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The Life of John Jacob Niles
Louisville native John Jacob Niles (1892–1980) is considered to be one of our nation’s most influential musicians. As a composer and balladeer, Niles drew inspiration from the deep well of traditional Appalachian and African American folk songs. At the age of sixteen Niles wrote one of his most enduring tunes, “Go ’Way from My Window,” basing it on a song fragment from a black farm worker. This iconic song has been performed by folk artists ever since and may even have inspired the opening line of Bob Dylan’s “It Ain’t Me Babe.” In I Wonder as I Wander: The Life of John Jacob Niles, the first full-length biography of Niles, Ron Pen offers a rich portrait of the musician’s character and career. Using Niles’s own accounts from his journals, notebooks, and unpublished autobiography, Pen tracks his rise from farm boy to songwriter and folk collector extraordinaire. Niles was especially interested in documenting the voices of his fellow World War I soldiers, the people of Appalachia, and the spirituals of African Americans. In the 1920s he collaborated with noted photographer Doris Ulmann during trips to Appalachia, where he transcribed, adapted, and arranged traditional songs and ballads such as “Pretty Polly” and “Black Is the Color of My True Love’s Hair.” Niles’s preservation and presentation of American folk songs earned him the title of “Dean of American Balladeers,” and his theatrical use of the dulcimer is credited with contributing to the popularity of that instrument today. Niles’s dedication to the folk music tradition lives on in generations of folk revival artists such as Jean Ritchie, Joan Baez, and Oscar Brand. I Wonder as I Wander explores the origins and influences of the American folk music resurgence of the 1950s and 1960s, and finally tells the story of a man at the forefront of that movement.
"Ida Lupino (1918-1995) was more than a gorgeous image of film noir in the forties and fifties who starred in classics such as They Drive By Night, High Sierra, and Road House. Lupino also evolved into one of Hollywood's earliest female directors whose work was described by Martin Scorsese as ""resilient, with a remarkable empathy for the fragile and heartbroken."" William Donati chronicles the dramatic life of one of Hollywood's most prolific, substantive, and innovative artists, both behind and in front of the camera."
The Life and Films of Bela Lugosi
" Bela Lugosi won immediate fame for his portrayal of the immortal count in the 1931 film Dracula. After a decade of trying vainly to broaden his range and secure parts to challenge his acting abilities, Lugosi resigned himself to a career as the world's most recognizable vampire. His last years were spent as a forgotten and rather tragic figure. When he died in 1956, Lugosi could not have known that vindication of his talent would come -- his face would adorn theaters, his image would appear on greeting cards and postage stamps, his film memorabilia would sell for more than he earned in his entire career, and his Hungarian accent would be instantly recognized by millions of people. Martin Landau's Oscar-winning role as Lugosi in the 1994 film Ed Wood added an ironic twist to a career that had ended in oblivion. In 1974, devoted Lugosi fan Arthur Lennig published a highly regarded biography of the unsung actor. More than twice the length of the original and completely rewritten, The Immortal Count provides deeper insights into Lugosi's films and personality. Drawing upon personal interviews, studio memos, shooting scripts, research in Romania and Hungary, and his own recollections, Lennig has written the definitive account of Lugosi's tragic life.
A Biographer’s Memoir
A Musical Odyssey
Inspired by the Hank Williams and Leadbelly recordings he heard as a teenager growing up outside of Boston, Jim Rooney began a musical journey that intersected with some of the biggest names in American music including Bob Dylan, James Taylor, Bill Monroe, Muddy Waters, and Alison Krauss. In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey is Rooney's kaleidoscopic first-hand account of more than five decades of success as a performer, concert promoter, songwriter, music publisher, engineer, and record producer.As witness and participant of over a half century of music history, Rooney provides a sophisticated window into American vernacular music. Following his stint as a "Hayloft Jamboree" hillbilly singer in the mid-1950s, Rooney managed Cambridge's Club 47, a catalyst of the `60's folk music boom. He soon moved to the Newport Folk Festival as talent coordinator and director where he had a front row seat to Dylan "going electric."In the 1970s Rooney's odyssey continued in Nashville where he began engineering and producing records. His work helped alternative country music gain a foothold in Music City and culminated in Grammy nominations for singer-songwriters John Prine, Iris Dement, and Nanci Griffith. Later in his career he was a key link connecting Nashville to Ireland's folk music scene.Writing songs or writing his memoir, Jim Rooney is the consummate storyteller.Â In It for the Long Run: A Musical Odyssey is his singular chronicle from the heart of Americana.
