Monday, September 3, 2018

This week: Anna Lardinois's ghosts and legends, Lil Rev's dulcimer, Mike Lankford's Leonardo da Vinci at the Charles Allis, plus Ellen Hopkins a week from Tuesday

We're open Labor Day from 10 am to 5 pm.

Wednesday, September 5, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Anna Lardinois, author of Milwaukee Ghosts and Legends

Anna Lardinois, founder of Gothic Milwaukee and ardent collector of stories, leads a tour (from the comfort of Boswell) of Milwaukee’s haunted houses, eerie avenues, and bedeviled buildings.

Beneath Milwaukee's calm façade, its ghastly past awaits. In life, Charles Pfister played the dutiful hotel host, and he tends this office still in death. The overbearing spirit of Frederick Pabst keeps persistent watch over the mansion that shares his name. The remains of the Newhall House Fire, the city's deadliest disaster, lie beneath a new building, but those who lost their lives that night refuse to rest in peace.

Even the suburbs hold their share of ghoulish secrets, including the furtive dwarves of Haunchyville, the fabled Bray Road Beast and the stubborn spirits lurking in Deacon West's house. Lardinois shares the spine-tingling tales of the Beer City's famous, and not so famous, specters and legends.

Anna Lardinois is the creator of the self-guided walking tour collections Walking Milwaukee: Downtown Edition and Tosa Edition. She happily resides in a historic home in Milwaukee that, as yet, does not appear to be haunted.

Thursday, September 6, 7:00 PM at Boswell:
Lil Rev debuts his latest album Mountain Dulcimer

Lil Rev, Milwaukee’s multi-talented multi-instrumentalist, might be best known for his ukulele playing and his role throughout the city as a music educator, but on his latest CD, on sale at Boswell, he brings his unique focus to a most American musical instrument, the mountain dulcimer.

This collection features classic old-time, pre-war blues, yiddish, folk, and original material. Recorded in Milwaukee, Lil Rev’s latest is infused with a genuine Midwestern touch.

Unlike the more common Appalachian or Celtic repertoire found on most dulcimer recordings, Rev tackles early blues, songs like Mississippi John Hurt’s soulful “Louis Collins.” The record includes a Carter Family standard, a sea shanty, and other old time folk styles. His originals are well crafted and poignant, but the focus is firmly on the blues. And if you think you can’t play a convincing country blues on the dulcimer, Rev’s virtuosic playing on “Squabbling Blues” will change your mind.

Lil Rev is a multi-instrumentalist, educator, and entertainer from Milwaukee. He has written a series of instructional ukulele books for Hal Leonard Publications and released several solo and collaborative albums, including Claw and Hammer, Fountains of Uke, and Harmonica Americana.

Friday, September 7, 7:00 PM, at Charles Allis Art Museum, 1801 N Prospect Ave: Mike Lankford, author of Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo Da Vinci

Lankford explodes every cliché about Leonardo Da Vinci and then reconstructs the mysterious-as-ever artist’s life from a trove of evidence about Leonardo’s life and times in this Wall Street Journal selection for 2017 Book of the Year.

This event is free with paid admission to the Charles Allis Art Museum - $7 general public, $5 students and seniors. For more information, visit

Seeking to envision Da Vinci without obscuring the residue of historical varnish, the sights, sounds, smells, and feel of Renaissance Italy, usually missing in other biographies, are all here, transporting readers back to a world of war, plague, and court intrigue, of viciously competitive famous artists, and of murderous tyrants with exquisite taste in art.

Lankford brilliantly captures Da Vinci’s life as the compelling and dangerous adventure it seems to have actually been - fleeing from one sanctuary to the next, somehow surviving in war zones beside his friend Machiavelli, struggling to make art his way or no way at all, and often paying dearly for those decisions.

Mike Lankford is author of Life in Double Time: Confessions of an American Drummer, selected best music book of the year by eight major newspapers including the Chicago Tribune.

Tuesday, September 11, 7:00 PM, at Boswell:
Ellen Hopkins, author of People Kill People

The author of 14 bestselling YA novels and 3 adult novels, Hopkins comes to Boswell with her latest, a compelling, complex story that tackles gun violence and white supremacy.

A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for protection. Who was it? Each character has the incentive to pick up a gun. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race and possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything in a devastating accident and sunk quietly into depression?

Someone will pull the trigger. And someone will die. One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions.

Ellen Hopkins is the author of Crank, Love Lies Beneath, and A Sin Such as This, and other acclaimed novels. She lives in Carson City, Nevada, where she founded Ventana Sierra, a nonprofit youth housing and resource initiative.

Want to know about more events? Visit the Boswell upcoming events page.

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