Archive for journalism

SKYLIT: Vanessa Díaz, “MANUFACTURING CELEBRITY” w/ Elizabeth Hinton

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, skylit by skylightbooks on September 21st, 2020

In Manufacturing Celebrity, Vanessa Díaz traces the complex power dynamics of the reporting and paparazzi work that fuel contemporary Hollywood and American celebrity culture. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, her experience reporting for Peoplemagazine, and dozens of interviews with photographers, journalists, publicists, magazine editors, and celebrities, Díaz examines the racialized and gendered labor involved in manufacturing and selling relatable celebrity personas. Celebrity reporters, most of whom are white women, are expected to leverage their sexuality to generate coverage, which makes them vulnerable to sexual exploitation and assault. Meanwhile, the predominantly male Latino paparazzi can face life-threatening situations and endure vilification that echoes anti-immigrant rhetoric. In pointing out the precarity of those who hustle to make a living by generating the bulk of celebrity media, Díaz highlights the profound inequities of the systems that provide consumers with 24/7 coverage of their favorite stars.

Díaz is in conversation with Elizabeth Hinton, Associate Professor of History and African American Studies at Yale University and Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She is a historian of American inequality who is considered one of the nation’s leading experts on policing and mass incarceration.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Morgan Jerkins, “WANDERING IN STRANGE LANDS” w/ Soraya Nadia McDonald

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism by skylightbooks on August 22nd, 2020

Between 1916 and 1970, six million black Americans left their rural homes in the South for jobs in cities in the North, West, and Midwest in a movement known as The Great Migration. But while this event transformed the complexion of America and provided black people with new economic opportunities, it also disconnected them from their roots, their land, and their sense of identity, argues Morgan Jerkins. In this fascinating and deeply personal exploration, she recreates her ancestors’ journeys across America, following the migratory routes they took from Georgia and South Carolina to Louisiana, Oklahoma, and California. 

Following in their footsteps, Jerkins seeks to understand not only her own past, but the lineage of an entire group of people who have been displaced, disenfranchised, and disrespected throughout our history. Through interviews, photos, and hundreds of pages of transcription, Jerkins braids the loose threads of her family’s oral histories, which she was able to trace back 300 years, with the insights and recollections of black people she met along the way—the tissue of black myths, customs, and blood that connect the bones of American history. 

Incisive and illuminating, Wandering in Strange Lands is a timely and enthralling look at America’s past and present, one family’s legacy, and a young black woman’s life, filtered through her sharp and curious eyes.

Jerkins is in conversation with Soraya Nadia McDonald, award-winning cultural critic for The Undefeated, ESPN’s premiere platform covering race, sports, and culture. She writes about film, television, and the arts.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.

 




Colin Dickey, “THE UNIDENTIFIED” w/ Molly Lambert, Tess Lynch, & Emily Yoshida

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism by skylightbooks on August 18th, 2020

In a world where rational, scientific explanations are more available than ever, belief in the unprovable and irrational–in fringe–is on the rise: from Atlantis to aliens, from Flat Earth to the Loch Ness monster, the list goes on. It seems the more our maps of the known world get filled in, the more we crave mysterious locations full of strange creatures.

Enter Colin Dickey, Cultural Historian and Tour Guide of the Weird. With the same curiosity and insight that made Ghostland a hit with readers and critics, Colin looks at what all fringe beliefs have in common, explaining that today’s Illuminati is yesterday’s Flat Earth: the attempt to find meaning in a world stripped of wonder. Dickey visits the wacky sites of America’s wildest fringe beliefs–from the famed Mount Shasta where the ancient race (or extra-terrestrials, or possibly both, depending on who you ask) called Lemurians are said to roam, to the museum containing the last remaining “evidence” of the great Kentucky Meat Shower–investigating how these theories come about, why they take hold, and why as Americans we keep inventing and re-inventing them decade after decade. The Unidentified is Colin Dickey at his best: curious, wry, brilliant in his analysis, yet eminently readable.

Dickey is joined in conversation by writers Molly LambertTess Lynch, and Emily Yoshida.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Ben Ehrenreich, “DESERT NOTEBOOKS” w/ Anthony McCann

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, nature, climate change, science by skylightbooks on August 10th, 2020

National Magazine Award winner and The Nation columnist Ben Ehrenreich layers climate science, mythologies, nature writing, and personal experiences into a stunning reckoning with our current moment and with the literal and figurative end of time. Desert Notebooks examines how the unprecedented pace of destruction to our environment and an increasingly unstable geopolitical landscape have led us to the brink of a calamity greater than any humankind has confronted before. As inhabitants of the Anthropocene, what might some of our own histories tell us about how to confront apocalypse? And how might the geologies and ecologies of desert spaces inform how we see and act toward time—the pasts we have erased and paved over, this anxious present, the future we have no choice but to build? Ehrenreich draws on the stark grandeur of the desert to ask how we might reckon with the uncertainty that surrounds us and fight off the crises that have already begun.

