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Rainbow Lifelong Learning Institute, Boston

Our Classes

Women to Reckon With: Hollywood’s 1940s.


with Linda Dittmar

Calendar Jan 17, 2023 at 10:30 am, runs for 5 weeks


This course will take place on Tuesdays at 10:30 AM for five weeks (1/17/23 - 2/14/23).  This course will be on Zoom.

Course Description:

In this course we will explore Hollywood’s representation of women during a decade marked by anxiety. In the background to these films are the Depression,World War II, and an incipient Cold War. In the foreground are women’s changing sense of self within a patriarchy determined to keep them down. The five films we’ll study—all black and white—explore the themes of motherhood, work, money, ambition, and performance. They invite reflection on patriarchy, gender, and women’s position in the public and private spheres, where lesbian possibilities are strongly repressed. We will pay special attention to the cinematic “language” of our films (camera, light, acting, framing, etc.), “reading” them critically, “against the grain” of the patriarchal norms that dominate their narratives.

Course requirements are light: just seeing the films ahead of time, preferably more than once. Optional readings may be provided. Optional writing may be suggested. The course will be conducted as a lecture/discussion. Your participation is strongly encouraged.


Rebecca 1940      Please watch before the first class

Now Voyager 1942

Double Indemnity 1944

Mildred Pierce 1945

Gilda 1946

Course Leader:

Linda Dittmar, Professor Emerita, taught Film and Literature at the University of Massachusetts—Boston and internationally, including pioneering film and literature courses in Women’s Studies. Her teaching and writing focused on modern and contemporary works, including the books From Hanoi to Hollywood; The Vietnam War in American Film, and Multiple Voices in Feminist Film Criticism. Winner of UMB’s Chancellor’s award for excellence in teaching, she is also a longtime member of the magazine Radical Teacher’s editorial board. 

Full Course

Public Speaking For You


with Carolyn Jenkins

Calendar Jan 17, 2023 at 1 pm, runs for 5 weeks


This course will take place on Tuesdays at 1:00 PM for five weeks (1/17/23 - 2/14/23).  This course will be on Zoom.

Course Description:

You’re up there—on stage. Whether it’s a community forum, a wedding toast, a eulogy, or some other occasion, you need to speak. What do you do? Let loose a spate of um’s and er’s? Or take a breath, raise your head, and speak gracefully and eloquently? Would you like the self-confidence to speak effectively and comfortably whatever the occasion? This course gives you the knowledge and the practice to be heard, remembered, understood, engaging, and effective so that you are successful. Success breeds confidence. Ultimately, Public Speaking for You will boost your self-confidence.

We’ll start with the speech opening. You want to be heard, to be listened to, so this opening is critical. It sets the stage for your speech and engages attention. In addition to being heard, you want to be remembered, and that’s where story comes in. It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of story in public speaking. You’ll learn five elements of storytelling that will give sparkle to your stories. You want to be heard, you want to be remembered, and you want to be understood. That’s where the delivery comes in. Your speech needs to be coherent, but mostly it needs to be delivered effectively. The best speakers aren’t afraid to use humor. A bored audience stops listening. You want to be engaging so your words have impact. We’ll explore the difference between added humor and “found” humor and how the latter trumps the former.

Course Leader:

Carolyn Jenkins is an avid Toastmaster, a Certified World Class Speaking Coach, and author of 7 Seconds to Connect: 3 Steps to Engage Your Audience with Confidence. Her day job involves hypnotherapy and aromatherapy, but her passion is public speaking. Carolyn used to fear extemporaneous speaking; now she thrives on it! It’s an exciting world out there, and Carolyn is delighted to teach what she has learned to perhaps spark someone’s interest in speaking.

Full Course

The Extraordinary Cantatas of J S BACH: An Exploration


with Liz Diamond

Calendar Jan 18, 2023 at 10:30 am, runs for 5 weeks


This course will take place on Wednesdays at 10:30 AM for five weeks (1/18/23 - 2/15/23).  This course will be on Zoom.

