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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: $9.25
43 used & new from $5.24

2 of 2 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.

My Dream Duets
My Dream Duets
Price: $13.99
55 used & new from $6.83

5 of 24 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The only dead one missing is Jesus Christ, October 29, 2014
This review is from: My Dream Duets (Audio CD)
He's old. His voice is wobbly. He is relying on dead people to help him. What next? A duet with Christ?

Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror
Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror
by W. Scott Poole
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.56
39 used & new from $10.17

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Maila Nurmi, sub-B actress, remains a legend as Vampira, Dark Goddess of Horror, October 12, 2014
Under the clever guise of biography, W. Scott Poole has written a fascinating and illuminating socio-sexual history of the last half decade of American Pop Culture. Vampira: Dark Goddess of Horror (Soft Skull Press, $16.95) is, on the surface, a biography of a very minor cult heroine who had a brief career as a Los Angeles television movie hostess and a briefer career as a sub-B movie actress. Maila Nurmi, the actress behind the character, was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1922, and passed from this realm in January of 2008. Yet she wasn’t buried until friends raised the necessary money at a benefit at the Steve Allen Theater, and found her final resting place the following year in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
Living on the edge of poverty all of her life, she nevertheless had spreads in Life, TV Guide and millions of trashy super market tabloids. Nurmi hit the television screen in 1955, and forever changed the face of horror. The Vampira character was probably originally created by Charles Addams of New Yorker fame, and probably exploited to the fullest by Cassandra Peterson as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. Characters in pop culture tend to morph in cycles, but Nurmi was the first to embody a living rather cartoon character, followed by Carolyn Jones and Yvonne DeCarlo in The Addams Family and The Munsters.
But somehow Nurmi seemed to signify any number of forbidden fruits verboten in the '50s. She was a cultural and sexual renegade, and her signature scream could mean anything from mortal pain to incredible orgasm, leaving her astounded audience to fill in the blanks. From her television show to her brief association with Ed Wood and the worst film ever made, Plan Nine from Outer Space, through Tim Burton's 1994 Ed Wood, Vampira has almost always been with us, just on the edge of our consciousness. Would there be a Madonna or Lady Gaga without this empowered character showing the way to create anything that the public will devour? W. Scott Poole explores deftly and accurately the history and the politics of both feminism and “the outsider,” the parts of America pushed to the curb but yearning for acceptance, love, and financial success, the “new and shiny” promise of the (supposed) post war era. Poole has done a great job in bringing such a variety of disparate pieces into a singular whole, and this book should be bought and read by anyone interested in the unspoken history of Hollywood, and the darker story of our culture.

Diary of a Mad Diva
Diary of a Mad Diva
by Joan Rivers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $16.90
94 used & new from $13.37

2 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Media Whore Musings, August 28, 2014
This review is from: Diary of a Mad Diva (Hardcover)
Media Whore Musings. Again.

