Free Event: Poetry Reading and Discussion with Rober Krut

ThisistheOcean_Robert KrutIn this free two-hour event, returning Osher instructor Robert Krut reads from his award-winning new collection, This is the Ocean, as well as guides students through a writing experience of their own.  In the first hour, Krut will share poems from his book, share stories about their creation, and answer questions about the writing process.  This is the Ocean is the recipient of the 2012 Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Award from Bona Fide Books, and will be of particular interest to UCLA OLLI students with its numerous Los Angeles area settings and references.   As The Los Angeles Review says: “This is the Ocean’s philosophical musings and tight formalism echo [Wallace] Stevens, but Krut takes the blue guitar and plays it electric.” In the second hour, Krut will lead a discussion about poetry on a larger scale, including an in-class writing activity for students.  This conversation and exercise will take place in a positive, enthusiastic atmosphere, aiming to share a love of poetry.

*Books will be available for purchase (cash and check) at the event.

Robert Krut is the author of This is the Ocean (Bona Fide Books, Winner of the 2012 Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Prize), as well as The Spider Sermons (BlazeVox, 2009).  His poems have appeared in numerous journals, both in print and online. He teaches at the University of California, Santa Barbara in the Writing Program and College of Creative Studies, where he has been nominated three times for the university’s Distinguished Teaching Award. He was an UCLA Osher instructor from 2010-2011.

Reg# 246436
Fee: $0 for Osher members and their guests
Westwood:  Belmont Village, 10475 Wilshire Blvd.
¤Sat 10am-12pm, Jan 18, 1 mtg

To reserve a spot on the tour please call Registration at 310.825.9971 with Registration# 246436 or visit and use the Quick Enroll tab.


Meet OLLI member: John Harris

harris2John D. Harris is a retired Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, and a member of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute.

John originally wanted to be a sports writer, and at Los Angeles High School he became a high school sports reporter for the Los Angeles Examiner and worked as a copy boy for the L.A. Daily News – two newspapers which no longer exist. At the Daily News, he earned $25 a week. But when he found out the city editor, a Stanford graduate and a 20-year veteran, only made $100 a week, he thought seriously about pursuing a career in journalism.

As a college freshman at UCLA, he took a political science class with a professor who encouraged him to change his goals from journalism to political science. But because he was living at home, he didn’t really feel part of the college environment, and he transferred to Berkeley where he moved into a student co-op with 300 students from around the world. One of his political science professors gave his students a choice to either write a term paper or do precinct work, and John enthusiastically chose to work for the local Democratic Party. Because his precinct had a 97.5% election turn-out rate, the highest turn-out in Alameda County in 1954, he was invited to attend the next state-wide Democratic Party convention. Not only did he attend, but he also formed the Young Democratic Club at Berkeley.

At that time, the University of California had a rule which prohibited political speakers on campus. This was during the era when academic freedom was under attack. In 1956 Adlai Stevenson was again running for president against President Eisenhower. The University Young Democrats, and the regular Democratic Club in Berkeley rented a sound truck with a microphone on it, pulled the flatbed truck up to the edge of campus and 10,000 students spread out on the grass were able to listen to Stevenson speak.

After graduating with Phi Beta Kappa Honors, John went to Boalt Law School at UC Berkeley.

“Although I was a good undergraduate student, in law school I was just average,” he said. “Everybody was so smart. On the first day of law school, the dean said: ‘Look to your left. Look to your right. One of you won’t be here next year. Law school made it so unpleasant and frightening, many students would say, ‘I hate this. I’m not going to stick it out. I don’t need this aggravation. I quit.’ We’d have a class that started with 185 students and wound up with only about 100. During the first year, you’d come back from Thanksgiving vacation and ten or fifteen seats were empty. People just never came back. It was the same thing after Christmas vacation and the same thing after the semesters. You weren’t merely competing to learn the law; you were competing against your fellow classmates. Most of us, if we were honest about it, hated law school, but we stuck it out. We found later that the practice of law was so much more rewarding and gratifying than the study of law.”

After law school, he went to work for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office as a criminal prosecutor. He also was appointed as the first special prosecutor for consumer fraud cases. Ten years later, he became a civil defense lawyer, defending the city in auto liability cases, slip and fall cases on public sidewalks, dangerous conditions, and police cases involving excessive force and wrongful death.

After 13 years of trial experience and handling over 500 jury trials, he applied and was elected as a Municipal Court Commissioner in 1973. Commissioners are subordinate judicial officers who have all of the power of a judge, provided that the parties stipulate to their hearing the case. After 11 years as a Municipal Court Commissioner, he decided to “take destiny into his own hands” and run for judicial office. He was elected twice, first to the Municipal Court in 1984, then to the Superior Court in 1998. Many of the friends he had made through years in college, law school, and working in local politics supported him in his judicial campaigns. As a Superior Court Judge from 1998 to 2004, he handled both civil and felony criminal cases (murder, robbery, rape, burglary, gang violence, carjacking, arsons, and kidnapping).

