January 21

Once again the only real problem is finding time to take in all the fascinating events that are provided in the city  This is also the week that I no longer rant, but begin responding to the thousands of comments that I have received on my posting on Reddit of Ask Me Anything.  This week I'm responding to the hundred who talk about whether it was necessary to drop the bomb in WWII.  My brief response is at

The complete discussion is at

Thursday, 21
Book talk: T. H. Brien – "George Washington's journey: The president forges a new nation" – P&P 7 PM

Concert:  Take 5 Series features "The Alexander Norris Ensemble" with live sculpture demonstration - Atrium - Smithsonian American Art Museum - 5PM - 7PM

Lecture:  Pamela Conrad of the Goddard Flight Center discusses "A TAle of Two Cities (Planets): What Earth and Mars Are Teaching Us About the Evolution of Habitable Worlds"- Reservations Required 202-328-6988 - Carnegie Institute for Science - 1530 P St. NW - 6:45PM

Lecture:  Barbara Wilson, author "If It's Not Impossible" discusses her fathers diary of saving 669 Czech children in "The Lives He Saved and The Secrets We Kept" - reservations required - 202-488-0460 - Holocaust Museum - 7PM

Friday, 2
Book talk: Charles Moore – "Margaret Thatcher: at her Zenith: in London, Washington and Moscow"  P&P – 7 PM

Film:  Music In 35mm - 1966  film "Chappaqua" - Pickford Theatre - Madison Building - Library of Congress - reservations suggested - 7PM

Saturday, 23
Book talk: Molly Sinclair McCartney – "America's war machine: vested interests, endless conflict – P&P - 1 PM

Book talk: Roy J. Harris, Junior – "Pulitzer's Gold: a century of public service journalism" – P&P – 3:30 PM

Booktalk: Geoffrey Cowen – "Let the people rule: Theodore Roosevelt and the birth of the presidential primary – P&P – 6 PM

Film:  Iranian Film Festival - winner of 2012 Berlin Film Festival, "Taxi" - National Gallery of Art - 2PM

Poetry Reading:  U. S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and others respond to the display, "One Life: Dolores Huerta" National Portrait Gallery - 2PM

Sunday, 24
Booktalk: Erica Brown – "Take your soul to work: 365 meditations for everyday leadership" – P&P –5PM

Concert:  Howard Universsity Gospel Choir - Millennium Stage - Kennedy Center - 6PM

Concert:  Spin String Trio - perform "Goldberg Variations - West Garden Court - National Gallery of Art - 3:30PM

Film:  New Greek Cinema - 2015 film "Chevalier" - East Building - National Gallery of Art -4PM

Monday, 25
Booktalk: Ioan Grillo – "Gangster warlords: drug dollars, killing fields and the new politics of Latin America" – P&P – 7 PM

Concert:  Catholic University presents the music of Kander and Ebb - Millennium Stage - Kennedy Center - 6PM

Lecture:  GWU Dean Christopher Sterling discusses 10 TV News Innovators - 202-994-5200 -  GWU Textile Museum - 701 21st ST. NW - Noon

Tuesday, 26
Lecture: David Hollenbach, and  Gary and Anne McGuire discuss "Humanity in crisis: ethical responsibilities to people displaced by war" room LJ 119 – Madison building – Library of Congress – 3 PM

Concert:  Pianist Tzu-yi Chen performs Tchaikovsky, Liszt and Debussy - Church of the Epiphany - 1317 G ST. NW - 12:10PM

Lecture:  A Dynamic Universe: Greatest Discoveries of  the Hubble Space Telescope - Hubble Space Scientists - Katszen Arts Center - American University - 10:00AM

Wednesday, 27
Booktalk: Jesse Holland – "The Invisibles: The untold story of African Americans Slaves in the White House" – Busboys and Poets – 2021 11th St.  Northwest – 6:30 PM

Booktalk: Edward G. Lengel - "First Entrepreneur: How George Washington Built His - and the Natiin's Prosperity" - P & P - 7 PM

Presentation:  Photographic historian William Stapp, "Through China with a Camera: The Photographs of John Thomson - GWU Textile Museum - Noon

