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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

Popular Culture Programs

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, January 19, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

In a conversation with journalist Ken Walsh, actor Martin Sheen discusses his iconic role in The West Wing, as well as its impact on television’s depiction of government and how we view our real-life national leaders.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, January 27, 2021 - 6:45 p.m. ET

Mel Brooks, Johnny Carson, and Carol Burnett—all recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors—made it look easy, but nothing is harder than comedy that seems effortless. Join Sara Lukinson, filmmaker and writer for the annual event for 38 years, for an evening full of laughs as she covers the remarkable lives of these legendary entertainers and screens clips of their hilarious performances.

Course
Wednesday, February 3, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Some moments in movies never leave us: a snappy line of dialogue, a dance in the rain or by the Seine, a timeless love song, a great last line. Documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson revisits some of our favorite movies, setting them against the backdrop of their times, the people who dreamed them up, and the America they reflected—or asked us to imagine. This session focuses on Some Like It Hot and Tootsie.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

“Leave the gun, take the cannoli.” Food plays a key featured role in Francis Ford Coppola’s first entry in The Godfather trilogy. Italian-born Ermelinda M. Campani, examines the 1972 film’s intertwined perspectives on food and family, which encompass ethnic identity, personal honor, violence, and power.

Lecture/Seminar
Wednesday, February 10, 2021 - 6:30 p.m. ET

Join Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey for a sure-to-be-memorable interview with Gayle King as he shares unvarnished stories from his memoir Greenlights and explains how they instilled in him the importance of values, the power of new experiences, and, as he puts it, “either changing your reality or changing how you see it.”

Lecture/Seminar
Tuesday, February 23, 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.

Course
Wednesday, March 3, 2021 - 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. ET

Some moments in movies never leave us: a snappy line of dialogue, a dance in the rain or by the Seine, a timeless love song, a great last line. Documentary filmmaker and writer Sara Lukinson revisits some of our favorite movies, setting them against the backdrop of their times, the people who dreamed them up, and the America they reflected—or asked us to imagine. This session focuses on musicals in film history during the 1940s and ’50s.

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.