Details for our upcoming events are below. You can find a line listing of other confirmed author appearances at the bottom of the page.
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Boswell and Wisconsin Public Radio present PEN/Hemingway Award winning author Ottessa Moshfegh in conversation with WPR’s Doug Gordon. Moshfegh’s new novel, My Year of Rest and Relaxation, is the shocking, tender story of a woman’s efforts to sustain a state of deep hibernation over the course of a year on Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
Our narrator should be happy. Young, thin, and pretty, she’s a Columbia grad with a hip, easy job and an apartment paid for, like the rest of her needs, by her inheritance. But there’s a dark and vacuous hole in her heart, and it isn’t just the loss of her parents, or the way her Wall Street boyfriend treats her, or her sadomasochistic relationship with her best friend, Reva. It’s the year 2000 in a city aglitter with wealth and possibility; what could be so terribly wrong?
Moshfegh’s bold novel is a powerful answer to that question. Dwight Garner, for The New York Times, writes, “Sampling her sentences is like touching a mildly electrified fence. It’s like watching someone grin with a mouthful of blood.” Blackly funny, merciless, yet compassionate, Moshfegh is one of our major writers working at the height of her powers to show us how reasonable, even necessary, alienation can be. Boswell’s Chris Lee is also a fan, and says the novel is “Amazing. Moshfegh's voice is all her own, raw, flip, tender, cruel, and just barely a little, tiny bit hopeful all at once.”
Ottessa Moshfegh is a fiction writer from New England. Eileen, her first novel, was shortlisted for the NBCC Award and the Man Booker Prize, and won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction. She is also the author of Homesick for Another World and McGlue, a novella. Her stories have been published in The Paris Review, The New Yorker, Granta, and have earned her a Pushcart Prize, an O. Henry Award, the Plimpton Discovery Prize, and an NEA grant.
Thomas Frank, the acclaimed political analyist, historian, journalist, and author of Listen, Liberal! and What’s the Matter with Kansas? offers this scathing collection of commentary on our cruel times. Cohosted by Shorewood Public Library and Boswell Book Company, who will be on hand to sell copies of Frank’s books.
What does a middle-class democracy look like when it comes apart? After forty years of economic triumph, are America’s winners convinced they owe nothing to the rest of the country? With his sharp eye for detail, Frank takes us on a wide-ranging tour through America, showing us a society in the late stages of disintegration and describing the worlds of both the winners and the losers, sprawling mansion districts juxtaposed against fast-food lives.
Inequality has manifested itself in our cities, jobs, travel, and politics, where in 2016, millions of ordinary people rallied to the presidential campaign of a billionaire who meant them no good. These accounts of folly and exploitation are unified by Frank’s distinctive voice, sardonic wit, and anti-orthodox perspective. They capture a society where every status signifier is hollow, the allure of mobility is a con game, and rebellion often yields nothing.
Thomas Frank is a former columnist for The Wall Street Journal and Harper's, the founding editor of The Baffler, and the author of Pity the Billionaire and The Wrecking Crew. He writes regularly for The Guardian.
Richard Ratay road trips to Boswell from his home in Menomonee Falls to reminisce about the golden age of family road trips, a halcyon era that culminated in the latter part of the twentieth century, before portable DVD players, iPods, and Google Maps.
Part pop history and part whimsical memoir in the spirit of National Lampoon's Vacation, Don’t Make Me Pull Over! is a rousing ride-along through the days when families didn’t so much take vacations as survive them. Between home and destination lay thousands of miles and dozens of annoyances, and Ratay experienced them all, from noogie-happy older brothers and disappointing souvenir situations to dealing with a dad who didn’t believe in bathroom breaks.
With the birth of America's first interstate highways in the 1950s, families began streaming (sans seatbelts!) to a range of sometimes stirring, sometimes wacky locations. Ratay reminds us of what once made the Great American Family Road Trip so great, including twenty-foot “land yachts,” oasis-like Holiday Inn “Holidomes,” “Smokey"-spotting Fuzzbusters, 28 glorious flavors of Howard Johnson’s ice cream, and the thrill of finding a “good buddy” on the CB radio.
