May 3, 2012 - Fred Krakowiak - The Artist's Safari: Capturing Africa with Pen, Lens, and Paintbrush
The 19th program in our 90th Anniversary Celebration
For a different take on "African Safari" join us tonight.
Nature & Wildlife Artist/Safari Expert
Fred Krakowiak is recognized as a leading wildlife artist and has presented his art and program at
numerous zoos and museums all over the U.S.
His artwork, commissioned by private collectors across North America, can also be found on his website.
His work is all about spontaneity and movement, as is the Africa he sees with his artist’s eye.
Krakowiak is skilled in the ancient art of sumi (ancient Japanese for “pictures in ink” using a weasel-hair brush to paint).
His priority is to capture the experience of seeing these amazing animals,
their motion, their passion, their place in the untamed world.
He lives and paints in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Fred has a beautiful new coffee table book titled, The Artist's Safari: Capturing Africa with Pen, Lens, and Paintbrush.
Below is a link to his website with further information about Fred or to view his amazing art.
May 10, 2012 - Ladies Night - Annie Jacobsen - Area 51
The 20th program in our 90th Anniversary Celebration
A Military Post’s Secrets: Espionage, Not Aliens
At the start of "Area 51," Annie Jacobsen’s cauldron-stirring book about America’s most mysterious military installation,
Ms. Jacobsen offers a passing glimpse of a large-headed little gray space alien being interrogated by scientists in white coats.
This is both a tease and a distraction.
Yes, Ms. Jacobsen will eventually address the U.F.O. issue with which conspiracy theorists eagerly associate Area 51,
but her book is not science fiction.
It’s much more levelheaded.
It is an assertive account, revelatory but also mystifying,
of the long-hidden United States weaponry and espionage programs to which she says Area 51 is home.
(Some say Area 51 is home to nothing, because it does not officially exist.)
Paragraph Written by JANET MASLIN - Published: May 15, 2011 in the New York Times
AREA 51 An Uncensored History of America’s Top Secret Military Base
What is it about Ms. Jacobsen that has made her privy to such inflammatory material?
It’s best to know her answer to this question before delving into her book.
And her answer is strange and byzantine in the way that all things about Area 51 seem to be. Ms. Jacobsen,
a national security reporter and contributing editor to The Los Angeles Times Magazine,
happened to be at a 2007 family dinner with her husband’s uncle’s wife’s sister’s 88-year-old husband,
the physicist Edward Lovick, when Mr. Lovick leaned over and said, "Have I got a good story for you."
That happened to be the year when formerly top secret records about the development of certain stealth technology,
most notably the C.I.A.’s A-12 aircraft, code-named Oxcart, were made public,
even though the creation of the A-12 had occurred nearly 50 years before.
In any case, Mr. Lovick had been instrumental in A-12 research, and he did much more than relate his story.
He plugged Ms. Jacobsen into a network of elderly scientists, pilots,
engineers and other witnesses who had firsthand accounts of Area 51 and its surroundings, a test range located in southern Nevada.
("I tell you all this, Annie, because you give a damn," one of them told her.)
This testimony pointed her in the direction of extremely arcane documentation, material of needle-in-a-haystack obscurity.
(Sample source: a secret 1948 memo of "European Command Message Control Secret Priority" to United States forces in
Austria regarding a glider of parabolic design that might have been flown in the 1920s and then developed into a flying saucer.)
Thus armed with numbingly intensive documentation, Ms. Jacobsen has put together a set of strong allegations about Area 51’s covert history.
Part of "Area 51" is devoted to the nuclear weapons testing that began with the Manhattan Project,
continued under the aegis of the Atomic Energy Commission and prompted The New York Times to tell tourists, in 1957,
about a project called Operation Plumbbob:
"This is the best time in history for the non-ancient but nonetheless honorable pastime of atom-bomb watching."
Ms. Jacobsen recoils at the weaponry that was being developed and the ghastly results of atomic testing.
But she acknowledges ways in which it wound up keeping Americans safe.
Her book moves on to the surveillance technology that was meant to override the need for nuclear arsenals.
And her research into the world of "overhead," the aerial espionage that needed to be developed in extreme secrecy,
is compellingly hard-hitting. One of her sources is Col. Richard S. Leghorn, whom she calls "the father of peacetime overhead espionage."
