Jefferson in France (Sold Out)
Oct
17
to Oct 26

Jefferson in France (Sold Out)

October 17-26, 2019

Join Clay Jenkinson on a guided tour through Jefferson’s France. After exploring Jefferson’s Paris, we’ll visit Bordeaux, where Jefferson devised a wine classification system that was adopted by the region fifty years later. Enjoy tastings at vineyards with a family memory of Jefferson’s visit in 1787 and a visit to Montaigne’s castle, where the first great essays of modern history were written. Then to Nimes to see the Maison Quarree, what Jefferson called “the most precious morsel of antiguity,” the building that served as the model for the new state capitol in Richmond. We’ll visit Arles for time among Roman antiquities and make a brief stop at Aix-en-Provence, where Jefferson took the mineral waters to ease the pain in his wrist, damaged in a romantic escapade with Maria Cosway in Paris.

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Canal du Midi (Sold Out)
Oct
27
to Nov 2

Canal du Midi (Sold Out)

October 27 - November 2, 2019

Join Clay Jenkinson on a guided tour through Jefferson’s France. After exploring Jefferson’s Paris, we’ll visit Bordeaux, where Jefferson devised a wine classification system that was adopted by the region fifty years later. Enjoy tastings at vineyards with a family memory of Jefferson’s visit in 1787 and a visit to Montaigne’s castle, where the first great essays of modern history were written. Then to Nimes to see the Maison Quarree, what Jefferson called “the most precious morsel of antiguity,” the building that served as the model for the new state capitol in Richmond. We’ll visit Arles for time among Roman antiquities and make a brief stop at Aix-en-Provence, where Jefferson took the mineral waters to ease the pain in his wrist, damaged in a romantic escapade with Maria Cosway in Paris.

Learn more.

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North Dakota and the Great Plains
Dec
4
1:00 PM13:00

North Dakota and the Great Plains

  • BSC National Energy Center of Excellence (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS

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.

More Information

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Winter Retreat: Exploring the Space Program (Sold Out)
Jan
12
to Jan 17

Winter Retreat: Exploring the Space Program (Sold Out)

Winter Retreat: Exploring the Space Program

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.

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Winter Retreat: The Imagination of Charles Dickens (Sold Out)
Jan
18
to Jan 23

Winter Retreat: The Imagination of Charles Dickens (Sold Out)

Winter Retreat: The Imagination of Charles Dickens

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 PapersDavid CopperfieldGreat 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.”

Clay recommends the Norton Critical Editions of Bleak House, David Copperfieldand Great Expectations.

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Clay Jenkinson: Talking Out of Tights with WHRO
Feb
25
1:00 AM01:00

Clay Jenkinson: Talking Out of Tights with WHRO

Tuesday, February 25, 2020, Time TBA

Roper Theater, Norfolk, VA

https://whro.org/events

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.

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Lewis & Clark Trail in Montana & Idaho
Jul
24
to Aug 2

Lewis & Clark Trail in Montana & Idaho

July 24 – August 2, 2020
https://jeffersonhour.com/lct

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.

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Theodore Roosevelt in Retrospect: An American Legacy
Sep
12
12:00 PM12:00

Theodore Roosevelt in Retrospect: An American Legacy

Save the date now for the fourteenth annual Theodore Roosevelt Symposium at Dickinson State University! One hundred years after his remarkable life ended, Theodore Roosevelt continues to influence our life as a nation and as individuals. Plan to visit his second home in the Dakota Badlands and join in this public humanities event, reflecting on his legacy.

More information to be announced.

