Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Last Minute Plug for Jerome Pohlen's Progressive Nation, Saturday, May 14, 2 pm. That's Today!

For several months, many of my customers have been involved in voicing public reaction to some of our state governmenment's changes in laws and policies. I guess there's nothing like a 53% margin to declare that you have a mandate and change 50 years of laws. OK, that's about as political as I'm going to get here.

Several of my customers emailed me (oddly enough, nobody actually spoke to me), asking why I wasn't doing more programming that addressed collective bargaining and other issues.  Actually not too many other issues, mostly collective bargaining.  And I wrote back and said various things, but mostly I said I'm a bookstore, not a political forum, and that I have customers with a wide variety of political viewpoints (though being where we are, it certainly leans left but not exclusively), but I would certainly program author events if they gave me the right author. And just to prove the right author was out there, one of my booksellers turned her rec shelf into a union studies section.

But nothing fell into my lap, and nobody gave me $10,000 for honorariums and travel budgets. Then I went to the UWM Spring Writers Festival. I had to bring in books from the speakers.  Jerome Pohlen, who was speaking as an editor at Chicago Review Press, had written a number of the Oddball Travel Guides, including Oddball Wisconsin, but had also written a collection of guides to lefty travel sites, called Progressive Nation.  After his talk, I asked Mr. Pohlen to come up and do an event for the store, which is happening today, Saturday, May 14, at 2 pm.

Progessive Nation came out a couple of years ago, but we'd never hosted the author at Schwartz. How could this be? Well, it was partly because we never did much with Pohlen's publisher/distributor, Independent Publishers Group, whereas now they seem to be one of our major sources for interesting events. In fact, Pohlen edited Matthew Algeo, author of last Monday's event, The President is a Sick Man.  Independent Publishers Group also distributed the author of Wednesday's featured book, June Skinner Sawyers' Bob Dylan: New York, and the upcoming event for Douglas Jacobson's The Katyn Order. By the way, Douglas Jacobson's first public book event for his new novel is Monday, June 13, 7 pm. Details to come.

Progressive Nation is a travel guide, armchair or otherwise, to major pivotal moments in American history (and I paraphrase):
--The home of abolitionists Levi and Catharine Coffin, Grand Central Station on the Underground Railroad
--Alice's Restaurant Church, the namesake of Arlo Guthrie's song protesting the draft
--The courthouse where Susan B. Anthony went on trial for attempting to vote
--The site of the Haymarket Riot in Chicago, where laborers protested working conditions
--The former camera shop where Harvey Milk launched his campaign to become America's first openly gay elected official

And did I mention Pohlen was the Green Party candidate for Congress several years ago?  Credentialed enough for you?

So here's the question? Did you really want this programming or not? It's time to find out, today at 2 pm.  And if this event is a bust, I'm going to put in a proposal for Dinesh D'Souza, my buddy from college.*

*Full disclosure. Not really my buddy. We only went to the same college at the same time.

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