An enjoyable tour of a unique musical subculture, limited only by its narrow scope—readers may wish for more information...

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LIKE A ROLLING STONE

THE STRANGE LIFE OF A TRIBUTE BAND

A journalist explores the offbeat world of tribute bands.

Following close on the heels of the Rolling Stones 2005-06 tour, journalist Kurutz traveled with two Stones tribute bands, Sticky Fingers and the Blushing Brides. The bulk of the narrative focuses on the former, especially their energetic frontman, Glen Carroll, who looks the part of Mick Jagger more than he embodies it with his voice. The owner of hundreds of Stones recordings and pieces of memorabilia, Carroll has served for more than two decades as the de facto leader and business manager for Sticky Fingers, booking the gigs and coordinating an endless rotation of musicians on tours across the country and abroad. The band has performed at a wide variety of events, including bars, small clubs, fairs and corporate parties, but their biggest draw is among fraternities at Southern universities. “At a frat party,” writes Kurutz, “where hundreds of coeds are stuffed into a room, chugging cheap beer, the songs of the Stones, loose and sexual, celebrate a lifestyle.” The Blushing Brides—who bill themselves as “The World’s Most Dangerous Tribute to the Music of the Rolling Stones”—play many of the same venues, and a spirited rivalry has developed, provoked mainly by the Brides’s Jagger, Mitch Raymond, who maintains a near-endless well of vitriol for Carroll. The author traces the origins of tribute bands to Beatlemania, the hit 1977 Broadway musical based on the music of the Beatles, and he offers a trenchant evaluation of how and why that production ultimately failed. Readers will appreciate the author’s light touch and warm-hearted portrayal of the musicians who toil in the tribute trenches, and Kurutz provides enough behind-the-scenes anecdotes to keep the pace moving. In a particularly amusing section, the author points to tributecity.com for numerous examples of tribute bands: Lez Zeppelin, AC/Dshe, Red Hot Chili Bastards, Kounterfeit Kinks, Pretend Pretenders, Hendrix Rockprophecy and Zoo Zoo Mud (“Missouri’s tribute to ZZ Top”)—as well as “not one but two KISS tribute bands peopled by dwarves—Mini Kiss and Tiny Kiss.”

An enjoyable tour of a unique musical subculture, limited only by its narrow scope—readers may wish for more information about non-Stones tribute bands.

Pub Date: April 22, 2008

ISBN: 978-0-385-51890-1

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Broadway

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2008

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A rather chaotic and messy tale of talent, determination, and success in the world of independent film and TV that hardcore...

LIKE BROTHERS

A quirky inside portrait of brotherhood within the “insane Hollywood system.”

Marx, Coen, Farrelly. Add to that list the Duplass brothers, who have been carving out a place for themselves as writers, directors, producers, and actors (Mark in The League, Jay in Transparent, etc.). In her foreword to this jumpy, eclectic collection of odds and ends, Mindy Kaling writes that the brothers are funny, “woke as hell,” and have a “tireless entrepreneurial spirit that inspires.” The brothers write that the book is “filled with essays on all kinds of things,” which isn’t exactly true. There are some—e.g., a short piece on why the band Air Supply is so good or the value of The Karate Kid Part II (even though “there are so many things wrong with this movie”)—but mostly this is a hodgepodge of autobiographical sketches, lists of favorite movies (actually the same list slightly edited over and over), emails, rough screenplays, advice to young filmmakers, Mark’s short story “The Blowjob,” edited by Jay, comments from their wives, and “Airport” 1-5, in which the brothers make up filmic scenarios inspired by the people they see walking and sitting about. We learn that they grew up outside New Orleans and had great boyhoods. Creative and ambitious kids, they played around with a video recorder their father gave them and started writing little scenarios and filming them. In 1996, they started Duplass Brothers Productions and got to work. We follow them in action as they fail (Vince del Rio) and succeed (Cyrus). They made The Puffy Chair for $10,000 and premiered it at the Sundance Film Festival. Other successes followed, including HBO’s Togetherness series (2015), until cancelled, and Room 104 (2017).

A rather chaotic and messy tale of talent, determination, and success in the world of independent film and TV that hardcore fans will enjoy.

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-101-96771-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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The author’s consistently absorbing commentary on a wide variety of legal cases will require close attention by readers, but...

THE MAKING OF A JUSTICE

REFLECTIONS ON MY FIRST 94 YEARS

The retired Supreme Court justice chronicles his impressive life story, including his 34-year tenure with the court.

Born in 1920, Stevens (Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, 2014, etc.) recounts his privileged upbringing, early law career, and lower-court experience before providing nearly 400 pages of year-by-year decision-making as a Supreme Court justice. A Republican appointed by President Gerald Ford, Stevens transcended the party ideology of many court colleagues in order to work together with those appointed by Democratic presidents. Despite the conventional wisdom of court chroniclers who identify justices as “conservative” or “liberal,” the author’s majority opinions and dissents cannot be easily pigeonholed. He candidly shares his thought processes on hundreds of cases, often openly criticizing his fellow justices for their lack of legal acumen and/or lack of compassion. Stevens is frequently critical of justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas for the refuge they have sought in the theory of originalism. Refreshingly, though, the author never attacks his fellow justices in a personal, gossipy manner, and he discusses his varying degrees of friendship with each of them. Stevens theorizes that the dynamics of the court—and the nature of the rulings—undergo transformation every time a new justice joins. As a result, the author presents brief sections about the immediate impact of each new justice during his 34 years, ending with his successor in 2010, Elena Kagan. Although Stevens reveres the court’s reputation as a nonpartisan arbiter, he realizes that reputation has never fully recovered from the politically tinged 5-4 ruling in 2000 that handed the presidency to George W. Bush rather than Al Gore. The author also offers searing commentary on cases involving abortion rights, gun control, wrongful convictions in criminal courts, campaign finance, and many other ongoing societal issues.

The author’s consistently absorbing commentary on a wide variety of legal cases will require close attention by readers, but the payoff is worth it.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-48964-5

Page Count: 560

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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