Monday, June 20, 2016

Events this week: Anne Basting, Larry Watson with Mitch Teich, Eric Spitznagel, Steven Hyden with Matt Wild, plus Fran Kapland and Robert Samuel Smith next Monday

Here's what's going on at Boswell this week:

Monday, June 20, at 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Anne Basting, co-editor of The Penelope Project: An Arts-Based Odyssey to Change Elder Care

Recently I visited my mom in Worcester who has moved to the Keepsake floor of her assisted living community in Worcester. We went out to lunch (she highly recommends the strawberry poppyseed salad at Panera) and then we played Bingo with some other folks in the unit. I wonder what it would be like for her to be taking part in Anne Basting's programs, either through her nonprofit Timeslips, or the Penelope Project that she worked on from 2009-2001.

Basting is coeditor of The Penelope Project, the book that chronicles the program at Wauwatosa's Luther Manor. A team of artists from the UW-Milwaukee’s theatre department and Sojourn Theatre Company, university students, staff, residents, and volunteers traded their bingo cards for copies of The Odyssey. They embarked on a two-year project to examine this ancient story from the perspective of the hero who never left home: Penelope, wife of Odysseus. Together, the team staged a play that engaged everyone and transcended the limits not just of old age and disability but also youth, institutional regulations, and disciplinary boundaries.

Anne Basting is Professor of Theatre at UWM, and coordinator of the Creative Trust. She is also founder and president of TimeSlips Creative Storytelling. Basting will be joined at this event by participants Joyce Heinrich and Rusty Tym.

Tuesday, June 21, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Larry Watson, author of As Good As Gone. in conversation with Mitch Teich of WUWM’s Lake Effect.
Cosponsored by WUWM, Milwaukee Public Radio

Here's our staff recommendation for As Good as Gone from Sharon K. Nagel: "Montana in the 1960s is an environment that is quickly changing and almost unrecognizable to Calvin Sidey. He is estranged from his family and living off the grid. When his son entreats him to come and look after his grandchildren while their mother has surgery, Calvin reluctantly agrees. He barely knows his son Bill, much less 11-year old Will and 17-year old Ann. He moves into a house and a town that remember him all too well. Calvin takes charge of his grandchildren and dispatches certain problems in a violent but efficient manner. This is a compelling novel about a man who is unable to let go of his past or move on with the times that he lives in."

Reviews have been great for As Good as Gone, Larry Watson's first novel with Algonquin. Here's Jim Higgins's profile in the Journal Sentinel, where he reveals that the working title for this novel was Cowboy in the Basement. And Kirkus Reviews wrote: "Watson’s powerful characterizations frame large and connected themes: family loyalty, the conflicting capacities of love, and the tenuous connections between humans."

We're excited to have Watson in conversation with Mitch Teich, executive producer and cohost of WUWM's Lake Effect. Between the two of them, they have lived in North Dakota, Utah, Arizona, Iowa, Minnesota, New York, and Washington, DC. And I might have left out a few states. Should be a great conversation!

Thursday, June 23, 7:00 pm, at Acme Records, 2341 S Kinnickinnic Ave in Bay View:
Eric Spitznagel, author of Old Records Never Die: One Man’s Quest for His Vinyl and His Past

Here is the complete review, the extended play if you will, of Old Records Never Die from Conrad Silverberg.

"If you are old enough, or retro enough, I'm sure you remember that one album you owned that, despite its scratches, pops, and smudges, you swore you would hold onto until the day you died. Well, you failed to do that, but you still remember the exact spot on that one song where your copy had an especially pronounced pop or hiss or skip. Even now it's how you hear the song in your head. If that song plays from someone else's album, it just sounds wrong!

"For me, that album was Led Zeppelin's first record, and the song was 'Your Time Is Gonna Come." You know it, the one with that extended organ prelude. Well, my copy had this huge scratch. Right there. Right smack in the middle of that introduction. If you stole my copy, I would know it immediately from that scratch. To this day, even though I haven't listened to that particular record in decades, it's how I hear it in my head.