Now, decades later, Ratay offers a paean to what was lost, showing how family togetherness was sacrificed to electronic distractions and the urge to "get there now." Don’t Make Me Pull Over! reveals how the family road trip came to be, how its evolution mirrored the country’s, and why those magical journeys that once brought families together have largely disappeared.
Richard Ratay was the last of four kids raised by two mostly attentive parents in Elm Grove, Wisconsin. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in journalism and has worked as an award-winning advertising copywriter for twenty-five years. Ratay lives in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, with his wife, sons, and two excitable rescue dogs.
Join us for an evening with bestselling author Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage and Silver Sparrow. Her latest novel, an Oprah Book Club selection, was proclaimed "brilliant and heartbreaking" by USA Today and "haunting" and "beautifully written" by The New York Times Book Review. As Mike Fischer noted in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: “Jones’ characters here try and fail to outrun the limitations of their own history – itself forever entangled in the fractured history of Black America.”
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward, with hope and pain, into the future.
This event is free. Please register at tayarimke.bpt.me. Attendees who register will get early entry if we reach or come close to capacity, priority on the signing line, and a 20% discount on An American Marriage on the night of the event.
Anna-Lisa Cox appears at Boswell with her breakout history of the long-hidden stories of America's black pioneers, the frontier they settled, and their fight for the heart of the nation. This groundbreaking work reveals America's Northwest Territory - the wild region that would become present-day Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin.
When black settlers Keziah and Charles Grier started clearing their frontier land in 1818, they were just looking to build a better life, but soon the Griers became early Underground Railroad conductors, joining fellow pioneers to confront the growing tyranny of bondage and injustice. Cox tells the stories of the Griers and others like them: the lost history of the nation's first Great Migration.
Black pioneers made a stand for equality and freedom, and their success made them the targets of racist backlash. Political and armed battles ensued, tearing apart families and communities long before the Civil War. These settlers were inspired by the belief that all men are created equal and a brighter future was possible.
Anna-Lisa Cox is an award-winning historian and author of A Stronger Kinship: One Town's Extraordinary Story of Hope and Faith. Currently a fellow at Harvard University's Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, she helped create two exhibits based on original research at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, including one on black pioneers.
Wisconsin native Dan Kaufman chronicles one of the most dramatic political upheavals in the country. The Fall of Wisconsin is a searing account of how the state’s progressive tradition was undone and turned into a model for national conservatives.
For more than a century, Wisconsin has been known for its progressive ideas and government. It famously served as a "laboratory of democracy," a cradle of the labor and environmental movements, and birthplace of the Wisconsin Idea, championing expertise in service of the common good. But following a Republican sweep of the state’s government in 2010, the state went red for the first time in three decades in the 2016 presidential election.
Laws protecting voting rights, labor unions, the environment, and public education have been rapidly dismantled. The Fall of Wisconsin is a deeply reported, neither sentimental nor despairing, account of the remarkable efforts of citizens fighting to reclaim Wisconsin’s progressive legacy against tremendous odds.
Originally from Wisconsin, Dan Kaufman has written for The New York Times and The New Yorker. Can't make our event? Dan Kaufman will be at Oconomowoc's Books & Company on Wednesday, July 25, 2 pm.
Milwaukee parents Eric and Stephani Lohman appear at Boswell to share the powerful story of raising Rosie, their intersex child, and how they have navigated medical pressures and cultural ideas of gender. When their daughter Rosie was born, Eric and Stephani Lohman found themselves thrust into a situation for which they were not prepared. Rosie was born intersex - born with a variety of physical characteristics that do not fit neatly into traditional conceptions of male and female bodies. Immediately, the Lohmans were pressured to consent to normalizing surgery for Rosie, despite their concerns, and without being offered any alternatives.
