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Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “The Downtown Book”

The New York Art Scene in the period of 1974 thru 1984 was ‘on fire’. So much was going on everywhere! This book covers the scene!

The Downtown Book

The Downtown Book

Downtown is more than just a location, it’s an attitude–and in the 1970s and ’80s, that attitude forever changed the face of America. This book charts the intricate web of influences that shaped the generation of experimental and outsider artists working in Downtown New York during the crucial decade from 1974 to 1984. Published in conjunction with the first major exhibition of Downtown art (organized by New York University’s Grey Art Gallery and Fales Library), The Downtown Book brings the Downtown art scene to life, exploring everything from Punk rock to performance art. The book probes trends that arose in the 1970s and solidified New York’s reputation as arbiter of the postmodern American avant-garde.

Publisher     Princeton University Press and the Grey Art Gallery and Fales Library, New York University
Published Date     Thursday, Jan 01, 1970
ISBN     0-691-12286-5
Pages     208
Dimensions     Flexibind, 8.25 x 8.25 inches
Number of Illustrations     black-and-white and color illustrations
Price$30.00
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Marvin J Taylor talking about the collection that was used to make this book.

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Book Shelf Cinema Clown Comedy Performing Arts Photography Physical Theater Recommended Reading List Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Notes on a Cowardly Lion”

Notes on a Cowardly Lion by John Lahr

Back Cover

First published in 1969, Notes on a Cowardly Lion has established itself as one of the best-ever show business biographies. Drawing on his father’s recollections and on the memories of those who worked with him, John Lahr brilliantly examines the history of modern American show business through the long and glorious career of his father–the raucous low-comic star of burlesque, vaudeville, the Broadway revue and musical, Hollywood movies, and the legitimate stage. Here in rich detail is Lahr evolving from low–dialect comic to Ziegfeld Follies sophisticate, hamming it up with the Scarecrow and Tin Woodsman on the set of The Wizard of Oz, and debuting Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in America, which Kenneth Tynan called “one of the most noble performances I have ever seen.” In the examination of Bert Lahr’s chronic insecurity and self-absorption, the breakdown of his first marriage, and the affectionate arm’s length he kept between himself and his adoring second family, John Lahr’s book also brings the reader closer than any other theater biography to the private torment of a great funny man.

This edition of the book includes the award-winning essay “The Lion and Me,” John Lahr’s intimate reflections on family life with his distant, brooding, but lovable father. A first-class stylist, John Lahr takes the reader beyond the magic of show business to a dazzling examination of how a performing self is constructed and staged before the paying customers. Both as theater history and biography, Lahr’s book is superb.

“A book-length love letter. To open it is to enter a life, to participate in a sensibility and, perhaps most important, to laugh. Uproariously.”

Stefan Kanfer, Life

“Endlessly fascinating, excellent. . . . A work of literature, a work of history, a subtle psychological study.”

Richard Schickel, Harper’s Magazine

“This is a biography of the late Bert Lahr, that clown-comedian who played everything from burlesque to Aristophanes and Shakespeare, by his son, who is one of that rare species, an authentic theater critic. . . . John Lahr is frank and objective about his father. He sees that Bert was wildly funny on the stage and unhappy off. He was a haphazard father, a selfish lover, a thoughtless husband (his wife cherished him), a hypochondriac and a ruthless ‘professional.’ The past becomes present in this biography so that we come to know and understand the actor as clearly as the man. The book abounds in anecdotes that smack of the footlight world and its fascinating fauna. John Lahr is an honorable as well as a talented writer on the theater.”

Harold Clurman, New York Times Book Review

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Art Book Shelf Clown Comedy Music Performing Arts Photography Recommended Reading List Television Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “How Sweet It Is” – Jackie Gleason

This is one ‘helluva’ funny book!

 Inside book jacket flaps.

Back Cover of the book.

This book is great! If you like The Honeymooners and any of Jackie Gleason’s TV Specials over the years you will enjoy reading these stories about his wonderful life. There is one that I remember very well. When he stayed at the St. Regis Hotel he frequented the in-house King Cole Bar   and sat next to  Salvador Dali. This drinking companion ended up drawing an album cover for his music album “The Romantic Moods of Jackie Gleason“.