"This book is about that. Sort of. It's about the author's singleminded drive to recover his record collection twenty some odd years after unloading it in favor of CDs. He doesn't want to simply replace his old vinyl with new copies. He wants the exact ones he got rid of all those years ago. He will know them from the scratches that he remembers with precision ... he will know them from the ex-girlfriend's phone number scrawled across the dust jacket ... from the partially torn sticker that identified it as a radio station's promo copy (not for sale!)... from the boot print on the cover from that all too wild party. Is this crazy? Sure! Funny? As all hell! This is a unique and infinitely entertaining little masterpiece about finding what you've lost and coming to grips with at long last becoming an adult." (Conrad Silverberg)

I take partial credit for this rec because I convinced Conard to read it. If you came to the blog from Facebook or another link, you can read our post about Acme Records here. And I think we'll have one more post about this before than the event, all the way from Taiwan.

Friday, June 24, 7:00 pm, at Cactus Club, 2496 S Wentworth Ave in Bay View:
Milwaukee Record presents Steven Hyden, author of Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me: What Pop Music Rivalries Reveal About the Meaning of Life, in conversation with Matt Wild.

Boswell is a cosponsor for this event and will be selling Hyden's book at the Cactus Club. This event is the first meeting of Milwaukee Record book club. It is also a taping of the On the Record podcast. Plus they are sampling Vander Mill hard cider, which means you have to be 21 for this event. But really, does a 15-year-old want to hear somebody debating Beatles vs. Stones?

Here's Alan Light's thoughts on Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me in The New York Times:

"Hyden — a consistently insightful and funny writer best known for his work at the late, lamented site Grantland — focuses his attention on pop’s grand tradition of head-to-head rivalries: the Beatles versus the Rolling Stones, Biggie versus Tupac, Oasis versus Blur. Sometimes he concentrates on a specific and finite confrontation (Kanye West versus Taylor Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards), and sometimes he concocts a more generalized contrast (Axl Rose versus a long list of other rockers and journalists whose butts he threatened to kick).

"Beyond the often hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking circumstances behind these feuds, though, Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me is really about the allure of our obsessive duality. 'Loving Oasis and hating Blur was a way for me to work out my aesthetic preferences at a formative age,' Hyden writes. 'I was using these bands to help me figure out who I was and what I stood for (and also who I wasn’t and what I didn’t stand for).' He is under no illusions, though, about the actual, ­real-life impact of such notions: 'Getting overly wrapped up in an album is basically a socially acceptable version of having an imaginary friend.'”

Time to text your imaginary friend and have him or her join you at Cactus Club for a night of arguing, though I will try to remain impartial.

And don't forget about next Monday, June 27, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Fran Kaplan and Robert Samuel Smith, editors and coauthors of the introduction for the third edition of James Cameron’s A Time of Terror: A Survivor's Story

Dr. Fran Kaplan, coordinator of the virtual America's Black Holocaust Museum, and Dr. Robert Samuel Smith, Associate Vice Chancellor for Global Inclusion and Engagement at UWM appear together to talk about the third edition of this groundbreaking memoir by James Cameron, survivor of a 1930 lynching in Indiana.

Here's a piece about Cameron that appeared in a 1995 issue of People Magazine: "Cameron, who was a salesman and construction worker, helped organize NAACP chapters in Indiana before retiring in 1980. An amateur historian, he published his account of the Marion lynching in 1982...Cameron used his Social Security benefits to open his museum upstairs in a mosque in Milwaukee, the city where he and Virginia had raised their five children. In April 1994 the Milwaukee City Council sold him an old 12,000-square-foot gym for $1. Buoyed by an anonymous donation of $50,000 from a Jewish businessman, Cameron expanded the exhibits and has since guided more than 2,000 visitors—more whites than blacks—through the museum. 'I forgive those who harmed me,' Cameron said in a speech in 1993 after then Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh granted him a full pardon. But, Cameron added, 'I can never forget.'"

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