Courses, Clubs and Workshops

Here you will find information about our current and upcoming sessions, including how to register. 

students attend an OLLI course

Our ever-changing selection of lifelong learning opportunities includes subjects such as: The Kennedy Dynasty, Understanding the Balkans, Imperial China, and Swing and the Big Bands. OLLI discussion groups include everything from the new Global Affairs discussion group to the enduring The Economist discussion group and the Socratic Circus salon.

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Summer 2022 Course Descriptions

View our Summer 2022 course offerings below. To view in brochure format, click here.

Tuesdays | June 28 – July 26 (4 weeks) | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded*
No class July 5

Abstract Art: Whirling colors, sinuous lines, thick paint--and not a face, a tree, a cow in sight! Is abstraction supposed to be hard - or easy? Where did it come from? Why did it dominate mid-century art? What does it offer to the viewer, or the painter? Explore the mystery and magic of abstract art in this four-session course. We'll look at the beginnings of abstraction in the early 20th century, move on to the heyday of American Abstract Expressionism of the 40s and 50s, and finish by examining the kinds of abstraction produced now.

* Recorded courses are available only to OLLI members enrolled in the specific course.

 

Wednesdays | July 6 – July 27 (4 weeks) | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | In-person, Guzman Lecture Hall

Teddy Roosevelt was one of perhaps five or six truly transformative presidents in American history.  A cultivated, scholarly aristocrat, Roosevelt entered politics during the nation’s “gilded age,” much to the dismay of his peers who regarded government as a tawdry affair dominated by saloon-keepers and greedy commercial types. In the course of his thirty years in public service, he resolved to restore the “heroic, manly virtues” and a sense of sublime destiny to American life.  This course will examine the career of this remarkable—if often abrasive and authoritarian—American statesman.

Thursdays | June 23 – July 28 (6 weeks) | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded*

American musical entertainment during the Second World War supplied a strategic reserve of morale-building and national spirit. Rosie the Riveter and the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy symbolized the dedicated workers and brave soldiers who fought and won the war. Each class will show 10 audiovisual clips from 1940-45 offering a fresh view of wartime culture. Movie musicals, radio broadcasts and the V-Discs shipped to troops united Americans in a common cause. While fighting and winning a global conflict, Generation Swing briefly rediscovered the national credo, E Pluribus Unum: “Out of Many, One.” 

* Recorded courses are available only to OLLI members enrolled in the specific course.

Fridays | June 24 – July 29 (6 weeks) | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | In-person, Guzman Lecture Hall 

More than any other record company, Motown represented a sound and a style, helping to define soul music with hundreds of hits in the 1960s and 1970s. Using both common and rare recordings and video clips, this course lays out the label's history from its beginnings in Detroit in the late 1950s to its growth to the most successful independent record label of all time. Many legends of soul music will be seen, heard, and discussed all the way, including the Supremes, Smokey Robinson, the Temptations, Mary Wells, Martha & the Vandellas, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and the Jackson Five.

Summer 2022 One-day Lectures

Tuesday, June 21 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded

This lecture attempts to investigate who is responsible for the recent insurrection and the 1933 overthrow plot. In 2021, A mob of 2,000+ U.S. President Donald Trump supporters attacked the Capitol Building, disrupting the joint session of Congress that assembled to count electoral votes to formalize President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Called to action by Trump, his supporters gathered in Washington, D.C., on January 5 and 6 to support his false claim that the 2020 election had been "stolen by emboldened radical-left Democrats" and to demand that Vice President Mike Pence and Congress reject Biden's victory. The 1933 political conspiracy was fomented by the “White House Putsch” and was exposed by Smedley Butler, Major General of the Marines. We will compare the 1933 plot with the January 2021 plot. Both plots were designed to overthrow our democracy and install an unelected dictator.

Wednesday, June 22 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded

When the music of opera is heard in the movies, it often produces surprising, unexpected, and even incongruous results. San Francisco Opera Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna will explore video examples of important opera-to-cinema transformations in films from the Marx Brothers to the current day, by such famed directors as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Norman Jewison, Gary Marshall, Woody Allen, Lars von Trier, and Jonathan Demme. Join the discussion and tell us about your own favorite opera scene in the movies.

Monday, June 27 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded

On the Waterfront was the next film Elia Kazan made after his controversial testimony before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Some have called it a justification for “naming names” before the committee. Others view it as simply a cinematic masterpiece that brought a new kind of realism to American film. We’ll look at both sides – and a lot more – as we explore this classic. Starring Marlon Brando in one of his most-acclaimed performances, and the film debuts of Eva Marie Saint and Rod Steiger, On the Waterfront received 12 Oscar nominations and won 8, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Wednesday, June 29 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded

This presentation explores the relationship between art and nature, as viewed through the agency of perception. We begin with the traditional objective approach by tracing the evolution of artistic depictions of natural settings from the Renaissance to Romanticism. We’ll then view works by modern artists like Mark Rothko who encourage active participation by the viewer in the artistic process. We’ll culminate by touching upon visual practices that enable a person taking a walk in the woods to generate for themselves a luminous aesthetic experience.

