January 2019 Calendar

Happy New Year!

Monday, January 7 at 5:30; Gallery Opening

 Photographs by John Ames, who writes:

“My show is called “One Mile Radius”. It consists of street photographs taken within a one mile radius of the club. I’ve had a lifelong interest in photography and since my wife Sarah and I retired from running our art gallery/antique shop in Camden, Maine, I’ve become more serious about working with a camera.”

Guests welcome at the Opening;  Monday Night Dinner members only at 7 p.m.

Wednesday, January 9, 12:15; Arts Round Table Lunch

Taverner Elliot Davis will speak to us about building the collection for the Art of the Americas Wing of the MFA over the past eighteen years. Since coming to the MFA to chair the department in 2000, Elliot has overseen the opening of the new  wing and the acquisition of some 4,300 works of art for the Museum from North, South, and Central America.

Elliot has recently left the MFA to take up her new appointment, in March, as director of the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach.

Guests welcome. Reserve with Mr. Fay.

Tuesday, January 15, Noon; Play-Reading Lunch

We will open the year with the French play that “killed off the nobility” (according to Danton):  Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro. And the expansion of the play into Mozart’s greatest opera (according to our impresario, George Heaton) will grace the background.  The library curtain will lift on the Overture around noon, followed by reading and lunch.  As the last line of the libretto says:  “Corriam tutti a festeggiar!”  Please reserve with Mr. Fay.  (Future play-reading dates are Feb 12, Mar 12, and April 16.) 

Wednesday, January 16, Noon; Book Club Lunch

Jock Herron will lead our discussion about an important book at the heart of the Green Revolution and environmental science: Charles Mann’s The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Groundbreaking Scientists and Their Conflicting Views of the Future of Our Planet. William Vogt, an ecologist, is the prophet and Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, an agronomist, is the wizard. Their conflict was over earth’s capacity to accommodate growth. This timely and fascinating book engages opposing views on a very wide range of topics important to all of us. Guests welcome. Reserve with Mr. Fay.

And so you have time to read it, our February 20 book discussion will be “The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World” discussed by Laury Coolidge.

Thursday, January 17 and 31, 12:20; MeistUrsingers

Welcome to all Taverners who like to sing! Downbeat at 12:20, Reserve with Mr. Fay if you can stay for Lunch.  MeistUrsingers are “working” on music for their annual Concert on April 25.

Special Thursday Evening Event, January 17; Charades

Start the New Year with laughter. Come to Charades Night on Thursday, January 17. How would you act out Gone with the Wind? Hum to the tune of Yesterday?   

Charade Maestri James and Connie Houghton will lead us in an evening of fun and creativity as we join different teams to compete in the Great Charades Playoff.  An informal buffet will invigorate the players. This is an evening for all ages. Bring friends and family.  Reserve early with Mr. Fay.  

Wednesday, January 23, 12:15; History Lunch

Robert Cutler, long time Taverner and the first head of the National Security Agency (1954), is the subject of a biography, Ike’s Mystery Man, by his great-nephew, Peter Shinkle, a seasoned print journalist, who used the Tavern Club Archives during the research phase. Published by Random House, the book has received excellent reviews and offers us yet another angle on the Eisenhower/Dulles Cold War era. 12:15 Reserve with Mr. Fay. Guests welcome. 

Special Thursday Evening Event, January 31

World Diplomacy with Stephen Walt

Walt is a professor of international affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School. No stranger to controversy, Walt very publicly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and later, with his colleague John Mearsheimer, published The Israel Lobby in 2007. Walt’s newest book is The Hell of Good Intentions: American’s Foreign Policy Elite and the Decline of U.S. Primacy.

More information to follow, but please sign up soon with Mr. Fay. Guests welcome.

In Case You Missed It:

The Christmas Feast proceeded with its time-worn and yet ever-wondrous confusion of solemn and absurd. Songs were sung by MeistUrsingers in front of the still unlit Yule Log. Bear (George Meszoly) and Santa (Elliot Davis) appeared.  Margery Kennelly delivered a Blessing and Warren Ross a Christmas Poem.  

Buttons were awarded to Nick Clark, Brett Donham, Martha Eddison and Elaine Woo, and the faux Boar’s Head paraded. New members Joe Glenmullen and Benjamin Taylor were presented with their medals and the Perry Address was delivered. Staff were thanked, but the truth is that we can’t ever thank them enough.

The Christmas Play, The Button Hunter, a spoof on our very own Tavern Club, was brilliantly penned both book and lyrics by Andy Doherty, in his writing debut for the Tavern Players. Tuneful and artful music, written by Jim Crissman and played by an able orchestra that included Jim, Hal Churchill on clarinet, Jeff Peters on french horn, Brigid Williams on recorder and Gabrielle Wolohojian on the violin, filled the hall to the delight of all.

