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Alex Pickett & Steven Hyden in conversation

August 8 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Free

Fleeing her family, a woman finds unexpected solace in an empty hotel. Following a shattering professional failure, a therapist becomes convinced someone is watching his every move. A coach’s disciplinary tactic doesn’t so much backfire as it implodes his players’ lives. Inhabiting a (mostly) midwestern landscape, Alex Pickett’s characters specialize in breaking rules. Believing themselves to be good people, they try to bend their situations to fit their needs or fulfill their desires. The results are rarely completely disastrous or successful, but are tinged with a humor that rides comfortably alongside embarrassment, regret, and longing—and in the process remind us that it is achingly hard to live up to expectations.

Alex Pickett is a Wisconsin-born writer based in London and author of The Restaurant Inspector. His stories have appeared in numerous publications, including The Southern Review, Subtropics, Passages North, and Green Mountains Review.

On June 4, 1984, Columbia Records issued what would become one of the best-selling and most impactful rock albums of all time. An instant classic, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the U.S.A. would prove itself to be a landmark not only for the man who made it, but rock music in general and even the larger American culture over the next 40 years.

In There Was Nothing You Could Do, veteran rock critic Steven Hyden shows exactly how this record became such a pivotal part of the American tapestry. Alternating between insightful criticism, meticulous journalism, and personal anecdotes, Hyden delves into the songs that made—and didn’t make—the final cut, including the tracks that wound up on its sister album, 1982’s Nebraska. He also investigates the myriad reasons why Springsteen ran from and then embraced the success of his most popular (and most misunderstood) LP, as he carefully toed the line between balancing his commercial ambitions and being co-opted by the machine.

But the book doesn’t stop there. Beyond Springsteen’s own career, Hyden explores the role the album played in a greater historical context, documenting not just where the country was in the tumultuous aftermath of Vietnam and Watergate, but offering a dream of what it might become—and a perceptive forecast of what it turned into decades later. As Springsteen himself reluctantly conceded, many of the working-class middle American progressives Springsteen wrote about in 1984 had turned into resentful and scorned Trump voters by the 2010s. And though it wasn’t the future he dreamed of, the cautionary warnings tucked within Springsteen’s heartfelt lyrics prove that the chaotic turmoil of our current moment has been a long time coming.

How did we lose Springsteen’s heartland? And what can listening to this prescient album teach us about the decline of our country? In There Was Nothing You Could Do, Hyden takes readers on a journey to find out.

Steven Hyden is the author of Long Road, This Isn’t Happening, Twilight of the Gods, Your Favorite Band Is Killing Me, and (with Steve Gorman)Hard to Handle. His writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, Billboard, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Grantland, The A.V. Club, Slate, and Salon. He is currently the cultural critic at UPROXX. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota with his wife and two children.

Details

Date:
August 8
Time:
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Cost:
Free
Event Category:
Event Tags:
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Website:
https://www.magersandquinn.com/event/Alex-Pickett-and-Steven-Hyden-in-conversation/352

Venue

Magers & Quinn Booksellers
3038 Hennepin Ave,
Minneapolis,MN55408United States
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Phone:
6128224611
Website:
magersandquinn.com

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