Archive for biography

SKYLIT: Darrel J. McLeod, ”PEYAKOW”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, native authors, Memoir, nonfiction, biography, skylit by skylightbooks on September 18th, 2021
In Mamaskatch, Darrel J. McLeod captured an early childhood full of the stories, scents, and sensations of his great-grandfather's cabin, as well as the devastating separation from family, ensuing abuse, and eventual loss of his mother that permeated his adolescence. In the equally potent Peyakow, McLeod follows a young man through many seasons of his life, navigating an ever-turbulent personal and political landscape filled with loss, love, addiction, and perseverance.
Weaving together the past and the present through powerful, linked chapters, McLeod confronts how both the personal traumas of his youth and the historical traumas of his ancestral line impact the trajectory of his life. With unwavering and heart-wrenching honesty, Peyakow--Cree for "one who walks alone"--recounts how one man carries the spirit of his family through the lifelong process of healing.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski.

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

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




SKYLIT: Miriam Feldman, “HE CAME IN WITH IT” w/ Jen Pastiloff

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography, skylit by skylightbooks on July 19th, 2021

In an idyllic Los Angeles neighborhood, where generations of families enjoy deep roots in old homes, the O'Rourke family fits right in. Miriam and Craig are both artists and their four children carry on the legacy. When their teenage son, Nick, is diagnosed with schizophrenia, a tumultuous decade ensues in which the family careens permanently off the conventional course.

Like the ten Biblical plagues, they are hit by one catastrophe after another, violence, evictions, arrests, a suicide attempt, a near-drowning...even cancer and a brain tumor...play against the backdrop of a wild teenage bacchanal of artmaking and drugs. With no time for hand-wringing, Miriam advances, convinced she can fix everything, while a devastated Craig retreats to their property in rural Washington State as home becomes a battlefield.

It is while cleaning out a closet, that Miriam discovers a cache of drawings and journals written by Nick throughout his spiral into schizophrenia. She begins a solitary forensic journey into the lonely labyrinth of his mind.

This is the story of how mental illness unspools an entire family. As Miriam fights to reclaim her son from the ruthless, invisible enemy, we are given an unflinching view into a world few could imagine. It exposes the shocking shortfalls of our mental health system, the destructive impact of stigma, shame and isolation, and, finally, the falsity of the notion of a perfect family. Throughout the book, it is the family's ability to find humor in the absurdities of this life that saves them. It is a parable that illustrates the true definition of a good life, allowing for the blemishes and mistakes that are part of the universal human condition. He Came In With It is the legacy of, and for, her son Nick.

Author Miriam Feldman is in conversation with Jen Pastiloff.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

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

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




LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Danielle Henderson, “THE UGLY CRY” w/ Ann Friedman

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography, live on crowdcast by skylightbooks on July 2nd, 2021
Abandoned at ten years old by a mother who chose her drug-addicted, abusive boyfriend, Danielle Henderson was raised by grandparents who thought their child-rearing days had ended in the 1960s. She grew up Black, weird, and overwhelmingly uncool in a mostly white neighborhood in upstate New York, which created its own identity crises. Under the eye-rolling, foul-mouthed, loving tutelage of her uncompromising grandmother—and the horror movies she obsessively watched—Danielle grew into a tall, awkward, Sassy-loving teenager who wore black eyeliner as lipstick and was struggling with the aftermath of her mother’s choices. But she also learned that she had the strength and smarts to save herself, her grandmother gifting her a faith in her own capabilities that the world would not have most Black girls possess.

With humor, wit, and deep insight, Danielle shares how she grew up and grew wise—and the lessons she’s carried from those days to these. In the process, she upends our conventional understanding of family and redefines its boundaries to include the millions of people who share her story.

 
Here, Danielle discusses her book The Ugly Cry with Ann Friedman.
 
SPONSORED EPISODE:
 
This episode is brought to you by Rare Bird Lit and Unstoppable by Joshua M. Greene.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

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

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




SKYLIT: Liz Brown, “TWILIGHT MAN” w/ Alex Ross

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, history, biography, skylit by skylightbooks on June 19th, 2021
In the booming 1920s, William Andrews Clark Jr. was one of the richest, most respected men in Los Angeles. The son of the mining tycoon known as "The Copper King of Montana," Clark launched the Los Angeles Philharmonic and helped create the Hollywood Bowl. He was also a man with secrets, including a lover named Harrison Post. A former salesclerk, Post enjoyed a lavish existence among Hollywood elites, but the men's money--and their homosexuality--made them targets, for the district attorney, their employees and, in Post's case, his own family. When Clark died suddenly, Harrison Post inherited a substantial fortune--and a wealth of trouble. From Prohibition-era Hollywood to Nazi prison camps to Mexico City nightclubs, Twilight Man tells the story of an illicit love and the battle over a family estate that would destroy one man's life.
 