One Touch of Venus
One Touch of Venus
DVD ~ Janet Blair
Price: $20.39
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A strangely pedestrian score for Kurt Weill leaves Venus orbiting the wrong way, May 14, 2014
This review is from: One Touch of Venus (DVD)
The fabled Kurt Weill-Ogden Nash musical One Touch of Venus was once, almost 60 years ago, filmed for television. While this sounds like a wonderful idea, it is, alas, rather unfortunate. Fabled yet unseen classics should perhaps remain that way.
Continuing the Video Artists International series of TV musicals broadcast in the '50s, including Bloomer Girl, Connecticut Yankee and Groucho Marx in The Mikado (no, I'm not making this up), One Touch of Venus is something of the Holy Grail. With Weill doing the score, Nash the lyrics, and S.J. Perelman the book, what could go wrong?
Well, let's just say that it really doesn't age well.
The show, with Mary Martin no less, opened on Broadway in 1943 and played for more than 500 performances, and five years later was made into a musical starring Ava Gardner. It tells the story of the goddess Venus coming to life and wreaking havoc in modern day Manhattan. This television version, done in 1955, stars Janet Blair as Venus, and she's as charming and gamine-like as you could want. It also stars Russell Nype, Ethel Merman's foil in Call Me Madam, and a fair amount of Broadway names from the fifties, such as George Gaynes, Mort Marshall, and, for you true Broadway musical queens, a pre-Shipoopi'd Iggie Wolfington (O.K., it was The Music Man). Directed by George Schaefer, what could go wrong?
Well, maybe the original material leaves something to be desired.
To begin with, the work itself is strange. It's one of the few storied classics that is not mentioned by Sondheim in his two volume encyclopedia of Broadway and how it relates to his career. Although it may be anathema to say, it seems almost as if the two collaborators never met . . . like Weill gave Nash some music to set lyrics to, and Nash gave Weill some lyrics to set music to. The rhyme schemes are very peculiar, stretched to the breaking point, especially for someone who is rivaled only by Dorothy Parker for light, humorous verse. And, other than the song "Speak Low," and maybe "I'm a Stranger Here Myself," it's a strangely pedestrian score for Weill.
Nevertheless, Video Artists International is to be congratulated and encouraged for continuing to unearth Broadway history, There are bound to be some klunkers, but fans are going to gobble all of this stuff up, as well they should.

Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story
Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story
by Carol Burnett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.99
255 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Carol Burnett, a loving mother whose loss lingers and love continues, January 5, 2014
t’s always nice to spend time together with Carol Burnett.
She received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the nation's foremost award for humor, in October, and the Kennedy Center ceremony was broadcast the other evening, a perfect way to bring in the New Year . . . with lots of classic footage, a handful of Carol’s Big Name Friends and oodles of new laughs.
While seeing her daughters Jody and Erin (and her handsome hubby Brian Miller) sitting with her, I started thinking about Carol's oldest daughter, Carrie Hamilton. Carrie died, at 38, of cancer in 2002; last year, Carol wrote Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story (Simon & Schuster), a bittersweet journey about her life and laughs and loss with Carrie. The book is being released in paperback this April.
Carol called one day and we chatted about the book but I never got around to writing about that talk.
It simply hurt me too much.
I knew Carrie from her work on Fame and other TV shows, and the day I spent with her for a Redbook cover story. She dropped by my office looking fab; maybe the word is “hot.” Her locks were very blonde, the cut very sleek; the smile broad and bright; she was glowing from the critical acclaim she had received for her role as an American singer headed to Japan in the film Tokyo Pop. Carrie was clean as well, off drugs for years, surviving an addiction that almost killed her and her relationship with her mother.
Carol uses this Carrie quote in the book, 40 words that sums up her humanity: “More than anything, we are remembered for our smiles: the ones we share with our closest and dearest, and the one we bestow on a total stranger who needs it right then, and God has put us there to deliver.”
I just reread the transcript of our chat, and still weep.
So I offer two simple questions and answers, a few photos and a request that you read Carrie and Me. Now. You will read it and savor two voices, mother and daughter; you will laugh and cry and love.
How do you deal with the loss?
It still hurts, but it gets easier. Now I celebrate her life instead of mourning her death.
Carrie was so beautiful inside and out.
Yes, and a wildly optimistic human being. When Tokyo Pop came out, Marlon Brando wanted to work with her and she turned him down! When I was thinking of writing the book, I asked Carrie for her permission---I threw it out to the universe, and the answer came to me in a dream. I saw her face and she said yes. I hope the world knows the kind of human being she was.

