The Lambs has an extra author talk this month! By special arrangement. Adam Abraham is the author of a book about Little Shop of Horrors, one of the most-beloved musicals of all time is out just in time for its 40th anniversary. Join The Lambs, 3 W. 51st St. 5th Floor on Wednesday, Sept. 28, 6:00 p.m. with the author with two of the original cast members Franc Luz (the original Dr. Orin Scrivello, DDS) and Sheila Kay Davis (the original Ronnette) in attendance. Make your reservations here. Space is limited. How many hit musicals are based on films that were shot in two days at a budget of $30,000? The answer is one: Little Shop of Horrors. Roger Corman’s monster movie opened in 1960, played the midnight circuit, and then disappeared from view. Two decades later, Little Shop of Horrors opened Off-Broadway and became a surprise success. Attack of the Monster Musical: A Cultural History of Little Shop of Horrors chronicles this unlikely phenomenon. The Faustian tale of Seymour and his man-eating plant transcended its humble origins to become a global phenomenon, launching a popular film adaptation and productions all around the world. This timely and authoritative book by Adam Abraham looks at the creation of the musical and its place in the contemporary musical theatre canon. Examining its afterlives and wider cultural context, the book asks the question why this unlikely combination of blood, annihilation, and catchy tunes has resonated with audiences from the 1980s to the present. At the core of this in-depth study is the collaboration between the show’s creators, Howard Ashman and Alan Menken. Told through archival research and eyewitness accounts, this is the first book to make extensive use of Ashman’s personal papers, offering a unique and inspiring study of one of musical theatre’s greatest talents.
Adam Abraham is the author of When Magoo Flew: The Rise and Fall of Animation Studio UPA and Plagiarizing the Victorian Novel: Imitation, Parody, Aftertext. He has also written for film, television, and theatre. Now a Visiting Assistant Professor at Cornell College, he previously taught at Auburn University, Virginia Commonwealth University, New York University, and Oxford.
Honorary Lamb Foster Hirsch, a professor of film at Brooklyn College and the author of 16 books on film and theater, including The Dark Side of the Screen: Film Noir, A Method to Their Madness: The History of the Actors Studio, and Kurt Weill on Stage: From Berlin to Broadway.
The Collie is Magda KatzThe book will be available for purchase $25. Get it signed by the author and cast.
If you are staying for dinner, please RSVP with 3 West Catering. For drinks only you do not need to RSVP.
The Glorious Corner
SQUARE ONE SCORES — (Via Square One) As we near its publication date of October 3, 2023, Square One is excited to share the news that Booklist has given a positive review to Secrets of Successful Women Invenbtors.The review is now online and appears also in the September 15, 2023 print issue edition of Booklist (the flagship publication for the American Library Association). See below for an excerpted review quote: “[P]roves that America can indeed be the land of invention opportunities for women . . . includes inventing how-tos and remarks from experts on intellectual property, public relations, social media, funding resources, and the like. This inspirational tome on do-it-yourself inventing would make a great pairing with other related practicums.” —Barbara Jacobs, Booklist This is our second book with acclaimed writer and longtime Inventors Digest columnist Edith G. Tolchin, whose first book with us is Secrets of Successful Inventing was in 2015. About the new book and Ms. Tolchin’s longstanding experience within the industry, Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran has this to say: “Edith G. Tolchin has spent her entire career working with inventors. In Secrets of Successful Women Inventors, Edith highlights some of the greatest top-notch successful women inventors and reputable service providers, all eager to share their stories and advice. In her easy-going, personable style, Edith has gleaned the ‘cream of the crop’ from each of these impressive women. It’s a gift to anyone who’s ever had a winning idea but nowhere to go and no roadmap to birth their vision.”
Secrets of Successul Women Inventors will be available in both paperback and digital/eBook formats starting October 3, 2023 wherever books are sold.
Here’s the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0757005241?tag=squareonepubl-20
THE MORNING SHOW — The Apple TV+’s 4th episode The Green Light was a somewhat scattershot one. As a faithful viewer since Season One, this third season -with essentially a whole new crew and series of writers- has been a season of the writers trying desperately trying to familiarize themselves with their characters.
