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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

We've had plenty of real-life drama lately, right? That's why this edition's only drama is found in the paintings of a Tuscan Renaissance master and the majesty of the animal inhabitants of the African savanna. We're also serving up the comforts of cooking, an intimate audio escape orchestrated by the sounds of daily life, and a conversation on regaining common ground after a divisive election season.

They're among the offerings designed to make sure you continue to enjoy what you,ve come to value from Smithsonian Associates: programs and experiences that are entertaining, informative, eclectic, and insightful.

A Tuscan Getaway

We can't visit Italy right now-but we can make pasta. Join art historian and culinary expert Elaine Trigiani live from her farmhouse in Tuscany for a virtual exploration of the two of the most notable elements of the region's heritage: art and cuisine. In a daytime Smithsonian Associates Streaming program on Friday, November 20, she looks at the dramatic work of Renaissance painter Jacopo Pontormo, a leader in the Mannerist movement and a Tuscan native. Then, taking inspiration from a group of nearby heritage wheat producers, she makes fresh pasta and la lasagna and shares a recipe. It's a delightful way to explore this historic and beautiful corner of Italy-and perhaps get some ideas for your next Italian-inspired dinner.

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Sonic Geography

The New York Times invited readers to submit audio clips of the quarantine soundscapes that surround them. Some of the results have been collected into a small symphony of ambient slices of life. Paired with charming animations, the sounds-ranging from windsong to geese crossing a fall sky, a city street in summer to sheets of rain-conjure up moments of everyday joy.

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Beating the Post-Election Blues

After one of the most polarized presidential campaign seasons in recent history, will it be possible to again find common ground by resurrecting the very American notion of E Pluribus Unum or "out of many, one"? That's the central question addressed in a Thursday, January 14 Smithsonian Associates Streaming program. A frank panel conversation moderated by civility expert and Washington Post columnist Steven Petrow focuses on the challenges before us, as well as actionable advice for individuals, communities-and even politicians. In fact, there's some reason to be optimistic: New research by Public Agenda, a nonpartisan research organization, reveals hidden common ground exists among Americans that can help shift the narrative that we're a hopelessly divided nation. Petrow is joined by Carolyn Hax, the Washington Post's advice columnist; Jamil Zaki, author of The War for Kindness: Building Empathy in a Fractured World; and Will Friedman, president and CEO of Public Agenda.

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Peas, Love and Carrots

When chef Danielle Renov cooks, her food brims with the delicious flavors inspired by her Sephardic and Ashkenazic roots-and her love of family. In a Smithsonian Associates Streaming program on Sunday, December 6, Renov, a Moroccan Jew born in New York and at home in Israel, shares the traditions that inform her recipes in a lively conversation with cookbook author and Jewish cuisine maven Joan Nathan. Renov touches on Sephardic culture and cuisine, Israeli food culture, and Middle Eastern cuisines, and suggests several recipes, including festive Hanukkah ideas, from her new cookbook Peas, Love & Carrots, which is filled with stories, anecdotes, and cooking tips. Now, go cook. Your family will thank you.

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Out of Africa

Who hasn't dreamed of glancing across a dry African savanna or standing beneath a jungle canopy, hoping to get a fleeting glimpse of a wild creature we've only seen in a zoo? For more than 30 years, wilderness guide and wildlife photographer Russell Gammon has been helping to fulfill such dreams, leading safaris to some of Africa's most iconic destinations. Gammon offers a virtual safari to some of his favorites in a Smithsonian Associates Streaming program on Saturday, January 23. They include Serengeti National Park, Botswana's Okavango delta (home to the largest population of African elephants on the planet), the island of Madagascar, and Gammon's top personal pick, the wildlife-rich Lower Zambezi Valley.

Researchers at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute have also had their eyes on the African landscape. As they roam around the savanna in search of food, giraffes and elephants alter the diversity and richness of its vegetation. By studying their foraging patterns across different terrains in a savanna in Kenya, it was discovered that these large mammals prefer to eat their meals on flat ground, potentially impacting the growth and survival of plant species on even savanna landscapes, such as valleys and plateaus. Learn more about the findings and their implications on STRI's website.

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