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Amercian Vaudeville Theatre Book Shelf Cinema Clown Comedy Film Marx Brothers Performing Arts VAudephone Vaudevisuals Interview Video Writer

The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Gimme a Thrill” by Noah Diamond

I usually post ‘The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf’ once a week but this week is ‘Special’.

The publication of Noah Diamond’s new book “Gimme A Thrill“.

I will let you read the text on Amazon since I am a photographer mostly!

A BROADWAY LEGEND OF 1924 Includes more than eighty rare photographs, some published here for the first time. Before they made the films which are their principal legacy, the Marx Brothers were the stars of three Broadway musicals in the 1920s. Two of these, The Cocoanuts and Animal Crackers, are popular classics, familiar from the Brothers’ immortal film versions, and from numerous stage revivals. But the boys’ 1924 Broadway debut, I’ll Say She Is, was never filmed or revived, and it slipped through history’s fingers. Although it was the most successful thing the Marx Brothers ever did on stage, it was unseen for ninety years after the original production closed, and has been considered a lost work. In 2009, writer, performer, lyricist, and Groucho Marxist Noah Diamond began a seven-year odyssey which led to the restoration, adaptation, and finally the historic first revival of this legendary entry in the Marx and musical theatre canons. Gimme a Thrill tells the whole story for the first time—the complete history of I’ll Say She Is from 1923 to 2014. Noah Diamond adapted the book and lyrics for I’ll Say She Is and has a long history of playing Groucho, on and off the stage. He is among the organizers of Marxfest New York City’s Marx Brother’s festival and has written and lectured widely on the Marxes and their work. With his partner Amanda Sisk, he wrote and produced the Nero Fiddled musicals, a series of political satires. His previous books are 400 Years in Manhattan and Love Marches On.

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I first met this very talented Mr. Diamond while shooting an episode of the wonderful series ‘Vaudephone‘ which I co-produced with Trav SD. Here is Noah performing for us “The United Nations Song” for that series.

So now you can see why you should buy this book! Noah is brilliant in whatever he puts his mind to. And by the way you would be doing yourself a great disservice if you didn’t see the show coming this year.

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.41.54 PMClick here for more information on this show!

Here is Noah talking about the Marx Brothers and I’ll Say She Is during a Vaudevisuals interview.

OK! Go see the show when it opens and here is the information for you to buy his new book!

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American Circus Big Apple Circus Bindlestiff Family Cirkus Cabaret Book Shelf Bouffon Circus Clown Comedy Performing Arts Photography Pranks

The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – Clowns – by John H. Towsen

<a href=John Towsen’s CLOWNS book” width=”530″ height=”791″ />

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I had a hardcover copy and ended up giving it to Slava when he came to town with Cirque de Soleil.
John also happened to be one of the coproducers of the First NY Clown Theater Festival in 1983. Here is an NY Times review.

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For more writing by John H. Towsen visit his blog which is devoted to physical comedy. ALL FALL DOWN.

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Book Shelf Cinema Comedy Story Teller Television Writer

Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Zoomar” by Ernie Kovacs

One of television’s early pioneers. Ernie Kovacs wrote a novel. ZOOMAR in 1957

Published as a hardcover book and then released as a paperback. Here are the covers of both editions.

Ernie Kovacs

Cover of ZOOMAR book with the spine.

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Inside back flap with Author’s bio.

Ernie Kovacs

Paperback edition of the book published in 1959 by Bantam.

Ernie KovacsEdie Adams and Ernie Kovacs. A still from the ABC game show “Take a Good Luck” sponsored by Dutch Masters.

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Categories
Book Shelf Comedy Film Mime Performing Arts Puppetry

William Castle’s 1974 film “Shanks” with Marcel Marceau

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Marcel Marceau performs in William Castle’s 1974 horror film about puppetry.


A revenge-driven puppeteer applies his talent to humans in this supernatural horror film.

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Wikipedia says:
“Shanks is a 1974 American horror film about a puppeteer able to manipulate dead bodies like puppets. Mime Marcel Marceau, in his first major film role, plays the titular Malcolm Shanks. It was the last film directed by producer-director William Castle. Marceau, who had for decades before performed in his signature white face makeup and without speaking, both spoke and appeared without makeup for this film. He played two roles: Malcolm Shanks, who could not speak, and Old Walker, who could. He had appeared in 20 shorts and films in small and cameo roles, often as his mime character Bip. Director William Castle took an interest in him after watching him perform the pantomime “Youth, Maturity, Old Age and Death” and approached him with the script for Shanks, saying it dealt with similar themes. Said Marceau of the script, “it was exactly what I had been looking for.”

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Book Shelf Bouffon Circus Clown Comedy Juggling Performing Arts Photography Video Women

The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – Russian Clown by Oleg Popov

Oleg Popov - Russian ClownRUSSIAN CLOWN by Oleg Popov

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Hardcover: 208 pages

Publisher: TBS The Book Service Ltd (May 14, 1970)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0356029409

ISBN-13: 978-0356029405

Very rare if available at all.

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Oleg Popov

Oleg Popov

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Go here for video!

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Categories
Book Shelf Bouffon Mask Mime

The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Le Centre du Silence Workbook” by Samuel Avital

Originally published in 1975, this book was a cornerstone for many students of mime in the 1970’s.

Written by Samuel Avital, a student of Etienne Decroux, Marcel Marceau, Jean Louis Barrault and Maximilien Decroux.

img012Battered cover since I have had this copy since 1975.

