Archive for nonfiction

SKYLIT: Christina Catherine Martinez, “AESTHETICAL RELATIONS” w/ Isabel Slone

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, essays, skylit by skylightbooks on July 29th, 2021
AESTHETICAL RELATIONS is a constellation of essays on art, fashion, cancer, comedy, Los Angeles, and your mom. Christina Catherine Martinez whips elements of fiction and stand up material into bits and pieces addressing both the critical and personal; including how many times you may kiss an art-world acquaintance, the theoretical stakes of sexting, and why German performance art is quite like French clowning. AESTHETICAL RELATIONS is titled after Martinez's ongoing conceptual comedy talk show of the same name.
 
Martinez is in conversation with Isabel Slone.
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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: Joseph Rodriguez, “LAPD: 1994″ w/ Ruben Martinez

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, photography, art, skylit by skylightbooks on July 23rd, 2021

In 1994, the New York Times Magazine assigned Joseph Rodriguez to ride along with cops from the Los Angeles Police Department, photographing them at work. This was just two years after the protests that erupted when four officers were acquitted on charges of beating Rodney King, and LAPD needed a public image makeover.

The photographs, now compiled in LAPD: 1994, tell a story about the power imbalance between police and the community, the constant tension between the stated goal of “protecting and serving” and the reality of police violence. From behind my camera, Rodriguez saw how decades of profiling, racism, and brutality had led to deep distrust in many communities—distrust that the LAPD’s mild attempts at reform couldn’t even touch. The photos capture a particularly turbulent time for the LAPD, just after several very public corruption scandals in addition to the charges of police brutality brought to light by the video of Rodney King’s beating.

Rodgriguez discusses his photographs with Ruben Martinez.

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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.




SKYLIT: Katie Love, “TWO TICKETS TO PARADISE”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, Humor, nonfiction, religion, skylit by skylightbooks on July 12th, 2021
Two Tickets to Paradise is a memoir about growing up Jehovah’s Witness , leaving religion and finding truth and healing through humor. Two Tickets to Paradise has been lauded by peers and early reviewers as, “hauntingly funny, heartbreaking, and bold.”
 
Author Katie Love discusses her book with Skylight's Christine Blackburn.
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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.




LIVE ON CROWDCAST: Rosecrans Baldwin, “EVERYTHING NOW” w/ Charles Yu

Posted in literature, skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, live on crowdcast by skylightbooks on June 29th, 2021

America is obsessed with Los Angeles. And America has been thinking about Los Angeles all wrong, for decades, on repeat. Los Angeles is not just the place where the American dream hits the Pacific. (It has its own dreams.) Not just the vanishing point of America’s western drive. (It has its own compass.) Functionally, aesthetically, mythologically, even technologically, an independent territory, defined less by distinct borders than by an aura of autonomy and a sense of unfurling destiny―this is the city-state of Los Angeles.

Deeply reported and researched, provocatively argued, and eloquently written, Rosecrans Baldwin's Everything Now approaches the metropolis from unexpected angles, nimbly interleaving his own voice with a chorus of others, from canonical L.A. literature to everyday citizens. Here, Octavia E. Butler and Joan Didion are in conversation with activists and astronauts, vampires and veterans. Baldwin records the stories of countless Angelenos, discovering people both upended and reborn: by disasters natural and economic, following gospels of wealth or self-help or personal destiny. The result is a story of a kaleidoscopic, vibrant nation unto itself―vastly more than its many, many parts.

Baldwin is in conversation with Charles Yu.

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: Shaun Slifer and Josh MacPhee, “SO MUCH TO BE ANGRY ABOUT”

Posted in literature, skylight books, book stores, books, nonfiction, anthology, essays, skylit by skylightbooks on May 7th, 2021
In a remarkable act of recovery, So Much to Be Angry About conjures an influential but largely obscured strand in the nation’s radical tradition—the “movement” printing presses and publishers of the late 1960s and 1970s, and specifically Appalachian Movement Press in Huntington, West Virginia, the only movement press in Appalachia. More than a history, this craft- and activist-centered book positions the frontline politics of the Appalachian Left within larger movements in the 1970s. As Appalachian Movement Press founder Tom Woodruff wrote: “Appalachians weren’t sitting in the back row during this struggle, they were driving the bus.”

