Sunday, May 20, 2018

‘Freemasonry and Existentialism’

The Masonic Philosophical Society will have its hands full two Sundays from now, when the topic of discussion will ask “How does the Existentialist viewpoint influence our reality?” From the publicity:

Masonic Philosophical Society
How Does the Existentialist Viewpoint
Influence Our Reality?
Sunday, June 3 at 2:30 p.m.
Whitestone Masonic Temple
149-39 11th Avenue
Whitestone, New York

June’s topic will be conducted by Bro. Anthony Sokol on a study of “Freemasonry: How Does the Existentialist Viewpoint Influence Our Reality?” After a short lecture, a discussion and debate by the group will follow.

The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey and Ed Harris, is a movie about a television show starring Truman who lives his entire life in a fabricated reality. In the movie, the focus is on the philosophy of existentialism and skepticism. As with existentialism, the character Truman explored the questions: Is our existence absurd? Where am I going? What is the meaning of life?

As in this movie we can ask ourselves if what is true for one person is true for another. We then have to ask ourselves if truth is perhaps subjective. Join us this month as we look at how Freemasonry relates to existentialism as we explore it against the backdrop of The Truman Show.

‘A Masonic view of Yale’s campus’


I don’t know about you, but the closest I’d ever get to Yale University would be as a tourist. Fortunately, the research lodge that meets in New Haven will host a presentation Wednesday that will Masonically decode the university’s campus.

Bro. Larry Bowman will deliver his research paper titled “Masonic Insignia Around Yale’s Memorial Quadrangle” at the New Haven Masonic Building (285 Whitney Avenue) at 7:30 p.m.

Take that, you Bonesmen, with your really running the world and all that!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

‘Call for papers: ESSWE’

In preparation for its Seventh Annual Conference next year, the European Society for the Study of Western Esotericism has issued a call for papers. “Western Esotericism and Consciousness: Visions, Voices, Altered States” is scheduled for July 2-4, 2019 (NOT June 25-27, 2019 as announced previously) at the University of Amsterdam. From the publicity:

The history of Western esotericism from antiquity to the present is filled with reports of unusual and sometimes spectacular experiences that are claimed to convey higher, deeper, or even absolute knowledge about the true nature of reality. Some typical examples are the many references to direct supra-rational gnosis, ecstatic experiences, and states of divine manía (madness or frenzy) or possession from antiquity to the present; visionary travels to other places, other worlds, or other levels of reality, as well as to past or future periods and events; visionary encounters with intermediary beings (for instance angels, demons, spirits, elementals, ascended masters, divinities); the hearing of inner voices, receiving or “channeling” of spiritual messages, and communication with disembodied entities; and ineffable experiences (for instance apophatic unity) that are difficult or impossible to express through normal discursive language. Common to all such reports is that they fall within the general phenomenology of human consciousness and seem to require some kind of modification or alteration of the normal or average mental states that allow us to negotiate consensus reality. All this makes the experiential dimension of Western esotericism (in both its historical and its contemporary social manifestations) extremely relevant to academic disciplines such as cognitive studies, consciousness research, psychology, or psychiatry. ESSWE7 will be the first major international conference to bring these perspectives in conversation with one another in the context of the study of Western esotericism.

On the level of the humanities and the social sciences, we hope that the conference will provide participants with an ideal opportunity for learning about the phenomenology of unusual experiences across the entire historical spectrum of Western esotericism from antiquity to the present. Here the emphasis will be on empirical research and specialist knowledge about specific historical and contemporary cases. Furthermore, on the level of the study of consciousness, we hope to explore larger and more theoretical questions concerning such topics as the taxonomy and etiology of altered states, their neurobiological foundations, or their relevance to wider concerns such as cognitive functioning or mental health. Here the emphasis will be on how such approaches may help us understand and even explain the rich record of historical and empirical materials central to Western esotericism and, conversely, how these can serve as case studies for the study of consciousness more in general.

ESSWE7 will also be an occasion to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Center for History of Hermetic Philosophy and Related Currents at the University of Amsterdam.

