A TV veteran’s memories of coming-of-age—and coming out of the closet—as an aspiring writer and actor in New York.
This debut collection of essays shows how long it took Janetti to find his footing on a career path that included Will & Grace (as executive producer) and Family Guy (as a writer). “I hadn’t…decided if I was going to be a writer or an actor,” he writes, “since both seemed equally impossible it was almost like choosing between being an astrophysicist and a Navy SEAL.” The author knew he was gay from early childhood and was teased about it through adolescence, but he didn’t fully come to terms with himself until he was 18, when he “was finally born.” The thematic undercurrent throughout the book is how much different things once were—before cellphones and websites and Google and GPS—when it took so much longer to find anything out. The particulars vary in interest. Janetti’s stories about trying to convince his mother to let him stay home from school by feigning illness aren’t much different from anyone else’s. Nor is his pre-adolescent appreciation of Cher particularly noteworthy: “Today kids have thousands of role models,” he writes. “And a Google search will instantly connect you to a wide variety of organizations catering to the entire LGBTQ community. Then we only had Cher….She was our pride parade, our GLAAD, our OUT magazine, our Trevor Project, all rolled into one.” There are some allusions to the author’s husband and his successful career but little indication of how Janetti got from the “here” of his formative years to the “there” of his belated writing career. In “Letter to My Younger Self,” he assures his younger self that everything will turn out all right. “I have had a good run, I can’t deny that,” he writes, though perhaps he’s saving a lot of his material for a future book.
An essayist finds his voice within a hit-or-miss collection.
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").
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)