NancyBallekMackinnon

Thursday, March 16th at 7 p.m.
Edible, Native, & Sustainable are the three themes that keep reoccurring in the 2017 gardening narrative. Nancy will discuss these and other trends in garden design and horticulture. Explore new and old varieties for beautiful and productive gardens. This free and open to all event is co-sponsored with the Essex Garden Club.

Nancy Ballek Mackinnon is a partner in Ballek’s Garden Center in East Haddam, Connecticut, located on a farm that has been in the family since 1662. She received a degree in environmental horticulture and landscape design from the University of Connecticut graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1978, and joined Ballek’s Garden Center soon after. Nancy is the author of the “The Gardener’s Book of Charts, Tables & Lists: A Complete Gardening Guide” created to make it easier for horticulturists to select the right plant for the right place.

wilsoncauley

Saturday, March 25th at 1:30 p.m.

“Are we alone?” Recent headlines from NASA confirm scientists’ discovery of the existence of three planets firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water. We now know of thousands of planets around stars other than our Sun. These extra-solar planets, or exoplanets, are highly diverse and exist in almost every conceivable form. In order to fully understand these exciting objects, we also have to learn about the stars they orbit and how the stars can impact the evolution of their exoplanet satellites. On Saturday, March 25th at 1:30 p.m. at the Essex Library, Wesleyan postdoctoral researcher in astronomy, Wilson Cauley will talk about this relationship for a variety of different types of exoplanetary systems, including what these interactions imply for exoplanet atmospheres and the potential for life to thrive on these alien worlds.

This program is free and open to the public.

tenrestaurants
Monday, March 6th at 5 p.m.

From Delmonico’s to Sylvia’s to Chez Panisse, a daring and original history of dining out in America as told through ten legendary restaurants. Combining a historian’s rigor with a foodie ‘s palate, Ten Restaurants That Changed America reveals how the history of our restaurants reflects nothing less than the history of America itself. Paul Freedman, the Chester D Tripp Professor of History at Yale University will give an illustrated talk at the Essex Library on Monday, March 6th at 5 p.m. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing.

Whether charting the rise of our love affair with Chinese food through San Francisco’s fabled The Mandarin, evoking the richness of Italian food through Mamma Leone’s, or chronicling the rise and fall of French haute cuisine through Henri Soulé’s Le Pavillon, food historian Paul Freedman uses each restaurant to tell a wider story of race and class, immigration and assimilation. Freedman also treats us to a scintillating history of the then-revolutionary Schrafft’s, a chain of convivial lunch spots that catered to women, and that bygone favorite, Howard Johnson’s, which pioneered midcentury, on-the-road dining, only to be swept aside by McDonald’s. Lavishly designed with more than 100 photographs and images, including original menus, Ten Restaurants That Changed America is a significant and highly entertaining social history. Read the review of the book by Tejal Rao in The New York Times here.

Professor Freedman specializes in medieval social history, the history of Catalonia, comparative studies of the peasantry, trade in luxury products, and the history of cuisine. Freedman earned his BA at the University of California at Santa Cruz and an MLS from the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of California at Berkeley. He received a Ph.D. in History at Berkeley in 1978. His doctoral work focused on medieval Catalonia and how the bishop and canons interacted with the powerful and weak elements of lay society in Vic, north of Barcelona. Freedman taught for eighteen years at Vanderbilt University before joining the Yale faculty in 1997.

garden-talk-imageFriday, February 17th at 7 p.m. at Centerbrook Architects -67 Main St. Centerbrook

Gardens have captured people’s imagination for centuries. Jim Childress will illustrate the design ideas behind some of world’s best small gardens. He will explore how they are planned and how plants are integrated. And, to escape winter for an hour – there will be plenty of images of gardens in full bloom.

This program is free and open to the public. Ample free parking is available at Centerbrook Architects- 67 Main St. Centerbrook.

whenparissizzled

Saturday, February 4th at 1:30 p.m.

When Paris Sizzled vividly portrays the City of Light during the fabulous 1920s, les Annees folles, when Parisians emerged from the horrors of war to find that a new world greeted them one that reverberated with the hard metallic clang of the assembly line, the roar of automobiles, and the beat of jazz. Mary McAuliffe traces a decade that saw seismic change on almost every front, from art and architecture to music, literature, fashion, entertainment, transportation, and, most notably, behavior. The epicenter of all this creativity, as well as of the era s good times, was Montparnasse, where impoverished artists and writers found colleagues and cafes, and tourists discovered the Paris of their dreams. Major figures on the Paris scene such as Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, Picasso, Stravinsky, Diaghilev, and Proust continued to hold sway, while others now came to prominence including Ernest Hemingway, Coco Chanel, Cole Porter, and Josephine Baker, as well as Andre Citroen, Le Corbusier, Man Ray, Sylvia Beach, James Joyce, and the irrepressible Kiki of Montparnasse. Paris of the 1920s unquestionably sizzled. Yet rather than being a decade of unmitigated bliss, les Annees folles also saw an undercurrent of despair as well as the rise of ruthless organizations of the extreme right, aimed at annihilating whatever threatened tradition and order a struggle that would escalate in the years ahead.

