Virtual Lectures via Zoom Webinar

Spring Series  2022


Franco Gallippi

Italy’s Visible and Invisible Cities

Presented by Franco Gallippi
Tuesdays, April 12 to May 31, 2022
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

Offered as virtual lectures via Zoom Webinar

Registration is now closed for this lecture series.

Italy’s Visible and Invisible Cities

Journey to eight Italian cities, some very well known (visible) and others less so (invisible). Embark on a quest to discover the many facets of Italian culture through its most celebrated citizens, landmarks and historical events.

April 12 – Torino (Piedmont)

The importance of this city goes back to the movement that brought about the unification of Italy. It is the city of FIAT, and the hope of prosperity and a better life for countless southern Italians who came to work in the factories of Torino in the sixties and seventies. Close by are the cities of Alba and Asti, famous not only for their wines, but also for Italians who have defined Italian identity across the globe.

April 19 – Venezia (Veneto)

What is the best way to experience a city like Venice? Is Venice a museum/Disneyland or the city of the future? Its university, Ca’ Foscari, brings new life to the city, as does the flow of tourists. From Giotto to Tintoretto to Palladio, Italy has given the world a city that should not exist, yet it does. For this, all effort is made to “save” it.

April 26 – Bologna (Emilia-Romagna)

Pasta and tortellini, towers, the oldest university in the world – and more. Bologna la dotta (learned)/ grassa (fat)/ rossa (the red) is also known as the city of water. On the coast we find Ravenna and Rimini, respectively the home of extraordinary mosaics and the birthplace of the great film director Federico Fellini.

May 3 – Perugia (Umbria)

Learn the secrets behind the making of the famous baci perugina chocolate. Located in the region that gave the world Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of Italy. Francis’ biography reveals much of the character of the people of Perugia and Umbria – hard work and stamina in difficult conditions.

May 10 – Aquila (Abruzzo)

A university town, Aquila is located beneath the highest peak of the Apennine mountains. It is the place that held Mussolini under arrest in the summer of 1943. Close by is Sulmona, the birthplace of Ovid, Civitaretenga, home of the best Italian saffron, and Tocca da Casauria, famous for its 70% liqueur, Centerba.

May 17 – Napoli (Campania)

There is the Naples that sings, that chatters, that seduces you with song and poetry. The Naples of craftsmanship and artisans, of mothers who sacrifice themselves for their children. The Naples of unwritten laws and rival clans. And finally, the Naples of rare beauty and ancient mysteries, hierarchies reminiscent of the feudalism that has marked its history.

May 24 – Matera (Basilicata)

A city that was viewed as the “shame of Italy” became the most spectacular city in Italy after WWII and was designated a UNESCO site in the early 1990s. Featured in a number of well-known novels and films, Matera was the European Capital of Culture in 2019 and is home to one the best cheeses of Italy – “caciocavallo.”

May 31 – Reggio di Calabria (Calabria)

Many people visit to see the two Greek bronze statues that were found in the 1970s off the coast of Riace. In antiquity, this area of Italy was part of the “Magna Grecia” (Great Greece). We will discover what makes it great still.


Franco Gallippi studied at the universities of Florence, L’Aquila and Venice, and later completed his PhD thesis, Calvino: Reader of Leopardi and Galileo, at the University of Toronto in 2007. He was Assistant Professor of Italian literature and cinema at McMaster University in Hamilton from 2005 to 2009, has taught at the Italian Cultural Institute in Toronto, and is a public lecturer on topics related to Italy and its culture. He currently teaches Italian language, literature and cinema at York University and Brock University. His publications on Italian literature and cinema are available in books and in the academic journals Quaderni di Italianistica, Italica, Rivista di Studi Italiani, and Italian Canadiana.

For more information on publications and presentations see

Bob Bryden

Bob Bryden

The Glorious Hollywood Musicals

Presented by Bob Bryden
Thursdays, 7 April to 26 May 2022
10:00 AM to 12:00 noon

Offered as virtual lectures via Zoom Webinar

Registration is now closed for this lecture series.

