Author: Mary Bennett

Connect and engage through Zoom

The first week of each month has two special zoom gatherings.

Join us on the first Wednesday for the GSA (Genders and Sexualities Alliance) film discussion. We share what we’ve been watching. This month Jeffrey Marsh’s TED talk or youtube videos and Hannah Gadsby’s new show on Netflix Douglas will be part of the discussion. Bring your favorite line from any of these, make a comment or ask a question. See below for links to the links to sign in for zoom calls.

On the first Tuesday, you have a chance to zoom in and meet someone (new?) from your neighbourhood. We’re spread out all over the place, so sometimes a neighbourhood is a pretty large area, but you’ll definitely have a chance to meet someone new.

We’re now hosting one-hour workshops over zoom in place of the in person workshops we’ve coordinated with Luke Zukowski and Janni Kretlow. The video from our session on WhatsApp is available on request. Just ask Mary.

This is where online UCV gatherings initiated by the Connect & Engage team (sub-committee of Membership Development) via zoom are listed and updated.

 

Event Day Starts at Notes Sign-in at Contact
Virtual Coffee Hour Sunday 12 pm All welcome ucv.im/coffee-hour Mary
Film and theatre sharing LAST Monday 4 pm Small group ucv.im/theatre Mary
Neighbourhood group connections 1st Tuesday 7:15 pm small groups 2-3 people ucv.im/neighbourhoods Mary
Zoom practice session

We will be focusing on specific skills each week

Thursday 2 pm basic practice; also host/co-host practice ucv.im/zoom-practice Mary
GSA Monthly Film Discussion 1st Wed tbc 7:15 pm July will be Thursday July 2 with Netflix party ucv.im/gsa Mary
Tech workshops
Saturdays — check schedule 3 pm Must RSVP ucv.im/tech-workshop Luke, Janni, Mary

For descriptions of these events, just search on the website or go to upcoming events https://ucv.im/events

Links to upcoming Connect an Engage Events on Zoom

Note that there are other video conferences organized and hosted by Kiersten and others. All open online events can be found here: https://ucv.im/events

Zoom Practice will take place at on Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Genders and Sexualities Alliance Netflix Party will take place at on Thu, Jul 2, 2020 at 7:30 pm - 9:45 pm

Virtual Coffee Hour will take place at on Sun, Jul 5, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

UCV Neighbourhood Groups Monthly Tuesday Night Zoom Chat will take place at on Tue, Jul 7, 2020 at 7:15 pm - 8:15 pm

Vegan Cooking - with umami will take place at on Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Zoom Practice will take place at on Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Virtual Coffee Hour will take place at on Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Feminist Book club across Canada will take place at on Sun, Jul 12, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Zoom Practice will take place at on Thu, Jul 16, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Virtual Coffee Hour will take place at on Sun, Jul 19, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Zoom Practice will take place at on Thu, Jul 23, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Virtual Coffee Hour will take place at on Sun, Jul 26, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Film and Theatre Sharing via Zoom will take place at on Mon, Jul 27, 2020 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Zoom Practice will take place at on Thu, Jul 30, 2020 at 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Virtual Coffee Hour will take place at on Sun, Aug 2, 2020 at 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Upcoming Tech workshops

Working with Breeze - creating forms will take place at on Sat, Jul 11, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

SLACK Workshop with Luke Zukowski will take place at on Sat, Jul 18, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

SLACK Workshop with Luke Zukowski will take place at on Sat, Jul 25, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Working with Breeze - tags - advanced - setting up auto tags and smart tags will take place at on Sat, Aug 15, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Working with Breeze - for committee chairs and small group leaders will take place at on Sat, Aug 29, 2020 at 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Using UCV’s Pro Account

To book a zoom call using UCV’s Pro accounts contact Marcus or communications chair Marie Witt

Mary Bennett, Connect & Engage team

 

Zoom Security: Be sure you’re updated to version 5 before coffee hour on Sunday

Post update May 29, 2020 by Mary Bennett

If you’ve been zooming, you might have been invited to update to version 5 – with higher security measures.

Zoom is making it mandatory after Saturday so you’ll need to do this before Sunday morning to connect to coffee hour.
If you phone into zoom, no problem. Continue as you were.
Here’s an article explaining why.

How do I upgrade to Zoom 5.0?

There’s no point waiting, you might as well upgrade your app right now, if you have time. Updating is pretty simple —if you don’t have the app you can download the latest version. If you already have the Zoom desktop client installed, you can check for updates by signing in, clicking your profile picture, and then clicking “Check for Updates.”

