StaRGazing 2011 Speakers

“Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: How Isaac Newton Would Have Done It With Software” by Orv Beach

Orv Beach

The programs you use on your computers and phones increasingly shape your everyday life. So it's important to understand where they came from, how they came to be, and what criteria are used to determine what constitutes quality in software. In this presentation, we will discuss why software is so different from other things we consider as products. (Is Computer Science really science?)

The Open Source software development model can yield very secure, high-quality software. (The Firefox web browser is a good example.) Orv will show the advantages of Open Source software compared to proprietary, closed-source software. He'll drill into some examples, and maybe even hand out some software goodies!

Orv Beach has been involved in the Open Source software community for more than 15 years, and has been involved in tech all his life. He's a principal member of the Simi Conejo Linux Users Group, and the Publicity Chair for the Southern California Linux Expo.

“Ask the Sexologist” by Robert Berend

Robert Berend

A wildly popular panel discussion where anything goes! Adults only!

Robert Berend is a lifetime Mensa member, and he has spoken at several AGs, RGs and many other venues. Robert has a Ph.D. in human sexuality. He presented “Fishbowl” and “Ask the Sexologists” at the 2010 Annual Gathering in Dearborn, Michigan.

“The Universal Myth: Why We Die” by Tim Callahan

Tim Callahan

Tim Callahan is religion editor for Skeptic Magazine and the author of two books: “Bible Prophecy: Failure or Fulfillment?” (a debunking of Hal Lindsey, et. al.) and “Secret Origins of the Bible” (dealing with parallel myths and polytheistic origins of the Bible). More recently he has done extensive research on the mythic origins of narratives in the Qur'an and completed a manuscript on the universal myth of the Fall of Man, entitled “Your Eyes Will Be Opened.” He maintains a website, Callahan Online, and a forum on Biblical Prophecy and Mythology.

“Stand-up Comedy” by Andrea Cavanaugh

Andrea Cavanaugh is a mathematically challenged Mensan who gave up her dream of being a ballerina to become a writer, journalist and comedian. She performs regularly at the Comedy Store, the Pig 'n Whistle, and other venues throughout Los Angeles.

“Reinventing Yourself for Success” by Gina Crittenden

Gina Crittenden

In an interactive presentation, career coach Gina Crittenden will address life issues like organizing/prioritizing, stopping procrastination, setting goals, increasing self confidence and seeing the big picture of your future.

Gina Crittenden is President and Founder of Elevate U Coaching. As a Career Coach, Speaker, Trainer, and Author, Gina is committed to transforming career and business challenges into effortless breakthroughs for her clients. She specializes in enriching her clients' passion and potential for business success so they can achieve the personal satisfaction that makes a daily difference in their lives. With two decades of notable experience in the corporate world and her own adventures as an entrepreneur, she's lived the challenges and sudden changes in each arena. Her wide-ranging professional background includes a CPA license, Masters in Human Resources and Industrial Relations and Coaching Certification, plus memberships in the prestigious International Coach Federation, Employee Relocation Council and Society for Human Resource Management. Her career achievements allow her to guide others in mastering career transition with passion and purpose in what matters most to them.

“Island of Fogs: Archaeological and Ethnohistoric Investigations of Isla Cedros, Baja California, Mexico” by Matthew Des Lauriers

Matthew Des Lauriers

For the last ten years, Dr. Matthew Des Lauriers has conducted historical, ethnographic, and archaeological research on Isla Cedros, Baja California Norte, in an effort to understand the nature of island societies in ecological, economic, and social dimensions. In addition to discussing numerous discoveries relating to the peopling of the New World, Dr. Des Lauriers will also address issues relating to social change among complex hunter-gatherers within a comparative framework which strives to broaden both our concepts and our geographies. Perhaps least expected at the initiation of the research program was that the investigation of archaeological sites on a remote Baja California island would have impact of real significance to the modern people of the island who struggle to deal with poachers, government regulations, issues of trade and global markets, as well as the varying degrees and types of “insularity” that come with the geography of their home amid the wind and waves. His experience includes both academic and cultural resource management work throughout western North America and participation on projects as far afield as Chiapas, Mexico.

