Monday, April 18, 2011

Opera, Painting, Chile Peppers, Fantasy, Plus a Birthday Surprise--What a Week!

After a few days of break, we've got a solid lineup of events for the rest of the week, starting with our final Florentine Opera Insight for the 2010-2011 season on Wednesday, April 20 at 7 pm.  It's a lush double bill, featuring two of the most important baroque works, John Blow's Venus and Adonis paired with Henry Purcell's Dido and Aeneas.

I can't emphasize how wonderful these performances are. Corliss Phillabaum's talks are humorous and insightful, the Studio performances are both grand and accessible, and if your thinking this will take as long as a Ring cycle, you're wrong.  It's packed into an hour of opera goodness. While the performances attract a lot of opera fans, I'd also recommend the Florentine Opera Insights for folks who think they are culturally well-rounded, but in fact have a hole in their resume. The opera will be performed May 13 through 22. More on their website.

Our commitment to the fine and performing arts continues on Thursday, April 21 with an appearance from R. Tripp Evans, acclaimed author of Grant Wood, the recent biography that sheds new light on the artist known for American Gothic. Behind his carefully cultivated facade was a very different persona, a gay man struggling with his identity.  Art Winslow in the Chicago Tribune gave the biography five stars.  And look, even The Onion's AV Club is a fan.  This is a big deal, so let's get out and show our support.  And thanks to the Cream City Foundation and the Joseph Pabst infrastructure fund and also Will Fellows for making this possible.

On Friday, we're teaming up with Slow Food Wisconsin Southeast to welcome Kurt Michael Friese, chef/owner of Iowa City's Devotay, who together with Gary Paul Nabhan and Kraig Kraft, collaborated on Chasing Chiles: Hot Spots Along the Pepper Trail.  This environmental and culinary travelogue explores the regional wonderfulness and numerous varieties of chile peppers, and what environmental change is doing to their diversity and distribution.  

Want to read more?  The New York Times profiled Gary Paul Nabhan in their April 7 issue.  And Aram Bakshian, Jr. reviewed Chasing Chiles in the Wall Street Journal.

Saturday April 23 at 2 pm, we're honored to be the launch event for Bradley Beaulieu's epic fantasy series, The Winds of Khalakovo.  Civil war breaks out in a society that is part Cyrillic, part shaman.  Publishers Weekly praised it's poetic prose while Library Journal lauded its strong characters and tense plot.  Our buyer Jason read The Winds of Khalakovo and loved it.  I'm hoping we'll have a post devoted to the book up on The Boswellians this week.  I can't say it's there yet.

Alas, I can't tell you about our Patricia Wells event today as it sold out.  And yesterday?  I was lured out to a surprise party at Sugar Maple in Bay View.  People asked if I suspected and I did not, until the last minute when I was on the phone with my sister Claudia and she was not finished telling me something and I said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I have to go.  I think I'm heading to a surprise party.  There was disagreement as to whether I should have walked into the room while I was on the phone, but in the end, I thought it was better to not be distracted.  Thanks to everyone at Boswell (rumor has it, particularly Stacie) who helped put it together.  And we were particularly impressed with Anne's delicious card though it was also interesting that Kay (a customer) told me that the wine they brought had been developed by Bob (another customer and coincidentally, her husband) while at Gallo. 

And the good thing was, I got to scope out space for out our event on Thursday, June 2nd for Algonquin authors David Anthony (Something for Nothing), Josh Wilker (Cardboard Gods) and Pete Nelson (I thought You Were Dead).  Details to come!

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