Monday, January 24, 2011

Living Room Lecture Series

Quote of the blog:

Brook: "What else do I have going for me if not my curiosity…and my accessories?"


I tend to live by the phrase “there are no uninteresting subjects, just uninterested people.” My general curiosity has led me astray a few times (“Sure, feel free to cut my hair however you like, why not?” or “How bad can a street-vendor pretzel really be?” And “I suppose I should give John Cusack another chance.”) but generally it serves me well.

One Sunday morning last August I woke up thinking of how much I loved my voice lessons in college (thanks Constance!) and how out of practice I was. I thought of my friend Rachel. She’s a phenomenal singer, has a really fun personality, and I figured she’d be willing to give me a refresher. N.B: One of the many reasons I love New York is the variety of people I get to interact with. You meet people from so many different industries without being in “the industry” yourself. I’ve met bankers, dancers, artists, actors, fashion designers, industrial designers, scientists, architects, archivists, editors, engineers, analysts, publicists, police officers, etc. etc. etc.

As I got ready to contact Rachel I thought of others who would be interested in coming as well. I sent her a text, “Would you want to give a one hour workshop/presentation on the basics of singing?” She responded within minutes, “I would LOVE to!”

That was the beginning.

In church I slid a note to my roommate Gaby (I like to tell myself it was inspiration not irreverence). Gaby is the in-house photographer for a company in Brooklyn and the note read, “Would you be willing to give a one hour presentation on the basics of photography?” She wrote back, “Sure. I actually just did that at work and have a presentation prepared.”

Thus began the shameless exploitation of my friends’ knowledge. I decided to host two lectures a month, every other week on Tuesdays or Thursdays. I was shocked at how easy it was to organize and amazed (and grateful) at how willing people were/are to share their experience and knowledge! Within 72 hours I had booked September-November and starting up again in January. Preparing an hour presentation is no small endeavor but people have been so gracious, even enthusiastic, to share what they know.

I call it the Living Room Lecture Series (LRLS for short) The idea is that the lecture provides attendees with an introduction to a topic of the presenter’s choice (they pick the angle, focus, etc.) that helps people come away with a better understanding and new/enlightened perspective as well as a few resources to find out more, if interested, once the lecture is over. It's a casual fun way to learn from each other.

Typically we have ten to twenty people attend. I’ve recorded every one and will edit and post them as podcasts eventually – I actually met a girl at one of the lectures who has her own podcast and is going to teach me to edit and post! Below is a list of the titles of the lectures we’ve had so far! The full description and presenter’s bio’s are available on the FB group (if you’re interested in joining or reading more):

March: “Untitled: A Test Site for Art & the Artist” by Talia G.

February: “Just Speak to Me” by Joel R.

January: “Less IS More” by Emily O.

November: “Picture this: How to take better photos NOW!” by Gaby G.

October: “So….what is modern dance?” by Carly B.

October: "Entrenching Civil Rights: The Presidential Dimension" by Matthew G.

September: "If You Can Talk, You Can Sing!" lecture by Rachel S.

September: "The Stories of Our Lives" by Alexis C. from StoryCorp


  1. Brook, I love your love for learning! If I wasn't thousands of miles away I could attend these lectures! :)

  2. I wish you were here too! Thanks for the comment!

  3. I had no idea you were the force behind these lectures! (Not that it is surprising) I had assumed it was one of those cool East Coast kind of things that happen, just didn't realize you were the master mind behind it all :D

    *Yes, all Master Minds are allowed a deep "MWAHAHAHAHAHAA" even if they are not Evil Master Minds...