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June/July 2016 
Summer Courses Start June 7

Bring some OLLI to your summer! Classes start next week, and we still have room in the following courses:

You can register online or by phone at 510.642.9934. Phone hours: 9:00 - 5:00, Monday through Friday.

Mark Your Calendars: Fall 2016 Dates

Registration for Fall courses is currently scheduled to open July 11.

Info Sessions will take place Tuesday, September 6 in Berkeley and Thursday, September 8 in Lafayette.

The term starts September 26 and runs through November 4.

Faculty Profile: Kayleen Asbo

by Jennifer Monahan, OLLI Staff

Kayleen Asbo Kayleen Asbo, Ph.D., teaches at the San Francisco Conservatory and for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes at UC Berkeley and Dominican University, and she is the Artistic Director for Mythica, an educational organization that conducts international pilgrimages. She holds a Ph.D. in mythology as well as Master's degrees in music, psychology, and mythology; all of her courses reflect this cross-disciplinary background. Her previous courses for OLLI @Berkeley have included studies of Dante Through Art and Music, The Myths of Mary Magdalene, and Great Muses; her upcoming Fall 2016 course, "Last Quartets," will examine the influence of Beethoven and other sources on T. S. Eliot's poetic masterpiece, The Four Quartets.
You have degrees in quite a number of fields. What discipline did you start with, and how did it lead you to the others?
My first focus was music. I was a child pianist: I started soloing with orchestras at the age of 12, and wanted to be a concert pianist. But I had a serious accident at age 18 and was told I would never play again. So I turned to my other loves, English literature and psychology. I studied those at Smith College and Mills College, along with a minor in women's studies.
I was on track towards a career in developmental psychology when -- at the Mendocino Music Festival, of all places -- I had a moment of realization that I absolutely needed to bring music back into my life. So I bought an upright piano, even though I hadn't touched a keyboard in years, and dove back into it. I enrolled at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying piano and harpsichord and earning a master's degree. By now, I have been teaching there 18 years: I teach graduate music students how to teach, since there's such a difference between performance and teaching and performers rarely have the psychological acumen or skills to be an effective teacher.
I also continued to pursue my other interests, and collected a few other degrees along the way. I have an M.A. in psychology with an emphasis on expressive arts therapies, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in mythology and I have done a great deal of study in art history and comparative religion.  My greatest passion is weaving together all of these fields. I believe classes are more interesting when the disciplines are combined. Art, music, history, psychology and mythology are all essential components of every class I offer.
Could you tell us more about how poetry and music intersect in your upcoming course on T.S. Eliot's Four Quartets?
I first encountered T.S. Eliot when I was 16, and he quite literally saved my life. I loved the Four Quartets for a decade before I discovered  that my favorite passages were based on the writings of Julian of Norwich and John of the Cross... then I  loved it for another decade before learning about the specific connection to Beethoven's  A minor Quartet, Op.132. Eliot  wrote that he was trying to do with words what Beethoven had done with music, and it shimmers and echoes in a new way when read through this lens, adding so many multiple layers of new meaning to the poems.
You also lead pilgrimages, which is an unusual thing to do in this day and age. What is the role of pilgrimages in the 21st century? What is different about contemplating one's beliefs in situ as opposed to contemplating them in a church, temple, or home?
Some things you can only learn by going to a specific place. When I was doing research for my dissertation on Mary Magdalene, I read hundreds of books and articles, but that was entirely different from what I learned when I climbed to the grotto  at La Baume [the site in France where, according to legend, Mary Magdalene spent 30 years as a hermit] and interviewed the Monsignor at the abbey where some of her relics are stored.
In addition, there are places in the world that have the ability to open you up in new ways, and help you see yourself differently. Blending contemplative practices such as  meditation and music with being on site can be particularly powerful.
Pilgrimages speak to people no matter what their religion. Every religion in the world shares this idea of traveling to a source of spiritual power and history to touch the transcendent. In our time, people who don't identify with any organized religion whatsoever are still moved and find meaning by, say, walking the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage route. A pilgrimage is an outer journey that's also the mirror of your inner journey, and it's done in the company of your fellow seekers -- a rare, precious and unforgettable experience.
What do you like best about working with OLLI students?
I love the depth of their intellectual inquiry and the breadth of their experience. In every class I have taught, there are people who have read more than I have. For instance, in the course I taught on Dante last winter, there were people who had written dissertations on the Divine Comedy. One had even illustrated the Inferno and created a videotape with music. I loved being able to share our mutual passions- and I learned from them as well The depth of knowledge in this particular lifelong learning community is a sheer delight.
Volunteer Profile: Rani Cochran

by Gale Lederer, OLLI volunteer

Rani Cochran At her son's suggestion, OLLI volunteer Rani Cochran moved to Berkeley eight years  ago. "It's the best thing that could have happened to me," she tells us. "There is so much here  that interests me. I wake up each day with such a sense of gratitude."