Dr. Matthew Des Lauriers is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Anthropological Research Institute at California State University, Northridge. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Riverside. When not conducting field research, he resides in the San Fernando Valley with fellow archaeologist and wife Claudia and their son Emilio.

“Life After Death” by Randolph Dobbs

Randolph Dobbs

Randolph Dobbs has been Secretary of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Los Angeles since 1996. He was born in Oakland, California, and raised in Salinas near Monterey, where he attended Hartnell College. He studied political science at King's College in London and is an amateur historian. Mr. Dobbs served as the editor of the Los Angeles Bahá’í Journal for over ten years and his articles have been posted to,, Muslim Network for Bahá’í Rights and many other websites.

Since 2005, Mr. Dobbs has served concurrently on the Regional Bahá’í Council of the Southwestern States, an administrative position responsible for Bahá’í governance in Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico. He is very active in the interfaith community, serving on the Advisory Board of the Valley Interfaith Council, the Executive Board of the Inter-Religious Council of Southern California and as Religious Director in the Office of Religious Life at the University of Southern California. He and his wife, Chris, have two grown children who also live in Southern California.

“Darfur, Genocide and Survival” and “Changes in the Income Tax Laws and How They Affect You” by Linda Dorfmont

Linda Dorfmont

Darfur, Genocide and Survival: When does this talk of war, famine and death begin? Several hundred years ago when the Arab northerners regularly raided the black south and west of Anglo-Egyptian Sudan for slaves? In 1982 when the newest outbreak of civil war started? What is going on in Sudan now?

Linda Dorfmont will trace the history of racial and ethnic conflict in the region, the effect of the vote to separate the south from the north, and the work that Jewish World Watch and other relief organizations have accomplished to prevent further attacks on the Darfuris, provide for their sustenance in refugee camps, and give them hope of returning to their villages to start life again without threat of destruction. She will also tell you what you can do to help in this effort.

Changes in the Income Tax Laws and How They Affect You: What has happened to the limits on itemized deductions? What are the medical-related tax changes? What are the changes to asset depreciation, child-related taxes, new motor vehicle taxes, and more? Bring all of your questions or sit back and listen as Linda explains what's new and what to watch out for as you approach your 1040 form this year.

Linda has been an activist with Jewish World Watch, one of the Save Darfur Coalition organizations, since it started in 2004. Inspired by her choir director's work in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, she decided that she had to do something about the ongoing genocide in Darfur. She is a member of JWW Speaker's Bureau and the Women's Committee. She has been a long time Industrial Engineer specializing in white collar productivity and quality improvement, and runs a tax and financial planning practice in South Bay.

She is an Enrolled Agent, which is a tax specialist who has earned the privilege of practicing, that is, representing taxpayers, before the Internal Revenue Service. She has been preparing tax returns and teaching tax practice and planning since 1973.

Chess Tournament hosted by Jonathan Elliott

Jonathan Elliott

Please sign up in advance in the game room so that we can get properly set up before the starting time. There will be no introductory remarks before play begins, so please plan to arrive on time, or else you might get locked out. We can accommodate any number of players, up to twice the number of chess sets available; more sets available means more players allowable, so please bring some if you can. If we have enough players, we'll split into up to three sections: one for adults (ages 20+), one for teens (ages 13-19), and one for juniors (up to age 12). If nobody at all shows up, Jonathan gets to retain the title for another year, so don't let that happen!!

This year's tournament will be directed by Jonathan Elliott, winner of the 2010 GLAAM RG chess tournament, past RG chess tournament director, and President of the Los Angeles Chess Club from 1990-94.

“The Oldest Federal Law Enforcement Agency: Up to Speed with the U.S. Marshals Service” by Robert A. Grossman, Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal

Robert A. Grossman

This presentation will provide the attendees with a general overview of the 220-year existence of the United States Marshals Service (1789 to present). The presenter will draw on his first-hand experiences and knowledge of the agency in a conversational format, with the anticipation of answering questions from the listeners and providing some entertaining moments along the way. The modern day saga of Wyatt Earp, et al.