Monday, July 25 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded

The Director of San Francisco Opera, Matthew Shilvock, has kindly agreed to give OLLI Dominican an introduction to the upcoming season’s performances. Everyone is welcome to join us for this Zoom event: there is no charge. The Zoom link will be available on the OLLI website several days in advance. 

Monday, July 11 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | In-person

After centuries of relative silence, how and why did women begin publicly defending themselves against widespread public misogyny in Renaissance Europe?

Spring 2022 Course Descriptions

View our Spring 2022 course offerings below. If you prefer viewing in a brochure format, please visit click here to view.

Wednesday | May 25 | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded | Cost: $25.00

What is QAnon? How is it impacting us? Who is involved?

QAnon is claimed to be a “bananas conspiracy” theory espousing a worldwide human-trafficking network — involving elites such as Tom Hanks and Bill Gates. It’s all laughable, except that it has become popular enough that it has begun to infect everyday politics, with some of its adherents even winning elections.

An example of the QAnon conspiracy is the common thread between attacks against Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, allegedly being soft on child predators; the manufactured controversy on the right over whether teachers can mention homosexuality to students; and the anti-trans laws sweeping Republican-controlled state legislatures: We’re witnessing the mainstreaming of QAnon.

No membership fee required!

Mondays | March 28 – May 16 (8 weeks) | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded*
An in-depth overview of the history of the Doors, one of the most popular and influential rock groups of all time. Using both common and rare recordings and video clips, the course will trace their artistic evolution from the dawn of their career in the mid-1960s through singer Jim Morrison’s death in 1971. The development of their unique fusion of rock, blues, classical, jazz, and poetry into psychedelia will be explored in detail, as will charismatic singer Morrison’s controversial life and image.

* Recorded courses are available only to OLLI members enrolled in the specific course. Access to the recorded Spring content will be available through the end of the Spring 2022 Session, May 31, 2022.

Mondays | March 28 – May 16 (8 weeks) | 2– 3:40 p.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded
Though its golden age is long past, Film Noir lives on in modern incarnations that continue to attract devoted fans with noir staples like snappy patter, femmes fatales, down-on-their-luck antiheroes, and a rogue’s gallery of gattoting gunsels and low down rats always ready with a fast left hook or a lousy double cross. This course will be an overview of this eternally-popular genre, with a spotlight on Billy Wilder. We’ll address questions like What is film noir? What were its European influences? What are its American roots? What makes a movie noir? Films will include: Double Indemnity, The Maltese Falcon, Dark Corner, Detour, and Out of the Past, plus Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard and Ace in the Hole.

Tuesdays | March 29 – May 17 (8 weeks) | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded*
International law is arguably the least understood area of legal practice, yet it is an essential part of what constitutes global politics and justice. How we approach topics such as genocide and war, or diplomacy and international trade, or even climate change and outer space, are all governed different fields of international law. What is international law and how does it work? This course will explain the always fascinating and sometimes exasperating world of international law using detailed examples drawn from around the world.

* Recorded courses are available only to OLLI members enrolled in the specific course. Access to the recorded Spring content will be available through the end of the Spring 2022 Session, May 31, 2022.

As discussed in the first class on March 29, the last live class for this course will be on May 10. There will be no class on May 17. One class will be recorded and available to watch online.

Tuesdays | March 29 – May 17 (8 weeks) | 2 – 3:40 p.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded 
This course will examine the impact of High Technology (aka Big Tech) in America and the world. Ever since the American government and corporations adopted the ideology of market fundamentalism, there has been a major shift in our economic, socio‐political, and cultural ways of doing things. In this course, Dr. Kashani will discuss ways in which Tech Giants such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, Uber, and DoorDash have replaced the robber barons of a century ago. Our democracy is at a precipice and the tech industry wants to run the world. This course will look at the ways in which we can save it.

Tuesdays | March 29 – May 17 (8 weeks) | 4 – 5:30 p.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded
The Economist magazine provides unbiased reporting and thought-provoking articles on global political and economic developments. Each week we will review 5-6 articles from
the current week’s issue. Class participants are expected to volunteer to lead a discussion on at least one article. Participants must subscribe or have access to current editions of The Economist (on-line or paper copies, also available at most libraries) and be familiar with Zoom. Information on subscriptions, student rates and special rates is available at 1-800-456-6086 or economistsubscriptions.com.

Wednesdays | March 30 – May 18 (8 weeks) | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded
Let us rediscover the Sicily once known to every schoolchild, the Sicily that gloried in two Golden Ages, when twice she was a turning point of Western Civilization. We begin with mythic Sicily – Demeter and Persephone, Skylla and Charybdis, Homer’s Odyssey, Virgil’s Aeneid. This leads us to the Sicily that became the wealthiest part of the ancient Greek world, that defeated Athens, that taught civilization to the Romans and through them to us. Then, under Arab and Norman rule, she helped to ignite the Renaissance. Hers is a history repeatedly magnificent, mythic, monster-plagued, and mistreated, alternatively glorious and tragic.

