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Emeritus College > ESCOM Clubs

ESCOM Club Daily Calendar

Call 415.485.9652 for information about clubs. Participation in all clubs requires a current ESCOM Membership.
Note: This schedule is subject to change without prior notice, contact ESCOM at 415.485.9652 or contact persons below for current information.

Click here to download a copy of the current Daily ESCOM Club Calendar (Updated: March 2013).

Club: Digital Camera
Club: Great Minds of Western Philosophy Club
Club: Book Forum
Club: Bridge
Club: Adventurers

Club: Writer’s Workshop
Club: Moral-Ethical and Legal Issues Roundtable
Club: Bocce/Petanque
Club: British & Foreign Film
Club: Book Banter

Club: Opera and Beyond
Club: Computer Chat
Club: Atelier

Club: Current Events and Issues
Club: Great Ideas in Western Philosophy
Club: Scrabble
Club: Chess

Club: Book Banter
Club: Global Issues
Club: Islamic Studies

Club: Humanities
Club: Film Noir DVD Forum

Additional Clubs
Club: Painting


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When: 1st Monday=photography, 3rd=meeting, 1-3PM
Where: 1st=TBA, 3rd= IVC Emeritus

Contact: Laura Milholland, 578-2972,

Do you have a passion for photography? Or maybe you feel it’s time to get better acquainted with that camera that’s been sitting mostly unused except for holidays and family gatherings.  Maybe you’re a beginner who needs help learning some of the basics of taking nice images, and finding out what to do with them after you’ve taken them? Or maybe you’re a veteran with a camera and would enjoy helping others learn to take better photos, while honing your skills?

Our new Camera Club is open to anyone with a digital camera and a desire to share together with others.  Beginners through highly experienced photographers alike are all welcome. Topics for discussion can include things such as good composition, exposure, lighting, menus & dials of digital, editing techniques, storage & file organization, gear and accessories, among many other possibilities.

The purpose of our Club is to provide a time to share the joy of picture taking, develop our “eye” for what makes a good shot, and encourage the growth of our skills as we learn from each other in a non-critical setting.

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When: 1st & 3rd Mondays, 10:15AM-12:15PM
Where: Kentfield, Emeritus
Contact: Arlene Stark, 925-1214,

At each two-hour session members watch two half-hour DVDs from the Teaching Company’s, “Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition.”  The screenings are followed by group discussions.  The Club began with Plato and Aristotle and followed with The Christian Age, The Renaissance, The Enlightenment, The Age of Analysis through to modernity and The Crises of Modernity.

Discussions range from the political to the mystical.  What is the perfect political system?  Is there one?  What is the difference between faith and spirituality?  Galileo, Descartes, Locke, Hume, Kant, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Rorty and Derrida are there to stimulate and confound us along the way.  What will these huge figures in Western philosophy teach us?

We energize each other discussing the philosopher’s ideas and our own.  These great thinkers invite us to join them, turn us on and keep fine-tuning our minds.


When: 4th Monday, 3-5PM
Where: IVC Emeritus

Contact: Louise Kerr, 883-2823,

For ten years Book Forum members have selected books that inform them about such subjects as history, various cultures, social issues as well as the sheer pleasure that comes from reading good writing.  Members select one book a month.  They suggest titles for the coming year via email and, at December meetings, a list is agreed upon and finalized.  The books may be historical novels, nonfiction and whatever the group agrees upon.

A couple of examples of books recently read and discussed are: Oracle of Stamboul, Michael David Lukas and Wings of the Dove, Henry James.  Some favorites have been Desert Queen, The Lemon Tree and Still Alice.

The Book Forum is open to lifelong learners who find excitement in the written word, a turn of phrase and that marvelous thing we call literature.  It’s a venue open to everyone, where all ideas are not just welcomed, but savored.