Robert has been a Deputy United States Marshal for the past 23 years. He is originally from the Los Angeles area and has attended school and college in California. He currently holds a B.A. in Business Administration. Robert has many interests and hobbies including ragtime piano playing; electronics building and amateur radio; bicycling; and owning motorcycles and some fast cars. Robert has been involved with radio broadcasting as an on-air talent and he has contributed professionally as a curriculum writer for junior and senior high school studies through the Constitutional Rights Foundation. Robert has been a member of Mensa since 2008.

“How Clothing Reveals Character” by Karen Hudson

Karen Hudson

Have you walked down the street and suddenly decided it would be better to change direction and avoid a “crusty character”? Each person you encounter leaves a character footprint on you mind, a first impression. First impressions happen every day in interviews, client meetings and social events. Each morning when you dress you choose a character to play. In this interactive presentation, Karen will ask you “Who Am I Now?”, as she changes one item of clothing. Karen will also ask, “Who Are You Now?” We will discuss popular characters, how characters are created and how you can develop your character.

Karen Hudson is a twenty-five-year veteran of the Hollywood Film and Television Industry where she worked as a Costumer. Karen's claim to fame is that her name appears on the pilot and every episode of Hill Street Blues. She has developed many on-screen characters and considers herself to be a Social-Psychologist. Since retiring in 2001, she has lectured on the topics of Costuming, Job Interviews and Public Speaking. She has also presented entertaining keynote speeches about her career to Rotary, Kiwanis, City of Hope and other organizations. Karen is a member of Toastmasters and is a contributing author to the book “The Heart of a Woman in Business,” by Sheryl Rousch. Contact:

“Let's Know Our Brain Better!” by Haleh Karbasforoushan (Halle K.)

Haleh Karbasforoushan

How does a brain work? What is the function of a neuron? How do neurons interact? What are the main brain regions, substructures, and their associated functions? How are cognitive disorders correlated to brain and its regions' functions? What are neuroimaging methods?

Halle K. holds a master's degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from USC. She has done research in the field of Neuroscience and Neuroimaging for two years, and is currently a Research Associate in Neurology Department at UCLA.

“The Health and Social Impacts of Ingested Fluoride” by David Kennedy, D.D.S.

Dr. David C. Kennedy is the past President and currently the Information Officer on Fluoride of the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, which was formed to review, support, and disseminate research on the suitability of materials and methodologies used in dental practice. See He has lectured to dentists, physicians and other health professionals all over the world on the subjects of preventive dental health, mercury toxicity, and fluoride. He is the author of the book “How To Save Your Teeth” with toxic-free preventive dentistry, has produced a documentary film titled “Crippling Waters” on the problems of excess fluoride in drinking waters of China, and has compiled a series of videos into a two-part DVD made for use in the home, office or play on public access TV titled “Fluoridation: Let the Truth Be Told”.

“Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Day of the Dead and Milagros” by Linda Kime, Psy.D. and Heidi Stromburg

Linda Kime has a doctorate of psychology (Psy.D.) from Pepperdine University. She is a Toastmaster who loves attending the Day of the Dead. Heidi Stromburg is currently a member of both Mensa and Toastmasters. She graduated from UCLA with a degree in Classics (Latin/English). While Heidi is not a Latina, she has always been fascinated with Latino Culture. She served as the drummer for the Mexican punk rock band “Cholita” for two years, traveled to Cuba to study Afro-Cuban percussion and played guagua in the Afro-Cuban folkloric ensemble “Umbalaye.” Additionally, Heidi is a recovering salsa dance addict who loves Latino popular art and folklore, especially Mexican Loteria cards, Oaxacan animal/Alebrije wood carvings, Day of the Dead paper mache figures, and most especially the Mexican religious folk charms known as Milagros.

“Dance Lesson” by Viki Kind

Viki Kind

Would you like to feel more comfortable on the dance floor? Would you like to learn some new steps to impress? Whether you are already a good dancer or just a beginner, join Viki as she teaches some basic moves to help you to “get down and boogie.”

