An absorbing look at an often misunderstood profession.

Celestial Bodies in Orbit


A former stripper recounts her experiences on and off the stage.

Debut author Littlepage was a small-town girl who attended Catholic school and excelled academically, despite the fact that her parents were alcoholics and that her mother had a touch of tyranny in her, perhaps the result of her own frustrated aspirations. Littlepage eventually left home with her boyfriend, Eddie, and they headed to Cape Cod. Littlepage kept them afloat with her earnings as a waitress, but Eddie was a compulsive gambler and a criminal, as well as physically abusive. The author turned to stripping—doubling her income—and found the strength to leave Eddie and start anew. Stripping would remain her principal source of income for a decade—through several relationships, a marriage, an abortion, the tragic deaths of two close friends, and plenty of experimentation with drugs and alcohol. The author, aware that every dancer’s career has an early expiration date stamped upon it, started planning her departure from the stage, taking acting classes, and exploring new business opportunities, eventually finding she had a talent for organizing charity fundraisers. Along the way, there is plenty of drama—one night, a co-worker pulled a gun on her; another stripper confessed her attraction to her. The author’s remembrance is a philosophical one; there are numerous references to I Ching, the guidance she finds in the Wiccan view of nature, and her devotion to the study of alternative spirituality. The entire memoir turns on a peculiar literary device: Eve Littlepage (a nom de plume) contacts a writer, Stella Mars (who is a fictional character) to co-author her book. It’s not entirely clear what purpose this fictional element serves, but it does end up feeling peculiarly self-referential, like hearing someone talk about herself in the third person. Nevertheless, this is a thoughtful reflection on the psychology and stagecraft of stripping, as well as a commentary on the nature of modern female sexuality. Also, Littlepage’s life easily satisfies the most basic condition of the readable memoir: it is genuinely memorable.

An absorbing look at an often misunderstood profession.

Pub Date: Dec. 22, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-615-73554-2

Page Count: 328

Publisher: Littlepage Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2017

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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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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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