Who does she think she is, anyway? She's Robin Spielberg, that's who! You'll bask in the glow of Spielberg's spotlight as you follow her gutsy journey...moreWho does she think she is, anyway? She's Robin Spielberg, that's who! You'll bask in the glow of Spielberg's spotlight as you follow her gutsy journey from precocious New Jersey school girl to international piano star.
Part memoir, part how-to manual for aspiring artists, Naked on the Bench explores--with humor, passion, and great detail--the ambition, focus, and courage needed for a career on the concert stage.
Spielberg goes beyond the obligatory smoke and mirrors and digs (head first) into the nasty-nice nitty-gritty of show business. Some of these stories are enlightening, some are downright embarrassing, some are tragic, and others are hysterically funny. Spielberg never holds back on telling us the truth about what goes on backstage. Most artists have been in similar predicaments, but few of us have the guts to share what we know. Spielberg has done this with great style and in a voice that resonates with bravery.
A must-read for anyone considering a career in the arts, anyone who is curious about show business, and anyone who enjoys a fun book. (less)
We Bombed in New London is a behind the scenes look at the brutal process of creating, building, and mounting a Broadway show. As the title indicates,...moreWe Bombed in New London is a behind the scenes look at the brutal process of creating, building, and mounting a Broadway show. As the title indicates, the show was not destined for a long run.
Mr. Gari reveals, with excruciating attention to detail and gut-wrenching emotion, the inner workings of a Broadway production. He slams out all the gory details--sleazy producers, girlfriend robbing so-called friends, misguided directors, puffed up leading actors--with a style and wit that kept me glued to the story.
Gari's journey offers a touching (and often funny) look at the way writers--especially newcomers--can be easily manipulated into artistically compromising situations. His style is free-flowing and fresh. Even with all the detail (and trust me, this guy is a detail-freak) the story moves with ease.
Gari, who wrote the words and music for Late Nite Comic, may not have succeeded in the eyes of the Broadway critics of the eighties, but he certainly succeeds with this book. It forces one to wonder what might have become of Late Nite Comic had the show landed in the hands of a more capable production team.
Marion Winik is one of those rare and brilliant writers who makes the brave leap from real life experience to the written page with grace, humor, sty...more Marion Winik is one of those rare and brilliant writers who makes the brave leap from real life experience to the written page with grace, humor, style, and enough grit to make it all surprising. My favorite chapter is the title chapter, Above Us Only Sky, which has about a thousand layers and levels of of emotion . . . just like people. Winik captures us at our best and worst, but also at all the in between places, those gray corners where most of us live, most of the time. This book throws a lot of bright hot light into those corners. (less)
Words That Sing Noah Adams enchanted me with his touching--and at times very amusing--memoir of learning to play a deceptively simple piece of music on...moreWords That Sing Noah Adams enchanted me with his touching--and at times very amusing--memoir of learning to play a deceptively simple piece of music on the piano.
I read this book years ago, when it was recommended to me by pianist Robin Spielberg. At the time, Piano Lessons struck me as the first prose I had encountered that accurately described the rush of elation musicians experience when successfully conquering the chaos of a difficult phrase. On a second read-through, almost a decade after its publication, Adams' words remain as crisp and as playful as a perfectly played arpeggio. This is a writer who hears what he writes. He has a musician's ear and a writer's sensibility--a rare combination.
In music, as in writing, achieving an air of effortlessness distinguishes a true master. It's not easy to describe joys of music, but Adams pulls it off with a lightness that will inspire the secret musician lurking in the hearts of so many adults.
Robin Meloy Goldsby is the author of Piano Girl: A Memoir(less)
The Man Who Got Away, March 7, 2008 Anyone who has ever googled an old flame will relate to this book.
Michele Cozzens' A Line Between Friends captures-...moreThe Man Who Got Away, March 7, 2008 Anyone who has ever googled an old flame will relate to this book.
Michele Cozzens' A Line Between Friends captures--in heart-wrenching detail--the bittersweet passage of time, the memory of teenage love, and the necessity of growing up and accepting the choices we've made. I found myself cheering for Joel and Noelle, but I also wanted to slap some sense into them. "Look," I felt like shouting, "You're perfect for each other! Wake up! Get it together!" But Joel's and Noelle's family obligations, jobs, and other relationships get in the way, causing them to miss obvious opportunities to express their love for each other. Ultimately, in an ending that's both satisfying and sad, they learn to accept the meaning of their friendship.
Cozzens has sprinkled her very real characters with a healthy dose of charm, and planted them in an era and environment that will strike a chord with anyone who came of age in the late seventies and eighties. I recognized myself and my friends in many of Cozzens' wacky and lovable college kids. At one point, I swear I could smell the marijuana.