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Picture 2

Categories
Book Shelf Cinema Film Magic Magic Performing Arts Pranks

The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Nightmare Alley” by William Lindsay Gresham

Nightmare Alley

NIGHTMARE ALLEY

Nightmare Alley begins with an extraordinary description of a freak-show geek—alcoholic and abject and the object of the voyeuristic crowd’s gleeful disgust and derision—going about his work at a county fair. Young Stan Carlisle is working as a carny, and he wonders how a man could fall so low. There’s no way in hell, he vows, that anything like that will ever happen to him.

And since Stan is clever and ambitious and not without a useful streak of ruthlessness, soon enough he’s going places. Onstage he plays the mentalist with a cute bimbo (before long his harried wife), then he graduates to full-blown spiritualist, catering to the needs of the rich and gullible in their well-upholstered homes. It looks like the world is Stan’s for the taking. At least for now.

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Mr. Gresham yanked the reviewer into the midst of his macabre and compelling novel, and kept him a breathless captive until the tour was over. It’s a truly rewarding whirl through his nightmare alley, adding up to Grade—A guignol with a touch of black magic about it. If you enjoy hundred—proof evil—and a cogent analysis of same with your nightcap—then, in the words of the Ten-in-One barker, hurry, hurry, hurry!
James MacBride, The New York Times

Gresham…wrote with vivid punch and a close understanding of the carnival world.
— Los Angeles Times

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Categories
Art Book Shelf Jazz Music Photography

The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Rebirth of the Cool.”

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Rebirth of the Cool –

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A visionary of the Greenwich Village nightlife scene in the 1950s and 60s, photographer Robert James Campbell vigorously documented New York’s jazz era, and its metamorphosis into the beat and folk movements. Despite Campbell’s artistic prowess–evident in his arresting images of the people who would shape the American cultural landscape for generations to come–Campbell died alone in a homeless shelter in Burlington, Vermont in 2002. His identity, and former life as an esteemed photojournalist for The Village Voice and Downbeat Magazine, would only be revealed by the unlikely discovery by a young college graduate of his ephemera and personal belongings within a trove of cardboard boxes.


Rebirth of the Cool
is the story of Robert James Campbell as reconstructed by Jessica Ferber, and born from tragedy; Campbell, once a wildly talented artist, but wrought by mental demons, financial hardship, and health failure, had to give up his passionate work at what should have been the prime years of his career, having succumbed to his deteriorating body and mind. Campbell left New York for LA and then disappeared into New England with little hope, but resolute to keep and care for his art he managed to diligently transport his negatives and images with him throughout his turbulent life, and ultimately with him into homelessness.

At the height of his photographic career Campbell captured the likes of John Coltrane, The Modern Jazz Quartet, Philly Joe Jones, Count Basie, Bud Powell, Richie Havens, Chuck Berry, and more. Shot onstage and off, the intimacy of the photos is moving and prescient. Rebirth of the Cool collects the best of Campbell’s work, shot at legendary clubs like Birdland, The Village Vanguard, and The Gaslight Café, as well as street photography, international work from his time spent in Germany, and tour photography. The era in which Campbell photographed was brief and precious, and the content he left behind represents a time capsule–a rebirth and regeneration–of a moment that was flashpoint for the culture and heritage of New York, and the nation as a whole.

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Book Shelf Clown Comedy Film Marx Brothers Performing Arts Photography

The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – Groucho Marx: The Comedy of Existence

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Born Julius Marx in 1890, the brilliant comic actor who would later be known as Groucho was the most verbal of the famed comedy team, the Marx Brothers, his broad slapstick portrayals elevated by ingenious wordplay and double entendre. In his spirited biography of this beloved American iconoclast, Lee Siegel views the life of Groucho through the lens of his work on stage, screen, and television. The author uncovers the roots of the performer’s outrageous intellectual acuity and hilarious insolence toward convention and authority in Groucho’s early upbringing and Marx family dynamics.
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 “Lee Siegel’s brilliant analysis of the glorious, scary, beyond-funny humor of Groucho and his brothers made me feel as if I were watching their movies for the first time. In this hugely enjoyable and stimulating book, Siegel shows how Groucho became an impossibility: an immortal comedian.”—Ian Frazier, author of Great Plains and On the Rez
Ian Frazier
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 “Spirited and revealing . . . An astute psychological profile of the man whose biting, nihilistic comedy broke so many barriers.”
John McMurtrie, San Francisco Chronicle
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Groucho Marx with Margret Dumont
Groucho Marx with Margaret Dumont in “The Cocoanuts” from 1929.
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Great article by Lee Siegel in the Wall Street Journal here!
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Categories
Book Shelf Comedy Photography

The Vaudevisuals Bookshelf – “Grove New American Theater”

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GROVE NEW AMERICAN THEATER

A Good dose of downtown NYC theater!

Plays included in this volume are: Dasvedanya Mama, Ethyl Eichelberger; The Theory of Total Blame, Karen Finley; The Mysteries and What’s So Funny?, David Gordon; The American Plan, Richard Greenberg; Dead Mother, or Shirley Not All in Vain, David Greenspan; and Sincerity Forever, Mac Wellman.

Included are photographs from some of the productions including Karen Finley’s “The Theory of Total Blame”. Presented in 1989 at Pyramid Arts Center, Rochester, NY. The cast included Karen Finley, Tom Murrin, Carol McDowell, Gary Ray, Chazz Dean and Michael Owen. Photograph by Dona Ann McAdams