What the Manhattan nightclub scene was like from the late 40's through the 60's, with notes on the 70's and 80's. Show-biz folk and fans should find this a nostalgia-packed, glittering earful, though many readers will find themselves reading an endless Rex Reed column full of passing celebrities and revues whose identities self-destruct in the reader's mind but who nonetheless deserve the minor monument of this book. Irreverence distinguished the postwar clubs from the prewar, with entertainers no longer satisfied with simply entertaining—they wanted to put a spin, an edge, on their work. Gavin is rather moving about Spivy Le Voe, a squat and lacquered patter songstress who sometimes owned clubs like Spivy's Roof that featured Mabel Mercer and were smash successes; Spivy was called the ``Bulldog Bulldike,'' lost her last lease in the early 50's, wound up doing movie bits, and died at the Motion Picture County Home and Hospital in California. Top acts were Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Woody Allen, Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Joan Rivers, Bobby Short, Dick Gregory, Barbra Streisand, and Bette Midler, while lesser stars Ronny Graham and Paul Lynde shone in outrageously satirical revues at Julius Monk's prestigious cabarets. Monk was a weird North Carolinian who passed himself off as a hybrid Englishman/southerner in Edwardian suits but whose revues at the Up-Stairs at the Downstairs and the Downstairs at the Upstairs were unrivaled—until Monk was replaced by club owner Irving Haber with madly outrageous producer/director Ben Bagley. Gavin concludes with a look at how the top stars began to play supper clubs, and at the emergence in the 80's of new top-dollar acts like Peter Allen and Lainie Kazan. No big audience but a worthy work.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-8021-1080-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.


New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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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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