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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Popular Culture Programs

Lecture/Seminar
Sunday, March 7, 2021 - 3:00 p.m. ET

In a 2-session series, join Sara Lukinson, a longtime filmmaker and writer for the Kennedy Center Honors, as she looks at the lives and careers of some performing arts legends and explores what made the work of these actors and musicians so moving, memorable, and exciting. This session focuses on film heroes.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, March 11, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

The United States didn’t invent cinema, but over the last century it became an American institution. Using clips from movies ranging from Stagecoach to The Dark Knight, film critic Noah Gittell considers a trio of American archetypes that emerged at key points in Hollywood history: the Cowboy, the Rogue Cop, and the Orphan Protector.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

In the years after World War II, television blossomed as a creative medium, with live dramatic shows like “Kraft Television Theater” and “Playhouse 90” showcasing the talents of soon-to-be-famous performers, directors, and writers. But this golden age was a short one, as was New York City’s dominance as a center of production. Brian Rose, professor emeritus at Fordham University, explores the forces behind the demise.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Walk the virtual red carpet with Washington City Paper film critic Noah Gittell in an evening that focuses on all things Oscar, from Academy Awards history and trivia to discussions of this unusual year's nominations and behind-the-scenes stories.

Lecture/Seminar
Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Fairy tales are a profound force of storytelling, extending far beyond the nursery into film, advertising, novels, politics, propaganda, music, and more. Folklorists Sara Cleto and Brittany Warman explore these tales' two intertwining branches: traditional folkloric fairy tales and literary fairy tales.

Lecture/Seminar
Monday, April 26, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Living life like an economist, constantly weighing the costs and benefits of choices in order to arrive at the rational decision that makes the best use of resources, is not an easy thing to do. Economist Brian O’Roark moves through the decisions of life—from finding love to planning for retirement—inspired by the songs of the Beatles. 

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 12, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

A fascinating look at the history of movie theaters examines how the experience of moviegoing has changed over the decades—and whether movie theaters will even survive in the age of streaming services.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

CNN anchor Jake Tapper called on his inside knowledge of Washington’s workings to write his newest period political thriller The Devil May Dance, in which Congressman Charlie Marder and his wife Margaret find themselves launched into the dark side of 1960s Hollywood on a dangerous assignment from Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Join him as he discusses mixing politicos and the Rat Pack in his book, as well as his work covering the non-fictional Washington.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, June 2, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

We loved watching TV series "Downton Abbey" and its glimpses into Edwardian lives. Historian Julie Taddeo looks beyond the show’s period fashions and lavish sets to consider its historical accuracy and what it says about the 21st century.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

The Mouse rules! Over the last nine decades, the Walt Disney Company has transformed every facet of the entertainment business. Author Brian Rose examines the secrets behind the development of this still-growing powerhouse, tracing the remarkable evolution of a small cartoon studio in 1923 into the most powerful force in worldwide media today.