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An Evening with Oliver Sacks In Conversation with David Milch

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Live Talks Los Angeles presents An Evening with Oliver Sacks In Conversation with David Milch on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.  Dr. Sacks, neurologist and best-selling author, will discuss his provocative new book, Hallucinations (to be released November 6, 2012), which takes the reader into the eerie, psychedelic, and ultimately very real world of hallucinations.  Milch is an Emmy Award-winning writer and producer, best known for his work on Hill Street Blues, NYPD Blue and Deadwood. The talk is part of Live Talks Los Angeles’ art and culture evening series of talks with speakers from the worlds of art and entertainment.  The event is at 8:00pm, with a reception from 6:30pm to 7:30pm.  Tickets are $20, $40 with Dr. Sacks’ book, and $95, which includes the book and pre-event reception.  The event will take place at the Aero Theatre (1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90403).  For more information please visit www.livetalksla.org.

In his latest book, Dr. Oliver Sacks (Awakenings, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Musicophilia, The Mind’s Eye) presents a provocative investigation into hallucinations – their many guises, their physiological sources, and their personal and cultural resonances.  At his Live Talks Los Angeles engagement, Dr. Sacks will address what hallucinations say about the organization and structure of our brains, how they have influenced every culture’s folklore and art, and why the potential for hallucination is present in all of us.  Hallucinations is a fascinating trip through the mechanics and blips of our brains, told with clarity, humor, empathy and knowledge by Dr. Sacks.

Hallucinations –
Hallucinations, for most people, imply madness.  But there are many different types of non-psychotic hallucinations caused by illness or injury, by intoxication – even by falling asleep.  From the elementary geometrical shapes that we see when we rub our eyes to the complex swirls, blind spots and zigzags of a visual migraine, hallucinations take many forms.  In his new book, Hallucinations, Dr. Sacks draws on a wealth of clinical examples from his own patients, as well as historical and literary descriptions, as he investigates the fundamental differences and similarities of the various types of hallucinations. 

The title of Dr. Sacks’ newest work suggests drugs and the book goes there.  He shares his own experiences, while living in San Francisco in the ‘60s, when he was a leather-wearing, motorcycle-riding, young scientist on his way to the lab – experimenting as only a scientist would, taking notes and marking the details of his own hallucinations.  The episode is revealing, as Dr. Sacks illuminates about drug use and the brain’s complexity.

Oliver Sacks, M.D. –
Oliver Sacks, M.D., is a physician, a best-selling author, and a professor of neurology at the NYU School of Medicine.  He is best known for his collections of neurological case histories, including The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat (1985), Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain (2007), and The Mind’s Eye (2010).  Awakenings (1973), his book about a group of patients who had survived the great encephalitis lethargica epidemic of the early twentieth century, inspired the 1990 Academy Award-nominated feature film starring Robert De Niro and Robin Williams. 

Dr. Sacks’ work has inspired documentaries on NOVA, BBC, and PBS, as well as numerous international stage adaptations.  A YouTube video featuring Dr. Sacks and a nursing home patient, who lights up when hearing music, became a phenomenon last year with over 6 million views to date.  A TED Talk he gave on the subject of hallucinations continues to trend with over 1.4 million hits.  Bjork’s latest album, Biophilia, is partially inspired by Dr. Sacks’ Musicophilia.  He is a frequent contributor to the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, as well as the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  At 79, he is a living legend that the New York Times honored as “the poet laureate of medicine.”  http://www.oliversacks.com

David Milch –
David Milch is an Emmy-Award-winning writer and producer responsible for some of the most celebrated television dramas of the last three decades.  Milch, who won the Tinker Prize for highest achievement in English at Yale University and earned an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop at The University of Iowa, left a teaching career at Yale to write for Hill Street Blues.  He subsequently served as Executive Story Editor and then Executive Producer for Hill Street Blues.  In 1992, Milch co-created the history-making police drama NYPD Blue.  Milch took home Emmys for “Best Writing in a Drama” for the 1996-1997 and 1997-1998 seasons.  Milch created another police drama, Brooklyn South, and co-authored, along with NYPD Blue producer Bill Clark, True Blue: The Real Stories Behind NYPD Blue, and served as creative consultant for Steven Bochco’s Murder One and Total Security.  Milch also created and was the Executive Producer of Deadwood and Luck for HBO.  He is currently developing a legal drama for NBC with Steven Bochco, and the feature film Heavy Rain for Warner Bros.

Photo Credit: Elena Seibert

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