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The Essential Liz Callaway
The Essential Liz Callaway
Offered by Liz Callaway
Price: $13.95
19 used & new from $13.42

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars not when there are so many great versions of great tunes that had to be left ..., December 15, 2015
There is no doubt Liz Callaway is a magnificent singer, though the label “songstress” might be preferred by some die-hard fans. Liz understands what she is singing, she understands the lyrics because she understands what the songwriter wants to convey. Simply put, she knows how songs should be sung. Listen to her take on “Meadowlark” and you will understand the Callaway crush.
Her new CD “The Essential Liz Callaway” is a welcome addition to her canon. Of course "Meadowlark" and the stellar "The Story Goes On” are here. But essential? No, not when there are so many great versions of great tunes that had to be left out. Wait! That rumbling . . . do we hear rumors of volumes II and III?
It’s tricky to make “live” recordings work, to make listeners feel what those in the audience felt. Few singers (and the people who produced and engineered their works) did this correctly: Judy at Carnegie Hall, Liza at Carnegie Hall and, of course, the best, Dame Shirley at Carnegie Hall. The “live” tunes Callaway has included are dandy teasers . . . listen and you’ll find yourself yearning to attend one of her concerts.

Tails from the Booth
Tails from the Booth
by Lynn Terry
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.73
98 used & new from $0.96

5.0 out of 5 stars http: //www. examiner., November 27, 2015
This review is from: Tails from the Booth (Hardcover)

Kaye, Danny - Legends
Kaye, Danny - Legends
DVD ~ Kaye
Price: $16.49
21 used & new from $10.83

3 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars four great seasons of variety entertainment, October 31, 2015
This review is from: Kaye, Danny - Legends (DVD)
Danny Kaye was an extraordinary performer. The toast of Broadway from "Lady in the Dark" in the early '40s through "Two by Two" in the early '70s, he was a smash. He was boffo in movies, from "Up in Arms" (1944) through "The Madwoman of Chaillot" (1969) with Katherine Hepburn, all home run hits, no walks, no errors. And on television, four great seasons of variety entertainment, plus Captain Hook to Mia Farrow's "Peter Pan" in 1976 and the breathtaking, heartbreaking Max Feldman in 1981's "Skokie" only added to the luster of his talent.

There's been a sort of renaissance of Kaye with the new availability of almost all of his films and out of sequence "best of" from the variety "The Danny Kaye Show." Well, MVD has released six complete episodes of the show (that ran 1963-1967k), with Kaye welcoming some of the greatest icons of American entertainment. Included are Louis Armstrong, Lucille Ball, Tony Bennett, George Burns, Imogene Coca, Shirley Jones, Liberace and an uncredited mouse sneaking around upstage right of Lucy Ball in a sketch. That a mouse should be noticed suggests the level of excitement here.

Possibly it's a matter of aging: Comedy does not travel well from decade to decade. Also, Kaye himself is something of an anomaly. Even given the noxious rumors about his sex life, he is a strangely asexual performer. Someone from the period as laid back as Perry Como does have a modicum of sexual attractiveness. Kaye is warm and loving and pleasing, but somehow lacking. Something just doesn't ring true. God knows Kaye is energetic, active, bouncy even, perhaps at times, exhausting in his rampant desire to please. Not since Sammy Davis Jr. has there been a performer who should haven take a Valium or offer them to his audience. Like Davis Jr., Kaye dances, sings, acts, does imitations, comic monologues and just about anything else in the field of entertainment at a breakneck speed, thrown helter skelter at his audience with the guest stars dragged along just for the fun of it.

Such is the lack of subtlety here that the mouse should be noticed. There are tons of entertainment superstars here that seem wasted. The anticipation and excitement of this time capsule of entertainment is strangely muted in the consumption. No one is as good as expected, or hoped for. As a piece of entertainment history, these shows are invaluable. They're just not very entertaining.

The Man from U.N.C.L.E: Season 1
The Man from U.N.C.L.E: Season 1
DVD ~ Robert Vaughn
Price: $17.99
34 used & new from $13.29

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Spies! Gizmos and gadgets! And Tura Satana in the first season of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E.", July 30, 2015
All you fans of '60s television are in for a real treat. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will be releasing (on August 4) the premiere season of "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." Smart move, so audiences can (re)visit the classic TV show, before the big-screen version is released a few days later.

The trio from "U.N.C.L.E."
Author's collection
We can all go on those wonderful adventures all over the world populated by some of the oddest characters from any show. Spies, gadgets, gizmos and a host of guest stars teach how to blow up the world in under an hour, which all of the bad guys here seem intent on doing.

