Course Descriptions

In-Person Classes: October 1st through December 10th
Marymount Manhattan College (
221 E 71st St, New York, NY 10021)

Click Here to Register! 

Drawing Workshop: The Art of Sketching
10:00am - 11:00am Instructor: Pamela Koehler

Join artist and teacher Pamela Koehler to build your sketching skills. Commonly known as the bedrock of drawing, this quick and direct form of expressing ideas and building technical skills is a great way to follow one’s imagination and instincts. Pamela will guide students through various line art exercises to improve dimension, movement, structure, and mood. Shading techniques to add more depth will be explored to gain a further level of detail in the drawing. The class is for beginners and more advanced students alike. Students will need pencils and paper for this class. Additional materials such as watercolor sets are optional but not required.

Cinema Lecture Series: Great Directors,  Composers, and Stars of Film
10:00am - 11:30am Instructor: Max Alvarez

Film historian, Max Alvarez, will host discussions and provide film footage to document major players and moments in film history. The lecture series kicks off with a deep dive into the careers of great Hollywood and European composers. The rest of the semester will examine two centuries of Frankenstein, film legends Joan Crawford and Burt Lancaster, followed by a look into law and justice portrayed in landmark films. Each class will also include the personal development of artists and major players within the film industry, how they became giants with stories, and film footage documenting their journeys.

The Opera Companion
10:00am - 11:45am Instructor: Jane Marsh

Join internationally renowned opera singer Jane Marsh for an in-depth view of the Met Opera Season 2023-24. This semester will showcase great operas of the Classical, Romantic, Modern, and Contemporary Eras. The languages, including Spanish, will be enhanced by DVD-AUDIO sound clips, plus English subtitles for comfortable understanding. Enthusiasm is needed, but knowledge of music and opera is not necessary for this class. Come one, come all.

What Just Happened? The News Today
11:00am - 12:15pm Instructor: Bill Hughes

This course will feature a weekly analysis of the major and not-so-major news stories of the week with a veteran journalist. The analysis will derive from a multitude of news sources from all political perspectives sprinkled with some of the funnier observations by late-night commentators. We will delve into the disparities and motivations behind news coverage in print, radio, TV, and online sources.

Art History
11:15am - 12:15pm Instructor: Pamela Koehler

Join us this semester for a weekly look at art exhibits and events taking place in and beyond the city. We will cover weekly highlights of exhibitions and art events in the New York area, and explore international exhibitions, museums, architecture, and world heritage sites as well. We will also look at efforts in conservation aimed at securing works of art for future generations. The class format includes slide and digital presentations, careful looking, and lively discussion. A field trip to a museum in NYC will also be planned during the semester.

The Regina F. Gordon Lunchtime Lecture Series
12:30pm - 1:30pm Guest Lecturers: TBA

Bring your lunch and enjoy a different, thought-provoking topic every week!

Regina Gordon (1934-2015) was a lifelong New Yorker who thrived on her connection to her many family members and friends. She worked in financial services at Neuberger Berman and lived at Southbridge Towers in Manhattan. An avid learner with an intense curiosity and independent spirit, she was a frequent participant of Sundays at JASA. Regina lived frugally, invested prudently, and contributed generously to JASA and other nonprofit organizations that directly serve those in need. She lives on in the memories of her family and friends whose lives she touched and who loved her. The Regina F. Gordon Lunchtime Lecture Series was dedicated in 2016 in her honor and in recognition of her generosity to JASA, both during her life and through her estate.

The Golden Age of Movies
1:45pm - 2:45pm Instructor: Doug Brin

This semester will examine the bold and ruthless pioneers who invented and fostered a medium that brought untold prominence and influence in what became America's greatest contribution to popular culture. This entailed the peak of 'the studio system' that for near half-a-century brought the greatest stars, writers, and directors to collaborate in the medium that created legendary cinematic classics. But the advent of television and the supreme court's antimonopoly decision to outlaw 'block booking' and studio control of the theaters would bring an end to Hollywood's unparalleled and well-organized dominance.


Music Appreciation: Chamber Music Masterpieces
1:45pm - 3:15pm Instructor: Jim Smith

Bask in the intimacy and subtlety of some of the greatest works in the chamber music repertoire, which has been called “the music of friends.” Its conversational nature draws us in naturally, helping us understand why it was originally played between amateurs in their homes. The genre requires special skills, both musical and social, that differ from solo work. Starting with the classical era of Haydn and Mozart, we will explore how the genre developed through the romantic era of Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms, to Debussy and Ravel, and in modern times with Stravinsky, Shostakovich, and Messiaen. Our close listening will help you refine your sensitivity to the finer details of classical music.

Virtual Classes: October 2 - December 4

Click Here to Register! 

