OLLI Outlook
The Monthly Newsletter of OLLI @Berkeley
June 2014
PREVIEW: New developments are on the way
The Lunch Bunch
Faculty Profile: Susan Oxtoby
Volunteer Profile: Gail Lederer
Director's Report
Staff Update
Summer Interest Circles
OLLI's Idea Box
Member Benefits
OLLI Academic Calendar
Join Our Mailing List

Like us on Facebook    View our videos on YouTube    View our photos on flickr
OLLI Staff
 Susan Hoffman

Program Coordinator
Nicole Magnuson

Communications Coordinator
Satya Levine

Classroom and Events 
Gerard Alcantara

Program Assistant
Talia Walsmith

Research Assistant
Chelsea Crown

Research Intern
Jason Gant

OLLI @ Berkeley
University of California
1925 Walnut St #1570 Berkeley, CA 94720-1570
tel. 510.642.9934
Fall 2014 Term 
We are hard at work putting the finishing touches on the Fall 2014 term. We have 25 courses lined up, plus a dynamic speaker series and a year-long theatre program. Look for details on the website and in your mailbox in July.
PREVIEW: New developments are on the way

In our eighth year, OLLI will update course and membership fees in response to rising costs--increases in venue rental rates, university-related overhead, and faculty compensation. 

  • The new rates will be in effect for the Fall 2014 term
  • There will also be an expanded fee assistance program with a criteria-based sliding scale that maintains the honor-system application 
  • More details will follow

As OLLI improves our systems, and with thanks to the many members who gave their input, there are a number of other changes we are excited to share:


On the web:

  • An updated website with greater visual clarity and improved navigation

  • A simplified registration process, with a "cart" and "check-out," similar to other online purchasing


  • Expanded membership options including the choice to join as an Annual or All-inclusive member during any term (not just Fall)

  • More robust member benefits including university-related opportunities and local merchant options

Program options:

  • More types of course offerings with the addition of seminar-style courses

Look for more information about all of these changes in the coming weeks!

The Lunch Bunch

by Lucille Poskanzer, OLLI member



2172 Shattuck Ave., between Allston Way and Center St.

Berkeley, CA 94704



Yes, this is a chain, which I usually avoid, but every once in a while you need a place where you can get a decent sandwich, salad, or soup that is quick, tasty, and inexpensive--so think of this place when you are in a rush to get to class, or need to get something between the end of a class and the beginning of a faculty lunch or OLLI lecture. What I like about Togo's is that the caloric value of all the menu choices is listed, so you can plan wisely--just avoid the chips and large drinks.


Addendum: I am facilitating an OLLI Summer Interest Circle called Friday Lunching Adventures. For more information about this, look at the OLLI website list of Summer Interest Circles, and contact me if you want to join.

Faculty Profile: Susan Oxtoby

by Hilary Kaiser, OLLI member


Susan Oxtoby (Wendy Edelstein photo)

It's clearly evident that Susan Oxtoby loves her job. Her eyes light up when she talks about the film projects she's been involved in as Senior Film Curator at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAM/PFA), "where our work in the areas of curating, archiving, research, and education" she says, "is highly respected around the world." Her own keen interest in cinema is also easily perceptible. She says it dates back to when she was 11 years old and started accompanying her parents to theaters in Toronto to see foreign films. Love of film and photography ran in her family: her mother made home movies about their travels, and her father captured them with his camera.


At university in Canada, Oxtoby earned a degree in English and Cinema Studies from the University of Toronto and another in Media Studies from Ryerson University. "In film classes we were always learning across a broad spectrum. We learned about history, political science, the arts, literature. I loved--and I still love--the cross-disciplinary approach of film."


Her interest in film led to work in sound recording and picture editing for experimental and documentary film productions; to distributing films at the non-profit, artist-run Canadian Filmmakers' Distribution Centre; to positions as a researcher and archivist; and as the director of two independent films.


Before coming to BAM/PFA in 2005, Oxtoby worked in Toronto at the Cinematheque Ontario, the year-round public screening division of the Toronto International Film Festival Group, where she became the director of programming in 1997.


Calling herself a film "generalist" with a specialization in avant-garde film, Oxtoby has wide experience in programming series and retrospectives of all sorts and from many different parts of the world. She is responsible for curating BAM/PFA's summer series "The Brilliance of Satyajit Ray" and "Kenji Mizoguchi: A Cinema of Totality," and has coordinated "Over the Top and into the Wire: WWI on Film," which has been guest-curated by UC Berkeley's Russell Merritt, who gave a course at OLLI on movies of the 1950s.


Oxtoby is the curator of BAM/PFA's forthcoming 50-program touring retrospective on Georgian cinema that will run during the academic year 2014-2015, and is excited about how she'll be able to connect this major series to a five-week OLLI course, which will take place at the PFA Theater. When I ask her why Georgian cinema in particular is to be so broadly spotlighted, she says, "We hold a very significant collection of Soviet Georgian films in our archive, and we want to showcase these gems, which we have held for decades, and share them with audiences in Berkeley, New York City, and Washington, DC, where the retrospective will travel. We also want to update what's been happening in Georgian cinema because, at the moment, there's a new wave going on. Under independence and in the last decade, there have been a lot of distinctive filmmakers working on feature films, documentaries and shorts. So this year-long celebration of Georgian cinema will be really exciting, especially with the guests we have coming. This is probably the largest retrospective of Georgian cinema in North America, ever!"


