In all: a sad story of talent gone astray and a fascinating, disturbing portrait of the imaginative decadence of the disco...

SIMPLY HALSTON

THE UNTOLD STORY

A riveting tale of sex, drugs, and the pillbox hat as Gaines (Heroes and Villains, 1986) details the rise and fall of a talented designer turned disco denizen.

Roy Halston Frowick moved to Chicago at age 20 from Des Moines and with the backing of his hairdresser-lover started a millinery business that quickly gained a local following. Offered a job in New York by the famous Lilly Dache, Halston soon was installed at Bergdorf’s, selling hats and charming celebrity customers (including Jacqueline Kennedy, who wore his pillbox hat for the inauguration). As the ’60s progressed, Halston moved over to designing ready-to-wear. His showroom became a gathering place for the famous, and his simple, elegant clothes became all the rage, until a 1972 Newsweek cover named him America’s “premier fashion designer.” In 1973, he sold his business to Norton Simon Industries, which created an extremely successful fragrance. But as the 70's wore on, the licensing ventures languished as Halston allegedly began to use cocaine heavily, getting in to work at noon after nights at Studio 54. When Norton Simon was taken over, the Halston division was sold several times to corporations less tolerant of the designer's disregard for the bottom line, and finally Halston himself was banished from his own offices, with others producing under the Halston name. In March 1990, the designer died of AIDS. Jam-packed with sordid detail (prostitutes, anonymous sex in Central Park, a destructive long-term lover named Victor Hugo) and celebrities (Liza, Andy, Bianca): reading this is like mainlining ’70s gossip. 

In all: a sad story of talent gone astray and a fascinating, disturbing portrait of the imaginative decadence of the disco era.

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 1991

ISBN: 0-399-13612-6

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1991

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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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