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In Heaven Everything Is Fine: The Unsolved Life of Peter Ivers and the Lost History of New Wave Theatre Paperback – December 15, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On March 3, 1983, Peter Ivers was found murdered in his loft on skid row in L.A. When Ivers died, much of the history of his experimental television show, New Wave Theatre, went with him. In this frustrating book that is part detective story and part pop history, screenwriter and producer Franks awkwardly weaves interviews with Ivers's many friends and associates—from Harold and Anne Ramis to Paul Michael Glaser (Starsky & Hutch)—into his chronicle of Ivers's life. Franks recreates the thriving theater and music scene in New York and L.A. in the late 1970s and early 1980s as he traces Ivers's move from the Harvard Lampoon to his work with David Lynch. Ivers's most brilliant moment came with the creation of New Wave Theatre, which brought together comedy and punk music in a new way, featuring acts from the Dead Kennedys, Black Flag and the Circle Jerks alongside Beverly D'Angelo and John Belushi. Because it tries to cover so much material—Ivers's unsolved murder, the history of New Wave Theatre—it fails to cover any of it effectively; nevertheless, it provides a new look into a now mostly forgotten moment of pop culture. (Aug.) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Peter Ivers never quite entered the pop-cultural mainstream, though he influenced such contemporaries and friends who did as National Lampoon cofounder Doug Kenney, John Belushi, and David Lynch, who called on Ivers to write “In Heaven (The Lady in the Radiator Song)” for his reputation-making cult-movie Eraserhead. Ivers presaged punk rock with his Peter Peter Ivers Band (later just the Peter Ivers Band), formed after drifting out of the fatally overhyped late-1960s rock group Beacon Street Union. He is probably best remembered as host of New Wave Theatre, a 1980s TV venture that progressed from an L.A.-based UHF channel to the USA cable network. On it he delivered zany stream-of-consciousness raps before and after clips of then-cutting-edge acts like Dead Kennedys and Circle Jerks. Proceeding via snippets from interviews with the likes of Chevy Chase and Steve Martin, Frank and Buckholtz describe Ivers’ appeal and try to illuminate his mysterious bludgeoning death in 1983, a murder still unsolved. An appreciative look at a figure peripheral to a clutch of now-aging major stars. --Mike Tribby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Soft Skull Press (December 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593762704
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593762704
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #590,796 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

'Josh Frank is a Writer, Producer, Director and Composer. He has penned numerous Plays (including an authorized adaptation of Werner Hergoz's 'Stroszek') Screenplays (including an adaptation of Mark Vonnegut's The Eden Express') and Musicals (including The Jonathan Richman Musical). He is also the Author of 'Fool The World', the definitive Oral History of the band the Pixies (St. Martins Press USA/Virgin Books U.K.) and "In Heaven Everything Is Fine- The Lost History of Peter Ivers and New Wave Theater."

Customer Reviews

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I like this book very much because it is very well-written, well-edited, and the characters are intrinsically interesting.
Eric H. Sigward
I was pleased to learn that someone had written a book about the life of Peter Ivers, and even more pleased when I got around to reading it this past weekend.
Ferrara Brain Pan
"In Heaven..." is a fascinating read as an in-depth biography of Peter Ivers, but it also makes for compelling murder mystery.
Dale Gardner

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ferrara Brain Pan on September 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was pleased to learn that someone had written a book about the life of Peter Ivers, and even more pleased when I got around to reading it this past weekend. I was one of the few music fans who picked up on his 1970s LP releases and enjoyed his quirky, inventive musical sensibility. When I saw Eraserhead at its San Diego theatrical premiere in 1977 or '78, I instantly recognized his voice the first time I saw The Lady In The Radiator open her mouth to sing "In Heaven." And I remember being surprised to see him host New Wave Theater on Night Flight back in the early '80s. But I never knew much about the guy, and the fact he'd died such an awful and mysterious death made me want to know his story.

The author has done an excellent job researching his subject and I'd give the book five stars on that count. Speaking to scores of friends and associates from throughout Peter's adult life and career (there is scant attention paid to his childhood, though enough to form the basis of an understanding of what drove and challenged him as an artist and a man), this is a well fleshed out story. Moreover, the book is well crafted and structured, written in a prose that is clear, expressive and insightful. Five stars again. So often, when a famous pop (or cult) musician is given a posthumous biographical treatment in book form, one finds that the author is a longtime fan with a passionate appreciation of the artist's music, but little sense of objectivity and no gift for writing. Josh Frank and his co-author have written a book that is a touching and compelling read, which I had trouble putting down over the course of the two or three days I was engrossed in reading it. This is as much (or more so) a portrait of Peter the friend and human being as it is of Peter the musician and creative artist.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dale Gardner on October 25, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"In Heaven..." is a fascinating read as an in-depth biography of Peter Ivers, but it also makes for compelling murder mystery. Plus you get a unique look at those whose paths he crossed, including the National Lampoon founders, the early LA punk scene, David Lynch, Devo, and a seemingly endless and unrelated group of people from several different artistic communities and eras.

The book alternates between the story of Peter's life and career and the murder investigation, until the two stories sadly become one. Throughout the book you really get a sense of Peter's unbridled enthusiasm for life and his inspiring passion for all things creative. By the end of the book you'll understand why Peter touched so many people's lives so deeply.

Even if you only know him for his records, as the host of New Wave Theater, or as the guy that wrote the song from Eraserhead, the story is captivating enough for anyone with an interest in the arts to make this book reading.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By KIDrorschach on November 4, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As the 1960s faded into the 1970s--and the war dragged on--our search to find things which really mattered became of utmost importance. Even though we did not realize it way back (when our route to current information was slow and inconsistent) many of these 'things which really mattered' (from wild'n'novative music through The National Lampoon through Saturday Night Live through Eraserhead to New Wave Theatre) were hinged upon Peter Ivers. His was the connexion shared by all these things.

Ivers was an original--instigating critical collaborations until his potential was stifled by a fatal bludgeoning in 1983. Josh Frank has meticulously researched the life and times of Peter Ivers and has composed a portrait of the artist which is vibrant with information, painstaking in its re-creations, beautiful through memories and heartbreaking with premature endings. Throughout, Josh Frank's episodic technique--followed by interview clips and 'casebook studies'--flesh out the person who was Ivers...an artist whose importance has largely been underestimated.

Hopefully--with the publishing of 'In Heaven Everything Is Fine'--Peter Ivers' work will gain renewed appreciation...and Josh Frank's work will achieve the recognition it deserves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By violetcherry on May 19, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was/am obsessed with the mid-80s cable access show, New Wave Theater (based out of L.A.). I also love all things by David Lynch. This book on Peter Ivers, who was closely connected with the show and with the music behind "Eraserhead," is an amazing catalog of events and happenings that led up to the creative successes connected to those projects. Ivers was an interesting person, but more than that, he was part of many cultural collectives that spanned from New York to Canada to L.A. It's nice to have learned how all these worlds were connected.
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By Steven on November 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Wonderful biography of the man I only knew as the host of New Wave Theater. Fascinating fellow. The book strikes the perfect balance between biography and oral history. So many books fail too far in one direction or the other. I'm so sorry Peter Ivers left the world so young.
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