Viki Kind is a clinical bioethicist, medical educator and hospice volunteer. Her book “The Caregiver's Path to Compassionate Decision Making: Making Choices For Those Who Can't” guides families and healthcare professionals through the difficult process of making decisions for those who have lost capacity. Viki has lectured across America teaching healthcare professionals to have integrity, compassion and to improve end-of-life care through better communication. Visit her website: Viki owned and operated a dance studio in Glendale for 13 years.

“The Price of Perfection: A Look at Cheating in School and Life” by Jessica Klein, M.A.

What does it mean to “cheat”? Is there a cheating epidemic in the United States? With 70% of college students reporting that they have cheated at some point during their academic careers, what are educators to do to ensure fair treatment and real achievement in their courses? This lecture will take an academic look at cheating inside and outside of school. After surveying the literature and studies on why and how people cheat, Jessica Klein, M.A., will open the conversation to audience members for their definitions of, opinions on, and solutions to cheating.

Jessica Klein's interest in language and education began in the Middle East and Europe, where she travelled extensively. She returned to San Diego, where she obtained a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from the Department of Linguistics and Asian/Middle-Eastern Languages at San Diego State University, focusing on authentic language materials development, computer-assisted language learning, sociolinguistics, and language policy. During graduate school, she completed her original thesis work on language use, language policy, and language attitudes in Veneto, Italy. She presented original work at the 2010 Annual CATESOL Conference, the 2009 LA Regional CATESOL Conference, the 2008 Annual CATESOL Conference, and at the University of California San Diego and was invited to serve as a panelist on the Department of Research Affair's Research Ethics Seminar Series at San Diego State University. She has taught English as a Second Language at the University of California San Diego and Linguistics at San Diego State University. She presently teaches English as a Second Language at Santa Monica College and is an active member in TESOL and Mensa.

“Hershey: The Man, the Town, the Chocolate” by Dennis Lynch

Dennis Lynch

When you think of chocolate you think of … Hershey! But did you know that Milton Hershey suffered repeated failures in the candy business before he became famous for producing the first affordable chocolate bar? Maybe you have heard of “The Sweetest Place on Earth,” the “model company town” of Hershey, Pennsylvania, a visionary community that continues to set the standard for innovation in education, community spirit, and quality of life. To find out about these things and more, join Dennis Lynch for a slide presentation as he unwraps the fascinating story behind the man, the town, and the chocolate while you sample some of the products that made Hershey a household name all over the world.

Dennis Lynch is a veteran Advanced Placement History teacher, Academic Decathlon coach, and 2002 Los Angeles County Teacher of the Year. He is witty, charming and debonair, and his fascinating spiel will keep you awake.

“Should You Have Exotic Animals as Pets?” by Angela Madsen

Pets provide companionship, amusement, and maybe even bragging rights. Some people dream of having exotic pets. Why get a dog when you can have a fennec fox? Why not have a sea lion in your pool? A monkey to greet your guests? A tiger in your backyard? There are many “solutions” for domesticating exotic animals, including declawing, imprinting, and training, but this presentation will show you (the easy way!) why most exotic animals don't make good pets, even to the most experienced handlers.

Angela Madsen will soon graduate from the Exotic Animal Training and Management program at Moorpark College, after spending almost two years working with and caring for over 130 exotic and domestic animals at the zoo on campus. She has also volunteered at the L.A. Zoo, the Santa Barbara Zoo and the Camarillo Animal Shelter, gaining experience in animal handling and training. She has been all over California learning from the employees at zoos, research centers, and training facilities.

“Mental Math: the Gateway to Understanding Math and Making It Fun for Everyone” by Larry Martinek

Larry Martinek

Larry will explain the importance of strong Mental Math skills and demonstrate many techniques for developing them.

Larry Martinek is a mathematics educator, and creator of the curriculum and educational style that later became known as the Mathnasium Method. He has worked as a teacher, curriculum designer, teacher trainer, and educational consultant for the Los Angeles Unified School District and public and private schools in the area since 1974. He is currently Co-Founder and Chief Instructional Officer of Mathnasium LLC in Los Angeles.