Keynote lectures

Prof. Yulia Ustinova (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)

Prof. Karl Baier (University of Vienna, Austria)

Prof. Sonu Shamdasani (University College London, United Kingdom)

Call for Papers/Sessions

The academic ambitions for this conference are high. While we are aiming for a large and inclusive conference, paper and session proposals will go through a careful selection procedure so as to make sure that the final program will have a sharp focus on the conference theme. We encourage creative and innovative thinking across disciplines combined with deep analysis of specific contexts, materials, sources, or topics. As the ESSWE wants to provide a podium for intensive contact and exchange between scholars on all levels of the academy, graduate and post-graduate students as well as more experienced or established scholars are all encouraged to participate and submit proposals for papers. We are confident that ESSWE7 will be a foundational event for a budding new field of research that has considerable potential for the future.

Each conference session will have a length of 120 minutes, providing room for four papers.

Paper presentations should have a length of 20 minutes, leaving 10 minutes room for discussion.

Conference language: English.

Please send your paper or session proposal here. Before doing so, please have a look at the submission guidelines.

Important dates

Deadline for submission of papers and session proposals: October 1, 2018

Notification of acceptance and beginning of registration: January 15, 2019

Early bird conference fee: January 15, 2019

Normal conference fee: April 1 to June 25, 2019

Click here for ESSWE membership information.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

‘Philosophical ideals of friendship’

The next study day at the School of Practical Philosophy will focus on Transcendental ideals of friendship, with an examination of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson. From the publicity:

Emerson and Thoreau on Friendship
School of Practical Philosophy
Sunday, June 10, 8:30 to 1 p.m.
12 East 79th Street, Manhattan
$30 per person—Register here

Come be inspired by the fine principles of friendship, as expressed in the writings of two great American philosophers, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. The guidance and insight they provide apply to all of us and can be of great benefit in our lives. Their friendship reflected the ideal of Transcendental philosophy, which is that true friendship requires the best of us: honesty, sincerity, equality, and reverence. A friend stands for all of humanity and is a gift from God. They inspired each other, challenged each other, had several rifts with each other, but they always had total trust and faith in each other. Each sought to help the other with genuine acknowledgement and affection, while addressing the need for self-reliance and love of freedom.

All are welcome. No prior study is required.

Sign in at 8:30 a.m. Brief introduction at nine o’clock, followed by two study sessions in small groups. Reading materials and light lunch included.

Sunday, May 13, 2018


When Freemasonry’s ritualists added the Liberal Arts and Sciences to the lodge’s purview centuries ago, and rhapsodized about music—that “elevated science”—I can’t imagine they could have envisioned Kinky Friedman, but that’s their loss. The Texas troubador is emerging from some kind of semi-retirement these days, and will be touring with Brian Molnar.

Kinky and Brian: together again.

I think it is safe to say that Friedman has performed with no other Past Grand Master of the Cryptic Rite of Freemasonry. If I’m wrong about that, I’ll happily correct the record. (Brian’s band is named the Naked Hearts, get it?)

The two, who have toured together several times previously, will perform in Jersey City soon. Tickets available here. And they will play City Winery in Manhattan too. Tour dates here. From the publicity:

At long last, Kinky Friedman’s second musical act begins. With the proclamation that it “is what music was, before it came homogenized, trivialized and sanitized,” Kinky is dropping his first all new CD of original tunes in four decades. Called Circus of Life, it presents a side of Kinky that few would have suspected in the halcyon days of the Texas Jewboys, laying perhaps legit claim to the title “The Leonard Cohen of Texas.”

And on July 6, he will be releasing it on his own terms and on his own Echo Hill Records label. A monster summer tour will follow. Yep, Kinky is finally doing it his way. Harking to his early years, he has chosen to ignore the Nashville ethos, that all must be concertedly “radio friendly,” sweetened, and over-produced. What he and producer Brian Molnar have delivered is simply one of the most beautiful albums of this year or any other. The first single, Autographs In The Rain (Song to Willie), is already in heavy rotation on SiriusXM Outlaw Country, and there are at least four more top shelf A sides.

Speaking of Brian Molnar, he will be touring as Kinky’s opening act for most, if not all shows, promoting his new CD Within Blue, also on the Echo Hill Records imprint. Kinky and Brian have worked a number of tours together and now deliver a seamless performance, opener to headliner.

It started with a call from Willie Nelson, who asked Kinky what he was doing at that moment. Kinky answered truthfully that he was watching Matlock, the old TV chestnut, to which Willie replied, “That is a sure sign of depression, Kinky. Turn Matlock off and start writing.”

