Live Talks L.A. Discussion: An Evening with Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac Mizrahi (Libra) performs cabaret across the country, has written two books, hosted his own television talk show, and made countless appearances in movies and television. He has directed and designed many productions for the stage and screen. He founded his design company in 1987, was the star and co-creator of the documentary Unzipped, and was the subject of a large-scale, mid-career survey at the Jewish Museum in New York City. He currently develops projects in television, theatre, and literature through his own production company, Isaac Mizrahi Entertainment.
“I.M. has everything! It’s colorful, hysterical, touching, bold, and heartbreaking. It’s about coming of age, creativity, being yourself, Jewish mothers, fashion, art, loss, and glamour. I loved it.” ―Andy Cohen, New York Times bestselling author of Superficial

“Isaac Mizrahi is a true Renaissance man. He can do it all! He’s managed to live several lives in one lifetime.”
―RuPaul

Isaac Mizrahi is sui generis: designer, cabaret performer, talk-show host, a TV celebrity. Yet ever since he shot to fame in the late 1980s, the private Isaac Mizrahi has remained under wraps. Until now.

In I.M., Isaac Mizrahi offers a poignant, candid, and touching look back on his life so far. Growing up gay in a sheltered Syrian Jewish Orthodox family, Isaac had unique talents that ultimately drew him into fashion and later into celebrity circles that read like a who’s who of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: Richard Avedon, Audrey Hepburn, Anna Wintour, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Meryl Streep, and Oprah Winfrey, to name only a few.

In his elegant memoir, Isaac delves into his lifelong battles with weight, insomnia, and depression. He tells what it was like to be an out gay man in a homophobic age and to witness the ravaging effects of the AIDS epidemic. Brimming with intimate details and inimitable wit, Isaac’s narrative reveals not just the glamour of his years, but the grit beneath the glitz. Rich with memorable stories from in and out of the spotlight, I.M. illuminates deep emotional truths.

Genre: Memoir

Stephanie Theobald discusses and signs “Sex Drive: On the Road to a Pleasure Revolution”

Arriving in New York with a failing relationship and a body she felt out of touch with, Stephanie Theobald set off on a 3,497-mile trip across America to rebuild her orgasm from the ground up. What started as a quest for the ultimate auto-erotic experience became a fantastic voyage into her own body.
She takes us from a ‘masturbation master class’ with the legendary 1970’s feminist Betty Dodson to a weekend with the first African American Surgeon General, Joycelyn Elders, who was fired by Bill Clinton for suggesting that solo sex should be talked about in schools. Along the way, we are immersed in a countercultural America of marijuana lollipops, alien pleasure cults and ‘Eco Sexual’ sexologists.

Sex Drive is a memoir about desire and pleasure and loss, merging sexuality and spirituality, eighteenth-century erotica and Enlightenment philosophy. It explores female sexuality in an honest way and welcomes a new wave of sex-positive feminism into the twenty-first century. (Unbound)

Genre: Memoir

David Thomson discusses and signs “Sleeping with Strangers”

From the celebrated film critic and author of The Biographical Dictionary of Film, an original, seductive account of sexuality in the movies and of how actors and actresses on screen have fed our desire.
Film can make us want things we can not have. But, while sometimes rapturous, the interaction of onscreen beauty and private desire speaks to a crisis in American culture, one that pits delusions of male supremacy against feminist awakening and the spirit of gay resistance.

Combining criticism, his encyclopedic knowledge of film history, and memoir, David Thomson examines how film has found the fault lines in traditional masculinity and helped to point the way past it toward a more nuanced understanding of what it means to be a person desiring others.

Ranging from advertising to pornography, Rudolph Valentino to Moonlight, Rock Hudson to Call Me By Your Name, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant to Phantom Thread, Thomson shows us the art and the artists we love under a new light. He illuminates the way in which film as art, entertainment, and business has been a polite cover for a kind of erotic séance. And he makes us see how the way we watch our movies is a kind of training for how we try to live.