“Meet the Regional Vice Chair” by Angie and Art Mattson

Angie and Art Mattson

Meet your representative to American Mensa. Art Mattson will be showing the “Mensa is famous” video. Have your questions about governance answered, or just ask questions about his encounters with Mensans around the world.

Art Mattson returned to the American Mensa Committee (AMC) two years ago after a twenty-year absence. As RVC, he represents the twelve local groups in the Far West Region. He had served on the AMC for six years in the 1980s. He also served on the International Board for four years.

“American Red Cross in Action: Disasters and Preparedness” by Kat Meredith

Come for an overview of the American Red Cross's projects and missions overseas, and little-known services provided at home. To prepare you for a disaster, survival kits for adults and children will be discussed and demonstrated.

Kat Meredith is Partner Services/Government Relations Liaison, Emergency and Disaster Response for the American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles.

“The Human Comedy” by Vanda Mikoloski

Vanda Mikoloski

Mensans had such a ball “contributing” to Vanda's show at the Pittsburgh AG that she's back to be with her favorite audience! Mensans' favorite stand-up comic will be riffing about the “Ridiculous Reality of Being a Human Being”. Intimate, hysterical, philosophical, irreverent reverence … referencing wisdom and nonsense from “What the Bleep”, “The Secret”, Eckhart Tolle, Ram Das, Alan Watts, Byron Katie, Robert Anton Wilson, Tom Robbins, Ramana Maharshi, Werner Erhardt, Socrates, AA, yoga, “channels”, and L.A. traffic. Vanda brings both ahas and hahas to the stage – questioning our P.O.V. about our P.O.V. and marveling at the human predicament … illuminating spiritual principles and transformational distinctions like fireworks.

Topics include: quantum physics, voices in our heads, alcoholism/addiction, what a jerk she can be, being a bad yoga teacher, relationships (or lack thereof), depression, and enlightenment.

Vanda Mikoloski was a runaway from prep school, a stripper, an initiate of an esoteric mystery school, a drug addict, a successful comic (Showtime, Lifetime), and a yoga teacher for the Dixie Chicks. She left show biz at 33 to follow her spiritual path and “check in rather than check out”. After the success of “What the Bleep Do We Know?”, Vanda loaded her home into her Honda and drove to L.A. She is single, living six blocks from Venice Beach. Check out a video demo on her web site, Enlighten Up! with Vanda Mikoloski.

“A Star Trek Search in a Seinfeld Way: An Overview of Current Astrophysics Research into the Dark Nature of the Universe” by Scott C. Miller

Scott C. Miller

There is a lot of material in the universe that can be seen and measured. But in the past few years, some disturbing evidence has been creeping into astronomers' observational data. It seems that galaxies are rotating faster then they should be, based upon the amount of observable matter and light. Or: the universe is expanding faster today then it was yesterday! These observations of something that is not observable (i.e., nothing is there) are the new frontier of astrophysics research. This talk is a general tour of these ideas, exploring the current understanding of the terms Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and more.

Scott's love of astronomy began at Los Angeles Valley College and continued at both California State University-Northridge (CSUN) and the University of New Mexico (UNM). He has shared his love of the universe by working at both the San Fernando Solar Observatory and the Griffith Observatory. While in graduate school, he worked at the UNM Department of Physics and the astronomy campus observatory. He gave public talks about observing the night sky, and general talks about astronomy and astrophysics. His most recent endeavor was teaching basic astronomy to fifth and sixth graders, with topics including nuclear physics, computing the distance to the stars, and how spectral analysis tells us what stars are made of. Scott is currently on assignment here in California from his home in Minnesota. He is also currently serving as the immediate Past District Governor for District 52 Toastmasters.

“Stand-up comedy” by Erik Passoja

Erik Passoja

A nationally-touring headliner, Erik Passoja is an explosive, off-the-wall comic. He has performed in clubs, concert halls, and theatres, and he continues to tour regularly. He has made numerous television appearances, from all the major networks to MTV to Comedy Central, and you can even see him on your Verizon and Sprint phones in numerous comedy showcases. As an actor, you may recognize him from major network shows such as CSI, Charmed, Nash Bridges, and Life with Bonnie. He has also made stand-up appearances on shows such as NBC's Last Comic Standing, Byron Allen's, Comics Unleashed, and SiTV's Latino Laugh Festival.