Cozzens has a knack for writing about balance and choice. Her memoir-- I'm Living Your Dream Life: The Story of a Northwoods Resort Owner-- reveals the tightwire act performed by women who decide to combine motherhood with a career. Although I'm not considering dragging out the bell-bottom jeans and the bong, A Line Between Friends made me long for a time and place that I miss, just a little, when the doors in my life seem to creak shut. Oh, to go back, to sort it out differently, to take the chances I wish I had taken! Cozzens points out, with skill, humor, and a clever plot, that the road away from true love can sometimes help us discover ourselves. (less)
Michele Cozzens rolls the dice, shuffles the cards, and stirs up a mixed bag of emotions with her clever plot...moreVodka on the Rocks with a Twist of Bunco
Michele Cozzens rolls the dice, shuffles the cards, and stirs up a mixed bag of emotions with her clever plot twists and rich characters. Whether you play Bunco, Bridge, or Scrabble, you'll relate to Cozzens' warm-hearted, funny, and intimate portrayal of the women's gaming clubs springing up around the world.
I had trouble putting this book down. By staying in the first person and constantly shifting the point of view among eight (!) women, Cozzens has set a difficult task for herself. But she pulls it off, the result being a tightly-woven character study that's easy to read, fun, and well-crafted.
At their monthy Bunco parties, the gals in the Snake Eyes Dice Club smooth the rough edges of their lives with gossip, laughter, and a little too much wine. The retired actress in me screams to play Amanda, a prematurely worn-out and bitter chain-smoking woman who has lost a child. She's sad, but she's also funny, as is Tara, a life-of-the-party red-headed hubba-hubba babe who can't put down her tumbler of kahlua-laced vodka long enough to realize her life (and her Mercedes) are careening out of control. The other six characters are equally lush with both comic and tragic details. Each of the women lives a unique life of quiet (or not so quiet) desperation.
I think Cozzens has herself one heck of a screenplay here. She would have actresses lined up to play all of those wonderful roles. Think of it this way: THE WOMEN meets DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. But with a Rattlesnake Valley twist. (less)
A coming-of-age novel about a teenage musician grappling with love and loss.
At 15, Jane Bowman has yet to emotionally process the fiery death of her mother, a famed Latin-jazz percussionist who perished three years prior in the nightclub where she was performing. Jane lives in tony Sewickley Heights, Pa., with her novelist father Sam and two outspoken housekeepers (“Mary One and Mary Two”) and forces herself to practice drumming, though the pastime reminds her too much of her beloved mother. At private school, Jane pals around with gay childhood friend Leo, but mostly keeps to herself, struggling with abandonment issues and weighty emotions always simmering just beneath the surface of her gruff, tomboyish exterior. Leo introduces her to Olivia Blue, a seasoned music teacher at a school for delinquent boys, hoping to stimulate Jane’s love for music. Their meeting stimulates Olivia to recruit Jane as the newest lead drummer of her school’s Allegheny Gatehouse Band, but it also ignites a romance between Olivia and Sam. After graduation, Jane heads to New York City, where her career as a percussionist blossoms with an eventful but short-lived stint with all-girl band Sisterhood of Soul, along with some heady sexual experimentation. The death of her grandparents creates a windfall of inherited wealth for Jane, but she manages to keep her bearings even in the midst of an opportunity to play with vulgar, cantankerous R&B star Bobby Angel. Love hits hard with a man from Jane’s past and the development of her own group nicely buoys the melodramatic denouement. Goldsby’s first novel (after her 2005 memoir Piano Girl), spans 15 years in the life of her gritty, resilient protagonist and is told with lyrical prose and deft characterization.
Hi Everyone! Since I can't very well review my own book, I thought I'd include my Publishers Weekly review. Piano Girl is an easy read, it's fun, and...moreHi Everyone! Since I can't very well review my own book, I thought I'd include my Publishers Weekly review. Piano Girl is an easy read, it's fun, and it will give you some insight into the sometimes crazy life of a working musician. Thanks.
Piano Girl: A Memoir Robin Meloy Goldsby. ISBN 0-87930-824-9
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
Goldsby regales readers with stories from her 30 years as a cocktail lounge pianist in this vivacious memoir. Starting out in dreary roadhouse bars and motels during the 1970s, Goldsby eventually worked her way up to tonier venues: the Marriott Marquis and the Grand Hyatt in New York City, a posh resort in Haiti, castles in Europe. Along the way there were false starts-an audition for the circus, a few months singing in an ill-fated all-girl nightclub act, a stint as a piano-playing stripper. It’s all the stuff of comedy for Goldsby, who has a wicked sense of humor and a keen eye for the absurd. Playing in a bar is great, she figures, because she can watch the never-ending show on the other side of the piano: the celebrities, nobodies, drunks, tipsy matrons, stalkers, music lovers and music haters, and a rogues’ gallery of colorful misfits. She even finds humor in her replacement at the New York Marriott-a mannequin seated at a player-piano. She also has a touching affection for her assorted co-workers, who include a waiter who charms everyone with his “tragic optimism” after having been diagnosed with AIDS, a restroom attendant who sells designer dresses out of a toilet stall for the handicapped and a waitress whom Goldsby inspires to start her own career as a pianist. This is a bighearted, funny, truly eye-opening memoir.