My Life with Walt Disney Productions
In this never-before-published memoir from the vaults of the Walt Disney Archives, Disney Legend Jimmy Johnson (1917-1976) takes you from his beginnings as a studio gofer during the days of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to the opening of Walt Disney World Resort. Johnson relates dozens of personal anecdotes with famous celebrities, beloved artists, and, of course, Walt and Roy Disney.
This book, also the story of how an empire-within-an-empire is born and nurtured, traces Johnson's innovations in merchandising, publishing, and direct marketing, to the formation of what is now Walt Disney Records. This fascinating biography explains how the records helped determine the course of Disney Theme Parks, television, and film through best-selling recordings by icons such as Annette Funicello, Fess Parker, Julie Andrews, Louis Armstrong, and Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Through Jimmy Johnson's remarkable journey, the film, TV, and recording industries grow up together as changes in tastes and technologies shape the world, while the legacy of Disney is developed as well as carefully sustained for the generations who cherish its stories, characters, and music.
Preston Sturges and the Movies
Throughout his career, Preston Sturges (1898--1959) was known for bringing sophistication and wit to the genre of comedy, establishing himself as one of the most valuable writer-directors in 1940s Hollywood. Today, more than fifty years after they were originally produced, his films have lost little of their edge and remain extremely popular. Intrepid Laughter is an essential guide to the life and work of this luminary of the stage and screen, following Sturges from his unusual childhood, to his early success as a Broadway playwright, to his whirlwind career in Hollywood.
The Early Years
Originally published as Jack Nicholson: Face to Face in 1975, Jack Nicholson: The Early Years is the first book written about the enigmatic star and the only one to have Nicholson's participation. In 1975 Nicholson was just becoming a household name in spite of having already starred in, written or produced 25 films including classics such as Easy Rider (1969), Five Easy Pieces (1970), The Last Detail (1973) and Chinatown (1974). To date, Nicholson has been nominated for twelve Academy Awards and won three, has garnered seven Golden Globe awards, and took home the American Film Institute's Life Achievement Award at the age of 57.
Authors Robert Crane and Christopher Fryer interviewed Nicholson for what began as a thesis for a University of Southern California film class but which quickly morphed into a larger portrait of Nicholson's unique craft. Crane and Fryer conducted their interviews with Nicholson with the intent of showcasing the young star as he saw himself, while also interviewing many of Nicholson's close friends and fellow filmmakers, including Dennis Hopper, Roger Corman, Hal Ashby, Ann-Margret, Robert Evans and Bruce Dern, providing a comprehensive profile of the actor's early years in the industry. The result is a true insider's look at Nicholson not only as a writer, director and actor, but also offers insights into a private man's private life. Jack Nicholson: The Early Years stands as a testament to his incredible success in Hollywood.
James Cameron (b. 1954) is lauded as one of the most successful and innovative filmmakers of the last thirty years. His films often break records, both in their massive budgets and in their box-office earnings. They include such hits as The Terminator, Aliens, The Abyss, Titanic, and Avatar. Part scientist, part dramatist, Cameron combines these two qualities into inventive and captivating films that often push the boundaries of special effects to accommodate his imagination. James Cameron: Interviews chronicles the writer-director's rise through the Hollywood system, highlighted by his "can-do" attitude and his insatiable drive to make the best film possible.
As a young boy growing up in Canada, Cameron imagined himself an astronaut, a deep-sea explorer, a science fiction writer, or a filmmaker. Transplanted to southern California, he would go on to realize many of those boyhood fantasies.
This collection of interviews provides glimpses of the filmmaker as he advances from Roger Corman's underling to "king of the world." The interviews are drawn from a number of sources including TV appearances and conversations on blogs, which have never been published in print. Spanning more than twenty years, this collection constructs a concise and thorough examination of Cameron, a filmmaker who has almost single-handedly ushered Hollywood into the twenty-first century.
Legendary jazz ambassador Dr. Billy Taylor's autobiography spans more than six decades, from the heyday of jazz on 52nd Street in 1940s New York City to CBS Sunday Morning. Taylor fought not only for the recognition of jazz music as "America's classical music" but also for the recognition of black musicians as key contributors to the American music repertoire. Peppered with anecdotes recalling encounters with other jazz legends such as Jelly Roll Morton, Duke Ellington, Art Tatum, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, and many others, The Jazz Life of Dr. Billy Taylor is not only the life story of a jazz musician and spokesman but also a commentary on racism and jazz as a social force.