Premier Events presented by Peninsula Arts & Letters


Credit: Daniel Portnoy

 

 

 

PREMIER EVENT: Dave Barry

Tuesday, March 10, 7:30 p.m.

Live Right and Find Happiness (Although Beer Is Much Faster): Life Lessons from Dave Barry

SORRY - THIS EVENT IS SOLD OUT!

Ready to laugh so loud you'll fall out of your chair?

During the course of living (mumble, mumble) years, Dave Barry has learned much of wisdom,* (*actual wisdom not guaranteed) and he is eager to pass it on—to the next generation, the generation after that, and, you get the idea...

In brilliant, brand-new, never-before-published pieces, Dave passes on home truths to his new grandson and to his daughter Sophie, who will be getting her learner’s permit in 2015. (“So you’re about to start driving! How exciting! I’m going to kill myself”). He explores the hometown of his youth, where the grown-ups were supposed to be uptight 50s' conformists but seemed to have a lot of un–Mad Men–like fun—unlike Dave’s own Baby Boomer generation, which was supposed to be wild and crazy, but somehow turned into neurotic hover-parents.

He dives into everything from the inanity of cable news and the benefits of Google Glass (“You will look like a douchebag”) to the loneliness of high school nerds (“You will never hear a high school girl say about a boy, in a dreamy voice, ‘He’s so sarcastic!’”), from the perils of home repair to firsthand accounts of the soccer craziness of Brazil and the just plain crazy craziness of Vladimir Putin’s Russia (“He stares at the camera with the expression of a man who relaxes by strangling small furry animals”), and a lot more besides. 

Dave Barry has been a professional humorist ever since he discovered that professional humor was a lot easier than working. He has won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary (one of Barry's columns was largely responsible for the movement to observe International Talk Like a Pirate Day every year on September 19). In addition, he has written more than 30 books, including the novels Big Trouble, Lunatics, Tricky Business and, most recently, Insane City. He has also written a number of books with titles like I'll Mature When I'm Dead, which are technically classified as nonfiction, although they contain numerous lies.



 

 

 

PREMIER EVENT: Michael Gazzaniga in conversation with Angie Coiro

Wednesday, March 18, 7:30pm

Tales from Both Sides of the Brain: A Life in Neuroscience

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Brown Paper Tickets

 

"The story of how science works interwoven with the life of a brilliant scientist who not only created an entire new field of inquiry but just happened to live in the Animal House at Dartmouth. A marvelous, exciting adventure, elegantly written." -Daniel J. Levitin, author of This Is Your Brain on Music and The Organized Mind.

Join us for an exploration into the intersection of Michael Gazzaniga's scientific achievements and his reflections on the challenges and thrills of working as a scientist. In the mid-twentieth century, Gazzaniga, "the father of cognitive neuroscience," was part of a team of pioneering neuroscientists who developed the now foundational split-brain brain theory: the notion that the right and left hemispheres of the brain can act independently from one another and have different strengths.

Including a foreword by Steven Pinker, Tales from Both Sides of the Brain tells the impassioned story of Gazzaniga's life in science and his decades-long journey to understand how the separate spheres of our brains communicate and miscommunicate with their separate agendas.

Gazzaniga is internationally recognized in the field of neuroscience and a pioneer in cognitive research. He is the director of the SAGE Center for the Study of the Mind at UC Santa Barbara and the author of many popular science books. He is a prominent adviser to various institutes involved in brain research, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a past president of the American Psychological Society. He is featured regularly on public television and his research has been presented on NBC Nightly News and the Today show.

Angie Coiro is an award-winning journalist and interviewer, host of the syndicated In Deep radio show. Her work has aired nationally on Mother Jones Radio on Air America, and on public radio. Bay Area audiences know her from Live From the Left Coast/The Angie Coiro Show; KCSM-TV's "Spotlight!"; KQED's Friday Forum; KGO radio; and for many years of news and traffic reporting around the dial. Angie co-founded the Tech Connects interview series at The Tech Museum of San Jose, currently in its second year.



Credit: Star Black

 

 

 

 

 

PREMIER EVENT: Joyce Carol Oates in conversation with Michelle Richmond

Wednesday, March 25, 7:30pm

The Sacrifice

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Brown Paper Tickets

Student tickets are available! 

 

Don't miss an evening with one of our most revered literary masters, New York Times bestselling author Joyce Carol Oates and her new incendiary novel, The Sacrifice. This major work of fiction illuminates the tragic impact of sexual violence, racism, brutality, and power on innocent lives and probes the persistence of stereotypes, the nature of revenge, the complexities of truth, and our insatiable hunger for sensationalism.