Part memoir and part guidebook, Raising Rosie tells the Lohmans’ experience of refusing to have their child’s gender reassigned at birth, how they spoke about the condition to friends and family, teachers and caregivers, and how they plan to explain it to Rosie as she grows. This uplifting and empowering story is a must-read for all parents of intersex children.
Rosie’s story is featured in the National Geographic documentary Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric. Discussing the challenges the Lohmans have faced, Couric told Teen Vogue, “You have to be your own best advocate so that you can educate yourself about this issue. You don't have to be cowed into making a decision by a member of the medical community who may think you have to do things a certain way."
Eric Lohman, PhD. in Media Studies, is lecturer and researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, focusing on gender, race, and class in the mass media. Stephani Lohman, BS, BScN, works in health care and science as an infection prevention nurse and has degrees in chemistry, biology, and nursing.
Director of the Milwaukee Public Schools Foundation Ann McClain Terrell shares the story of her professional journey and the lessons she’s learned as an award-winning, nationally renowned early childhood educator.
Told in a narrative, inspirational, and practical way, this book shares the values that the author has held onto in order to be successful. It shares how one woman maintained her grace and quiet dignity while on her leadership journey and overcame the challenges and hurdles that she faced. This is not a theoretical book but rather, one that shows how theory and personal experience can be used and put into action.
Graceful Leadership in Early Childhood Education is a book to turn to when there is a challenge that needs tackling, when you need a boost of inspiration, or when you just want to reflect on your own journey.
Ann McClain Terrell was formerly Director of Innovation and Director of Early Childhood Education for Milwaukee Public Schools. She holds an MS in Educational Leadership from Cardinal Stritch and an MS in Cultural Foundations of Education from UWM. Ann received the Black Women's Network Legacy of Leadership in Education Award 2008, the National Black Child Development Institute-Milwaukee Affiliate Early Childhood Recognition Award 2007, and the Community Brainstorming Conference Children's Advocacy Award 2004. She was selected as a 2000 Children's Defense Fund Early Childhood Leadership Fellow, was recently nominated for the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators Bert Grover Advocacy Award, and in 2016 was named as one of the most influential African Americans in Wisconsin by Madison365.
Journalist, cultural critic, and Jackson Park, Milwaukee native Kelli María Korducki breaks the news about breaking up in her history of the surprising politics of romantic love and its dissolution, from Jane Austen to Taylor Swift.
Whatever the underlying motives, be they love, financial security, or mere masochism, the fact is that getting involved in a romantic partnership is emotionally, morally, and even politically fraught. In Hard To Do, Kelli María Korducki turns a Marxist lens on the relatively short history of romantic love, tracing how the myth of economic equality between men and women has transformed the ways women conceive of domestic partnership.
With perceptive insights on the ways marriage and divorce are legislated, the rituals of twentieth-century courtship, and contemporary practices for calling it off, Korducki reveals that, for all women, choosing to end a relationship is a radical action with very limited cultural precedent.
Kelli María Korducki, an alum of Pius XI High School, is Senior Editor of News at Brit + Co, and has written for the Globe and Mail, NPR, and Vice. In 2015 she was nominated for a National Magazine Award for ‘Tiny Triumphs,’ a 10,000-word meditation on the humble hot dog for Little Brother Magazine. She is also a former Editor-in-Chief of the popular daily news blog, Torontoist.
Milwaukee writer Carla Anne Ernst shares the intimate, true story of her journey from male to female and offers her take on what it's like to "transition" in the context of societal expectations, while candidly revealing the mental, emotional, and physical impact of gender change on a human being.
Ernst’s memoir is a thought-provoking view on being transgender and the challenges of pretending to be someone society says you are until becoming the person you know you are. In response to the countless questions Ms. Ernst, like most trans people, receives about being transgender, the book is written in an engaging FAQ style.
