Monday, September 17, 2018

The Author Offer: Boswell presents Ben Austen on Cabrini-Green, Dylan Thuras's Atlas Obscura at Greenfield Library, Nathaniel Stern on art and environment, Jonathan Gillard Daly on Carl Sandburg, poetry from DeWitt Clinton, Jessica Hopper with Justin Barney, Kelly O'Connor McNees at the Lynden, and Robert Shellow in conversation with Dean Strang

Monday, September 17, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
The Rose Petranech Lecture featuring Ben Austen, author of High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing.

Boswell is pleased to host the inaugural edition of the Rose Petranech Lecture, which presents acclaimed journalist Ben Austen speaking about his book High-Risers, which braids personal narratives, city politics, and national history to tell the timely and epic story of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green, America’s most iconic public housing project. This event is cosposnored by Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity,

Built in the 1940s atop an infamous Italian slum, Cabrini-Green grew to twenty-three towers and a population of 20,000, packed onto just seventy acres a few blocks from Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast. Cabrini-Green became synonymous with crime, squalor, and the failure of government. For the many who lived there, it was also a much-needed resource - it was home. By 2011, every high-rise had been razed and the families dispersed.

In this eye-opening narrative, Austen tells the story of America’s public housing experiment and the changing fortunes of American cities. It is an account told though the lives of residents who struggled to make a home for their families as powerful forces converged to accelerate the housing complex’s demise. High-Risers is a sweeping exploration of race, class, popular culture, and politics in modern America that brilliantly considers what went wrong in our nation’s effort to provide affordable housing to the poor and what we can learn from those mistakes.

About the Rose Petranech Lecture: When Rose Petranech died unexpectedly earlier this year, the family wanted to create a lasting memorial in her name. An annual lecture would honor her love of learning, advance knowledge about subjects of interest to her, such as social justice, and contribute to the already rich intellectual life in her beloved hometown..

Tuesday, September 18, 6:30 PM, at Greenfield Public Library, 5310 W Layton Ave:
Dylan Thuras, author of The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid

Greenfield Public Library and Boswell present Dylan Thuras, Cofounder and Creative Director of Atlas Obscura, the definitive guide to the world's most wondrous places, and cocreator of the bestselling Atlas Obscura book, with a kid's illustrated guide to 100 of the world's most mesmerizing, mysterious wonders on earth.

Not only has Greenfield Public Library created an eye-catching globe display in anticipation of the event, but starting August 27 and running until the date of the event, the library will host an Atlas Obscura themed scavenger hunt that’s fun for everyone! Registration information available at

Thuras takes readers on an imaginative expedition to 100 weird-but-true places on earth. And just as compelling is the way the book is structured, hopscotching from country to country not by location but by type of attraction. Illustrated in gorgeous and appropriately evocative full-color art, this book is a passport to a world of hidden possibilities.

Dylan Thuras is the cofounder and creative director of Atlas Obscura, coauthor of the Atlas Obscura book, and host of the AO Youtube series 100 Wonders. The Greenfield Public Library is located just off the Sixtieth St exit of I-894.

Thursday, September 20, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Nathaniel Stern, author of Ecological Aesthetics: Artful Tactics for Humans, Nature, and Politics

UWM Associate Professor of Art and Design Nathaniel Stern connects art and environments in a scholarly and poetic collection of stories about art, artists, and their materials that argues that ecology, aesthetics, and ethics are inherently entwined. This event will feature Stern and artists for a presentation and discussion.

Ecological Aesthetics is a plea for us to think and act with the world and its inhabitants, both human and nonhuman; to orient ourselves in ways that we might find and express what our environments, and what they are made of, want; and to decisively help and continue those thoughts, wants, and actions toward novel aims and adventures.

Including dozens of color images, this book narrativizes artists and artworks, ranging from print and installation art to bio art and community activism. Stern contextualizes and amplifies our experiences, our practices of complex systems, and our practices of thought. Stern, an artist himself, writes with an eco-aesthetic that continually unfurls artful tactics that can also be used in everyday existence.

Nathaniel Stern is also the author of Interactive Art and Embodiment: The Implicit Body as Performance. He is an Associate Professor of Art and Design at UWM and an Associate Researcher at the University of Johannesburg.

Friday, September 21, 2:00 pm, at Boswell:
A scene preview and talkback with Jonathan Gillard Daly and In Tandem Theatre Company, for the release of The Eagle in Me: An Evening with Carl Sandburg

The Eagle in Me is a delightful journey through the heart of America with one of its finest storytellers, Pulitzer-prize winning author, Carl Sandburg. Milwaukee’s own Jonathan Gillard Daly recreates Sandburg’s traveling show, bringing his poetry, folklore, and music to life in this exciting world premiere.

This event will include a scene preview and a talkback with Jonathan Gillard Daly, who is both the writer and featured actor in this one-person show. This In Tandem production opens September 28 and runs through October 21. There's a special pay-what-you-can preview on September 27. Tickets are $35, $30 for seniors or military with ID.

Performances will be at In Tandem Theatre Company's Tenth Street Theatre, located at 628 N Tenth St (Calvary Church). Buy your tickets on the Tempo website, or call (414) 271-1371.

Friday, September 21, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
DeWitt Clinton, author of At the End of the War.

Shorewood-based poet and Professor Emeritus at UW-Whitewater, DeWitt Clinton presents his newest collection of poetry, which layers ancient, sacred ritual and texts with contemporary life and language.

At the End of the War contains poems about seeing the world, living, and observing what people can do to one another, the good and the evil. These chiseled poems bespeak a consciousness trying to come to terms with history, specifically the horrific atrocities of Word War II and the Holocaust. There’s a communal “we” in many of the poems of a people searching for an identity, a marginalized culture trying to define and reinvent itself on the historical stage.