If you use the Zoom app on your mobile, the latest version is available from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

Zoom includes some detailed instructions in its Help Center. If you prefer a visual guide, a YouTube video is available explaining how to update.

Using Zoom securely Love it or hate it, most of us have to use Zoom at some point. Therefore, it’s important that we are as secure as possible when we do.

Embedded Passwords

The Communications Committee has confirmed that we can embed the password in a link but the zoom link will not be posted on any website or facebook and has never been used before. So for zoom calls, if you follow the shortlink (e.g. ucv.im/coffee-hour) you shouldn’t need to have a password. If there’s a problem, contact the person who set up the call.

In other words, if you’ve used the links that start with ucv.im in the past, those will still work: You just won’t have to type in a password.

You can test it out between 9 am and 10 am on Sunday morning if you’re not confident. I’ll have ucv.im/coffee-hour open for you to drop in and say hello.

Any questions about this decision, contact Communications Committee chair Marie Witt communications@gmail.com

Post update April 8 by Mary Bennett

Last Saturday, Zoom changed all zoom call settings to require passwords on all scheduled calls and disable the possibility of people joining before the host. Many UUs across Canada and beyond were emailing and discussing on facebook how to let their people watch the Sunday service (ours is on youtube, so it wasn’t a problem) and get into coffee hour discussions (we do use zoom for that.) CUC responded very clearly and quickly with updates and recommendations. Your communications committee discussed and three co-hosts were deputized (as Erin referred t it) so that we could carefully screen anyone wanting to join coffee hour. We had 25 people on line in 5 separate breakout rooms and things went smoothly. For the hosts this is more time-consuming so there could continue to be a bit of a lag time at the start.

In addition to what Zoom required, UCV has

  • enabled “waiting room” – so only identifiable people are let into a call
  • disabled the “embedded” password in invitations
  • removed all links to zoom calls on website and facebook replacing with a “shortlink” (which by the way makes it easier for you to remember e.g. ucv.im/coffee-hour for Sunday coffee hour)
  • started workshops for zoom hosts and co-hosts to learn how to help with these measures

Alternatives to zoom

Galen and Christian, part of our tech team, are also exploring alternatives to zoom.

Help the hosts of our zoom calls ensure security.

Here are some things you can do.

On your zoom account, put your own picture and a name that we would recognize, e.g. Jane and John Doe is better than JJ ipad.

Make note of the zoom links somewhere safe. We have removed links from the website, so keep a cheat sheet or put the link into your calendar, whether paper based or computer-based.

If you are left in the waiting room for long, it may be because we don’t recognize your name. If you send the host of that particular meeting a note in advance, it will help to be sure. For larger groups like coffee hour and neighbourhood check-in, we are putting people into breakout rooms quickly so as to keep the main session available for people needing time to connect with the zoom technology and as double insurance in the event that somehow a “zoom bomber” has managed to crash the meeting. Please click JOIN to go to the breakout room. When options are available like coffee hour, if you want a particular breakout room be ready to say that as soon as you’re on the call.

Don’t share the zoom links on a web page or facebook; emailing to a friend is fine, in fact, encouraged, but don’t send to email lists where you’re not sure who is on it.

For coffee hour, remember, it’s a drop-in session. You can join a conversation when you arrive, so taking a real “coffee break” after the service and joining at ten past 12 would mean a smoother approach for the hosts to let people in a few at a time and set up the breakout rooms.

Future possibilities

We are trying to assure privacy, while not making it too cumbersome and discouraging for people to connect, because connections right now are more important than ever.

Some calls may start restricting to “authenticated users only”. This just means you have to be logged into zoom before joining (as zoom bombers are usually just trying to join “on the fly”). Authenticated users have to give their email address to zoom.

If a participant tries to join the meeting or webinar and is not logged into Zoom, they will receive the following messages The host would likely tell you in advance if they are using this function.

New to zoom?

You may have discovered that depending on what device you’re using, the controls are in different places. Here’s a good getting started resource that includes links to the various devices to help you. https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/categories/200101697

Want to test your video or microphone before joining a meeting?

Here’s how: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201362283-Testing-computer-or-device-audio

Zoom bombers

Many of us are using zoom for UCV events and also the many community and activist communities we’re involved with. You may have heard of “zoom bombers” who scour websites for new zoom links to “bomb” your meetings with pornography or racism, creating havoc. Zoom bombers can also just use random numbers so even if the number isn’t publicly posted, they may find it. The controls mentioned above should be enough to make our calls safe from zoom bombers.

