Unsparing, hate-fueled diatribes serving as an implicit rebuttal of the “kill ’em with kindness” approach.

GRABBING PUSSY

The controversial performance artist and social commentator indulges in a Trump-bashing frenzy.

Finley (The Reality Shows, 2011, etc.) finds her ultimate target in the current president. This amalgam of creative prose and freestyle poetry floods vitriol on the words and actions of Trump. Like in some of her previous works—e.g. George and Martha, her burlesque of a love affair between George Bush and Martha Stewart—the author attempts to transmogrify a bottomless liberal rage into moving, provocative, and occasionally hilarious art. Most pieces approximate Finley’s real-time experience of watching the debates, the 2016 election, Trump's inauguration and Cabinet appointments, and the seemingly endless scandals besetting American politics, and most chapters feature the author’s stream-of-consciousness conversation with herself. Other sections explore alternative narrative forms and inhabit the voices of key players, including Trump himself, pointedly sinking to his level in a satiric travesty of his political debate foibles that derails into ad hominem attacks and inverted objectifications of the male body, eventually erupting in a lively six-page roster of demeaning euphemisms for the penis (highlights include “Mighty Mouse” and “Dr. Peeper”). Recurring sections inhabit Hillary Clinton’s inner monologue and imaginatively re-create private content like the string of in-house emails (or “emales”) devoted to policing Clinton’s supposed lack of femininity and fashion sense. Finley’s signature shock value registers as rather less extreme in the present media climate, and her comedy elicits little engagement beyond a mirthless laugh at the edge of bitter despair. The poems distinguish themselves from the freestyle prose (just barely) due to their greater reliance on sound and rhythmic intonations of vengeful vituperation. One imagines these pieces playing better at a spoken word slam or a Moth performance than in print, but as with the recent retrospective of her collected works, Finley seems determined to transmit and to get on the record just how much she truly abhors this president and everything he supports.

Unsparing, hate-fueled diatribes serving as an implicit rebuttal of the “kill ’em with kindness” approach.

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-944869-95-3

Page Count: 176

Publisher: OR Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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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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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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