Tag Archives: Chautauqua Institution

Return to Chautauqua

19 Jun

On Saturday, I returned, as I do every summer, to the amazing Chautauqua Institution on the banks of Lake Chautauqua in western New York.

Here’s a one minute promotional video:

And here is a video of my friend, Chautauqua Institution archivist, Jon Schmitz:


22 Jun

I am back at the Chautauqua Institution for the duration of the Summer. My big projects this summer is analyzing data from a survey of yoga practitioners and learning how to program a micro-controller for some experiments I want to run.

If you’ve never been to Chautauqua you owe it to yourself to see this remarkable place. Here is a video narrated by my friend, Chautauqua archivist  Jon Schmitz.

Raisin in the Sun at Chautauqua

2 Jul

I would be remiss if I did not mention the amazing production of A Raisin in the Sun at the Bratton Theater of the Chautauqua Institution. It is simply the best production of this important play that I have ever seen.

Chautauqua audiences give standing ovations easily, but I have never heard the audience react like they did after Sunday’s performance. You could feel the wave of appreciation as people cheered the incredible cast. The performance of Lynda Gravatt as Lena deserves special mention for its power and persuasiveness.

I know a number of Chautauquans read this blog and you must get tickets if you haven’t already done so.



Chautauqua’s Little Free Library

20 Jun

Walking down Wythe Avenue at the Chautauqua Institution,  I spotted this:


According to the Little Free Library website:

“What is a Little Free Library? It’s a “take a book, return a book” gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share. You can, too!”

What a great way to promote reading and community! I noticed a copy of Umberto Eco‘s The Name of the Rose, I envy the person who picks it up for the first time.


Here is a video about the project:

Little Free Library Story from Beargrass Media on Vimeo.

Return to Chautauqua

16 Jun

Yesterday, Bella and I arrived back at the Chautauqua Institution where we will spend most of the summer.


Chautauqua is one of the world’s greatest educational institutions with programs for people of all ages and interests.

My big project this summer will be finishing the manuscript for my book on memory improvement. So expect a few posts on writing.


Explaining Chautauqua

11 Jan

Long time readers know that I spend my summers at the Chautauqua Institution, America’s greatest adult education facility. Anyone who has visited knows that it is almost impossible to describe the Institution. Here is a recently released video that does a good job explaining Chautauqua:

Don’t waste your money on expensive, possibly ineffective, brain training software, visit Chautauqua instead.

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My Esperanto project

5 Sep

I have been asked to give a talk next year as part of the Heritage Lecture Series at the Chautauqua Institution about the international language Esperanto.

There is a historic connection between Esperanto and Chautauqua. In 1908 the first Esperanto convention in the United States was held at the Chautauqua Institution.

Esperanto is one of the languages that I study (the other two are Japanese and Sanskrit), while I have some facility in reading Esperanto, I am far from fluent. Now that I am going to give a talk on it, I would like to improve my skills to the point where I am able to give a decent demonstration. I will try to give occasional updates on my progress.

Why would anyone want to learn Esperanto? Benny makes a good case.

Related articles

Tales from my library

1 Sep

Found at Half Priced Books: The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananada in eight volumes:


Swami Vivekananada was an important figure who both revived and modernized Indian philosophy. He also played a major role in bringing the World’s attention to Eastern thought. Here’s a short video from the BBC:

The edition I found was published in Calcutta:


I purchased it for a very reasonable $19.95. However I did note that on the book’s back cover the publisher says that the printing was subsidized to help spread the Swami’s message and should never be sold for than 120 rupees. I checked, and the price I paid was equivalent to 1312.69 rupees.

One story: Methodist bishop John Vincent, one of the co-founders of the Chautauqua Institution, wrote a letter where he notes with great satisfaction that “I have not heard of a single covert made in America by Vivekananada.” Vincent uses this as evidence of the superiority of Christianity. I wonder what Vincent would have made of an America with yoga studios in every city.

Tales from my library

11 Jul

Every used book sale and second hand book shop is an opportunity for discovery.

The Smith Memorial Library at the Chautauqua Institution has an on going book sale in the basement.

chaut library

Hard back books are only a dollar and yesterday I found this:

sam front

It is likely that most people know of the Sheppard case from the TV show or movie the Fugitive. But for Clevelanders the case still has a special resonance. Indeed, the transfer of case records to the Cleveland Marshall Law School [proud father note: my son just graduated from Cleveland Marshall] was headline news in Cleveland.

sam back

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

29 Jun

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers played the Chautauqua Institution last night. They would not let me take any photos so the best I can do is share this youtube video:


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