When: Mondays, 1-4:30PM
Where: Kentfield, Cafeteria
Contact: Lynn Mason, 456-2508

Bridge offers that “something more”—the challenge of making fast decisions, the possibility of thousands of potential card arrays, and even playing the game of life better—all experiences that attract a lively following at ESCOM.

In addition to its being a “brain game,” ESCOM bridge offers everyone a comfortable level of social interaction and friendship—leaving no time to get into religious or political issues, and just enough to catch up on what’s happening in each other’s lives.

While some Bridge Club members have been attending for many years, new players are always welcome.  On average, six tables of intermediate-level players meet weekly.  Scoring is Chicago style, and prizes and trophies are awarded twice a year at enjoyable potluck lunches.


When: 4th Monday, 1PM
Where: Varies
Contact: Ruth King, 898-5845



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When: 1st Tuesday, 1-4PM
Where: Kentfield, Emeritus

Contact: Shirley Pullan, 381-6952,

Do you want the characters you write to fly off the page – your sentences to sing?  Other Club writers respond to your writing with verbal feedback and written comments.

Writers want intelligent, thoughtful response, hoping the critique will discover a new angle or whatever isn’t working.  Because sincere writing can’t help revealing one’s heart, members eventually understand each other at a deeper level.  It is inevitable, therefore, as in many groups that participants become friends.


When: 1st & 3rd Tuesdays, 10AM-12Noon
Where: Kentfield, Emeritus

Contact: Cole Posard, 491-4118,
Len Pullan, 381-6952

The title of this Club is a mouthful, yet to delete any part of its name is to short-circuit what this Club goes after.  It seeks to ask the big questions and tries to answer them looking through a moral-ethical lens, a forensic search for the truth of things important.  What differentiates right from wrong?  What is ethical, does it matter and why?  How much money should be spent to save a life?  What is the ethical role of government in a democracy?  Is doing the right thing ever wrong?  Is doing the wrong thing ever right?

Through the members give and take you’ll discover interesting people and challenging ideas.  Find out what you really think – and why you think it.  Weigh in on paradoxical, cutting-edge dilemmas while you explore your mind to find your own truths.  Experience for yourself why this Club has aroused so much interest and why each meeting finishes with applause.


Second Tuesday – 10:00 to 12 Noon
Emeritus College, IVC Campus, 1800 Ignacio Blvd, Novato, Room 10
Contact:  Don Polhemus, 883-3567,

The Club carries forward the vision of two University of  Chicago professors, Mortimer Adler and Robert Maynard Hutchins who founded the Great Books Foundation in 1947.  It aimed to promote lifelong education through “Great Conversation” with authors of the most significant works in Western tradition.

Once a month members read important works that are voted upon by our Group’s members.  One recent discussion dealt with the history of human rights.  Occasionally books or stories are interspersed by members.  Some recent books up for discussion were: Discussion of: Sharia, Islamic Religious Law.  Arendt’s Perplexities of the Rights of Man; Gentry: Cancer of Human Rights; Transcript:  The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde; A.E. Houseman: The Carpenter’s Son and Jack London: Pinched.

As Professor Hutchins said at the time Great Books education was proposed, “If democracy is going to function as it should, the man-in-the-street is going to have to think better.”  The Group’s members eagerly pursue this goal.




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Last Wednesday – 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Kentfield Emeritus Center, Student Services Building
Contact: Michael Sachs, 415-499-1693,

The members’ devotion to opera distinguishes this Club.   One member said that he looks forward to the last Wednesday of the month where he will meet with friendly, like-minded people who share their CDs and videos.  The conversation is rich with operatic likes and dislikes and knowledge about their favorite operas and performers.  Occasionally in an enthusiastic moment, and to prove a point, some members have been known to burst into their favorite arias.

There is a lot of anecdotal talk about members’ favorite singers, and in some cases, those they dislike, i.e. you either love Maria Callas or hate her.

