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I Left It on the Mountain: A Memoir
I Left It on the Mountain: A Memoir
by Kevin Sessums
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.25
73 used & new from $8.45

2 of 2 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: $14.19
67 used & new from $7.90

1 of 1 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.
Seriously.
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: $7.87
65 used & new from $3.88

1 of 3 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: $10.74
57 used & new from $5.99

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.


My Dream Duets
My Dream Duets
Price: $9.99
72 used & new from $3.61

6 of 27 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: $13.68
61 used & new from $6.60

6 of 7 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: $19.53
166 used & new from $0.01

3 of 13 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: $24.99
9 used & new from $18.90

8 of 12 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: $9.46
246 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: $21.20
88 used & new from $3.54

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.


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