Kinky did just that and started writing the songs he hadn’t written or even contemplated for decades, tunes like “Jesus In Pajamas,” “Me And My Guitar,” and “A Dog Named Freedom.” After writing several songs, Kinky called Willie to let him know how successful his advice had been. When Kinky asked Willie how he was doing, Willie replied, “A little up, a little down. By the way Kinky, what channel is Matlock on?” Circus of Life, by way of Matlock—via Willie.

With Joe Cirotti on multiple instruments, and Mickey Raphael, Augie Meyers, Original Jewboy Little Jewford, Clay Meyers and Jim Beal providing amazing grace notes, not a single track on the album fails to reach its very high mark. Kinky may “just have to stick with songwriting” after all. To verify this, he’s taking it on the road, for one of the longest, most comprehensive tours of his storied career. After flash mob-style appearances in Galveston, Houston, and Nacogdoches, the Circus Of Life Tour begins in earnest in Pittsburgh, and rumor has it that it will continue forever. Yes, the second act has begun. May it never end.

With each of Brian Molnar & the Naked Heart’s last three albums, peaking out over fixtures of their genre on radio play charts all around the country, it would not be surprising to have an overwhelming feeling of comfort and familiarity when experiencing their music for the first time. For nearly a decade Brian Molnar has been carrying his acoustic guitar and wrought melodies back and forth across the United States connecting audiences with a feeling of American tradition and unique thoughtfulness that has been too often diluted in recent memory. Now with a full supporting band behind him, sharing the stage with contemporaries such as Ralph Stanley, Chris Hillman, Bernie Worrell, Garth Hudson, and Neal Cassal, it seems that a genuine Americana resurgence is upon us, with each new Naked Hearts’ release setting its tone.

Brian Molnar’s newest release, Of the Fall, spent four weeks standing strong at No. 1 on the World Wide Roots 66 chart, and remains in the top 10 nearly four months after its release. The band’s prior live record, Miss You, hit No. 7 on the Roots Music Report chart in New York, and No. 36 country-wide, while the band’s previous studio work, Temperance & the Devil, peaked at No. 27 on AMA (Americana) chart, and 9 on the FAR radio chart in Europe and the USA. With such a promising track record and constant live appearances by Molnar with and without the Naked Hearts, the sky is the limit, and makes Brian Molnar a name to remember in the coming years.

“...they continue to push the boundaries of Americana in sound and spirit beyond what has become an ossification too frequent in the form.”
Chris Spectre, Midwest Record, on Of the Fall

“The Naked Hearts play Roots Country with conviction… the band demonstrates a thorough understanding of what it takes to make authentic music.”
Steven Stone, Vintage Guitar Magazine, on Of the Fall

“Treading the midnight highway dividing line between country and the Ash Grove, he evokes a turning point just before everything changed and too much got lost.”
Mark S. Tucker, Fame, on Of the Fall

Friday, May 11, 2018

‘Livingston Library lecture for May’

If it’s May, it must be time for the Livingston Library’s fifth lecture of 2018. From the publicity:

300th Anniversary of Freemasonry
Presented by Bro. Jorge Luis Romeu
Chancellor Robert R. Livingston Masonic Library
71 West 23rd Street, 14th floor
Thursday, May 31 at 6:30
RSVP here
Photo ID is required
to enter Masonic Hall

Last year, Freemasonry, as it exists today, arrived at its 300th anniversary. On June 24, 1717, four London lodges met to create the first grand lodge. Before that, Masonic lodges had existed, but mostly operated independently from each other. The new Grand Lodge of England provided Freemasonry with structure, common rules, visitation rights, and a modern philosophy: the Enlightenment. It was the beginnings of modern civil society.

Freemasonry introduced several concepts revolutionary for their time and place. Men were assessed by their merits, and not by their wealth or social status. Lodge leadership was elected, not hereditary. Members observed religious tolerance. Such ideas had a strong impact in the development of modern Western thought, as well as in the histories of many countries in Europe and the Americas.

The study of the history of Freemasonry has become an academic topic. CEHME (Centro de Estudios Históricos de la Masonería Española), a European academic organization, holds an international meeting every three years, most recently in Spain, and soon in Portugal. REHMLAC (Revista de Estudios Históricos de la Masonería Latinoamericana y Caribeña), a sister Latin American academic organization, also holds similar meetings. In the United States, UCLA also has held such seminars, among other academic institutions.

Bro. Romeu is a dual member of the Grand Lodge of New York and the Gran Logia Soberana de Puerto Rico. He is a Lodge member of Liverpool Syracuse Lodge 501, The American Lodge of Research, Western New York Lodge of Research, and Jose Celso Barbosa Logia 106 in Puerto Rico.

