Loading Events

« All Events

Summer La Mesa

August 9 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm MDT


Our “Las Mesas” are intimate, salon-style gatherings where friends come together to explore philosophy and ideas over hand-crafted meals & wine.  Each season, a different community member(s) hosts a “La Mesa” dinner at their house, opening up their home for community members to gather and enjoy the fun of philosophy, the beauty of rich and meaningful conversation, and the joy of good food & friends (old and new).


“La mesa” translates to “the table” in Spanish.  It’s where people come together & break bread!  It’s where stories & laughter & ideas are shared. It’s where toasts are made & moments honored.  There’s something special about this — something worth cherishing & pursuing.  That’s the basis & inspiration for our Las Mesas — gathering ’round a table with friends, over good food & good conversation….and, of course, philosophy!

Unique, transformative, thought-provoking, and funevenings involve a full course meal & beverages over loosely facilitated philosophical conversation.  Format is structured similar to our Think & Drink conversations with topics selected democratically by guests.


When & Where


Date: Friday, August 9th
Time: 6pmish-9pmish
Hosts: Barry & Hetti Louise Ferst
Where: 712 Holter Street, Helena MT 59601
Other: Guest count limited to 8-10 total


RSVP:  E-mail [email protected] to reserve your spot
Donation: $100 per guest (includes dinner, drinks, facilitated conversation & good cheer!)

Proceeds from seat donations are tax-deductible, benefit Merlin CCC & go toward our free philosophy in the community programs. 

You can bring a check with you the night of or make a donation on-line. (If you opt for the latter, if you would please be so kind as to check the box to include the payment platform processing fee in your contribution so that the Merlin is able to apply the entire $100 donation to our programs.)

Summer La Mesa Hosts

Harriet Louise Porzig Ferst spent the past 75 years trying to figure out what she wants to be called; not really a nickname, (that had been Harri-Lou when she was little), but maybe a call name, (not really liking any of those given to her by life).  Recently she settled on “Hetti”, for Harriet, having learned that Social Security cares only about first and last names and a person can have as many or as few middles as she likes.  

Hetti and Barry came to Helena in 1980 and she soon discovered that, as someone whose interests range broader than deeper, she might rather have earned a degree in ag (encompassing eco-diversity, food, geopolitics, mechanics, genetics, soil, health etc.) instead of her honors philosophy BA and masters from Tulane University with a concentration in aesthetics of theatre


Read more about Hetti...

Having purchased a double lot with what was once the “gardener’s cottage” for the house next door, she has been kitchen gardening and food preparing ever since, exploring the lush horticultural and culinary traditions encountered on numerous drives through southern Europe, North Africa and the near Middle East hunting Roman sarcophaguses for Barry’s encyclopedic project. 

Hetti served as (then) Montana Committee for the Humanities first Scholar in the Schools bringing garden plans, mosaics, fresco, Philosophy for Children, and a home-ec class Roman dinner to White Sulphur Springs schools.  She also earned National Endowment teacher fellowships to explore the landscape tradition in early Renaissance Sienese fresco and to consider how Persian construction of walled gardens influenced European garden tradition and illustration.

When we moved to Helena, wondering how long that first, non-tenure track professorship at Carroll would last, we joked about how, if it didn’t, we’d hang out a shingle for public, street-side philosophy.  We remain in awe, and grateful, that under Marisa’s guidance and extraordinary energy Merlin has succeeded so mightily in that improbable enterprise. — Hetti & Barry

Barry Ferst grew up on Chicago’s south side and earned a doctorate in philosophy from Tulane University.  He began teaching at Carroll College in 1980 and leaves there a legacy including the Honors Scholars program, a thriving philosophy department, an established speakers series, and a collection of unique community-campus programs that integrated thought, science and the arts around timely issues. He often encounters one of his 9000 or so former students when travelling or on the streets of Helena, where he exchanged his classroom for a curiosity shop filled with his own 3D collages and a universe of the most unusual and bizarre curios internet suppliers and second hand shops have to offer.


Read more about Barry...

In addition to making his visual art he writes short stories that explore fantastical alternate realities peopled with idiosyncratic human characters.  And an approximately fifteen-year quest to document all the extant Roman stone sarcophaguses led him from Moscow to Marrakech and from Copenhagen to Cairo, photographing in museums and along ancient decumani.  The resulting volume is the definitive documentation of that sculptural body.

Barry’s philosophical concentrations include ancient philosophy, aesthetics, and philosophy of mind.  His popular culture interests include American religious history, fashion and evolving life styles.  All appear in his several publications.


August 9
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm MDT
Event Categories:
Event Tags:
, , , , ,


Marisa Diaz-Waian


Residence of Barry & Hetti Louise Ferst
712 Holter Street
Helena, 59601 United States
+ Google Map
Powered by Tempera & WordPress.