The San Ramon Valley Democratic Club will feature a discussion about "From Wharf Rats to Lords of the Docks" and “To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine" with award-winning Bay Area actor Ian Ruskin at its Thursday, October 27 meeting.

The meeting will take place at the Crow Canyon Country Club, 711 Silver Lake Drive, in Danville. Social time at 6:15 p.m., dinner at 6:45 p.m., with the program at 7:15 p.m. Members and invited guests can enjoy the dinner and program for $25, non-members $30, presentation only is $5 (requested donation).
 
Ian trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In England, he worked in Repertory Theater, London's West End (where work included the title role in Jack the Ripper), television (including the Laurence Olivier King Lear), and film.
He has performed his one-man play "From Wharf Rats to Lords or the Docks" nearly 200 times to about 50,000 people across America and in Canada, Hawai'i, England and Australia. Legendary filmmaker Haskell Wexler filmed a live performance at the Warner Grand Theater, San Pedro in front of 1000 people. It aired on PBS in 2009/2010, presenting the story to 150 million people.
 
“To Begin the World Over Again: the Life of Thomas Paine”  challenges many of the perceptions and assumptions about Paine and throw new light on the birth of America, as well as on the French Revolution and the Age of Reason.  Thomas Paine was the one truly radical Founding Father of America, a man who changed the face of the world through his writings. “Common Sense” inspired the American Revolution, “Rights of Man” defined the French Revolution, and then “The Age of Reason” called on us to use our ability to reason as the basis for our beliefs and morality.
 
Ian Ruskin will perform parts of each of these plays and talk about their meaning to today’s America.

The night's second speaker will be Mary Perez, the founder of Christmas for Everyone.
 
Twenty-six years ago, Mary had an idea; “Why not fix a Christmas dinner and provide some gifts to those less fortunate in our community.”  The first Christmas for Everyone served meals to 250 people and made sure each person left with a warm blanket or coat.  Last year Club President Jim Donnelly and his wife volunteered as servers at an event where over 2,700 people were provided with a Christmas dinner, a warm coat and a present for each child. Mary will tell us more about how her original idea developed over the years to serve so many needy in our community.
 
Donnelly is asking that everyone who attends this meeting to bring either a nice warm blanket or coat to donate to this worthy local charity.

Please RSVP by Monday, October 24, to Jim Donnelly. Mail checks, made out to Jim Donnelly, to 373 Century Circle, Danville, CA 94526. For more information, visit the club's web site.

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