Jorge Luis Romeu
He received a Ph.D. from Syracuse University in Operations Research in 1990; a Masters from Syracuse University in Operations Research in 1982; and his Licenciado from the University of Havana in Mathematical Statistics in 1973. He is a Senior Specialist in the Sponsored Research Office at the State University of New York Institute of Technology at Utica/Rome, as well as a Senior Science Advisor at the Reliability Information & Analysis Center at Quanterion Solutions Inc./RIAC. He also serves as a Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Research Professor at the L.C. Smith College of Engineering & Computer Science at Syracuse University. His expertise is in statistics and operations research modeling and analysis; quality, reliability, SPC/DOE, industrial statistics, international education, and engineering education research.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

‘Grand Honors!’

Courtesy Bro. Bruce B.
Bro. Oscar Alleyne
RW Junior Grand Warden
At the 237th annual communication of the Grand Lodge of New York today, these brethren—arguably the A-Team—were elected and installed:

MW Grand Master William Sardone
RW Deputy Grand Master Richard Kessler
RW Senior Grand Warden Charles Roberts
RW Junior Grand Warden Oscar Alleyne
RW Grand Treasurer Steven Adam Rubin
RW Grand Secretary Richard Schulz

Courtesy Bro. Giovanni L.
MW Bill Sardone, left, is our new Grand Master.
MW Jeffrey Williamson, right, left office today.

In addition, the new DDGM of the Glorious Fourth is RW Michael Sternfeld. He will convene a town hall meeting next Wednesday at Masonic Hall.

(That’s all the information I have so far.)

Brethren, wherever dispersed over the face of the earth and water, how about Grand Honors, taking time from yourselves. And throw in a Vivat! Congratulations to all!


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

‘George Washington’s beer brewed anew’

Courtesy Anheuser-Busch
George Washington was on many Masonic minds yesterday, the anniversary of his first presidential inauguration. There was a day of celebration at Federal Hall, including the annual re-enactment of the swearing in by a group of New York Masons. Not to eclipse any of that bonhomie, but Anheuser-Busch, which isn’t even an American company any longer, announced this morning it is brewing a beer based on Washington’s own handwritten recipe from 1757. From the publicity:

Budweiser Celebrates Summer
with Freedom Reserve Red Lager

The new beer will continue Budweiser’s
support of Folds of Honor

Today, Budweiser unveiled the newest addition to its Reserve Collection: Budweiser Freedom Reserve Red Lager. The new beer was specially brewed by Budweiser’s own veterans and builds on Budweiser’s long-standing support of American veterans with a portion of proceeds sold this summer benefiting Folds of Honor, a non-profit organization providing educational scholarships to military families. As of this year, the company has raised $14 million in support of Folds of Honor.

Courtesy Anheuser-Busch
Freedom Reserve Red Lager is the second specialty lager to appear in Budweiser’s Reserve Collection, and is inspired by George Washington’s hand-penned recipe from his personal military journal dating to 1757. Packaged both in a vintage stubby bottle and also available in a one-pint can, the Red Lager is brewed with toasted barley grains for a slightly sweet aroma with a touch of hops, a rich caramel malt taste, and a smooth finish with a hint of molasses.

Freedom Reserve will be available beginning in May through September 30, or while limited supplies last.

Courtesy Anheuser-Busch

Marking the seventh consecutive year Budweiser is teaming up with Folds of Honor, the brand brought together a select group of Budweiser brewers who are also proud veterans to brew Freedom Reserve and their signatures are prominently featured on each bottle and can.

Budweiser, an American-style lager, was introduced in 1876 when company founder Adolphus Busch set out to create the United States first truly national beer brand-brewed to be universally popular and transcend regional tastes. Each batch of Budweiser stays true to the same family recipe used by five generations of Busch family brewmasters. Budweiser is a medium-bodied, flavorful, crisp and pure beer with blended layers of premium American and European hop aromas, brewed for the perfect balance of flavor and refreshment. Budweiser is made using time-honored methods including kraeusening for natural carbonation and Beechwood aging, which results in unparalleled balance and character.

I was a beer snob by the time I reached high school, and I wrote off Budweiser when I was 14, but I definitely will try this brew.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

‘Giorgio Gomelsky was a Freemason?!’