Peter Bowden is a UU congregational consultant who offers web training on communications and social media for UU congregations. Here’s his 15-minute video about security for zoom.

It’s well worth watching (as our his various videos on welcoming guests and growing membership.)

Prevent Zoom Bombing: Tips, Settings, and Controls to Help Protect Your Meetings

What is Zoom doing about this?

Blog Post from CEO Eric Yuan

A Message to Our Users

To put this growth in context, as of the end of December last year, the maximum number of daily meeting participants, both free and paid, conducted on Zoom was approximately 10 million. In March this year, we reached more than 200 million daily meeting participants, both free and paid.

However, we did not design the product with the foresight that, in a matter of weeks, every person in the world would suddenly be working, studying, and socializing from home. We now have a much broader set of users who are utilizing our product in a myriad of unexpected ways, presenting us with challenges we did not anticipate when the platform was conceived.

These new, mostly consumer use cases have helped us uncover unforeseen issues with our platform. Dedicated journalists and security researchers have also helped to identify pre-existing ones.

More in-depth article about the issues

https://www.bizjournals.com/sanjose/news/2020/04/03/zoom-ceo-outlines-changes-as-platforms-security.html

Among the changes the company has made, he said, was publishing guidelines last month for users on how to avoid being “Zoombombed” — a phenomenon in which intruders crash into Zoom meetings and display pornography or other shocking content.

Zoom has also removed a link with Facebook in which the Zoom app was sending user data to Facebook, unbeknownst to the user, and has updated its privacy policy, Yuan said.

WhatsApp workshop video available for UCV members

The Connect and Engage team sponsored another tech workshop with Luke Zukowski on Zoom,. Contact Mary at ucvconnect@gmail.com if you’d like to get the link to the recorded video. (Until we have the volunteer to edit it, we’re not sharing publicly)

Your small groups (men’s and women’s groups, covenant groups, or just affinity/friendship groups) at UCV might find it a handy way for communicating.

Here’s the description:

WhatsApp is the most popular way for people to communicate because 2 billion WhatsApp users prefer the convenience of online instant messaging over e-mails or phone calls, especially if it’s just to say a few words.
WhatsApp is a multi-functional communication platform that You can use it to exchange text messages, pictures, videos, audio messages, phone calls, and have group video chats.
During our May 23rd Zoom session at 3pm you will learn about WhatApp mobile app that you can use on your smartphone AND also on your desktop computer.
Understanding WhatsApp: 
1. What is WhatsApp?
2. How does WhatsApp work?
3. Is WhatsApp safe?
4. Pros and Cons of WhatsApp
Using WhatsApp:
 1. How to Download and Install WhatsApp
2. How to Create a WhatsApp Account
3. How to Use WhatsApp
4. How to Delete WhatsApp Messages
5. How to Search WhatsApp
6. WhatsApp Groups
7. How to Back Up Your WhatsApp Messages

Theatre Friends – share your reviews and recommendations

Paula and Mary invite you to a weekly theatre discussion on zoom – Mondays @ 4pm.

Sign in at https://ucv.im/theatre  You’ll need the regular connect and engage password. Ask Mary for it if you don’t know it. ucvconnect@gmail.com

Mary also has set up a private facebook group called “Theatre Friends” – theatrefriendsmary If you have a connection with UCV and/or Mary, you’ll be approved for membership after you answer the member questions and agree to rules.

Hoping to help us all take advantage of the amazing theatre available online at this time, and post-pandemic share theatre reviews and information and perhaps even a theatre project together.

This weekly discussion grew out of a book and video discussion, so we may throw in a bit about what we’re reading and films we’re watching as well. Hope to see you there!

Sponsored by Connect & Engage team, Mary Bennett, chair.

Connect & Engage in a Zoom-time

Our Connect & Engage team is part of the overall Membership Committee. Our focus is on welcoming new members who have joined within the past 5 years.

This meeting will be an update of how we’re doing zoom gatherings to connect and engage and brainstorm of other ways we can help “newish” members meet people and get involved during this time.

If you are on the team, or want to contribute, please contact Mary Bennett in advance of the meeting.

Sign-in information will be sent out prior to the meeting

Red Tulips in full bloom on the labyrinth

On January 8th, Patti planted the bulbs given to Mary Bennett as a Green Streets gardener that celebrate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands at the end of WWII.

