Calder Classics

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“Food for Thought” Salon Series

Join us for a new kind of salon-style gathering called "Food for Thought" where guests are treated to drinks and cuisine paired with scintillating presentations about the Classics and how they enrich modern lives.

Classic Events 

Calder Classics events feature excellent food accompanied by in-depth talks with top authors, scholars and insiders providing nourishment for your body and mind.  Join other interested guests for dining and discourse on topics in language, literature, history, music, art and fashion.  Participants are encouraged to engage in the lively exchange of ideas.   Each event takes place at a home or business in New York City in an intimate atmosphere with excellent food and refreshments. 

These events support Prep for Prep's Calder Classics scholarship fund for Prep students to attend Calder Classics spring and summer educational summer programs in Europe.  Prep for Prep ( is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and contributions are tax-deductible.


Upcoming events include:

Representations of Byzantine Power in the Mosaics of San Vitale

Art historian, Jenny Eskin, will discuss the sixth-century Byzantine Empress Theodora and representations of her prowess as depicted in the mosaics of San Vitale in Ravenna, Italy. Jenny will also look at Thedora’s political influence on her husband, the Emperor Justinian, and the art historical context for the dazzling mosaics and architecture. This event is hosted by our friends at Rosanne Pugliese on Henry Street in Brooklyn.

Previous events include:

The Origins of Modern Italian Fashion in Renaissance Art

Meg Shore, Calder Classics' resident art historian, spoke about how art was fueled during the Renaissance by the patronage of a wealthy clientele, and how portrayals and settings were intended to glorify the sitter. Her talk covered the look of garments in familiar paintings by the artists of the Renaissance - the costly fabrics, the designs, the colors - and how the art conveyed a message on many levels. Meg presented images of paintings where classical figures such as Aphrodite/Venus and Athena/Minerva are referenced, often idealized. On a more local Florentine level, she looked at how symbolic forms in the fashion shown in the art communicated Medici power. This event was hosted by our friends at Pachute on Atlantic Avenue.

Modern and Ancient Winemaking in Italy

Eleanor Shannon, a sommelier and writer living in Tuscany joined Calder Classics’ donors for a unique wine tasting. Celebrating a selection of 4 natural, organic and biodynamic Italian red and white wines (8 in total) made exclusively by Italian women, Eleanor shared the secrets of the success of these women winemakers. Some of the wines Eleanor selected are made by methods that have not changed substantially since Etruscan times.

Fake News: You Can’t Spell History Without “Story”

To what extent were the ancient Greeks and Romans consumers of fake news? Daniel Paul discussed some classical examples where "ancient news presenters" deliberately misled their audiences or created 'alternative facts'. He moved from the world of fiction and the various accounts of what really happened to Helen of Troy to the historians who claim to have visited places that they clearly hadn't or witnessed speeches which we know they are reporting incorrectly. With the help of Star Wars (old and new movies), we considered what the various goals, motives, excuses, or legitimate reasons for these stories might be, and we discovered a lot about the nature of storytelling from ancient to modern times that was as present in the Graeco-Roman world as it is today.

Controversial Leaders of Antiquity

In this four-talk series on Controversial Leaders of Antiquity, Daniel Paul presented talks on Caesar, Cicero, Antony and Augustus, highlighted with relevant clips from Game of Thrones and other contemporary classics. A lively discussion followed with fun and informative looks at governance, military campaigns and the general popularity of rulers of powerful entities. 

Was Alexander the Great Really Great?

Daniel Paul enthralled the crowd with his favorite topic: does Alexander the Great deserve to be viewed as great or not. The presentation, based on Daniel's very popular series of talks on Alexander delivered annually at the National Classical Summer School, was spiced with relevant clips from Star Wars, and prompted a lively interchange. This was a fun and informative look at Alexander's military campaigns and how he ruled his vast empire. 

The Talking Dead: A Sunday Salon with Ann Patty

Among new and old friends of all ages, guests engaged in a scintillating discussion with Ann Patty about her recent book, Living with a Dead Language. Ann is a celebrated memoirist and editor of books ranging from Flowers in the Attic to Life of Pi.  She shared her inspiring account of how she found renewed purpose later in life by learning something new and exceptionally challenging. While she specifically addressed her exploration of the richness and relevance of the Latin language and literature, she also engaged listeners in a more general discussion about language, learning and life.

Ann'a book has received great acclaim. See the rave reviews from the New Yorker, the New York Public Library blog and a particularly relevant article from the Washington Post entitiled "Finding Meaning Late in Life Without Eat, Pray, Love", among others, on her website:

Delicious Roman cuisine was served complimented by a fine wine selected by sommelier Eleanor Shannon, writer of the blog Uncorked in Italy.

Odyssey Folk Opera

 Joe Goodkin's performed his Odyssey, a 30 minute original musical composition for solo acoustic guitar and voice.  
Drawing on his years of writing and recording original rock music and his Bachelor's Degree in Classics/Ancient Greek from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Joe's performance represented in a contemporary musical mode both the abridged plot and the performance circumstances of Homer's original oral composition of The Odyssey.

 Part lecture, part musical performance, and part interactive discussion, the centerpiece of Joe's program was a 30 minute continuous performance of 24 original songs with lyrics inspired by Odysseus' famous exploits. 
Performed without amplification, Joe's Odyssey was presented as an oasis of simplicity and substance in our modern desert of technology and style.

Mystery of a Modern Classicist

In the cozy surroundings of a gracious Brooklyn brownstone, Meg Shore, writer and translator of texts on Italian art and culture, introduced the Elena Ferrante Neapolitan Quartet from a cultural perspective, exposing what is lost in translation. Dr. Monica Alvarez followed with a discussion of female friendships, analyzing the relationship between Ferrante’s two female protaganists from early childhood through mature adulthood. Diners engaged in a lively exchange of ideas inspired by our speakers, touching on the classical references throughout Ferrante’s work. Fine southern Italian cuisine was served by Chef Emanuel Concas of Mercato Trattoria (, paired with wine from the region.  

Rome Through the Ages Night

Over a spectacular four-course meal, guests were guided through the history of Roman dining, from the banquets of ancient Roman emperors to the birth of modern Roman cuisine. Scholarly morsels and salacious tales about the dining habits of emperors and popes were presented by Rebekah Junkermeier, who earned her B.A. at Dartmouth and her M.A. in Early Christian History at Harvard. Chef Sam Alberts, formerly of Antica Pesa, Eataly and Pierluigi, prepared fine cuisine and wine pairings. Following their presentations, Rebekah and Sam guided diners in a lively exchange of ideas about their topic, once again bringing to light how the Classics intertwine with today’s everyday life.  

Dates & Fees

Please contact us with any inquiries.

Private Salons

We also offer Customized Salons (with or without food) for private corporate or social gatherings. Please contact us with any inquiries or if you would like to plan your own “Food for Thought” experience. 



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Copyright © 2015 Calder Classics LLC | All illustrations by Meredith Hamilton