Crisp direction by Bob Osteen, whose clear command of pacing and comic timing kept the mock-epic tale of over-achievers in a tidy and effortless form. The play’s protagonist, Chadwick Tryhard (George Perkins), desperately wants to be awarded gold buttons for achievement.  Unclear on what he can do to win them, Tryhard receives advice, ridicule—and love, even—from other “Taverners,” (Rusty Tunnard, Elaine Woo, Mary Scott, Sally Spence, Nick Clark, and George Heaton).  Eventually, he learns that his efforts have been thwarted by the High Priestess of the Billiards Committee (Jane Shaw) who took offense when Tryhard actually knew how to play Billiards. In a fitting nod to the Christmas season, Santa Claus (Elliot Davis) arrives to grant Tryhard’s wish, bestowing the long-sought buttons upon him, to thunderous cheers from the actual Taverners assembled.

Lighting was perfectly managed by Gabrielle Wolohojian and David Lawrence.  The set, a facsimile of the Tavern itself, was crafted by Warren Ross and Mary RhinelanderMitch Adams helped with prompting, and all important back-stage cat herding. Anne Carter found wigs and costumes, Gabrielle came up with glowing buttons, and the poster was by Katharine Boden. (Members can log onto http://www.TavernClub.org and see photos by John Tittmann under “Gallimaufry”).

Coming in February:

Monday, February 4, Gallery Opening at 5:30
Paintings, Nancy Maull

–Nancy Maull, Secretary

To download a printable copy of the January 2019 Newsletter, click here.

January 2018 News

January 2018 Tavern Club Calendar

Tavern Club Oral History Project or The Low Ebb On File
January 17 12:15 for 12:30

For those interested in learning more about the Tavern Club Oral History Project, this will be the opportunity. Initiated a year ago, this effort attempts to provide a more granular layer of Tavern Club experience than the traditional TC Histories. Our goal is to let voices speak for themselves as we capture the Tavern Club in different eras and from different points of view. Having completed our first five projects, we’d like to share our experiences and grow the project — help us figure out how to do that! Interviewers [Belinda Rathbone, Jane Shaw, Frinde Maher, Carol Bundy] and interviewees [Peter Aitken, Peter Gunness, Tony Zane, Robin Thompson, Jim Terry, Jack Cobb, Jim Storey] will talk a bit about the experience. We want feedback from those who have already participated and new ideas from those who haven’t yet.  There is no protocol for the interviews, as might be predicted.  So far, each of our interviews is unique—perhaps reflecting the singularity of our interviewees and their interviewers.

Bear Charades Night

Charades Night
January 18

The Third Annual Tavern Team Charades Night, Thursday, January 18.

Drinks, dinner and fierce competition for members and guests beginning at 6 pm.  Please call James Houghton at (617) 488 9279 with questions and/or call or email Tony Fay at the Club to sign up, (617) 338 9682, manager@tavernclub.org.

MeistUrsingers Lunches
Thursday, January 11 and 25

Downbeat 12.20, followed by lunch.  If you like to sing, you are welcome!  Remember to sign up if you can stay for lunch.

The Committee on Elections will meet on Monday, January 22 at 5.30 in the Library.

Members are reminded to check the Book in the Library for new candidates.

Committee on Election Members include:

Committee on Elections

  • Ed Tarlov, Chair
  • Katharine Boden
  • Mark Green
  • Rob Loomis
  • Polly Drinkwater
  • Jock Herron
  • James Houghton
  • Nick Clark
  • Rusty Tunnard
  • Elaine Woo

Visit https://tavernclub.org/gallimaufry/proposing-a-candidate-for-membership if you have a candidate for membership.

Poetry Lunch
Tuesday, January 23, Noon

For the Poetry Lunch, we’re happy to announce a visit by Susan Barba. Born in New Jersey, Susan earned her doctorate in Comparative Literature from Harvard and now resides in Cambridge. Her writing has appeared in Poetry, Raritan, the Hudson Review, the Yale Review, Harvard Review, Boston Review, Words Without Borders, and elsewhere. She is a senior editor for New York Review Books. We’ll read a few poems from her new collection, Fair Sun,  published last year by our recent guest David R. Godine. Guests welcome.

Book Club Lunch
Wednesday, January 24, Noon

A Gentleman in MoscowTaverner Peter Rand will lead the Tavern Book Club’s discussion of Amor Towles’s beautifully written novel A Gentleman in Moscow. The book follows Count Rostov’s 30-year house arrest in Moscow’s Metropol Hotel for writing a subversive poem. Rostov weathers gripping adventures in the company of an Eloise-like little girl, and it becomes clear that the man makes the home, not the other way around.

Guests welcome – reserve with Tony Fay

Next month the Book Club will meet on February 28 when Tavern military expert Peter Haines will lead our discussion of Ron Chernow’s monumental biography of Ulysses Grant.

Future Book Club lunches will feature Michel Lewis’s The Undoing Project, and Daniel Khaneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow, led by David Scudder.

In the spring Alice Cornwell will lead a discussion of her work in progress­­—a collection of short stories revolving around themes of home and family.

The Christmas Play, Dulcinea! brought down the house.