In this hit spoof of the omnipresent spy thrillers of the period (think Bond . . . James Bond), top secret agents Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin save the world weekly in 29 episodes. Remember hearing the fights and screams, and seeing the bruises and scratches, resulting from heated arguments between high-school ladies over the attractions of one spy (Solo, played by dapper Robert Vaughn) over the other (Kuryakin, played by boyish David McCallum). Some, prefering a guy more mature, simply choose Leo G. Carroll, who, as Alexander Waverly, kept the guys in a never ending battle against evil, chaos, crime and bad taste.

The guest stars can be pretty cool: Fritz Weaver, William Marshall, Carroll O'Connor, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner in the same pre-"Star Trek" show, and, of course, the ever lovely Roger Corman icon Tura Satana, all bosom and bravura, in the episode called "The Finny Foot Affair."

These suspenseful black-and-white mini masterpieces are a true gas. Add a little suspense and fun to your life and pick up this collection. You'll be crying for more "U.N.C. L.E."

The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation
The Book of Joan: Tales of Mirth, Mischief, and Manipulation
by Melissa Rivers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.48
265 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Melissa Rivers' book on Dead Mommy Joan: An act of grief? No, think greed, July 26, 2015
Melissa Rivers writes a book about her mother and it is published a year after Missy took Joanie off a respirator and Joan went to Heaven or Hell . . . or neither, since Missy writes that mama didn't believe in either. But Mama believed in hating Ben Stiller and Katie Couric and Dane Cook and many other of her peers. She believed in using two four-letters words (they begin with F and C) and much as possible. She believed in hating Costa Rica, lesbians (she preferred the word "dykes"), And so many other unsavory things. And so Melissa writes this tome of "tales of mirth, mischief and manipulation" because Crown Publishing editor Suzanne O'Neill attended Mama's funeral, went up to her, shoved her business card into Missy's hand . . . and signaled for her to call. Missy did call, and Suzy made an offer for her to write a "Mother's Day book." And Missy, who is a media whore and doesn't work (unless living off Mama's name is working), said yes. Another way to make oodles of money. Let's not forget Joan died and Missy got $250 million. Joan's mansion sold and Joan gets $25 million. It's sad that this daughter's essays underscore Joan's insecurity and Melissa's love to cussing. It was a mommy-daughter team that seems . . .a bit eerie, distasteful and exploitative. Shame!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 9, 2015 6:13 PM PST

The King and I
The King and I
Price: $12.79
60 used & new from $4.55

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... new Broadway revival of "The King and I" is like meeting up with an old friend, July 13, 2015
This review is from: The King and I (Audio CD)
Listening to the CD of the new Broadway revival of "The King and I" is like meeting up with an old friend. Fond memories are followed by questioning why it's been so long since first meeting. The honesty, humor, story, melodies, and most of all words like "heart" and "love", come rushing back. Here is an extraordinary story of love and loss, but most of all the strength of love, and the extraordinary power of the memory of love.

Ken Watanabe as King Mongkut of Siam and Kelli O’Hara as Anna Leonowens, surrounded by young actors playing the king’s children.
Annie Leibovitz
From the majestic, foreign, and almost frightening crashing chords of the Overture, the audience knows it's as far away from Oklahoma or a second-rate carnival as it can be. But Anna, the school teacher from far away Wales, tells us to whistle a happy tune, so no one will ever know you're afraid. And that's in her first song. Her second song, "Hello, Young Lovers," is as popular as any Broadway song ever, yet it's the introductory verse, when she thinks about her lost love, is seldom remembered:

When I think of Tom, I think about a night,
When the earth smelled of summer
And the sky was streaked with white
And the soft mist of England was sleeping on a hill
I remember this, and I always will.
There are new lovers now on the same silent hill
Looking at he same blue sea
And I know Tom and I are a part of them all,
And they're all a part of Tom and me.

OK. Wipe away the tear (unless you're an oaf) and get this CD from Universal Music Classics. There's a new Lady Anna, a new King, and, of course, the music, some remembered, some forgotten, but all loved and missed.

Throughout the years, Anna has been played, originally, by the great Gertrude Lawrence, but the role on Broadway has been graced by Constance Carpenter, Celeste Holm, Constance Towers, Angela Lansbury, Mary Beth Peil, Donna Murphy and Faith Prince. The film had the gorgeous Deborah Kerr, dubbed with Marni Nixon's gorgeous voice. In this new recording Kelli O'Hara make the role her own---honest and heartbreaking, witty and wise. She is the best Anna recorded. (No wonder she won a Tony for her performance. And the production won a Tony for Best Revival of a Musical!)

