Illeana Douglas is a great actress and she's worked with some of the best in her field. I have a particular fondness for the film "Grace of My Heart"Illeana Douglas is a great actress and she's worked with some of the best in her field. I have a particular fondness for the film "Grace of My Heart" in which Illeana had the lead in the story of a songwriter with a complex romantic life, inspired in part by Carole King. I was eager to read this story, hoping it would give us some insight into the life and craft of a character actor. Sadly, I was disappointed. This was really just the impressions of a fawning fangirl. There are some very interesting anecdotes about Roddy MacDowell, Marlon Brando and Dennis Hopper and other golden-age stars including her grandfather, Melvyn Douglas. But nothing really about the relationship between her and director Martin Scorcese or the process of acting. With all due respect to Ms. Douglas, who I'm sure was excited to meet some of her heroes, I was more interested in learning about her life and work and art - not theirs....more
For many people, music is simply in the background of their lives, their drives to work, the elevator they take to the office. But for others, music iFor many people, music is simply in the background of their lives, their drives to work, the elevator they take to the office. But for others, music is the driving force of their lives. In "The Music Book", Rob (a former musician) spends his time watching bands perform, reviewing their music and attempting to connect with others who are as inspired as he by the music in their lives. Some of those attempts to connect are not successful, some are. At the heart of this story is the idea that "musicians" are not just those who perform, but those who keep music alive by sharing it, talking about it, writing about it. A thoughtful and enjoyable read from a talented writer and blogger....more
I loved "Throwing Muses" and think Kristin Hersh is an amazing talent. But reading this memoir was like trying to decipher her lyrics: haunting, spectI loved "Throwing Muses" and think Kristin Hersh is an amazing talent. But reading this memoir was like trying to decipher her lyrics: haunting, spectral and terribly murky. Sometimes artists are just too far beyond the pale to capture their essence. ...more
I initially LOVED this book when I first read it, back in my early twenties. Who wouldn't? Anti-establishment actress who yearns to be on stage gets sI initially LOVED this book when I first read it, back in my early twenties. Who wouldn't? Anti-establishment actress who yearns to be on stage gets saddled instead with a glossy Hollywood career and just when she attempts to break free of such reigns, her Mother From Hell has her committed, time and time again to a Mental Institute. Oh, but not just any loony bin - Frances' hospitals were clearly torture chambers for repressed Lezbo-Nazi's and poor Frances endures years of physical, psychological, scientific and sexual torture before she finally breaks free of the loony bin, her mother, Hollyweird and everything else. She lands in the arms of the most gracious and gentle Southern Woman who takes her in to her home (but they're not gay) and makes her a part of her family (still, not gay) and the two live out Frances' final years on a beautiful ranch with like a dozen cats (I repeat: they are not gay!) before her untimely death from cancer.
If you're chuckling, there's good reason. Frances was a thoughtful, intelligent and immensely talented woman who found herself blackballed from her chosen profession for her contrariness and clearly was at odds with her family and spent many years institutionalized. But this, my friends, just isn't a fully true story in "Will There Really Be A Morning?" It's actually ghost-written by the very same loving (not-gay! really not-gay!) partner Jean referenced above, after Frances died suddenly and their advance on the book she was attempting to write had been spent.
You can tell Jean wrote it because there are no descriptions of being on stage, or on a soundstage, or of the many talented cast and crew that Frances worked with in her nearly twenty-year career in Hollywood (except for the makeup lady that Frances smacked in the face with a hairbrush). But the book is sure filled with lots of glowing praise for lovely Jean and her super-wonderful family.
Poor Frances. She really got a raw deal in life and in death. Her family shit on her, her agents couldn't really help her, she's locked up for years and then, to cap it all off, her not-gay lady friend writes the most salacious bio, EVER and she doesn't even get to reap the rewards. There was a real story here about conforming, about being a woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind - but that's not what wound up on the page.
Frankly, though, it's the most entertaining thing you'll read about Hollywood even though it has nothing to do with it. Lurid, possibly true-ish and DEFINITELY NOT GAY....more
This chick is funny as shit but I'm not sure she can read a book, let alone write one. I'm pretty sure she told a bunch of wild stories about her ex-hThis chick is funny as shit but I'm not sure she can read a book, let alone write one. I'm pretty sure she told a bunch of wild stories about her ex-husband and how he left her for a washed-up country teen star to someone who could actually (at least technically) write them down for her.
Don't get me wrong: it's a fun read but I read it about a year ago and I can't remember a damn thing about it.
