An intriguing and candid memoir that should appeal to readers interested in ’60s movements.

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AN OUTLAW MAKES IT HOME

THE AWAKENING OF A SPIRITUAL REVOLUTIONARY

A spiritual instructor and author chronicles his journey from student and community organizer to lawbreaker and organic farmer in this autobiography.

Born Elliot Zeldow, Jaxon-Bear (Wake Up and Roar, 2017, etc.) grew up in Brooklyn and Queens, alternating between urban, mixed-ethnic schools and more exclusive ones with upwardly mobile Jews. He was a tough kid with street smarts who attended the University of Pittsburgh (in “a backwater steel town with a mediocre college”), where he was involved with the debate team. As a student, he traveled to Alabama to participate in civil rights marches, beginning a long involvement with social issues that continued intermittently after his graduation. Following brief stints as a steelworker, professional activist, and Ph.D. candidate—along with a short marriage to a Pittsburgh girl—Jaxon-Bear upped his involvement with drugs and crossed to the wrong side of the law on several occasions. Relying on his gift for gab and obfuscation, he avoided serious jail time on numerous occasions, setting off on spiritual journeys with more drugs than cash. He eventually met his life partner, Toni, and with their mystical and emotional connections—along with some fortuitous investments—the author achieved a respected position in his chosen field of spiritual development. With his discovery of Papaji (his guru, Zen master, and other “self”), Jaxon-Bear fully realized his spiritual odyssey. The author’s uninhibited, honest account of his life—with all of his flaws on full display—is refreshing. His early life emerges as surprisingly captivating, although readers may suspect his spiritual voyage is what he really wants to share. At times, his self-destructive, selfish behavior is wearing, particularly his firm belief in his youth (before he met Toni) that he should be exempt from monogamy because it did not suit him. Quotes and contemporary song lyrics before each chapter help set the scene for the subsequent narrative, but the book would have benefited from more introspection on Jaxon-Bear’s part. Too often it seems that he was just swept along with the times, without giving thought to what he was doing.

An intriguing and candid memoir that should appeal to readers interested in ’60s movements.

Pub Date: April 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-692-59987-7

Page Count: 322

Publisher: New Morning Books

Review Posted Online: May 11, 2018

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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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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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