FROM THE GROUND UP

THE BUSINESS OF BUILDING IN THE AGE OF MONEY

Lively exposÇ of the construction of Rincon Center, a mixed- use complex (apartments, offices, shops, restaurants) in San Francisco. In 1984, the city made available a single square block for building, which Ron Verrue, a developer, thought might be the last chance in some years to erect a large tower in the city. He formed a partnership with a large contracting company and a structural engineer and submitted the winning bid for the site. Los Angeles Times correspondent Frantz (Selling Out, 1989, etc.) writes vividly of the multilayered, byzantine financing assembled by the developer, the bottom line of which is never to risk your own money. The most important instrument of the initial financing was raising cash by selling—to investors looking for tax write- offs—huge paper-losses on the early years of the construction loan. The greater part of Frantz's lively account concerns Scott Johnson—Harvard whiz-kid and protÇgÇ of architect Philip Johnson (no relation)—who became the chief architect of the project. Johnson considered himself primarily a visual artist, an ``aesthete'' in his words, although he also said that ``Architecture today must be responsive...to the community, to the clients.'' When Allan Temko, Pulitzer-winning architecture critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, called Johnson's twin towers design ``purloined'' from Philip Johnson and Cesar Pelli, Johnson turned all his interest to the atrium—where he could show off his stuff—and spent a year squabbling with the city over the color of its glass and searching for an artist who could design a dramatic ``water event'' (fountain). Johnson was unable to make the building livable from the walls in; another architect had to be hired to follow him around cleaning up the messes. After Johnson left the project, several million dollars were spent redesigning and rebuilding the apartments. There is so much money in big construction that the project survived the Tax Reform Act of 1986—which cut out its main financial base, a $25 million cost overrun—and still turned a profit. An absorbing and lucid account of this business. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 1991

ISBN: 0-8050-0996-5

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

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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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