During these days of Covid, I have discovered a wonderful way to spend an evening: watching webinars. Some are free; others have a nominal charge, but all are designed to inform and keep our brains …
During these days of Covid, I have discovered a wonderful way to spend an evening: watching webinars. Some are free; others have a nominal charge, but all are designed to inform and keep our brains active.
Locally, Time and the Valleys Museum in Grahamsville has many webinars on local history for free on their website. Sullivan County's own John Conway recently gave an interesting talk with slides about the Suffragists in Sullivan County which is available to stream at www.timeandthevalleysmuseum.org/webinars.
Though this wonderful museum is currently closed, they have many treasures online with more to come, so I urge you to check it out.
Before the plague hit, the New York Adventure Club offered specialized tours of New York City's art scene, foodie hangouts, and historical homes and hosted social events.
But they have magically reinvented themselves and are now presenting some fascinating webinars. At $10 a pop, these are an inexpensive way to learn more about the world and investigate some interesting topics.
So far, I've watched webinars about Edith Wharton's Gilded Age in New York City, the history of The Twilight Zone and its relevance to our times, Mary Pickford, the world's first female superstar, and the rise of Art Deco. The nice thing is that if the live webinar doesn't fit into your schedule, it remains online for a week so you can watch it later. The presenters are all knowledgeable and engaging.
I'm a fan of Edith Wharton's “The House of Mirth” so I enjoyed learning all about New York City during the Gilded Age. The presenter threw in fascinating tidbits about the second Madison Square Garden, designed by famed architect Sanford White. On its rooftop, White was shot and killed by Harry K. Thaw, whose wife Evelyn Nesbit had had an affair with White before her marriage. Quite scandalous.
I learned that Mary Pickford was as plucky as they come as she made her way in the early silent film industry to become the most famous screen star in the world. She and her second husband Douglas Fairbanks joined with Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith to form United Artists in Hollywood.
Pickford withdrew in later years, taking to her bed and becoming an alcoholic. She also wanted all her films destroyed after her death, but fellow actress Lillian Gish persuaded her otherwise. Sadly, many of her films did deteriorate and have been lost to us, but some like “Stella Maris” can still be seen on YouTube. She was a true talent.
The webinar on The Twilight Zone was a pip. Serling gave us 156 episodes over five seasons and his writing changed television forever. The host was an authentic Rod Serling specialist and showed many of the clips of those classic TWZ episodes that speak to the strange world we now find ourselves in. “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street” shows how quickly we will turn on each other in a time of trouble. “The Shelter” is about four families who are neighbors and friends enjoying dinner together when an imminent nuclear attack is announced. Only one family has a fallout shelter, so they go into it, leaving their friends behind.
The friends argue over who else deserves to go into the shelter, till the three husbands find a battering ram and knock in the shelter door just as the radio announces that the attack has been stopped. Talk about embarrassing moments. The original Twilight Zone episodes are now available on Netflix.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here