Denis Leary with Peter Tolan

Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Denis Leary
in conversation with Peter Tolan
discussing his upcoming book,
Why We Don’t Suck: And How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little Bitches

The Bootleg Theatre
2220 Beverly Blvd, 
Los Angeles, CA 90057

$43 General Admission seating + Book* 
$53 Reserved Section seating + Book*
$20 General Admission Seating (on sale Nov 6)

Denis Leary is a five-time loser at the Emmy Awards. And the Golden Globes. He hopes to one day also lose an Oscar, a Grammy, and a Tony. His first literary foray Why We Suck: A Feel Good Guide to Staying Fat, Loud, Lazy and Stupid was a New York Times bestseller but not nominated for the National Book Award. In his long and storied entertainment career, Leary has also never won The Stanley Cup, The Nobel Peace Prize, or an argument with his wife. He looks forward to playing Kellyanne Conway in the President Trump biopic..

Denis Leary refutes the current highly partisan Right Wing Nutjob versus Left Wing Snowflake approach to American politics—where you’re either one or the other, with no gray areas in between. Leading a new protest movement called Gray Lives Matter, he takes equal opportunity aim at the screaming heads we see arguing every night on CNN and Fox — or as he calls them “Clinton News Network” and “Fair and Balanced Republican Report.” With a devoted mission to Make America Laugh Again, Denis tackles the topics we all hold close to our American hearts: Twitter, Instagram, and the seemingly endless search for fame and diet vodka. 
“In a country so gluten-free that a box of jelly donuts is now a bigger threat than Vladimir  Putin—where college kids are more afraid of Ann Coulter than HIV—it’s time for someone to stand up and stop the insanity. Or at least defend the double cheeseburger. With a side order of free porn.”  And Denis feels he is the guy.
He’ll answer such burning questions as: when will Hillary run out of pantsuits? And why wasn’t her campaign motto Hey America—It’s My Turn!? And why does Beyoncé think he’s Bryan Adams? And why doesn’t Denis follow the millennial lead and post pictures of his food on social media? As Denis says in the book “Trump’s election gave me faith that even I could be president. Look at his track record: canceled TV show, thin skin, angry tweets and an attractive wife. According to that formula, I’m one bad combover away from living in The White House.” We’re all in this together and Denis Leary is here to remind us what makes America #7 on the list of Best Countries To Live In—which may sound bad, but means at least we still make the playoffs.

Peter Tolan is a writer, producer, director and sometime actor with a lengthy list of television and film credits. He created, produced and wrote The Job and Rescue Me with longtime partner Denis Leary, and he was recognized with an Emmy nomination for his direction of the Rescue Me pilot. Tolan was also honored by the Producer’s Guild of America when Rescue Me was presented with that organization’s Visionary Award. Additionally, props, costumes and scripts from Rescue Me are now part of the permanent collection of Washington’s Smithsonian Institute.

More recent writing and producing credits include WGN America’s Outsiders, Fox’s Rake starring Greg Kinnear, and TV Land’s The Jim Gaffigan Show, which Mr. Tolan co-created with Mr. Gaffigan. He is currently working on Guess Who Died for NBC, a script he co-wrote with television legend Norman Lear.

He studied theater at UMass Amherst. After failing to graduate, he moved to Minneapolis where he worked as a performer and writer at Dudley Riggs Brave New Workshop, a Twin Cities institution and one of the most esteemed improvisational theaters in the country. He moved to New York City where he wrote and performed Off-Broadway with comedy partner Linda Wallem in their two-person comedy evening Laughing Matters. He also wrote a successful series of one-act comedies during this time; they came to the attention of television producers, and Tolan was off to Los Angeles.

He joined the writing staff of the Carol Burnett series Carol & Company in 1990, then landed writing and producing gigs on three of the most popular and revered comedies of the 1990’s: Home ImprovementMurphy Brown and The Larry Sanders Show. For his work on Murphy Brown, Tolan was nominated twice for Emmy Awards, with one win; for The Larry Sanders Show, he took home one Emmy from his six nominations.

In addition to his impressive television work, Tolan boasts an extensive film resume. He wrote and directed the film Finding Amanda, which starred Matthew Broderick, Brittany Snow and Steve Coogan. He co-wrote and produced the feature film America’s Sweethearts, and wrote the films My Fellow AmericansJust Like Heaven, and Guess Who. He co-wrote the screenplays for Analyze ThisAnalyze That, and Bedazzled, all with comedy legend Harold Ramis. 

