Remembered, surreal dreams become the prose equivalent of Salvador Dali paintings and films.

Hallucinabulia

THE DREAM DIARY OF AN UNINTENDED SOLITARIAN

A detailed diary of Wictor’s (Ghosts and Ballyhoo: Memoirs of a Failed L.A. Music Journalist, 2013, etc.) surreal dreams and nightmares, which reflect his dysfunctional love life and personal demons as a struggling LA music journalist.

Wictor covered the music scene in 1990s Los Angeles amid a tumultuous personal life and health issues that left him feeling vulnerable, pained and angry. During this period, he suffered many lucid dreams—more like nightmares—that his remarkable memory allowed him to preserve in print. His subconscious is particularly active; he even claims to have experienced the rare phenomenon of lucid sleepwalking. But this, the third volume in his loosely linked Ghost Trilogy, is less scientific self-diagnosis than immersion into the weird narratives and tableaux he’s recovered, with minor introductory notes about the events—failed and toxic love affairs, an intimidating Bass Player assignment to interview formidable rock legend Gene Simmons—that inspired the “nightmare clusters.” With the grotesqueries of a Chuck Palahniuk plot, Wictor writes of committing murder (or being murdered himself; usually knives are involved); ill-fated reunions with shape-shifting ex-girlfriends; disasters such as floods, plane crashes and giant carnivorous bats; his articles appearing illegible and bastardized; and his behaving in an infantile or out-of-character manner to entertain some unseen audience. In spite of the dreamer’s clear distress at the time, some of the dreams are horrific, a few are poignant, others, laugh-out-loud hilarious. Themes of failure and humiliation, self-loathing and frustrated helplessness strike universal chords, though showbiz celebrity cameos (Bill Cosby, Jennifer Aniston, Emma Thompson, a miniaturized Sean Connery, Charlie Sheen in hell) are a bit further afield. Readers intrigued by bizarre, Inception-style voyeurism of a well-traveled writer/musician’s innermost recesses should dare venture into this Nightmare on Wictor Street.

Remembered, surreal dreams become the prose equivalent of Salvador Dali paintings and films.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-615-85181-5

Page Count: 252

Publisher: Thomas\Wictor

Review Posted Online: March 13, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2014

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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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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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