Monday, September 30, 2013

Events This Week--Gretchen Primack, Eddie Trunk, Kevin Phillips, Jen Larsen, Kipp Friedman, Brandon Sanderson, Susan Falkman!

Monday, September 30, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Gretchen Primack, author of Kind.

Gretchen Primack’s latest collection of poetry explores the dynamic between humans and animals in the 21st century. “Kind merges my social justice concerns with my poetic concerns,” says Primack, whose work has appeared in The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Best New Poets, Poet Lore, and many other literary journals. “I’m pleased to share the poems with Milwaukee, where my poetry and activism really began.”

Says poet Celia Bland, “To better understand Gretchen Primack’s work, look to the poets she evokes in her poetry: Pablo Neruda, Stanley Kunitz, Walt Whitman—writers whose works and lives are indistinguishably intertwined in conviction and originality and force.”

A portion of the author’s proceeds from the event will be donated to local animal organizations, including the Wisconsin Humane Society in honor of Sally, the beloved dog she adopted from there.

Kind is Gretchen Primack’s third collection of poetry. She is also co-author of the memoir The Lucky Ones, which was selected as Book of the Year by VegNews Magazine. While in Milwaukee for three years working as a labor organizer with SEIU and then FNHP, Primack studied poetry at UWM with 2009-10 Wisconsin Poet Laureate Marilyn Taylor. She then moved to New York to head Women’s Rights at Work, an anti-sexual harassment project of Citizen Action, and now lives and writes in the Hudson Valley.

Tuesday, October 1, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Eddie Trunk, author of Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Volume 2

"Eddie Trunk is one of the greatest true rock-and-roll fans I've ever met. He hears it, sees it from all angles, with an unusually unbiased point of view."—Slash

In the much-anticipated sequel to the bestselling Eddie Trunk's Essential Hard Rock and Heavy Metal, Trunk picks up where he left off by featuring 35 new bands, both legendary and forgotten, and sharing his passion for all things metal. Complete with his favorite playlists, band discographies, memorabilia, trivia, and more than 200 color photographs, this new book combines brief band histories with Trunk's unique personal experiences and anecdotes in a must-read for all fans of rock and roll. Featuring a diverse lineup, from Marilyn Manson and Ace Frehley to Lita Ford and Whitesnake, Volume 2 salutes all those who are ready to rock!

Eddie Trunk is the host and co-producer of VH1 Classic's That Metal Show and is heard on two weekly radio shows: Eddie Trunk Live, which airs on SiriusXM, and the FM-syndicated Eddie Trunk Rocks, in New York City on Q104.3. He lives in New Jersey.

Wednesday, October 2, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Jen Larsen, author of Stranger Here: How Weight-Loss Surgery Transformed My Body and Messed with My Head.

Here's how these things work. Mel went to a bookseller conference and Green Bay. She met Jen Larsen and decided to read her memoir. Stranger Here turned out to strike a nerve with her, or perhaps it was her funny bone. In any case, she immediately came back to me and said, Larsen's moving to Madison and we should do something with her. We spent some time matching her up and finally decided a great match was Mark Brennan Rosenberg, who was touring for another memoir about body image, Eating My Feelings. And then the tour was cancelled. But now we had two recs on Stranger Here, one from Mel and one also from Hannah. So that's a happy ending of sorts. It will be even happier if 25 or 30 of you come out. Here's Boswellian Hannah Johnson-Breimeier's take:

“Within minutes of meeting the very funny, geeky and totally rad Jen Larsen, I felt like she was my new best friend. Her memoir, Stranger Here, is a soul-searching account of her decision to undergo weight-loss surgery, and the subsequent realization that changing her body to meet society's standard of beauty was not the golden ticket to happiness she thought it would be. With a voice so loud and strong (even when she was feeling neither or) I anticipate that most readers will want to join the Jen Larsen fan club.”

Stranger Here is the brutally honest, humorous, and insightful story of her journey to, through, and beyond that decision. She is unsparing in her self-criticism and self-love. People Magazine calls it “Honest, brave and sparklingly funny,” And Bust Magazine columnist Wendy McClure notes, “For all the noise our culture makes about fat and thin and health and perfect bodies, Jen Larsen's voice rises above the clamor, disarming and funny but unflinching, too. Combining stark honesty with generosity of spirit, this story of loss and recovery is like no other.” Larsen is a writer and editor, and has blogged for several online publications.

Wednesday, October 2, 7 pm, at the American Geographical Society Library, 2311 E. Kenwood Blvd., on the third floor of the UWM Golda Meir Library:
Kevin Phillips, author of 1775: A Good Year for Revolution.
This event is co-sponsored by the Friends of the UWM Libraries.

Kevin Phillips has been a political and an economic commentator for four decades. This is his fifteenth book, the last four of which have been New York Times bestsellers. His book, The Cousins’ Wars was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in history. We are thrilled to have an event with Phillips in such a unique space. Here's more about 1775.

In 1775, iconoclast historian and bestselling author Kevin Phillips punctures the myth that 1776 was the watershed year of the American Revolution. Analyzing the political climate, economic structures, and military preparations, as well as the roles of ethnicity, religion, and class, Phillips tackles the eighteenth century with the same skill and insights he has shown in analyzing contemporary politics and economics. That skill and insight may not be surprising as he notes in the preface that, disillusioned with what he saw as the failing state of the country today, he wanted to “write about a United States taking shape rather than one losing headway.”

