Jazz Appreciation

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Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Thursday ; 2pm – 4pm

Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)      Space available

Jazz music is considered to be America’s greatest original art form and is well known for its creativity and innovation. Since its emergence at the beginning of the 20th century, its evolution has been closely woven into the tremendous changes and upheaval in American society.

Our Jazz Appreciation workshop features examples and discussions of various different eras and personalities and how the evolution of jazz has reflected and contributed to those changes.

Each participant is requested to select a musician, personality, or genre and prepare a presentation of approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Examples of recorded music should be provided to share with the group and time allowed for group discussion to follow.

This is an enthusiastic, highly interactive and fun class in which all are welcome from curious beginners to those who have enjoyed all aspects of jazz for many years. Wherever possible, we invite a guest musician to explain and illustrate the role of their own instrument in jazz.

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Socio-Political Feature Films

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Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Thursday ; 12pm – 2pm

Term 1 – via Zoom (2 hours); Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)      Workshop Full

Feature films are an excellent way to highlight current and historical socio-political issues in order to inform and arouse a broad public.  This workshop aims to stimulate thought and discussion through such films.  In the workshop, one participant will present background information on the film (director, actors, awards won, context from which the film arose, production values).  A second participant will present the issues raised in the film and their possible relevance to the contemporary world. Examples of films viewed in 2020-21 are Incendies (2010) and Bicycle Thieves (1949).

During the Fall Term this will be a two-hour Zoom workshop.  Participants will view the film at home using Kanopy, (available, free, through the Toronto Public Library.)  In the Winter Term, if conditions allow for in-person meetings, the co-facilitators, in consultation with participants, will decide between continuing the same format as the Fall Term, or moving to a 12-4 pm format in which the participants would view the films together, followed by discussions. 

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Contemporary Film B

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Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Thursday ; 12pm – 2pm

Term 1 via Zoom; Term 2 Tartu (tbc)     Space available

Welcome to all Film Fans! In each session we jointly choose two contemporary films. Each member is then expected to view and rate them, based on a set of criteria developed by the group, as well as their personal enjoyment. This has been a lively workshop where members are never at a loss for discussion. Members will take turns introducing the films, but everyone should come prepared to discuss them.

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Contemporary Film A

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Bi-weekly ; Week 2 ; Wednesday ; 12pm – 2pm

Term 1 via Zoom; Term 2 Tartu (tbc)     Workshop Full

Please join us for lively discussions of contemporary films. At each meeting we choose two films, released in the last 5 years and available on Netflix and Kanopy, to view on our own before the next class. Films may be from any genre — indies, art films, block-busters — or whatever moves the class when voting. The two presentations per class will focus on aspects such as themes, production values, and take-home values. We rate the films individually, and then compare our class rating to the Internet rating, just for fun. Prior to the first session, the facilitator will contact registered members with the two films for consideration and solicit volunteers for presentations.

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Modern Middle East

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Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Wednesday ; 12pm – 2pm

Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)     Space Available

Our continuing goal is to understand the issues that consume civil society in the Middle East as it struggles to find status and stability in the modern world.  This region is home to powerful ethnic, religious, and cultural loyalties that are centuries older than the national borders marked on todays map: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel/Palestine, the Gulf States, Yemen, Egypt, and Turkey.   Appropriate study topics would include Arab and Kurdish nationalism; Persian, Islamic, and Jewish history; the Arab Spring; regional conflicts and various Islamist movements – as well as the role of powerful regional leaders, their arguments and influence.  We will also examine related global issues (old and new), including shifting alliances; climate change and the future of oil; human rights and refugees; capitalist-socialist polarization, pandemics and terrorism. 

In consultation with the facilitators, each workshop participant will choose a topic to research and present to the group for discussion. 

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Opinions B

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Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Wednesday ; 10am – 12pm

Term 1 via Zoom; Term 2 Tartu (tbc)     Space available

This version of Opinions will meet at Tartu at the earliest opportunity, but until then will meet via Zoom.  Once in Tartu, there will be no concurrent Zoom.  Members who wish to enjoy Opinions via Zoom only should enrol in Opinions A”. 

Participants will discuss articles taken from a wide range of journals, newspapers, and other sources. Topics should be substantive enough to be worthy of discussion. The group will consider the case made by the author in the light of experience, alternative points of view, and other material that may be offered by the presenter. Participants are expected to read articles chosen for review, take turns introducing an article and starting the discussion, and are encouraged to suggest suitable articles from their own reading. 

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Zoom Phenomenon

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Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Tuesday ; 2pm – 4pm

Terms 1 & 2 – via Zoom     Space available

This is not a how-to” workshop but an exploration of Zoom history and video conferencing in general; its uses in various fields, and impact on our behaviour. It may or may not be with us in 2022 but we will have had at least a year of experience with it and something we will remember about the Pandemic. Topics will include the technology history & development; psychology of perception as applied in Zoom; the good and the bad, ugly and weird; is Zoom actually a new medium”? There will be opportunities to discuss our own personal experiences and discuss where is Zoom going in the future 

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Opinions A

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Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Tuesday ;  12pm – 2pm

This group will meet via Zoom all year     Space available

Participants will discuss articles taken from a wide range of journals, newspapers, and other sources. Topics should be substantive enough to be worthy of discussion. The group will consider the case made by the author in the light of experience, alternative points of view, and other material that may be offered by the presenter. Participants are expected to read articles chosen for review, take turns introducing an article and starting the discussion, and are encouraged to suggest suitable articles from their own reading.

Reimagining CanLit: New Writing, New Views

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Bi-weekly – Week 2 – Friday – 10am – 12pm

Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)     Workshop Full

This workshop challenges the notion and maintenance of a particular CanLit canon—one that is too dated, too white and “too closely monitored by powerful gatekeepers”. Does it reflect the country we live in today?

We will read recent books (fiction, memoir, possibly a play) by Canadians who are also steeped in the heritage of other countries for a fresh perspective on Canada. Some of the twelve authors on the reading list are Dionne Brand, David Chariandy, Ian Williams, Samra Habib, Souvankham Thammavongsa, and Zalika Reid-Benta.

Each participant will select one of the readings to present to the group. Everyone is expected to do all the reading and be prepared to participate in the group discussion.

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Celebration Of Song

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Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Friday ; 12pm – 2pm

Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)     Space Available 

Songs are a vital part of our lives. First,participants will give presentationson their choice of historical periods of song, composers (e.g., Cole Porter, Jim Webb, and Lennon & McCartney), performers (e.g., Tiny Tim, the Beatles, Mel Torme), or favourite songs. Second, we will sing the songs we discuss. No experience is required – just enthusiasm for singing. We can sing a capella, or with a karaoke machine or with the accompaniment of whichever instruments members of the course wish to play (piano, guitar, accordion, percussion). 

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