I first encountered the name Giorgio Gomelsky more than 35 years ago when, as a teenager, I was busy tracking down Yardbirds records, and spotted his name in the liner notes. It wasn’t easy finding those LPs in the early ’80s. You needed a sympathetic merchant willing to keep an eye out for used out-of-print vinyl, and imports, and reissues, and bootlegs, and whatever else, but I gradually accumulated them. I don’t know why Giorgio Gomelsky remained in the trivia section of my brain all this time, except that I once thought it a highly unlikely name for a purveyor of early 1960s London blues-rock bands, and such quirky things tend to stick.

So I was bowled over today to learn that Gomelsky, who died in 2016, was a Freemason. And a New York Mason at that.

Bro. Francis Dumaurier announced the progress of his new book. From the publicity:

The French editor Camion Blanc has recently published my book, Mon Ami Giorgio Gomelsky—Rolling Stones, Beatles, Yardbirds, Magma, Gong which is available in paper and Epub versions on Amazon. It features 40 original photographs and illustrations that are published for the first time. I am finishing the English translation, and will try to find an American publisher when the final version is cleared by my editor.

This book celebrates the love of life and phenomenal vision of a giant of a man with whom I shared a close friendship of 30 years. He was the first manager of the Rolling Stones, and introduced the Stones to the Beatles. He managed and produced the Yardbirds, launching the careers of Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, and Jimmy Page. And he managed and produced Gong and Magma in France, and was a keystone of the New York underground rock music scene for more than 30 years.

Brother Giorgio Gomelsky was also a member of l’Union Française Lodge 17 from 1986 to 1996, where he served as Senior Warden.

Francis Dumaurier, in addition to being an author, is an actor you might know from The Post and a slew of television programs.

Monday, April 23, 2018

‘Practical Plato studies next month’

One of the most apt complements to Masonic studies that I can endorse is the School of Practical Philosophy’s regular course load, and its special events and lectures—to wit:

Plato Study Day
Sunday, May 20
8:30 a.m. registration
9 a.m. day’s program
3:30 p.m. wine reception
School of Practical Philosophy
12 East 79th Street, Manhattan
Register here

The Study Day program comes from Plato’s “Alcibiades I,” an imagined conversation between the great philosopher Socrates and the 18-year-old Alcibiades, an ambitious and talented youth who would later play a major role in Athens and on the world stage.

In this dialogue, Socrates takes the lead in trying to awaken Alcibiades to the ignorance that prevents him from understanding the true qualifications for achieving his enormous ambition, and, more importantly, from realizing his own true nature.

As we watch Socrates’ intelligence at work, it becomes apparent that we, like Alcibiades, will benefit from examining our beliefs, priorities and actions in light of the issues raised in this dialogue.

  • What are the most damaging ideas to hold?
  • How can ignorance be removed?
  • What are the success factors for a happy life?
  • What is self-knowledge?

Join us for a conversation that addresses some of the most important questions a human being can consider.

The day includes an opening presentation, group study sessions, a Greek lunch, light entertainment, and closing reception. Family and friends are welcome, and no prior study of Plato is necessary.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

‘See Washington inaugurated amid a day of festivities’

It was on April 30, 1789 when George Washington was inaugurated president of these United States, and every year the Masonic brethren of New York re-enact that historic moment. This year is no exception, so get down to Federal Hall to witness the celebration. (If you’re familiar with the debate over whether the first president said “So help me God” at the end of his oath of office, click here for an argument in favor—unless I’ll see you at dinner that night, in which case you can listen to me explain it all.)

From the publicity:

Please join us April 30 at 11:45 a.m. as we proclaim our heritage and commemorate the inauguration of our first President George Washington and the Heroes of 1776, many of whom were Free and Accepted Masons.

Two hundred and twenty-nine years ago, on April 30, 1789, George Washington was sworn in as the nation’s first president and gave the first inaugural address. The American government was based in New York that year. Congress had met for the first time on March 4, 1789 in the city’s former city hall, at the corner of Wall Street and Nassau Street, which a year earlier had been redesigned by Pierre Charles L’Enfant in the Federal Architecture style—the first such building design in America—thus the building was renamed Federal Hall.

This event is sponsored by the George Washington Inauguration Reenactment Committee of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York.

A full luncheon will be served after the ceremony, in a private room upstairs, for $10 per person.

In addition, Federal Hall will have a daylong celebration of the historic event.

At 10 a.m., the Old Barracks Fifes and Drums will perform 18th century music on the front steps of Federal Hall.