This episodes does reference some past moments, with Mitch Kessler (Steve Carell) in particular. It also develops the relationship between Jon Hamm and Jennifer Aniston – in fact, after a rather odd rendezvous at Coney Island -of all places- they take Hamm’s helicopter (essaying an Elon Musk-like Paul Marks) to Cory Ellison’s (Billy Crudup) home in East Hampton and lands on the beach in front of his house, signaling that the Marks-deal to buy UBA is back on. As Ellison says, “Alex Levy brought home the bacon.”
There was one scene that besides being totally disturbing, I could’t quite figure out why it was there at all. Stella Bak (Greta Lee) was at a restaurant with two ad men, angling for a series of ad buys and they started drinking heavily. At one point Stella asked the waitress to keep her drinks coming, but with water. Then the ad men challenged Stella to see if she was really drinking and asked the waitress to lean over the table and lick up a spilled drink … and, giving her a $20,000 tip. The waitress did and later Stella collapsed with anger in her limo. In the post #Me To era, this scene was totally disturbing and totally not needed. Kind of disgraceful if you ask me.
But, disregarding that questionable scene, the episode was good and bodes well for the rest of the season.COCKER POWER — We received an advance copy of Mark Bego’s Joe Cocker: With A Lot of Help from His Friends (Yorkshire Publishing) and really enjoyed it. It’s Bego’s 68th book – after efforts on Michael Jackson; Bonnie Raitt; Sade; Madonna; Freda Payne; Sade; Billy Joel; Elton John and many others – and stands as one of his strongest.
Cocker may not be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – but he should be. The year Cocker died, Billy Joel interviewed in a documentary about the life of Cocker, admitted he hand delivered a petition to get him included in the hall before his death. The Hall refused and he has not been inducted.
That said, I continue to hear his version of “With A Little Help From My Friends” literally every day on NY’s Q1043.Bego adds: “The idea of writing this book about Joe Cocker first came about over a year ago when I was approached by a movie producer to write a screenplay about the life and music of this legendary singer. I became so engrossed with him as a subject that I was inspired to take it a step further and write an entire book about Joe’s often self-destructive life. In many ways, Cocker was like the Vincent Van Gogh of rock & roll … a genius, but self-destructive.”
With a tremendous foreword from Melanie – his Woodstock-compatriot – it’s a great read – and is out officially November 16. As an added plus, there’s a special launch event for this book which will be revealed next week. Stay tuned as it’s pretty spectacular.And Bruce Morrow (aka Cousin Bruce) gave the book a rave review on his Saturday-night pre-show video. Bravo!
I watched Saturday’s CBS This Morning and just loved it. Anchors Michelle Miller, Dana Jacobson and Jeff Glor were just terrific. In-between was another great Anthony Mason piece of U2’s opening at Vegas’ Sphere. Mason told me later on “it was absolutely jaw dropping. And U2 wasn’t even sharing their best stuff. When that shot of the desert filled the screen, and our TV camera couldn’t capture its depth, I could have sat down and stared at it for hours” …
RIP Don Famularo and Happy BDay Barbara Pepe!NAMES IN THE NEWS ––Anthony Pomes; Rudy Shur; Bill Amendola; Desmond Child; Maria Vidal; Shep Pettibone; Gerry Galipault; Joe Loris; Butterball; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Kent and Laura Denmark; Tyrone Biljan; Anthony Pomes; Robert Funaro; Maureen Van Zandt; Greg Evans; Bruce Haring; Dan Mapp; Rich Dart; John Billings; and CHIP!
Ken Fallin’s Broadway: “Leading Lady; the Memoir of a Most Unusual Boy”…NEW autobiography of Charles Busch
Tony Award-nominated writer of The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife and the long-running hit Off-Broadway play Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, and a Sundance Festival award winner, Charles Busch has created a unique place in the entertainment world as a playwright, LGBT icon, drag actor, director, and cabaret performer, with his extraordinary gift for both connecting with and channeling the leading ladies of show business.