When a 14-year-old girl is the alleged victim of a terrible act of racial violence, the incident shocks and galvanizes her community, exacerbating the racial tension that has been simmering in this New Jersey town for decades. Oates explores the uneasy fault lines in a racially troubled society. In such a tense, charged atmosphere, Oates reveals that there must always be a sacrifice—of innocence, truth, trust, and, ultimately, of lives. Unfolding in a succession of multiracial voices, in a community transfixed by this alleged crime and the spectacle unfolding around it, this profound novel exposes what—and who—the “sacrifice” actually is, and what consequences these kind of events hold for us all.

As the chorus of its voices—from the police to the media to the victim and her family—reaches a crescendo, The Sacrifice offers a shocking new understanding of power and oppression, innocence and guilt, truth and sensationalism, justice and retribution. 

Joyce Carol Oates is the author of more than 70 books, including novels, short story collections, poetry volumes, plays, essays, and criticism, including the national bestseller We Were the Mulvaneys. Among her many honors are the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction and the National Book Award. Oates is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University, and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

Michelle Richmond is the New York Times bestselling author of four novels, including Golden State and The Year of Fog, and two story collections, including Hum, winner of the Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize. She is the founder and publisher of Fiction Attic Press.


Credit: Michael Halsband


 

 

 

PREMIER EVENT: Barney Frank

Wednesday, April 1, 7:30pm

Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage

Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway Street, Redwood City

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Fox Theatre Box Office

Join us for an unforgettable evening with America's smartest, feistiest, and funniest politician, Barney Frank. In Frank's candid and witty political memoir, Frank: A Life in Politics from the Great Society to Same-Sex Marriage, we find out how a disheveled, intellectually combative gay Jew with a trademark New Jersey-Massachusetts accent, became one of the most powerful and effective members of Congress.

In Frank, he chronicles his lifelong struggle against inequality, which culminated in co-writing the most significant Wall Street regulations since the Great Depression. Barney Frank continues to be an important voice for economic fairness at a time when many of the regulations he authored are being challenged.

With his trademark directness and insight, Frank explores the emotional toll of living in the closet and how he became the first member of Congress to voluntarily disclose his homosexuality. He also details the favors, grudges, and fears that shape a legislator's career. 

We can't wait to hear Frank's legendary rhetorical skills in action and to spend an evening with the person who led the debate on some of the most significant issues of our time.

Barney Frank represented the Fourth Congressional District of Massachusetts for nearly five decades, and chaired the House Financial Services Committee from 2007 to 2013. He is the first member of congress to enter a same-sex marriage while serving in office.



Credit: Jeff Cottenden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PREMIER EVENT: Kazuo Ishiguro in conversation with Tom Barbash

Thursday, April 2, 7:30 p.m.

The Buried Giant

Menlo-Atherton High School Center for Performing Arts, 555 Middlefield Rd., Atherton  

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Brown Paper Tickets

Student tickets are available! 


Join us for a very special evening with Kazuo Ishiguro, one of the most celebrated contemporary fiction writers in the English-speaking world. We’ll be celebrating the release of The Buried Giant, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in nearly a decade, following international bestsellers Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day.

We were lucky enough to receive some Advanced Reader Copies of the novel, and we have to say that we love the book, and so much of our enjoyment of it stemmed from the less you know the better. Meaning, we don't want to give anything away here. Not yet. Not until you've had a chance to read it yourself. All the publisher will say about the book is that it is "sometimes savage, often intensely moving," and is about "lost memories, love, revenge and war."

We can tell you that this new novel is like nothing he has ever written. It is an adventure fable that integrates a familiar ancient British civilization tale with a fantastical element. And all of the familiar trademarks of Ishiguro are present: his expert prose, his characters' search for meaning, an exploration of the limitations of memory, and Ishiguro's incredibly vast imagination.

Called an original and remarkable genius by the New York Times, Kazuo Ishiguro is the author of Never Let Me Go and The Remains of the Day, both of which were adapted into highly acclaimed films. He has received four Man Booker Prize nominations, was ranked 32nd on the New York Times list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945," was awarded the Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa International Literary Prize, and received an OBE for Services to Literary and in 1998 the French decoration of Chevalier de L'Orde des Arts et des Lettres. Born in Nagasaki, Japan in 1954, Ishiguro moved to Britain at the age of 5.

Tom Barbash is the author of the award-winning novel The Last Good Chance and the non-fiction book On Top of the World: Cantor Fitzgerald, Howard Lutnick, and 9/11; A Story of Loss and Renewal, which was a New York Times bestseller. His stories and articles have been published in Tin House, McSweeney's, Virginia Quarterly Review, and other publications, and have been performed on National Public Radio's Selected Shorts series. He currently teaches in the MFA program at California College of the Arts.



