In 1966, Burlingame was only 31 but was just starting to receive professional accolades as a stage designer on Broadway in...

A BLESSING WELL DISGUISED

A BLINDED ARTIST'S INNER JOURNEY OUT OF THE DARK

In this candid memoir, Broadway and opera stage designer Burlingame (Sets, Lights, & Lunacy: A Stage Designer’s Adventures on Broadway and in Opera, 2013, etc.) shines the spotlight on his broken childhood and his painful—but enlightening—loss of eyesight.

In 1966, Burlingame was only 31 but was just starting to receive professional accolades as a stage designer on Broadway in addition to his working with the renowned producer David Merrick. Burlingame ultimately became co-chair of the design department at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, but he continued to grapple with turmoil caused by his past. As a gay man who grew up in the 1930s and ’40s in Arlington, Virginia, Burlingame had learned to hate himself and his abusive, alcoholic father, who once threatened his mother with an ax. To make matters worse, the author discovered that he was slowly going blind. His job at NYU allowed him the financial privilege of receiving psychological help from Edward Edinger, an influential Jungian analyst. This honest, swiftly paced account details Burlingame’s 20-plus-year journey of self-discovery as he came to terms with the past and prepared for a future without eyesight (he’s now fully blind). A fan of Jungian analysis, Burlingame includes color pictures of his own dream-inspired artwork, as well as descriptions of some meetings with Edinger. He first thought of his blindness as a curse from an evil god who poked out his eyes, and he wondered how a blind artist could be any good. Yet as he realized his own self-worth, he eventually considered his blindness to be a blessing: “Going to the heart of the matter, maybe one way to understand ‘what good is a blind man?’ is to ask the fundamental question ‘what good is any man or woman?’ ” Burlingame admirably reinvented himself: Unable to design sets due to his failing eyesight, he embraced the art of quilting. Though at first he was afraid to walk with a cane through the sometimes-hostile streets of New York City, he eventually fell in love with two guide dogs who helped him navigate. Unlike his father, who committed suicide, Burlingame made peace with the past and at almost 80 has learned to love his inner child and “inner gay brother.”

Pub Date: Sept. 30, 2014

ISBN: 978-1500190927

Page Count: 276

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Nov. 6, 2014

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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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