Ms. Ernst has found her own sense of joy, peace, and happiness, and her wish is to help others better understand and cope with the confusion, pain, and fear inherent in the transgender experience. Whether you are on that journey yourself or are a loved one of a transgender person, Life Without Pockets is a powerful narrative that will transform the way you think and feel.
Carla Anne Ernst is a writer, hiker, swimmer, sailboat racer, dog lover, performing musician, composer, and communications professional, employee engagement advocate, and founder of CarlaAnne Communications.
Brookfield writer, parent, and Marquette graduate Stef Wade visits Boswell for the debut of her first picture book, A Place for Pluto, a fresh approach to a common science theme that mixes astronomy with themes of acceptance and self-awareness.
Pluto got the shock of his life when he was kicked out of the famous nine. His planet status was stripped away, leaving him lost and confused. Poor Pluto! On his quest to find a place where he belongs, he talks to comets, asteroids, and meteoroids. He doesn't fit it anywhere! When Pluto is about to give up, he runs into a dwarf planet and finally finds his place in the solar system.
This feel-good picture book combines a popular science topic with character education themes of self-discovery, acceptance, and friendship, and has bonus material that supports and connects the narrative matter to science curriculum. Kirkus Reviews insists you “make space for this clever blend of science and self-realization.”
Stef Wade holds a BA in advertising from Marquette University and an MBA in Integrated Marketing Communication from DePaul University. She was co-creator of the home and cooking blog Haute Apple Pie. Stef is a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Longtime friends Piazza and MacNicol are heading out together to hit the open road for an old fashioned book tour road trip, and they’ll be stopping at Boswell along the way for a conversation about their latest books, a novel and memoir that are each, in their own ways, about modern womanhood.
Charlotte Walsh Likes to Win is a novel about what happens when a woman wants it all - political power, a happy marriage, and personal happiness - but isn’t sure how much she’s willing to sacrifice to get it. It’s a suspenseful story of ambition, class, marriage, sexual politics, and infidelity, and a portrait of what it takes for a woman to run for national office in America.
No One Tells You This starts with the question that plagued MacNicol on the eve her 40th birthday: if the story doesn’t end with marriage or a child, what then? Over the course of her fortieth year, chronicled in this memoir, Glynnis embarks on a revealing journey of self-discovery that continually contradicts everything she’d been led to expect, and she discovers that the power to determine her own fate requires a resilience and courage that no one talks about, and is more rewarding than anyone imagines.
Jo Piazza, an honorary Milwaukeean by marriage, is an award-winning journalist and editor who has written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and Salon, and has appeared on CNN, NPR, and BBC. She is the author of The Knock Off, Fitness Junkie, and How to be Married. Glynnis MacNicol is a cofounder of The Li.st. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Daily Beast. Her series on Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood won a 2015 Contently Award. She is coauthor of There Will Be Blood, a guide to puberty, with HelloFlo founder Naama Bloom.
Milwaukee Reads and Boswell welcome Jenna Blum as a part of the Lynden Sculpture Garden Women’s Speaker Series. Tickets are $32, $27 for Lynden members, and include admission to the event, autographed copy of The Lost Family, and light refreshments from MKE Localicious.
Tickets available for this event online, at lyndensculpturegarden.org/JennaBlum.
Manhattan, 1965. Patrons flock to Masha’s to savor its Brisket Bourguignon and admire its dashing owner. With movie-star good looks and a tragic past, Peter is the most eligible bachelor in town. But Peter does not care for the women hoping to catch his eye. Running Masha’s consumes him, as does his terrible guilt over surviving the horrors of a Nazi death camp while his wife, the restaurant’s namesake, and his two young daughters perished.
Then June Bouquet, an up-and-coming model, appears, piercing Peter’s guard. Over the next two decades, the indelible sadness of those memories will overshadow Peter, June, and their daughter, transforming them in shocking, heartbreaking, and unexpected ways. Spanning three cinematic decades, from the explosive 1960s to the glittering 1980s, Blum artfully brings to the page a husband devastated by grief, a wife struggling to compete with a ghost she cannot banish, and a daughter sensitive to the pain of both her own family and another lost before she was born.