Lecture:  GU Professor Daniel Byman, "ISIS vs. AlQaeda: What's the Difference and Does it Matter? - Room 700 Bunn Intercultural Center - Georgetown University - 12:30

/Thursday, 28
Booktalk: David Greenberg – "Republic of Spin: An inside story of the American presidency" – P&P – 7 PM

Concert: A Musical Evening - The Air Force Strings - National Archives - 7 PM

Film: "Salt of this Sea" – award winning film by the first Palestinian woman to direct a film – The Jerusalem Center – 12:30 PM – 2:50 PM

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Free intellectual and cultural events in DC beginning Thursday, January 14

        It's been quite an exciting week on my two blogs! The number of "hits" on this cultural blog grew from over 1,000 to over 2,000 and over 12,000 on my rants and raves blog.  And I know why!
        It stems from my desire to close out the other blog, feeling I had had my say. However, I used one of the social media tools that is in vogue with young people: Reddit.  I had used Reddit before with limited success. Now again using their listing, "Ask Me Anything", I invited readers to do just that after I had made a brief autobiographical statement. Within a day I had received not only 4000 hits but also 1000 comments in response.
       What an exciting time for me now.  The questions were so thoughtful and challenging that I want to respond to each one individually, but I know my limits.       
       However having noted certain patterns in the thoughtful questions, I thought there might be one more opportunity for me to share insights as an educator.on my blog.  I'd like to invite you to join the conversation on Reddit at
Or you too might like to ask me anything at the regular blog spot, you can go to::

In the first installment of the blog, I present the first two questions asked of me and my initial reactions.  

But first, the business at hand

Thursday, 14
Panel discussion: Tunisian revolution: On the Anniversary – What Next? Distinguished panel includes Tunisian ambassador to United States - United States Institute of Peace – 2301 Constitution Ave. NW– reservation required – use Internet – 2:30 PM – 4 PM

Social justice discussion: Aviva Kempner, Clarence page and Rabbi David Saperstein consider the film, "Rosenwald" the story of Jewish philanthropist Julius Rosenwald – Addis Israel congregation – 2850 Qu├ębec St. NW. – Cleveland Park Metro – reservations required – 7:30PM

Concert:  The Ella and Louis tribute band – millennium stage – Kennedy Center - 6 PM

Concert: Stronger Sex: experimental, electronic noise-pop – Smithsonian American Art Museum – 5:30 PM to 7 PM

Lecture: Steve Roberts - "Politics 2016 – What's happening and why" – Abramson family recital Hall – Katzen arts Center – American University – 4400 Massachusetts Ave. NW – 1030 – 11:30 PM a.m.

Book talk:  James Good "Capital houses: historic residences in Washington, DC and its environs, 1735 – 1965" – reservations suggested – 202–337–2288 – Dumbarton house – 6 PM to 8 PM

Friday, 15
Film. "Blues for Lovers" - Ray Charles in a rarely screened drama - Pickford Theatre - Madison Building - Library of Congress - 7PM

Film: "Wings for the Man" with Ronald Reagan  - 1945 and "The Negro Soldier" - 1944 - directed by Frank Capra – commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Tuskegee Airmen – National Archives – Noon

Book talk: Dr. Syed Hossain – "The Study Quran: A new translation and commentary" – P&P – 7 PM

Concert: The Ukrainian World Music Quartet performs – millennium stage – Kennedy Center – 6 PM

Lecture: Lisa Schulte Moore of Iowa State University discusses "Harnessing the power of the Prairie - Conservatory classroom – US botanic Garden – reservations required – 202-225-8333 – noon – 1 PM

Lecture: Jean-Pierre Filiu, professor of Middle East studies, Paris school of international affairs – discusses, "Israel's 12th war on Gaza" – reservations required – – room 241 – Bunn intercultural Center – Georgetown University – 12:30 PM – 2 PM

Film: George Axelrod's 1966 "Lord Love a Duck" – reservations required – – Pickford theater – Madison building – Library of Congress – 7 PM