Fellow historian Joseph J. Ellis, in his review of 1775 for The New York Times, summarizes: “This is a feisty, fearless, edgy book, blissfully bereft of academic jargon, propelled by the energy of an author with the bit in his teeth. … the story he tells is not neat and orderly because making a revolution is, almost by definition, a dizzy experience that no one at the time fully comprehends. Phillips’s major accomplishment is to recover that sense of excitement, confusion and improvisation as, almost providentially, the perfect storm formed.”

Thursday, October 3, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Kipp Friedman, author of Barracuda in the Attic.
This event is co-sponsored by the Harry and Rose Samson Family JCC of Milwaukee.

You may know Kipp Friedman for his photography work in Milwaukee, or perhaps as part of the JCC. But his childhood was not your typical one, as his father was the editor, novelist, playwright and screenwriter Bruce Jay Friedman. Barracuda in the Attic is a collection of essays of a childhood split between city and suburb, mother and father, everyday antics and Hollywood glamour.

Typical of boys in the 60s and 70s, he and his older brothers Drew and Josh sought out horror films, comic books, and sports debates as they gallivanted around New York City and Long Island. Atypically, they also played pool with mobster Joe Gallo, dined with Groucho Marx; and vacationed in the South of France, the Caribbean, and, of course, Hollywood.

Barracuda in the Attic is truly a family affair: written by Kipp, it boasts a cover illustration by Drew Friedman, an introduction by paterfamilias Bruce Jay Friedman, and an afterword by Josh Friedman, as well as being copiously illustrated with photos of the family and their literati friends and hangers-on.

Read more about Kipp Friedman and Barracuda in the Attic on my recent dedicated blog post.

Friday, October 4, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Brandon Sanderson, author of Steelheart, The Rithmatist, and the Mistborn trilogy.

Sanderson, the Mistborn author tapped to finish off Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, embarks on a new young adult series, set in a futuristic Chicago. Humans have split into two groups: those with extraordinary powers (Epics) and those without. The Epics rule with iron fists. Now, a young man joins up with those trying to end the tyranny, to avenge the death of his father who was killed by a mysterious Epic by the name of Steelheart.

Here's Boswellian Jason Kennedy's take on Steelheart:
"Brandon Sanderson has created another amazing and brilliant universe, where everything has been rocked to its very core and humanity is struggling to just survive. In David's world, a calamity occurs which transforms normal people into Epics, who have varying levels of super powers. We would all like to think that most people with super powers would do good by humanity, but these Epics kill at a whim and destroy the normal working order of the world. Steelheart murders David's father, and for the next ten years he attempts to learn as much about the Steelheart and the other Epics as he can so he can avenge his fathers and countless others deaths. It is a dangerous proposition, however. If he can convince others to help him, then they might have a slim chance at best. That's all they need."

Brandon Sanderson is also the author of the internationally bestselling Mistborn trilogy and the recently released YA novel The Rithmatist. His books have been published in more than twenty-five languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. He lives and writes in Utah.

For more, check out this new interview conducted by Shawn Speakman on the Del Rey/Spectra web page.

Saturday, October 5, 2 pm, at Boswell:
Susan Falkman, author of Body Memories.
This event co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Breast Cancer Coalition.

Susan Falkman’s early carving years were spent in Greece and Italy, where she lived for over ten years before moving to the U.S. In addition to the galleries that show her work, her sculptures can be found in botanical gardens, hospitals, universities and other public and private institutions. She lives in Milwaukee with her dog.

A private studio artist, she one day was inspired to create a simple marble work for a friend who was undergoing a mastectomy. That one work led to another and another, growing into a unique exploration of breast cancer through abstract marble sculptures. Eventually the collection became an exhibit which traveled throughout the Midwest and the East Coast for six years, seen by thousands. At each stop, visitors could write down their reactions to the works in a journal, demonstrating the emotional impact that art can have on the individual.

Elegantly photographed by Dean Johnson, and accompanied by stories from cancer journeys undertaken by others as well as quotes from people who shared their own experiences while visiting the exhibit between 1994 and 2006, Body Memories is a moving, evocative book.

Ms. Falkman has taught stone carving at the Carving Studio in West Rutland, Vermont, The Lincoln Center for the Arts, in Milwaukee, at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and Cardinal Stritch University. Her sculptures can be found In collections in France, Germany, Greece, Australia, Italy and in the United States.

Preview for Next Week:
Monday, October 7, 6:30 pm, at the Franklin Public Library, 9151 W Loomis Rd, 53132:
Scott Seegert and John Martin, author and illustrator of Vordak the Incomprehensible: Time Travel Trouble (with a special appearance by Vordak).

Vordak the Incomprehensible is a world-class supervillain and the Evil Master of all he surveys. His first books, including Vordak the Incomprehensible: How to Grow Up and Rule the World, have inspired a whole new generation of minions and fiends.
Scott Seegert was selected to transcribe Vordak's notes based on his ability to be easily captured. He has completely forgotten what fresh air smells like and has learned to subsist on a diet of beetles, shackle rust, and scabs. As far as he knows, he still has a wife and children living in southeast Michigan.

John Martin has the great misfortune of being chosen by Vordak to illustrate this book. He hasn't seen the sun in three years. He is deathly afraid of the dark and spiders, which is unfortunate considering his situation. The last he heard, he also had a wife and children in Michigan.

Vordak the Incomprehensible, Vol. 4: Time Travel Trouble is the next installment in the misadventures of Vordak. After having yet another evil plan to rule the world foiled by Commander Virtue, Vordak travels back in time in an attempt to defeat his arch-nemesis at the point of his greatest vulnerability—his childhood. Kirkus Reviews says, most likely followed by maniacal laughter, "At last, the supervillain tells his side of the story."

To get to Franklin Public Library, take 894 to the Loomis Exit and head south. It's also a bit east of Highway 100 on Drexel Avenue.

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