The play, conceived by Barclay Tittmann, (his 13th Tavern play), was set in 17th century Spain.  The story wove a glorious blend of Cervantes’ Don Quixote and Mozart’s Don Giovanni.  The delightful lyrics were penned by his longtime collaborator, John BethellElaine Woo’s original music was brought chromatically to life by all on stage.  All was pulled together by director Eleanor Andrews.  Sancho Panza (George Perkins) ran his Tavern with perfectly timed humor, aided by Aldonza (Anson Wright).  The chorus of villagers (Brigid Williams, Sandy Righter, Owen Andrews, John Finley, and Nic Greville with an ear trumpet) enlivened the scene.  The plot took a dramatic turn when Don Juan (Tom Kelly) sporting riding boots and sword, enters Sancho’s Tavern in pursuit of the mythical Dulcinea.  He was accompanied by his llong-suffering loquacious, servant, Leporello (George Heaton).  Further drama ensued when Dona Elvira (Joan Yogg), Don Juan’s wife, and her companion, Senora Isabel (Belinda Rathbone) arrived in pursuit of Don Juan.  Between acts, two enforcers  (Sam Dennis and Steven Score), sent by the Spanish Inquisition (who expects them?), sang one of the funniest songs ever performed on our stage, only to be pursued off the stage by a bear (John Rabinowitz).  And finally, the tables were turned on the dangerous Don Juan when he was slyly tricked by Sancho’s Taverners into reuniting with his wife.  The behind-the-curtain crew outdid themselves with Costumes by Deb Bornheimer, Sets by Warren Ross and David Lawrence, Set painting by Mary Rhinelander, Lights by Gabrielle Wolohojian and David Lawrence.  Prompting by Jane Shaw kept the whole show flowing without a missed beat.  Ernst von Metzsch painted the poster.

Christmas Feast
December 14

This year’s Feast was enlivened by a beautifully turned-out Mrs. Santa (Martha Eddison) and the Bear (Warren Ross).  Joel Ives intoned Grace, Albert Lafarge read his Christmas Poem, Gold Buttons were awarded to Warren Ross and Abbie Trafford, and New Members Mitch Adams, Alice Cornwell, George Heaton, Margery Kennelley, Leslie Marshall, Hilary McGhee, Sallie Spence McGregor, George Perkins, John Rabinowitz and Gil Rose were inducted. Tony Fay, Chef Salem and the Staff provided a seamless and sumptuous Feast.

Caroling Night
January 18

Tom Kelly and Jim Terry led a full house of Taverners, families, and guests in enthusiastic after-dinner singing of carol favorites, again featuring the spontaneous choreography of The Twelve Days of Christmas.  The evening began in the theater with drinks and the MeistUrsingers’ holiday songs, all composed by Taverners:  The Solstice Star, Cold on the Mountain, and Small the Wreath.


Save the date for an Extraordinary Valentine’s Day Dinner, February 14

Gallery Opening in February: Kate Dahmen

Narrenabend, March 28/29

MeistUrsingers Concert, April 26

Tavern Club Medallion

New Members:

Gil Rose
Head of Boston Modern Opera Project, Composer, Conductor, Performer, Producer, Professor of Music

Mitchell Adams
Model shipbuilder, Musicophile, Accomplished veteran of Massachusetts politics

Leslie Marshall
Author, Magazine editor, Newspaperwoman, Musician

Hilary McGhee
Actress, Traveler, Psychotherapist

— Nancy Maull, Secretary

For a complete, downloadable copy of the January 2018 Tavern Club Newsletter, click here.

Tavern Club January 2017

Happy New Year!

Tavern Club re-opens, for lunch, on Tuesday, January 3.

North End Excursion
Wednesday, January 11, 11.30 am

The Arts Round Table will visit the North Bennet Street School in Boston’s North End. For over a century NBSS has offered training in traditional trades and fine craftsmanship with programs in fields such as bookbinding, violin making, and jewelry. Our guided tour of the studios will begin at 11:30, after which we will gather for lunch at one of the neighborhood’s fine Italian restaurants. Guests welcome. Sign up now!

Guest speaker: Matthew Teitelbaum, Director of MFA
Thursday, January 12

Matthew Teitelbaum, the Director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, will be our dinner guest and speaker. Matthew arrived in Boston in 2015 to become the Director of the MFA.  He was previously the Director of the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto, where he oversaw the museum’s expansion and renovation by Frank Gehry.  He will give a presentation about the role of the MFA in Boston. The MFA is an international museum with a responsibility for the preservation and exhibition of a wide range of art, and at the same time has to deal with an equally wide-ranging set of expectations in our community for an ever improving visual experience.   Matthew started his curatorial career in Boston in 1989 as a curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art and is therefore quite familiar with the art world in Boston. Cocktails start at 6.00 pm, dinner at 7.00 pm and the talk and discussion at about 8.00 pm.

Guests welcome.

Robert Peck on Edward Lear

Special Guest – Lunch
Robert Peck on Edward Lear
Wednesday, January 18 Noon for  12.30pm

The Arts Round Table will welcome special guest Robert McCracken Peck to speak about his new book The Natural History of Edward Lear. Historian, naturalist, and explorer himself, Peck is also curator of Art and Artifacts at the Academy of Natural Sciences at Drexel University in Philadelphia. He will show us how the inventor of the limerick and author of The Owl and the Pussycat began his prolific career as a scientific artist of birds and mammals that he continued throughout his life. Guests very welcome and bring your Naturalist, Birder and Artist friends.