At 10:30, see a debate—“Conflict and the Constitution”—between Thomas Jefferson and Alexander Hamilton.

At 11:45 see the Washington inauguration re-enactment.

At 1:30 p.m., “George Washington’s journey from Virginia to the inauguration in New York City, presented by Norman Goben.

At 2:30, a presentation on John Jay, portrayed by Phil Webster.

On top of all that, Federal Hall offers a museum exhibit through the end of the month. From the publicity:

Many Faces of George Washington

Federal Hall is very excited to host a traveling exhibit from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History titled “The Many Faces of George Washington.”

The exhibit presents the many facets of Washington’s leadership through dazzling color graphics of paintings, photographs and iconic objects from the Mount Vernon Collection.

The exhibit will be on display on the second floor balcony until April 30. Stop by and check it out!

And of course the Rangers give tours of Federal Hall at 10 a.m., and 1, 2, and 3 p.m. every day.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

‘The “decadent” order of architecture!’

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art will offer a study on the Composite Order next month, with a look at the Solomonic Column also. From the publicity:

Elements of Classicism:
Unpacking the Composite Order
Instructor: Mason Roberts
Saturday, May 12
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
ICAA National Office
20 West 44th Street, Suite 310

Register here

Decadent! This is just one of the utterances one may hear when asking modern day architects what their feelings are on the Composite Order. In spite of its ranking as the highest and most complex of the five canonical orders, the Composite is perhaps the least used and understood in the contemporary practice of Classical design. Why is this? Is it the level of elaboration of the capital combining a rich mixture of Ionic and Corinthian characteristics? Is it the unique Roman connotations of the order?

The purpose of this course is to provide an in-depth study of the composition of this underutilized order, its history, and its proportioning. A brief overview of the Classical Orders will introduce the development of the Composite as it emerged in Ancient Rome. The study of its proportioning will involve a hand drawing tutorial during which participants will draw the base and capital, including the volute geometry, according to the treatise of Andrea Palladio. The course will conclude with a look at case studies of the application of the canonical Composite in various building types, including some rare modern-day examples. As part of this survey, the geometry of Bernini’s iconic Solomonic Column, with its undulating Baroque shaft, will be examined in detail.

Course Materials: Sketchbook or drawing pad (loose leaf paper acceptable - recommended size 11 x 17), drawing pencils or lead holder with drawing leads (F, HB, B, or 2B recommended), ruler or architectural scale (12 inches minimum), pencil sharpener or lead pointer, simple drawing compass (optional). Materials are available for loan upon request.

What You Will Learn:

  • A brief introduction of the classical orders
  • The history of the Composite Order, showing its evolution from antiquity to the present
  • The proportioning system of the Composite Order, according to Andrea Palladio and Gian Lorenzo Bernini
  • The application of the Composite Order to building types and design elements

Mason Roberts is an architectural designer for Robert A.M. Stern Architects and holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture.

The Institute of Classical Architecture & Art is a nonprofit membership organization committed to promoting and preserving the practice, understanding, and appreciation of classical design. To do so, the ICAA offers a broad range of educational programs. These include intensives for architecture and design students, introductory programs for middle school students, lectures and walking tours for the public, continuing education courses for professionals and enthusiasts, travel programs to visit classical masterpieces, the publishing of original and reprinted books, and an annual journal titled The Classicist. Through the annual Arthur Ross Awards, as well as other national and regional award programs, the ICAA also honors contemporary leaders of classical design and the related fields.

The ICAA is a national organization, with 15 chapters across the country and headquarters in New York City. Each chapter organizes its own local programming to reflect the unique members and architectural traditions in its region. The ICAA’s membership represents the diverse and dynamic cross-section of all those involved with the building arts, from architects and designers, to patrons and artisans. These members benefit from the robust network of local and national programs and networking opportunities. Likewise, the organization is continually enriched and inspired by responding to the needs, interests, and passions of its growing membership base.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

‘Sankey Lecture postponed’

Thanks to the vicissitudes and inclemencies of this cold spring season, the Dr. Charles A. Sankey Lecture, that would have taken place today, has been postponed. Look for a September or October rescheduled date to hear William Moore. From the publicity:

Charles Sankey
This annual lecture series is named in honor of RW Bro. Charles A. Sankey (1905-2009) and is part of the partnership between the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario and Brock University.