 Saturday, 16
Concert. Alban Gerhardt, Cello and Anne-Marie McDermott perform music of Barber, Britten, Foss, Bernstein, Gershwin, Heifitz, Gerhardt, and Piazzolla - Collidge Auditorium - Jefferson Building - Library of Congress - tickets available - Rush tickets - noon - Concert - 2PM

Book talk: Paul Lisicky – "The Narrow Door: A Memoir of Friendship" interviewed by Richard McCann of the Penn/Faulkner foundation – P&P 6 PM

Concert: Robert Downing and DC's Apollo chamber orchestra chamber music from Asia and Europe – Kennedy Center – Terrace theater – 6 PM

Performance: Poetry, drumming and dancing by youth including Sista Joy and collective voicesMartin Luther King tribute – Martin Luther King Junior memorial library – 1 PM

Film: Athens today:  Pantelis Voulgaris' 2013 film "Little England" – a part of the new Greek cinema – Great Hall – National Portrait Gallery – 4 PM

Sunday, 17
Book talk: R. Douglas Fields - "Why we Snap: Understanding the rage circuit in your Brain"
P&P - 1 PM

Concert: Fisk Jubilee Singers – W. Garden Court – National Gallery of Art – 3:30 PM

Film: Re-seeing Iran: 12th annual Iranian film Festival – 2014 satirical allegory "The President" – East building Auditorium – National Gallery of Art – 4 PM

Special event: "Rosa and Martin, Martin and Rose – musical program including excerpts from one of King's sermons, reflection and prayer – Washington National Cathedral – 1 PM
note there is a $10 admission charge

Monday, 18
Book talk: Eddie S. Glaude, Jr – "Democracy in Black: How Race still Enslaves the American Soul" – P&P 7 PM

Lecture: "Sugar: History, botany, production and processing" – reservations required – 202-225-8333 – United States Botanic Garden – 10:30 AM – noon

Special event: Yolanda Adams, Grammy award – nominated gospel singer and the choir, Let Freedom Ring in a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  – Concert Hall – Kennedy Center – tickets available beginning at 4:30 PM in the hall of Nations – Concert 6 PM:

Tuesday, 19
Book talk: Ralph Ehrenberg and Herman Viola discuss "Mapping the West with Lewis and Clark" – Montpelier room – Madison building – Library of Congress – noon

Book talk: Tony Lewis, Junior – "Slugg: A Boy's life in the age of mass incarceration" – Busboys and poets – Brookland – 6:30 PM

Book talk: Harry Jaffe – "Why Bernie Sanders Matters" – P&P – 7 PM

Discussion: "Beyond MLK's Dream" – a discussion of the role of LGBT activists and leaders such as Bayard Rustin, James Baldwin and Alice Walker during the civil rights movement – Betts Theater – Marvin Center – George Washington University – 821st St., Northwest – 7 PM

Wednesday, 20
Concert: Musicians from Marlboro – classical quintet with music of Beethoven Penderecki and Brahms – Coolidge Auditorium – Jefferson building – Library of Congress – free tickets required – rush tickets available at 6 PM – concert – 8 PM – pre-concert conversation - 6:30 PM – no tickets required

Book talk: John Donovan and Caren Zucker – "In a Different Key: the story of autism" –
 P&P – 7 PM

Book talk: John Stauffer – "Picturing Frederick Douglass: An Illustrated biography of the 19th Century's most photographed American" – William G. McGovern Theater – National Archives –

Lecture: Steve Wermiel, author, "Justice Brennan and the Progressive Supreme Court" – Temple Baptist Church – 3850 Nebraska Ave. – 10 AM to 11:30 AM

Book talk: Elaine Kamarck, "Primary Politics: Everything you need to know about how America nominates its presidential candidates" – Kramer Books and Afterwords – 1517 Connecticut Ave. NW. – 6:30 PM

Lecture:  2016 Dr. Martin Luther King J. Address – Martin Luther King J. Memorial Library – 7 PM

Thursday, 21
Book talk: T. H. Brien – "George Washington's journey: The president forges a new nation" – P&P 7 PM

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Free intellectual and cultural events for the week beginning Thursday, January 7

How embarrassing! This is no way to start the new year.  My first posting was accidentally erased after being available for three days.  And I was so excited because it ALREADY had over 1200 hits!
So UNLESS someone can forward a copy of the blog for events starting January 7 (to for me to re-post, you'll have to wait for my next posting on Thursday.