Thursday, January 19, 12.20

The MeistUrsingers resume their rehearsals with Maestro Tom Kelly on Thursday, January 19, 12:20 in the theatre. Please let Tony Fay know if you plan to stay for lunch.

Committee on Elections Meeting
Monday, January 23, 5:30 pm, Library

History Lunch
Wednesday, January 25, Noon for 12.30

The History Lunch will feature Tony Rogers – novelist, musician, and lawyer – who will discuss Fake Smiles, his insightful memoir about coming of age in Washington DC during politically turbulent times with a father who was Attorney General under Eisenhower and Secretary of State under Nixon. Walter Isaacson praised Fake Smiles for helping us “better understand the issues of family, country and finding your way.” Guests welcome.

Poetry Lunch
Tuesday, January 31, Noon for 12.30

The Poetry Lunch will meet with local filmmaker Leita Luchetti to celebrate the recent arrival of her Poetry Breaks on the website of the Academy of American Poets. Originally produced with WGBH, this series of short videos brings us into intimate contact with poets, often in their own homes, reciting their poems and chatting informally. We’ll screen a few examples, including footage not yet aired, from such since-departed souls as Galway Kinnell, Allen Ginsberg, Stanley Kunitz, Philip Levine, and Seamus Heaney. Leita will share reminiscences. Hosted by Poetry Chair Albert LaFarge. Guests are welcome. Gather at noon in the Library, then to the Perry Room.

Rocks and Water, paintings by Ernst von Metzsch and daughter Julia von Metzsch Ramos, will remain on display in the Gallery until February.

In Case You Missed It

 On December 1 our own Dan Coquillette gave a talk about his book On the Battlefield of Merit which describes the first hundred years of the Harvard Law School, and he also provided interesting insights into the developments in the second hundred years of the School, which he plans to publish in about a year or so. Dan’s talks are always a guaranteed success, thanks to his wit and wisdom. He described how the Harvard Law School gave opportunity to many gifted students, and also how the School dealt with issues of slavery, race, gender and the effects of the civil war on its graduates. The discussion afterwards was lively and free of fist fights, thanks to Dan’s generosity of mind when dealing with all the wisdom generated by the Taverners and their guests. (On the Battlefield of Merit is available on amazon.com and Harvard Coop. Volume Two, The Intellectual Sword will be published in the Fall of 2018).

Christmas Feast and Play

The Christmas Feast and Play provided a wonderful Tavern evening on Thursday, December 15. At dinner, the annual exchange between Santa Claus and our Bear-in-residence (Bobo Devens and John Tittmann, respectively) preceded the award of Club buttons to Deb Bornheimer and Albert LaFarge. Then came chef Salem and the Boar, followed by the Tavern Hymn, the reading of this year’s Christmas poem by John Ording, a delicious feast, and the induction of new members George Beal, Joel Ives and Warren Ross by Club president Bob Osteen.   Then up to the theatre for “Christmas Letters”, book and lyrics by David Scudder, music by David Chanler, directed by Elaine Woo. Maisie Houghton played mother to sisters Brigid Williams, Carole Charnow, Anson Wright and Abbie Trafford, plus a couple of  (not) identical twins Peter Erichsen and  Jerry MitchellStaffan Ericsson and Roger Warner represented Ecuadorian law,  Jane Shaw was president of MIT (and also prompter), and Mary Scott and Stephen Score the utterly convincing rabbit and fox pursued by hunter Lanny Thorndike. Lighting was controlled by David Lawrence and Gabrielle Wolohojian, sets by Peter Haines and Katherine Boden, costumes by Martha Eddison Sieniewicz, sound by Warren Ross, videography by Frinde Maher.  David Chanler (piano), Hal Churchill (clarinet), and Watson Reid (guitar) provided the orchestral accompaniment to this delightful extravaganza, casting those Christmas Letters in a whole new light!

Christmas Caroling

The Christmas Caroling, held on December 19 and the last Tavern event of 2016, is now well established as one of the great Tavern evenings, thanks to Tom Kelly’s success in leading the MeistUrsingers to perform at their best in the theatre, and the rest of the Guests to reach new heights of  vocal mellowness during Dinner. O Holy Night performed by guest Nancy Armstrong left everyone completely in the mood for Christmas.


With thanks to all who pledged and gave to the fund drive (and with thanks to all who will give in 2017), it is my pleasure to report that as of November 30, 2016 the BPF has in hand (1) cash and investments totaling $535,190.79; and (2) pledges and testamentary gifts payable in future of $480,500.

The BPF welcomes suggestions to fund projects that will preserve our art and archives or maintain our buildings for those and other allowable purposes.  Please talk over your ideas with members of the Art, Archives or House committees, which originate proposals to the BPF.

The BPF always welcomes gifts—including testamentary gifts—from members, friends, or the public.