“The lawyers were much better in civil cases,” he said. “There were more interesting legal issues. There was more legal research to be done. In criminal cases, the defenses were usually not that the guy didn’t do it (because there were witnesses who saw them do it, as well as the results of chemical tests, fingerprints, and scientific evidence). There were usually procedural defenses in criminal cases, such as: was his confession coerced? Did the police have probable cause to detain him? Was there an illegal search and seizure which resulted in finding the drugs?

He tried medical malpractice cases, in which he thought a doctor was negligent in treating the injured plaintiff, and he would’ve awarded damages to the injured plaintiff, but when the jury decided in favor of the doctor, the plaintiff got nothing, and was stuck with the court costs.

“But in the vast majority of cases, the jury does get it right,” he said. “Being a judge is a great job, I loved it, and I looked forward going to work. The longer you do it, the easier it is to make decisions. When I first started out, another judge told me my job was not to be right. ‘Nobody’s right all the time. You’re going to be right most of the time. Your job is to make decisions. That’s what the appellate court is for. If you made a serious mistake, they will review it.’ Somebody once said, ‘An appellate judge sits on top of the mountain. A trial judge is down in the trenches fighting in hand-to-hand combat, in the middle of the dirt, blood, sweat and tears. Then after the battle is over, the appellate judge comes down in to the valley and shoots the wounded.’”

His wife was and still is an OLLI member and introduced him to classes. When John perused the OLLI brochure, he said he just had to take the course, Baseball: The All American Sport in Our Culture.

“The teacher was a nice guy,” he said, “and I told him I still play softball every Saturday, and I invited him to come and play softball with us, and he did for a while until he had to have hip surgery and he dropped out. I’ve also taken International Cinema Series: Italy 1940-2000; New American Cinema: 1960s to Present; and Nazis, Propaganda, and the Jews with Steve Sohmer. Currently I’m taking The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll. I enjoy instructor-led, because it’s nice to not have to do any preparation for class. You can relax and great lecturers are laying it out for you, and they’re fun.

Osher Institute at UCLA Recieves Gift of $25,000

OLLI@UCLA is excited to announce that the Cannon Family Foundation, managed by long-term OLLI member Robert Cannon, made a generous donation of $25,000 to our program. Mr. Cannon hopes his gift will inspire further donations. You can view the press release here. Thank you to Renita Tyson, Mary Ann Wilson, Helen Williams, and Fraser Communications for securing and spotlighting this donation

Documentary Screenings with former CBS executive producer Perry Wolff

The Osher Institute is pleased to announce the next series of CBS documentaries with Perry Wolff. Mr. Wolff has won 15 Emmy awards, 14 Peabody Awards, numerous Writers Guild, Du Pont and Polk awards and a Motion Picture Academy nomination.

Perry Wolff and Charles Collingwood discuss Berlin Act of War in 1961.

Perry Wolff and Charles Collingwood discuss Berlin Act of War in 1961.

1.    Monday, August 19, 1:30 – 3:45: When Television was Young (1977, 2 hours) with Perry Wolff, executive producer, director, writer.

Television in the 1950s; includes plenty of archival footage. Narrated by Charles Kuralt.

2.    Monday, Sept 9, 1:30 – 2:45: Berlin: Act of War (1961, 1 hour) with Perry Wolff, producer, director, writer.

The Berlin Wall was built directly under the cameras that CBS placed at the Brandenburg Gate. Narrated by Charles Collingwood.

3.    Monday, Sept 16, 1:30 – 3:00: Misunderstanding China (1972, 1 hour), with Perry Wolff, Executive Producer

On the eve of the first opening to China after World War II, Irv Drasnin compiled stock footage to show everything wrong we felt about the Chinese, from Fu Manchu through the Oriental Exclusion Act of 1924. This documentary, made at the time of President Nixon’s famous visit to the PRC in 1972, examines sources of popular American attitudes and misunderstandings about China, briefly traces the history of contacts between Chinese and Americans, and shows how popular literature and films have helped perpetuate the stereotyped images many Americans have of Chinese people. Narrated by Charles Kuralt.

This is a free event for Osher members and their guests. Please RSVP by emailing us at

Learn digital photography and editing

The Osher Institute is offeriNBC videong The Basics of Digital Photography and Photo Editing in fall quarter 2013. You will learn to master the basic mechanics of the camera, use a computer to store your images, edit the successful ones, improve on others, and share your photos through email, web galleries, prints, and books. Instruction addresses the most common kinds of photographs: portraits, candid shots, landscapes, and indoors with artificial light. The course includes computer lab, group photo shoots, and assignments to master each of the ideas introduced in class: content and the design, and technique of image-making.

Once you’ve perfected your photos, you can upload them to your favorite social media site, as some of our Osher members learned to  in our Internet Catch-Up for Boomers and Above course. For those of you who missed it, the class was featured in an NBS news story. You can find it on the NBC site here or on You Tube here.