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An Evening with Edward S. Curtis
Apr
10
7:30 PM19:30

An Evening with Edward S. Curtis

The Bainbridge Island Historical Museum is excited to invite you to their spring fundraiser, An Evening with Edward S. Curtis. Clay Jenkinson, will lecture on Edward Sheriff Curtis (February 16, 1868 – October 19, 1952) the American photographer and ethnologist from Washington State whose work focused on the American West and Native American peoples. He will discuss Curtis’s life and work, slipping into character of Curtis now and then, including his work with JP Morgan, his many visits to the heart of Indian America, his relationship with Theodore Roosevelt, and the compilation of Curtis‘ 20 volumes of his book North American Indian. Clay will also talk about some of the more controversial issues around Curtis' work: cultural appropriation, his treatment of his wife and family, the ways in which he cajoled Native Americans into showing him sacred objects or dressing in a sacred way, and divulging cultural secrets.

Tickets

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Shakespeare: The Magic of the Word
Mar
27
7:30 PM19:30

Shakespeare: The Magic of the Word

Wednesday March 27, 7:30 p.m
First Flight High School, Kill Devil Hills

Tickets

Learn more about the Magic of the Word.

This 90-minute performance features recitation of great moments in Shakespeare, commentary, biographical details, discussions of the great Shakespeare themes, and a practical guide to overcoming “Shakespeare intimidation.” Witty, probing, and funny, Clay provides an evening of insight and laughter in his one-man program, an unforgettable tribute to the life and work of the greatest writer in the English language.

Reading Hamlet for the first time as a freshman in college changed the whole trajectory of my life. During my time at Oxford I saw 34 of the 37 Shakespeare plays, including Hamlet nine times. Although I somehow slipped through the back door and became an amateur historian, my great love has always been Elizabethan and Jacobean literature. This program gives me the opportunity to explore Shakespeare’s genius at the prime of my life as a public humanities scholar.

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Sir Walter Raleigh
Mar
26
7:30 PM19:30

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh
Tuesday March 26, 7:30 p.m.
Sound Stage at the Lost Colony, Manteo

Tickets

Raleigh (1554-1618) was only one of my characters who was beheaded! He was the very definition of a “Renaissance man.” He was a dashing soldier, an Elizabethan privateer, a colonizer of Virginia, a friend of Sir Philip Sidney and the patron of Edmund Spenser, one of Queen Elizabeth’s four principal courtiers, a writer of admirable poetry and prose, an explorer of South America, and one of the most important state prisoners in the history of England.

My Raleigh speaks from the Tower of London, where he was imprisoned from 1603-1616 for treason by King James I. It’s difficult to discern just what his crimes were from our perspective, but he was a great favorite of Queen Elizabeth and he made it clear when she died on March 24, 1603, that he would prefer the thrown not be cast away on a Scotsman who was the son of the late Mary Queen of Scotts.

Raleigh was the mastermind of England’s intended colonization at Roanoke in today’s North Carolina. He gave the name of his new world discoveries “Virginia” after his patron, the Virgin Queen. In 1595 he attempted to find El Dorado, the fabled city of gold somewhere along the Orinoco River in South America. He found no gold, but the account he wrote of his adventure, The Discovery of Guiana (1596) was a classic of exploration literature.

Raleigh is a larger-than-life figure around whom much legendary material has accumulated. He may—or may not—have thrown down his cloak (the most expensive thing he owned) to enable Queen Elizabeth to walk safely over a puddle. He probably was not doused with a bucket of water when his servant failed to realize that the smoke coming out of his mouth was from tobacco not a clothing fire. He may or may not have scratched love verses to Elizabeth on a windowpane at Windsor Castle.

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Meriwether Lewis
Mar
25
7:30 PM19:30

Meriwether Lewis

Clay Jenkinson as Meriwether Lewis
Monday March 25, 7:30 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn, Kitty Hawk

Tickets

Lewis was my first Chautauqua character. He’s fascinating on so many fronts. When he was keeping his journal, he was easily the most interesting writer of the expedition, by magnitudes. He regarded himself as the Enlightenment’s personal emissary in the American West. His relationship with Clark is complex, nuanced, and ultimately tragic. His attitude towards American Indians is essential for any understanding of that vexed subject in American history. Sometimes I fantasize about having been a member of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, to have seen Montana in 1804 when hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of bison grazed the plains in a tense equilibrium with elk, grizzly bears, coyotes, wolves, pronghorn antelope, and prairie dogs. (Of course, I would almost certainly have been a copy clerk back in Philadelphia, and probably could not have held up for more than a few days given the physical demands of the journey). Lewis had a rich, somewhat odd, sense of humor, which I try to explore in my dramatic interpretations.