Genre: Memoir, Nonfiction

Brittany Ackerman, The Perpetual Motion Machine & Joseph C. Robledo, Blood on Canvas

Brittany Ackerman is a writer from Riverdale, New York. She earned her BA in English from Indiana University and graduated from Florida Atlantic University’s MFA program in Creative Writing. She is a Critical Studies instructor at AMDA College and Conservatory of the Performing Arts where she teaches Archetypal Psychology as well as Applied Logic and Critical Thinking. She was the 2017 Nonfiction Award Winner for Red Hen Press, as well as the AWP Intro Journals Project Award Nominee in 2015. She currently lives in Los Angeles, California.
Joseph C. Robledo was born and raised in Pasadena, CA, the adopted home of his iconic father Canto and the birthplace of Canto’s famous Crown City Boxing Stables. Joseph’s life was interwoven with boxing, as he was close to his father and an integral member of Canto’s team in and out of the ring. Joseph was an amateur boxer as an adolescent and won the Junior Golden 65-Pound Novice Division Championship in 1956, when he was also named Most Outstanding Fighter in the tournament. His overall ring record was 27-3-1 by the time he stopped boxing to focus on his academic goals.

A native son of California, Joseph attended local schools; taught in the Oak Grove, Pasadena, and Duarte school districts; coached various school teams; and was an adjunct professor at Pasadena City College and California State University, Los Angeles. He received a BA Degree in Physical Education from Cal State LA and an MA in Physical Education from Azusa Pacific University. He recently retired after teaching for 38 years. Joseph also served as an Athletic Inspector in boxing sanctions for the State

Genre: Memoir

Eva Hagberg Fisher discusses and signs “How to Be Loved: A Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship”

Eva Hagberg Fisher spent her lonely youth looking everywhere for connection: drugs, alcohol, therapists, boyfriends, girlfriends. Sometimes she found it, but always temporarily. Then, at age thirty, an undiscovered mass in her brain ruptured. So did her life. A brain surgery marked only the beginning of a long journey, and when her illness hit a critical stage, it forced her to finally admit the long-suppressed truth: she was vulnerable, she needed help, and she longed to grow. She needed true friendship for the first time. How to Be Loved is the story of how an isolated person’s life was ripped apart only to be gently stitched back together through friendship, and the recovery–of many stripes–that came along the way. It explores the isolation so many of us feel despite living in an age of constant connectivity; how our ambitions sometimes pull us apart more than bring us together; and how a simple doughnut, delivered by a caring soul, can become the essence of what makes a life valuable. With gorgeous prose shot through with empathy, pain, fear, and the secret truths inside all of us, Eva writes about the friends who taught her to grow up and open her heart–and how the relentlessness of suffering can give rise to the greatest joy.
Genre: Memoir

Megan Griswold discusses and signs “The Book of Help: A Memoir in Remedies”

The Book of Help traces one woman’s life-long quest for love, connection, and peace of mind. A heartbreakingly vulnerable and tragically funny memoir-in-remedies, Megan Griswold’s narrative spans four decades and six continents — from the glaciers of Patagonia and the psycho-tropics of Brazil, to academia, the Ivy League, and the study of Eastern medicine. Megan was born into a family who enthusiastically embraced the offerings of New Age California culture — at seven she asked Santa for her first mantra and by twelve she was taking weekend workshops on personal growth. But later, when her newly-wedded husband calls in the middle of the night to say he’s landed in jail, Megan must accept that her many certificates, degrees and licenses had not been the finish line she’d once imagined them to be, but instead the preliminary training for what would prove to be the wildest, most growth-insisting journey of her life.
Genre: Memoir

Erin Hosier discusses and signs “Don’t Let Me Down: A Memoir”