She has also spoken to Col. Hervey S. Stockman, the first man to fly over the Soviet Union in a U-2;
Col. Hugh Slater, an Area 51 base commander; and Jim Freedman,
an Area 51 procurement manager who was one of the few people privy to a wide range of the base’s activities.
Ms. Jacobsen writes that not even President Clinton was able to gain full knowledge of what the military contractors at Area 51 were up to.
"Area 51" is guided by its author’s political assessment of changing American military strategy, particularly during the cold war.
It describes Area 51’s strategic importance during the eras of Sputnik, the Bay of Pigs, the lunar landing and the Vietnam War,
with a strong narrative account of C.I.A.-Air Force territorial fights about whose aircraft were better suited to combat situations.
She also writes about the reverse engineering - the analysis of equipment by taking it apart and reassembling it -
at which Area 51 scientists are thought to excel.
She acknowledges their work on a Soviet MiG aircraft that was hidden inside a cargo plane for its trip to Nevada.
But she does not take seriously what some readers will find most urgent about an Area 51 study:
rumors that alien spacecraft are reverse-engineered there, too.
Back to that little gray alien allegedly seen at Area 51:
Ms. Jacobsen has a theory about the base’s alleged U.F.O. connections.
It goes back to the radio broadcast of "The War of the Worlds" in 1938 and the panic it engendered.
Making a series of implications that are her book’s most controversial aspect,
she connects this hysteria to the 1947 alleged flying saucer crash in Roswell, N.M.,
a story cherished by conspiracy theorists and not easily refuted.
Ms. Jacobsen connects the appearance of a real, disc-shaped, hovering object with Stalin-era Soviet intrigue.
She hypothesizes that the relic found in Roswell was the opening shot in the cold war.
She suggests that the supposed space creatures were human guinea pigs,
the results of American experiments as monstrous as the Nazi ones conducted by Josef Mengele.
And she thinks that once the rumors of a Roswell landing and cover-up began,
American intelligence sources might have found U.F.O. rumors to be excellent cover for their activities,
no matter how surprised they were by the need to encourage such thinking.
Two Air Force officials once found themselves on a panel with members of the Civilian Saucer Investigations Organization of Los Angeles.
Although this connect-the-dots U.F.O. thesis is only a hasty-sounding addendum to an otherwise straightforward investigative book about aviation
and military history, it makes an indelible impression.
"Area 51" is liable to become best known for sci-fi provocation.
But the book is noteworthy for its author’s dogged devotion to her research.
Angry over being denied access to a research facility, she began talking to a security guard -
who, it turned out, had worked at Area 51 and became one of her most valuable sources.
And when it comes to EG&G, the secretive engineering company that plays a major role in the Area 51 story,
she describes pressuring one unnamed EG&G employee persistently, no matter how hard he resisted.
"You don’t want to know," said this anonymous source, when grilled about the most nefarious part of Ms. Jacobsen’s U.F.O. theory.
She asked again. "You don’t know the half of it," he replied, still stonewalling.
And then, over lunch, she put a crouton on a plate and asked how the extent of her knowledge about the whole
Area 51 story compared with the crouton-plate ratio.
Great news for ufologists: the still-untold truth, this man finally admitted, is bigger than the crouton.
Bigger than the plate. To the delight of conspiracy fans everywhere, it remains bigger than the whole table.
A version of this review appeared in print on May 16, 2011, on page C1 of the New York edition with the headline: A Military Post’s Secrets: Espionage, Not Aliens.
May 17, 2012 - Bill Altaffer - The World's Most Travelled Man
The 21st program in our 90th Anniversary Celebration
Unknown Territory: Baku, Azerbaijan to Mt. Athos
Our member, Bill Altaffer #1095 is one of the Worlds Most Travelled People.
He holds many records on places travelled.
Bill has talked before at the club on many of the unusual places he has travelled.
This night will prove to be another recount of yet another amazing journey.
From "Mens Journal" July 10, 2009
Bill Altaffer, Founder of Expedition Photo Travel
In 2005, Altaffer was dubbed the world’s most traveled man.
Altaffer never kept an exact record, but he’s been to every country on Earth, and many more than once,
as well as some 600 islands and disputed territories.
"When you get to your destination, you’re not thinking clearly," he says,
"so you’re vulnerable to theft, pickpockets, or leaving something somewhere."
Nearly a decade ago, returning from a trip to the South Pacific’s Pitcairn Islands
(where the HMS Bounty’s mutineers settled),
Altaffer did just that.