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Shakespeare in the Wilderness: Winter 2018 Humanities Retreat
Jan
17
to Jan 22

Shakespeare in the Wilderness: Winter 2018 Humanities Retreat

January 17-22 • Lochsa Lodge, ID

Some of the best writing in the English language comes from the pen of poet, playwright, and actor William Shakespeare. Many people feel intimidated by Shakespeare, perhaps because of their high school encounters with Julius Caesar or Romeo and Juliet. Clay’s approach is to demystify Shakespeare, to teach participants how to read Shakespeare with joy, confidence, and discernment. Although Clay is often regarded as a historian, his actual training, at the University of Minnesota and Oxford, was in English Literature, the Renaissance, Shakespeare, John Donne, and John Milton. All of his degrees are in English. With the help of the best film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, Clay will guide us through two plays per day, plus some sonnets, and related poetry by his personal favorite John Donne. You will be amazed by the level of joy, laughter, and unpretentious literary satisfaction you experience in this humanities retreat. Clay has taught Shakespeare at Pomona College, the law school of the University of North Dakota, the University of Vermont, and Bismarck State College.

Learn more and view the full itinerary.

This retreat is hosted by Odyssey Tours with Clay Jenkinson.
Odyssey Tours is a division of Bek, Inc.

Becky Cawley • telephone: (208) 791-8721 • bek@odytours.net

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To Live Deliberately: Winter 2018 Humanities Retreat
Jan
10
to Jan 15

To Live Deliberately: Winter 2018 Humanities Retreat

January 10-15 • Lochsa Lodge, ID

The purpose of these retreats is to explore Henry David Thoreau’s great challenge that the purpose of life is “to live deliberately.” We learn together the art of true conversation about books, ideas, books, history, current events, and the wayward progress of the American experiment. You do not have to be a scholar to participate. These are not academic discussions, much less lectures. Clay’s purpose is to provide a playful, safe, relaxed, and congenial atmosphere at one of the most beautiful resorts in the Rocky Mountain West for several days of satisfactions, including conversation.

Learn more and view the full itinerary.

This retreat is hosted by Odyssey Tours with Clay Jenkinson.
Odyssey Tours is a division of Bek, Inc.

Becky Cawley • telephone: (208) 791-8721 • bek@odytours.net

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Clay Jenkinson’s Shakespeare the Magic of the Word
Sep
22
8:00 PM20:00

Clay Jenkinson’s Shakespeare the Magic of the Word

Tidewater Community College
Roper Performing Arts Center
Norfolk, VA
Friday, September 22 at 8 PM

In this world premiere of "Clay Jenkinson's Shakespeare the Magic of the Word," Clay kicks off a nationwide tour to celebrate the magical web of words and meaning in the Bard's plays and sonnets.

Find more information and purchase tickets here.

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Theodore Roosevelt Center Symposium: The Naturalist in the Arena
Sep
14
to Sep 16

Theodore Roosevelt Center Symposium: The Naturalist in the Arena

  • Dickinson State College (map)
  • Google Calendar ICS
When seven-year-old "Teedie" Roosevelt came upon a dead seal in front of a New York City shop, he measured it, gazed on it in wonder, and eventually obtained the skull for what would become the Roosevelt Museum of Natural History. His scientific curiosity, boyish enthusiasm, and love of the outdoors persisted through his hectic life as a public servant.

Visit www.theodorerooseveltcenter.org for more information.

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