LAIH Spring 2023 Luncheon Season (at USC’s Doheny Memorial Library Rm 241, unless otherwise noted)

September 9, 2022: LAIH Kick-Off “A Reading with Fellows of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at USC” featuring LAIH Fellows Dana Johnson, Cody Sisco, Peter J. Harris, Shonda Buchanan, Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, Lynne Thompson, Timothy Steele, and Josh Kun at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center 681 Venice Boulevard, Venice, CA. LAIH-hosted reception at 7PM (outdoors on the patio). Readings begin at 8PM (inside the theater; masks are required). RSVP and details in the link below. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and there will be book sales!

September 23, 2022: Producer Dale Franzen to discuss her Tony-Award winning musical, Hadestown via Zoom. Dale Franzen is a Tony Award winning Producer as well as the Founding Director and Creator of The Broad Stage in Santa Monica, California. She spent over twenty years performing as a lyric soprano. Her most recent project is the hugely successful, Tony and Grammy Award winning Broadway musical Hadestown. She resides in Los Angeles and works on new projects as a Producer, Consultant, and Mentor. She is especially passionate about bringing more women and underrepresented voices into producing and leadership roles in the arts industry.

October 7, 2022: Authors Jack Miles and Mark Taylor to discuss their collaborative book, A Friendship in Twilight: Lockdown Conversations on Death and Life via Zoom. In a time of pandemic, climate change, and political violence, fundamental questions become immediate and personal. Jack Miles and Mark C. Taylor—scholars of religion, one a Christian and the other an atheist, close friends for fifty years—have spent their lives grappling with questions of ultimate concern. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, locked down at home and facing an uncertain future, Miles and Taylor embarked on an extended conversation about living and dying in an imperiled world that became a book, A Friendship in Twilight. Confronting the vulnerability of their aging bodies and the frailty of American democracy, the two friends discuss why and how philosophical reflection matters for a wounded world.

October 21, 2022: Fellows-only, in-person field trip at The Huntington Library and Gardens. Artist Enrique Martinez Celaya hosts a tour of Borderlands, a collaboration with Sandy Rodriguez that reimagines American art history thematically, including more than 70 works— paintings, sculpture, decorative objects, and videos—from the Huntington’s own collection by artists such as Mary Cassatt, Thomas Eakins, and Winslow Homer, as well as contemporary works by Martinez Celaya and Rodriguez.

October 28, 2022: Pre-Election Town Hall with USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center chair Marty Kaplan; via Zoom. An LAIH tradition, Marty Kaplan’s wide-ranging overview is always an enlightening romp through the electoral quagmires and political mazes of the moment.
This luncheon is generously sponsored by Albert Litewka, Chairman of the Board for the Los
Angeles Review of Books.

November 11, 2022 –Shonda Buchanan discusses her COLA-winning poetry project, Artificial Earth, Circa Los Angeles, 1771-1848: Poems via Zoom. Honoring Los Angeles’ original mixed-race founders, Buchanan’s poems bring their stories to life. Yet, she also insists, until all the documents and oral histories are unearthed, the true story of Los Angeles and its inhabitants, and perhaps America itself, will remain untold.

December 9, 2022: Curator Ed Schad provides a lecture and tour of the William Kentridge: In Praise of Shadows exhibition; a Fellows-only, in-person field trip (lunch on your own). William Kentridge’s first show at The Broad, and his first major exhibition in Los Angeles in two decades, will feature more than 130 works. Surveying 35 years of the celebrated South African artist’s career, this landmark exhibition includes all 18 works from the Broad collection with substantial loans from across the United States and South Africa. Curated by Ed, the exhibition is organized both thematically and chronologically throughout the museum’s first-floor galleries. A highlight of the exhibition is The Broad collection’s 30-minute five-channel video and multimedia installation The Refusal of Time (2012).
This luncheon is generously sponsored by Leo and Dorothy Braudy.

January 6, 2023: LAIH Fellow Mary Miller, Director of the Getty Research Institute, invites us to The Getty for a Fellows-only visit to the museum for a private luncheon and an exploration of the history, authentication, and modern relevance of Códice Maya de México. After fifty years of debate over its authenticity, recent investigations using cutting-edge scientific and art historical analyses determined that Códice Maya de México (formerly known as Grolier Codex) is in fact the oldest surviving book of the Americas, predating all others by at least two hundred years.

January 13, 2023: Interdisciplinary historian Xochitl Flores-Marcial will explore why 13,000 years of Zapotec ingenuity continues to hold the key to our collective future. Dr. Flores-Marcial studies Indigenous Intellectual and cultural history, focusing on the Zapotec society of Oaxaca, Mexico. Her book project, A History of Guelaguetza in Zapotec Communities of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, traces the evolution of Guelaguetza as a Mesoamerican social network of collaboration and exchange from the pre-Columbian period to the present.

January 27, 2023: Linda Villarosa discusses her new book, Under the Skin. An award-winning writer at the New York Times Magazine and a contributor to the 1619 Project tells the full story of racial health disparities in America, and reveals the toll racism takes on individuals as well as the health of our nation. (This presentation will be via Zoom.)

February 10, 2023: Indre Viskontas, Lithuanian-Canadian neuroscientist, operatic soprano, and co-creator and host of the popular science podcast Inquiring Minds, showcases operas that illustrate the richness of the human experience, and offer insights into the neuroscience of creativity.

February 24, 2023: In a follow-up to his Pulitzer Prize-nominated Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America (2018), Steven Ross, USC Dean’s Professor of History and Marion and Myron Casden Director of the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life, discusses his work-in-progress, The Secret War Against Hate: American Resistance to White Supremacy After 1945.
This luncheon is generously sponsored by The Norman Lear Center.

March 10, 2023: A Fellows-only, in-person field trip to KAOS in Leimert Park. Taj Fraizer, professor of communication in USC Annenberg, and Ben Caldwell, arts educator and independent filmmaker, discuss their forthcoming book, KAOS Theory: The Afrokosmic Ark of Ben Caldwell (Angel City Press, Fall 2023). The book combines narrative history with multimedia and archival materials to explore the community-engaged media and art practices of filmmaker Ben Caldwell and the L.A.-based media-arts lab he established in 1984, KAOS Network.
This luncheon is generously sponsored by Jonathan Aronson and Joan Abrahamson.

March 24, 2023 – Will Alexander discusses his poetry collection, Refractive Africa: A Ballet of the Forgotten, three long poems by a poet who “transfigures ‘thought’ into a weave of lexical magic” (Philip Lamantia). Refractive Africa was a 2022 poetry finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and winner of the California Book Award.

April 14, 2023: DML 241: Elizabeth Ai discusses her in-process documentary on the Vietnamese new wave/new romantic scene in Southern California. Ai is a Chinese-Vietnamese-American Emmy award winning producer. Among her films are Dirty Hands: The Art & Crimes of David Choe (2008), Saigon Electric (2011), and A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem (2019).

April 28, 2023: Field Trip to Schindler House in commemoration of the first century of the landmark modern house in Los Angeles by Austrian-American architect R.M. Schindler. Designed and built by 1922, the house began its life as a radical proposal for a modern collective dwelling—a campsite enclosed by concrete, glass, canvas, and redwood. Originally constructed for Schindler, his wife Pauline, and their friends Clyde and Marian Chace, the Schindler House has existed in a constant state of flux since its initial creation— painted, carpeted, curtained, dismantled, reconstructed, excavated, and reimagined by its inhabitants and admirers.
This luncheon is generously sponsored by Jack Miles.