Blum’s novel, which People calls “an exquisite page-turner,” is positioned to be a perfect book club read, and has earned starred reviews from Library Journal, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly.
Jenna Blum is the international bestselling author of novels Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers. She has taught novel workshops for 20 years at Grub Street Writers in Boston, where she earned her M.A. at Boston University. In addition to interviewing Holocaust survivors for the Shoah Foundation, Jenna is a public speaker and avid cook: she creates and tests all the recipes in her novels.
Michael Zadoorian, author of the novel that became this year’s film from Sony Pictures Classics, The Leisure Seekers joins Peter Coviello, whose previous work tackled Steely Dan, Prince, and the history of sexuality, for an evening of music-inspired fiction and memoir.
Zadoorian’s novel Beautiful Music is a funny, poignant, novel about love, fear, death, race, music, and the intense passions of youth. In 1970s Detroit, Danny Yzemski listens to CKLW on his radio. Dad loves music too - the beautiful instrumentals we now call elevator music. Mom drinks and rants. Danny dodges the bullies at school and work, and things get worse before they get better, with the family disintegrating and racial tensions ratcheting up.
Coviello’s memoir Long Players considers grief and the things that keep us alive, namely sex, talk, and dancing. It’s about the different ways we have of falling in love: with bands and songs and books, but also with our friends, lovers, the families we imagine, and the families we make. It’s a story of heartbreak, (ex)stepparenthood, and the limitless grace of pop songs for anyone who has loved a record like their life depended on it.
Publishers Weekly praised both books, calling Beautiful Music a “raucous bildungsroman… full of energy, pain, growth, and great music,” and saying Long Players is “memorably passionate… a sprawling and tempestuous affair.”
Michael Zadoorian the author of The Leisure Seekers, Second Hand: A Novel, and The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit. Zadoorian is a recipient of a Kresge Artist Fellowship, the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, and the Michigan Notable Book Award. His fiction has appeared in the Literary Review, American Short Fiction, and North American Review. Peter Coviello, a professor of English at University of Illinois at Chicago, has written about Walt Whitman, Mormon polygamy, and Prince, and his work has appeared in The Believer, Raritan, and Los Angeles Review of Books, as well as in several books. He was also a 2017-18 fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
More Upcoming Events
- Thursday, August 16, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Still Waters Collective presents Nikki Jansen, Lisa Williams, Isaiah Furquan, Rap Kamasutra, and Lybra Olbrantz, contributors to Runs Deep
- Friday, August 17, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Former Milwaukeean Erin Buhr, author of Little Walks, Big Adventures: 50+ Ideas for Exploring with Toddlers
- Tuesday, August 21, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Ronald Berger, author of Children, Save Yourselves! One Family’s Story of Holocaust Survival , cosponsored by The Nathan and Esther Pelz Holocaust Education Resource Center
- Thursday, August 23, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Conrad Bishop and Elizabeth Fuller, authors of Galahad’s Fool
- Tuesday, August 28, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Rebecca Makkai, author of The Great Believers, in conversation with Mitch Teich of Milwaukee Public Radio’s Lake Effect
- Wednesday, September 5, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Gothic Milwaukee’s Anna Lardinois, author of Milwaukee Ghosts and Legends
- Thursday, September 6, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Lil Rev, in conjunction with his new album Lil Rev Mountain Dulcimer
- Friday, September 7, 7:00 pm, at Charles Allis Art Museum, 1801 N Prospect Ave in Milwaukee – Mike Lankford, author of Becoming Leonardo: An Exploded View of the Life of Leonardo da Vinci, a Wall Street Journal best book of 2017
- Wednesday, September 12, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – UWM Assistant Professor of Film Studies Jocelyn J Szczepaniak-Gillece, author of The Optical Vacuum: Spectatorship and Modernized American Theater Architecture
- Thursday, September 13, 6:30 pm, at University School of Milwaukee, Mellowes Hall, 2100 W Fairy Chasm Rd – The Global Scholars Program presents David Patrikarakos , author of War in 140 Characters: How Social Media Is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century. Registration requested – link to come.