–Stephen H. Clark, Chair

NB:      Emerson will be closing off the Boylston Street entrance of Boylston Place January 6 thru January 10. Access to the Club from City Place (State Transportation building, or Caver Street (the alley behind the Tavern Club).

Long Term

Special Event, Thursday, February 16, Eli Newberger and his Friends perform their annual Valentine’s Day Concert.

Book Club in hibernation, but devotees should be reading Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory, called by Joseph Heller “the best book written about World War 1.”

Art Exhibit of work by our own Robert Perkins.

Longer Term

Musical Retrospective, March 9

Narrenabend Play March 29, 30

MeistUrsingers Concert, April 13

April 26 Special Event and (please note it’s Wednesday), our Dinner Guest will be Andris Nelsons, Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Music Director Designate of the (through the BSO’s new affiliation).

Art Gallery: a show of work by legendary cartoonist and illustrator (and Taverner) Gluyas Williams, date TBA.

New Member

Kate Dahmen

Artist, painter, and fabric designer
Art teacher, elementary & middle schools
Avid skier and hiker
Rodman Community Farm enthusiast

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year

–Christopher Smallhorn. Secretary

Proposing a Candidate for Membership

Guidelines for how to propose a member are on file on our website or are available from members of the Elections Committee.

As the first step in the election process, well before nominating a new member, we encourage you to review your candidate with the Chair of the Committee on Elections, Sandy Righter (sandyrighter@gmail.com).  The reason for this first step is to make the process as happy and tactful as possible and to avoid offending sponsors and candidates.  A little information early on can make proposing successful candidates a whole lot easier!

The careful and lengthy part of the process falls to the proposer, who must make sure his/her candidate is quite well known and well liked by other Taverners, and seems to enjoy and “get” the Club.  This usually takes both a little time and discretion and means bringing the person around a bit in a friendly, offhand way.

The Committee’s part – carefully reading letters, following up with phone conversations, ultimately meeting the candidate – can then go quite swiftly and, we hope, smoothly.

Thank you for continuing to bring wonderful new members into the Tavern Club.

–The Committee on Elections

For a printable copy of Tavern Club January 2017, click here.

2016 January Calendar

Emerson College and The Tavern Club

The Season caught up with us before the agreement was signed, but that should happen early in the New Year. Demolition and early stages of construction continue at Numbers 1, 2 and 3 Boylston Place, so far with no great inconvenience to us at the Club, and despite the scaffolding and equipment, Club activities have not suffered. The loss of our parking space behind the Club starts on February 1 and will continue until June 30 just in time for the Club to close for the Summer, but we have every hope that with the cooperation of members we shall be able to cope with this too. Thank you to all and a very Happy New Year! –Ernst von Metzsch

JanEmersonFrom the House Committee

The Emerson project is proceeding although it may not look as if much is happening. Foundation pile placement and excavation continue. There are about 100 piles at 150′ deep and only 2 per day can be placed. The site is very small and only one rig can be accommodated. The contractor is working 8 hour days on Saturdays and 12 hour days during the week. Excavation and placement of utility lines [water, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, electricity, telephone, security systems, and communications cables] in Boylston Place will take place the first week of January. –Brett Donham

Mid-Winter Feast

Thursday, January 14

Behind the MidWinter Feasts that we have enjoyed for many years has been a belief that we should know about our history, and something of those members who have helped to make the Club what it is. If we invite a member to be our guest, with members of his or her family, it is to say in a small way thanks for all you have done (and in no way do we wish any such guest to cease these activities!)

In the case of Jim Terry it is simply hard to imagine the Club without him. Those who attended the Christmas Feast and Play know how much we owe Jim for the beautiful music in that Sherlock Holmes/Downton Abbey saga. In our time there has been no more gifted musician in the Tavern, and none more generous with his gifts. Composition itself is but one aspect of Jim’s contributions to a Tavern musical, as in most cases he records songs for the singers, rehearses everyone despite that this requires him to listen to performances which never meet his own standards, at the same time encourages the singer to believe that he or she is talented, and continues to support throughout the performances.

We may have better numbers somewhere, but Jim has written music for at least 18 plays, performed in many more, directed, rehearsed, cajoled, and smiled through his pain at our efforts.

For all this we thank Jim, but that is just a small part of his endless labors for the Club, as President, as Keeper of the Rolls, and as one who is active almost daily in very many different aspects of Tavern Life. The existence of a modern Tavern member database is entirely due to Jim, and that is just another more or less invisible service to us and to posterity. Officers rely on his judgement in all serious matters, and we all simply accept that his generous smile will reward our various questions as he patiently regards our weaknesses.

So, on Thursday, January 14 we shall don black tie and medals and welcome Jim and Maudie, and one of their children. There will be a few songs and some toasts, and we plan to meet for Cocktails at 6.00pm and Dine at 7.00. Please come one and all, and do call Tony Fay soon.

Arts Round Table

Wednesday, January 13, Noon at the ICA lobby.