And I'll have special information about the changes in my two blog postings.

Thanks for your many notes of encouragement.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

A holiday letter and reminiscence of 90 years

in celebration of my 90th birthday

There was no better way to celebrate my 90th birthday than having all of my children, in-law children and grandchildren (except for Hannah Sullivan Lehker who is doing a college semester abroad in Chile) together for the long Thanksgiving weekend in Michigan. Twenty of us found nooks and crannies to sleep in at the Lehker/Slaughters and reveled with dancing and toasts on the party bus as we journeyed to our festive meal. The good fortune of my life continued as it has in so many ways both with my mid-west family and my life in DC.

What a thrill to be so often asked, “What is your secret to your youthfulness?” and I'm delighted to begin my annual Christmas letter sharing Ron's secret to the fountain of youth.
  1. Being around young people! I'm fortunate that my vocation has been in public school work. The challenge of educating, coupled with enjoying the enthusiasm of young people and their creative approach to life, is something that seems to have carried over to me.
  2. Good genes! The ongoing nature/nurture discussion of what is the most important in a person's development will never be satisfactorily answered. Although I discover no longevity in my family, somehow my life was put together so that I can have more than four score years.
  3. A wonderful childhood. My lower middle class rearing in a marvelous city surrounded me with family and friends in a life without undue stress. While there was surprisingly little overt expressions of love, I was not unduly pushed or ignored. Though neither of my parents graduated from high school, they provided a warm home experience with broad life enhancing opportunities.
  4. Throughout my life I have been aided by a caring government. Surely I resonate to President Obama's statement that "I did not build … life........... alone". Public schools started my academic learning, the military continued my education and I completed three college degrees through the G.I. Bill, Additionally the life of Regina and two of my children have been extended because the government that provides kidney transplants and I have a pension for my years of work in education in Michigan that has made it possible for me to enjoy my senior years. Undoubtedly the greatest joy of this year was Kris' successful transplant of a kidney from one of her many offering dear friends.
  5. My life has been amazingly free from undue anxiety and concern. I truly believe that this begins with monetary security, and although I have not been blessed with great wealth, I have been very comfortable and have not worried about basic needs. My life has been enriched by being a part of faith communities that focused on the meaning and purpose of life, and I was blessed by having employment in which I felt my abilities and talents could be used and appropriately rewarded.
  6. I've had the lifelong support of two supportive partners, a loving family and friends.

Thus I am taking two years to celebrate the big 90 and find I am living one of the best periods of my life. I've built my birthday celebration over a two year period in which I have all of my four children, their spouses and my nine grandchildren spend a long weekend with Linda and me in my adopted home city, Washington DC which I've grown to love so very much. It began in June with grandson David Debacher. How marvelous that he became engaged to Karin Borkowski and she and her son Jackson joined us. During the year I've been a part of exciting events for grandchildren like new jobs, a semester in Chile, a high school drum major, Kalamazoo College basketball, a semester around the world at sea, and completing a Masters Degree. I hope to get all visits in before the celebration ends in the fall of 2016 when Linda and I take an extended cruise through Mediterranean ports.

But in the spirit of nostalgia I find happiness in reminiscing about other joyous stages of my life. Indeed Shakespeare was right on target in As You Like It when he spoke of the ages of man being seven. I don't recall "mewling and puking in my mother's arms" and I hope I shall not “end this strange eventful history in second childishness and mere oblivion: sans teeth, sans eyes sans taste sans everything."

Indeed let me close by sharing with you my other best eras:
  1. A happy childhood and youth in San Antonio, one of Americas four unique cities. 
  2. Going “Up North” to Illinois for my final two years of college highlighted by basketball, student leadership and above all finding my life partner, Regina Wacker.
  3. Becoming established in a lifelong lifestyle and career in Milan, Michigan and beginning a family.
  4. Completing our family in Ann Arbor and finding broader career opportunities.
  5. Raising my family with Regina in Muskegon, Michigan, where I spent the most fulfilling and satisfying 15 years of my professional career as a junior high school principal...
  6. Discovering true retirement happiness in Washington, D. C. with Linda Greensfelder as a new partner.
  7. Fending off oblivion by maintaining an active interest in life and preparing to go beyond Shakespeare's seven stages.