In sometimes long lyric-narratives, he interprets Biblical stories and honors artists and other poets, often in poems written in another’s voice, which allows readers another perspective. These are poems of searching and discovery, of consequences and coming-to-terms, of family, friendship, connections, some strong, some tentative. At the End of the War offers a poetic coming to terms with history, a Taoist way to emerge on the other side of atrocities, and speaks poetically for the self and contemporary society.

DeWitt Clinton is the author of the books The Conquistador Dog Texts, The Coyot. Inca Texts, and the forthcoming collection, On a Lake by a Moon: Fishing with the Chinese Masters. His work has recently appeared in The Ekphrastic Review, Negative Capability, and Santa Fe Literary Review.

Saturday, September 22, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Jessica Hopper, author of Night Moves, in conversation with 88Nine Radio Milwaukee's Justin Barney.

Boswell and 88Nine Radio Milwaukee are happy to cohost music journalist and author of The First Collection of Criticism by A Living Female Rock Critic, Jessica Hopper as she stops by Boswell for a chat about her new memoir with Justin Barney, Music Director of 88Nine Radio Milwaukee.

Written in taut, mesmerizing, often hilarious scenes, Night Moves captures the fierce friendships and small moments that form us all. Drawing on her personal journals from the aughts, Jessica Hopper chronicles her time as a DJ, living in decrepit punk houses, biking to bad loft parties, and exploring Chicago deep into the night. It’s an homage to the vibrant corners of the city muted by sleek development. Born in the amber glow of Chicago streetlamps, Night Moves is about a transformative moment of cultural history and how a raw, rebellious writer found her voice.

Boswellian Chris Lee is a fan, and says the book captures some “seriously good hangout vibes. Hopper returns to her formative years as a writer, punk, and aspiring ne'erdowell Chicago. She tells her story in mini-essays that feel like memories snatched out of time. Delightfully bored, aloof, and snarky but also self-aware, plugged-in, and forward-thinking, Night Moves captures a time, people, and city that feels like a ghost town Hopper (and gentrification) has left behind.”

Jessica Hopper is a music critic and was formerly the Editorial Director at MTV News and an editor at Pitchfork and Rookie. Her essays have appeared in multiple Best Music Writing collections and her book The Girls' Guide to Rocking was named one of 2009's Notable Books for Young Readers by the American Library Association.

Monday, September 24, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Robert Shellow, editor of The Harvest of American Racism: The Political Meaning of Violence in the Summer of 1967, in conversation with Dean Strang.

Boswell is pleased to host Robert Shellow, who led the team of social scientists researching the root causes of 1967’s violent protests for the Kerner Commision. Shellow and Madison-based attorney Dean Strang will discuss the first publication of the Harvest report after a half-century of being buried for political reasons. This event is cohosted by Wisconsin Justice Initiative.

In response to violent demonstrations that rocked cities across the US, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, commonly known as the Kerner Commission, was formed. The Commission employed social scientists to research the root causes of the disturbances, including the role that law enforcement played. Chief among its research projects was a study of 23 American cities, headed by Shellow.

An early draft of the analysis, which uncovered political causes for unrest, was delivered in November of 1967. The team of researchers was fired, and the controversial report remained buried at the LBJ Presidential Library until now. The first publication of the Harvest Report half a century later reveals that many of the issues it describes are still with us, including how cities might more effectively and humanely react to groups and communities in protest.

Robert Shellow was principal social scientist and Research Director for the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (Kerner Commission). He later directed the Pilot District Project, an experimental police-community relations program for the Washington, DC, Department of Public Safety. While on the Carnegie-Mellon University faculty he advised police departments on civil disorder training and neighborhood policing. Dr. Shellow was a founder of the IMAR Corporation. Dean Strang is a criminal defense lawyer in Madison and author of Worse Than the Devil: Anarchists, Clarence Darrow, and Justice in a Time of Terror and a new book on America’s largest mass trial, to be published by the University of Wisconsin Press this winter. Many may know him from his appearance on Netflix’s Making A Murderer.

Monday, September 24, 7:00 PM reception, 7:30 talk, at Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Rd in River Hills:
Kelly O'Connor McNees, author of Undiscovered Country: A Novel Inspired by the Lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok.

Boswell is pleased to cosponsor the Lynden Sculpture Garden’s Women’s Speaker Series, welcoming Kelly O’Connor McNees with her latest novel, Undiscovered Country.

Tickets for this event are $30, $25 for Lynden members, and include admission to the event and sculpture garden and an autographed copy of Undiscovered Country. Light refreshments provided by MKE Localicious. For tickets, go to or call (414) 446-8794. This event is curated by Milwaukee Reads.

In 1932, reporter Lorena “Hick” Hickok starts each day with a front page byline and finishes it swigging bourbon. But an assignment to write a feature on FDR’s wife Eleanor turns Hick’s independent life on its ear. Soon her work and secret entanglement with the new first lady will take her from New York and Washington to Scotts Run, West Virginia, where impoverished coal miners’ families fear the New Deal’s promised hope will pass them by. Together, Eleanor and Hick imagine how the new town of Arthurdale could change the fate of hundreds of lives.

Undiscovered Country artfully mixes fact and fiction to portray the intense relationship between this unlikely pair. Inspired by the more than three thousand letters Hick and Eleanor exchanged over a span of thirty years, McNees tells this story through Hick’s tough, tender, and unforgettable voice. A remarkable portrait of Depression-era America, this novel tells the poignant story of how a love that was forced to remain hidden nevertheless changed history.

Chicago-based Kelly O’Connor McNees is the author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott, The Island of Doves, and In Need of a Good Wife, a finalist for the 2013 Willa Award. Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Toast, and Rust Belt Chicago: An Anthology.

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