A choreographer’s wild stories and engaging insights into love, life and artistic practice.

CONFESSIONS OF A MOTION ADDICT

A candid memoir of misadventures and modern dance.

In this talky debut, dancer and choreographer Petronio looks at the formative experiences that set his dance career in motion—and the momentum that’s carried him forward ever since. His wit and penchant for getting into ridiculous situations may call to mind celebrated gay memoirists such as David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, but Petronio, a self-described “awkward boy/obstinate man,” has a story that’s all his own. He grew up in suburban New Jersey in the 1960s and, after a college girlfriend encouraged him to take his first dance class, went on to have an acclaimed career. His trajectory is quite impressive, and readers interested in the downtown New York art and performance scene will enjoy his stories about collaborating with people such as Lou Reed, Cindy Sherman, Rufus Wainwright and Yoko Ono, to name a few. On the other hand, the name-dropping sometimes clutters the narrative with superfluous detail and contributes to an undercurrent of self-satisfaction. The book’s range of tones, however, proves to be one of its greatest strengths; the author is equally at ease with introspection as he is with showmanship, proving that camp and spiritual inquiry aren’t mutually exclusive. Unsurprisingly, he has a gift for articulating the complex experiences of movement and performance, and some of his best prose comes when he’s describing dance. Under the header “Two versions of the same dance on different nights,” for example, he offers two conflicting accounts: One begins, “My arm is moving like no other in history,” and the other starts, “I am moving my arm, how humiliating.” Overall, Petronio approaches his most sacred material—his life’s work—with humor and grace.

A choreographer’s wild stories and engaging insights into love, life and artistic practice.

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2014

ISBN: 978-1492736547

Page Count: 288

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 27, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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