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Second and fourth Thursday – 10:00 to 12 Noon
Kentfield Emeritus Center, Student Services Building
Contact: Jerry Weisman, 383-1831, James Kennedy, 388-3939

The meeting begins with a quotation, then an editorial or article from the New York Times.  The format is loose and the table in the Emeritus Room is full.  Members bring whatever current information they wish to share.  Any media is considered worthwhile: TV, newspapers, magazines, digital – even the voter’s guide.  Everything becomes grist for discussion.  Conversation enlarges everyone’s understanding of what’s going on in our cities, county, nation and world.  The facilitators are sometimes called upon to act as policemen if discussion gets too rowdy, but members are usually polite and agree that everyone needs a chance to speak and respond.

Only time limits the scope of discourse.  Some recent current events discussed include: elections, fracking, terrorism and the economy.  Do you have something to say?  Members are lifelong learners, lifelong doers- and in this Club they inevitably make lifelong friends.


Every Thursday – 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Emeritus College, IVC Campus, 1800 Ignacio Blvd, Novato, Room 10
Contact: Larry Witter, 883-6889,

This Club has given members vivid narratives since 2001.  It uses “The Great Courses by The Teaching Company.”  This company is noted for the rigorous process by which it chooses the professors who will be presented on their videos.  A study guide is also provided. 

A few of the many subjects members have viewed and discussed over the years include: Science and Religion, Philosophy as a Guide to Living, Science in the Twentieth Century and Buddhism,  Sensation, Perception and the Ageing Process.

One couple returning to Marin eagerly attend this Club and have enjoyed these TV lectures with can’t-wait-for- Thursday enthusiasm.  Great Books has become part of this lively weekly series.  Attentive listeners answer questions instigated by the lectures, then debate meaning and relevance to their lives.  Each member becomes intellectually challenged, to think in new ways and to contribute thoughtful responses that add to the experience of being there.


Every Thursday – 2:00 to 4:00 pm
Kentfield Emeritus Center, Cafeteria,
Contact: Marlene Knox, 459-1427,

The Scrabble Club fills the niche left by the leader’s superb Scrabble-playing mother who passed away a year before the Club was formed. In 1948 James Brunot bought the rights to the Cross-Crosswords game and called it Scrabble.  Scrabble means to “scratch frantically.”  It was not financially successful until Jack Straus, President of Macy’s, played it on vacation and began stocking it in his large department stores.

The group plays two games, two players to a table.  Each player is asked to bring a game board.  Members draw for partners.  In the second game people with like scores are matched so that people with similar abilities are paired.  Eventually everyone gets a chance to play against everyone else.  Although some play to keep their minds active, others play just for the joy of it.

The Club attempts to follow tournament Scrabble guidelines, but is very flexible about them.  Members LOVE to play this game.  More and more people are playing Scrabble online, but nothing, nothing, beats a face-to-face game.

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Book Banter ClubBOOK BANTER
Second and fourth Friday – Sept to May, 1:00 to 2:30 pm
Kentfield Emeritus Center, Student Services Building
Contact:  Len Pullan, 381-6952,

The dictionary defines BANTER as, “good humored, playful conversation.”  Yes, that, but much more: members may bring a short, short story to read aloud, or a poem, or a ten-minute passage from a novel, or a film review from the New Yorker.  They share what they love.  Some prefer to just listen and that’s okay.  Good writing is the focus.

Participants also bring books to trade.  The goal is two-fold; 1) to share personal affection for an author and 2) to enrich everyone’s exposure to good writing, fiction and non-fiction.


Third Friday – 2:00 pm
Emeritus College, IVC Campus, 1800 Ignacio Blvd, Novato, Room 10
Contact: Colleen Rose, 898-0131,

Topics and film documentaries presented during these meetings are rarely discussed in depth by everyday media.  New perspectives are explored among the group and films include: “Crude,” about Chevron’s devastation of Ecuador’s rainforest; “Crossing Arizona,” immigration and U.S. border policies; “The Last Zapatistas,” intimate interviews with men and women who fought with Emiliano Zapata in the Mexican Revolution of 1910; ‘War Made Easy,” featuring Marin’s Norman Solomon and narrated by Sean Penn; “One Man’s Story: Philip Agee, Cuba and the CIA,” and “Howard Zinn: You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train.”

