James Museum

Shelly Belzer

A boyhood love of cowboy movies isn’t unusual, but Tom James, now chairman emeritus of Raymond James Financial, turned his love into a lifetime of art collecting and then founded a museum to house part of the collection that he and his wife, Mary, have amassed.  The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art in St. Petersburg opened in April 2018, holding 400 paintings and sculptures, a bit more than 10 percent of the James collection. (Most of the rest of the collection fills the Raymond James corporate headquarters.)  Word about the museum got around, and one day in August the OLLI Shutterbugs went to see for themselves.  (More…)

Santa Fe and New Mexico

I’m a transplant to Santa Fe.  I grew up in Miami, graduated from FSU in Tallahassee, lived in San Francisco, Bern, Switzerland and Los Angeles.  Finally I settled here in 1994 at the age of 35.  No regrets whatsoever.  I chose to live in Santa Fe after compiling a list of pre-requisites that included:  small-size city, diverse population, vibrant arts scene, and proximity to nature.

The oldest capital city in the United States, Santa Fe celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2010.  It was located first in what was known as New Spain, then Mexico, and finally in New Mexico (a US territory that became a state in 1912).  (More...)

A Week in Sante Fe

Joyce Carpenter

It is 5:30 on a beautiful evening in New Mexico, and I am going to the pre-opera dinner at The Santa Fe Opera Theatre, where I will be fed a meal in keeping with the evening’s opera (tonight it is Mozart’s Cosi Fan Tutte, so Italian wines and pasta will be served). The dinner speaker will tell us about the music, the performers and the stagecraft of this particular production.

Opera goers in Santa Fe dress in anything, from tattered jeans and battered hiking boots to fabulously expensive designer creations that border on the bizarre. I happily take advantage of every opportunity to dress up, and so I am dressed in my favorite opera outfit – a rather posh cream, lace dress and sparkly shoes with high heels.  (More…)

My Novel is Wonderful!

Creativity surges through the veins of OLLI-USF members! Especially those who read OLLI Connects.  Who among us has not had our most sublime creative work reviled and rejected by some soi disant critic whose own creativity could be measured in, at most, milliliters?  But some of us vigorously respond in defense of our work, as our colleague, Derek Burke, does here.

To the Editor:

I am writing to protest your publication’s review of my last novel.  Of the many criticisms Mr. Mitchell levels at me, none merit reply, and space unfortunately forbids me from addressing more than those that time will allow.

“The novel’s numerous flaws,” pronounces Mr. Mitchell, “Include clumsy writing, embarrassing dialog, awkward pacing, and ludicrous plot resolutions. Almost every page is seriously marred by  (More…)

A Woodstock Reunion

Joseph McAuliffe

Last November, the McAuliffe family celebrated my brother John’s 70th birthday in New York City by attending the Syracuse – Notre Dame football game at Yankee Stadium. Syracuse and Notre Dame were part of my late parents’ legacy. They were from Syracuse, my mother graduated from Syracuse University and my dad was a Notre Dame graduate. My father would have been happy that weekend because Notre Dame won, but few of us watched the game because we spent most of the time doing what McAuliffes do when they get together… we tell stories.  (More…)

Wait Until Dark

Peter Terzian

Some people love the theater, because it gives them a chance to be on stage—to be the star.  I love it, too.  But I have no interest in being out there in front of the audience.  My place in theater is behind the scenes, creating the world that the stars perform in.

I’ve been doing lighting, sound and projection for theater since I was on the stage crew in high school,  then as a school technology teacher and at Busch Gardens for Howl-O-Scream.

I came across the James McCabe Theater and the Valrico Village Players probably 10 years ago.  It’s just a couple minutes away from  (More…)

Rogues’ Gallery, Part Two

David Campbell

We shared a Rogues’ Gallery of photos with you Monday–the creative folks who have made OLLI Connects’ first year possible. 

For today’s issue, we’ve chosen snippets of their writing and photography that we think are representative of our overall group of contributors.  Each brief snippet links back to the full work.  Enjoy!   –Editor

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Rogues’ Gallery

The OLLI Connects blog is almost a year old, and in its first few months of life it has showcased the writing and photographic talents of over two dozen OLLI members.  We’d like to recognize and applaud them here.  (Well, most of them.  We don’t actually have photos of every one of them.)

If you see someone you recognize–and we’ll be astounded if you don’t–feel free to send them an “Attaboy!”  And, while you’re scrolling through the slide show, take a moment to think about how great your face would look as part of this group.  It could happen.  (More…)

Florida Birds and Wildlife

Gail Parsons

Every state thinks that they have the greatest natural environment and the best “birding” in the country.  They’re wrong, of course.  Florida is clearly the best.  And we have some photographic proof in this article.

We also have some really interesting courses coming up in our Fall semester.  We’ll give you more information about them at the end of the article.  (More…)

Mexico–Novillada at Huamantla

Brenda Tipps

After breakfast, after the extra cup of coffee and the tidying up of our room, we have nothing to do now, except wait. I remember now, that this is a commonplace phenomenon in the taurine world. One finds oneself waiting for someone who is usually waiting for someone else, or for some event of some kind. One is assured that the event, or person, is going to materialize imminently, “ahorita,” – – any minute now. And no one, no one is concerned – – except the Anglos.

This morning my husband, Kelly, and I are waiting for a taxi, or some other vehicle, to take us to Huamantla, a mountain town perhaps a forty minute drive from the ranch where we are staying.  At 4 o’clock there’s to be a novillada, that is, a bullfight for novilleros, young men or women, aspiring matadors, who will fight novillos rather than full-grown bulls.  (More…)