Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun: A Revolutionary Painter

Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755–1842). Self-portrait, 1790. Oil on canvas; 100 x 81 cm. Galleria degli Uffizi, Corridoio Vasariano, Florence (1905)
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun (French, 1755–1842). Self-portrait, 1790. Oil on canvas; 100 x 81 cm. Galleria degli Uffizi, Corridoio Vasariano, Florence (1905)

Tuesday, March 1st at 7 p.m.

Living during the late 18th century, one of the most turbulent periods in European history and one in which women were essentially excluded from the official French Painting Academy, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun defied the odds. A mostly self-taught but extremely talented artist, she achieved incredible success, even becoming, by her mid 20s, the favorite portraitist of Marie Antoinette. Forced to flee France during the upheaval of the Revolution, Vigée Le Brun lived in exile for several years, earning a comfortable living for herself and her daughter Julie by painting European heads of state. The painter’s fascinating, cosmopolitan life story is the the stuff of movies, avant la lettre.  In honor of both Women’s History Month and the Metroprolitan Museum of Art’s wonderful monographic exhibition of Vigée Le Brun’s work (running from Feb. 15-May 15), we celebrate this exceptional artist and cultural figure.

About the presenter
Over the last 12 years, art historian Larissa Bailiff has worked as an educator and instructor for MoMA, teaching more than 25 in-gallery courses. Her specialty is modern European art and culture, especially that of France and Spain. In recent months, Larissa has been developing content for a new immersive arts-education and technology company called WoofbertVR.

College Funding and Planning

Image courtesy of flickr user juanillooo / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Image courtesy of flickr user juanillooo / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Thursday, March 3rd from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Planning for college can be difficult, confusing and costly. Don’t go it alone. This is a great opportunity to learn how to make the right college choices and maximize your funding and financial aid results, as well as how to better prepare for SAT & ACT exams and achieve higher scores.

You will learn about:
•    SAT & ACT Prep Courses. Courses help students successfully prepare for SAT & ACT exams. 
•    College Profile Reports. Personalized report specially generated for your family that includes your student’s chances of enrollment at up to 10 colleges.
•    Merit Based Scholarship Eligibility.  This personalized report detailing merit scholarships your student may be eligible to receive.  
•    FAFSA & CSS Profile Form Completion.  Every year simple mistakes are made while filling out financial aid forms that cost families thousands of dollars. Don’t let this happen to you.
•    College Funding Analysis. This analysis will determine if your out-of-pocket college costs can be efficiently reduced.

About the presenter
Michael Alimo (CRPC; CLU; ChFEBC) is a 30 year industry veteran. For the past 15 years, financial service advisor Mr. Alimo has served clientele around CT & New England at his USA Financial & Tax Services, LLC. Committed to giving back to the community via educational workshops, Mr. Alimo has hosted many seminars for groups at libraries, churches, and social organizations about a variety of financial and planning topics.

Senior Moments: Metro North: From First to Worst

Image courtesy of flickr user mtaphotos / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Image courtesy of flickr user mtaphotos / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Thursday, March 10th at 3 p.m.

How did the best commuter railroad in the US suddenly become subject of Federal safety investigations after a series of derailments and collisions claimed lives? Why is Metro-North’s survival crucial to real estate prices in Darien? What’s the future of rail service along CT’s “Gold Coast”?

It’s a story of political intrigue, corporate malfeasance and corruption befitting a cheap novel… but it’s all true. Darien resident and long-time commuter advocate Jim Cameron spins the tale of “Metro-North: From First to Worst”.

About the presenter
Jim Cameron moved to Darien in 1991 and, as a commuter he saw first-hand the deterioration of service on Metro-North. Rather than just “getting mad”, he did something about it, joining the “Connecticut Metro-North Rail Commuter Council”, created by the CT Legislature, on which he served for 19 years, four of them as its Chairman. In 2014 he resigned and formed a new effort, The Commuter Action Group. He is member of the Representative Town Meeting in Darien CT, is Program Director of the town’s TV station, Darien TV79, and is author of the newspaper column, “Talking Transportation” which now runs in 25 newspapers across the state, including the Darien Times.

History of Sriracha

Image courtesy of flickr user nukelarburrito / CC BY 2.0
Image courtesy of flickr user nukelarburrito / CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, March 22nd at 7 p.m.

Sriracha is a cultural mashup that typifies American cuisine: based on a Thai sauce, it was created by a Vietnamese immigrant of Chinese descent, and is made outside of LA with California-grown ingredients. In 20 years, it’s crossed over from a condiment for Pho to a mainstream American ingredient.

Historic Gatronomist Sarah Lohman has traveled to Sriracha’s California birthplace to see the factory and interview David Tran, the hot sauce’s genius creator. She’ll share with you we’ll the fascinating history of Sriracha as well exclusive interviews, primary source research, and a special peek into its artisinal production process.All your burning hot sauce questions will be answered as we explore how Sriracha has become more American than apple pie.

About the presenter
Sarah Lohman graduated with a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2005 and for her undergraduate thesis opened a temporary restaurant/installation that reinterpreted food of the Colonial era for a modern audience. Lohman moved to New York in 2006 to work as Video Producer for New York Magazine’s food blog, Grub Street.  Currently, she works with museums and galleries around the city to create public programs focused on food.

Dubbed an “historic gastronomist,” Lohman recreates historic recipes as a way to make a personal connection with the past. She chronicles her explorations in culinary history on her blog, FourPoundsFlour.com, and her work has been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and NPR.  She appeared in NYC-TV’s mini-series Appetite City cooking culinary treats from New York’s past and is featured in The Cooking Channel’s Food: Fact or Fiction. Lohman’s first book, Eight Flavors, is due out with Simon & Schuster in Fall 2016.

History of the NYPD

New York (N.Y.) Police Department, Annual Report (1923). Held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections.
New York (N.Y.) Police Department, Annual Report (1923). Held at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Lloyd Sealy Library Special Collections.

Tuesday, March 29th at 7 p.m.

This class explores the complicated history of law enforcement in New York City. From its origins in the Dutch night watch system, past the pugilistic and corrupt cops of the Tammany Hall era, through the sporadic attempts at reform, and into the current era of policing, learn about the mechanics of the police force and the politics that drive it.

The class also examines recent trends in crime and criminality: the sharp spike in crimefrom the 1960s to 1990s, followed by the sudden and unexpected reduction in crime in the 1990s and 2000s. This shift, only partially explained, means that we’re living in a city that is possibly safer than ever before, but has also left some communities shattered by the thirty-year long war on drugs, zero tolerance policies, and statistically driven policing tactics.

About the presenter
Patrick Lamson-Hall is an urban planner and a research scholar at the NYU Stern Urbanization Project. His research interests include urbanization in the developing world, alternative transportation, and public space. As part of his work at NYU, he manages the India Urban Expansion Observatory in Mumbai, India, along with the Ethiopia Urban Expansion Initiative, a project to prepare rapidly growing cities for their spatial growth. He hails from Portland, Oregon, and enjoys hiking, biking, and books.

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