The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows
The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows
by Mother Dolores Hart
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.98
12 used & new from $21.98

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars God spoke into the ear of her heart and it was a long journey for a woman Elvis kisser, December 14, 2013
Few Hollywood stars have left tinsel and glamour to dedicate their lives to God. The Ear of the Heart: An Actress' Journey from Hollywood to Holy Vows, a new biography from Ignatius Press, is just that
story, and it packs a wallop: Laughter, tears hope, and a truly engrossing and thrilling story. Not your average Hollywood story of sin and splendor, that's for sure.
Dolores Hicks was born in Chicago in the fall of 1938, she was, oddly enough, the niece of Mario Lanza. More strangely, considering her vocation, Dolores Hart, as Hollywood renamed her, made her film debut at the age of nine in the censor-troubled Forever Amber. Based on the novel by Kathleen Winsor the book was dubbed Forever Under by wags because of its heavy sexual content.
Hart went on to co-star with Anthony Franciosa, Montgomery Clift, Frances Farmer, John Saxon and some singer from Tupelo, Mississippi ...what was his name? Oh, yes Elvis Presley. Hart co-starred with the King twice, in her first starring role, Loving You, and then King Creole. Yet, in the early '60s, although things were going gangbusters career-wise, Hart sensed something was missing. Not even that the boys were missing.
Another King.
Perhaps co-starring with Bradford Dillman in Francis of Assisi, or really as she relates, it was something that was always there. Finally understanding her vocation, she became a Benedictine Nun, now known as Mother Dolores of the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut. God truly spoke into the ear of her heart, and as this book will show you, it was a long and amazing journey for a woman who gave Presley his first screen kiss.
Need more prayer and prose? More heart full Hart unfolds in HBO's God is the Bigger Elvis, one of five nominees for Oscar's Best Documentary. The short subject (a mere 35-minutes) examines the same infamous Bible of info---Mother Dolores's transformation from a Hollywood ingenue, Presley's first on-screen smooch to her final role as a cloistered Benedictine nun at the abbey for nearly a decade---and much more.
Praise the Lord and pass the old films.

Not Your Mother's Meatloaf: A Sex Education Comic Book
Not Your Mother's Meatloaf: A Sex Education Comic Book
by Saiya Miller
Edition: Paperback
Price: $12.93
57 used & new from $2.91

1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All About Sex, Comic Book Style and Quite Animated, July 18, 2013
The birds and bees were never like this when we were growing up. We learned about the differences between men and women by snatching copies of Playboy . . . and letting our hands do the walking. We further stroked the subject with Playgirl, Drummer, Blueboy, Hustler, Screw, San Francisco Ball and, of course, David Reuben's infamous classic. But everything you ever wanted to really know about sex can be found in the new, nifty and slightly off-balance Not Your Mother's Meatloaf.
Authors Saiya Miller and Liza Bley put out a call in 2008, asking young people to create comics that addressed a myriad of sex topics. And address it they did, in such headings as "Bodies," "Age" and "Endings." The graphic panels take a whack at everything from excessive female armpit hair to the pleasure of orgasm through a bit of S&M.
And we don't mean Streisand and Minnelli.