Wednesdays | March 30 – May 18 (8 weeks) | 2 – 3:40 p.m. | Zoom, Recorded*
Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier were the three major Master Builders of the Twentieth Century and, together with others, literally invented Modern Architecture. While focusing on the architecture of Wright, Mies and Le Corbusier, this course will also examine the work of all the major modernist architects of the Twentieth Century including Alvar Aalto, Louis Kahn and Frank Gehry, and will explore the degree to which Modern Architecture is reflective of Twentieth Century ideas and values.

* Recorded courses are available only to OLLI members enrolled in the specific course. Access to the recorded Spring content will be available through the end of the Spring 2022 Session, May 31, 2022.

Wednesdays | March 30 – May 18 (8 weeks) | 4 – 5:30 p.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded
Since its founding in 1922, Foreign Affairs has been the leading forum for serious discussion of American foreign policy and global affairs. Foreign Affairs is published by Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a non-profit and nonpartisan membership organization dedicated to improving the understanding of U.S. foreign policy and international affairs through the free exchange of ideas. Our discussion group will focus on two articles weekly from FA, with an aim to developing a deeper understanding of the foreign policy options facing the US today. A subscription to the magazine is required.

Thursdays | April 7 – May 26 (8 weeks) | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Recorded* |
Note: Starts one week later than other courses
Americans have long pondered the question of why Southerners—mostly those who were not slaveholders—were willing to risk their lives and fortunes by seceding from the Union in 1861. In “Dixie Voices” we will explore the careers, temperaments, and philosophical outlooks of key Southern thinkers—some well-known, and others relatively obscure— in an attempt to resolve that puzzle. Throughout the course we will investigate the omnipresent significance of racial consciousness in shaping the world view of “Dixieland.” 

* Recorded courses are available only to OLLI members enrolled in the specific course. Access to the recorded Spring content will be available through the end of the Spring 2022 Session, May 31, 2022.

Thursdays | April 7 – May 26 (8 weeks) | 2 – 3:40 p.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded
Note: Starts one week later than other courses
The most daring, innovative and influential figure in musical theater history passed away in November. His death brought forth a massive outpouring of grief among his devotees. Why have he and his body of work evoked such a powerful reaction? This course will explore that phenomenon with a particular focus on both the forces that influenced his creative expression and how and why that expression so profoundly impacts us – his
audience.
Bonnie Weiss will be using many video clips illustrating these points, including song performances and interviews – one given just 3 weeks before his death at 91. In some he demonstrates his unparalleled artistry. In others, he reveals his profound understanding of the human condition and his impressive humanity.

Thursdays | April 7 – May 26 (8 weeks) | 4 – 5:30 p.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded
Note: Starts one week later than other courses
The Socratic Circus is a salon where you will find intelligent and thoughtful discussion on myriad topics. Each week the group selects challenging, and at at times controversial, subjects to discuss. Our goal is not to change anyone's mind, rather, we look at each issue from a big picture perspective and attempt to understand its essence, as well, as engage in intellectually stimulating conversation. All points of view are respected. There are many topics from which to choose, including, but not limited to, Critical Race Theory, Cancel Culture, White (Male) Privilege, Property Rights vs Human Rights, and Progress vs Environmental Issues. Everyone gets to participate, so enroll and join us for the fastest and most entertaining two hours you will experience. Prerequisites: Must have opinions and be willing to maintain civility at all times.

Fridays | May 6 – May 27 (4 weeks) | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded
The last months of WWII changed the world geopolitically in significant ways still felt today. As the Allies surrounded both Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, forcing them towards their inevitable defeat, simultaneously, political intrigue and strategy engaged between the major Allied powers maneuvered to control and influence the post-War world.

Fridays | April 1 – May 27 (8 weeks) | 10 – 11:40 a.m. | Zoom, Not Recorded
No class April 15
Flash Memoir highlights the tiny magical moments that have stayed with you for years. You will learn how to craft a mini-universe that speaks emotionally, shares your wisdom, and shines. We will also explore techniques of Flash Fiction to express the amazing, transforming and challenging moments of your life. You will be given new techniques to develop your creativity in a safe, supportive environment. All writers are welcome, regardless of experience. Diane Frank's teaching style is joyful, loving, and intuitive.

Fridays | April 1 – May 13 (6 weeks) | 2 – 3:40 p.m. | Zoom, Recorded
No class April 15
As the Italians say, Prima le parole: The Words Come First! Great works of opera often stem from great works of literature. It can be fascinating to witness the transformation. San Francisco Opera's Dramaturg Emeritus Kip Cranna will explore how composers use their personal artistic instincts to find inspiration in works by great writers, reimagining their sources in intriguing new ways. Video examples (with English subtitles) will compare literary, film, and operatic versions of classic and more contemporary works, illustrating the sometimes unpredictable outcomes when gifted composers (and their librettists) confront gifted authors.

* Recorded courses are available only to OLLI members enrolled in the specific course. Access to the recorded Spring content will be available through the end of the Spring 2022 Session, May 31, 2022.

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