All events listed below take place online. Please visit the organizers’ websites for details.

Christina Hammonds Reed discusses “The Black Kids” with Brandy Colbert

Ashley Bennett and her friends are living the charmed life. It’s the end of senior year and they’re spending more time at the beach than in the classroom. They can already feel the sunny days and endless possibilities of summer. Everything changes one afternoon in April, when four LAPD officers are acquitted after beating a black man named Rodney King half to death. Suddenly, Ashley’s not just one of the girls. She’s one of the black kids.

Free

Bradley Garrett discusses “Bunker” with Geoff Manaugh

Currently, 3.7 million Americans call themselves preppers. Millions more prep without knowing it. Bradley Garrett, who began writing this book years before the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, argues that prepping is a rational response to global, social, and political systems that are failing to produce credible narratives of continued stability. Left with a sense of foreboding fueled by disease outbreaks, increasing government dysfunctionality, eroding critical infrastructure, nuclear brinksmanship, and an accelerating climate crisis, people all over the world are responding predictably—by hunkering down.

Free

Catherine Lacey discusses “Pew” with Jonathan Lethem

As the town spends the week preparing for a mysterious Forgiveness Festival, Pew is shuttled from one household to the next. The earnest and seemingly well-meaning townspeople see conflicting identities in Pew, and many confess their fears and secrets to them in one-sided conversations. Pew listens and observes while experiencing brief flashes of past lives or clues about their origin. As days pass, the void around Pew’s presence begins to unnerve the community, whose generosity erodes into menace and suspicion. Yet by the time Pew’s story reaches a shattering and unsettling climax at the Forgiveness Festival, the secret of who they really are—a devil or an angel or something else entirely—is dwarfed by even larger truths.

Free

Patrick Howell, Tori Reid, Tom Lutz, and Mobolaji Olambiwonnu discuss “Dispatches from the Vanguard”

Described by Run-DMC founder Rev.Run as “exceptional”, Dispatches from the Vanguard is a celebration of the Global International African Arts Movement. Featuring interviews by editor Patrick A. Howell with writers, poets, artists, social entrepreneurs, and activists, the book provides incredible insight into the work of leading cultural innovators. Among those interviewed are Ishmael Reed, Tyehimba Jess, Rich Fresh, Nikki Giovanni, Nnedi Okorafor, Chester Higgins, and Jaki Shelton Green.

Free

Mike Davis and Jon Wiener discuss “Set the Night on Fire” in conversation with Erin Aubry Kaplan and Danny Widener

Los Angeles in the sixties was a hotbed of political and social upheaval. The city was a launchpad for Black Power--where Malcolm X and Angela Davis first came to prominence and the Watts uprising shook the nation. The city was home to the Chicano Blowouts and Chicano Moratorium, as well as being the birthplace of "Asian American" as a political identity. It was a locus of the antiwar movement, gay liberation movement, and women's movement, and, of course, the capital of California counterculture.Mike Davis and Jon Wiener provide the first comprehensive movement history of L.A. in the sixties, drawing on extensive archival research and dozens of interviews with principal figures, as well as the authors' storied personal histories as activists.

Free

Claire Phillips discusses “A Room with a Darker View” with Emily Rapp Black

A daughter breaks the family silence about her mother’s schizophrenia, reframing hospitalizations, paranoia, illness, and caregiving through a feminist lens. Claire Phillips’ elegantly written and unflinching memoir about her mother, an Oxford-trained lawyer diagnosed in mid-life with paranoid schizophrenia, challenges current conceptions about mental illness, relapse and recovery, as well as difficulties caring for an aging parent with a chronic disease.

Free

Vanessa R. Schwartz discusses “Jet Age Aesthetic” with Britt Salvesen

A stunning look at the profound impact of the jet plane on the mid-century aesthetic, from Disneyland to Life magazine Vanessa R. Schwartz engagingly presents the jet plane’s power to define a new age at a critical moment in the mid-20th century, arguing that the craft’s speed and smooth ride allowed people to imagine themselves living in the future. Exploring realms as diverse as airport architecture, theme park design, film, and photography, Schwartz argues that the jet created an aesthetic that circulated on the ground below.

Free

Makenna Goodman discusses “The Shame” with Kathryn Scanlan

What if you could change your life? Would you do it? How would you do it? Alma and her family live close to the land: they raise chickens and sheep, they make maple syrup. Every day Alma’s husband leaves for his job at a nearby college while she stays home with their young children, cleans, searches for secondhand goods online, and reads books by the women writers she adores. Then, one night, she abruptly leaves it all behind—speeding through the darkness, away from their Vermont homestead, bound for New York.

Free

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