(Sorry if this review’s a little disjointed — I’m not particularly well today).
This review will, to an extent, be a matter of comparing the book to my own work, and there’s very little I can do about that — simply put, had I known this book, which came out last month, was being written I probably never would have Kickstarted my own California Dreaming book. Not that it’s actually much like my book, but because it fills the same niche my book was designed for.
I’ve been saying for years that someone should write the whole story of the LA music scene in the 1960s, and Harvey Kubernik has done just that, taking forty years’ worth of interviews, and condensing them into a coffee-table book full of Henry Diltz photographs that manages to cover, at least lightly, the whole vista of LA music in a sixteen year period. Kubernik has got interviews here with pretty much anyone who was involved at all in the music business in LA during the years it was the most vital town in the world.
The book’s strength is also its weakness. It tries (and to a large extent successfully) to cover everything. This means that it covers a lot of music that I’m ashamed to say won’t be in my book on LA music, particularly a lot of music by black and Latino musicians, who dominated the late 50s LA scene — by choosing 1956 as his starting point, he can talk about a lot of musicians like Johnny Otis, the Coasters, and Richie Valens — hugely important figures who my own book, concentrating as it does on 1960 to 1970 and a fairly small number of individuals, simply can’t deal with. (And this does make me question my own book somewhat, because I haven’t really dealt with the way the surf scene and the music that followed it — the music I’m writing about — essentially involved a load of white boys dominating a town that had previously been dominated by black music. This is something I *need* to think about when revising the book for print.)
The downside, though, is that Kubernik can’t really do justice to any of the people he talks about. Not only does he deal with pretty much every major figure to come from or be based in LA, he deals with every major figure from elsewhere who had a connection with LA. So we get longish sections on Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Elvis Presley, Ike & Tina Turner, the Rolling Stones… anyone who recorded in LA at all.
This means that no one act can get dealt with in any real depth, and the book is full of anecdote with very little through-line, but the anecdotes are marvellous. Kubernik has managed to get interviews with *everyone* — scenesters like Kim Fowley and Nik Venet, pop stars like Roger McGuinn and Brian Wilson, session musicians, record company executives, DJs, songwriters… anyone who had anything to do with the record industry during that sixteen-year period at least gets to tell a couple of their best stories. Everyone from Carol Connors (who sang with The Teddy Bears, Phil Spector’s first group, before later writing hot-rod songs like Hey Little Cobra) to Dan Kessel (the son of Barney Kessel, the Wrecking Crew guitarist) gets interviewed, by way of Lou Adler and Bones Howe.
The result is sometimes frustrating, simply because a tighter focus might have allowed for more detail, but at the same time there’s something to be said for a book which covers (to just take a handful of the people whose photos are shown in the endpaper) The Monkees, Nat King Cole, Linda Ronstadt, Michael Jackson, Brian Jones, and the Doors.
Everyone is guaranteed to discover some new interesting fact or story from this book, from almost every page. As an example I just chose a random page, and even though I have written books about the Beach Boys and the Monkees, I never knew that the Beach Boys’ song Breakaway was inspired by a Monkees song (presumably Someday Man, though Brian Wilson doesn’t say which one).
This is a coffee-table book, with all that that entails, but it’s a good one, and those of you who are more visually oriented than me will love the photos (about half of them by Henry Diltz, and many that I’ve not seen anywhere else).
It’s not quite an essential book, simply because the scope is so broad it will put off people who are only interested in some of these bands, but it’s a really, really good one, and it’s one that everyone who has a real interest in LA music from 1956 to 72 will appreciate.
Tagged: book reviews, california dreaming
Professor Cheryl Hanna (Vermont) has died.
Vermont Dean Marc Mihaly sent an email to the Vermont Law School community earlier today. It stated in part:
It is with the most profound sorrow that we announce the untimely death of our dear colleague Professor Cheryl Hanna.
Professor Hanna was a beloved teacher, a role model to many within and beyond the Vermont Law School community, and a powerful force for innovation. We are heartbroken. She will be deeply missed.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Professor Hanna was an expert in constitutional law, the United States Supreme Court, and women and the law. Her scholarship has been published in leading journals, including the Harvard Law Review, Yale Law Journal, and Michigan Journal of Gender and the Law. Professor Hanna was also a frequent media commentator, including on Vermont Public Radio and WCAX-TV 3.
She consulted on constitutional cases and represented public interest organizations through the filing of amicus briefs in cases before state and federal courts. This included the amicus brief she and Vermont Law School students wrote on behalf of the Vermont Commission on Women in Dreves v. Hudson, the first case implicating Vermont’s Equal Pay Act. The book she co-authored, Domestic Violence and the Law: Theory and Practice, was the leading casebook on violence against women.
Professor Hanna is survived by her husband and two children.
The Burlington Free Press has coverage here.
I will pass along more information as I receive it.
May her memory be a blessing.
Following on from the two point and four point leads in the Ashcroft and Populus polls today the other two voting intention polls tonight both have six point Labour leads.