Author Liz Brown discusses her book with Alex Ross.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

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

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




SKYLIT: Daniel Oppenheimer, “FAR FROM RESPECTABLE”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, criticism, art, biography, skylit by skylightbooks on June 14th, 2021
Regarded as both a legend and a villain, the critic Dave Hickey has inspired generations of artists, art critics, musicians, and writers. His 1993 book The Invisible Dragon became a cult hit for its potent and provocative critique of the art establishment and its call to reconsider the role of beauty in art. His next book, 1997's Air Guitar, introduced a new kind of cultural criticism--simultaneously insightful, complicated, vulnerable, and down-to-earth--that propelled Hickey to fame as an iconoclastic thinker, loved and loathed in equal measure, whose influence extended beyond the art world. Far from Respectable is a focused, evocative exploration of Hickey's work, his impact on the field of art criticism, and the man himself, from his Huck Finn childhood to his drug-fueled periods as both a New York gallerist and Nashville songwriter to, finally, his anointment as a tenured professor and MacArthur Fellow. Drawing on in-person interviews with Hickey, his friends and family, and art world comrades and critics, Daniel Oppenheimer examines the controversial writer's distinctive takes on a broad range of subjects, including Norman Rockwell, Robert Mapplethorpe, academia, Las Vegas, basketball, country music, and considers how Hickey and his vision of an "ethical, cosmopolitan paganism" built around a generous definition of art is more urgently needed than ever before.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

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

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




SKYLIT: Joshua Mohr, “MODEL CITIZEN” w/ Gina Frangello

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, biography, skylit by skylightbooks on March 15th, 2021

After years of hard-won sobriety, while rebuilding a life with his wife and young daughter, thirty-five-year-old Joshua Mohr suffers a stroke—his third, it turns out— which uncovers a heart condition requiring surgery. Which requires fentanyl, one of his myriad drugs of choice. This forced “freelapse” should fix his heart, but what will it do to his sobriety? And what if it doesn’t work?

Told in stunning, surreal, time-hopping vignettes, Model Citizen is a raw, revealing portrait of an addict. Mohr shines a harsh spotlight into all corners of his life, throwing the wild joys, tragedies, embarrassments, and adventures of his past into bold relief.

Mohr is in conversation with Gina Frangello.

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Produced by Maddie Gobbo, Lance Morgan, & Michael Kowaleski

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

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




SKYLIT: Amy Shira Teitel, “FIGHTING FOR SPACE”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Feminism, nonfiction, history, biography, science, skylit by skylightbooks on February 13th, 2021
When the space age dawned in the late 1950s, Jackie Cochran held more propeller and jet flying records than any pilot of the twentieth century—man or woman. She had led the Women's Auxiliary Service Pilots during the Second World War, was the first woman to break the sound barrier, ran her own luxury cosmetics company, and counted multiple presidents among her personal friends. She was more qualified than any woman in the world to make the leap from atmosphere to orbit. Yet it was Jerrie Cobb, twenty-five years Jackie's junior and a record-holding pilot in her own right, who finagled her way into taking the same medical tests as the Mercury astronauts. The prospect of flying in space quickly became her obsession.

While the American and international media spun the shocking story of a "woman astronaut" program, Jackie and Jerrie struggled to gain control of the narrative, each hoping to turn the rumored program into their own ideal reality—an issue that ultimately went all the way to Congress.

Fighting for Space, a dual biography of audacious trailblazers Jackie Cochran and Jerrie Cobb presents these fascinating and fearless women in all their glory and grit, using their stories as guides through the shifting social, political, and technical landscape of the time.

 
Author Amy Shira Teitel is in conversation with Skylight's own Lance Morgan.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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

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




LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Lynell George, “A HANDFUL OF EARTH, A HANDFUL OF SKY” w/ Louise Steinman

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, journalism, writing, biography, live on crowdcast by skylightbooks on February 8th, 2021

A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia E. Butler offers a blueprint for a creative life from the perspective of award-winning science-fiction writer and “MacArthur Genius” Octavia E. Butler. It is a collection of ideas about how to look, listen, breathe—how to be in the world. This book is about the creative process, but not on the page; its canvas is much larger. Author Lynell George not only engages the world that shaped Octavia E. Butler, she also explores the very specific processes through which Butler shaped herself—her unique process of self-making. It’s about creating a life with what little you have—hand-me-down books, repurposed diaries, journals, stealing time to write in the middle of the night, making a small check stretch—bit by bit by bit. A Handful of Earth, A Handful of Sky draws the reader into Butler’s world, creating a sense of unmatched intimacy with the deeply private writer.

George is in conversation with writer, artist, and literary curator Louise Steinman.

