Monday, October 24, 2022

Five events this week: Michail Takach and BJ Daniels at Boswell, Michael Mehta Webster (virtual with Urban Ecology Center), Karen Odden, Dani Shapiro, and Sherrill Knezel in-person at Boswell

Monday, October 24, 6:30 pm
Michail Takach and BJ Daniels, coauthors of A History of Milwaukee Drag: Seven Generations of Glamour
in-person at Boswell Book Company - click here to register until 5:30 pm. 

Coauthors Michail Takach and BJ Daniels appear at Boswell for a conversation about their new book, A History of Milwaukee Drag, which celebrates Milwaukee’s place in the history and impact of drag queen culture.

For over a century, drag has been a force in Milwaukee nightlife. On June 7, 1884, "The Only Leon" brought the fine art of female impersonation to the Grand Opera Hall, launching a proud local legacy that continues today at This Is It, La Cage, Hamburger Mary's, D.I.X. and other venues.

Historians Takach and Daniels recognize that today's LGBTQ liberties were born from the strength, resilience, and resistance of yesterday's gender non-conforming pioneers. This is a long overdue celebration of those stories, including high-rolling hustler of the Fourth Ward "Badlands" Frank Blunt, over-the-top dinner theater drag superstar of the 1950s Adrian Ames, and "It Kid" Jamie Gays, first-ever Miss Gay Milwaukee and Latin community hero.

BJ Daniels has done hair and makeup work on set for film and video, taught the art of hairdressing as a licensed professional, and has covered Fashion Week in New York City. Daniels still works behind the chair, and lens, and performs in drag. Michail Takach is a reporter and communications professional who earned a masters in communications and history at UW-Madison. As the curator of the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project, Takach produces ongoing articles, documentaries and podcasts about local history.

Tuesday, October 25, 7 pm
Michael Mehta Webster, author of The Rescue Effect: The Key to Saving Life on Earth
in conversation with Meenal Atre for a virtual event - click here to register

Boswell Book Company and the Urban Ecology Center cohost a virtual evening featuring ecology and philanthropy expert Michael Mehta Webster for a conversation about his new book, The Rescue Effect, which reveals how we can use this natural resiliency to help reverse the effects of climate change. In conversation with Meenal Atre of the Urban Ecology Center, our event cohost.

As climate change continues to intensify, the outlook for life on Earth often seems bleak. Yet hope for the future can be found in the “rescue effect,” which is nature’s innate ability to help organisms persist during hard times. Like a thermostat starting the air conditioning when a room gets too warm, the rescue effect automatically kicks in when organisms are stressed or declining. Webster argues that there are good reasons to expect a bright future, because everywhere we look, we can see evidence that nature can rescue many species from extinction; and when nature alone is not up to the task, we can help. Combining rigorous research with gripping storytelling, The Rescue Effect provides the cautious optimism we need to help save life on Earth.

Here’s Boswellian Kay Wosewick’s take on The Rescue Effect: "Webster wants to help save species intelligently. He describes six ‘rescue’ processes, some which often happen on their own, some we can nudge, others we can aggressively employ to save species. Refreshingly, Webster understands we can’t save everything, and we also need to acknowledge that nature is, always has been, and will continue, changing, with or without us."

Michael Mehta Webster’s research interests focus on how organisms and ecosystems adapt to environmental change, how this information can be translated into effective conservation strategies, and the practical and ethical dilemmas that arise along the way. As an executive director of a conservation organization, program officer at a leading environmental foundation, and academic scientist, he has led efforts to connect cutting edge science to the management of species and ecosystems in the wild.

Wednesday, October 26, 6:30 pm
Karen Odden, author of Under a Veiled Moon
in conversation with Erica Ruth Neubauer, in-person at Boswell - click here to register

Karen Odden joins us at Boswell for a conversation about her brand new Victorian-era mystery, in which a fatal disaster on the Thames and a roiling political conflict set the stage in London for Inspector Corravan’s work. In conversation with Milwaukee author Erica Ruth Neubauer, author of the Jane Wunderly mysteries.

September 1878. Pleasure boat Princess Alice collides with the Bywell Castle, a huge iron-hulled collier, on the Thames, and shears apart, throwing all 600 passengers into the river; only 130 survive. It is the worst maritime disaster London has ever seen, and early clues point to sabotage by the Irish Republican Brotherhood. For Scotland Yard Inspector Corravan, the case presents challenges. Irish by birth, his attentions are pulled by accusations of prejudice and his family member’s involvement in an Irish gang. As London threatens to devolve into terror and chaos, Corravan must uncover the harrowing truth, which will shake his faith in his countrymen, the law, and himself.