The role of the King is acted and sung by Ken Watanabe. Scuttlebutt before the opening was that he was having such trouble with English, his second language, as to be nearly unintelligible. Well, in this recording, not only can one understand every syllable, but the effort to speak perfect English only adds to the pathos of the role. Originally played by Yul Brynner, as the years went on and Brynner repeated and repeated the role in endless revivals and tours, the role of Anna got smaller and smaller and the role of the King became more and more important. This has been corrected here.

Parenthetically, it was originally planned by the creators of the show that the King be played by Noel Coward, hopefully recreating the magic that Noel and Gertie had in previous Broadway outings "Private Lives" and "Tonight at 8:30." It was not to be, as Coward couldn't afford to act on Broadway in a production that he hadn't written and for which he was not receiving royalties in addition to an acting salary. As royalties prohibited Coward from playing royalty (sorry...), stories about exactly who recommended Brynner, reputed to be the meanest actor in the business, are legend. As Marlene Dietrich was Brynner's consort at the time, he was traveling in pretty heady circles.

Nevertheless, in this new recording, we have the most complete and uniformly best sung "The King and I" ever. Included in the recording is the seldom heard "Western People Funny" , "Small House of Uncle Tom", and the most complete and beautiful "Finale Ultimo". Buy it, but bring handkerchiefs, and expect warm, rueful smiles.

I Left It on the Mountain: A Memoir
I Left It on the Mountain: A Memoir
by Kevin Sessums
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.19
87 used & new from $0.01

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poor little rich girl, April 7, 2015
As Noel Coward said some 80 years ago:

Poor little rich girl, you're a bewitched girl, better take care.
Laughing at danger, virtue a stranger, better beware!
The life you lead sets all your nerves a jangle,
Your love affairs are in a hopeless tangle,
Though your a child,dear, your life's a wild typhoon.
In lives of leisure, the craze for pleasure steadily grows
Cocktails and laughter, but what comes after, nobody knows . . .

Kevin Sessums lived on the edge; he had a large and teetering townhouse there. When your muses are Courtney Love, Madonna and Jessica Lange, when you hang out with Michael J. Fox, Hugh Jackman, and Diane Sawyer, when your bosses are Andy Warhol, Tina Brown and Graydon Carter, grasping reality can become an all consuming if futile endeavor. If your only refuge is the world of celebrity, if you cannot recognize the difference between carnality and spirituality, if, as the wondrous Bridget "Polk" Berlin said to him, you're "sick and tired of being sick and tired," where do you go? What do you do? What can possibly help anyone with more money and famous friends, more parties, more openings and downtown orgies to attend? What comes after? Nobody knows.
In I Left It on the Mountain: A Memoir (St. Martin's Press, $25.99), Sessums describes how, starved for famous celebrities, he arrived in New York City at a perfect time. With an ambition to be an author, he easily slid into journalism, and became, for a decade, a premiere celebrity journalist. But writing about famous people is not being a famous person, searching for the crack in a star's patina to make them human both to the superstar and supermarket readers, pandering to the lowest common denominator of dish, gossip and innuendo, takes a toll on the human spirit. And Sessums did everything he could to alleviate the emptiness.
He climbed Kilimanjaro, he communed with a crucifix and a Ganesh, and he walked the Camino de Santiago, a voyage of discovery made by pilgrims for nearly 2,000 years. Rather than find the answer, he became a near-homeless broken-down crack head, loosing his work, his home, his two pet dogs and nearly his life to the insidious drug. If his expedition seems extraordinary, it is. And Sessuns does find the answer, ultimately, that had always been with him, but took this extraordinary journey to discover. It's a discovery we all have to make.
Refining his talent as a celebrity journalist has made this episodic memoir, a sort of sequel to Mississippi Sissy, flow effortlessly. He is gifted with the ability to write prose that is not merely felicitous, but actually exciting to read. The adventures, the incredible highs and lows of his life are more than credibly presented. Sessums' pride in accomplishing both the Camino and the Kilimanjaro is palatable, the grace and spirituality mixed with an odd pride can be felt on every page. As can the pain and shame and extraordinary spirituality in the complete descent into nearly becoming a non-human.
Becoming a memorialist in New York, following in the footsteps of Ned Rorem, is a difficult path to choose. It requires a mind, a heart and a soul, in equal parts, and one fierce ability with words. Sessums has all this, and more. Hopefully, he will instruct us by exposing his heart, soul and mind to us a lot more.

