February 16, 2016

Notable OLLI Dates

February 2 - 26: Oscar Contest via OLLI newsletter
March 18: Last day to register for Italy trip
April 2, 6pm: Great Gatsby Silver Screen
at Peoria Riverfront Museum; tickets available soon

March 19, 6pm: Bonnie and Clyde Silver Screen at Peoria Riverfront Museum; tickets available soonApril 7 and 21, 2pm: Study Group Committee Meetings at Peoria NEXT Innovation Center

March 23, 12pm: OLLI Spring 2016 Kickoff Luncheon; free with OLLI Classes, $20 for Luncheon onlyApril 8, 9am: Learning Trip Committee Meeting in Michel Student Center Executive Suite

March 29, 7pm: OLLI-sponsored Lecture: Big Data, Geometry, and Algebra
in Westlake 116; free
April 15, 9am: Cinema
 Committee Meeting in Michel Student Center Room 203

April 16, 6pm: The Untouchables Silver Screen at Peoria Riverfront Museum; tickets available soon
Spring Classes are Almost Here!

Have you registered for OLLI Spring Classes yet?  April will be here before you know it!

The Spring Kickoff Luncheon is included in your class fee, which will be held on Wednesday, March 23.  Those who cannot attend classes are welcome at the Kickoff Luncheon for $20.  
Why take OLLI Classes?  Here are some highlights that class participants can enjoy:

- Four stimulating classes on Wednesdays in April
- Free door-to-door shuttle service
- Delicious hearty and healthy buffet lunches available to purchase
- Complimentary refreshments during class breaks
- Plenty of time to socialize with friendly OLLI fellows
To register for Spring Classes, click here to utilize our new online registration system, or call Bonnie at 309-677-3900.
Help a Speech Student - More Participants Needed!

Last fall, Laura Bruns, a Bradley University Speech Communication Lecturer, brought her students to OLLI class breaks so they could meet OLLI members and practice their conversational skills.

We will repeat this activity during Spring Class breaks, but are working to further develop the relationship between OLLI members and undergraduate students.  

As such, we would like to offer you the chance to be paired with an honors Communication 103 student who will write a "tribute speech" about you.

Tribute speeches are short talks about a person's life, accomplishments, and advice.  Once you've been matched, an honors student would meet with you at a mutually convenient time, talk about your career, hobbies, family, goals, etc., then write a speech about what they've learned about you. You will be invited to attend class with the student and listen to his or her completed speech, but attendance is not required.

If you would like to participate in this great inter-generational activity, please email Michelle Riggio ( by February 19. 

Thank you in advance for helping our Bradley students further develop their communication skills!

Trip Spotlight: Down Memory Lane at Woodruff 

Joe Bauwens stands below his photograph on the wall of Distinguished Alumni at Woodruff.
During OLLI's recent Learning Trip to Woodruff Career and Technical School, nearly halfof our participants were Woodruff High School alumni or former faculty members.  One, however, shared some priceless memories of attending the school with 1,800 other students.

Joe Bauwens attended Woodruff from 1943 to 1947, and was a member of the state runner-up 1947 baseball team.  He earned his bachelor's degree from Bradley in 1951, and came back to earn his master's degree in 1959.   A retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force, Bauwens served on active and reserve duty for 38 years, including stints in Korea, Vietnam, and during the Cuban missile crisis.  He also served as principal at White Elementary school for more than 30 years.  

Bauwens remembers when Woodruff opened in 1937 and was named in honor of E.N. Woodruff, a ten-time mayor of Peoria.  During our trip, Bauwens reminisced about a time he and his friends were playing marbles in the schoolyard.  That very same Mayor Woodruff stopped by to join the game - and he ended up winning all the marbles!  
During our tour, Bauwens pointed out hand-built trophy cases that were originally made for White Elementary School.  Those cases were later moved to Woodruff and dedicated to his late wife Ann Bauwens, whose picture, along with Joe's, still hangs in a Woodruff hallway.

As our group continued its tour of the school, we came upon another picture of Joe - he holds the honor of being named Woodruff's very first Distinguished Alumni!  Although very modest, Bauwens did want to make sure the OLLI group noticed a plaque outside the auditorium containing the names of Woodruff's war heroes, dedicated to all the boys and girls who enlisted in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf wars, but never came home.  