The Arts Round Table will leap at the last chance to see “Leap Before you Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957” at the ICA, Boston. Among the roster of Black Mountain faculty and students represented at the ICA show are Josef and Anni Albers, John Cage, Willem de Kooning, and Robert Rauschenberg. Writing for the NYTimes Holland Cotter called it “one of the season’s most atmospheric historical shows.”

As the curator, Helen Molesworth, has moved to the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, we will be guiding ourselves through the exhibit. Meet in the ICA lobby at noon. No reservations necessary.

History Lunch

Wednesday, January 20, 12:15 p.m.

Who Said That? or Historical Conundrums Pithily Put: “Oh senseless man, who cannot possibly make a worm, and yet will make Gods by dozens.” A discussion to be led by our own Stephen Clark who will provide us with other aphorisms to tease our intellects and provoke our curiosity. Extra points if you can recognize the savant who made the above comment. If you feel qualified, you are welcome to bring your own epigrammatical wisdom, but if not, no worries, Steve will have plenty of examples. Guests welcome Call Tony to reserve.


The MeistUsingers will meet on Thursday, January 21, at 12:20 in the theatre.  Please let Tony Fay know if you intend to stay for lunch.

Committee on Elections Meeting

Monday, Jan. 25, 5:30 pm, Library

Book Club

On Wednesday, January 27 at noon the Book Club will meet to discuss Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernières. This novel, set in Cephalonia in World War 2, brims with the grand topics of literature – love and death, heroism and skulduggery, humor and pathos, not to mention art and religion. Ed Tarlov and Bob Osteen, fresh from sailing the surrounding Ionian Sea, will lead discussion. We may even have a mandolin and mandolinist in attendance.
For the future, so you have time to read, on March 23 our own Clive Foss will lead discussion of his book Tyrants: 2500 Years of Absolute Power and Corruption, and on April 27 Ike Williams will lead discussion of Ford Maddox Ford’s The Good Soldier, winner of this year’s Boston Public Library 100 year retroactive Book Award for 1915.

Poetry Lunch

Tuesday, January 26, 12.15 pm

Stephen Burt, who teaches poetry at Harvard and has published poems and criticism widely in major organs–the New York Times Book Review, Slate, the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books, and the Yale Review , among others–has agreed to join us for a chat-and-read-aloud. His latest book, Belmont: Poems ( 2013), touches on a banlieu near and dear to many Taverners. Those poems appeared earlier in an interesting variety of “journals, magazines, websites, anthologies, and chapbooks,” including The New Yorker, the Harvard Review, and Ploughshares. Poetry chair Albert LaFarge hopes to prompt him to share insights on the varieties (kinds) of poetry, if there’s time between eating and reciting. Please all Taverners feel free to join, with guests, in the Perry Room (space permitting): the banter promises to be congenial and upbeat. Call Tony to reserve.

Special Event: CAFÉ CHEERS!

Friday, January 29, 6-8 pm

The week is over! Come and unwind with drinks and finger food. See your friends. Play a hot game of billiards. And if you can, bring your guitar or flute or drums or whistle, as you grab the mic and get in touch with your inner rock star. Watson Reid will lead us in open mic entertainment. Bring guests–friends and family, including “youngsters,” especially if they want to perform. This is informal, fun time. Afterwards, you can go out to dinner or to the movies or the theater. . . or go home. The night will yet be young.

In case you missed it …

The Christmas Feast and Play provided a wonderful Tavern evening on Thursday, December 17th. At dinner, the annual exchange between Santa Claus and our Bear-in-residence (Tweed Roosevelt and Nick Clark, respectively) preceded the award of Club buttons to Andy Doherty, George Meszoly, Jane Shaw, and Sam Thompson. Then came chef Salem and the Boar, followed by the Tavern Hymn, the reading of this year’s Christmas poem by Albert LaFarge, a delicious feast with Beef Wellington as the entrée, and the induction of new members  Roger Warner, Bill Cross, Martha Eddison Sieniewicz, Natalie Williams and Gabrielle Wolohojian by Club president Ernst von Metzsch.

Upstairs in the theatre, three legendary Tavern veterans had conceived a delightful riff on the unexpected meeting of two great British dramatic subjects, Sherlock Holmes and the Crawley family of Downton Abbey. “The Curious Case of the Perfidious Valet” was written by Barclay Tittmann, with lyrics by John Bethell and music by Jim Terry. It is fair to say that in this delightful satire, the threesome produced nothing short of their very best work, and that is high praise indeed.

The smallish cast performed admirably under the sophisticated direction of Bob Osteen. Sherlock (Andy Calkins) and his faithful companion Dr. Watson (Nick Clark) sang two duets—the second one, “Moriarty the Mystery Man,” including a wonderful soft shoe—and were able in the course of three acts to save the two Crawley ladies (Joan Yogg as Lady Mary and Nancy Maull as the Dowager Countess of Grantham) from a humiliating disclosure.

