CELEBRITY, INC.

HOW FAMOUS PEOPLE MAKE MONEY

Entertainment journalist Piazza dissects the industrialization of fame in the age of celebrity.

A celebrity may be a person, but celebrity is a product, a commodity bought and sold, writes the author in this rangy analysis of the celebrity business. Like it or not, our culture has invested its celebrities with extraordinary power, and Piazza presents all the players involved, including managers, agents, publicists and producers. A dozen vignettes explore the ways in which celebrity is created and revenue streams are activated, whether it is celebrity in the long run, as in an Oscar win (there is a terrific chapter on how to buy an Oscar), or the short-term celebrity through association (Tiger Woods’ lovers going public: “Their investment was just their dignity, and the payoff was substantial”). Since she has been intimately involved in the business, Piazza’s chapter on celebrity magazines, from copy to newsstand placement, is particularly revealing, and she is willing to call a spade a spade when it comes to the cheesier aspects of celebritydom, from the selling of baby photos to the “leaked” sex tapes that launched Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian. She also takes on the evolution of various branding styles and the ways in which notoriety in one sphere can be parlayed into licensing deals in another. In perhaps the most enlightening chapter, Piazza explains why some celebrities survive and others fizzle. You have to be fun and relatable, inclusive and aspirational, but most of all likable and consistent, which is why Lindsay Lohan tanked (inconsistent) and Charlie Sheen shines on (consistent in his craziness). It’s rarely pretty, but Piazza ably demonstrates the celebrity machine’s remarkable efficiency in getting us to give it our money.

 

Pub Date: Nov. 15, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4532-1879-2

Page Count: 236

Publisher: Open Road Integrated Media

Review Posted Online: Oct. 11, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2011

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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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