May 19, 2015


Save Your Seat at Dinner and a Movie

Calling All Globetrotters!

Sign Up for These Summer Activities

Join Us at the OLLI 2015 Fundraiser

Critic's Corner

Artist Exhibit Pays Tribute to World War II Veterans

Keep Up with OLLI


Save Your Seat at Dinner and a Movie
Join OLLI for an afternoon at the historic Galesburg Orpheum Theatre on Monday, June 1.  We will take a charter coach to Galesburg and begin with lunch at the Packinghouse Company.  We will then head to the historic Orpheum Theatre, a beautifully restored venue built in the Vaudeville days of the early 1900s, for a tour and a screening of the classic 1950s film, Sunset Boulevard.  Nominated for 11 Academy awards, this example of film noir is widely accepted as a classic in American cinematic history.  After the film, Todd Heidt, Assistant Professor of German at Knox College, will moderate a short discussion on the film and its Austrian-born writer and director, Billy Wilder.

$79 - includes tour, film screening, presentation, lunch, gratuities, and charter coach transportation.  

To register online, please click here.  

Calling All Globetrotters!


Have you had an interesting traveling experience you'd like to share?  

Next Fall, OLLI would like to debut a new Class: "Look Where I Went."  Similarly to "Look What I Did," we are seeking four different presenters, one for each 1-hour class on Wednesdays in October, 2015.  

If you have visited an interesting place and would like to share what you have learned about its culture and history, we would love to make your unique observations a part of OLLI Classes this Fall. 

If you are interested in presenting, please contact John Dust, a member of the Curriculum Committee, at

Sign Up for These Summer Activities

Greater Peoria Sanitary District (Activity Level 3)
Monday, June 8
8:45 a.m. - 1:00 p.m.

The Greater Peoria Sanitary and Sewage District (GPSD) is a special governmental unit organized in 1927 to treat sewage before it is discharged into the Illnois River.  During our visit, we'll learn how wastewater is collected and treated in the 650 miles of pipes, find out how the plant treats an average of 25 million gallons annually, and take a look at how the laboratory monitors the treatment process in order to meet the federal requirements.

$25 - includes lunch, gratuities, tour, and shuttle transportation

Five Came Back: Hollywood and World War II
Tuesdays, June 9 - July 14
9:30 - 11:45 a.m.
Humana Guidance Center

While the American public and its politicians debated about out participation in another European war in 1940, Hollywood moviemakers were being pressured to release films in support of a conflict that seemed unwelcome, but inevitable.  Five of Tinseltown's most honored directors-- Frank Capra, John Ford, George Stevens, William Wyler, and John Huston-- all stepped forward to participate in the war effort.  In this Study Group, we'll read about, see clips of, and discuss both feature and documentary films that they directed either before, during, or after World War II.  Participants should read Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and The Second World War by Mark Harris.  This book is available new or used in paperback or in electronic formats or through local libraries.  

$45 - facilitated by Randy Wilson and Carol May, who are both OLLI Study Group facilitators and members of the OLLI Study Group and Cinema committees

Please click here to register online for Summer events.


Join us at the OLLI 2015 Fundraiser


OLLI Trivia Night Fundraiser
Friday, August 28
5:00 - 9:00 p.m.
WeaverRidge Golf Club

Join your friends at the OLLI Trivia Night Fundraiser, emceed by WMBD 1470 AM radio personalities (and OLLI instructors) Dan DoOrio and Greg Batton!

Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and trivia starts at 6:00 p.m.
-Teams will consist of 8 players and will compete against other tables
-Don't have a team?  No worries, pay the individual entry fee and we'll place you
-Cash bar available
-Heavy appetizers served

Funds from previous fundraisers have been used to purchase OLLI's shuttles, provide free Cinema and Lecture programming, and improve the audio-visual equipment and technology for OLLI programs.  Please join us for this year's fundraiser as we continue to build funds that will help OLLI continue its tradition of unique, high quality, engaging, and educational programming.

$45 - individual entry
$360 - table of 8

Please click here to register online.

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Critic's Corner: Frankie Starlight
Despite symptoms of eminent cinema implosion-- such as plot told from a child's viewpoint, war and poverty as a side distraction, rose-colored predictions of the future, and more-- Frankie Starlight is a movie that has managed to surmount the cliched pitfalls of the typical coming-of-age, coming-to-America movie.  Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, of Academy Award winner My Left Foot fame, achieved success in bringing to movie-goers a unique story interwoven with chaos and celebration, all the while making it realistic, artistically pleasant and, yes, even a bit romantic.  

My introduction to Frankie Starlight came more than eight years after its 1995 release.  A movie pal, far more knowledgeable in film study than myself, recommended it.  For that I'm thankful.  Shame on me, but being no fan of science fiction, I likely would have allowed the film title to push me away.

Based on Ronan O'Leary's internationally best-selling novel, The Dork of the Cork, Chet Raymo and O'Leary transformed the book into a screenplay closely aligned to the original literary work.  Occasionally slow-moving, yet progressive, the dichotomy of the screenplay provides welcome respites exactly where needed in the storyline.  Producer Noel Pearson changed the screenplay's title to Frankie Starlight.