- Saturday, September 15, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – David Pederson, author of Death Checks In and Death Comes Darkly
- Monday, September 17, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – The Rose Petranech Lecture, feauring Ben Austen, author of High-Risers: Cabrini-Green and the Fate of American Public Housing, cosponsored by Milwaukee Habitat for Humanity
- Tuesday, September 18, 6:30 pm, at Greenfield Public Library, 5310 W Layton Ave – Dylan Thuras, co-author of Atlas Obscura and The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid, a family-friendly event with activities, trivia and more. Registration to come.
- Thursday, September 20, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – UWM Associate Professor of Art and Design Nathaniel Stern, author of Ecological Aesthetics: Artful Tactics for Humans, Nature, and Politics
- Friday, Sepember 21, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – DeWitt Clinton, author of the new memoir At the End of the War, a new collection of poetry
- Saturday, September 22, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Jessica Hopper, author of the new memoir Night Moves and The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic
- Monday, September 24, 7:00 pm reception, 7:30 talk, at the Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W Brown Deer Road – Kelly O’Connor McNees, author of Undiscovered Country: A Novel Inspired by the Lives of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok . Tickets are $30, $25 for Lynden members - more info at lyndensculpturegarden.org/kellymcnees
- Monday, September 24, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Robert Shellow, editor of The Harvest of American Racism: The Political Meaning of Violence in the Summer of 1967
- Wednesday, September 26, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Former President of the Midwest Chapter of Mystery Writers of America Lori Rader-Day, author of Under a Dark Sky, in conversation with author, book critic, and Alverno Professor Carole E. Barrowman
- Thursday, September 27, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Professor of History at University Colorado Boulder Scott G. Bruce, editor of The Penguin Book of Hell and The Penguin Book of the Undead
- Saturday, September 29, 3:00 pm, at Boswell – Edgar Award Winner William Kent Krueger, author of Desolation Mountain, the newest Cork O’Connor mystery
- Monday, October 1, 6:00 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library’s Loos Room at Centennial Hall, 733 N Eighth St – John Gurda, author of Milwaukee: A City Built on Water
- Thursday, October 4, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Associate Professor of Law at Yale Law School and Associate Professor of Sociology at Yale Issa Kohler-Hausmann, author of Misdemeanorland: Criminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing
- Sunday, October 14, 2:00 pm, at Milwaukee Public Library’s Loos Room at Centennial Hall, 733 N Eighth St – A tea party with Megan McDonald , author of Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party. Registration link to come.
- Sunday, October 21, 3:00 pm, at Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield – a ticketed event with Jodi Picoult, author of A Spark of Light, presented by Oconomowoc’s Books & Company, Boswell, and the Wilson Center. Tickets are $34, available at picoultwi.bpt.me, and include a signed copy of A Spark of Light.
- Tuesday, October 23, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Madison writer Meghan O’Gieblyn, editor of Interior States: Essays, a collection of writings about faith, Christianity, and ambivalence
- Saturday, November 17, 3:00 pm, at Boswell – Edgar Award finalist and Barry Award winner Allen Eskens, editor of The Shadows We Hide, the sequel to The Life We Bury
- Friday, November 30, 7:00 pm, at Boswell – Winner of the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize and the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award John Koethe, author of Walking Backwards: Poems 1966-2016
Please remember that while we try to update this page as frequently as possible, all events are subject to change. If you have any concerns, please contact Boswell. Also note that ticketed events do sell out, and all events are subject to capacity. It never hurts to come early.