by Janet I. Martineau
A soap opera siren with a British accent and a CNN political correspondent born in Kalamazoo are on the 2013-2014 Horizons Town Talk season at the Horizons Conference Center.
Joan Collins, of “Dynasty” fame, and Candy Cowley, host of “State of the Union” Sundays on CNN and only the second woman to serve as a moderator of a presidental debate, are on a bill of five speakers.
Others will talk about Michigan’s “Christmas Tree Ship,” the history and mystery of wine, and finding humor (clean humor) in life.
The lineup is as follows:
-- Monday, Oct 14, “A Day With Joan Collins.”
Collins is a Golden Globe winner and Emmy nominee and has appeared in more than 60 feature films and dozens of television series -- including the role of the back-biting Alexis Carrington on the 1980s prime time soap opera “Dynasty.”
Her career began at age 13, on a London stage, and she continues live theater work today at age 79.
The Brit’s 17 novels, memoirs and health/beauty books have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide and have been translated into 30 languages.
And she is a regular diarist for The Spectator and a contributor to The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, The Times and Harper's Bazaar.
Collins also is involved with humanitarian work through the National Center for Learning Disabilities and The Shooting Star Children’s Hospice.
-- Tuesday, Nov. 12, “The Christmas Tree Ship” with author/newspaper columnist Rochelle Pennington.
Pennington has penned 10 books, four of them dealing with Christmas. “The Christmas Tree Ship” tells the true story of one of the most well-known shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan's Christmas Tree Ship. It delivered holiday evergreens to the citizens of Chicago each Christmas season before it was caught in the "Great Storm of 1912" and subsequently sank fully loaded with trees.
The captain died but his wife along with their three daughters carried on for more than 20 years afterward in honor of “Captain Santa.” The sunken ship is still loaded with its cargo today and is a popular Great Lakes dive site.
The story has inspired paintings, poems, six different songs, television programs, a musical performed all over the country titled “The Christmas Schooner” (Bay City Players has performed it), and a “new” Christmas Tree Ship sailed by the Great Lakes Coast Guard each holiday season as a living memorial.
Pennington's research was used to create a television program on The Weather Channel's “Storm Stories.” It airs nationally each December (since 2004) and the e author is interviewed repeatedly during the documentary.
Pennington lives in Wisconsin, and in her free time enjoys spending weekends at the family’s 100-year-old cottage in the Porcupine Mountains ofMichigan’s Upper Peninsula.
-- Tuesday, March 4, 2014, “The History and Mystery of Wine” with Dr. Elliot Engel.
Engel is a frequent Horizons Town Talk guest. He comes from a college literature teaching background -- his entertaining skills at it morphing into 10 books, countless CDs and DVDs, and speaking engagements which entertain while informing.
His CDs and DVDs cover the lives of Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Robert Frost, Emily Dickinson, Jane Austen, Ernest Hemingway, Queen Victoria, Frank Lloyd Weight, Edgar Allan Poe and many other literary and historic figures.
-- Tuesday, April 1, 2014, “What Else?...Politics” with Crowley.
The Kalamazoo native is CNN’s chief political correspondent and has covered elections and political news, and the people involved in them, for more than two decades. She moderated an Obama/Romney debate last August.
Before being hired by CNN in 1987, Crowley worked for a Washington, D.C. radio station, as the White House correspondent for The Associated Press and in NBC’s Washington bureau.
Crowley has won numerous journalism awards.
-- Tuesday, June 3, 2014, “Finding the Funny In...” with Jan McInnis.
Born in Washington D.C., McInnis was in charge of the “Joke of the Day” for her junior high school lunch table. Now she has spent the past 17 years as a professional speaker, comedian and comedy writer.
McInnis has delivered humor keynotes to thousands of organizations, from the Federal Reserve Banks to the Mayo Clinic. And she has sold comedy material to “The Tonight Show,” radio stations, greeting cards, syndicated cartoon strips, websites and CEOs,
The Horizons Town Talk programs begin at 11:30am at Horizons, 6200 State St. in Saginaw Township, and are followed by a buffet lunch. Season tickets are $135 and on sale to renewing members until Monday, June 3. After that remaining reserved seating will go on sale to new subscribers.
For more information, call 799-4122.