Cowabunga! An Incomplete History of Surf Music
Experience the history of surf music beginning with instrumental ‘surf sounds’ such as Dick Dale, the Chantays and the Surfaris. While instrumental surf music was largely a Southern California phenomenon, subsequent vocal surf music became a national sensation, exemplified by the Beach Boys and Jan & Dean. Both styles of music made lasting musical and cultural contributions. We will engage in a discussion of what surf music is, the essential instruments and equipment, and the practitioners. Study will conclude with a look at the instrumental surf music revival sparked by modern cinema, most notably in the film Pulp Fiction.
A New Generation: Blues of the 1960s
The 1960s were a time of new audiences for the blues. As African Americans largely turned away from the blues in favor of gospel and soul, whites in America and in the UK discovered the blues. This course will trace the changing audiences for the blues during the 1960s. We will discuss Samuel Charters’s pioneering scholarship that introduced blues artists to young white audiences, leading to the “rediscovery” of several blues artists. Simultaneously, British rock bands, like Cream, Led Zeppelin, and the Rolling Stones, covered the blues and introduced a new generation to the music. Finally, new artists, such as Hot Tuna, Canned Heat and the Butterfield Blues Band, appeared to change the sound of the blues.
Remembering Joan Didion and The Golden Age of New Journalism
“It had rained in Los Angeles until the cliff was tumbling into the surf.” This is but one small world of the 1960s that Joan Didion saw in a grain of sand. In this class we will discover or rediscover more of Joan Didion’s take on the 1960s including descriptions of Haight-Ashbury, Joan Baez, John Wayne, and a life on the Sacramento River, as well as her reflections on her own thinking and writing. We will explore two books Didion wrote in the 1960s, the novel Run River and the collection of essays Slouching Towards Bethlehem.
Suggested Reading: Run River, Joan Didion, Vintage Books and Slouching Towards Bethlehem, multiple publishers
60s Cinema: Old Pressures and New Rebellions: Part 2 - Later Films
This course will continue the exploration of representative 60s films which characterize the extraordinary change in American values at the time. Toward the end of the decade, films expressed a greater assurance in the nature and extent of the path these changes were taking, yet often seeming to question any definitive end to the battle. Films screened will include In the Heat of the Night (1967), The Graduate (1967), Midnight Cowboy (1969), and Easy Rider (1969). Parts 1 and 2 of this course can be taken independently of each other, or taken together in order to watch the era play out. Again, student recollections will be quite relevant to our investigation of by-gone times that are remain significant in present culture.
Technological Developments of the 60s that Changed the World
Much of the technology that we enjoy today was developed in the fast-moving decade from 1960 to 1969. Lasers, L.E.D.s, push button phones, space travel, the computer as we now know it – including the mouse, and most importantly the integrated circuit. Which of these did the public know about and which were kept under cover until later decades, and why? Learn more in this fun and enlightening investigation of world-changing technologies.
The 60s Space Race
The 1957 launch of Russia’s Sputnik started a USSR/USA science and technology race to see who would send humans into and explore space. Despite initial setbacks on both sides, remarkable progress was documented and climaxed in 1969 as American astronauts walked on the moon. We will examine those early missions, the challenges they mastered, and the technology developed by this generation of pioneers. Our exploration of the cosmos opens a whole new field of science and daily brings us closer to better understanding our planet and all that surrounds it.
The Influence Comedy and Culture - the 60s
The 1960s changed America. Comedy brought change to culture and our culture transformed comedy. As mirrors of what was happening in our society, stand-up comics and sitcoms began to explore life in novel ways. Situations started to become more realistic and, in some cases, edgier. TV sitcoms became less idyllic and more representative of “real life.” Issues not previously discussed openly in entertainment venues became the new norm. We will discuss the icons who showed us a new side of ourselves we hadn’t seen before, and the influences of rock and roll, Vietnam, drugs, and “the age of Aquarius” which brought unexpected changes that continue to affect us today.
1964: The Year the Beatles Came to America
In February 1964, the Beatles—already popular in England—flew into America to appear on the Ed Sullivan Show. Afterwards they played a concert in DC, and two more in New York. “Beatlemania” was launched, and pop music was changed forever. That August they launched a 23-city tour. The Beatles went on to release six number-one singles in the U.S., including the number-one single of the year, I Want to Hold Your Hand. Join us to explore the “Fab Four” during this dynamic year of musical innovation in America. As always, we encourage participant’s input and memories of those times 58 years ago. Harmonizing with the “mop tops” to Please Please Me, She Loves You, and others is practically a prerequisite.
Around a Virtual Campfire: The Role of 60s Television in US Culture
Walter Cronkite, Bonanza, The Avengers, Bill Cosby, Rowan and Martin, Get Smart…do any of these names and programs ring a bell? With only three network television stations available, just about everyone in the country was watching the same thing, from dramas to comedy, and from game shows to the news. To some, this marked the end of television's "golden age" of cutting-edge dramas. But it also saw the start of new programs that reflected a changing culture. Together, we will examine a transformational period in entertainment, media and its effect on the American way of life.
The Cold War Decade: From Kennedy to Nixon
The 1960s began with Kennedy and US-USSR nuclear confrontation and ended with Nixon and US drawout from Vietnam. This class traces the origins, events, and adversaries of the Cold War and speculates about lessons it may teach US leaders regarding the emerging new Cold War with China and Russia.
60s Cinema: Old Pressures and New Rebellions: Part 1 - Early Films
Often considered a Golden Age of Cinema, the Seventies relied in part on evolving from the Sixties, which itself enjoyed its share of solid filmmaking. A large factor within the Sixties was the cultural/emotional struggle between acceptance of old ways and their rejection. Remember? Count the ways! We will be screening four early Sixties films which present a number of issues through which American films envisioned the captives of social values and their, at times, embryonic attempts to fight back: Films to be shown include, "The Apartment" (1960), "The Hustler" (1961), "Dr. Strangelove . . ." (1964), and "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" (1966). Note: Class members will help constitute affirmations or denials of ideas explored in these films. Your memories will be as important for discussions as will any consideration of the films themselves.
60s California: Environmental Evolution Over a Half-Century - Past Achievements & Future Challenges
Explore 50 years of environmental policy at national and state levels. Subjects include air and water quality and availability, wildlife conservation, and the Endangered Species Act. We’ll also cover current environmental challenges such as climate change, energy, and environmental justice issues.