Dan Rather w/ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Monday, December 4, 2017
Dan Rather
in conversation with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
discussing his upcoming book,
What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism

The Novo 
L.A. Live
800 W Olympic Blvd 
Los Angeles, CA 90015

$76 Premium Reserved Section Seat**  
$60 Reserved Section Seat*** 
$47 General Admission Seat/Upper Level
* All tickets include a copy of Dan Rather’s book, What Unites Us
** Main floor, rows A-H  *** Main Floor

Dan Rather also appears in our Live Talks at the Fox series at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, CA on Dec. 5.  More info/tickets.

Dan Rather is one of the world’s best-known journalists. He’s interviewed every president since Eisenhower over his six-decade career, and covered almost every important dateline in the United States and around the world. After joining CBS News in 1962, Rather quickly rose through the ranks, and in 1981 he assumed the position of anchor and managing editor of the CBS Evening News—a post he held for twenty-four years. His reporting helped turn 60 Minutes into an institution, launched 48 Hours as an innovative newsmagazine program, and shaped countless specials and documentaries.  His work has earned him Emmy and Peabody Awards. He also won the 2012 Edward R. Murrow Lifetime Achievement Award.

Dan Rather on Journalism and Finding the Truth in the News,
Entrepreneur magazine (June 21, 2017)

At a moment of crisis over our national identity, Dan Rather has been reflecting—and writing passionately almost every day on social media—about the world we live in, what our core ideals have been and should be, and what it means to be an American. Now, in a collection of original essays, the venerated television journalist celebrates our shared values and reminds us about what matters most in our great country. What Unites Us: Reflections on Patriotism is a must-read for everyone engaged in the urgent national conversation right now.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and a Basketball Hall of Fame inductee. Since retiring, he has been an actor, a basketball coach, and the author of several New York Times bestsellers. Abdul-Jabbar is also a columnist for Time magazine, writing on a wide range of subjects including race, politics, age, and pop culture, and his essays and columns have also appeared in the Washington Post, in the Los Angeles Times and on, among other publications. In 2012, he was selected as a U.S. Cultural Ambassador and in 2016 Abdul-Jabbar was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award which recognizes exceptional meritorious service.

Brene Brown

Wednesday, November 1, 2017
An Evening with
Brené Brown
discussing her new book,
Braving the Wilderness:
The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

Barnum Hall
Santa Monica High School
600 Olympic Blvd, 
Santa Monica, CA 90405

$55  Orchestra Level Seat + 1 copy of Braving the Wilderness
$40  Balcony Seat + 1 copy of Braving the Wilderness

Social scientist and three-time #1 New York Times bestseller Brené Brown has sparked a global conversation about the experiences that bring meaning to our lives – courage, vulnerability, love, belonging, shame, and empathy.

Dr. Brené Brown has spent the past sixteen years studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers – The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, and Rising Strong. Brené’s TED talk – The Power of Vulnerability – is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 30 million views.  She is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation-Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work.  In addition to her research and writing, Brené is the Founder and CEO of BRAVE LEADERS INC – an organization that brings evidence-based courage building programs to teams, leaders, entrepreneurs, change makers, and culture shifters.  Brené lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve, and their children, Ellen and Charlie.

In her new book, Braving the Wilderness, Brown redefines our understanding of what it means to truly belong in an age of increased polarization. With her trademark mix of research, storytelling, and honesty, Brown will again change the cultural conversation while mapping out a clear path to true belonging. 

She writes, “True belonging requires us to believe in and belong to ourselves so fully that we can find sacredness in both being a part of something, and standing alone when necessary. But in a culture that’s rife with perfectionism and pleasing, and with the erosion of civility, it’s easy to stay quiet, hide in our ideological bunkers, or fit in rather than show up as our true selves and brave the wilderness of uncertainty and criticism. But true belonging is not something we negotiate or accomplish with others; it’s a daily practice that demands integrity and authenticity. It’s a personal commitment that we carry in our hearts.”

In her new book, Brown offers us the clarity and courage we need to find our way back to ourselves and to each other. And that path cuts right through the wilderness.  


Photo Credit: Benedict Evans

Walter Isaacson with Michael Lewis

Monday, October 23, 2017
8pm (Reception: 6:30-7:30pm)
Walter Isaacson
in conversation with Michael Lewis
discussing his upcoming biography,
Leonardo da Vinci

Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404

$50  General Admission Seat + book
$60  Reserved Section Seat +book
$95  Reception (6:30-7:30pm) + Reserved Section Seat + Book

Walter Isaacson, professor of history at Tulane, has been CEO of the Aspen Institute, chairman of CNN, and editor of Time magazine. He is the author of The Innovators; Steve Jobs; Einstein: His Life and Universe; Benjamin Franklin: An American Life; and Kissinger: A Biography, and the coauthor of The Wise Men:Six Friends and the World They Made.