In the canyons and oases of the Mojave and in Las Vegas’s neon apocalypse, Ehrenreich finds beauty, and even hope, surging up in the most unlikely places, from the most barren rocks, and the apparent emptiness of the sky. Desert Notebooks is a vital and necessary chronicle of our past and our present—unflinching, urgent—and yet timeless and profound.

Ehrenreich is in conversation with Anthony McCann, author of four collections of poetry.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

 

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

 

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




SKYLIT: Jennifer Levitz & Melissa Korn, “UNACCEPTABLE” w/ Asbhy Jones

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism by skylightbooks on August 7th, 2020

The largest college admissions scam ever prosecuted by the Department of Justice broke on March 12, 2019, sending shock waves through American schools and families. In Unacceptable, veteran Wall Street Journal reporters Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz trace the wiretapped calls, covert payments, and blatant deceit that brought the feds to Beverly Hills mansions and Upper East Side apartments, their residents all linked by one man: college whisperer and ultimate hustler Rick Singer. 
 
The shocking tale at the heart of Unacceptable is how, over decades, the charismatic Singer easily exploited a system rigged against regular people. Exploring the status obsession that seduced entitled parents in search of an edge, Korn and Levitz detail a scheme that eventually entangled more than fifty conspirators—a catalog of wealth and privilege that included CEOs, lawyers, real-estate developers, financiers, and famous actresses, mingling in jail cells and courtrooms.
 
Detailing Singer’s steady rise and dramatic fall, woven with stories of key players in the case, Unacceptable exposes the ugly underbelly of elite college admissions as a game with no rule book—paid-off proctors and storied college coaches turning a blind eye, helicopter parents and coddled teens spinning lies—opening loopholes and side doors into America’s most exclusive institutions.

Levitz and Korn are in conversation with Ashby Jones, deputy coverage chief for U.S. News at The Wall Street Journal.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

 

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

 

Visit https://www.skylightbooks.com/event for future offerings from the Skylight Books Events team.




Lulu Miller, “WHY FISH DON’T EXIST”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism by skylightbooks on April 29th, 2020

David Starr Jordan was a taxonomist, a man possessed with bringing order to the natural world. In time, he would be credited with discovering nearly a fifth of the fish known to humans in his day. But the more of the hidden blueprint of life he uncovered, the harder the universe seemed to try to thwart him. His specimen collections were demolished by lightning, by fire, and eventually by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake--which sent more than a thousand of his discoveries, housed in fragile glass jars, plummeting to the floor. In an instant, his life's work was shattered.

Many might have given up, given in to despair. But Jordan? He surveyed the wreckage at his feet, found the first fish he recognized, and confidently began to rebuild his collection. And this time, he introduced one clever innovation that he believed would at last protect his work against the chaos of the world.

When NPR reporter Lulu Miller first heard this anecdote in passing, she took Jordan for a fool --a cautionary tale in hubris, or denial. But as her own life slowly unraveled, she began to wonder about him. Perhaps instead he was a model for how to go on when all seemed lost. What she would unearth about his life would transform her understanding of history, morality, and the world beneath her feet.

Part biography, part memoir, part scientific adventure, Why Fish Don't Exist reads like a fable about how to persevere in a world where chaos will always prevail.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.




Felicia Angeja Viator, “TO LIVE AND DEFY IN LA”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, music, journalism, hip-hop/rap by skylightbooks on April 20th, 2020

We all take for granted how synonymous hip-hop music, which dominates the music charts around the world, is with American culture today. This is a product of Los Angeles rap in the 1980s, argues Felicia Angeja Viator in her compelling new history TO LIVE AND DEFY IN LA: How Gangsta Rap Changed America (Harvard University Press). Her book tells a unique story about black LA to explain how and why the region's rap artists, labels, and audiences forever transformed American popular culture.

Viator, who worked for years as a DJ, tells the history of a sub-genre of hip-hop considered so dystopian that it initially struck aspiring Brooklyn rapper and future superstar Jay-Z as "over the top." In the Reagan era, hip-hop was understood to be the music of the inner city and, with rare exception, of New York. Rap was considered the poetry of the street, and it was thought to breed in close quarters, the product of dilapidated tenements, drug-infested housing projects, and graffiti-covered subway cars. To many in the industry, LA simply wasn't hard enough to generate "authentic" hip-hop. The assumption was that defiant black youth music couldn't come from La-La Land. Yet, by the end of the '80s, these self-styled “ghetto reporters” from Compton, South Central, Inglewood, Crenshaw, and Long Beach had fought their way onto the nation’s radio and TV stations, and thus into America’s consciousness. In doing so, they exposed the nation to police brutality, mocked law-and-order crusaders, outraged moral guardians, minted rebel anthems, and demanded that America confront its flaws.