“Seeing Light: Prisms, Lightwaves, and the Sky” with The Planetary Society

Make a planetsphere (sky wheel) that you can keep and take home. Have fun with prisms: Look at different kinds of light through prisms. See how different wavelengths of light combine to make the white light we see every day.

The Planetary Society, the world's largest space-interest group, is dedicated to inspiring the public with the adventure and mystery of space exploration. Through our projects and publications, the society plays a leading role in creating innovative coalitions to engage the public and fuel support for exploring other worlds. We make you part of space exploration.

“More Than Just Carrots: A Look at Ocular Anatomy, Eye Disease, and Nutrition” by David Plotner, M.D.

As kids, we've all been told at one point or another that eating carrots would improve our vision. Yet years later, many of us have come to found that after eating countless pounds of carrots, we haven't been able to get that perfect (or x-ray) vision we were promised in our youth. We may even be surprised to learn that our well-meaning parents are part of the more than one in three Americans over 70 who have an eye disease.

In this informative presentation, Dr. Plotner, an ophthalmologist with over 30 years of experience, will take you on a tour of one of the most important, yet least understood, components of the human body: the eye. After presenting a crash course in ocular anatomy, Dr. Plotner will educate you on the most common eye diseases along with the nutritional and lifestyle choices you can make to optimize the vision you have. After this lecture, one thing is for sure: you'll be eating more than just carrots.

David R. Plotner, M.D., F.A.C.S. is a board-certified ophthalmologist specializing in the medical and surgical diseases of the eye. With his surgical expertise, he is highly skilled at performing the latest surgical techniques for cataract surgery, microsurgical and laser procedures. Before he established his private practice in Escondido in 1980, Dr. Plotner served as Medical Director for the San Diego Chapter of the Flying Samaritans. He established ophthalmic surgery programs at the Mexicali Red Cross Hospital as well as the LBJ Tropical Medical Center in America Samoa.

“Intuitive Science: Science Education from Kindergarten to Old Age” by Johanna Polzin

Science discovery is a lifelong journey that starts early, whether you want it to or not. Discover the humor, horror, and poetry of science in this brief discussion, and learn how to engage the kids in your lives in thoughtful discovery that will serve them (and you) forever.

Johanna Polzin is the founder and CEO of Girls Math & Science Academy. Formerly a communications manager, presenter, and writer for the California State University Chancellor's Office and a Director of Student Services for Career Education Corporation, Johanna holds a B.S. in Science Education from Michigan State University and taught middle school and high school students in Lansing, MI public schools for several years before coming to California to share her unique approach to math and science education.

“Quixote” a film by Steven Ritz-Barr

Steven Ritz-Barr

Don Quixote by Cervantes is one of the funniest and most touching stories ever written. It is told here in the language of film by puppeteer Steven Ritz-Barr, with Michael York as the voice of Don Quixote. This delightful 30-minute film is produced by Classics in Miniature, Inc. using marionettes, exquisitely hand-crafted by Russian Puppet artist Eugene Seregin, and remarkably brought to life by puppeteer Steven Ritz-Barr and co-director Hoku Uchiyama. In 2010, it was awarded the UNIMA (international puppet organization) citation of excellence.

Steven Ritz-Barr is Visiting Professor, Animation, UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and Owner, Classics in Miniature, Inc.

“Music & Science: Left Brain & Right Brain in Harmony” by Stacy Robin (Weitsman)

Stacy Robin (Weitsman)

Stacy Robin, singer, percussionist and musician by way of medical research, is joined by David James, a multi-talented multi-instrumentalist with roots in aerospace engineering. They will be entertaining you with an original blend of folk fusion featuring music from their band Imaginary Friends, and from Stacy's eclectic solo projects, as well as some old-favorite familiar songs mixed in for fun.