Emerging from the Students for a Democratic Society chapter at Marshall University, and working closely with organizer and poet Don West, Appalachian Movement Press made available an eclectic range of printed material, from books and pamphlets to children’s literature and calendars. Many of its publications promoted the Appalachian identity movement and “internal colony” theory, both of which were cornerstones of the nascent discipline of Appalachian studies. One of its many influential publications was MAW, the first feminist magazine written by and for Appalachian women.

So Much to Be Angry About combines complete reproductions of five of Appalachian Movement Press’s most engaging publications, an essay by Shaun Slifer about his detective work resurrecting the press’s history, and a contextual introduction to New Left movement publishing by Josh MacPhee. Amply illustrated in a richly produced package, the volume pays homage to the graphic sensibility of the region’s 1970s social movements, while also celebrating the current renaissance of Appalachia’s DIY culture—in many respects a legacy, Slifer suggests, of the movement publishing documented in his book.

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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: William J. Simmons, “QUEER FORMALISM” w/ Emily Wells

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, essays, skylit by skylightbooks on May 5th, 2021
Queer Formalism: The Return expands upon William J. Simmons’s original, influential essay “Notes on Queer Formalism” from 2013, offering novel ways of thinking about queer-feminist art outside of the critical-complicit and abstract-representational binaries that continue to haunt contemporary queer art. It therefore proposes a new kind of queer art writing, one that skirts the limits imposed by normative histories of art and film. Artists addressed in Queer Formalism: The Return include: Sally Mann, David Lynch, Lars von Trier, Math Bass, Lorna Simpson, Laurie Simmons, Alex Prager, Lana Del Rey, Jessica Lange, and Louise Lawler, among others.
 
Simmons is in conversation with Emily Wells.
 
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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: Jess Phoenix, “MS. ADVENTURE” w/ Branwen Williams

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, science, skylit by skylightbooks on May 1st, 2021
As a volcanologist, natural hazards expert, and founder of Blueprint Earth, Jess Phoenix has dedicated her life to scientific exploration. Her career path—hard earned in the male-dominated world of science—has led her into still-flowing Hawaiian lava fields, congressional races, glittering cocktail parties at Manhattan’s elite Explorers Club, and numerous pairs of Caterpillar work boots. It has also inspired her to devote her life to making science more inclusive and accessible.
 
Ms. Adventure skillfully blends personal memoir, daring adventure, and scientific exploration, following Phoenix’s journey from reality television sites deep in Ecuadorian jungles to Andean glaciers, university classrooms to Death Valley in summer. She has even chased down members of a Mexican cartel to retrieve a stolen favorite rock hammer. Readers will delight in her unbelievable adventures, all embarked on for the love of science.
 
Phoenix is in conversation with Branwen Williams.
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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: Seamus McGraw, “FROM A TALLER TOWER” w/ the Orfanos

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, skylit by skylightbooks on April 28th, 2021

We, as a nation, have become desensitized to the shock and pain in the wake of mass shootings. In the bottomless silence between gunshots, as political stalemate ensures inaction, the killing continues; the dying continues. From a Taller Tower attends to the silence that has left us empty in the aftermath of these atrocities. Veteran journalist Seamus McGraw chronicles the rise of the mass shooter to dismantle the myths we have constructed around the murderers and ourselves.

In 1966, America's first mass shooter, from atop the University of Texas tower, unleashed a new reality: the fear that any of us may be targeted by a killer, and the complicity we bear in granting these murderers the fame or infamy they crave. Addressing individual cases in the epidemic that began in Austin, From a Taller Tower bluntly confronts our obsession with the shooters--and explores the isolation, narcissism, and sense of victimhood that fan their obsessions. Drawing on the experiences of survivors and first responders as well as the knowledge of mental health experts, McGraw challenges the notion of the "good guy with a gun," the idolization of guns (including his own), and the reliability of traumatized memory. Yet in this terrible history, McGraw reminds us of the humanity that can stop the killing and the dying.

McGraw is in conversation with Mark and Susan Orfanos.