He had bought an irreplaceable dolphin-shaped cane, hand carved by the natives.
"At the airport, I had to make a phone call," he says. "This is in the days before cell phones.
I rested it a minute, then I forgot it. I wouldn’t have done it if I wasn’t jet-lagged."
When Altaffer returns from especially long trips, like the annual trek he takes to the wilds of Siberia,
he has "a couple margaritas and a Caesar salad; take some melatonin and aspirin and go to sleep for 30 hours straight."
Starting in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, this trip began in the Caucasus Mountains and ended in Greece,
covering a widely diverse group of countries and experiences.
The Caucuses provide an excellent vehicle for studying man’s early development as well as
for witnessing the long-standing cohabitation of peoples of Moslem and Christian faiths.
The Adventurers Club thanks our member, Bill Altaffer for volunteering this presentation
May 24, 2012 - Christopher Nyerges - Primitive Weapons and Urban Preparedness
The 22nd program in our 90th Anniversary Celebration
Christopher Nyerges has been a friend for over 30 years.
He has spoken at our club several times on wild foods and survival.
This time he will talk on new subjects and how share his encyclopedic knowledge on
Urban Survival, primitive weapons, wild foods, earthquake survival and, who knows what else. Sincerely, Steve Bein-1st VP and Program chairman 2012
The School of Self-reliance arose from Christopher and Dolores Nyerges’ dream to live and to teach practical skills
to mostly urban folks who’ve lost touch with our most basic roots.
The School was founded by Christopher and Dolores, now (since Dolores’ passing in 2008) carried on by
Christopher and peripatetic faculty of uniquely-skilled individuals.
Since 1974, Christopher Nyerges has taken over 30,000 children and adults on his Wild Food Outings,
Survival Skills Outings, and other field trips and outdoor programs.
He has worked with such groups as Sierra Club, Tree People, Southwest Museum, Boy Scouts of America, Elder Hostel,
home schools, public and private schools, churches, libraries, etc.
Christopher Nyerges is the author of 10 books, including Self-Sufficient Home: How to Go Green and Save Money, How to Survive Anywhere,
Enter the Forest, and Guide to Wild Foods. He was the editor of Wilderness Way magazine for 7 years,
and has authored several thousand newspaper and magazine articles in such publications as the
Los Angeles Times, Pasadena Star News, Pasadena Weekly, Whole Life Times, American Survival Guide, and others.
The classes and workshops of the School of Self-reliance have been featured on all Los Angeles-area television stations,
including KCET’s “Life and Times” and “Visiting with Huell Howser.”
For two years, Nyerges appeared on Fox TV’s “X show,” where he demonstrated survival skills on the streets of Los Angeles.
May 26, 2012 - Christopher Nyerges - Wild Food Outing and Knife Lesson - $20 OUTSIDE ACTIVITY - non sponsored activity advisory
Scheduled by Chris's School of Self Reliance,
Chris will hold this at 10:00 am.
If there is a large group from the club, another class will be held exclusively for us.
Please attend; it will be a great time.
It is open to all and we should participate heavily.
Bring friends, loved ones, etc.
We did a class with Chris several years ago with a huge success and lots of new information on wild foods,
ending with eating what we collected.
An amazing time and worth going again since new things always happen.
We’ll gather for the first hour or so to discuss knives and edged tools, from primitive to modern,
and learn about the many styles of knives available.
Bring your own for show and tell.
Then we’ll do an exploratory walk to find wild foods and have a salad.
Book a week in advance at
The location is Pasadena’s Hahamongna Watershed Park; entrance at Foothill and Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena.
Meet at south end of the upper area (across from La Canada High School), near the outdoor bathrooms.
One way to get here is to travel on the 210 Freeway westbound, and exit on Foothill in La Canada.
Turn right (east) and take Foothill about a half-mile to its end, which is the entrance of the park. [pg. 535, E5].
May 31, 2012 - Fred Sokolow - Adventures of a Musical Hitman Part II
THIS IS THE 23RD PROGRAM OF THE 90TH ANNIVERSARY YEAR OF THE ADVENTURERS CLUB
Multi-instrumentalist Fred Sokolow has been part of the West Coast acoustic music scene for decades,
leading his own bands or accompanying such established touring artists as Tom Paxton,
Jody Stecher, the Limeliters, Bobby Gentry and Jim Stafford and Ian Whitcomb.
