Monday, October 10, 2016

Event Forecast: Cuban Science Fiction with Yoss, Political Science with Ivan Ascher, Soviet History with Christine Evans, Contemporary Romance with Phyllis Piano and a Preview of Tula Connell's 1950s Milwaukee Politics.

Tuesday, October 11, 7 pm, at the Raynor Memorial Library Conference Center Beaumier Suite BC, 1355 W Wisconsin Ave:
Yoss, author of Super Extra Grande and A Planet for Rent.

In a distant future in which Latin Americans have pioneered faster-than-light space travel, Dr. Jan Amos Sangan Dongo has a job with large and unusual responsibilities: he's a veterinarian who specializes in treating enormous alien animals. Mountain-sized amoebas, multisex species with bizarre reproductive processes, razor-nailed, carnivorous humanoid hunters: Dr. Sangan has seen it all. When a colonial conflict threatens the fragile peace between the galaxy's seven intelligent species, he must embark on a daring mission through the insides of a gigantic creature and find two swallowed ambassadors who also happen to be his competing love interests.

Funny, witty, raunchy, and irrepressibly vivacious, Super Extra Grande is a rare specimen in the richly parodic tradition of Cuban science fiction, and could only have been written by a Cuban heavy-metal rock star with a biology degree: the inimitable Yoss. Marquette University presents Voss in two presentations, first up "Utopias and Distopias in Cuban Science-Fiction Literature." Our buyer Jason is a big fan of Voss's, having read both Super Extra Grande and A Planet for Rent and calls his work "bleak and brilliant."

Please note that while this event is in English, Voss and Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo will be giving a talk in Spanish on Wednesday, October 12, 3 :30 pm called "Trends in Cuban Narratives." This event is a Lalumiere 172 and is also open to the public.

Wednesday, October 12, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Ivan Ascher, author of Portfolio Society: On the Capitalist Mode of Prediction, in conversation with UWM Associate Professor of Political Science Kennan Ferguson.

UWM Assistant Professor of Political Science Ivan Ascher will discuss with UWM Associate Professor Kennan Ferguson about his new book, which his publisher, Zone Books, describes as a persuasive critique of contemporary culture, politics, and economy. Resituating Marxian analysis in a landscape thoroughly transformed by and through financial instruments, Ascher argues that consumers, and more specifically consumer debt, is the new worker capital capital to be exploited by the markets.

As Frank Pasquale, author of The Black Box Society, notes: "Portfolio Society is a brilliant account of what happens when those at the commanding heights of the economy shift their focus from production to prediction. Rather than bother with the nitty-gritty of making things or providing services directly, they engage in bets on and scoring of those who do. Ascher exposes how this mode of investment transforms risk takers into risk shifters."

If you are a fan of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st Century, this event is for you.

Thursday, October 13, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Christine Evans, author of Between Truth and Time: A History of Soviet Central Television.

In the first full-length study of Soviet Central Television to draw extensively on archival sources, interviews, and television recordings, UWM Assistant Professor of History Christine Evans challenges the idea that Soviet mass culture in the Brezhnev era was dull and formulaic. Tracing the emergence of play, conflict, and competition on Soviet news programs, serial films, and variety and game shows, Evans shows that Soviet Central Television’s most popular shows were experimental and creative, laying the groundwork for Mikhail Gorbachev’s reforms and the post-Soviet media system.

Diane Koenker of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign offers this recommendation: “This engagingly written book will be of great interest to those interested in late socialism (inside and outside the USSR), and media more generally. It intersects with conversations about late socialism, the role of intellectuals in the USSR, youth, media technology, celebrity, class, cultural politics, and the question of political legitimacy in authoritarian regimes.”

Note that you might remember Evans from our event earlier this year when she was in conversation with Simon Sebag Montefiore, who appeared at Boswell for his recent bestseller, The Romanovs, 1613-1918.

Friday, October 14, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Phyllis Piano, author of Hostile Takeover: a Love Story

Long lost love, a hostile corporate takeover, and the death of her beloved husband turn attorney Molly Parr's life into a tailspin that threatens to ruin everything she has ever worked for. Parr's job is to take over companies, but when her first love appears from nowhere and tries to take over her business, long-hidden secrets (some of them passionate) are exposed.

Kris Radish, bestselling author of The Elegant Gathering of White Snows and The Sunday List of Dreams, of writes: "Piano has done a great job of marrying the corporate world with the complicated world of the heart. Love and business collide in this novel, where the intricate dealings of business intersect with one woman's past and changes everything about her future. Fun and entertaining, Hostile Takeover will definitely make you a believer in true love."

Phyllis Piano was a long-time Milwaukee-based corporate communications expert. Through it all, she managed to maintain her sense of adventure, her love or writing, and a passion for life and the people she cares about.

Monday, October 17, 7 pm, at Boswell:
Tula A. Connell, author of Conservative Counterrevolution: Challenging Liberalism in 1950s Milwaukee.

In the 1950s, Milwaukee's strong labor movement and socialist mayor seemed to embody a dominant liberal consensus that sought to expand the New Deal. In this new book which is part of the University of Illinois Press's The Working Class in American History series, Tula A. Connell explores how business interests and political conservatives arose to undo that consensus, and how the resulting clash both shaped a city and helped redefine postwar American politics.

Labor writer and historian Connell focuses on Frank Zeidler, the city's socialist mayor, whose broad concept of the public interest at times defied even liberal expectations. At the same time, a resurgence of conservatism with roots presaging twentieth-century politics challenged Zeidler's initiatives in public housing, integration, and other areas. Connell's thesis is that the organized backlash campaign undermined notions of the common good essential to the New Deal order. It also sowed the seeds for grassroots conservatism's future success.

Choice Magazine writes that "Connell's account is readable and sound" and compares it to Detroit's Cold War: The Origins of Postwar Conservatism, from Colleen Doody. Connell returns to Milwaukee after being part of the Zeidler lecture series last spring.

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