Course Description:

"Every emotion is laid bare and dissected, and the painful paradoxes of being human are brought to vivid life.” Pam Dellal, Bach scholar, mezzo soprano, and Director/The Bach Institute, Emmanuel Church/Boston

This class is designed to reveal the musical genius of Bach through his largely hidden cantata gems, which span a huge emotional arc—from joyful to terrifying, playful to grief-ridden, loving to dramatic. Students will experience a variety of Bach’s cantatas out of the 200 extant ones, their magnificence and surprises, their universality and relevance in our own lives. Our exploration will include biographical and historical context, examination of musical elements, and student presentations. Students with any level of musical background (including none) are all welcome! Questions and class discussion are encouraged.

Class Schedule:

Class 1—Introduction and potpourri of vastly different cantatas—including Hell, Lullaby for the Soul, Paradise, Eternity, Murder, and more. Assignment: Cantata BWV 1

Class 2—Discuss BWV 1; will focus on Counterpoint as a Democratic Society, Creativity of the Chorale Cantata, Magnificent Melismas, Setting Words to Music, Use of Solo Instruments to Get Congregation’s Attention, What IS a Recitative? Dance Music comes to Church!, A Love Song, and Unabashed Joy. Assignment: Cantata BWV 78

Class 3—Discuss BWV 78; Will include Deliciously Distinctive Duets—voice and instrumental, Crazy Contrasts in the same Cantata, An Almost Lullaby, Fascinatin’ Rhythm, Lyrics of Heartache, Rant Against Scatterbrained People, a Slightly Risque (NON-Religious) Cantata Duet, and two movements of PURE JOY! Assignment: Cantata BWV 178

Class 4—Discuss BWV 178; Presentation of unique styles including dance-like, graceful, dramatic, emotional and bonus material. Beginning of student presentations.

Class 5—Continuation of student presentations; hand-outs.

Course Leader:

Liz Diamond has a Masters from Lesley College in Education/Integrated Arts and a BA from BU/Concentration in Music. She plays flute, piano and guitar, and taught general music in the Salem MA Public Schools. She created Women’s Educational Media, Inc., producing lesbian educational outreach materials with national distribution. Liz happily represented Steinway Pianos as a piano consultant at M. Steinert & Sons/Boston. In retirement she has loved teaching classical music courses through Rainbow for the past few years. Other passions include walks by the ocean, photography, and talking with kids.

Will run

Create a Travel Sketchbook Journal


with Laura Golly

Calendar Jan 18, 2023 at 1 pm, runs for 5 weeks


This course will take place on Wednesdays at 1:00 PM for five weeks (1/18/23 - 2/15/23).  This course will be on Zoom.

Course Description:

Sketchbook Journaling is a way of appreciating the moments and places we travel every day, or on vacation. In this workshop, we’ll use a mix of Drawing, Watercolor Painting, Collage, Photography, and writing to enrich and document your everyday life. Intended for people with all levels of art experience, the only prerequisite is a willingness to explore art-making as a way of enhancing your life. Art created when you sit still for a time and appreciate the place, the scenery and objects around you, isn’t intended to be perfect, but rather, to capture the moment, the weather and the feeling of the location you’re in. If you haven’t tried making art since you were 10, maybe it’s time you tried again?

Required materials:

Sketchbook, drawing and writing Implements.

Optional Materials:

Watercolors or paint; photos, paper, and objects for collaging.

Course Leader:

Laura Golly has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design [RISD] and an MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design. She is a Professor Emerita of Suffolk University in Boston, and former Program Director of the Graphic Design Program there. She co-taught two journal and art-making workshops in Italy. And she has always loved to travel, and enjoys doing en-plein-air watercolor painting and drawing and uses those skills to enhance her journeys.

Will run

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