These are Liberation 75’ (website Liberation75.ca.)  As intended they were in bloom for May 5th.

Ours are some of 110,000 tulips planted around Vancouver including at Mountainview Cemetery.

Here’s an article about the project:

https://vancouversun.com/homes/gardening/brian-minter-commemorative-tulips

And another one: https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/more-than-110000-tulip-bulbs-commemorate-1945-canadian-liberation-of-the-netherlands/

And from the City’s Green Streets coordinator: Enjoy a virtual tour or go check out some of the gardens for yourself! 
 

 

 

Paganism 101 Wait list – Sign up for next year

Louise Bunn’s Paganism 101 course was offered as a once-a-month session for 10 months with a team of facilitators in 2018-19 and then 2019-20.. Both years we had an extensive wait list. Because of covid-19, the 2019-20 group will complete their program in the fall.

UCV now has a database for ensuring people can join the wait list and we can easily send updates when a new course is starting, likely in January, 2021. Please complete the form below if you want to be notified when the course is next being offered. Contact earthspiritucv@gmail.com  with any questions.

More information here.

 

Women’s Collage group

Covid Collage and Cocktail Party

Mary Bennett is setting up a collage-by-zoom gathering for women followed by cocktail hour and “potluck” dinner

Register here: https://vancouver.breezechms.com/form/covidcollage to receive zoom link instructions.

Date: Saturday May 30 3-5 pm for collage; 5-6; sharing your collages over cocktails; 6-7: dinner with more conversation possibly about covid cooking tips

Several of us who have used “soul collage (r)” techniques will share our experiences and some of our favorite cards with you from 3-3:30 pm. If you want to work in that format, you’ll need 5″ x 8″ backing paper. For collage, many magazine or calendar images, scissors and glue are necessary. A 5×8 view finder is helpful (cardboard with a cutout that size).

Some of us use the cards and envelopes for sealing/”framing”. You can order here.

https://www.hanfordmead.com/catalog/soulcollage%C2%AE-products (not essential)

This is an opportunity for women to gather for creative play and self-exploration using collage. After brief introductions/check-in, we work quietly at our own pace and then before closing share a bit about what we were working on and what it means to us.

Numbers will be limited and the hope is to find women who’d like to do this on a regular basis so we form and deepen our connections with each other as we get to know each other through our art projects.

Scissors, glue sticks, paper and images all available – Mary can arrange a box full if you want to pick up. Calendars are especially lovely.

Please RSVP to Mary maryinvancouver@gmail.com

Supported by UCV’s Arts Committee.

More about collage:

Definition: collage (n.)

form of abstract art in which photos, newspaper clippings, found objects, etc., are glued onto a surface, 1919 (Wyndham Lewis), from French collage “a pasting,” from Old French coller “to glue,” from Greek kolla “glue,” a word of uncertain origin, perhaps Pre-Greek.

Some formats and approaches

SoulCollage(R) is a method for creating images on a 5″ x 8″ surface.

Artist Trading Cards are traded among people and are 2.5 x 3.5

Art Journal Collages

(Just google any of these phrases or “collage fine art” to find interesting information. You’ll find myriad videos on youtube as well.)

If you’d like to be part of a women’s group that shares the coordination of these gatherings on a monthly basis contact Mary maryinvancouver@gmail.com.

Leadership rotates: When it’s your turn, you come early and stay late to set-up and cleanup; send out a reminder to the group. Optional: If you want to propose a theme or a special project you can, or just have a “do your own thing” session.

If you’d like to be on a wait list if the group opens, complete this form.

Here’s some info you may find interesting:

SoulCollage®

If you’re interested in SoulCollage®, you can find some videos on youtube to provide an introduction.

This is a nice four-minute introductory video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QygfSxYerwg

This one is a good how-to Step by Step video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PscsoVlOihA

This shows how to use the viewfinder, marking the points of the corners for cutting.

Among the final embellishments which are often not done, there’s a suggestion to outline the edges of the pasted on images with a metallic paint sharpie.

It’s only visual. There’s (imho) annoying loud music, so just turn off the audio.

Virtual Coffee Hour: What would you like to talk about and with whom?

Coffee hour starts at 12 noon. Join at ucv.im/coffee-hour (regular password)

Breakout rooms are set up with a variety of options including some of these:

  • sermon discussion – share comments about today’s service hosted by a member of the Connect and Engage team
  • chat – you just want to connect with some other Unitarians – talk amongst yourselves and perhaps meet some new people!
  • family chat – hosted by religious education
  • environment discussion – hosted by a member of UCV environment team
  • (Please let me know, preferably in advance, if there’s a topic you’d like to discuss so I can add to the options.)