Downton butler Carson (Chris Smallhorn) with the Earl’s valet Bates (Rusty Tunnard) sang the duet “Long Live the Ruling Class,” which left little doubt that as long as there are servants there will be snobbery. They also helped provide the clues to Sherlock’s solving of the potential crime. Holmes’s landlady Mrs. Hudson (Frinde Maher) offered for the denizens of 221B Baker Street and their visitors just the right not-too-obsequious service, and ushered in (over the Scrooge-like Sherlock’s objections) the Baker Street Choral Society (Jeff Peters, JoAnne Dickinson, Peter Gunness, James Houghton, Bob Osteen, and Sandy Righter), whose caroling brought the show to a seasonably appropriate end. Jane Shaw served as associate director and prompter, the set was artfully created by John Tittmann, lighting was by David Lawrence, videography by David Chanler, costumes by Deb Bornheimer, and the poster and playbill artwork were by Ernst von Metzsch. A good time was had by all, on and off the stage.

On Monday evening, December 21, an overflow gathering of Taverners, with families and friends, attended the Annual Carol Singing and supper, with many MeistUrsingers and Tom Kelly to lead everyone. Cocktails were served on the third floor, and the MeistUrsingers performed four beautiful carols composed by Taverners before the company descended to dinner and singing round the table. After a great evening, the Club closed for Christmas and New Year.

… and Long Term

February 4, 18; March 3, 10, 24, April 7, 21 – MeistUrsingers

February 4 – Special Event: Leo Damrosch on his book on Jonathan Swift

February 10 –  Joint Arts RT and Poetry Lunch with guest David Ferry discussing his new translation of the Aeneid

February 11 – Valentine Concert

March 23  – Book Club – Taverner Clive Foss will discuss his book Tyrants.

March 31 – Narrenabend

April 28 –  MeistUrsingers Concert

May 9 –  Annual Meeting


At the Foundation’s Annual Meeting on May 15 it was decided to start a year-long effort to raise a fund which would match the challenge of two very generous and anonymous donors. There are two goals in this fund, first to record that each Tavern member give (anonymously) an amount he or she feels appropriate, and secondly, at the same time to raise the amount required in the challenge, which goal has been achieved.

We offer warm thanks to all who have given in 2015, and helped to reach the minimum needed for the challenge; the hat is still extended until May 2016 in the hope that we may come closer to the other objective, that most or all Taverners will make a gift, large or small. We shall continue to encourage the broadest participation in the New Year.

Please contact Steve Clark, Chairman, and or David Scudder, Treasurer with any questions or to make your pledge.

There will be BPF Board Meeting January 15.



 –Christopher Smallhorn, Secretary

To download a printable version of the calendar, click here.

2015 January Calendar

Taverners: Welcome back to the Club, and a very Happy New Year to all!

The Club will re-open on Monday, January 5, 2015, with the customary Monday Night dinner that evening and on Monday January 12. The Club will close on Tuesday January 13 through Monday January 19, Martin Luther King Day. This closing is necessary to complete improvements to the Tavern kitchens required by new Boston City Fire codes. As a result of this the Tavern Annual MidWinter Feast is moved to Wednesday January 21.

Monday Night Dinner January 5
Cocktails 6:15, Dinner 7:00

We shall discuss WINE, as well as drink some. Our guest will be David Raines, of Vineyard Research, Post Industrial Wines, who provides some of the wines we imbibe regularly. David travels continuously in pursuit of wines, and has a perspective on wine not generally available to the amateur oenophile. Members planning to attend are encouraged to bring a bottle of something they like, preferably red, and we can try each other’s offering. Please let the Secretary know if you wish to bring a guest and what bottle you may bring (please note, to bring a bottle is not a requirement!). Sign up now with Tony Fay.


Thursday, January 8, 12:20

The MeistUrsingers gladly welcome newcomers who like to sing and do not mind our rigorous rehearsals (!), and newcomers means all and sundry Taverners, including those who have lately joined the Club. Call up, sign up, just come! Only one rehearsal for January, then Feb. 8 and 26,  Mar. 12 and 26, Apr. 9.  Concert April 16.

Monday Night Dinner, Monday January 12
Cocktails 6:15, Dinner 7:00

Midwinter Feast
Wednesday January 21

This year the Club will remember the life of Henry Lee Higginson, for twenty years President of the Tavern Club in the early years of the twentieth century, and also founder of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, builder of Symphony Hall, as well as donor of Soldiers’ Field at Harvard.

Carol Bundy, Steve Clark, Peter Rand and the late Bill Shumate have labored mightily to create an evening recalling Henry Lee Higginson, known to his contemporaries as the First Citizen of Boston."

Members Only, Black Tie, Medals. Cocktails 6.15pm, Dinner at 7.00pm.

Book Club Lunch
Thursday, January 22, 12:00

Due to Climate Change the Bear’s usual hibernation will be postponed, and the Ursine Book Club will plan to meet on Tuesday January 20 at noon. The book Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery, by Henry Marsh, will be our focus, and discussion will be led by as many as FIVE  of the Tavern Club’s Neurosurgeons – Rees Cosgrove, Garry Fischer, Mike Scott, Ed Tarlov and Nick Zervas. The book, well worthy of discussion, is written from the viewpoint of a British neurosurgeon. There are some differences from American practices but the big issues listed in the subtitle are universal, not only in neurosurgery but in surgery generally. This promises to be a lively session, not to be missed.

