Mike Urban author pic

Mike Urban

Thursday, August 10 at 7 p.m.
Ask any seafood lover and they’ll tell you that there is nothing like New England fish and shellfish, especially the lobsters. Moreover, the seafood from New England makes up the basis for one of the region’s authentic cuisines. Think of chowder, lobster rolls, and fried clams. Still need to get your summer seafood fix? Join us to hear local author Mike Urban talk about the best clam shacks and lobster shacks on New England’s coast from Connecticut to the Canadian border. His illustrated talk will be followed by a book signing. Copies of his books will be available for purchase at the event. This event is free and open to the public.

Mike Urban is an award-winning food and travel writer and a regular contributor to Yankee Magazine. He is the author of four books: Lobster Shacks, Clam Shacks, The New England Seafood Markets Cookbook, and The New England Diner Cookbook. He lives in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. He and his wife have four grown children.

Lobster Shacks cover copy

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Wednesday, May 3rd at 7 p.m.
Connecticut Master Wildlife Conservationist Paul Colburn returns to the Essex Library to offer a presentation on “The Bobcat: Connecticut’s Secretive Wild Cat.” Paul Colburn brings the elusive bobcat out of the shadows. This presentation focuses on the natural history of bobcats in Connecticut, providing an overview of bobcat habitat, diet, behavior, reproduction, and current research efforts.  The topic of mountain lions is also addressed, and bobcat artifacts will be on display.

This program is free and open to all. Please call the Library to register.

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.

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

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.

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Co-Sponsored by the Essex Land Trust

Wednesday, October 26th at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects, 67 Main St., Centerbrook

We’re honored to both partner with the Essex Land trust and welcome author Richard Conniff whose latest book is The House Of lost Worlds: Dinosaurs, Dynasties, and The Story of Life on Earth, (Yale, 2016). Conniff is a National Magazine Award-winning writer for Smithsonian, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and other publications, and a past Guggenheim Fellow. His other books include: The Species Seekers; Swimming with Piranhas at Feeding Time; The Natural History of the Rich; and The Ape in the Corner Office. He has been a frequent commentator on NPR’s Marketplace, and is a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times. He has written and presented television shows for the National Geographic Channel, TBS, and the BBC, among others.

Among the many comments praising House Of Lost Worlds: “What a rich history this book tells, and with such enthusiasm, humor, and attention to the oddest details! Richard Conniff makes you want to dive into the collections that have been accumulating for 150 years at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, gathered with loving scholarly attention, transforming our knowledge of the natural world and the human race.”-Frans de Waal, author of Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?

Copies of The House of Lost Worlds will be available for purchase and signing. Coincidentally, October 26 is the 150th anniversary of the Peabody Museum. There will be a small celebration with refreshments.

For a preview of Wednesday’s fun, here’s a link to an episode of Colin McEnroe’s Science Hour on WNPR with Richard Conniff talking about the history of paleontology: http://wnpr.org/post/live-tape-peabody-0