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo da Vinci’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects the art produced by history’s most creative genius to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s work was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

“When you write biographies, whether it’s about Ben Franklin or Einstein, you discover something amazing: They are human.”
— Walter Isaacson on Book TV (Feb. 1, 2015)
— Walter Isaacson on Michael Lewis in the New York Times (Dec. 29, 2016)

Leonardo produced the two most famous paintings in history, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. But in his own mind, he was just as much a man of science and technology. With a passion that sometimes became obsessive, he pursued innovative studies of anatomy, fossils, birds, the heart, flying machines, botany, geology, and weaponry.  With characteristic mastery, Isaacson explains how Leonardo’s life should remind us of the importance of imagination, questioning what we learn, and, like talented misfits and rebels in any era, to think different.

We welcome Michael Lewis back to our stage.  His bestsellers include The Undoing ProjectFlash Boys, The Big Short, The Blind Side, Liar’s PokerMoneyball,  Boomerang, The New New Thing and Panic, among others.  Michael Lewis previously appeared with Malcolm Gladwell at Live Talks Los Angeles discussing his book, Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt. Watch the video. We also hosted him for his most recent book, The Undoing Project where he was interviewed by Mindy Kaling.



Alice Hoffman with Janelle Brown

Wednesday, October 18, 2017
8pm (Reception 6:30-7:30pm)
An Evening with Alice Hoffman
in conversation with Janelle Brown
discussing her upcoming novel,
The Rules of Magic

Ann and Jerry Moss Theatre
New Roads School
Herb Alpert Educational Village
3131 Olympic Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404

$45 General Admission seat + a copy of The Rules of Magic
$55 Reserved Section Seat + a copy of The Rules of Magic
$70 Two Reserved Sections Seats + 1 copy of The Rules of Magic
$95 Reception (6;30-7:30pm), Reserved Seat + Book
$20 General Admission Seat (on sale Sep 18)

Alice Hoffman
is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. Visit her website.

“I always felt and still feel that fairy tales have an emotional truth that is so deep that there are few things that really rival them.”

“Even in times when it’s difficult to figure out, how do you go forward, art – and books – always help.”

The Rules of Magic is Hoffman’s spellbinding prequel to Practical MagicFor the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man. Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble he day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children.  But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

Janelle Brown is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Watch Me Disappear, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything, and This Is Where We Live. Her journalism and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Vogue, Elle, Self, Lenny, The Los Angeles Times, and numerous other publications. Previously, she worked as a senior writer at Salon, and began her career as a staff writer at Wired. She lives in Los Angeles.   


Ed Asner and Ed. Weinberger

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
8pm (6:30-7:30pm Reception)
An Evening with
Ed Asner and Ed. Weinberger
in conversation with Terrence McNally
discussing their upcoming book,
The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs

All Saints Church 
132 North Euclid Avenue
Pasadena, CA 91101 

$43 Reserved Section Seat + Book  
$30 Reserved Section Seat
$20 General Admission (on sale Sep 1)
$95 Reception* + Reserved Section Seat + Book
* Reception is at All Saints, 6:30-7:30pm

Television legend Ed Asner is well-known for his role on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and subsequent spin-off, Lou Grant. He is the winner of seven acting Emmy Awards, and has been nominated a total of twenty times. Asner has also made a name for himself as a trade unionist and a political activist. During his two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild, he was an outspoken critic of President Ronald Reagan, for his Central American policy.

Ed. Weinberger has written for Bob Hope, Richard Pryor, and Johnny Carson (for five years on The Tonight Show). He wrote for and produced The Mary Tyler Moore Show, co-created Taxi, Dear John, and The Cosby Show. He has won three Golden Globe Awards, a Peabody, and nine Emmys. In 2000, he received The Writer’s Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award.

A self-proclaimed “dauntless Democrat” from the old days, Ed Asner figures that if the right-wing is wrong about voter fraud, Obama’s death panels, and climate change, they are probably just as wrong when they interpret the Constitution and use it to defend their actions.

“Look around you at the chaos of our daily lives. I thought we should get a clear shot at what founded us. Maybe if we’re truly aware of the mixed bag that founded us, then we wouldn’t be too surprised at finding ourselves in the bed we’re in.”

Watch: 2016 Free and Equal Elections presidential debate moderated by Ed Asner

In The Grouchy Historian: An Old-Time Lefty Defends Our Constitution Against Right-Wing Hypocrites and Nutjobs, Asner leads the charge for liberals to reclaim the Constitution from the right-wingers who use it as their justification for doing whatever terrible thing they want to do, which is usually to comfort the comfortable and afflict the afflicted. It’s about time someone gave them hell and explained that progressives can read, too.

Terrence McNally, a strategic communications consultant who helps organizations tell better stories, hosts a weekly interview show on the Progressive Voices Network on TuneIn and a monthly podcast with Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. All podcasts can be found here.  For 17 years he hosted an interview show, Free Forum, on KPFK.