Kirkus Reviews calls Odden’s latest a hearty dose of "Victorian skulduggery with a heaping side of Irish troubles." And Edgar-winning author Mariah Fredericks says: "Rich in emotion and historical detail, Under a Veiled Moon is a brilliant tale of the dark, thorny places where the personal and the political intertwine."

Karen Odden taught literature at UWM and has contributed essays to numerous books and journals and edited for the journal Victorian Literature and Culture. A member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, she is author of award-winning historical mysteries. Erica Ruth Neubauer is the Agatha Award-winning author of the Jane Wunderly investigations, including the books Murder at the Mena House, Murder at Wedgefield Manor, and Danger on the Atlantic.

Thursday, October 27, 6:30 pm
Dani Shapiro, author of Signal Fires
in conversation with Lauren Fox, in-person at Boswell Book Company - click here to register

Boswell is pleased to host the Milwaukee return of Dani Shapiro, author of books such as Inheritance and Devotion, for her latest work, Signal Fires, a life-affirming novel about a tragedy that connects two families across generations. In conversation with Lauren Fox, the Milwaukee-based author of novels such as Send for Me and Days of Awe. Cohosted by UWM's Sam and Helen Stahl Center for Jewish Studies. Masks required at this event.

Shapiro’s gripping new novel begins on a summer night in 1985 when three teenagers have been drinking. One of them gets behind the wheel of a car, and, in an instant, everything changes. Each of their lives, and that of the young doctor who arrives on the scene, is shattered. For the doctor’s family, the circumstances of that fatal accident will become the deepest kind of secret, one so dangerous it can never be spoken.

Signal Fires is one of 2022’s most anticipated books, as noted by LitHub, BookPage, The Millions, and others. Ruth Ozeki, author of A Tale for the Time Being, says: “Signal Fires is an urgent and compassionate meditation on memory, time, and space. Shapiro has created a world that's as wrenching as it is wondrous.” And from Meg Wolitzer: “A haunting, moving, and propulsive exploration of family secrets.”

Dani Shapiro is a best-selling novelist and memoirist and host of the podcast Family Secrets. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and Time. She has taught at Columbia and New York University and is the co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference.

Friday, October 28, 6:30 pm
Sherrill Knezel, illustrator of Heart Speak: A Visual Interpretation of Let Your Life Speak
in-person at Boswell - click here to register

Wauwatosa illustrator Sherrill Knezel visits for an evening featuring her latest work, an authorized visual representation of Parker J Palmer's classic book Let Your Life Speak. More than seventy heartfelt images accompany excerpts from Palmer, inviting reading to explore and embrace both their own limits and their own potential as they listen to their inner voice and courageously follow its lead. Please note, Palmer will not be present at this event.

Whether the words of Let Your Life Speak are familiar signposts on the roads you have traveled or they are new to you, Knezel’s work offers an opportunity for reflection and discernment in regard to your life, community, and calling. From the introduction Palmer wrote for the book: "I'm very excited about the way Sherrill has used her gifts of art and insight to interpret and express some of the key ideas in Let Your Life Speak."

From Pardeep Singh Kaleka, coauthor of The Gifts of Our Wounds: "Heart Speak is a beautiful participatory journey into the depth of self and the soul of society. Palmer's words combined with Knezel's illustrations carefully explore unconscious behaviors, patterns, relationships, and thoughts of everyday existence. This book provides a real road map for clinicians, help groups, parents, families, and friends to contemplate and engage in conversations that lead to movement, growth, and healing. But experience this book for yourself first. It's a true gift!"

Sherrill Knezel is a graphic recorder, illustrator, and art educator who specializes in visual literacy. She is the founder of Meaningful Marks LLC, a graphic recording/illustration firm that focuses on using the power of visuals to support nonprofits, educators, and corporate sector clients. She is a contributing author to Stories in EDU and Social Action Stories, and won the Excellence in Visual Journalism Award for her work in the Milwaukee Independent.

Photo credits
Erica Ruth Neubauer by Rachel Neubauer
Dani Shapiro by Beowulf Sheehan

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