"Back in the day" Fred's 60s hippie rock band recorded for Vanguard, but today he plays jazz guitar,
singing songs of the 30s and 40s, and he is still a presence on the local bluegrass/old-timey scene.
Fred is known world-wide as the author of over 150 instructional books and DVDs for
guitar, banjo and other stringed instruments, that teach bluegrass, jazz, rock, blues, rockabilly and country music.
His books are published by all the major music print publishers (Hal Leonard, Warner Bros., Mel Bay, etc.)
and his “Fretboard Roadmaps” series is an international best-seller.
Fred also conducts music seminars and recently taught a week-long blues class for the
National Guitar Workshop and a Dobro class for Steve Kaufman’s Akoustic Music Kamp.
Fred’s diverse talents have led him to win the Gong Show, play lap steel on the Tonight Show,
play Dobro with Chubby Checker and mandolin with Rick James,
and holds the title of official banjo player for the TV show Survivor.
His music has graced many television shows, commercials and movies.
He'll tell stories about making a living as a musician, both today and in previous decades, answer questions,
and he'll play and sing some songs, old and new.
Fred Sokolow is best known as the author of a library of instructional books and DVDs for guitar,
banjo, Dobro, mandolin, lap steel and ukulele.
There are currently over a hundred of his books or DVDs in print, sold all over the world.
Fred has long been a well-known West Coast multi-string performer and recording artist,
particularly on the acoustic music scene.
The diverse musical genres covered in his books and DVDs, along with several bluegrass, jazz and rock CDs he has released,
demonstrate his mastery of many musical styles. Whether he's playing Delta bottleneck blues, bluegrass or old-time banjo,
30s swing guitar or screaming rock solos, he does it with authenticity and passion.
Born in Los Angeles September 14, 1945, by the early 1960s Fred was well known in the California bluegrass scene,
playing with Jody Stecher, Brantley Kearns, Sandy Rothman and Eric Thompson.
Relocating to Berkeley, he toured and recorded with a hippie rock band throughout most of the 60s,
the Bay Area-based Notes From the Underground (Vanguard Records).
In the early 70s Fred performed with R&B, rock, country and bluegrass bands.
By 1975 Fred had played with bluegrass luminaries like John Herald, Frank Wakefield and Jerry Garcia,
had opened for the Dead, the Doors, B.B. King, Country Joe and the Fish and countless other acts,
and he was playing in jazz combos with some of the Bay Areas best studio players.
In 1975 Fred returned to Los Angeles. He recorded two ground-breaking banjo albums for
Kicking Mule Records and began touring with Bobbie Gentry and Jim Stafford, playing rock guitar, bluegrass banjo and lap steel.
He also toured with the folk group the Limeliters, juggling seven different instruments.
By the end of the 70s he had begun writing instructional books (methods, transcription books and arrangement books)
for all the music print publishers: Mel Bay, Hal Leonard, Warner Brothers, Carl Fischer and more.
He recorded a banjo video for Hot Licks, and several guitar videos for Stefan Grossman's Guitar Workshop.
His transcription books became known for their accuracy, and his method books were lauded for their clarity and
effectiveness in music magazines all over the world.
He began teaching guitar and banjo seminars in music camps and stores,
and he taught classes at the renowned McCabes Music in Santa Monica.
Fred currently lives in Santa Monica and primarily performs retro jazz guitar with some of LA's finest musicians,
playing and singing songs of the 30s and 40s.
He often plays and records with British ex-rock star Ian Whitcomb.
And he plays bluegrass, blues or rockabilly whenever the opportunity arises.
He's active on the studio scene, playing on other people's albums and on numerous TV and movie soundtracks,
and he was a musical advisor on Michael Mann's latest film, Public Enemies.
Fred also records and performs with children's artists like Dan Crow, Greg & Steve, KPFK's Uncle Ruthie and Paul Stookey.
He relishes the diversity of his portfolio: he played lap steel on the Tonight Show, mandolin on Rick James' last CD,
played Dobro with Chubby Checker and won on the Gong Show (playing bluegrass banjo),
jammed at the House of Blues with Junior Brown...
and he performs with the legendary folksinger Tom Paxton whenever Tom comes to California.
He continues to create instructional material, including his very successful "Roadmaps" series,
and is regarded as an authority on many musical genres, particularly what is now called "Americana."