Beginning two days prior to the Allied invasion of Normandy, Starlight relates the story of Bernadette Bois (played by Anne Parillaud), a teenage French girl, who witnesses the execution of her father by Nazi firing squad, followed a short time later by the suicide of her mother.  In 1945, Bernadette stows away on a troop ship bound for Canada in attempt to escape war-ravaged France and come to America.  In an attempt not to be reported to the ship's captain, she exchanges sexual favors with the GIs aboard the ship.  Ultimately discovered and put off at the port of Cork in Ireland, Bernadette soon discovers herself pregnant with no idea which soldier is the father.

Irish actor Gabriel Byrne plays Jack Kelly, a soft-hearted immigration agent who allows Bernadette to enter Ireland illegally.  He finds her a simple garret room in which to live and sees her through delivery of the child.

Bernadette's son, Frankie, is born into dwarfism.  Frankie in his early years is played by young Irish actor Alan Pentony.  In his break-out role at age 13, Pentony proves to be a convincing actor, turning in a strong and bittersweet performance.  Corban Walker portrays Frankie as an adult and provides and equally good performance.  Both actors are successful in their portrayal of Frankie's unspoken wonderment at the world in general and the night sky in particular.  The entire movie is told through the eyes of Frankie in a series of artfully designed flashbacks.

Jack's wife, Effa, a devoutly religious woman, feels it is her Christian duty to provide a proper home for Bernadette and her dwarf son and moves them into her house.  She soon discovers ties have developed between her husband and Bernadette, but turns a blind eye in hopes the situation will correct itself.

Jack entertains young Frankie by introducing him to astronomy.  Brilliantly plated scenes throughout the movie find Jack and Frankie seated rooftop in their study of the night sky and its mythological history.  As he becomes older, Frankie develops romantic fantasies for Emma, Jack's oldest daughter, who rebuffs his amorous sensitivity.

More than midway through the movie, Bernadette meets Terry Klout (aptly played by Matt Dillon), a former American soldier traveling through the British Isles.  Passionate interests arise between the two, and Terry asks Bernadette and Frankie to accompany him back to his home in Texas.  Try as they might, neither Bernadette nor Frankie can adapt to life in America and never feel they belong.  Ultimately, both return to their Irish home.

Frankie's love for the nighttime sky continues throughout his life.  Eventually, he authors a successful book entitled Night's Talker, embracing his love of astronomy and how it has and continues to influence his life.  Quirky twists and strange traits among the film's characters provide unexpected plot development to the end.

"Starlight's" unique story is enhanced by the subtle mood cinematography of Paul Laufer as well as a distinctive music score by Oscar, Emmy, and two-time Golden Globe Winer, composer Elmer Bernstein.

Anne Parillaud's performance as Bernadette is sparse, yet convincing, and shows the weary loneliness that surrounds her character.  This is in strong contrast to her starring role in 1990's "La Femme Nikita."

Gabrie Byrne, as a soft-spoken immigration official and Matt Dillon as a motorcycle-riding, adventure seeking American both present strong performances in roles they seem adept in portraying. Also of noteworthy mention is Georgina Cates who plays Jack's daughter, Emma, as a teenage girl.  Her work fulfills the character but never comes across as giddy or overdone.

"Frankie Starlight" presents the story of wounded, but sincere hearts in each of its main characters, and accomplishes it without weepiness or over sentimentality-- a trait not often found in movies.

Roger Ebert awarded the movie a "thumbs up" plus three stars, while Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 71%.  Janet Maslin of The New York Times called the movie "decent, but flawed" due mainly to the subdued acting a Anne Parillaud. I differ little, being evenly split between Ebert and Tomatoes, giving it 80%, and three-and-a-half stars.  No doubt, my own love of the night sky and romance of astronomy influenced my favorable prejudice.  "Frankie Starlight" remains one of my top ten favorites.

A sidebar of trivia for the movie aficionado is that this film is the first movie role of Academy Award winner actor, Colin Firth.  He is shown as a movie house patron, a non-speaking role so small it is uncredited.

Running time is 104 minutes.  Originally, the movie was rated "R" due to short scenes of minor sexual content.  By today's standards, "Frankie Starlight" contains nothing that couldn't be discussed at morning breakfast.

Submitted by Vick Steward, OLLI Cinema Committee, Class Instructor and Study Group Coordinator


Artist Exhibit Pays Tribute to World War II Veterans

St. Paul's Episcopal Church will host a Ceremony of Remembrance and an exclusive showing of 29 life-size, oil-on-linen paintings depicting portraits of World War II veterans.  

The series, titled "At the End of the Day," by artist Catherine Jones, has been exhibited internationally and transcends the geopolitics of war by focusing on the theme of forgiveness and reconciliation.  By depicting American, Canadian, British, and German veterans without identification or military insignia, this multi-layered art piece reveals the humanity behind the mask of war.

The exhibit will be on display from June 7 - 19 at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and all are welcome to attend the Ceremony of Remembrance and reception at the time listed below.

Ceremony of Remembrance and reception
Date: Sunday, June 7
Time: 2:00 p.m.
Location: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 3601 N North Street, Peoria

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The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI)
 is an organization at Bradley University whose members share a common goal:  to remain vital and active in their late career and post-career lives.

Consisting of more than 1,000 nearly 1,100 people ages 50+, OLLI members come from all backgrounds and educational levels.  Together they enjoy a diverse collection of year-round programs including non-credit classes, educational travel, study groups, cinema, and lectures.

To learn more about OLLI, please visit