Lawn Bowling Fun in Beautiful Holmby Park

Lawn Bowling Homby Park

The Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club and OLLI have teamed up to host an introductory course in Lawn Bowling in beautiful Holmby Park, next to the L.A. Country Club. This course consists of 4 lessons, free for Osher members and their guests. Veteran bowlers will provide instruction on the greens, supplemented by written and audio-visual materials.  Coffee, tea, and refreshments will be available.

Lawn bowling is an ancient sport played around the world, and is a healthy, low impact outdoor exercise endorsed by the American Heart Association.  Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club has functioned continuously since 1927.

Dress is casual, but, please wear smooth soled shoes without heels (such as tennis or deck shoes) to protect our greens

Date & Time: 4 Saturdays, 10:00 – 11:30, May 18 & 25; June 1 & 8

Location: Holmby Park Lawn Bowling Club, located at 646 Comstock Ave., at the southerly end of Holmby Park, across from the L.A. Country Club driving range.

For more information and to RSVP, email us at


Annual Milhaupt Seminar: The United States’ Issues in the Middle East

OLLI welcomes all to register for PLATO’s Annual Milhaupt Seminar: The United States’ Issues in the Middle East.

When: Saturday, February 23rd, 2013, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm, 1200 Rolfe Hall at UCLA


Jonathan Dobrer taught at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and currently teaches at the American Jewish University. His courses include the Roots and Bitter Fruits of Anti-Semitism, Great Religious Trials and The Currents in Current Events.

James Gelvin is an expert in Social and cultural history of the modern Middle East, particularly Greater Syria during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries

Josh Lockman is a Lecturer in Law at USC Law, where he teaches international law and U.S. foreign policy.

Bojan Petrovic is a social sciences lecturer at UCI who teaches undergraduate courses and Global Connect high school lessons on the Middle East. He received his Ph.D. in political science at UCI.

To register:

* Call UNEX Registration at 310.825.9971

Choose your lunch option using the following Registration Codes:

Reg # 238-042 (Vegetarian Lunch)

Reg # 238-090 (Fowl Lunch)

Reg # 238-094 (Fish Lunch)

* Pay $25 by credit card or check made payable to UC Regents.

You can also mail your payment to UCLA Extension, PO Box 24901, Dept K, Los Angeles, CA 90024-0901

Registration deadline is Friday February 15th, 2013. 

Requests for refunds will be honored until Friday, February 15th, 2013.


Three Free Screenings with Perry Wolff this February and March


The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute @ UCLA Extension is pleased to present three FREE OLLI events this February and March for our members and their guests. The speaker, Perry Wolff, is the producer, writer and narrator of each documentary to be presented to OLLI members this December.  Mr. Wolff has won 15 Emmy awards, 14 Peabody Awards, numerous Writers Guild, Du Pont and Polk awards and a Motion Picture Academy nomination.

1. Thursday, Feb 28: You and the Commercial (1973), 11am – 12:30pm

An investigation into deceptive television commercials. Among the active foes of the broadcast were the agencies, sponsors, and President of CBS itself, Arthur Taylor, who furiously opposed it. Taylor told Dick Salant, CBS News President, that the documentary could cost CBS as much as $50 million in revenue.  Some of the largest advertising agencies had already told him they would take their business to other networks. CBS aired the program anyway.

 Where: Screening Room, Belmont Village Westwood, (free parking)

  • 10475 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90024
  • Click here for directions

When: Wednesday, Thursday, Feb 28, 11am – 12:30pm

RSVP: Please email or respond to this email.

No phone calls please. Please let us know which screening(s) you will be attending. Seating is limited to 60 per event.

2.      Thursday, March 7: The Vanishing Family (1986), 2:30 – 4:00pm

Reporter Bill Moyers talks to African Americans in a Newark, N.J., ghetto to show the consequences of single-parent families. This documentary won more awards (Peabody, DuPont, Polk, Emmy, and Writers Guild awards) than any other program in the history of television.  It also changed America’s welfare pattern during the Clinton years.

 Where: Screening Room, Belmont Village Westwood, (free parking)

  • 10475 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90024
  • Click here for directions

When: Thursday, March 7, 2:30 – 4:00pm

RSVP: Please email or respond to this email.

No phone calls please. Please let us know which screening(s) you will be attending. Seating is limited to 60 per event.

3.    Saturday, March 23: The Israelis (1973), 1:30-3:00

 What started out as a reconnaissance into the national character of Israel was interrupted by the Yom Kippur war (October 6 – 25, 1973). Amos Elon, author of the book of the same name upon which this investigation was based, is the principal host. The questions raised then are still relevant today.

Where: Screening Room, Belmont Village Westwood, (free parking)

  • 10475 Wilshire Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90024
  • Click here for directions

When: Saturday, March 23, 1:30-3:00

RSVP: Please email or respond to this email.

No phone calls please. Please let us know which screening(s) you will be attending. Seating is limited to 60 per event.