ESSAYS 1981-1995

Novelist Indiana (Gone Tomorrow, 1993, etc.) offers his often spleenful commentary on a variety of political, artistic, and social topics in this collection drawn from the Village Voice and other publications. The most scathing of Indiana's essays tend to have the most entertaining moments. His opening salvo, an excoriation of his home state of New Hampshire on the occasion of its 1992 presidential primary, manages to be hilarious while spraying astonishing quantities of bile: ``Those for whom `Live Free or Die' has traditionally meant dropping out of 10th grade and heading straight for . . . [the] shoe shops, Raytheon, or the mills, feel such depths of cultural inferiority that truly abusive public figures often resonate more winningly with them than reformers and do-gooders.'' An insightful piece on the assisted-suicide trial of Dr. Jack Kevorkian puts the case's moral ambiguities in the context of its truly distasteful cast of characters; ``The Sex Factory'' successfully delves into the romanceless banality of the porno film industry; and the poetic, fragmented ``Death Notices'' captures movingly the horror and grief of AIDS over a decade in the urban arts community. But Indiana's Gonzo Lite pilgrimages to Euro Disney and to Branson, Mo., where he smirks at the double-knits and double chins of Middle American tourists, produce no insights that Hunter S. Thompson didn't have two and a half decades ago (in fact, Thompson's shadow falls over much of the material here). The occasional essays that pad the collection—book, movie, and art reviews—tend toward a generic snappiness, always smart but lacking the individuality of Indiana's first-person reporting. But the controversy over Richard Serra's hideous public sculpture, Tilted Arc, inspires a very funny discussion of censorship and artistic quality. Highly competent, frequently entertaining pieces, but they don't add up to a work of substance.

Pub Date: June 1, 1996

ISBN: 1-85242-332-3

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Serpent’s Tail

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1996

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



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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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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