The Woodruff High School that Joe Bauwen and countless others knew so well closed in 2009, but their memories will live on forever.  OLLI thanks the Woodruff Career and Technical Center faculty and staff for providing a private tour of the historic building, and thanks Joe Bauwens for sharing priceless memories of his days at the school.

Visit Woodruff's webpage by clicking here.

OLLI Reads

Many OLLI participants are using the OLLI Reads list to share information about their favorite books.

By clicking on the link below, you can open and read the list yourself.  Clicking on most of the titles in the list will direct you to Amazon, where you can find more information about the book and a free sample of the book ready for wireless delivery to your Kindle Reader.

Contact Greg Peine at with your suggestions for additions to the OLLI Reads list.

If you need a free Kindle Reader for your PC, the videos at the links below can show you how to download the program.


The Happiest Place on Earth... on Strike

In 1941, Walt Disney's animators went on strike, changing the landscape of animation and comics -- and Walt Disney himself.

Join us in the spring study group, Walt Disney Before and After 1941, in which we will look at the ways the animator's strike changed Disney's personal and professional perspectives.  

Walt Disney Before and After 1941
Mondays, March 7 - April 11
10:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Peoria NEXT Innovation Center
$45 - facilitated by Terry Meismer, OLLI study group co-coordinator and Cinema Committee member.

To view a short video about the strike, click on the image below.

To register for this study group, click here to utilize our new online registration system, or call Bonnie at 309-677-3900.

2nd Annual Oscar Contest 

During the month of February, you can participate in our 2nd Annual Oscar Contest, in which you select the nominations you think will be awarded in the following ten different categories:

Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Documentary Feature, Best Original Screenplay, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Foreign Language Film.

Anyone on the OLLI newsletter email list can play by clicking on the link above to take the online survey any time during the month.  After the trophies are awarded on Oscar night on Sunday, February 28, we will announce the top three OLLI members who guessed most accurately in our newsletter on Tuesday, March 1.  

1st place: Free Dinner & A Movie cinema trip to the Chillicothe Town Theatre, May 9
2nd place: 4 movie ticket vouchers to Landmark Cinemas
3rd place: 2 DVDs from past Cinema Events: A Separation and Putin's Kiss

To check out the 2015 nominees, click here.  Best of luck!

A Watershed Year at the Oscars, Part Two

A Watershed Year at the Oscars: 1967
by Randy Wilson, Cinema Committee member

The current controversy over a lack of diversity in this year's Academy Award nominations, and the Academy's proposed response, has the potential be another watershed moment in film history.

In light of this controversy, it might be fun to revisit another watershed year in Oscar annals: 1967. Mark Harris chronicles this magical year in Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood. His book highlights the behind-the-scenes efforts that went into the making of the five films nominated for a Best Picture award in 1967 and how all five films changed Hollywood in some way.

The five films were: Bonnie and Clyde; The Graduate; Guess Who's Coming to Dinner; In the Heat of the Night; and Dr. Doolittle.  Last week, we looked at Bonnie and Clyde and The Graduate.
Both In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner dealt with racial relations in the same year that saw the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dinner was a smash hit, in large part because audiences craved to see two of Hollywood's Reigning Royalty on screen again. Starring in their ninth and final film together, Kate Hepburn and Spencer Tracy played a liberal, married couple confronting their daughter's potential marriage to a black doctor (Sidney Pointier). Tracy died a few weeks after the film wrapped, and several months before it was released, further stoking audience anticipation. The film's interracial marriage theme didn't even prevent it from playing well in the South and "questions about the southern financial viability of a movie starring a black man were never raised again." Critics were less impressed, criticizing Director Stanley Kramer's stilted direction and ham-fisted preachiness.

In the Heat of the Night received more uniformly positive acclaim by critics and audiences alike. Stars Sidney Pointier and Rod Steiger, who won the Best Actor Oscar, were both excellent and Haskell Wexler's cinematography is atmospherically perfect. The scene where Sidney Pointier slaps a white racist drew cheers in many theaters. And I can vividly remember leaving this movie with a black high school friend who emphatically exclaimed, as we stepped out of the theater and into the evening, "They call me MISTER Tibbs!" In the Heat of the Night won the Oscar for Best Picture, and it still seems contemporary today.