 
This episode was recorded on November 9, 2020 during a live Crowdcast event hosted by Skylight Books. Visit us at www.crowdcast.io/skylightbooks to RSVP for future events.
 
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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

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




LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Eileen Myles, “FOR NOW” w/ Adam Fitzgerald

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, essays, writing, LGBTQ, biography, live on crowdcast by skylightbooks on January 27th, 2021
In this raucous meditation, Eileen Myles offers an intimate glimpse into creativity’s immediacy. With erudition and wit, Myles recounts their early years as an awakening writer; existential struggles with landlords; storied moments with neighbors, friends, and lovers; and the textures and identities of cities and the country that reveal the nature of writing as presence in time.
 
For Myles, time’s “optic quality” is what enables writing in the first place—as attention, as devotion, as excess. It is this chronologized vision that enables the writer to love the world as it presently is, lending love a linguistic permanence amid social and political systems that threaten to eradicate it. Irreverent, generous, and always insightful, For Now is a candid record of the creative process from one of our most beloved artists.
 
Myles is in conversation with Adam Fitzgerald, professor of creative writing at Rutgers University.
 
This episode was recorded on Monday, October 19 during a live Crowdcast event hosted by Skylight Books. Visit us at www.crowdcast.io/skylightbooks to RSVP for future events.
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Produced by Maddie Gobbo & Michael Kowaleski

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

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




SKYLIT: Jared Milrad & Jan West, “BELIEVE IN YOU”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography, skylit by skylightbooks on December 7th, 2020

In Believe In You, an intimate and revealing conversation between a mother and son, Jared Milrad and Jan West take a fascinating look at the experiences, moments, and people that have shaped their lives - both together and apart. From Childhood to Marriage to Family, Animals, Activism, Movies, Politics and just about everything in between, Jared and Jan hold no punches as they explore how life, love, and loss shaped their lives and fueled their connections with others. A former staffer for President Barack Obama and a filmmaker who has worked with leaders across Hollywood and beyond, Jared reflects on growing up in a single parent household, coming out as a gay man, pursuing multiple creative passions, and working at the highest levels of politics, nonprofit advocacy, and entertainment. In a free-flowing interview style, Jared explores his mom's remarkable life: growing up in a dysfunctional household, marching for civil and human rights, working through a divorce and difficult relationships, and raising two kids as a single mother on a secretary's salary. It's a conversation rarely had - and even less often recorded - between a parent and child, particularly with such raw honesty, thoughtful reflection, and considered insight into what makes a family's bond truly eternal.

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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: Riva Lehrer, “GOLEM GIRL: A MEMOIR” w/ Terry Myers

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, health, biography, skylit by skylightbooks on November 23rd, 2020

What do we sacrifice in the pursuit of normalcy? And what becomes possible when we embrace monstrosity? Can we envision a world that sees impossible creatures?

In 1958, amongst the children born with spina bifida is Riva Lehrer. At the time, most such children are not expected to survive. Her parents and doctors are determined to fix her, sending the message over and over again that she is broken. That she will never have a job, a romantic relationship, or an independent life. Enduring countless medical interventions, Riva tries her best to be a good girl and a good patient in the quest to be cured.

Everything changes when, as an adult, Riva is invited to join a group of artists, writers, and performers who are building Disability Culture. Their work is daring, edgy, funny, and dark--it rejects tropes that define disabled people as pathetic, frightening, or worthless. They insist that disability is an opportunity for creativity and resistance. Emboldened, Riva asks if she can paint their portraits--inventing an intimate and collaborative process that will transform the way she sees herself, others, and the world. Each portrait story begins to transform the myths she's been told her whole life about her body, her sexuality, and other measures of normal.

 

Written with the vivid, cinematic prose of a visual artist, and the love and playfulness that defines all of Riva's work, Golem Girl is an extraordinary story of tenacity and creativity. With the author's magnificent portraits featured throughout, this memoir invites us to stretch ourselves toward a world where bodies flow between all possible forms of what it is to be human.

Lehrer is in conversation with writer and editor Terry Myers. 

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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: Daniel Mendelsohn, “THREE RINGS”

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, history, biography, skylit by skylightbooks on September 14th, 2020

In this genre-defying book, best-selling memoirist and critic Daniel Mendelsohn explores the mysterious links between the randomness of the lives we lead and the artfulness of the stories we tell.

Combining memoir, biography, history, and literary criticism, Three Rings weaves together the stories of three exiled writers who turned to the classics of the past to create masterpieces of their own--works that pondered the nature of narrative itself. Erich Auerbach, the Jewish philologist who fled Hitler's Germany and wrote his classic study of Western literature, Mimesis, in Istanbul... Fran ois F nelon, the seventeenth-century French archbishop whose ingenious sequel to the Odyssey, The Adventures of Telemachus--a veiled critique of the Sun King and the best-selling book in Europe for one hundred years--resulted in his banishment... and the German novelist W. G. Sebald, self-exiled to England, whose distinctively meandering narratives explore Odyssean themes of displacement, nostalgia, and separation from home.