Unless you voice a preference or, better yet, send via chat or even rename yourself (Try it, you’ll like it), you’ll be invited to the chat room. To rename yourself, do this: Hover over your name in the participants’ list and click Rename to change your screen name displayed to other participants. From: https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/200941109-Attendee-controls-in-a-meeting

When others leave your breakout room, you can return to the main session to be placed in a different room. Let’s see how we can make this work smoothly.

Co-hosts: There will be several co-hosts on to make sure we’re only letting in identifiable UCV folk. You’ll need the password which has been sent out over various emails and is also a (shhh!) secret you can find here: https://safenote.co/r/5e9203f24a7e88@00971576

It helps us to know it’s you if you have updated your zoom profile with a name we’d recognize and also your picture. Click here to see how to do that https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/201363203-Customizing-your-Profile. For instance, jane’s ipad (or simply “ipad”) doesn’t work as well as the full name, Jane Doe. We don’t actually have a UCV member named Jane Doe so we would probably leave both jane’s ipad AND Jane Doe in the waiting room until everyone’s in their breakout rooms.

A note from your host, Mary Bennett: It’s a bit of a scramble getting people sorted out to the right breakout rooms, deputizing folk as co-hosts etc., so this isn’t a time where I can actually chat with you personally. We will likely use mute-all a fair bit but you can communicate through the “chat” (text messaging) and once you’re in a breakout room all is good. Most of the breakout rooms will have a co-host with you that can help facilitate the conversation and may be able to help you with technical issues as well.

When you first get into the main session, please let me know which group you want to go to and then watch your screen for an invitation to that room. If you somehow get into the wrong room, come back to the main session and let me know where you’d like to be. If you’re in a room all by yourself or with one other person, please wait. It’s like a “real” meeting–there are often latecomers.

I want to continue to keep the main session as a “welcome table” – Just like the entrance to Hewett Hall there’s not space for people to congregate there so I hope you’ll move along and find your group.

If you’re not familiar with zoom, please join the weekly zoom practice session if you can. Unfortunately clicking “help” from a breakout room is not likely to work as I’m busy with other logistics. You can return to the main session and see if I or someone is available to assist.

I’ll try to check my email ucvconnect@gmail.com after everyone is sorted into breakout rooms. So if you have difficulty getting on, send a note there and I’ll probably be able to respond by 12:15 pm.

On Sunday, just click here to join us: ucv.im/coffee-hour 

All members and friends are welcome to join. Watch our Sunday service on youtube and then join us for coffee. Visitors welcome. You can come directly after the service, or drop-in at any point.

 

You can leave the breakout room (small group discussion) and return to the main session at any time.

If you’d like to set up your own group at that time, Mary as the host can put you and your people together in a breakout room. (The monthly book group does this.)

There are usually 4-6 people in each group to allow lots of time for each person to share.

Discover and discuss LGBTQ+ themed films

by Debra Sutherland

UCV GSA (Genders and Sexualities Alliance) Film Discussion Group

You are invited to our next Zoom meeting on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:15 pm on zoom

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/v5Qqduqupj8iFyUp2_WeCrvz-_U2meqnFQ

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Our UCV GSA met via Zoom earlier this month and enjoyed a lively, interesting and informative session reviewing and recommending wide-ranging films and Netflix series.  I have summarized the films mentioned with the hope that at least one of the series or films will intrigue or interest you, and that you will join us at our next meeting.

Please Like Me is a very clever, well-acted, highly-rated, award-winning Australian comedy/dramedy series that premiered on Netflix in 2013 and continued on for four seasons.   Please Like Me follows Josh, a twenty-something student who’s just been dumped by his girlfriend because he’s gay but hasn’t realized it until then. It is also about so much more than gay relationships – it is about family and friend relationships – and their relationships in turn, and mental health too (it’s not who you might think).  The series was created by stand-up comic Josh Thomas who has mined his own life experiences to full advantage.  Some GSA members were already enthusiastic, happy fans while some like me, had never heard of the show.  I am happy to report that I too am now an enthusiastic and happy fan and also that it is possible to binge watch the whole series in fairly brisk fashion as the number and length of the episodes are relatively short.  I laughed out loud a lot – up until the end of Season 3 anyway, but interestingly the appeal of the series waned for me in Season 4.  So I think Thomas was wise to end the series even as his most loyal and die-hard fans clamoured for more.