Erin Hosier’s coming-of-age was full of contradiction. Born into the turbulent 1970s, she was raised in rural Ohio by lapsed hippies who traded 1960s rock ‘n’ roll for 1950s-era Christian hymns. Her mother’s newfound faith was rooted in a desire to manage her husband’s mood swings, which could alternately fill the house with music or with violence. All the while, Jack was larger than life to his adoring daughter. Full of conflict, their complex relationship set the tone for three decades of Erin’s relationships with men; the Beatles provided the soundtrack. Jack bonded with Erin over their iconic songs, even as they inspired her to question authority–both his and others’. Don’t Let Me Down is about a brave girl trying to navigate family secrets and tragedies and escape from small-town small-mindedness. It is a searing and often funny exploration of how women first see themselves through the lens of a parent’s love, and of the ties that bind us to our childhood heroes, who ultimately lead us to ask that most profound of questions: Is love really all you need?
Genre: Memoir

Dani Shapiro discusses and signs “Inheritance”

DIESEL, A Bookstore in Brentwood welcomes Dani Shapiro back to the store to discuss and sign her new memoir Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love on Sunday, February 17th at 3:00 pm. Joining Dani in conversation will be actress/author Jamie Lee Curtis. Please note that this event will take place in the lower outdoor courtyard adjacent to our store.

The acclaimed and beloved author of Hourglass now gives us a new memoir about identity, paternity, and family secrets–a real-time exploration of the staggering discovery she recently made about her father, and her struggle to piece together the hidden story of her own life.

 

What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history–the life she had lived–crumbled beneath her.

 

Inheritance is a book about secrets–secrets within families kept out of shame or self-protectiveness; secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in–a moment in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

 

Timely and unforgettable, Dani Shapiro’s memoir is a gripping, gut-wrenching exploration of genealogy, paternity, and love.

 

Dani Shapiro is the author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Also an essayist and a journalist, Shapiro’s short fiction, essays, and journalistic pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of the New York Times, and many other publications. She has taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, the New School, and Wesleyan University; she is a co-founder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. She lives with her family in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

 

Genre: Memoir

Sophia Shalmiyev discusses her memoir “Mother Winter” with Sara Benincasa

From Laurels Award Fellowship recipient Sophia Shalmiyev comes the exquisite Mother Winter, a haunting and deeply personal story of fleeing the Soviet Union, where Shalmiyev was forced to abandon her mother, and her subsequent years of searching for surrogate mothers—whether in books, art, lovers, or other lost souls.
Mother Winter is the story of Sophia’s emotional journeys as an immigrant, an artist, and a motherless woman now raising children of her own. Born to a Russian mother and an Azerbaijani father, Shalmiyev grew up in the stark oppressiveness of 1980s Leningrad. When her father packed up for a new life in America, he took Sophia with him but left behind her estranged and alcoholic mother, Elena. At age eleven, Shalmiyev found herself on a plane headed west, motherless and terrified of the new world unfolding before her.

The book depicts in urgent vignettes Sophia’s subsequent years of travel, searching, and forging meaningful connections. She describes her tumultuous childhood in the USSR; her experiences as a refugee; the life she built for herself in the Pacific Northwest; and her cathartic journey back to Russia as an adult to search for the mother she never knew.

Mother Winter is a searing meditation on motherhood, feminism, displacement, gender politics, and the pursuit of wholeness after shattering loss. And ultimately, it is an aching observation of the human heart across time and culture.

Genre: Memoir

Megan Griswold discusses and signs “The Book of Help: A Memoir in Remedies”

The Book of Help traces one woman’s life-long quest for love, connection, and peace of mind. A heartbreakingly vulnerable and tragically funny memoir-in-remedies, Megan Griswold’s narrative spans four decades and six continents — from the glaciers of Patagonia and the psycho-tropics of Brazil, to academia, the Ivy League, and the study of Eastern medicine. Megan was born into a family who enthusiastically embraced the offerings of New Age California culture — at seven she asked Santa for her first mantra and by twelve she was taking weekend workshops on personal growth. But later, when her newly-wedded husband calls in the middle of the night to say he’s landed in jail, Megan must accept that her many certificates, degrees and licenses had not been the finish line she’d once imagined them to be, but instead the preliminary training for what would prove to be the wildest, most growth-insisting journey of her life. (Rodale Books)
Genre: Memoir