Rani grew up in a home that valued culture and learning. She began working at age ten as a classical guitarist and by age twelve was teaching the instrument. She has also taught guitar at San Francisco State, lived for two years in Paris managing a publishing group for Apple, and run a group of engineers, illustrators, and manufacturers for Sun Microsystems -- a job which enabled her to travel to Thailand and China. "But when Sun downsized six years ago it was actually a blessing," she explains. "I retired and could do all the things I had never had time to do."

As well as serving OLLI as class assistant, Rani volunteers as a writing coach at
Berkeley High, tutors refugees through Jewish Family and Community Services, and serves on the board of her synagogue. She also loves to do music and art and lives in a cottage with a detached art studio -- which her grandchildren call "Grandma's playhouse."

Rani heard about OLLI through a fellow writing coach. "There's something about OLLI that gets to the joy of pure learning," she says. "There are no tests or papers -- just learning." Rani's first OLLI class was Lauren Carley's "Joy of Singing." She presently sings with Lauren's community workshops and even accompanied Lauren and a group of twenty-five fellow singers to Venice. She often takes four OLLI classes a session. Some of her recent favorites include Dan Kammen's course on climate change, Tamim Ansary's "Ripple Effects," Peter Ralston's "How Your Brain Works," and Marshall Krause's classes on the Supreme Court. "I may be retired, but I keep busy," she told me as she left our interview. "I have four more meetings today!" The OLLI community is certainly grateful for our share of Rani's energy and enthusiasm.

Travel Study: New Programs!

Cuba with Cal Discoveries and Alex Saragoza
square in cuba See Cuba before it changes! Cal Discoveries, which has organized several OLLI trips in the past, is offering a tour of Cuba from November 10 - 18. Alex Saragoza, former director of the Center for Latin American Studies at UC Berkeley, will be guest lecturer on the tour. This is not an OLLI-sponsored tour, but Cal Discoveries is saving some seats for OLLI members in light of Professor Saragoza's upcoming class on Cuba this Fall.  Find out more from Cal Discoveries or download a trip brochure .

New Partnership with OLLI at University of Alaska Fairbanks
denali The OLLI at University of Alaska Fairbanks has an extensive travel program that they are now opening up to other OLLIs.  They offer trips in Alaska in partnership with the National Park Service; 2016 trips include a photography expedition in Denali and canoe trips on the Yukon and Noatak rivers.  Their international travel programs for 2016 - 2017 include trips to Ireland, Bali, and Cuba. View their online descriptions to learn more, or contact them at summer@alaska.edu  or  866-404-7021

Travel Study: Portrait of Italy

Our Spring 2016 trip, in collaboration with Cal Discoveries, was an extended tour of Italy with OLLI instructor Beverly Allen. Here is the group at the Roman Forum (top) and the Vatican (bottom).
OOLI Group Forum

OLLI group at Vatican

Community Events

Bay Area Book Festival
June 4 and 5, 2016 in downtown Berkeley
Dozens of authors and thousands of books in downtown Berkeley? What's not to like? Keep an eye out for OLLI's booth at the intersection of Shattuck and Center.

Earth Island Institute Event Honoring Barbara Boxer
Join Senator Barbara Boxer and Earth Island Institute's  International Marine Mammal Project  team for a free event at the  David Brower Center , downtown Berkeley, on  Saturday June 18  at 7:00 p.m.   
More information and ticket reservations at  barbara-boxer.eventbrite.com
Questions: email Mary Jo Rice at  mjrice@earthisland.org

Research Opportunity

Researchers at UC Berkeley are seeking volunteers to take part in a new research project to encourage walking and enhance brain health among older adults. WordWalk is an entertaining game, played in three-person teams on a computer tablet, which combines walking and word construction. Computer tablets, as well as instruction in their use, are provided for playing of this game. 

The games are played at the North Berkeley Senior Center on Mondays and Fridays. To be eligible, you must be 65 or older without any limitation that would prevent walking about 1/2 mile at a leisurely pace. People with walkers or other walking aids are welcome to participate in the games. 

Please contact Dr. William Satariano in the School of Public Health, UC Berkeley at 510-642-6641 or bills@berkeley.edu for more detailed information. 

While participation is completely voluntary, up to $40 worth of Trader Joe's gift cards are provided as a small token of appreciation.  

Lunch Bunch

1890 Shattuck Avenue at Hearst 

Now that most of the UC Berkeley students have left town, you might be able to grab a table at this new, instantly popular place not too far from the OLLI classrooms. The menu features large healthy salads that are a little pricey, but generous and delicious. You order at the counter and can choose one of their selected salads, or compose your own. There is sometimes a line out the door at peak times, so be forewarned. Also, inside it's pretty noisy, so opt for an outside seat, or get takeout. 

Lucille Poskanzer
May 2016