Viator created a Spotify playlist with songs featured in her book. To listen, click herehttps://open.spotify.com/playlist/5SYpeARYAjpIYcKaFww4qP?si=kHi53tSyQmuwWjs4ZCJqtw

Part of Skylight Books' "SKYLIT" series.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

Theme: "I Love All My Friends," a new, unreleased demo by Fragile Gang.

 




Kyle Chayka, “THE LONGING FOR LESS” w/ Geoff Manaugh

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, journalism by skylightbooks on March 20th, 2020

Everywhere we hear the mantra: Less is more. Marie Kondo and other decluttering gurus promise that shedding our stuff will solve our problems, while tech-industry lifehackers preach a ruthless time-management gospel. We commit to cleanse diets and strive for inbox zero. Amid the frantic pace and distraction of everyday life, we covet silence--and airy, Instagrammable spaces in which to enjoy it. All the while, the enduring values of minimalism become harder to discern through its branding as yet another luxury commodity.

After spending years covering these trends for leading publications, cultural critic Kyle Chayka delves beneath the minimalist lifestyle's glossy surface, seeking ways to better claim the time and space we crave, on our own terms. He finds that the origins of our current love affair with austerity go back further than we realize, as his search leads him to the stories of the singular innovators whose creativity laid the foundation for minimalism as we know it today: artists such as Donald Judd and Agnes Martin; composers such as John Cage and Julius Eastman; architects and ascetics; philosophers and poets. As Chayka looks anew at their extraordinary lives and explores the places where they worked, he gleans fresh insights into our longing for less. And finally, tracing the footsteps of two Japanese literary masters, he arrives at an elegant new synthesis of our minimalist desires and our profound emotional needs.

Chayka discusses The Longing for Less w/ Geoff Manaugh,  Los Angeles-based freelance writer and the author of A Burglar’s Guide to the City




Molly Lambert, Geoff Dyer and Tosh Berman discuss “I USED TO BE CHARMING: THE REST OF EVE BABITZ”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, journalism, biography by skylightbooks on November 1st, 2019

Eve Babitz knew everyone, tried everything (at least once), and was never shy about sharing her thoughts on any subject, be it sex, weight loss, drug use, or her ambivalence toward New York City. From the 1970s through the 1990s, Babitz wrote on a wild variety of topics for some of the biggest publications around, from Esquire to Vogue to The New York Times Book ReviewI Used to Be Charming brings together this nonfiction work. All previously uncollected, these pieces range from sharp personal essays on body image and the male gaze to playful meditations on everything from ballroom dancing to kissing to perfume. There are breathtaking celebrity profiles, too. In one, Nicolas Cage takes her for a ride in his '67 Stingray and in another she dishes about dragging Jim Morrison to bed before the Doors had even settled on a band name ("Jim was embarrassing because he wasn't cool, but I still loved him," she writes). In another essay, the author ponders her earliest days in the spotlight, posing nude with Marcel Duchamp, and in another, the never-before-published title essay, she writes about the tragic accident that compelled her to leave that spotlight behind forever.




Shea Serrano w/ Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Film, nonfiction, film/tv, journalism by skylightbooks on October 23rd, 2019

Movies (And Other Things) is a book about, quite frankly, movies (and other things).

One of the chapters, for example, answers which race Kevin Costner was able to white savior the best, because did you know that he white saviors Mexicans in McFarland, USA, and white saviors Native Americans in Dances with Wolves, and white saviors Black people in Black or White, and white saviors the Cleveland Browns in Draft Day?

Another of the chapters, for a second example, answers what other high school movie characters would be in Regina George's circle of friends if we opened up the Mean Girls universe to include other movies (Johnny Lawrence is temporarily in, Claire from The Breakfast Club is in, Ferris Bueller is out, Isis from Bring It On is out...). Another of the chapters, for a third example, creates a special version of the Academy Awards specifically for rom-coms, the most underrated movie genre of all. And another of the chapters, for a final example, is actually a triple chapter that serves as an NBA-style draft of the very best and most memorable moments in gangster movies.

Many, many things happen in Movies (And Other Things), some of which funny, others of which are sad, a few of which are insightful, and all of which are handled with the type of care and dedication to the smallest details and pockets of pop culture that only a book by Shea Serrano can provide.

Serrano is joined in conversation by his Ringer colleagues Mallory Rubin and Jason Concepcion.