We’ll welcome When Paris Sizzled author Mary McAuliffe to the Essex Library on Saturday, February 4th at 1:30 p.m. She’ll describe the unique time in Paris when the famously creative and creatively famous were at their peak of activity. If you enjoyed Woody Allen’s Midnight In Paris, you’ll want to hear all the tales from this fabulous time. This event is free and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase & signing.

Friday, January 20th at 7 p.m. at Centerbrook Architects 67 Main St. Centerbrook
ysoastamp

2016 marked the centennial anniversary of the Yale School of Architecture. In recognition of this occasion, Jimmy Stamp, co-author with former YSOA Dean Robert A.M. Stern of the book Pedagogy and Place: 100 Years of Architecture Education at Yale (Yale Press, 2016) will trace the development of the School’s pedagogy alongside a critical overview of the succession of buildings designed to house Yale’s architecture program. Stamp will draw parallels between historic moments in Yale’s history and things that have happened more recently.

Jimmy Stamp is a writer at Robert . M. Stern Architects whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Smithsonian, and the Journal of Architecture Education.

This program is free and open to the public.

robertwyssThursday, January 19, 2017 at 7 p.m.

David Brower (1912–2000) was a central figure in the modern environmental movement. His leadership, vision, and elegant conception of the wilderness forever changed how we approach nature. In many ways, he was a twentieth-century Thoreau. Brower transformed the Sierra Club into a national force that challenged and stopped federally sponsored projects that would have dammed the Grand Canyon and destroyed hundreds of millions of acres of our nation’s wilderness. To admirers, he was tireless, passionate, visionary, and unyielding. To opponents and even some supporters, he was contentious and polarizing.

As a young man growing up in Berkeley, California, Brower proved himself a fearless climber of the Sierra Nevada’s dangerous peaks. After serving in the Tenth Mountain Division during World War II, he became executive director of the Sierra Club. This uncompromising biography explores Brower’s role as steward of the modern environmental movement. His passionate advocacy destroyed lifelong friendships and, at times, threatened his goals. Yet his achievements remain some of the most important triumphs of the conservation movement. What emerges from this unique portrait is a rich and robust profile of a leader who took up the work of John Muir and, along with Rachel Carson, made environmentalism the cause of our time.

Robert Wyss is associate professor of journalism at the University of Connecticut and a journalist who has written for the New York Times, the Christian Science Monitor, the Boston Globe, Smithsonian, Yankee, and the Providence Journal. He is the author of Covering the Environment: How Journalists Work the Green Beat (2007).

This program is free and open to the public.

huckleberry-finn

5 consecutive Tuesday evenings (January 10, 17, 24, 31 and February 7) from 6:30-8 p.m.  
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is the quintessentially American novel. It has also become one of the most controversial works in the American literary canon. Indeed, many, many schools do not assign it any longer. In this seminar with Professor Chuck Timlin, we will do a close reading of the novel over five meetings. We will discuss its many themes, enjoy its humor and biting social criticism, and face head on the problems many Americans have with reading it today.

University of New Haven faculty member and former English teacher at Choate Rosemary Hall, Chuck Timlin, has already brought his excellent teaching skills to the Essex Library community on topics such as Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, American poets and short story writers. Now, back by popular demand, he turns his talents to an examination of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. This program is free and open to the public.

For more information on this and our other programs see our Adults Featured Events page:
http://www.youressexlibrary.org/adult-services/adults-featured-events/

johann_sebastian_bachpub

Wednesday, November 30 at 1 p.m.

Bach has been heralded as ‘the supreme genius of the late Baroque.” Masterpieces have flowed from his pen in almost every musical form of the day. Amongst them is “The Christmas Oratorio,” one of his most popular choral works. It relates the story of the nativity and the events which unfolded during the weeks afterwards. “The Christmas Oratorio” abounds in melodic arias and choruses, all underlined by a rich sounding orchestra featuring high trumpets and tympani. Jeffrey Engel will present excerpts from the oratorio, one of the few great musical works devoted to the Christmas holiday season, and relate why it and all of the master’s orchestral and choral music languished in obscurity for decades after his death.

Jeffrey Engel, adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut in Torrington, is a music historian and orchestral cellist who trained in Paris and Austria before returning to the U.S. to teach. He was selected as one of the 50 most influential people in Litchfield County, Connecticut by Litchfield Magazine in 2010.

poplawskiSaturday, November 5th at 1:30 p.m.
The Essex Library will welcome theoretical physicist Nikodem Poplawski for an illustrated talk on black holes. Black holes are regions of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape because gravity is too strong. They form from the most massive stars or at the centers of galaxies. When the contracting matter in a black hole reaches extremely high densities, the quantum mechanical property of elementary particles called spin turns gravitational attraction into repulsion (torsion). The matter stops collapsing, undergoes a bounce like a compressed spring, and starts rapidly expanding. Extremely strong gravitational forces at the bounce cause an intense particle production, increasing the mass inside a black hole by many orders of magnitude. The region on the other side of the black hole’s event horizon becomes a new, growing universe. Accordingly, our own Universe may be the interior of a black hole existing in another universe, with the Big Bang being replaced by a Big Bounce. Forbes Magazine has called Dr. Poplawski a potential future Einstein for his theory that every black hole is a doorway to another universe, one of the top 10 discoveries of 2010. Dr. Poplawski has appeared on television’s Discovery Channel and Science Channel.

Click here for a a more in-depth explanation of black holes.