Bismarck State College, Bismarck, ND
Wednesday, December 4, 2019, 1 pm
Clay Jenkinson is writing a new book of essays about North Dakota and the Great Plains. The book is about many things: spirit of place, roadside attractions, the Geographic Center of North America, the future of North Dakota, and—perhaps most important to Clay—the Problem of Identity in North Dakota. Clay has been traveling all over the plains doing field research for the book. Clay would like to use this opportunity to try out some of his ideas on OLLI members.
January 12-17, 2020
The moon landing in July 1969 was one of the handful of greatest moments in the history of human civilization. And it was just the beginning.
The literature of the US, Soviet, and now Chinese space programs (1957-2019) is outstanding. Clay is most interested in the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo space programs, beginning with Alan Shepard’s 15-minute sub-orbital mission in May 1961, through Apollo 11, to the last moon landing in December 1972 (Apollo 17). We’ll pay particular attention to the breathtaking Apollo 8 mission (December 1968, culminating in the reading of the first eight verses of Genesis from lunar orbit), without neglecting humankind’s first step on the moon or Apollo 13’s heroics in April 1970. We’ll spend some time talking about Skylab, the Shuttle, the International Space Station, Mars landings, and probes to the edges of the solar system—and beyond.
We’ll read Tom Wolfe’s The Right Stuff (and analyze the film); Norman Mailer’s Of a Fire on the Moon, Craig Nelson’s Rocket Men: The Epic Story of the First Men on the Moon, Jeffrey Kluger’s Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon; and Robert Poole’s Earthrise: How Man First Saw the Earth. A list of films to watch and additional reading will be available to those who register.
We’ll fire off a few multi-stage rockets and celebrate around the outdoor fire pit with Clay’s trademarked Tang Space Punch.
January 18-23, 2020
There may be better novelists in the English language, but there is no greater writer than Charles Dickens (1812-1870). Forget the plots. Dickens’ capacity to explore the gritty underworld of mid-nineteenth century London, his comic genius, his indictments of the British legal system, his sympathy for those exploited or left behind by the industrial revolution, and the sheer exuberance of his use of the English language, make him unique among all writers. His great characters—Pickwick, Uriah Heep, Mr. Micawber, Jaggers, Miss Havisham, Mrs. Jellyby, &c.—have risen out of the pages of his books to become permanent residents in the human imagination.
We’ll read just four of his fifteen novels: The Pickwick Papers, David Copperfield, Great Expectations, and Bleak House. Each of them is magnificent in its own way. The retreat will include a special Dickens feast: potato and leek soup, roast turkey, British Christmas pudding, mince pie with clotted cream, and several types of punch.
Clay writes: “There is, for me, no greater joy than spending an evening in the reading Zone with Dickens. There is something uncanny, brilliantly whimsical, tragicomic, and deeply life affirming in Dickens’ prose. I cannot wait to explore his genius with old friends and new at Lochsa Lodge.”
February 8-16, 2020
Our Cuban-American History Tour covers more than 500 miles and 500 years of history. With historian Clay Jenkinson and a select group of English-speaking Cuban guides, you will experience first-hand the history and culture of this incredible island.
Tuesday, February 25, 2020, Time TBA
Roper Theater, Norfolk, VA
An evening of humor and storytelling by humanities scholar Clay Jenkinson of the Thomas Jefferson Hour. In this fundraising performance in support of WHRO, Jenkinson reflects on the comedic side of a life performing as Thomas Jefferson – the surprising encounters, the wigs, the arrests (!) – all for the love of the humanities.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, Time TBA
Bainbridge Island Historical Society
Bainbridge Island, WA
Details to follow
July 24 – August 2, 2020
Join Jefferson scholar and author Clay Jenkinson in exploring the less-traveled reaches of the Lewis & Clark Trail in Montana and Idaho. On this exclusive adventure, we hike, canoe, swim, sing, tell stories, explore historic sites, gaze at the stars, sit around bonfires, and learn about the most important exploration party in American history.