Going Veggie: The Simple 30-Day Guide to Becoming a Healthy Vegetarian
Going Veggie: The Simple 30-Day Guide to Becoming a Healthy Vegetarian
by Trudy Slabosz
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.34
54 used & new from $4.49

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I have no beef. Actually, I do and I promise to stop and go veggie, February 9, 2015
My New Year's resolutions?
Stop watching TV. (Done!)
Pray and meditate daily. (Done and done!)
Lose weight. (Done, 26 pounds!)
Stop eating meat and become a vegetarian . . . even part-time. (Failed!)
And so I was gifted with Going Veggie: The 3-Day Guide to Becoming a Healthy Vegetarian, which just might work.
The soft-bound skinny full-cover book not only features inspiring and satisfying meals, but will take you step-by-step through the transition while answering your every question and concern about going vegetarian. Lesson 1: Becoming a vegetarian is not simply about giving up meat, but rather finding a healthy lifestyle that will make you feel your best. Written by Trudy Slabosz, a longtime vegetarian, Going Veggie will give you the encouragement and support needed on your fun and adventurous path to vegetarianism. Complete with a 30-day program to wean you off the meat-heavy Standard American Diet as well as 50 recipes for nutrient-packed meals, Going Veggie offers tricks for acquiring essential proteins using plant-based options, advice on navigating tough spots and cravings, and tips on how to deal with group dinners and ordering at restaurants.
Next stop: Cook up some Curried Lentil Soup with Coconut and Cashews.

Hillary: The Coloring Book
Hillary: The Coloring Book
by Valentin Ramon
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.75
62 used & new from $3.99

1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Color Mrs. Clinton a winner. Then get ready for calling her Miss President, February 9, 2015
Will she or won’t she?
Of course she will.
And when Hillary Rodham Clinton announces her candidacy in the 2016 US Presidential race we can color her winner.
To honor America’s best-known female politician, we bring you Hillary: The Coloring Book (Ulysses Press, $10), a fun and nifty way to color her the way you see her.
Grab some crayons and add your own twist to these 30 unforgettable moments of her life. You’ll capture her early childhood and academic accomplishments, her time as first lady in Arkansas and later in the White House, and years in the Senate and State Department, as well as her entire political career right up to the launch of the 2016 Presidential Race. Bill and Barack and a newborn Chelsea are included in some illustrations, and the copy that accompanies each page is fact-filled without being a snooze.
You can even design the ultimate Hillary 2016 campaign poster.
All 30 hand-drawn images are ready to be colored—including the iconic “Texts from Hillary” moment—and are accompanied by fascinating facts about the life and times of America’s Madam President-in-Waiting.
Color this a winner and pass the Macaroni and Cheese and Radical Red crayons, please.

Patty Hearst & The Twinkie Murders: A Tale of Two Trials (Outspoken Authors)
Patty Hearst & The Twinkie Murders: A Tale of Two Trials (Outspoken Authors)
by Paul Krassner
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.42
46 used & new from $1.22

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paul Krassner's writing has always been extraordinary. Now we have this amazing book!, November 26, 2014
Reading Paul Krassner is like imbibing LSD: describing it ain’t nothing like experiencing it. PM Press, a relatively new publishing outfit, has a great series called Outspoken Authors, which is nothing short of mind expanding, strangely serendipitous and desperately needed today. Everyone you ever wanted to read but were afraid to admit you didn’t know is here: Michael Moorcock, Ursula Le Guin, Cory Doctorow and a host of other. Hopefully, this list will grow and increase, but in the meantime they have a bouquet of Paul Krassner material to warm the heart of any aging radical or hippy, and instruct and educate anyone young and interested in the history of the United States.
Titled Patty Hearst & the Twinkie Murders: A Tale of Two Trials, the book explains in chilling detail how a woman can be sentenced to 35 years in prison after being kidnapped and brainwashed for robbing a bank, and how a man can be sentenced to six years for killing a mayor and city Supervisor, shooting the mayor several times in the body and head and then re-loading to take care of the supervisor. Interlaced here is the Jim Jones tragedy, so the stories explain two urban clichés, “drinking the cool aid”, which resulted in the deaths of over nine hundred people in what became known as the Jonestown Massacre, and the “Twinkie defense”, which justified the two murders in city hall.
Experiencing Krassner’s writing is extraordinary. There’s no fireworking mumbo jumbo attack on the English language that “New Journalism” and Tom Wolfe inflicted on America, nor is it any mystic stream of consciousness nonsense. It straight out brilliantly written and reasoned prose describing the unbelievable and utterly outrageous and mind boggling hypocrisy of aspects of American culture. Krassner’s writing proceeds logically, describing himself and his friends in the moment of whatever he happens to be working on. For example, during the police riots supposedly defending city hall from thousands of gay people reacted to the absurd sentence the murderer of a gay city supervisor received, Krassner relates how his experience with a policeman wielding a billy club left him crippled for life.
About Krassner the late George Carlin said: “The FBI was right–this man is dangerous–and funny and necessary.”
If you don’t know Krassner, buy this book.
If you do know Krassner, I know you will.

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