In wonderfully readable chapters, by turns comic and moving, Charles writes how ever since his mother’s death when he was seven, he has sought out surrogate mothers in his life. In his teens, Charles moved to Park Avenue in Manhattan to live with his Auntie Mame-like Aunt Lil, who encouraged and nourished Charles’ talents and dreams, and eventually he discovered his gifts for writing plays and performing as a male actress.
Busch also shares his colorful and sometimes outlandish interactions with film and theatrical luminaries including the hilarious comedian Joan Rivers (who became a mother figure to Charles after Aunt Lil’s death), Angela Lansbury (who attended her first Passover seder with Charles), Rosie O’Donnell, Claudette Colbert, Valerie Harper, Kim Novak, and many others.
Full of both humor and heart and featuring rare photos, Leading Lady is for readers of entertainment books as well as anyone who enjoys real-life stories of artists who break the mold, ditch the boundaries, and find their own unique way to sparkle.
We’re Here to Help – When Guardianship Goes Wrong
-Kent Walz, attorney & journalist
Diane Dimond’s book on the scourge of abusive adult guardianships is coming out very soon. It only took her 8 long years of investigation and countless interviews with affected people to get to the bottom of this extremely flawed part of the justice system.
People who have lived through this nightmare knows first hand what this “protective” part of the court system can do to rip apart families. But because it’s such a secretive system few Americans realize that they – or someone they love – could be guardianized without warning. It’s not just Britney Spears – up to 2 million people currently live under guardianship/court control.
All it takes is for someone (a vindictive relative, a greedy business partner, a former lover, even a landlord) to file a guardianship petition with the court saying someone is not competent to care for themselves. The judge usually agrees – often without ever seeing the targeted person – and the guardianship is established. Judges routinely appoint a total stranger as guardian to make all life decisions for the new “ward of the court.” All their civil rights are stripped away and, suddenly, the person has no say in their own life –they can’t even hire their own lawyer to fight it. There are many more horrific aspects to this “justice” system and Ms. Dimond spells it all out in the book.
We’re Here to Help – When Guardianship Goes Wrong not only reveals the predatory nature of the system (which controls a collective $50 billion in ward’s money every year!) but also tells what to look out for. It provides a guide for readers to protect themselves and those they love.
Diane Dimond is the author of four books including the upcoming, “We’re Here to Help: When Guardianship Goes Wrong,“ published by Brandeis University Press, released Sept. 19, 2023
Keith F. Girard’s The Curse Of Northam Bay
Author Keith Girard says, “The idea for this book, literally, came to me in a dream. I was anxious to write a horror story since I’ve long admired Stephen King’s work and wanted to challenge myself. Once I got the idea, I put aside a dystopian science fiction book I was writing and devoted myself to this project. But I have to confess, while it started out as a macabre tale, it morphed into something else. I quickly strayed from the standard horror genre. I was intrigued by the Salem witch trials, which were supposed to be the basis for this story. But the more I looked into it, the more I became fascinated by the political, sociological, and religious factors that gave rise to the hysteria.”
Girard has a fascinating background as a writer: The Washington Post; Billboard; and this book, the follow-up to his Heidelberg Conundrum, is as richly rewarding as you’d want.
We sat with Keith for an exclusive T2C-interview:
G.H Harding: Give us a little bit on your background
Keith Girard: I grew up in a family with two brothers and a sister. My mother was English and met my father while he was stationed in England during World War II. After the war, they married and she came to the U.S. to live. My father was in the Air Force and after his military career ended, he worked for aerospace companies. I grew up as a military brat and we moved almost every two years. It was hard at times but also gave me a unique perspective on life, and having an international background also helped broaden my horizons. I’ve always had an interest in history, science and current events, because we lived them daily. Two of my siblings are, literally, rocket scientists. But I was drawn to writing at an early age. It came very naturally to me, and I decided to pursue it as a career, although it was against my father’s wishes. So, I guess I was a bit of a rebel, too.
