P.O. Box 300782,
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Our Speakers

Louis Masur
Louis Masur

"The Rivalry that Shaped America:
Hamilton vs Jefferson"
October 11, 2023

Hamilton is experiencing a well-deserved revival. Often forced to take a back seat to the other Founding Fathers, his vision of America as an economic powerhouse with energetic government as its engine has found many followers. Jefferson articulated a different vision from Hamilton's promoting an agrarian democracy built upon geographic expansion-an empire of liberty. Ironically, it would be Hamilton who helped assure Jefferson's triumph over Aaron Burr. Louis Masur has been a popular lecturer for Town Hall patrons in the past so enjoy as he shares Hamilton vs Jefferson: The Rivalry that Shaped America.

Louis Masur is a Distinguished Professor of American Studies and History at Rutgers University. A graduate of the University at Buffalo and Princeton University, he is a cultural historian who has written on a variety of topics. Masur's essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times. He has also written for the American Scholar, Salon, and Slate. He has been elected to membership of the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society and the Society of American Historians.

Tina Rivers Ryan
Tina Rivers Ryan

"Four Paintings Every
Art Lover Should See"
November 8, 2023

If you had to name the four most important paintings in Western art-the ones that most influenced the course of art, history, or both-what would they be? While a fun exercise, when it comes to understanding art, ranking paintings in this way doesn't help us answer the more profound question of why art, and especially painting, has been so important to Western culture for hundreds of years. What if we picked four paintings that helped us understand the different ways that painting can be used as a meaningful form of communication? These paintings would come from different time periods, genres and nations and would outline the different ways that painting has played an important role in Western culture. These, therefore, are the four paintings every art lover should see if they want to understand more about the history and significance of painting-and its continued relevance to our lives.

An art historian by training, Dr. Tina Rivers Ryan is currently Assistant Curator of contemporary art at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. She holds a BA from Harvard, three Master's Degrees and a PhD from Columbia, where she was one of the top-ranked instructors. Tina is a regular critic for Artform, her writing has also appeared in periodicals by museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Tate. As a public speaker and scholar, Dr. Ryan has delivered lectures on topics ranging from Michelangelo to Warhol in more than 50 cities internationally. Interesting, educational and entertaining-a lecture you won't want to miss.

Paul Vachon
Paul Vachon

"Forgotten Detroit"
April 10, 2024

Many of you have happy memories of the times you spent living or visiting Detroit. A lifelong resident of the Detroit area, Paul Vachon developed an interest in local history when he was a student at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit. Being in the heart of the city awakened his natural curiosities. For those of you not native to Detroit, Paul will bring the city to life with his pictures and lecture. Paul Vachon is a local author, freelance writer and public speaker. He has spoken in many venues around the Detroit area and once heard he is frequently invited back to speak on other topics.

Paul's books and topics include: Becoming the Motor City: A timeline of Detroit's Auto Industry and Detroit: An Illustrated Timeline published by Reedy Press. Forgotten Detroit, South Oakland County, Lost Restaurants of Detroit and Legendary Locals of Detroit published by Arcadia's History Press. He also revises guidebooks on Michigan's travel.

Paul has written for Crain's Detroit Business, The Detroiter, HOUR Detroit, Michigan History, and the HISTORY Channel Magazine. He is a member of the American Society of Journalists. In his spare time Paul enjoys traveling, conducting walking tours of downtown Detroit, acting in community theater and nature photography.

Dave Bennett
Dave Bennett

"A Morning of Music"
May 8, 2024

A local treasure, Dave Bennett modern day jazz clarinetist, who names Alice Cooper, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Chris Isaak among his influences. In the early days of jazz, the clarinet joined with trumpet and trombone to create the music's signature sound, and it ruled the roost in the Swing Era, when jazz was America's popular music and dance-party soundtrack. If anyone can return the clarinet to its heyday, it's Dave Bennett, who fuses jazz improvisation with a host of modern-day pop influences.

Dave is one of a kind because he is equally conversant with the music of Benny Goodman (The King of Swing) and Roy Orbison (The Soul of Rock and Roll). In fact, you may not find even one other clarinet virtuoso who breaks from his Swing Era repertoire to sing rockabilly hits while accompanying himself at the piano or electric guitar.

Dave has been a featured soloist at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops and has been featured with 35 other US and Canadian orchestras including Nashville, Detroit, Rochester, Omaha, Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver, Orlando, San Antonio, Jacksonville and Portland. He was been featured on NPR Radio's "Jazz at Riverwalk. He made his European debut at the Bern Jazz Festival in Switzerland. If you want to hear more of Dave Bennett, he has several releases as an artist through Mack Avenue Records.