Credit: Benjamin Benschneider


 

 

 

PREMIER EVENT: Erik Larson

Monday, April 13, 7:30pm

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania 

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Brown Paper Tickets


On the 100th anniversary of the Lusitania disaster, comes the enthralling story of the sinking ship from Erik Larson.

On May 1, 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone, and for months, its U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds" and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack. He knew, moreover, that his ship--the fastest then in service--could outrun any threat.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small--hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more--all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history. 

It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope Riddle to President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war.

Erik Larson is the author of four national bestsellers: In the Garden of Beasts, Thunderstruck, The Devil in the White City, and Isaac's Storm, which have collectively sold more than 5.5 million copies. His books have been published in fourteen countries.


 

 

 

 

PREMIER EVENT: Jacqueline Winspear

PLEASE NOTE NEW DATE:

Wednesday, April 29, 7:30pm

A Dangerous Place: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Brown Paper Tickets

 

When Jacqueline visited us in July of 2014, she announced the upcoming publication of the newest book in the Maisie Dobbs series. We are so pleased to announce that we will be celebrating the release of it with a reading by Jacqueline only two days after the publication date.

Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England; her aging father Frankie Dobbs is not getting any younger.

But on a ship bound for England, Maisie realizes she isn't ready to return, so she disembarks in Gibraltar. Days after Maisie's arrival, a photographer and member of Gibraltar's Sephardic Jewish community, Sebastian Babayoff, is murdered, and Maisie becomes entangled in the case, drawing the attention of the British Secret Service. Under the suspicious eye of a British agent, Maisie is pulled deeper into political intrigue and renews an uneasy acquaintance in the process. At a crossroads between her past and her future, Maisie must choose a direction, knowing that England is, for her, an equally dangerous place, but in quite a different way.

Jacqueline has won numerous awards, including the Agatha Award for Best Novel, and since An Incomplete Revenge was published in 2008, each of her novels has been an instant New York Times and National Bestseller.



 

 

 

 

PREMIER EVENT: Andrew Keen

Wednesday, May 20, 7:30 p.m.

The Internet Is Not the Answer

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Brown Paper Tickets

 

Called the "Christopher Hitchens of the Internet," Andrew Keen describes the ways in which an expanding circle of wealthy "monopolistic" companies like Amazon, Uber, Airbnb, Spotify and others are disrupting in ways that are hardly as noble as they want us to believe.

Watch the provocative book trailer HERE and prepare for a deluge of intellectual debate and controversy. He has been called the "conscience of the internet" and "the voice of humanity amidst the digitization of our world," and The Internet is Not the Answer is "the best and most readable critique of Silicon Valley yet."

This book traces the technological and economic history of the Internet, from its founding in the 1960s to the creation of the World Wide Web in 1989, through the waves of startups and the rise of the big data companies to the increasing attempts to monetize almost every human activity. In this sharp, witty narrative, informed by the work of other writers, reporters, and academics as well as his own research and interviews, Keen shows us the tech world, warts and all - from hoodie-wearing misfit millionaires to the NSA's all-encompassing online surveillance to the impact of the Internet on unemployment and economic inequality.

Andrew Keen is an entrepreneur who founded Audiocafe.com in 1995 and built it into a popular first generation Internet company. He is the executive director of the Silicon Valley salon FutureCast, the host of the Techonomy web series "Keen On," a columnist for CNN and has been featured in the national media, including on CNN, NPR and "Colbert Report." He has spoken at LeWeb, DLD, Disrupt, Next Web and TEDx. His books include Digital Vertigo and the Cult of the Amateur, and he lives in San Francisco.






 

 

 

PREMIER EVENT: David McCullough

Tuesday, June 16, 7:30pm

The Wright Brothers

Fox Theatre, 2215 Broadway Street, Redwood City

Tickets are available at Kepler's and online at Fox Theatre Box Office

Join us for a very special evening with two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, David McCullough. He is the author of numerous acclaimed books, including 1776, Brave Companions, The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, and The Greater Journey.

We're so thrilled to celebrate McCullough's new book, The Wright Brothers, in which we'll learn the story-behind-the-story of Wilbur and Orville Wright, the brothers who inspired and taught the world to fly. We know all about their achievements and the history of flight, but who were the Wilbur brothers really?

McCullough, drawing on the immense collection of the Wright Papers - including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence - shows us that Wilbur was unquestionably a genius, and Orville had rare mechanical ingenuity. Both brothers had an average public school education, very little money, and no contacts in high places to help them with their "mission" to take to the air. 

These two unknown men of exceptional courage and determination, of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing - a house full of books if without electricity and indoor plumbing - changed history in 1903 in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

This thrilling book tells the human side of the Wright Brothers' story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might have gone very differently for them.

David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.