Not only has Oxtoby been working on this project for four years, but she has also twice visited Georgia. She went in December 2011 to attend the Tbilisi International Film Festival, to meet with the current filmmaking community, and to visit film studios and the National Archives of Georgia. Her second visit to the country was a two-week holiday in 2012 to understand the country's culture and history and to see in person the locations that appear in its films. "There are many world heritage sites, archeological treasures, beautiful monasteries and churches on hilltops, and varied landscapes, from mountains to the Black Sea to savannah lands. It's a fascinating country," she says.

Volunteer Profile: Gale Lederer

by Gale Lederer


I've just agreed to write monthly profiles about OLLI volunteers, and it's been suggested that I start with an OLLI volunteer I know well--myself.


When I migrated to Berkeley from a small southern California town to attend university, my world exploded exponentially: opera, literature, film, travel, politics, passionate discussions about ideas with people from all over the planet--Berkeley in the Sixties! I couldn't get enough of it, and still can't. After a fabulous career teaching high school history and raising two children, I joined Peace Corps and served as a teacher-trainer in Azerbaijan. Next, I served as a grandmother in Vienna for a year, helping my daughter survive life with newborn twins plus a two-year-old.


I discovered OLLI three years ago. Thanks to my all-inclusive membership, I take about ten courses a year, and I've loved almost all of them. I gravitate toward history and politics, though thanks to OLLI's infinite variety, I've rekindled my passion for Ingmar Bergman, Moby Dick, memoir writing, positive psychology, German language and literature, and much else. I've also found good friends through OLLI.


I've volunteered assiduously since retirement--for the Berkeley Animal Shelter, the Mountain Lion Foundation, the Obama campaign, the East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, the Wagner Society, and more. I agreed to be class assistant for the very first OLLI class I ever took--an easy, fun way to become involved with the OLLI community--and I also serve on OLLI's Member Services Committee. It's fun to sit in Freight and Salvage and listen to Linda Rugg or Leon Litwack, but volunteering greatly enriches your OLLI experience, and I highly recommend it.


Which volunteer will be profiled next time? Stay tuned!

Director's Report

OLLI Goes to Europe 


For three weeks in May, I embarked on a trip to Helsinki and Berlin for OLLI programming development. The first stop was the International Symposium on the Education of Global Citizens in Espoo, Finland, sponsored by the Finnish National Board of Education and the Global Education Network of Europe. (For more than a decade, I have participated in symposia with the Council of Europe on the civic engagement role of universities.) The symposium was attended by ninety representatives who discussed and workshopped teaching and learning practices on global citizens' ethics, civic competence, intercultural awareness, and ecological responsibility.   You will see the results of these conversations as I work with the Curriculum Committee on a new area we are calling Global Citizenship.  


Next, in Helsinki, I attended the annual INPUT conference of media broadcasters in the public interest. Viewing  three dozen films over four days, I identified 12 thought provoking films to include in Michael Fox's course on Global Lens in the next two years. Despite being the best examples of documentary work being done by public broadcasters around the world, they are not likely to be distributed or seen in the US.


The final stop was Berlin to join up with OLLI's Road Scholar travelers as they began their exploration of the city along the theme of a divided and unified Germany. OLLI instructors Bev Crawford and Christine Schoeffer joined the Road Scholar trip to provide commentary and additional insight. However, my days were spent meeting extraordinary artists and historians who are involved in memorializing German history for the purpose of recognition, reflection, and deterrence of intolerance. I found that Berlin has the best examples of a culture that has dedicated itself to listening to history and learning the lessons of that history while honoring those who lost their lives and communities. OLLI  will offer a course on this topic this fall with author Tony Platt and historian Cecilia O'Leary with the hope of generating interest for another trip to Berlin in 2015.  If that sounds interesting to you, drop us a line at olli@berkeley.edu. 

Staff Update
We are sad to bid farewell to Gerard Alcantara, our Classroom Coordinator in recent years. Gerard says: Just a note to say goodbye to my friends and colleagues at OLLI. I am seizing an opportunity to move back to Hawaii to work at a yoga retreat center. Aloha and continued goodwill to all OLLI members.
Summer Interest Circles
New and ongoing OLLI Interest Circles are now open for the summer. An Interest Circle is a self-organized, self-governing discussion or activity group, proposed by OLLI members and coordinated by participants. Joining an Interest Circle is a great way to continue our learning during the breaks between OLLI terms and meet people who share similar interests.

Here are the current and newly proposed interest circles. For a description, contact, and meeting information, click the title. 

Propose an Interest Circle | Interest Circle FAQs

For more information, contact OLLI staff at berkeley_olli@berkeley.edu or 510.642.9934.

OLLI's Idea Box
Have a great idea for an OLLI course? Have you heard someone speak who would be an interesting instructor? Do you know an organization who would provide a discount to OLLI members? Please share your ideas using this link and we will forward to the appropriate staff or committee for consideration.
Member Benefits
Jazz Caffe: 10% Discount 
Show your OLLI student card and get 10% off on food and non-alcoholic beverages (when ordered with food). The Jazz Caffe is located at 2087 Addison Street, just across the street from Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse. You can order ahead by stopping in on your way to class or over the phone at 510.883.0231. Check out their menu: http://www.jazzcaffe.biz/caffe.htm
OLLI Academic Calendar
Term: June 2-26

FALL 2014 
Berkeley Open House: September 9
Lafayette Info Session: September 11
Term: September 29 - November 7

WINTER 2015 
Berkeley Open House: January 6
Lafayette Info Session: January 8
Term: January 26 - March 9

Term dates through the 2014-15 academic year are available at http://olli.berkeley.edu/calendar/academicCalendar.html.