An aural and visual immersion like no other, showing the dimensions that “books” can explore onscreen that they can’t in...

TWICE UPON A TIME

LISTENING TO NEW YORK

A visionary e-book exploring the medium’s multimedia possibilities while offering meditations on the sounds of New York and the life and work of the late street composer Moondog.

Though Kunzru has earned international acclaim for his novels (Gods Without Men, 2012, etc.), he has never written anything quite like this—and neither has anyone else. In fact, “written” might be the wrong word, for this melding of sense, sound and illustration might as well be described as having been constructed, designed or curated. The content of the 6,200-word “immersive essay” can’t be separated from the way readers apprehend the words on the screen. Often, a page of text reveals itself in sections, with different typography, all the while accompanied by the sounds of the city and the percussion of Moondog. As a newcomer to the city transplanted from England, Kunzru chose Moondog as his guide, notwithstanding the fact that the musician was blind and had died in 1999. The author, whose brother is blind, thought that what some might see as a handicap could be a virtue: “The blind develop an appreciation for precision, repetition, knowability.” Though Moondog left New York in 1974 for Germany, his music, influence and legacy live on. As someone who once lived in the spare room of composer Philip Glass and performed with musicians as disparate as Charlie Parker, Peter Seeger and Tiny Tim, the composer and percussionist embodied something essential and ineffable about New York for the newcomer. Kunzru’s meditation reflects not only what remains of Moondog’s legacy, but what has changed so profoundly over the city’s subsequent decades. This work reflects the experience of Kunzru’s first six months in the city, six years ago; he has now married and moved to Brooklyn.

An aural and visual immersion like no other, showing the dimensions that “books” can explore onscreen that they can’t in print.

Pub Date: May 20, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-937894-34-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Atavist Books

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2014

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. AND THE MARCH ON WASHINGTON

This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

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