The author’s intelligence and personable quality, combined with her large cast of political and show-business celebrities,...

READ REVIEW

COMMAND PERFORMANCE

AN ACTRESS IN THE THEATER OF POLITICS

A well-written account of Alexander’s 1993–97 term as head of the National Endowment of the Arts, smoothly interwoven with tales of her stage and screen life.

Until the NEA appointment, Alexander’s only bureaucratic experience was as a politically active citizen (although she was urged to run for public office after portraying Eleanor Roosevelt on a television program). Her commitment to the NEA was bolstered by her role in The Great White Hope, which earned her a Tony Award and an Oscar nomination and was developed with an NEA grant. The organizing principle of her 15 theatrical chapter titles, divided into two acts and bookended by a prologue and epilogue, smartly links Alexander’s professional world onstage with her stint in the theater of politics. “The Audition,” “The Rehearsal,” and “Curtain Up” detail the intricate voyage through nomination and confirmation. On the heels of the swearing-in comes the process of learning the ropes and expanding her list of useful acquaintances. The many profiles of movers and shakers, for and against the NEA, reveal a dry authorial wit and add human interest. No sooner did this Washington outsider learn to deal with Beltway insiders than she was confronted with the Gingrich Congress, which turned her plan to increase NEA funding and visibility into a battle of containment—if not extinction. The agency survived, but a personal tragedy and mounting disenchantment with the time-wasting politicization of the legislative process prompted Alexander to resign. She compares the frustrating ditherings of bureaucracy to the results-oriented production of a play (which benefits from a more collaborative atmosphere for settling differences).

The author’s intelligence and personable quality, combined with her large cast of political and show-business celebrities, make for an entertaining and informative discussion of important arts issues. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 1-891620-06-1

Page Count: 322

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

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

Did you like this book?

more