Sadly for Pointier, who was the top male box office draw in 1967 for these two films, plus To Sir with Love, he was not even nominated for a Best Actor Award. In fact, after winning Best Actor in 1963 for Lilies of the Field, Pointier never received another acting nomination. The first African-American to win a best leading actor or actress award, a man whose acting career broke ground for so many to follow, was now being criticized as an "Uncle Tom" by many black and liberal activists. And, ten years later, discouraged, he retired from acting.

And, just what is the eminently forgettable Dr. Doolittle doing in such august company? Well, it's a simple case of Hollywood hubris. Richard Zanuck and Fox Studios, financially flush with the stupendous success of the top grossing film of all-time, The Sound of Music, decided the future of movies lay in three-hour, "road show," musical extravaganzas. Fox invested the then-staggering sum of $29 million in Dr. Doolittle and it bombed. Big time. It lost over $11 million. To quote another producer about another film, "Audiences stayed away in droves." But, it was Fox's only major release and they wined and dined Academy voters for their votes.

Zanuck's two subsequent musicals, Star! and Hello, Dolly!, also bombed. Zanuck had invested $50 million in these three box office losers. The era of big, bloated musicals was over and Zanuck paid for it with his job in 1970.

So, 1967 was a watershed year in Hollywood for many reasons. Time will tell how 2015 turns out.
Hilltop Happenings
Author Sharon Flake to Speak at Bradley

Guest Speaker, Author Sharon Flake
Sponsored by Intellectual and Cultural Activities at Bradley University
Wednesday, February 17
7:30 p.m.
Peplow Pavilion, Alumni Center, Bradley University
Free to Public

Sharon Flake, winner of three Coretta Scott King Honor Awards, is known for her ability to communicate that reading matters, all readers matter, and that books are for each and every one of us. According to Scholastic, "Many of Sharon's novels have received ALA Notable and Best Books for Young Adults citations from the American Library Association. Her writing has been applauded for its on-point narrative that explores issues affecting teens from all walks of life."

Flake describes her mission: "I write about hope in hard places, about young people who encounter challenges but through perseverance, the help of good friends and the love of family and caring adults, learn just how wonderfully gifted, determined and capable they are."

A Radical Approach to Tackling Diversity & Difference

Author Chris Yates to Discuss A Radical Approach to Tackling Diversity & Difference
Wednesday, February 24
2:00 p.m. 
Hayden Clark Alumni Center, Bradley University

Chris Yates, Chief Learning Officer at Caterpillar and author of Rewire: A Radical Approach to Tackling Diversity & Difference, will give a keynote address on that subject on Wednesday, February 24, at 2:00 p.m. in the Hayden-Clark Alumni Center.

Yates' book takes a fresh look at the issue of equality, diversity, and inclusion at work.  It critiques the current thinking and practices that are responsible for slow progress in this area, while providing readers with a new, holistic, and tactical perspective that leverages what we know about influencing and changing people's mind-sets.

The exclusive speaking engagement is hosted by the Executive Development Center at Bradley and has limited seating.  Register online at or call 309-677-4420.  Refreshments and a book signing will follow the address from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m.
"Speak Up" on Immigration

"Speak Up:" The German Refugee Immigration Crisis
Presented by William Toel
Thursday, February 25
12:00 p.m.
Cullom-Davis Library, Bradley University

Join Bradley professor William Toel for a presentation on the German refugee immigration crisis as a part of the "Speak Up" lecture series.  Mr. Toel teaches classes in the Honors Program and International Business at Bradley.

Last fall, Mr. Toel walked all five of the eastern German states (while teaching his Bradley classes over the web in the evenings).  Overall he walked about 360 miles, visited 93 villages, and spoke with approximately 1,000 local people.

During his visit, he discovered a large discrepancy in what was being reported and what was actually happening.  His talk will focus on whether democracy can survive without truth in the public realm.

This event is free and open to the public.  
Beyond the Hilltop
Art Exhibit: Two Men Who Made a Difference

Between February 1 - 27, you are invited to view a special exhibit at the Peoria Public Library Main Branch on art preservation service.

Two Men Who Made a Difference: Leslie Kenyon and Dr. George Kottemann

The exhibit was curated by OLLI class instructor Bennett Johnson.  It can be found on the lower level of the library.

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