Book Club will take a travel break in February and March and resume in April.

Monday Night Dinner January 26
Cocktails 6:15, Dinner 7:00

Elections Committee
Monday, January 26 – Library

Poetry Lunch January 26, 12:30

Taverners relishing a healthy mix of doubt and inspired invention are invited to join the Poetry lunch on January 26, devoted to Gerard Manley Hopkins. Albert LaFarge will furnish a few poems to read and converse on. Bring a favorite (poem and/or friend).

Tavern Musical Retrospective
Thursday, January 29

A Cast of Thousands under the usual direction and support of Jim Terry will present an evening of Songs by the legendary Taverner Sherwood “Pete” Rollins, Jr., member 1946-1963. Guests welcome, Cocktails 6:15, Dinner 7:00 followed by performance.

In Case You Missed It:

Christmas Feast:
December 11 saw a full house at the Christmas Feast.

At the Feast, the following new members received their medals: George Carlisle, Charles Coolidge, Ann Gund, Victor Peña-Cruz, R. Michael Scott, Elaine Woo.

The Gold Buttons went to Andrew W. Calkins, Daniel R. Coquillette and William S. Strong.

After Dinner, another Tavern spectacular, Curator Extraordinaire, was performed with verve and enthusiasm. The story of an existential crisis at the Boston Arts Foundation, Curator Extraordinaire was

written by Leslie Dunton-Downer with music by Jim Crissman, and directed by Chris Whitlock. Widely hailed as the finest Tavern production in memory. Faced with falling attendance and a financial disaster, the Directors of the Boston Arts Foundation (Polly Drinkwater, Bobo Devens, Tweed Roosevelt and Peter Randolph) followed the lead of their Chair, Glorious Gloria Wigglesworth (Peter Aitken) and decide to dip into unrestricted funds and hire the world famous head hunter, Marvelous Marvin Vendernoggin (Andy Calkins). Marvin and Gloria embark on a worldwide search which takes them to the New York dance studio of Ana Santana

(Mary Scott) who has her student Barnaby Bearman (John Finley IV) demonstrate her choreographic skill; to the ashram of the Zen Master Fujiku (Jim Terry, ably assisted by the avuncular Chairokuma (Tweed Roosevelt); and to the Berlin avant-garde art gallery of Kaspar Kuntshebber (Peter Randolph) where a revolutionary sculpture is being created by Ulriche Braunbär (Mary Scott, filling in for flu-stricken Joanne Dickinson). During their long journeys through the skies, Gloria and Marvin are waited upon by New York, Japanese and German stewardesses (all colorfully portrayed by show-stopping Nick Clark). Not surprisingly, Gloria and Marvin fall in

love and returned to announce that they were married on the airplane. Three stowaway bears discovered by a kind hearted Boston stewardess (Nick Clark again) also appear and are welcomed into the Tavern Club. The Directors announce that they have in the meantime found the perfect Curator Extraordinaire, St. Nicholas (Elizabeth Hunnewell), and all is right with the world. The totally amazing set (a complete airplane interior, a pair of legs frozen in the Yoga position, and a disturbing, all seeing pyramidal sculpture) was created by Peter

Haines and Bill Truslow, and lit with theatrical precision and flare by David Lawrence. Magnificent costumes were provided by Deb Bornheimer and Anne Carter, and a perfect poster created by Mary Rhinelander. Thanks to David Chanler, there may even be a video …

Long Term …

Thursday, February 12, 6:00pm

“My Funny Valentine and Funny Bones” – A Jazz Festival, with Eli “Tuba” Newberger, Jimmy Mazzy, Bob Winter and other friends… followed by Dinner. Guests welcome.


Wednesday, February 18:

History LunchArt Hodges on his Novel Will’s New World. The year is 1636.  England is racked by civil and religious strife. A young man named William Hodges is forced to sail for America, only to find a different form of tyranny in Salem.  He moves to Taunton, a tiny wilderness settlement promising land, opportunity, and even romance.  But always lurking are the specters of hunger, disease and danger. 

Join Art as he tells us about the book, about the process of writing and publishing it, and about the pleasures and dangers of a 17th century ancestor’s life.


Longer Term

Triennial Art Show : March 12 – Get to work!

(Submit ONE item)

Narrenabend : April 2

MeistUrsingers Concert : April 16

Boylston Place Foundation

We shall continue to seek the support of

Taverners as well as friends of the Tavern to fund costs of improving the Club archives and preserving Club treasures; the next project is the restoration of a large bust of Henry Lee Higginson by Bela Lyon Pratt. Many thanks to all of you who have given so generously.

New Member:

Victor Peña-Cruz
Medical specialties:  Virology and Immunology
Plays saxophone and bandoleon
Part Aztec, now fully Bostonian
Erudite, articulate, but not in the least pompous!


Robertson Ward
December 8, 2014
Winthrop, Massachusetts


William L. Shumate
December 18, 2014
Boston, Massachusetts

–Christopher Smallhorn