The partnership established between the Grand Lodge and Brock University, St. Catharines, has proven most productive and mutually beneficial to both educational institutions. Its beginning was with the initiative of Heritage Lodge 730 to support and maintain the Masonic collection in the James A. Gibson Library, and continuing with the posting on line of the Proceedings of Grand Lodge from 1855 to 2010.

Dr. Sankey served as Chancellor of Brock University from 1969 to 1974. A renowned Masonic scholar, he was active in all the concordant bodies of Masonry including the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, the Royal Order of Scotland, and Royal Arch Masonry. His extensive collection of rare Masonic books and papers is in the Special Collections of the James Gibson Library at Brock, providing a rich resource for research scholars, and continues with the posting online of the Proceedings of Grand Lodge from 1855 to 2010.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

‘Bridegroom to present Spring 2018 Truman Lecture’

John Bridegroom
I love seeing friends make the rounds on the national Masonic speaking circuit, so I’m happy to see the news of Bro. John Bridegroom being chosen to deliver the Spring 2018 Truman Lecture in Missouri. You may know John from his work as proprietor of The Masters Craft, maker of outstanding Masonic regalia, jewels, and other finely crafted items. And, if you’re a reader of The Journal of the Masonic Society, the lively layout and design of the magazine is John’s handiwork.

From the publicity:

Please join the Missouri Lodge of Research and the Missouri York Rite on June 9 at noon at the Captiol Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Jefferson City as we present our Spring 2018 Truman Lecture Series guest, Bro. John A. Bridegroom, as he presents a talk on the Arts and Crafts of Freemasonry. This lecture will present an introspective look at the art of our jewels and regalia, as well as other aspects of our fraternity, and why we should embrace them. Tickets for this lunch and lecture, open to the public, cost $35 per person. Click here.

Monday, April 9, 2018

‘BOTA’s Vibratory Attunement on World Healing Day’

Builders of the Adytum, the group that postulates certain meanings in “Qabalah, Sacred Tarot, Spiritual Alchemy, and Esoteric Astrology,” has a chapter that meets at Masonic Hall. On Saturday, April 28, it will host its annual Vibratory Attunement Ritual at 4 p.m. in the Chapter Room on 12. Admission is free and open to the public. Photo ID is required to enter Masonic Hall.

From the publicity: “BOTA members, their guests, and the general public are invited to participate in this beautiful ritual of healing and transmutation by building patterns of harmony through ancient vibratory formulae of color and sound.”

I attended a presentation of this ritual several years ago, and found it very interesting. Knowing only a whiff of conversational knowledge about esoteric uses of sound and color, I was very lost, but not hopeless. The ritual involves enough elements that are very familiar (archangels, cardinal directions, prayer, meditation, Scriptural passages, et al.) so that those experienced in other esoteric streams can grasp what’s being done. If you think this sounds like New Age gibberish, I would just say that sound and color, as manifestations of mathematics, were handed down by Pythagoras and other giants of Classical Greece, and should be fairly easily understood as patterns for harmony.

I am not a member of BOTA, but if you attend this open event, you’ll be supporting a long-term tenant of Masonic Hall. Also, Saturday the 28th is World Healing Day, so here’s something you can do.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

‘Is Harry Potter a Freemason?’

Maryland Masonic Research Society’s meeting on May 5 will feature a presentation on themes and symbolism in the Harry Potter stories. From the publicity:

Maryland Masonic
Research Society
Saturday, May 5 at noon
“Is Harry Potter a Freemason?”
Presented by Walter Benesch
Odd Fellows Lodge
6 Ingleside Avenue in Catonsville
RSVP for lunch here before April 30

Courtesy Scholastic Corp.
In the books from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone to Deathly Hallows, a careful reader can find multiple Masonic symbols—the first book alone traces Harry’s journey as an Entered Apprentice. How?

Come and listen to our talk. For those who are unfamiliar with the books, there will be a slideshow presentation to acquaint you with the charters and Masonic symbols used in the books. By reviewing how Masonic symbolism can be found in the Harry Potter books where you least expect, it may be found elsewhere.

After the presentation, you may want to take another look at other pieces of literature, movies, and plays in a new light, looking for the hidden and sometimes not so hidden Masonic symbols.

Join us for lunch to enjoy the company of MMRS members at the Odd Fellows. Enter at the side door on Orban Avenue.

Friday, April 6, 2018

‘Inklings celebration, Mythcon 49, coming to Atlanta’

Mythopoeic Society’s 49th Mythcon will be hosted in Atlanta in three months. Titled “On the Shoulders of Giants,” there is a call for papers underway and registration is open now.

