Monthly Archives: June 2008

TGIF: Have an audiovisual weekend

June 6, 2008
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TGIF: Have an audiovisual weekend

• Erin Hogan, author of Spiral Jetta: A Road Trip through the Land Art of the American West was interviewed by host Sam Weller on WBEZ Chicago’s Hello Beautiful! last Sunday to discuss her experiences traveling to remote locations in the American west to visit the monumental land art of the 1970s and 1980s—works like Robert Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, Nancy Holt’s Sun Tunnels, and Walter De Maria’s Lightning Field. You can catch the archived audio on the Chicago Public Radio website. The press also features our own interview with Hogan and an excerpt from her book on our website. • Richard Cahan, coauthor with Mark Jacobs of Chicago under Glass: Early Photographs from the Chicago Daily News, appeared on the May 28 edition of the ABC World News Webcast. The book includes more than 250 images taken from the archives of the Chicago Daily News dating from 1901-1930, providing a rare glimpse at life in Chicago during one of the most exciting and tumultuous periods in its history. Online video featuring some of the photographs along with some interesting commentary from Cahan is available on the ABC News website. • Charles Hersch, author of Subversive Sounds: Race and the Birth . . .

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Printers Row Book Fair

June 5, 2008
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Printers Row Book Fair

It’s time for another Printers Row Book Fair! This weekend June 7-8 from 10am until 6 pm the Printers Row Book Fair, the Midwest’s largest literary event, will feature scores of author readings and discussion panels, over one hundred booksellers and exhibitors, and a variety of other fun events for the whole family. Among this year’s lineup of University of Chicago Press authors making appearances at the event are: Richard Cahan and Mark Jacob, authors of Chicago under Glass: Early Photographs from the Chicago Daily News. Erin Hogan, author of Spiral Jetta: A Road Trip through the Land Art of the American West. Joel Greenberg, author of Of Prairie, Woods, and Water: Two Centuries of Chicago Nature Writing. Peggy MacNamara, author and illustrator of Architecture by Birds and Insects: A Natural Art. Newton Minow and Craig LaMay, authors of Inside the Presidential Debates: Their Improbable Past and Promising Future. Jonathan Kern, author of Sound Reporting: The NPR Guide to Audio Journalism and Production. Anne Whiston Spirn, author of Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange’s Photographs and Reports from the Field. Gerald Rosenberg, author of The Hollow Hope: Can Courts Bring About Social Change? Second Edition. Seth Lerer, author of Children’s Literature: . . .

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Caretaking vs. consuming

June 4, 2008
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Caretaking vs. consuming

San Francisco Chronicle reporter Susan Fornoff recently talked with Stanford University professor Robert Pogue Harrison about his new book, Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition. Harrison uses gardens both literally and figuratively for a philosophical exploration from antiquity to the present, showing the connections between horticultural cultivation and the cultivation of the human mind. Fornoff’s engaging article appeared today in the Chronicle and discusses gardening, the culture of consumption, and human happiness: Harrison’s … excursion through literature and history revealed a gardening ethic of care that the garden he tends at Stanford University—that of young minds, not plant seedlings—leads him to believe is in some jeopardy. “This gardening ethic is very much in danger these days, where the emphasis on cultivation has given way to an emphasis on consumption,” says Harrison, asserting that a Stanford student would be more inclined to inspect another’s backyard on HGTV than to investigate one of the many campus gardens. “We live in a kind of frenzy of consumerism which forgets that the true source of human happiness is not in the consuming but in the cultivation, in seeing something grow, or caring for something that is not yourself. And I don’t know how . . .

