Wine & Wisdom

Please join us for an exciting series of speakers this summer.  All of the programs will be held at Basalt Cellars, 906 Port Drive, Clarkston.

Sasquatch: Man-Ape or Myth
Tuesday, June 27, 6:30pm
David George Gordon, speaker
Program will be held at Basalt Cellars Winery, 906 Port Drive, Clarkston

Throughout the Northwest, people have been reporting encounters with the Sasquatch—a hairy, eight- to ten-foot-tall hominid—for hundreds of years. Yet aside from a collection of large footprint casts and a sizable assemblage of eyewitness accounts, some attributable to the earliest humans in the Northwest, no scientifically accepted evidence has been offered to establish this being’s existence.

Author David George Gordon evaluates the data gathered about the legendary Northwest icon, discusses the rules of critical thinking and the workings of the scientific method, and explains how one can become an effective “citizen scientist” by gathering credible evidence that can be used to substantiate the Sasquatch’s status as either Man-Ape or Myth. Attendees are encouraged to tell their tales and share their experiences with this mysterious creature.


The Truth and I: Reading Betty MacDonald in the Age of Memoir
Tuesday, July 11, 6:30pm

Paula Becker, Speaker
Program will be held at Basalt Cellars Winery, 906 Port Drive, Clarkston

Betty MacDonald burst onto the American literary scene in 1945 with her memoir, The Egg and I, a tartly witty tale about operating a chicken ranch on Washington’s dauntingly wild Olympic Peninsula. During its first year, The Egg and I sold one copy every 22 seconds.

Although she wrote autobiographically, Betty’s relationship with truth was slippery. During a 1951 libel suit, Betty testified that she’d made up nearly all of The Egg and I—questionable testimony that worked in her favor. Betty’s readers seemed not to mind this discrepancy, but why? This talk, led by journalist and Betty MacDonald biographer Paula Becker, ponders how Betty’s kind of nonfiction relates to the popular genre of memoir today. What—then and now—does “truth” in memoir mean?


Hollywood and the Homefront: Tinsel Town’s Contribution to World War II
Tuesday, July 25, 6:30pm
John Jensen, Speaker
Program will be held at Basalt Cellars Winery, 906 Port Drive, Clarkston

During World War II, the War Department realized the importance of not only keeping up the morale of America’s fighting forces abroad, but the morale of those at home. The result was an unprecedented push by Hollywood to contribute morale-building war dramas, troop entertainment, and training films to the war effort. Special radio programs, documentary films, and live performances told Americans at home that they too could serve in the defense of their country by purchasing war bonds, participating in scrap drives, planting Victory Gardens, and volunteering.

Experience the still-powerful images, radio, and film that emerged from this dramatic time in American history. John Jensen shares rarely known stories and anecdotes from Hollywood’s war effort, and shows examples of wartime propaganda through various media that was used to educate, inform, and sway American public opinion.


A Road Runs Through It: Tourism, Culture, and the Politics of Conservation
Tuesday, August 8, 6:30pm
Ben Gardner, Speaker
Program will be held at Basalt Cellars Winery, 906 Port Drive, Clarkston

How does tourism shape the very meaning and value of a landscape? Who gets to speak for nature and wildlife: local people or conservationists? What do the words “nature” and “wildlife” even mean? Explore the concept of conservation through the lens of safari tourism in Tanzania, where the Maasai community has found itself struggling at the intersection of environmental activism, tourism, land rights, and civic rights; and where a proposed highway through the Serengeti sparked international outrage. Author and professor Ben Gardner tells the story of how safari tourism in Tanzania shapes the very meaning and value of the landscape, and why Maasai communities have organized to fight for control of their land.


Crazy Politics: Populism, Conspiracy Theories, and Paranoia in America
Tuesday, August 22, 6:30pm
Cornell Clayton, Speaker
Program will be held at Basalt Cellars Winery, 906 Port Drive, Clarkston

Anti-establishment candidates rail against the government they seek to lead; populist groups like the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street howl about corruption in political and economic institutions; and wild conspiracy theories abound. Has American politics always been so crazy?

With political science professor Cornell Clayton, explore how American politics has become an arena for suspicious and angry minds. Rather than debunking today’s conspiratorial claims, Clayton argues that both populism and a paranoid thinking have always played important roles in American politics. From the fear of the Illuminati, to the Know-Nothing movement in the 1850s, to Father Charles Coughlin, Huey Long, and the John Birchers, there always have been leaders and groups who see politics in apocalyptic terms and believe powerful elites are conspiring against ordinary Americans. Clayton’s talk explains the rise of today’s populist and conspiratorial politics, draws parallels to earlier periods, and describes how populism on the left and right today differ.