Wagner & Me
Wagner & Me
DVD ~ Stephen Fry
Price: $24.99
8 used & new from $11.56

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stephen Fry takes on Wagner and Hitler in a brilliant film, June 30, 2013
This review is from: Wagner & Me (DVD)
Stephen Fry is one of the funniest men on earth, a man possessed of great acting talent. Think of the hysterical TV series A Bit of Fry and Laurie, 26 episodes co-starring Hugh Laurie revered as great comic genius to his awarding-winning portrayal of Oscar Wilde, his talent is enormous and somewhat audacious.
Richard Wagner was an incredibly abstruse German composer, author of many operas and especially well known for his series of creations collectively called Te Ring, four operas based of Germany's most popular myths. Wagner was Adolph Hitler's favorite composer. Fry is Jewish, and just old enough to recall the results of the Second World War.
So, why in the name of heaven would he do a motion picture entitled Wagner & Me (First Run Features)? Wagner was Adolph Hitler's very favorite composer, representing to him both the best of the Master Race and a faux history and prophecy of the Third Reich. How could an Englishman, who is Jewish, possibly reconcile Wagner's music with history and reality?
Fry explores the beauty and complexities of the opera Parsifal and the four pieces composing the ring: Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried and Gotterdammerung. Visually stunning, Fry traces Wagner's life, both personal and creative. The audience is treated to a tour of Europe and the composer's search for fame, fortune, recognition, and, frequently, his next meal, in 18h century Europe. Late in life, a gay flirtation with the mad King Ludwig, with Wagner counterfeiting similar feelings, led to final financial stability and the building of a special theatre in Bayreuth just for Wagner's mammoth productions. The four operas of The Ring are sumptuously performed there yearly, and for decades it has literally been the hottest ticket in the world, impossibly expensive even if you're lucky enough to be offered one. The waiting list for subscriptions, said to be a highly guarded secret, is reportedly enormous. Drawing untold thousands of fans every year, there is a demand for over a half a million tickets for a supply of on 58, 000. The waiting list is between five and ten years, at least, with somewhat Draconian rules and regs just for the applications.
Fry was able to obtain tickets to all four operas. But how to reconcile the obvious and complex problem here? With humor, charm, pain, soul-searching, and an infinity of questions, Fry attains the obvious answer. Hitler is arguably the most evil man of the last century, the destruction, pain and suffering he caused can never be understood. Fry, with a great deal of help, realizes that we must not let this monster's action stain the beauty of the composer's genius. It is impossible to deny Der Fuhrer's affection for the music, and it is impossible to overlook the composer's anti-Semitism. Yet one must force oneself, however difficult, to have the strength to look beyond the hatred and see, and most of all, feel, the beauty of the music. Fry suggests that while any sort of forgiveness may be out of the question, one must be able to step beyond the sordid history and appreciate the genius that created this beauty. This DVD follows Fry's search for a reconciliation, and is instructive, inspiring, and quite simply an incredible journey.

The Head That Wears a Crown: Speeches for Royal Men by William Shakespeare
The Head That Wears a Crown: Speeches for Royal Men by William Shakespeare
Price: $14.79
28 used & new from $9.33

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Alan Cumming and the Bard: A marriage made in literary heaven, May 18, 2013
From the Tony he won for Cabaret some seasons back to the Emmy nominations for The Good Wife, Alan Cumming has had quite a varied career. Adding Shakespeare to the mix isn't that big of a jump-he just opened on Broadway in a limited-run production of Macbeth in which he plays all nods roles.
Perfect timing: Cumming has a new CD, and if you're any kind of a Shakespeare fan, grab it. The Head that Wears a Crown (GPR Records), as you'd imagine, is taken mostly from the History Plays. The Bard's Tragedies and Comedies have always taken a front seat to the Histories, yet we find some of the Bard's most poetic and moving language in the dissections of the power of the king. And, though Cumming includes Hamlet, As You Like It, The Tempest, Titus Andronicus and Twelfth Night, he relies on the Richards and Henrys here. He seems to find something essentially human and moving in each and every character, King and Commoner. More astoundingly, as disparate as the myriad kings and characters are, Cumming seems to create one single voice and man that embraces all of these different characters into one being. This being is flawed, searching for the truth, searching for power, searching for love, all the time considering and examining the options and obstructions to his search. The genius of Shakespeare in creating all these characters is no surprise, but that one single actor could take all the various parts and create one cohesive whole is astounding.
The faint Scottish burr that waves in and out of Cumming's speech seems to add to the pace and variety he brings to the project. Ripping some consonants and softening others, stretching some vowels to nearly their breaking point and foreshortening some to a clipped breath are just some of the technical tools in Cumming's talent. His overwhelming genius is being able to take speeches from the cunning, crookbacked Richard III; the ineffectual, poetic Richard II; the warmongering Henry V; and weave them with his profound intellect and talent into one voice, one lone human facing the slings and arrows that life shoots at him.
The Head that Wears a Crown belongs with the great recordings of Gielgud and Olivier from the previous age, and will doubtless do double duty in bringing the fans of Cumming to Shakespeare, and the fans of Shakespeare to Cumming. This is not a recording which will disappoint.

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