IN THE SHADOW OF THE AMERICAN DREAM

THE DIARIES OF DAVID WOJNAROWICZ

A harrowing journal of lust, creativity, and privation by the painter, photographer, and performance artist who died in 1992 at the age of 37. Wojnarowicz lived by night. From the time he first arrived in New York’shipped by a father who no longer wanted to care for him to a mother who didn’t know him—he took refuge in the night. By the age of 12, he’d discovered that his body could be traded for cash and so joined the rank and file of suicidally depressed teenage hustlers in Times Square—living on the street, taking drugs, and ricocheting from one john to the next. And yet, in spite of it all, Wojnarowicz had something that his peers did not: a will of tempered steel and a vision of himself as an artist. The wonder of these journals—the wonder, perhaps, of Wojnarowicz’s life—is that he wrote and drew his way out of despair. Once he began keeping a journal, he never stopped; by the time he died of AIDS, he had filled some 30 books. Scholder, founding editor of Artspace Books and of High Risk Books/Serpent’s Tail, has edited these so as to maximize the sense of Wojnarowicz’s forward momentum, but the transitions are still rough. Fortunately, the artist’s own sensibility makes even the most harrowing passages interesting, but the journals suffer for a lack of detailed information about the development of Wojnarowicz’s professional, artistic life. To some extent, however, the hard-hewn quality of his prose reflects his lived reality. For even before he knew he was HIV-positive, his life had a driven desperation: —If I turned from twenty-three to eighty in the simple sway from window to bed,” he wrote, “what lives would remain in my heart, what answers to the questions of solitude and movement?” In its rough, raw vitality, his diary still gives testament to the lives that remained in his heart and the inspiration he quite literally drew from them.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-8021-1632-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 1998

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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