G.H Harding: What was your first book The Heidelberg Conundrum about?
Keith Girard: The Heidelberg Conundrum contains all the elements that I mentioned above. At its root, it’s science fiction novel about time travel, but it’s also a historical novel that touches World War II, the atrocities that took place in Germany and their connections with the present day. It focuses on a young physicist who gets his “dream job” that turns out to be something quite different. He’s hired to solve the “Heidelberg Conundrum,” a 400-year-old mathematical equation that is thought to be the key to time travel. Think “The Da Vinci Code” meets “Raiders of the Lost Ark” with a science fiction twist. The book is a dark journey that takes readers back to the last days of the war and Nazi decadence and into interstellar space.
G.H Harding: What do you think makes a good novel?
Keith Girard: I personally like science fiction because the limits are boundless and because it lends itself so easily to political and social commentary. The Heidelberg Conundrum has all three. For contemporary fiction, I think Tom Wolfe’s writing embodies what I mean. Also, writers like Joseph Heller; “Catch 22” is one of my favorite novels, and almost anything Wolfe has written. I love Hunter Thompson’s singular writing style and biting satire. But I also admire the great science fiction writers like Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury and Frank Herbert. I grew up reading them.
G.H Harding: Billboard was the music industry’s go-to trade paper; what did you discover about the music industry during your time there?
Keith Girard: Billboard was a fantastic publication with a long history, but it was failing because of demographic and technological changes in the music industry. I was hired to turn it around, because I had a successful track record turning around two previous publications. If it ever had a chance to succeed, Billboard had to leave behind its legacy past, embrace technological change sweeping the industry and broaden its reach. Billboard was always a trade newspaper. Its readership base was made up of thousands of independent music stores across the country. It was the most economical way for record labels to market to them. But record stores fell by the wayside as big box retailers moved into that space. The MP3 revolution and streaming was the death knell. Talk about disruptive technology! The record industry was thrown into turmoil because it lost two important segments of its business – production and distribution. Any kid with a computer could reproduce identical copies of a song, over and over, and distribute it over the Internet to thousands of other kids. I saw Billboard as a great opportunity to reinvent itself. But legacies, especially as strong as Billboard’s, die hard, and the resistance to change, in the end, was too great.
G.H Harding: What do you think about Billboard’s decision to become a more of a consumer book?
Keith Girard: By and large it was a pretty significant strategic mistake. Billboard had a unique niche as a business newspaper focused on music. There was a lot of discussion about turning it into a consumer publication while I was there, but I opposed it. The consumer market was already saturated, and Rolling Stone dominated. When I joined Billboard, it had a circulation of about 26,000; Rolling Stone had a circulation of 3 million. There’s no way, Billboard could ever dent that, and it made no sense to give up a niche that Billboard owned. So, my efforts turned to broadening its audience. There was plenty of fertile ground. Plus, it was a way to build circulation and attract new advertisers. So, I greatly expanded coverage of touring, music management, music technology and musical instruments, all from a business angle, not just records and the record industry. Because Billboard readers were mostly affluent music professionals, it was also an untapped sell-through for luxury goods, from BMW to Rolex watches. We also made great inroads with guitar makers like Gibson, which loved the idea we were writing about musical instruments. Under my tenure, our Music and Money conference expanded and we launched an East Coast touring conference. But I didn’t ignore the consumer market. Our outreach to consumers was through our main website (billboard.com). We supplemented that with mini-sites focusing on business (billboardbiz), and the professions, agents, lawyers and managers. I think another big mistake was turning Billboard into a consumer magazine format. I spoke to dozens of music people at all levels and they wanted the kind of hard news Billboard was known for, and they liked seeing their artists on the front page. I could go on, but strategically that’s were Billboard went wrong in my opinion.
G.H Harding: The Salem Witch trials were always a hotbed of controversy; what did you discover in writing the new book?
