Monday, February 20, 2017

Event alert: Patricia McConnell sold out, Karen Branan on racial history, UWM's Michael Newman on Atari

The event with Patricia McConnell at the Radisson Milwaukee West is sold out for Monday, February 20. We hope to have signed copies of The Education of Will: A Mutual Memoir of a Woman and Her Dog Monday available Tuesday.

If you weren't able to get tickets in time, you can still read Pat Dillon's interview with Patricia McConnell in Madison's Isthmus: "This story of mutual healing is timely and witty and brave. It will likely resonate with anyone who’s dealt with the painful fallout of abuse and touch the hearts of those who have loved troubled pets. And it offers surprising insights into human nature — often through the soul of a spirited canine."

And if you haven't heard the Patricia McConnell reunion show with Larry Meiller, her cohost on the longtime favorite Calling All Pets, they spoke about the new book on Wisconsin Public Radio on February 14.

Sunday, February 26, 3:00 pm, at Boswell:
Karen Branan, author of The Family Tree: A Lynching in Georgia, a Legacy of Secrets, and My Search for the Truth (now out in paperback)

Harris County, Georgia, 1912. A white man, the beloved nephew of the county sheriff, is shot dead on the porch of a black woman. Days later, the sheriff sanctions the lynching of a black woman and three black men, all of them innocent. For Karen Branan, the great-granddaughter of that sheriff, this isn’t just history—this is family history.

Branan spent nearly twenty years combing through diaries and letters, hunting for clues in libraries and archives throughout the United States and interviewing community elders to piece together the events and motives that led a group of people to murder four of their fellow citizens in such a brutal public display. Her research on The Family Tree revealed surprising new insights into the day-to-day reality of race relations in the Jim Crow–era South, but what she ultimately discovered was far more personal.

Karen Branan is in town for part of the America's Black Holocaust Museum Founders Day Celebration on Saturday, February 25. The day (tickets available here) features keynotes, a film preview, music, and a panel discussion, all on "The Gathering for Racial Repair and Reconciliation." Tickets are $14, $10 for students for the Saturday event. Please note that Branan's talk at Boswell on Sunday is free.

Looking ahead!
Tuesday, February 28, 7:00 pm, at Boswell:
Michael Newman, author of Atari Age: The Emergence of Video Games in America

Beginning with the release of the Magnavox Odyssey and Pong in 1972, video games, whether played in arcades and taverns or in family rec rooms, became part of popular culture, like television. In fact, video games were sometimes seen as an improvement on television because they spurred participation rather than passivity. These "space-age pinball machines" gave coin-operated games a high-tech and more respectable profile. In Atari Age, Michael Newman charts the emergence of video games in America from ball-and-paddle games to hits like Space Invaders and Pac-Man, describing their relationship to other amusements and technologies and showing how they came to be identified with the middle class, youth, and masculinity.

Michael Z. Newman, Associate Professor in the Department of Journalism, Advertising, and Media Studies at UWM, shows that the "new media" of video games were understood in varied, even contradictory ways. They were family fun (but mainly for boys), better than television (but possibly harmful), and educational (but a waste of computer time). Drawing on a range of sources, including the games and their packaging; coverage in the popular, trade, and fan press; social science research of the time; advertising and store catalogs; and representations in movies and television, Newman describes the series of cultural contradictions through which the identity of the emerging medium worked itself out.

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