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The epic history of the AACM

June 3, 2008
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The epic history of the AACM

The June issue of Downbeat Magazine is running a positive review of George Lewis’s new book A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music—the definitive history of one of the most influential avant-garde jazz collectives in existence, the Chicago-based Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians. Writing for Downbeat jazz critic Howard Mandel begins his review: George Lewis’s epic history of the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians sets a new standard for scholarly writing about the people who make Great Black Music, or any other kind. A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music, interweaves interviews with 67 of Lewis’s AACM colleagues, select journalistic reports and theoretical writings with the perspective of a trusted insider across a societal portrait worthy of Tolstoy. Lewis dramatizes the story of independent, underfinanced, determined, sophisticated artists from a working-class minority subculture struggling to launch an esthetic movement that emphasizes individuality, continuous exploration and personal development in a world that could hardly care less. Downbeat magazine seems to be having some technical difficulties with their website, but for now you can read the full unedited version on Howard Mandel’s blog Jazz Beyond Jazz. Also read an excerpt . . .

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Press Release: Harrison, Gardens

June 2, 2008
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Press Release: Harrison, Gardens

Nothing banishes winter’s lethargy more quickly than that first sight of the green of spring, as trees bud and our gardens, once again, burst into glorious bloom. For Robert Pogue Harrison, it’s not just the depths of winter that gardens help us escape: throughout human history, gardens—both real and imagined—have been essential places of refuge and comfort in the face of a harsh, often violent world. Employing the richly learned and allusive approach that he brought to his classics, Forests and The Dominion of the Dead, Harrison explores here the central importance of the human urge to nurture and cultivate gardens. Beginning with ancient conceptions of the garden as a place for the quiet work of self-improvement that is crucial to serenity and enlightenment, Harrison then travels widely through the history of Western culture. Enlisting such varied thinkers and writers as Voltaire and Calvino, Boccaccio and Arendt, Harrison profoundly demonstrates the role the garden has long played as a necessary, humanizing check against the degradation and losses of history. Read the press release. . . .

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“A curiously fleshy moment in the history of New York publishing”

June 2, 2008
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“A curiously fleshy moment in the history of New York publishing”

Yesterday the New York Times Sunday Book Review featured an excellent piece on Patricia Cline Cohen, Timothy J. Gilfoyle, and Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz’s The Flash Press: Sporting Male Weeklies in 1840s New York—a fascinating exhumation and examination of the weekly periodicals that covered and publicized nineteenth-century New York City’s extensive sexual underworld. Novelist Nicholson Baker writes for NYTBR: Cohen, Gilfoyle and a third writer, Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz have together produced The Flash Press, the first book-length survey of this strange rock-pool of 1840s profligacy. Readers of Kurt Andersen’s recent historical novel Heyday—and indeed everyone interested in knowing what New York City was like before the Civil War—will want to have a peek. The authors have managed to unearth and collate a remarkable amount of enriching detail about a curiously fleshy moment in the history of New York publishing. Nicholson concludes his review: Thanks to… the meticulous research of these three scholars, we once again have a way of looking through a tiny, smudged window into New York’s long-past illicit life. Oh, and the drawing of the chambermaid and her warming pan is on Page 101. Read the full review. NYT writer Jennifer Schuessler has a posting on the Paper Cuts . . .

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Press Release: Lerer, Children’s Literature

June 2, 2008
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Press Release: Lerer, Children’s Literature

In Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History from Aesop to Harry Potter, Seth Lerer tells us the bedtime story of Western culture’s obsession with books for the young. He traces the transformative power of literature across centuries, from the moralizing allegories of antiquity to the swashbuckling epics of the nineteenth century and the acerbic self-awareness of Judy Blume and Weetzie Bat. Written with the panoramic scope of a distinguished scholar and the affection of a parent and avid reader, Children’s Literature reminds us of the sublime power of books in an era when videogames, MySpace, and text messaging compete for the free time of our youth. Read the press release. . . .

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Press Release: Gordon, Naked Airport

June 2, 2008
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Press Release: Gordon, Naked Airport

New in paperback—Although airports are now best known for interminable waits at check-in counters, liquid restrictions for carry-on luggage, and humiliating shoe-removal rituals at security, they were once the backdrops for jet-setters who strutted, martinis in hand, through curvilinear terminals designed by Eero Saarinen. In the critically acclaimed Naked Airport, Alastair Gordon traces the cultural history of this defining institution from its origins in the muddy fields of flying machines to its frontline position in the struggle against international terrorism. Read the press release. . . .

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