Max Felker-Kantor, “POLICING LOS ANGELES” w/ David Stein

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism by skylightbooks on August 8th, 2019

In Policing Los Angeles, Max Felker-Kantor narrates the dynamic history of policing, anti-police abuse movements, race, and politics in Los Angeles from the 1965 Watts uprising to the 1992 Los Angeles rebellion. Using the explosions of two large-scale uprisings in Los Angeles as bookends, Felker-Kantor highlights the racism at the heart of the city's expansive police power through a range of previously unused and rare archival sources. His book is a gripping and timely account of the transformation in police power, the convergence of interests in support of law and order policies, and African American and Mexican American resistance to police violence after the Watts uprising.

Felker-Kantor is in conversation with David Stein, a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of African American Studies at University of California, Los Angeles.




Lisa Taddeo, “THREE WOMEN” w/ Clarissa Cruz

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, biography by skylightbooks on August 5th, 2019

Lina, a homemaker in suburban Indiana, is a decade into a passionless marriage when she embarks on an affair that quickly becomes all-consuming and transforms her life. Sloane, a glamorous entrepreneur in the northeast, is married to a man who likes to watch her have sex with other men and women. Maggie, a high school student in North Dakota, begins a relationship with her English teacher that will have extraordinary consequences for them both—as well as the community in which they live.

For nearly a decade, Lisa Taddeo, an award-winning journalist and longtime contributor to New York magazine and Esquire, embedded herself with Three Women to write this deeply immersive account of their erotic lives and longings. The result—shocking, powerful, and timely—reads like George Packer’s The Unwinding, but for the state of female desire. Three Women is a major work from an exhilarating new voice.

Taddeo is in conversation with Clarissa Cruz, Features Editor at Entertainment Weekly.




Rachelle Cruz, “EXPERIENCING COMICS” w/ Nilah Magruder and Yumi Sakugawa

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Comics/Graphic Novels, nonfiction, journalism, art by skylightbooks on February 28th, 2019

Experiencing Comics: An Introduction to Reading, Discussing, and Creating Comics shows students how to critically examine the craft and storytelling elements found inside a graphic novel or comic and spotlights groundbreaking work by comics creators and scholars from underrepresented and diverse backgrounds.

This accessible, introductory guide to comics discusses how a comic is made and introduces students to the unique form and structure of comics, demonstrating how panels, splash pages, and word balloons are used to tell a story. It encourages students to apply literary theory and social politics to the world of comics to encourage discussions of comics within a larger cultural context. Rachelle Cruz introduces students to significant movements and moments in comics history in the United States. Users are provided with comic-making activities so they can practice the craft and storytelling elements discussed throughout the book. Students will gain first-hand insight from comics professionals and practitioners through interviews with creators, artists, writers, anthology editors, scholars, and comics enthusiasts.

Cruz is in conversation with comic artsits Nilah Magruder and Yumi Sakugawa.




Randy Shaw, “GENERATION PRICED OUT”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, business, sociology by skylightbooks on December 4th, 2018

Generation Priced Out calls for action on one of the most talked-about issues of our time: how skyrocketing rents and home values are pricing the working and middle classes out of urban America. Telling the stories of tenants, developers, politicians, homeowner groups, and housing activists from over a dozen cities impacted by the national housing crisis, Generation Priced Out criticizes cities for advancing policies that increase economic and racial inequality. Shaw also exposes how boomer homeowners restrict millennials’ access to housing in big cities, a generational divide that increasingly dominates city politics. Defying conventional wisdom, Randy Shaw demonstrates that neighborhood gentrification is not inevitable and presents proven measures for cities to preserve and expand their working- and middle-class populations and achieve more equitable and inclusive outcomes. Generation Priced Out is a must-read for anyone concerned about the future of urban America.




Éric Vuillard, “THE ORDER OF THE DAY” w/ Tom Lutz & Laurie Winer

Posted in skylight books, nonfiction, journalism, history by skylightbooks on November 19th, 2018

At a time marked by an ever-widening inequality gap, promulgating the interests of a few at the expense of many, and a rising wave of nationalism, spurred on by assaults to democratic freedoms and propaganda bubbles intended to distort truth, Éric Vuillard’s 2017 Prix Goncourt Winner, The Order of the Day offers a distilled and imaginative retelling of a similarly pivotal moment in history. What emerges is a timely warning about the fragility of the present moment. The annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany has long been seen as one of history’s most foreboding moments. Now, through a host of letters, historical documents, and photographs, Vuillard masterfully reconstructs and looks anew at the extraordinary sequence of events that opened a gateway to one of the greatest humanitarian horrors in our history. The Order of the Day exhumes a well-known history with fresh eyes, warning of the timeless threat to freedom exacted by self-interest, willful ignorance and the consolidation of power in the hands of the few.





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