From Publishers Weekly
"I have never met any of them. Perhaps that's best," writes composer James Russell Smith of the Fab Four?and, where this book's diverse, refreshingly outsider takes on the band and their music are concerned, Smith hits the mark. These 56 essays, excerpts, short stories and poems, collected and reprinted by the three poet-editors from diverse sources, reflect how their authors?music critic Greil Marcus, poets David Wojan and Donald Hall, early Beatle Stuart Sutcliffe and many others?have loved and internalized the Beatles and their music. Robert Sullivan, for example, discusses his anxieties resulting from his son's selection of a favorite Beatle different from his own; in his poem "Portland Coliseum," Allen Ginsburg exultantly recounts attending an early Beatles concert. Indeed, the Beatles' very public February 9, 1964, appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show comes up again and again in these pages as a sort of mantra for a generation's coming of age (though Leonard Bernstein writes of how the four moptops overwhelmed a 46-year-old conductor on that winter night). Not all of the writers flatter the band?witness Larry Neal's attempt to explain the Beatles' failure to capture the hearts of some African Americans, or Eric Gamalinda's wonderful yarn about the band's disastrous trip to the Philippines. For sheer fun and creativity, however, Timothy Leary's essay "Thank God for the Beatles" alone justifies the price of admission: "John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr are mutants.... Evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with mysterious power to create a new human species." Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This diary, which reads like a novel, begins in October 1974 and records the process of writing and rehearsing Shylock and opening the play in New York in 1977, with final entries in 1985. Wesker is a major British playwright whose play attracted international talent: director John Dexter, Zero Mostel, John Clements, Marian Seldes, and others. Getting a play to performance is a form of warfare, in which the combatants are committed artists in a collaborative art form. This is the record of a long, sustained struggle, usually cordial, often loving, occasionally rancorousAand one that survived the disaster of a star's death. Wesker is insightful about the process, capturing the exhilaration and risk of creativity and making the participants vivid characters. The Broadway system gives the director, designer, and producer final decision authority, and with great eloquence, Wesker cries out for the primacy of the writer. His passion is persuasive. Required reading.AThomas E. Luddy, Salem State Coll., MA
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.