The society is devoted to mythopoeic literature, particularly that of the Inklings, the Oxford University circle of friends that included J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. From the publicity:

Mythcon 49
On the Shoulders of Giants
Atlanta, Georgia
July 20-23

The Mythopoeic Society’s annual conference, popularly called Mythcon, has historically been held at a college or university campus in late July or early August. Each conference is constructed around a theme related to Inklings studies and/or fantastic and mythic literature. Each conference also features an author and a scholar guest of honor. Papers, panel discussions, readings, entertainment, an art show, a dealers’ room, and other activities fill the four-day event. Another Mythcon highlight is our annual banquet, after which the Mythopoeic Awards are presented. A small (usually 100-200 people) and intimate setting makes Mythcon an excellent venue for meeting people with common interests. You may see the full history and individual conference pages by visiting our Mythcon History page.

Registration here.

Call for Papers

Our theme is suggested by the ways in which Inklings scholarship has built on such good foundations. Papers exploring this theme might include, but are not limited to any of the following:

• The past, present, and future of mythopoeic scholarship and independent journals
• Academic, audience, and critical reception of mythopoeic literature
• The history of fandom, fan communities, and fan-fiction
• Adaptations of mythopoeic literature — film, music, gaming, and more
• The mythopoeic giants who inspired the Inklings — including Homer, Dante, Milton, George MacDonald, William Morris, G.K. Chesterton, and the most prolific of them all, Anon.
• Giants as literary figures in myth, fairy tale, and mythopoeic literature — Atlas, Goliath, the Norse Giants, Grendel, Gogmagog, Tolkien’s Trolls, the Giants and Ettins of Narnia.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

‘Drama and music at Anthroposophy’

The Anthroposophical Society of New York City has a month of great programs for April, including these artistic evenings. That’s 138 West 15th Street in Manhattan. Admission: $10-$20 donation suggested. 7 p.m. start times. From the publicity:

Thursday the 12th
This War Is Not Inevitable
Lightweight Theatre presents a play

At the end of The Great War, sparked by bitter nationalist rivalries, Rudolf Steiner’s plan for a “Threefold Social Organism” aimed to make war impossible, limiting the power of the state by freeing cultural life and the economy as the state’s coequals. Two actors, Michael Burton and Ryan Kouroukis, playing a dozen parts between them, show how the rulers of the time received this idea. One hundred years later, could the time for Steiner’s approach be now?

Saturday the 14th
New York City Classical Guitar Society

An evening with members of the New York City Classical Guitar Society. Two seasoned performers enchant and entertain with a variety of pieces and styles.

Aryeh Eller studied guitar in Israel, earned a Bachelor of Music Degree from Brooklyn College and a Master of Music from Manhattan School of Music, and won the Andres Segovia Award for “Furthering the Spirit of the Guitar.”

Serguei Krissiouk studied guitar in Kiev, Ukraine, and music theory and composition in both England and Germany. His repertoire includes Renaissance, Baroque, Flamenco, and his own compositions.

Friday the 27th
Lecture: Heartfelt Thinking

Serguei Krissiouk returns to present “Heartfelt Thinking.”

How do we perceive? What is awareness? Through perception, our cognitive process constructs the world as we know it, but is it possible for us to perceive differently and to see what we usually do not notice? Is it possible to perceive the unknown? Is our thinking only a repetitive, analytic, and mechanical function? Or is it a living process warmed by the heart? As indicated by Rudolf Steiner, living thinking is a very important step in the process of development of higher cognitive abilities. Heartfelt thinking opens the doors of understanding.

Serguei Krissiouk is a student of life and a seeker of knowledge. He is an Anthroposophically trained physician, holistic counselor, homeopath, and musician.

Saturday the 28th
The Russian Art Song
Presented by Dorothy Emmerson

Traveling to Russia in the 1990s, Dorothy discovered the wonderful world of romansy. Her path to the Russian art song began when she lived and went to school in the late 1940s as a diplomat’s daughter. Accompanied by Elizabeth Rodgers, Dorothy brings to these soulful and intimate songs the clear and direct expression of her American musical comedy heritage.

Dorothy Emmerson is a professional actress-singer who has appeared on Broadway and in regional theater across the country. She was on the faculty of the Michael Chekhov Studio, and in Japan she recorded an album of classic Broadway show tunes for Columbia Records (which is available in the bookstore).