The rest of the book is equally hysterical and so enjoyable!

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Book Shelf Cinema Clown Comedy Marx Brothers Photography Recommended Reading List Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Growing Up with Chico”

Growing Up with ChicoGROWING UP WITH CHICO – by Maxine Marx

Maxine Marx’s book about her experience as part of the family that gave us the Marx Brothers is deservedly well-known and much loved by classic movie fans.  Her anecdotes are funny, loving and revealing.  In some ways, the book doesn’t feel as though it were written by someone in such close proximity to these famous characters, but this jives with her description of the brothers’ closeness.  Even the immediate family came after the brothers, and nothing and nobody came between them.  Except maybe money.  
I enjoyed the tidbit describing Sam “Frenchie” Marx’s gentle nature, which has a lot to say about women in the Marx family.  Walking home after viewing The Scarlet Letter at the movies, young Maxine asked her grandpa “why they had put the A on the lady’s dress.”  “Pshaw,” he replied.  “Pshaw.”  After a bit, he added, “Don’t tell der Mamma vhat you saw, yah?”
I knew very little about Chico although he was always my favorite performer in all the movies what with the finger shooting and the  “Attsa boy, make a big slam! Make a big, big slam!”  Now I am in awe of  tough little Betty Marx for putting up with all his shenanigans.  Still, Chico manages to come across as charismatic.   I’m glad the mafia didn’t whack him after all.
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Book Shelf Performing Arts Photography Vaudevisuals Bookshelf

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Jean Cocteau – A Life”

Jean Cocteau - A Life

This passionate and monumental biography reassesses the life and legacy of one of the most significant cultural figures of the twentieth century.

Unevenly respected, easily hated, almost always suspected of being inferior to his reputation, Jean Cocteau has often been thought of as a jack-of-all-trades, master of none. In this landmark biography, Claude Arnaud thoroughly contests this characterization, as he celebrates Cocteau’s “fragile genius—a combination almost unlivable in art” but in his case so fertile.

Arnaud narrates the life of this legendary French novelist, poet, playwright, director, filmmaker, and designer who, as a young man, pretended to be a sort of a god, but who died as a humble and exhausted craftsman. His moving and compassionate account examines the nature of Cocteau’s chameleon-like genius, his romantic attachments, his controversial politics, and his intimate involvement with many of the century’s leading artistic lights, including Picasso, Proust, Hemingway, Stravinsky, and Tennessee Williams. Already published to great critical acclaim in France, Arnaud’s penetrating and deeply researched work reveals a uniquely gifted artist while offering a magnificent cultural history of the twentieth century.

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Claude Arnaud is a writer and recipient of the 2006 Prix Femina Essai. He lives in Paris, France. Lauren Elkin is a lecturer in English and comparative literature at the American University of Paris. Charlotte Mandell is an award-winning translator of more than thirty books.
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Book Shelf Comedy Juggling Performing Arts Photography Puppetry Radio Free Brooklyn Recommended Reading List Vaudevisuals Bookshelf Year in Review

Check out Vaudevisuals – Review – May 2016

Vaudevisuals.comVaudevisuals Review – May 2016

Lots of great things happened in May of 2016. BelloMania was at The New Victory Theatre, Bindlestiff Family Circus presented their new show “A Cardboard & Duct Tape Spectacular and Radio Free Brooklyn had a ‘Special Event’. The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf  was chock full of recommendations.

“BELLOMANIA” AT THE NEW VICTORY THEATRE – APRIL 2016

VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “STREET PEOPLE” – BY JANET BELLER

RADIO FREE BROOKLYN – SPECIAL LIVE EVENT – SATURDAY MAY 14TH

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH KEITH NELSON – “A CARDBOARD & DUCT TAPE SPECTACULAR”

VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “THE CITY & THE THEATRE” BY MARY C. HENDERSON

VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “WHERE THE HEART BEATS: JOHN CAGE, ZEN BUDDHISM

VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “THE DOWNTOWN BOOK” – 1974 – 1984 NY ART SCENE

VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “HIDDEN IN PLAIN SIGHT” BY COLIN WILLIAMSON

VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “I CELEBRATE MYSELF” BY ALLEN GINSBURG

Michael Karas performing in "BelloMania"

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Stay tuned for June and July Postings!

