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Sound Bites - Issue #67 - March 2019 #307

On the Cover
Whispers from a Poet

 Lee Broda

Lee Broda

Lee Broda has many voices – as an actor, film and television writer, film producer, songwriter and poet. And she has honed her skill and artistry as a poet in SMC Community Ed poetry instructor Betzi Richard's classes – which helped her shape her just released book of verse, "Whispers from the Moon."

Even The Walls Cry Your Name

even the walls cry your name 
at night—
they miss you.

they miss the pictures I hid, 
the ones that told our story,
shoved into a drawer 
with all our memories
that are still alive,
breathing inside of me,
clinging to every cell, 
every room still smells of you,
refusing to fade.

this house was once our home,
now it is a stranger—
cold, unfamiliar and distant,
just like you. 

A native of Israel, she moved to the U.S. after her military service in 2006, having already performed as a dancer and actor in her home country. In Los Angeles she danced professionally, paying her way through L.A. City College's Theater Academy.

That led to a career in acting, writing, casting and producing, and in 2015 she founded her own film production company, LB Entertainment, which specializes in developing, financing, and producing independent films. LB Entertainment has produced more than 30 feature films, including Michael Almereyda's Experimenter (starring Peter Sarsgaard and Winona Ryder); The Trust (Nicolas Cage, Elijah Wood); and The Forgiven (Forest Whitaker, Eric Bana) and Matthew Heineman's A Private War, which was nominated for two Golden Globes Awards in 2019. LB Entertainment's movies have premiered in the world's top film festivals including Sundance, Venice, Toronto, Tribeca, SXSW, BFI, and New York Film Festival and have been distributed worldwide, garnering international recognition and many awards.

The Santa Monica resident has been writing poetry since she was 12, but became more serious about it in her early 20s. About two years ago, she enrolled for the first time in Richardson's poetry class, and is currently taking her fourth class.

"I had started working on a poetry book, and I felt I needed to step up my game," she said. "The class keeps me on my toes. I get exposed to new poets and I work with Betzi privately outside the classroom to edit and refine my work."

The classes have helped her develop her skills and gain confidence as a poet.

"I like that we get to workshop our poems in class and get feedback," she said. "And our homework gets my creative juices flowing. And we get exposed to different poets. For example, I discovered Polish poet and Nobel Prize winner Wistawa Szymborska, and I probably never would have heard of her if not for Betzi's class."

"Whispers from the Moon," published in December, includes about 100 poems, which she describes as "visceral prose touching on the inspiring quality of love and the sometime-ugliness of relationships that can break us to pieces. The book covers heartbreak, loss, insecurity, love, family, and explores a true relationship to self."

The Vow

I promise to honor
the woman in me,
even when poison pours from her lips,
searing holes of insecurity
into her beautiful skin

I will embrace her deeply, 
even when regret
and past failures
on the walls of her mind

I will love her fully, 
even when her heart
shrinks in fear
and shuts me out

I promise to put her first,
heal her wounds of love,
the burn marks on her soul
from far too many disappointments

I will water her with light, 
feed her kindness,
kiss her scars,
bathe her with love,

until death do us part 

"As a poet, Lee Broda is a ‘natural,'" Richardson said. "She was already in tune with her own voice, connected to and speaking from the depth of her own experience, and aware of her contemporaries, other influential poets of the moment. Toward her own poetry Lee was strongly self-motivated; she worked hard; she sought out, listened to, and incorporated objective feedback—and the result is a beautiful first book of poems, potentially the beginning of a life-time of serious, evolving poetic accomplishment."

Broda said she has also been inspired by themes of women's empowerment, the MeToo movement, nature and travel.

She hopes to release her second book of poetry, "Facing North," at the beginning of 2020.

"I write every day," she said, "and life evolves and shifts, which influences my work and voice as an artist constantly. I want to see how this new year unfolds, before I'm ready to release the new book and share it with the world."

What's New
Sharing My Passion for Education at the Getty Villa

Alice Meyering

A tour of the Getty Villa in Malibu with instructors

from the desk of Alice Meyering

As a docent at the Getty Villa in Malibu for the past nine years, I've led architecture, garden and culinary tours for hundreds of people from all over the world. But earlier this month I led a particularly special tour – for SMC Community Ed instructors.

To express my gratitude to those instructors who participated in our annual Open House in February, I invited the group on what is a passion of mine, both in my private and public lives: education. My volunteer docent work is a continuation of what I do and believe in – educating the public.

For the tour with the instructors, I featured both architecture and gardens, pointing out the significance of floor materials, the use of symbols, the ingenious use of natural light, the special meaning of certain plants to the Romans, and more. On all my tours, I seek to open the eyes of participants to details that they might otherwise never notice, as well as put architecture and gardens in the social context of the day. For example, I show how Americans inherited the Roman's sensibility, aesthetic and tastes.