I'd call this "Drinking and Downloading" which is clearly what I must have done when I ordered this on my kindle....more
Considering that Ms. Currie had the assistance of another author helping her write her bio, you'd think "Neon Angel" would be better edited, but I'm wConsidering that Ms. Currie had the assistance of another author helping her write her bio, you'd think "Neon Angel" would be better edited, but I'm willing to forgive the errors. This is a wild ride through 1970's Glam rock with the singer of the seminal Los Angeles all-girls, all-rocking Runaways. I love the fact that Cherie not only rattles off what she did, who she did, how it all went down - but that she also gives you a real perspective of how she felt while doing in. Great background, as well, into her dysfunctional family dynamic and the relationship with her twin sister, fraught with rivalry and redemption. She doesn't gloss over her own mistakes and is brutally honest about the years of cocaine addiction that followed her time in the spotlight and the sexual traumas she survived in her young life. Today, Cherie is a mom and a chain-saw artist. Baddddddaaasssssss! A great memoir. Recommend this for anyone who thinks girls rock harder and better than the boys. And anyone that hates Kim Fowley....more
From the age of 18 to 23, I was the "chick with the band". Hanging out at shows, at practice sessions, at the recording studio. I was part of a thriviFrom the age of 18 to 23, I was the "chick with the band". Hanging out at shows, at practice sessions, at the recording studio. I was part of a thriving collection of punk, psychedelic and alternative rock bands in Detroit in the mid'80s and their friends, including The Generals, who Watershed played with and Joe wrote about in his memoir. This was a good trip down memory lane for me, remembering times hanging out in the van, with a beer, behind the scenes, singing along to every song, sweating in the crowd and wanting the best for my guys. Sometimes the best never came and "Hitless Wonder" is a testament to the valiant effort Watershed made to have their moment, only to have it come tumbling slowly down. Then, comes the rest of your life. Trust me, you're lucky if you get to look back at that time with wonder and longing. A lot of guys didn't make it to the other side. #RIPFLIP ...more
A collection of writing about Sin City, Las Vegas. Nick Tosches introduces this anthology of mostly non-fiction. Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and LoathiA collection of writing about Sin City, Las Vegas. Nick Tosches introduces this anthology of mostly non-fiction. Hunter S. Thompson's "Fear and Loathing..." is excerpted. Noel Coward's Vegas gig of is covered and, in my favorite story, Susan Berman (the victim in one of Robert Durst's alleged murders) recounts her childgood growing up the daughter of a numbers man for the Mob. Marked mostly by stories of the '50s and '60s, this is a great little history lesson for anyone curious about the glory days of Vegas....more
I was sixteen when I first read this, stumbling across it in a box of paperbacks my grandfather brought back from the flea market. I was sixteen and tI was sixteen when I first read this, stumbling across it in a box of paperbacks my grandfather brought back from the flea market. I was sixteen and the singer of an all-girl punk band in Detroit. I had been writing since I was nine years old and at that moment, focused on song lyrics. It was a lazy vacation summer day and I picked up the book and started reading.
Edith Minturn Sedgwick was born in California in 1943, the heiress to an old Massachusetts railroad fortune. Her ancestors include Senators, writers, actors and artists. She went on to become a part of Andy Warhol's epic New York Factory scene before crashing and burning in a number of state-run mental hospitals and finally, succombing to a fatal drug overdose at the age of 28.
This book is a biography of Edie, but it's so much more. It may be the only real book about the 60s that you'll ever need to read. It's a snapshot of the inner thoughts of some of the most important artists of the 20th Century. It's about legacies and fortunes and madness and drugs. It's a tale of California, of Manhattan, of underground cinema and old world society. It's about car crashes and magazine shoots and one delightful but doomed young lady.
This book had a haunting effect upon me. One read of Patti Smith's poem "Edie Sedgwick: 1943-1971" did it. The perfect, staccato cadence of it.
"...oh it isn't fair oh it isn't fair how her ermine hair turned men around she was white on white so blonde on blonde..."
That's when I knew. It wouldn't be enough for me to write pop lyrics. I had to be a poet, with my poems set to music.
"Edie" also, at moments in my young adulthood, entranced me with the idea of burning out instead of fading away. I saw enough of my friends do that. I'm glad I changed my mind and decided to stick around for the long haul. I wish Edie would have had that chance but when you're the zeitgeist, the Girl of the Moment, sometimes that moment is all you have....more
Growing up in Detroit, on the music of Motown, nobody was cooler than Marvin Gaye. No one more spiritual. Nobody more passionate. This biography takesGrowing up in Detroit, on the music of Motown, nobody was cooler than Marvin Gaye. No one more spiritual. Nobody more passionate. This biography takes you into the heart and soul of this artist. The Daddy issues (manifested with his own father and his father-figure, Berry Gordy Jr.), the issues with women, the sex addiction, the other addictions and his immense talent. At times I wish the author weren't so close to his subject, perhaps a little remove was needed to fully flesh out the story. Marvin Gaye wanted to be a crooner, a Frank Sinatra type for the R&B set but his demons (and he had many) got in the way. By the end of his life Marvin is sequestered in his parents' house, buying crack cocaine from an open window in his bedroom, paranoid, delusional and irrational. Hate to say it, but by the end of the book the reader is just ready for that fateful gunshot. You literally can't wait for him to die. You really sense how irredeemable he had become. Very sad....more