The U.S. Supreme Court: Law and Politics Collide
10:00am - 11:00am Instructor: Leora Harpaz

In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has involved itself in a number of controversies that have significant political ramifications. Whether it is redistricting, voting rights, abortion, guns, affirmative action, climate change, or immigration, just to name some of the issues. This course will examine the Court's recent actions in areas of political significance as well as look ahead to other issues that may reach the Court.


Elements of Theater: Great American Plays: Edward Albee and Neil Simon
11:15am - 12:45pm Instructor: Joe George

Join Joe George as he dives into the careers of two of America’s greatest comic playwrights. A historical examination of their careers through the lens of plays that helped shape and define their careers and American theater. This class will touch on their growth from young playwrights to becoming the industry standards of excellence. Edward Albee’s masterpieces Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Three Tall Women represent high marks in the middle and latter part of his career. Neil Simon achieved enormous success throughout a career that included California Suite and a lesser-known play Fools. These plays will be used as a guide to examine two great careers that have stood the test of time.

Shakespeare: The Tempest
1:00pm - 2:15pm Instructor: Leo Schaff

One of Shakespeare’s greatest plays, The Tempest, is a play rife with magic set against one of Shakespeare’s most incredible settings, an island full of otherworldly and earthly creatures. The story of Prospero and his daughter Miranda and their survival of loneliness, murderous plots, revenge, and love makes this one of Shakespeare’s greatest plays. Bardolater Leo Schaff will guide students through a fantastical journey that will surely delight first-time and longtime readers of the greatest playwright with a detailed explanation of this remarkable play.


Creative Writing
2:30pm - 3:30pm Instructor: Leo Schaff

This course calls on writers of all stripes, persuasions, and experiences. Memoirs, poetry, short stories, song lyrics, and letters to the editor are all welcome. Find inspiration through art, music, current events, or simply hearing each other’s work. Writers are helped through writing prompts to help guide topics if needed. When it comes to writing, everything is on the table.


Philosophy: The Dialogues of Plato
3:45pm - 4:45pm Instructor: Greg Canada

"The unexamined life is not worth living," Socrates famously argued in Plato’s dialogue, Apology. In this 9-week course, we will examine the importance of this statement by carefully reading Apology and five other Platonic Dialogues: Euthyphro, Crito, Symposium, Republic, and Meno. Through our conversations, we will explore the importance that love, fidelity, and virtue, particularly courage and wisdom, play in a life worth living.

Virtual Classes: October 4 - December 6

Click Here to Register!


Literary Modernism and Modernity
11:15am - 12:30pm Instructor: Jennifer Gilchrist

Literary Modernism (1880-1940) was a dazzlingly creative and ambivalent response to modernity, and many of the modernists' questions and concerns resonate in our era of similarly dramatic technological and social change. Through the selected works of writers such as Langston Hughes, Ernest Hemingway, Jean Rhys, Jean Toomer, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Eric Walrond, Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Zora Neale Hurston, Thomas Mann, James Joyce, and Gertrude Stein, we will explore artistic methods of coping with modern life: subjective depictions of time, streams of consciousness, the cult of the instinct, irony, epiphany, dreamwork, myth, primitivism, apocalypse, and artist as a seer.


Exploring Philosophical Thought Experiments
12:45pm - 2:00pm Instructor: Mark Tursi

Unlock the captivating realm of philosophical thought experiments in this intellectually stimulating course that delves into the profound ideas and ethical dilemmas that have shaped human understanding for centuries. Engaging the mind through imaginative scenarios and hypothetical situations, students will take a journey of philosophical inquiry via fables, allegories, narratives, anecdotes, and other challenging "cognitive puzzles." This course is designed for inquisitive minds, whether new to philosophy or seasoned enthusiasts seeking to deepen their understanding of the profound mysteries that lie at the heart of human existence.


Leading Men & Ladies of Broadway!
2:15pm - 3:30pm Instructor: Kim Breden

You’re probably familiar with Broadway stars like Ethel Merman, Alfred Drake, Mary Martin, and Joel Grey. But what about the hundreds of other talented performers who have brought musicals to life? Participants will enjoy a deeper look into the biographical information about these performers including background, training, theater credits, awards, as well as, personal details of their lives. With the use of performance videos, sound recordings, still photographs, and historical lectures, this class will offer the opportunity to hear an array of show-tune favorites. Feel free to sing along.

Get A Clue! Crossword Construction (via Zoom)
4:00pm – 5:30pm Instructor: Natan Last

Learn the principles of crossword puzzle construction through basic history, determining a theme, making a usable grid, and creating the fill. A group puzzle will be submitted to the New York Times. More than twenty puzzles have been featured in the Times thus far! Will Shortz has hailed this class as “one of a kind.”

Registration is capped at 25 students.