Whenever I give a tour, I make sure the participants get a thoughtful presentation. It's important to me that I spark their interest, perhaps leading them to research further on their own. I feel that if you remember just one thing from the tour, then I've done my job.

I became a Getty Villa docent in 2010 thanks in large part to SMC. At the time, I was working in the college president's office and he was establishing cultural exchanges with Chinese colleges and universities. I was asked to design an itinerary for a delegation of Chinese educators and dignitaries, partly because I speak fluent Mandarin, and included Getty on the schedule.

From that visit, I learned that the Getty Villa did not have Chinese-speaking docents, and Getty officials were mortified to learn of that language gap. One thing led to another and I was recruited to join the docent roster. I spent a long weekend being trained, but docents are just given basic information and told to do further research to develop their own unique tours.

The Getty Villa was a perfect fit for me. I majored in Literature as an undergraduate at the University of California at San Diego and received my master's degree in Comparative Literature at UCLA. Classics was one of my fields of study at UCSD and I really liked the Getty Villa. I always thought it was beautiful.

Back to the tour I led with instructors Silvia Masera (Italian), Arlene Weinstock (Colored Pencils), Paul Heising (Retirement), Davida Rappaport (Tarot), Robert Klepa (Mediation), and Betzi Richardson (Poetry and Meditation). I find it gratifying that so many of these instructors told me how much they enjoyed the tour. It was particularly rewarding because on that day, the instructors were my students. Our relationship was entirely different from the administrative role I usually have with them.

It gave an added dimension to my deep commitment to and passion for education.

Behind the Scenes:
Make Our Photo Contest Bigger & Better

2018 winning photo, Sunset at Plateau Point, by Catalina Muñoz Mejia

The 1st runner-up was David Clancy for his photo Rude Boys Rose

Hai Vu’s Mural Overlooking People in the Crosswalk, 2nd runner-up

SMC Community Ed is confident that one of its signature events – the annual Student Photo Contest – will be bigger and better than ever this year.

"We've seen a major transformation of the contest from its modest beginnings five years ago to one in which we are blown away by the quality of submissions," said Alice Meyering, Program Coordinator of Community & Contract Education. "Part of this is because our already strong photography program has gotten even stronger as we beef up our class offerings, usually based on what our students want. Of course, you don't have to be a photo student to enter the contest, and in fact one year we had a winner who was not enrolled in one of our photography classes."

This year's deadline to submit images is noon on May 6.

Open to all current and former students, the contest will have a winner and first and second runners-up. The winner's image will be the cover of the Fall 2019 class schedule and will be featured in this newsletter, Sound Bites, and on social media.

"I'm proud to say that we are the only community education program in California that offers a photo contest, at least as far as I know," Meyering said.

Meyering noted that even photos that do not make it into the Top 3 are considered for potential covers of the summer schedules. Meyering pointed out that an image by Chad Suggs, which was submitted for the contest but did not make it to the finals, will grace the cover of this summer's class schedule. Similarly, a  photo by Colleen McKinney, one of last year's participants, was chosen to be the cover of the 2018 summer schedule (and her husband Sean Gehrke surprised his wife by having the cover framed and presented as a birthday gift to her).

Altogether, the 2018 contest drew 150 submissions from 34 participants. Meyering hopes to increase that this year.

The winner of last year's contest was "Sunset at Plateau Point," a stunning image by Catalina Muñoz Mejia. The first runner-up was David Clancy for his photograph "Rude Boys Rose," and Hai Vu's "Mural Overlooking People in the Crosswalk" was the second runner-up.

All current and former students – regardless of whether a photo student with Community Ed or not – are encouraged to submit their best work.

The rules and submission instructions are at this link.

A Home Grown Tarot Reading

Michelle KingMichelle King, Director Career & Contract Ed.

Davida Rappaport, Community Ed Tarot instructor

One of the wonderful benefits of being at SMC Community Ed is having easy access to a vast library of knowledge, all in the heads of our outstanding instructors. And you can even get a free Tarot reading – which I received from our Tarot instructor Davida Rappaport.

It was the first such reading I've ever gotten, and it came at the end of our successful Open House in early February. I don't think I had any pre-set concepts of what a Tarot card reading would provide, but I was certainly skeptical that it would delivery any information of substance.

Having said that, I do believe that one's energy radiates outward – thus, when one is focused (thinking heavily) on something it's likely detectable by others who are willing to pay attention. It's part of our aura.

After selecting my cards, Davida's reading was shockingly on point when it came to two very specific matters that are currently of concern to me.

The reading wasn't spooky nor was it an attempt to predict the future. It was more a recognition of my current concerns and an affirmation of my own intuition.  All in all, an interesting, insightful and entertaining experience.

Thank you, Davida.

Warm regards,

Michelle King
Director of Career &
Contract Education


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