Sending my personal thoughts to each of you for personal joy and peace for the world in the year ahead.

Ron Lehker

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Free intellectual and cultural events for the weeks beginning Thursday, November 19

My travels and the many events of the holiday season that may appeal more to individual taste cause this to be the last list of events for the year.   I've gone beyond the week scope, however, since there are a great many interesting lectures and concerts of a secular nature in early December at the Library of Congress.

I'll resume again on Wednesday, January 6.  Since I'll then be 90 I'll have a different format and hopefully some new ideas.  I'll welcome your suggestion as to how this service can be improved.

Thursday, 19
Concert: "Apollo's Fire" with soprano Amanda Forsyth singing music of the Vivaldi, Handel and Sorrell – Coolidge Auditorium – Jefferson building – Library of Congress – 8 PM – rush tickets may be available at 6 PM

Lecture: Lucy McFadden of the Goddard space flight Center presents, "Dawn: a journey to the beginning of the solar system" – Mary Pickford theater – Madison building – Library of Congress – 11:30 AM

Concert: Take 5: BJ Simmons sextet pays tribute to Harold Floyd "Tina" Brooks, tenor saxophone – Smithsonian American Art Gallery – 5 PM – 7 PM

Report:  Asia Foundations 2015 Survey of the Afghan People - U. S. Institute of Peace - 2301 Constitution Ave. NW - -                                                        9:30AM - 11:30AM

Friday, 20
Film: Kennedy v. Wallace: a crisis up close – Mary Pickford theater – Madison building – Library of Congress – noon

Concert: Chamber Concert Series – Arts Club of Washington – 2017 I Street Northwest – noon

Lecture:  Charles Mill, professor of moral and intellectual philosophy at Northwestern University discusses, "liberalism and racial justice" - Room B 12 – Elliot school of international affairs – George Washington University – 1957 E St. NW. – 4 PM

Discussion: Gail Kern Paster with Charles DeSantis of the UN refugee agency discusses "refugees from Pericles to now" connections between today's migration crisis and Shakespeare's "Pericles" – Folger Shakespeare Library – 2001 E. Capitol St. SE. – 6 PM

Saturday, 21
Book Talk:  Deported: policing immigrants, disposable labor and global capitalism - Author Tasnya Maria Golash Boza - P&P - 7PM

Book Talk:  Cheney One On One  - Author James Rosen - P&P - 6PM

Gallery Tour: George Washington University Museum and textile Museum offers tour of two new exhibits, "For the record: the art of Lily Spandorf" and "A Collector's vision: creating the Albert H. Small Washingtoniana Collection" – 701 21st St. NW. – noon

Concert: Honoring the 150th anniversary of the 13th amendment to the United States Constitution abolishing slavery – various musical groups – tickets available at DC public library branches – Constitution Hall – 1776 D St. NW. – 7:30 PM

Book talk:  R. Andrew Bittner discusses, "building Washington National Cathedral" – national building Museum – 401 F St. NW. – noon

Film: Frederick Wiseman's New York features the 1985 film, "Racetrack" at 12:30 PM and the 1980 film, "Model" at 3 PM – East building Auditorium – national Gallery of Art – 12:30 PM and 3 PM

Performance:  Prisoner written multimedia show, "From Uncle Tom's cabin to Uncle Sam's prison" – city streets arts foundation – Western Presbyterian Church – 2401 Virginia Ave. NW. – 7 PM

Sunday, 22
Concert: Chopin, Schubert and Liszt performed by pianist Aphrodite Mitsopoulou – Church of the Holy City – 1611 16th St. NW. – 3 PM

Concert: National Gallery of Art new music ensemble performs work of Morton Subotnick "From Silver Apples of the Moon to a Sky of Cloudless Sulfur" – National Gallery of Art – W. Garden Court – 3:30 PM