The Club leader has traveled extensively in the countries of the Western Hemisphere and is able to bring depth to these films and subjects.  She looks forward to answering member’s questions and encourages frank discussion of the issue at hand.

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First and third Saturday – 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Emeritus College, IVC Campus, 1800 Ignacio Blvd, Novato, Room 10
Contact: Rudy Ramirez, 491-0522,

During the first hour the Club screens show two televised lectures by the best professors chosen by the Teaching Company for The Great Courses. Some popular subjects which have stimulated members include classical mythology, Homer’s Illiad, Greek tragedy and Herodotus, the father of Western History.  Recently Club members have enjoyed learning more about Niccolo Machiavelli (1469-1527).  The Machiavelli lecturer is William Cook, Professor of History at State University of New York at Genesco. 

In the second hour televised lectures are discussed.  Sometimes these discussions can become quite spirited.  The Teaching Company provides outlines, biographies and bibliographies to expand understanding of the material presented. 


Second,  fourth and fifth Saturday – 1:00 to 3:00 pm
Emeritus College, IVC Campus, 1800 Ignacio Blvd, Novato, Room 10
Contact:  Rudy Ramirez, 491-0522,

Film Noir is a genre (style, form or content) of distinctive classics which continues a strong revival in the United States. The French word for “black film” was coined by critic Nino Frank in 1946.  The classic era of film noir usually dates from between the early 1940s and the late 1950s.  Noir films from Japan and France are also part of many Saturday showings.  In “noir,” characters are often conflicted antiheroes making choices out of acute desperation.  Visual elements include low-key lighting, striking use of light and shadow and unusual camera placement.  “Noir” has had significant impact on other genres.  Some typical American noir films are The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity.

In addition to the popcorn for which the Club leader is famous, he shares his extensive library of DVDs from the period along with critics’ comments.  Some recent films shown: Please Murder Me, Against the House, The Lineup and Human Desire stir nostalgia.  Club members recall some of these films from their youth.  Others may have missed seeing them so now is your chance to finally catch up. (A two-month’s listing of films up for viewing and discussion now available).

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Once a month – day decided by members
Meets off campus
Contact: Ruth King, 898-5845

This Club, whose “adventures” are purely social, meets each month for lunch at a different restaurant within the county of Marin.  Members plan their explorations in advance to many of Marin’s cultural offerings.  For instance, attending local live theater and art exhibits.  Occasionally they will carpool to Sonoma or San Francisco for their cultural adventure.

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Please phone or email the “Contact” person if you are interested in any of the following clubs.

The Bocce Ball Club is currently re-forming
To be played in Albert Park, San Rafael
If interested please contact Bill Raffanti, 883-4079

The Chess Club is currently forming for Thursday, 2:00 - 5:00 pm
Kentfield Emeritus Center, Student Services Building
Contact: Ron Evans, 924-0998

The Art Club is currently forming for Friday, 12 noon - 2:00 pm
Kentfield Emeritus Center, Student Services Building
Contact: Laura Saunders, 456-1521,

The Cooking Club is currently forming for Saturday, 1:00 - 3:00 pm
Kentfield Emeritus Center, Student Services Building
Contact: Marilena Redfern, 457-1177

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Note: This schedule is subject to change without prior notice, contact ESCOM at 415.485.9652 or contact persons above for current information.

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Community Education / Emeritus Students College of Marin (ESCOM) web page
Technical Contact: Cheryl Lynn Carlson, Program Specialist, Community Education, Lifelong Learning and International Education.

Content Responsible: Dr. Jason Lau
, Director, Community Education, Lifelong Learning and International Education.