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Book Shelf Clown Comedy Film Photography Year in Review

Check out Vaudevisuals – Review – April 2016

Vaudevisuals.comApril 2016 Vaudevisuals Posts

April was quite a month. The Clown Un_Mask series returned with a portrait of Matt Roper.

Vaudevisuals interview with Parallel Exit director Mark Lonergan with physical comedian Mark Gindick.

The book ‘Clowns’ by John Towsen and “Gimme a Thrill” by Noah Diamond.

Check out the links below if you missed them in April.

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L’HOMME CIRQUE – A SHORT VIDEO WITH DAVID DIMITRI.

THE CLOWN UN_MASK – MATT ROPER (AKA WILFREDO)

THE VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – CLOWNS – BY JOHN H. TOWSEN

THE VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “GIMME A THRILL” BY NOAH DIAMOND

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH MARK GINDICK AND MARK LONERGAN – ‘CIRCO DE LA LUNA’

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH BILL BOWERS – “ALL OVER THE MAP”

VAUDEVISUALS BOOKSHELF – “UNFORGOTTEN NEW YORK” – DAVID BRUN-LAMBERT

VAUDEVISUALS INTERVIEW WITH BELLO – “BELLOMANIA”

Bello being interviewed by Jim R Moore

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Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Originals” by Adam Grant

ORIGINALS by Adam Grant

How Non-Conformist Move the World

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Want to read more?…buy the book here.

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Book Shelf Magic Photography

Classic Antique Street Magician Illustrations

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

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Street Magic is a romantic history of the world’s most elusive conjurers. Here are tales of the tribal shamans of North America, of Hindu fakirs and oriental illusionists. European street jugglers, fairground hucksters, charlatans, mediums, and mystics. And some of the legendary stage magicians who performed street magic as Robert Houdin, Comte, Herrmann and Houdini and a portrait of Jeff Sheridan.

Reprinted from Jeff Sheridan‘s book STREET MAGIC

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Book Shelf Cinema Photography Women Writer

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Monstrous Progeny”

MONSTROUS PROGENY

Monstrous Progeny

Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein is its own type of monster mythos that will not die, a corpus whose parts keep getting harvested to animate new artistic creations. What makes this tale so adaptable and so resilient that, nearly 200 years later, it remains vitally relevant in a culture radically different from the one that spawned its birth?
Monstrous Progeny takes readers on a fascinating exploration of the Frankenstein family tree, tracing the literary and intellectual roots of Shelley’s novel from the sixteenth century and analyzing the evolution of the book’s figures and themes into modern productions that range from children’s cartoons to pornography. Along the way, media scholar Lester D. Friedman and historian Allison B. Kavey examine the adaptation and evolution of Victor Frankenstein and his monster across different genres and in different eras. In doing so, they demonstrate how Shelley’s tale and its characters continue to provide crucial reference points for current debates about bioethics, artificial intelligence, cyborg lifeforms, and the limits of scientific progress.
Blending an extensive historical overview with a detailed analysis of key texts, the authors reveal how the Frankenstein legacy arose from a series of fluid intellectual contexts and continues to pulsate through an extraordinary body of media products. Both thought-provoking and entertaining, Monstrous Progeny offers a lively look at an undying and significant cultural phenomenon.
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“Written in a most accessible style even as it presents a complicated history and series of analyses, Monstrous Progeny combines discussion of the original Frankenstein with issues of adaptation in theater, literature, cinema, and other media.”

Rick Worland author of The Horror Film: An Introduction)

“This lively and exciting analysis of the Frankenstein narratives, as found throughout literature, film, and cultural history, has an epic scope and depth.  A tremendously impressive accomplishment.”

Stephen Prince Virginia Tech

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