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Sam Tanenhaus

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Michael Pressman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, December 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Essex Library

The Emmy Award-winning documentary, Best of Enemies, recounts the legendary debates between conservative William F. Buckley, Jr. and liberal Gore Vidal held in 1968 by ABC Television as part of their coverage of the national Democratic and Republican conventions. The film captures the dramatic context of American politics and culture that year and shows how the rancorous sparring in the debates inaugurated a revolution in television programming that not only survives but thrives today. Following the screening, Sam Tanenhaus, who appears as a commentator in the film, and Michael Pressman will discuss the Buckley-Vidal debates in the context of the ’68 election and the political issues of the day, how it was covered by the media, how the tenor of the debates and ratings for ABC affected future television coverage and gave rise to a Point/Counterpoint-style of television programming, and how the debate degenerated into the infamous name-calling.

Sam Tanenhaus, the author of bestsellers “The Death of Conservatism” and “Whittaker Chambers,” is working on a biography of William F. Buckley Jr. He was editor of the New York Times Book Review from 2004 to 2013.

Michael Pressman spent more than 30 years as a national broadcast journalist for both ABC News and NBC News, on programs that included: ABC News 20/20, Dateline NBC, the Brokaw Report, and the Today show. Mostly working in “long-form”—news magazines and documentaries—as a producer, director, and writer, he is the recipient of the Overseas Press Club’s Edward R. Murrow Award, Emmy, and Cine Golden Eagle awards.

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The Sailor's Adieu-1

Currier and Ives print from c.1847, courtesy of the Library of Congress.

At the Essex Library, Tuesday, September 26th, at 7 p.m. This program is FREE and open to the public.
During the nineteenth century, when Yankee whale oil lit the world, men from more than thirty New England communities sailed the seven seas in the pursuit of whales, leaving their families behind for up to five years at a time. Meanwhile, new philosophies encouraging companionate marriages became popular in New England society. The combination of these historical phenomena meant men and women in nineteenth century New England whaling communities faced the daunting prospect of spending most of their married lives apart. That is until the 1840s, when a small group of married couples defied social and industrial tradition by going to sea together aboard whaleships. This illustrated lecture will focus on one of these remarkable couples— Captain John and Elizabeth Marble of Fall River, Massachusetts— using the letters and journals they left behind to tell a story of love, life, and loss at sea.

Amanda Goodheart Parks has been studying gender and marriage in the New England whaling industry for more than a decade. With undergraduate and graduate degrees in history and an extensive career in museum education, Parks is currently pursuing her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst while serving as the Director of Education at the New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, CT.

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Friday, September 22nd at 7 p.m. in The Cube at Centerbrook Architects
We’re honored to welcome Rhode Island School of Design Professor Jim Barnes as he kicks off the 10th year of our Centerbrook Architects Lecture Series.

Our experience of historic houses is most often framed by exterior appearances. We come to identify and understand historic time periods and changing styles of architecture through building forms, rooflines, materials, and even paint colors. These are the elements of a public realm accessible to all. Exterior patterns can build whole neighborhoods and clearly reflect our culture’s constantly shifting shared values.

We know less well interior spatial patterns, the private domestic realm hidden from view. Yet we know the power of interior spatial arrangement to convey cultural values. Room placement, stairway arrangements and fireplaces are among the many tools that architects and builders use to shape and express domestic life. This illustrated talk will address the changing styles of historic houses in an historic Providence neighborhood by comparing the shifting patterns of exterior forms and interior floor plans from the mid-19th century to the beginning of the 20th century.

Jim Barnes is an Architect and Professor of Architecture at RISD. He lives with his wife Victoria in a Queen Anne period home in the Elmwood Historic District of Providence.

This program is free and open to the public. Centerbrook Architects is located at 67 Main St. in Centerbrook.

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David Handler will appear for an author talk for the first time at the Essex Library on  Saturday, September 16th at 4 p.m.!

We are honored to host Edgar and American Mystery Award-winning author David Handler, who will discuss his latest book, The Girl With Kaleidoscope Eyes. The novel was published recently by William Morrow, a division of HarperCollins Publishers. The book is a madcap mystery about an eccentric family of influential artists, and how Hollywood’s obsession with the spotlight can sometimes turn deadly—full of delicious LA folklore and 90s nostalgia. This is the ninth entry in the Hoagy and Lulu mystery series that Harlan Coben calls “One of my all-time favorite series! …David Handler is so good at writing one smart, funny page-turner after another that he makes it look easy.” Handler has also written eleven novels in the bestselling Berger & Mitry series. He lives in a 230-year-old carriage house in Old Lyme, Connecticut.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at the event with thanks to R. J. Julia for their help.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.