CRUEL SHOES

When it comes to humor, it's the printed page that separates the men—like Woody Allen—from the boys. . . like Steve Martin. Without the Martin stand-up persona to project them, these 50 or so mini-pieces mostly fall flat—and the lack of variety is numbing. Stories, poems, anecdotes, jokes; whatever the form, nearly all of these bits are based on a single comic notion: deadpan, mildly absurdist parody. So: "How to Fold Soup." Or pseudo-existentialist parables. Or: "Dr. Fitzbee's Lucky Astrology Diet." Or parodies of artsy poetry, pompous art criticism, or the literati—all of which have been done better before, often in college humor magazines. And, without Martin's sneakily subversive all-American demeanor (his only inspired joke), one can't make much of a selection that reads in entirety: "La la loo de doo. . . . Oh gawsh. . . . Hey, buddy. . . . Hey, cumon back. . . . la la la la. . . . Dime fa a cuwa coffa? Hey. . . . la la la." Budding comics may want to use this book to find out if they have what it takes to read these whimsies aloud in a way that makes them funny—and Martin's young fans, who don't understand what most of the jokes are about, will probably enjoy it most. (Their parents, however, may not be pleased with some of the stuff here that could never be heard on TV).

Pub Date: June 15, 1979

ISBN: 0517330806

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 18, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1979

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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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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