Happily, we fans of Please Like Me now have Season One of the new series Feel Good (Netflix, 2020) to enjoy.  It too is a very clever, well-acted, highly-rated, brisk semi-autobiographical comedy-drama set in Britain but featuring Canadian stand-up comic Mae Martin as she/they navigate her/their relationship with a previously straight British woman whose inability to come out of the closet causes deep pain; and then there are the complications of Mae’s addiction struggles.  Think it can’t possibly be funny, think again!  Here is just one of the many stellar reviews, this one from the New Zealand Herald:  “Feel Good’s six episodes (still the perfect series length) strike an extremely watchable balance between intensity and levity, the two often blurring together to create some sublime moments of television”.  Needless to say, I am really enjoying the series!

A film we discussed, that couldn’t possibly be more different than the Please Like Me and Feel Good series, is the Spanish film, Elisa & Marcela (2019), also available on Netflix. It is the fictionalized account of the fascinating and remarkable true story of a very determined Spanish lesbian couple, who, having been lovers for fifteen years, fooled (out of necessity) a priest into marrying them in 1901. The marriage was never annulled and thus remains in the record books as Spain’s first-ever same-sex marriage!  Written and directed by the famed and prolific Isabel Coixet and shot in black and white with some lovely and beautiful art house touches (a bit of a unfortunate flop though, when applied to the sex scenes) the film was nominated for several European awards. The critics, however, have not been kind to this movie and I reluctantly concur.  I did feel drawn in for the first third of the movie and then less so along the way (except for brief moments) although the ending did pull me back in as well.  I think the movie is worth a watch in spite of its flaws and shortcomings – I may even watch it again!  It is a tough and tender story that, as noted by one critic, “deserves an audience but also, and sadly, a story that deserves a stronger film”.

Other films were also briefly introduced and likely to come up for discussion at our upcoming meeting.  Unorthodox (2020) is a new Netflix four-part mini-series that follows Esty, a young woman who flees her marriage and her ultra-Orthodox Hasidic New York community for Berlin.  The series, based on Deborah Feldman’s 2012 memoir, then alternates between Esti’s new life in Berlin and the one she left behind, The reviews are very positive and I enjoyed part one and I look forward to watching the rest of the miniseries.

Pain and Glory (2019) is the latest film of highly acclaimed, award-winning and ultra-prolific (37 films) Spanish director and icon Pedro Almodovar. The film follows Salvador Mallo (Antonio Banderas), a successful director, now in physical decline, as he grapples with his past, and with loss, memory and meaning.  Almodovar has gone back and forth over whether or not Pain and Glory is autobiographical but the film is said to be immensely personal and also one of his best works.  Pain and Glory is reviewed very highly favourably by a host of critics and I am looking forward to seeing the film – it is not on Netflix as of yet, but likely can be found on a pay for viewing platform…even I may yet find it on itunes if I ever figure out my smart TV!

Professor Marsden and the Wonder Women (2017) is the story of psychologist Marston and his polyamourous relationship with his wife and their mistress, both of whom inspired his creation of the superheroine, Wonder Woman.  Sounds interesting to me.  It is available on itunes and again, I hope to access it soon!

Carrington (1995) is a biographical film, starring Emma Thompson and Jonathan Pryce, about the life of British painter Dora Carrington and her unusual relationship with writer Lytton Strachey and others in the Bloomsbury group.  A member also recommended the book Bloomsbury Pie by Regina Mahler that chronicles the story of the Bloomsbury boom.

Last Tango in Halifax is the much praised BBC One comedy-drama series, started in 2012 with Series 5 just airing this January – they must be doing a lot right!  The series is lauded for its focus on and treatment of its two septuagenarian lead characters as well as for the inclusion of LGBT themes.  The series is available through iplayer.

Finally, and notably, a few of us were also able to watch the movie Behind the Curtain: Todrick Hall (2017) on Netflix that the Out on Screen organization had set up on Netflix Party (some of us couldn’t quite figure out this digital extension but we watched anyway, without the sidebar chat).  It is a joyful, moving (there’s some tough stuff too) and inspiring documentary of an amazing, multi-talented and creative young queer black artist as he launches his first full scale original musical stage tour “Straight Outta Oz”.  He had already made a well earned big name for himself as a Youtube artist and American Idol contestant, and he is now a Broadway star as well!

Hope to see you at our next Zoom meeting, first Wednesday at 7:15!