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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: Jana Larson, “REEL BAY” & Jazmina Barrera, “ON LIGHTHOUSES”

Posted in skylight books, book stores, books, Memoir, nonfiction, essays, skylit by skylightbooks on April 25th, 2021
 
What was Takako Konishi really doing in North Dakota, and why did she end up dead? Did she get lost and freeze to death, as the police concluded, while searching for the fictional treasure buried in a snowbank at the end of the Coen Brothers' film Fargo? Or was it something else that brought her there: unrequited love, ritual suicide, a meteor shower, a far-flung search for purpose? The seed of an obsession took root in struggling film student Jana Larson when she chanced upon a news bulletin about the case. Over the years and across continents, the material Jana gathered in her search for the real Takako outgrew multiple attempts at screenplays and became this remarkable, genre-bending essay that leans into the space between fact and fiction, life and death, author and subject, reality and delusion.
 

Far from home, in the confines of a dim New York apartment where the oppressive skyscrapers further isolate her, Jazmina Barrera offers a tour of her lighthouses--those structures whose message is "first and foremost, that human beings are here."

Starting with Robert Louis Stevenson's grandfather, an engineer charged with illuminating the Scottish coastline, On Lighthouses artfully examines lighthouses from the Spanish to the Oregon coasts and those in the works of Virginia Woolf, Edgar Allan Poe, Ingmar Bergman, and many others.

In trying to "collect" lighthouses by obsessively describing them, Barrera begins to question the nature of writing, collecting, and how, by staring so intently at one thing we are only trying to avoid others. Equal parts personal memoir and literary history, On Lighthouses takes the reader on a desperate flight from raging sea to cold stone--from a hopeless isolation to a meaningful one--concluding at last in a place of peace: the home of a selfless, guiding light.

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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: William Deverell, “KATHY FISCUS”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, journalism, skylit by skylightbooks on March 24th, 2021
Kathy Fiscus tells the story of the first live, breaking-news TV spectacle in American history. At dusk on a spring evening in 1949, a three-year old girl fell down an abandoned well shaft in the backyard of her family's home in Southern California. Across more than two full days of a fevered rescue attempt, the fate of Kathy Fiscus remained unknown. Thousands of concerned Southern Californians rushed to the scene. Jockeys hurried over from the nearby racetracks, offering to be sent down the well after Kathy. 20th Century Fox sent over the studio's klieg lights to illuminate the scene. Rescue workers-ditch diggers, miners, cesspool laborers, World War II veterans-dug and bored holes deep into the aquifer below, hoping to tunnel across to the old well shaft that the little girl had somehow tumbled down. The region, the nation, and the world watched and listened to every moment of the rescue attempt by way of radio, newsreel footage, and wire service reporting. They also watched live television. Because of the well's proximity to the radio towers on nearby Mount Wilson, the rescue attempt because the first breaking-news event to be broadcast live on television. The Kathy Fiscus event invented reality television and proved that real-time television news broadcasting could work and could transfix the public.
 
Author William Deverell is in conversation with Skylight's Lance Morgan.
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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: Yaba Blay, “ONE DROP”

Posted in skylight books, los angeles, book stores, books, nonfiction, BIPOC, skylit by skylightbooks on March 22nd, 2021
In the United States, a Black person has come to be defined as any person with any known Black ancestry. Statutorily referred to as “the rule of hypodescent,” this definition of Blackness is more popularly known as the “one-drop rule,” meaning that a person with any trace of Black ancestry, however small or (in)visible, cannot be considered White. A method of social order that began almost immediately after the arrival of enslaved Africans in America, by 1910 it was the law in almost all southern states. At a time when the one-drop rule functioned to protect and preserve White racial purity, Blackness was both a matter of biology and the law. One was either Black or White. Period. Has the social and political landscape changed one hundred years later?

One Drop explores the extent to which historical definitions of race continue to shape contemporary racial identities and lived experiences of racial difference. Featuring the perspectives of 60 contributors representing 25 countries and combining candid narratives with striking portraiture, this book provides living testimony to the diversity of Blackness. Although contributors use varying terms to self-identify, they all see themselves as part of the larger racial, cultural, and social group generally referred to as Black. They have all had their identity called into question simply because they do not fit neatly into the stereotypical “Black box”—dark skin, “kinky” hair, broad nose, full lips, etc. Most have been asked “What are you?” or the more politically correct “Where are you from?” throughout their lives. It is through contributors’ lived experiences with and lived imaginings of Black identity that we can visualize multiple possibilities for Blackness.

 
Author Yaba Blay is in conversation with Skylight's Maddie Gobo.
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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.





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