This lecture series will take us on a rollicking journey from the early musicals like opera, minstrel shows, vaudeville and the first “talkies” through all the decades of the twentieth century and right to the 2020s and shows like La La Land and Lady Gaga in A Star is Born.

Join one of the foremost cinema experts on the scene today and hang on for an enlightening ride that will forever change your perspective on music in the movies.

April 7, 2022 – 1927 to 1940

A foundation in opera, operetta, minstrel shows, vaudeville, revues and the early “talkies.” From Al Jolson to Fred Astaire. The Warner Brothers and the meteoric rise and impact of Busby Berkeley. Composers George Gershwin and Jerome Kern.

April 14, 2022 – 1940 to 1950

The war years. Keeping the home fires singing and dancing. Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. The reign of MGM and its competitor, 20th Century Fox. Rodgers and Hammerstein emerge.

April 21, 2022 – 1950 to 1954

Widescreen and stereophonic sound. The musical reaches its peak. From Annie Get Your Gun, An American in Paris, Singin’ in the Rain and Calamity Jane to The Band Wagon, Kiss Me Kate, Brigadoon and Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Doris Day, Howard Keel, Cyd Charisse, Kathryn Grayson.

April 28, 2022 – 1955 to 1959

The song-propelled story musical. Oklahoma, with Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones. Fox triumphs with The King and I and South Pacific. Fred Astaire continues his reign. Funny Face – and Audrey Hepburn dances. MGM scores with Gigi.

May 5, 2022 – 1960 to 1964

A new sophistication emerges with West Side Story. Disney’s triumphant Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews, fresh from Broadway’s Camelot. The Warners strike gold with The Music Man and My Fair Lady. The French connect with Umbrellas of Cherbourg

May 12, 2022 – 1965 to 1969

After The Sound of Music’s astonishing success, Hollywood flounders with a few bloated commercially unsuccessful productions: Doctor Dolittle, Half a Sixpence, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Hello Dolly, and Star – but Oliver is a hit.

May 19, 2022 – 1970 to 1979

Fiddler on the Roof, Willy Wonka, Man of La Mancha carry on the old tradition. Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar serve as inspiration for the youth. Conversely, the age of the cynical musical emerges with Cabaret and hits a low with the most bitter of all, All That Jazz. Ingmar Bergman proves Mozart the father of popular musical theatre with his film The Magic Flute

May 26, 2022 – 1980 to the present

The grand escapism of the golden age of Hollywood seeps away. The replacement comes in the form of the animated musical beginning with Disney’s The Little Mermaid. The truly modern musicals arrive. A Chorus Line, Chicago, Rent, Into the Woods, etc. A failed attempt to revive the “live-action” musical with Newsies produces a rebound back to Broadway where the stage version becomes a smash hit. We all go to La La Land, Mary Poppins Returns and Lady Gaga scores with the remake of A Star Is Born.

Bob Bryden has been writing and recording since the 1960s. He describes himself first as a songwriter, then a singer and a guitarist. Founder of legendary psych band Reign Ghost and legendary progressive rock band Christmas, member of Benzene Jag and Age of Mirrors, and originator of numerous other solo albums and projects. In 2018 he celebrated 50 years as a recording artist.

Bryden’s musical journey began with his exposure to motion picture music at a very tender age, which resulted in a lifetime passion for the genre. He is known for his voluminous knowledge of the history of music in film. He made a name for himself in Hollywood circles for his hand in locating and restoring 30 minutes of footage from John Wayne’s The Alamo, considered forever lost. After a 30-year worldwide search by MGM/UA and aficionados to find a print with the missing footage, Bryden recalled seeing an uncut print in Toronto in the 1980s and was able to lead the team to where the print was stored.


For more information, visit him on Facebook at, sample his music at or see his videos by searching Bob Bryden on YouTube.