Concert:  World percussion ensemble performs works by American composers – McNeir Auditorium – Georgetown University – 4 PM

Square dance lessons: Caller Janie Smith with fiddler, guitarist, banjo and bass – millennium stage – Kennedy Center – 5 PM to 7 PM

Concert: Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle celebrates 175th anniversary with "Singing in the Year of Mercy" featuring works by Buxtehude, Poulenc and Rorem performed by the Schola Catorum with string orchestra and harp – 1725 Rhode Island Ave. NW. – 7:30 PM

Monday, 23
Book Talk:  The Audacity of Hope - Author Alexander Wolff - Obamas political style as seen in basketball - P&P - 7PM

Concert: Xuejuan dance ensemble performs Chinese folk and classical dance – millennium stage – Kennedy Center – 6 PM

Book talk: Ada Calhoun and Preston Lauterbach discuss "St. Mark's is dead: the many lives of America's hippie is Street" and "Beale Street dynasty: sex, song, and the struggle for the soul of Memphis" – busboys and poets – 2021 14th St. NW. – 6:30 PM

Tuesday, 24
Lecture:  Poet and critic Stephen Burt begins a new series, "The Poem is You" - Whittall Pavilion - Jefferson Building- Library of Congress - Noon

Concert: Concert: Mozart and Ravel performed by the Rock Creek Piano Trio – Church of the Epiphany – 12:10PM

Concert: Commemorating 100th Anniversaryof Armenian Genocide, pianist Sofya Mmelikyan performs a varied program - Kennedy Center – millennium stage – 6 PM

Lecture: Putin and Putinim two years after euro maidan – reservations required – - room 505 – Elliot school of international affairs – George Washington University – 19507 E St., Northwest – 12:30 PM

Discussion: Thomas Merton thoughts regarding "theology on tap" – Buffalo billiards – 1330 19th St., Northwest – free admission – happy hour 6:00 PM - presentation and questions 7:00 PM

Discussion: "Italy and the Allyah Beth" – journalist Simonetta Della Seta - about the Jewish agency organized to save Jewish survivors of the Holocaust and take them to Palestine – reservations required – - Embassy of Italy – 3000 Whitehaven St., Northwest – 6:30 PM – 8 PM

Wednesday,  25
Concert:  Baltimore's acoustics roots band Charm City Junction performs - Millennium Stqage - Kennedy Center 6PM
Thursday, 26
Concert/Dance lessons:  Swing Dance party features the Jive Aces with 1940's music with swing dance lessons - Millennium Stage - Kennedy Center - 6 - 9PM

Wednesday, 2
Book Talk:  Sam Phillips:The Man Who Invented Rock 'N" Roll - Author Peter Guralnick - Montpelier Room - Madison Building - Library of Congress - 7pm

Saturday, 5
Lecture: #Declassified:Fly Space 2: Beyond the Backdrop - Staff member talks about theatrical collections - Jefferson Building - Jefferson Studio - Library of Congress - 11AM

Wednesday, 9
Lecture:  Kreisler's Sibelius Transcription - Jani Lehtonen, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra - Whittall Pavilion - Jefferson Building - Library of Congress - Noon

Thursday, 10
Lecture:  Louis and Lil' Armstrong: A Couple Making Musical History - Montpelier Room - Madison Building -  - Library of Congress - 7PM

Friday, 11
Concert:  Ruske, Frautschi and Chien on Horn, Violin and Piano with music of Hindemith, Ligeti, Persichetti and Brahms - Coolidge Auditorium - Jefferson Building - Library of Congress - 8PM - Free tickets available on line - pre-concert lecture - 6:00PM - No ticket required

Saturday, 12
Lecture:  #Declassified Fly Space 2: Schnabel as Composer and Editor -  Staff member explores his work beyond being a pianist - Jefferson Studio - Jefferson Building - Library of Congress - 11AM

Friday, 18
Concert:  Borromeo String Quartet plays music of Bartok - Coolidge Auditorium - Library of Congress - 7:30PM - Tickets available on line - rush tickets generally available - Pre-concert lecture 6PM - No ticket required