Intertwined with these tales of exile and artistic crisis is an account of Mendelsohn's struggles to write two of his own books--a family saga of the Holocaust and a memoir about reading the Odyssey with his elderly father--that are haunted by tales of oppression and wandering. As Three Rings moves to its startling conclusion, a climactic revelation about the way in which the lives of its three heroes were linked across borders, languages, and centuries forces the reader to reconsider the relationship between narrative and history, art and life.

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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: Megan Margulies, “MY CAPTAIN AMERICA” w/ Eva Hagberg,

In the 1990s, Megan Margulies’s Upper West Side neighborhood was marked by addicts shooting up in subway stations, frequent burglaries, and the “Wild Man of 96th Street,” who set fires under cars and heaved rocks through stained glass church windows. The world inside her parents’ tiny one-bedroom apartment was hardly a respite, with a family of five—including some loud personalities—eventually occupying the 550-square-foot space.

Salvation arrived in the form of her spirited grandfather, Daddy Joe, whose midtown studio became a second home to Megan. There, he listened to her woes, fed her Hungry Man frozen dinners, and simply let her be. His living room may have been dominated by the drawing table, notes, and doodles that marked him as Joe Simon the cartoonist. But for Megan, he was always Daddy Joe: an escape from her increasingly hectic home, a nonjudgmental voice whose sense of humor was as dry as his farfel, and a steady presence in a world that felt off balance.

Evoking New York City both in the 1980s and ’90s and during the Golden Age of comics in the 1930s and ’40s, My Captain America flashes back from Megan’s story to chart the life and career of Rochester-native Joe Simon, from his early days retouching publicity photos and doing spot art for magazines, to his partnership with Jack Kirby at Timely Comics (the forerunner of Marvel Comics), which resulted in the creation of beloved characters like Captain America, the Boy Commandos, and Fighting American.

 

Margulies is in conversation with Eva Hagberg, author of How to Be Loved

 

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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: Erica C. Barnett, “QUITTER” w/ Maer Roshan

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, biography by skylightbooks on July 31st, 2020

Erica C. Barnett had her first sip of alcohol when she was thirteen, and she quickly developed a taste for drinking to oblivion with her friends. In her late twenties, her addiction became inescapable. Volatile relationships, blackouts, and unsuccessful stints in detox defined her life, with the vodka bottles she hid throughout her apartment and offices acting as both her tormentors and closest friends.

By the time she was in her late thirties, Erica Barnett had run the gauntlet of alcoholism. She had recovered and relapsed time and again, but after each new program or detox center would find herself far from rehabilitated. "Rock bottom," Barnett writes, "is a lie." It is always possible, she learned, to go lower than your lowest point. She found that the terms other alcoholics used to describe the trajectory of their addiction--"rock bottom" and "moment of clarity"--and the mottos touted by Alcoholics Anonymous, such as "let go and let God" and "you're only as sick as your secrets"--didn't correspond to her experience and could actually be detrimental.

With remarkably brave and vulnerable writing, Barnett expands on her personal story to confront the dire state of addiction in America, the rise of alcoholism in American women in the last century, and the lack of rehabilitation options available to addicts. At a time when opioid addiction is a national epidemic and one in twelve Americans suffers from alcohol abuse disorder, Quitter is essential reading for our age and an ultimately hopeful story of Barnett's own hard-fought path to sobriety.

 

Barnett is in conversation with writer, editor, and entrepreneur Maer Roshan.

 

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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: Tom Rastrelli, “CONFESSIONS OF A GAY PRIEST” w/ Janet Finch

Posted in , literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, religion, LGBTQ, biography by skylightbooks on July 3rd, 2020

Tom Rastrelli is a survivor of clergy-perpetrated sexual abuse who then became a priest in the early days of the Catholic Church’s ongoing scandals. Confessions of a Gay Priest divulges the clandes­tine inner workings of the seminary, providing an intimate and unapologetic look into the psychosexual and spiritual dynamics of celibacy and lays bare the “formation” system that perpetuates the cycle of abuse and cover-up that continues today. 

Under the guidance of a charismatic college campus minister, Rastrelli sought to reconcile his homosexuality and childhood sexual abuse. When he felt called to the priesthood, Rastrelli be­gan the process of “priestly discernment.” Priests welcomed him into a confusing clerical culture where public displays of piety, celibacy, and homophobia masked a closeted underworld in which elder priests preyed upon young recruits. 

Rastrelli is in conversation with Janet Finch, author of White Oleander and teacher of fiction writing.

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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.





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