Occasional self-conscious pontifications on the big questions are forgivable in light of the author's genuine enthusiasm for...

ADVENTURE DIVAS

SEARCHING THE GLOBE FOR A NEW KIND OF HEROINE

Seal Press editorial director Morris sheds her stuffy old life to become a television producer, criss-crossing the continents in search of intrepid women.

Working at a feminist publisher had been a fine job, but Morris (A Different Angle, 1995, etc.) was ready for a change when she decided to go into business with her mother and create a TV series about inspiring women around the world. Mother and daughter dug deep into their own pockets to fund their pilot, a video shot in Cuba. With footage of female teenage rappers, a filmmaker and a poet all working in the shadow of Castro, they created something that caught the eye of PBS producers, and the diva series was off and running. Morris gives a first-person account of starting the business, directing the shoots and moonlighting as a TV host for another adventure series that was focused on the remote and the strange rather than the female and empowered. In her accounts of India, New Zealand, the Matterhorn, Iran, Borneo and the Sahara, she relates the director’s anxiety about interviews, the producers’ concerns over funding and the writer’s fascination with her material. Morris shows an admirable fearlessness when it comes to chasing down the money shot, whether it’s a pig hunt in Borneo or a “ram cam” to capture a sheep’s-eye view in a charging herd. She also isn’t afraid to discuss menstruation or pen a phrase such as, “Poets are the ones who torch up an eight ball of life’s giant je ne sais quoi and distill it down to a pot of sweet nectar.” This combination of eagerness and earnestness, unfortunately, sometimes distracts from the genuinely interesting subject matter.

Occasional self-conscious pontifications on the big questions are forgivable in light of the author's genuine enthusiasm for her broad but appealing topic.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2005

ISBN: 0-375-50827-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2005

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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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