Schell's reality check will surely spoil lots of sincere, if vapid, dreams out there, but if Hollywood is indeed the dream...

VIRTUAL TIBET

SEARCHING FOR SHANGRI-LA FROM THE HIMALAYAS TO HOLLYWOOD

Schell (Mandate of Heaven, 1994, etc.) explores ``the depths of our collectively imagined Western version of Tibet as it seemed on the brink of reemerging in popular culture'' through the mythmaking of overheated reports sent home from travelers and in the technicolor fantasies of Hollywood.

Schell concentrates on the two vehicles that he believes have delivered a virtual Tibet to our modern consciousness. One is made up of the narratives written by visitors to the rooftop of the world (``a corpus of romantic transferences''); the other is Hollywood's confection as served forth in such films as Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet. Schell's historical overview, not surprisingly, is terrific: a lightfooted, sentient presentation of material from first colonial and missionary contact to Alexandra DavidNeel and the adventures of Heinrich Harrer. Each produced descriptions that spun an illusion of paradise built on a yearning for the poise, dignity, and spirituality that Tibet supposedly counterposed to the travails of modern Western life. This is the Tibet of Lost Horizon and ShangriLa. Hollywood's version, as experienced by Schell primarily through his attendance on the set of Seven Years in Tibet, reeks of glamour, tawdry sensationalism, and narcissism. By his own admission, Schell is sucker-punched by the glitter machine: at one point he is as eagerly awaiting Brad Pitt to be ``revealed'' to him as the Dalai Lama was revealed to Tibetan commoners way back when. Schell fortunately keeps on his feet long enough to explain just how little celluloid and the real Tibet have in common.

Schell's reality check will surely spoil lots of sincere, if vapid, dreams out there, but if Hollywood is indeed the dream merchant (as Schell acknowledges even by his own starcrossed lights), that can't be all bad, or bad at all.

Pub Date: May 17, 2000

ISBN: 0-8050-4381-0

Page Count: -

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2000

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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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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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