Keith Girard: As you know, early Colonial America was a very dark period in our history, riven by superstition, fear and a belief in a literal God and Devil. But the more I looked into it, the more I discovered the period was marked by many of the same social and political undercurrents that exist today. That’s why I wrote the book in two parts, one focusing on 17th century New England and the other on contemporary society as it evolved in the same quaint fishing village over time. The Salem witch trials were fueled in large part by petty jealousies, religious differences, intolerance, greed and money. Often land disputes were at the root of witch craft allegations. Not surprisingly, those same forces are still embedded in our civic and political culture, today. That’s where I saw the parallels that make this story intriguing.
G.H Harding: How would you best describe Northam Bay?
Keith Girard: Northam Bay is a microcosm of everything that’s tearing at the seams of our society, today. There are class distinctions and disruption caused by new technology and new residents that have both a positive and negative affect on the town. I spent years as a reporter writing about small-town politics and graft, and Northam Bay is infected with schemers and grifters who will use everything, including murder, and stop at nothing to get their way. When you get down to it, it’s a tale about the growth of suburbia, and corruption in high places that shape our modern-day world. Plus, it’s generally a nice place to live, except, of course, for a curse that’s existed since the 1700s. And, it has a healthy dose of satire.
G.H Harding: What can you tell us about the Washington Post that would surprise us?
Keith Girard: Well, I worked as a reporter for The Washington Post in the mid-1980s. It was a decade after it rose to national prominence because of Watergate, and from the outside, it looked like this impenetrable colossus of infinitely brilliant people. I grew up reading the newspaper in high school. My father hated it, so I had to pay for my own subscription. I literally dreamed, one day, of working there. The odd thing was, once I was a reporter, my whole perspective changed. Let me first say, the 1980s was the golden era of newspapers, before the Internet and social media. The paper was huge; 500 reporters, a newsroom as big as a shopping mall and a huge cross-section of people. But there was one thing, it didn’t lose when it became a national newspaper. It was still a family business and felt that way. Kay Graham was still running the company along with her son, Donnie, and they were totally accessible. I saw them often when I was in the newsroom. The legendary Ben Bradlee was still the executive editor. If there ever was an imposing figure, it was him, a Harvard educated Boston Brahmin who hung out with Jack Kennedy. But as a boss, he was the most down-to-earth, relatable human being I’ve ever worked for. The Post had its share of eccentric characters, effete editors and genuine jack-asses, but it truly felt like a family to me, even it was more like The Royal Tenenbaums than Leave it to Beaver.
G.H Harding: As an astute journalist and editor, what do you read on a daily basis?
Keith Girard: I still read The Post and The New York Times daily and have online subscriptions to both. I also subscribe to Vanity Fair and The New Yorker. Otherwise, the nice thing about the Internet is that it gives you access to so many publications. I’m constantly surfing dozens of newspapers and magazines, looking for great reads. For some odd reason, I’m particularly drawn to British newspapers: The Independent, The Daily Mail, The Mirror, The Guardian, The Times of London, and so on. Maybe it’s just the British in me.
Learn About The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War or Animation’s Golden Age
Soon after the birth of Mickey Mouse, one animator raised the Disney Studio far beyond Walt’s expectations. That animator also led a union war that almost destroyed it. Art Babbitt animated for the Disney studio throughout the 1930s and through 1941, years in which he and Walt were jointly driven to elevate animation as an art form, up through Snow White, Pinocchio, and Fantasia. But as America prepared for World War II, labor unions spread across Hollywood. Disney fought the unions while Babbitt embraced them. Soon, angry Disney cartoon characters graced picket signs as hundreds of animation artists went out on strike. Adding fuel to the fire was Willie Bioff, one of Al Capone’s wiseguys who was seizing control of Hollywood workers and vied for the animators’ union.
Using never-before-seen research from previously lost records, including conversation transcriptions from within the studio walls, author and historian Jake S. Friedman reveals the details behind the labor dispute that changed animation and Hollywood forever.
The Disney Revolt: The Great Labor War or Animation’s Golden Age is an American story of industry and of the underdog, the golden age
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