Stacy started her career as a plant biochemist but has spent the last 20 years in medical research. She currently oversees the basic research program for the Division of GI Motility at Cedars Sinai Medical Center. She has co-authored numerous peer-reviewed papers in the fields of Hematology/Oncology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Gastroenterology, and has presented her work at international meetings. She is also an accomplished singer, songwriter, percussionist and front woman, specializing in a unique fusion of pop, rock, folk and world music with engaging rhythms, lush vocals and an intimate lyrical style. She has four commercially released CDs and is currently in the studio working on her second solo release, as well as her third release with her band Imaginary Friends. Her music has been heard on TV and film including the movie “The Stranger Beside Me” starring Mark Harmon, the CBS drama “The Unit”, and TV ads for Gateway Computers and Toyota as well as radio ads for Wal-Mart.

A committed social activist, she has donated the use of her music to non-profit organizations such as Step-Up Women's Network, Americans for Medical Progress, and Cedars-Sinai (PSA), and has performed at numerous fundraisers and community events. Contact:

“Adult ADD Adventure: Concept, Criteria, Cause, Coping, Capabilities” by Gene Schneider

Gene Schneider

PET scans show that the Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) brain works quite differently from most brains. People with ADD excel at some kinds of thought processes … and perennially fail at others. Learn three types of ADD; symptoms, treatment, behavioral strategies, etc.; and observed symptoms, and useful therapies, at various ages. The focus is on Inattentive ADD, the type most likely to be diagnosed in middle age. As time permits, Gene will describe the immensely complex time management strategies that adults with ADD must use to manage their lives.

Gene Schneider is a geek, an internet entrepreneur, and a Correlator. She connects facts between apparently unrelated areas of study, using these unexpected relationships to devise systems and solve problems in novel ways. It turns out that people with a certain kind of ADD excel in all three of these activities. Formally, Gene has a three-way B.S. in Zoology, Psychology, and Computer Science, and an M.S. in Computer Science. Working 32 years for the Navy, she became a recognized expert throughout the Department of Defense on user-friendly software. At about age 50, her memory and ability to concentrate suddenly and rapidly failed. As she researched this new experience, she discovered adult ADD and realized that she had noticed symptoms of ADD since kindergarten.

“Conceal & Reveal: The Art & History of Burlesque” by Red Snapper

Red Snapper

Due to the adult content in this program, it is only open to attendees 18 years and older.

Burlesque performer Red Snapper regularly performs throughout Southern California, and has performed in Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Austin, Boston and New Orleans. Known as “The Go All the Way Girl,” she never fails to charm. Red's repertoire varies from classic 1940's elegance to rock & roll, tongue-in-cheek, naughty good girl. Sometimes she shares the stage with puppets or large, silly props built by Mr. Snapper.

She has taught pole, lap chair dancing with Aphrodite Strip-N-Pole in West Hollywood, and burlesque with Striptease Symposium in Los Angeles. She's privately coached a number of actresses in the art of striptease, and she specializes in teaching men.

“Multimedia Celebration of the Life of Bob Marley” by Roger Steffens

Roger Steffens

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of the passing of reggae superstar Bob Marley, Roger Steffens presents his internationally acclaimed multi-media presentation of “The Life of Bob Marley.” It has been showcased nine times at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (where he was the first speaker); the Smithsonian; the EMP in Seattle; the Grammy Museum; and at more than 400 venues around the world. It contains unreleased films and videos — home movies, rehearsals, a long-suppressed documentary on the assassination attempt on Bob's life, plus unseen live shows and interviews. In between the clips, he tells Bob Marley's life story. Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to understand what reggae is all about!

Born in New York and a four decade resident of California, Roger Steffens is a man with many faces: actor, author, lecturer, archivist, photographer, disc jockey, editor, curator, director and producer. He has hosted five different programs on the National Public Radio station in L.A., KCRW, including the multiple award-winning “Reggae Beat.” He is famous for being one of the greatest enthusiasts of reggae in North America. He has been chairman of the Reggae Grammy Committee since its inception in 1984. His massive Reggae Archives contain the world's largest collection of Bob Marley materials, along with the history of Jamaican music, filling six rooms of his L.A. home. Roger is also the 1968 co-founder of the Saigon Mensa chapter. Website:

Songs and Games hosted by Alan Stillson

Alan Stillson

Filk Music Performance: This year's Coffeehouse will include a Filk music performance by Alan Stillson. Filk got its name when a group of people at a sci-fi convention met to sing folk music and parodies and there was a typo on the program. The name stuck and the genre still lives. There are filk groups throughout the world, including greater L.A. If you like sci-fi, science and social musical satire, you'll love this stuff. Alan Stillson is the leader of the GLAAM Folksong SIG and an active filker.

Name That Tune: This long-standing RG tradition will be played once more. How quickly can you associate a few notes with the title of a song you haven't heard in xxx years? The host is Alan Stillson, leader of the GLAAM Folksong SIG.

Original Interactive Word Games: Alan Stillson is author or co-author of nine puzzle books, including seven official American Mensa titles. Here's a chance to enjoy some original interactive word games and bring out your inner word geek. These word games are fast moving and easy to play — no tiles, no boards. You can find Mr. Stillson's puzzle books and many sample puzzles by visiting

Sing-Along: An hour of fun group singing from some of the best pages of our folksong SIG songbook. Bring your own acoustical instrument if you have one with you. One of life's few certainties is that this program is always a hoot. Alan Stillson is the leader of the GLAAM Folksong SIG.

Alan Stillson has been a Mensa member since 1987. He's the puzzle editor of L.A. Mentary and leads the Folksong SIG and the writers group. Alan is an adjunct mathematics professor at four L.A.-area colleges and an author. He has nine published puzzle books and other works in process, including a musical show. His website is and his email address is

“Charades 101 for Beginners” by Madeline Walker

Madeline Walker

“I sat in a living room watching high school kids play something they called Charades,” says Madeline, “and they had no idea what to do other than act out a scene.” She will teach all the signs and symbols needed to communicate in the language of Charades, and will run a game for two teams, each trying to do a better job at it than the other team. As time permits, a Rock-Paper-Scissors Tournament will be held. She might also explain Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock, but will not be held responsible for anyone who turns into a pretzel while trying to play this version.

Madeline has been an active member of GLAAM for several years, and is co-chair of this RG. A native of Southern California, she earned a BA in Psychology from Pitzer College and an MS in Industrial Engineering from the University of Missouri-Columbia. After working 19 years as an Industrial Engineer and taking time out to be a mommy, she and her husband Douglas own a trophy shop in Torrance.

Werewolves and Lawyer Games hosted by Ed You

Ed You

Werewolves of the L.A. RG: By night, werewolves kill off villagers. By day, angry villagers kill off suspected werewolves. (But oops; sometimes they just kill off “innocent villagers.”) “Werewolf” requires observation, some deduction, and a lot of bold-faced lying. Who will prevail: the werewolves or the villagers? Since an average game take 15-20 minutes, new players can join quickly. (This game is similar to, but better than, “Mafia.”)

Lawyer Games: Myron used to run this game of questions and deductions and now Ed You will run it in his memory. Sample: “The music stopped. The woman died. How?” Ask a series of “Yes” and “No” questions to deduce the events of her death. Then start another riddle.

Ed You is an actor, singer, clinical pharmacist, and former game entrepreneur. You might know him as “The Palabra Pimp,” as “the alpha wolf” when he's playing Werewolf, or as the clueless, incompetent “Inspector You” when he's leading the Mensa Murder Mystery Games.

“Hot Topics in Economics: The Mirage of Renewable Energy” by Benjamin Zycher

Benjamin Zycher

Dr. Zycher will attack and analyze from an economics view the most controversial topic of the day, bringing you insight into a complex issue. The topic will hinge on what the front pages are screaming about at the time.

Benjamin Zycher is the President of Benjamin Zycher Economics Associates, a Senior Fellow at the Pacific Research Institute, and an Adjunct Professor of Economics and Business at the Martin V. Smith School of Business and Economics, California State University, Channel Islands. In addition, he is a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and an Associate in the Intelligence Community Associates program of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research, U.S. Department of State. He is also a member of the advisory board of the quarterly journal Regulation, and has extensive experience in terms of consulting services for private sector clients.