ComRes‘s telephone poll for the Indy has topline figures of CON 27%(-3), LAB 33%(+1), LDEM 8%(+1), UKIP 17%(-1)
Meanwhile YouGov‘s daily poll for the Sun has toplines of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LD 8%, UKIP 12%
“SEXUAL APPLIANCE” is the official name of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Class 600, Subclass 38. Class 600, the broad-ranging general class of which Subclass 38 is a mere part, is for inventions that, in the view of the patent office, have to do with “SURGERY”.
Innovation, as seen by the Patent Office, does not happen willy-nilly. Innovation happens in the real world. In the real world, there are always constraints….
—so begins another Improbable Innovation nugget, which appears in its entirety on BetaBoston.
And LAB moves to 6% lead with YouGov
For whatever reason see section the regular phone polls are tending to produce more extreme figures than online firms and so it is with tonight’s ComRes phone poll for the Independent. The Tory share is down to 27% with Ukip dropping only a point to 17%.
ComRes, like almost all pollsters at the moment, had their usual crop of Miliband questions using the agree/disagree format. Asked whether Ed puts them off voting LAB 54% agreed and 41% disagreed. Asked whether they believed what Mr Miliband says more than they believed David Cameron, only 32% agreed and 57% disagreed.
The problem with this form of questioning, as I’ve argued many times before in all sorts of contexts, is that it can be leading.
Note that the ComRes phone polls are a completely different series from the ComRes online ones and shouldn’t be compared.
Tonight's @YouGov for the Sun CON 33 LAB 39 LD 8 Ukip 12
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) July 28, 2014
Margaret Thatcher’s personal bodyguard Barry Strevens has told of how he warned the Prime Minister of allegations that one of her top aides was involved in sex parties with under-age boys.Perhaps you don't believe this report in the Independent? I don't believe all the stories that have emerged about the abuse of children by politicians in recent weeks.
But in the case of Sir Peter Morrison you just have to take the word of his parliamentary colleagues.
Gyles Brandreth wrote in his published diary Breaking the Code - a surprisingly good book, incidentally - that he and his wife Michele had "been told several times on the doorstep – in no uncertain terms – that the MP is ‘a disgusting pervert".
In her diary, Edwina Currie - Ian Pace had reproduced the page - wrote:
One appointment in the recent reshuffle has attracted a lot of gossip and could be very dangerous: Peter Morrison has become the PM’s PPS. Now he’s what they call ‘a noted pederast’, with a liking for young boys; he admitted as much to Norman Tebbit when he became deputy chairman of the party, but added, ‘However, I’m very discreet’ – and he must be!And Norman Tebbit has confirmed this story, as the Mirror reported the other day:
Norman Tebbit yesterday admitted he had been told Sir Peter Morrison was a paedophile more than a decade before the truth about the notorious Tory was exposed. The ex-party chairman said “rumours had got to my ears” that Morrison had sex with underage boys before he became Margaret Thatcher’s Parliamentary Private Secretary in 1990.But then we all heard rumours about Morrison in those days.
I can remember being told that Cheshire Police were tired of picking him up for pestering young men in public lavatories and had told him that the next time this happened charges would be brought. The parties, my informant added, were busy selecting candidates for the inevitable by-election.
A different version of this story surfaced in the Guardian column of the late Simon Hoggart in November 2012:
Grahame Nicholls, who ran the Chester Trades Council when Morrison was the local MP, wrote describing how he'd often met Morrison, who was by the 1980s pretty well constantly drunk.
"After the 1987 general election, around 1990, I attended a meeting of Chester Labour party where we were informed by the agent, Christine Russell, that Peter Morrison would not be standing in 1992. He had been caught in the toilets at Crewe station with a 15-year-old boy.
A deal was struck between Labour, the local Tories, the local press and the police that if he stood down at the next election the matter would go no further. Chester finished up with Gyles Brandreth and Morrison walked away scot-free. I thought you might be interested."The version I heard made no mention of under-age boys, but then the age of consent for gay sex in those days was 21. It was the state, as much as the Paedophile Information Exchange, that served to blur the distinction between man and boy.
Still, Edwina Currie was in little doubt: she called Morrison a pederast, which suggests she believed the boys were younger than 16.
And the former Conservative minister Rod Richards told the Daily Mail in 2012:
"What I do know is that Morrison was a paedophile. And the reason I know that is because of the North Wales child abuse scandal."He went on to explain:
"It fell to me to decide initially whether to hold a public inquiry. So I saw all the documentation and the files. Morrison was linked. His name stood out on the notes to me because he had been an MP. He and [the other man] were named as visitors to the homes."All of which suggests that the Morrison saga should be put down as an unlovely example of the way that churches and political parties will protect their own rather than expose wrongdoing.
And now, the happy stuff.
This weekend was rather warm. We spent a large portion of it in our garden, either in the paddling pool or next to it at the picnic table.
Humuhumu is enjoying the new set of paints that the bloke bought for her. The warm weather means we don't have to worry about her tendency to decorate herself as extensively as her canvases.
First, select tool.
( More painting + paddling pool )
It can't be easy trying to fund a political movement in the current climate, when politicians are about as popular as a wasp in a submarine. You'd have more luck organising a whip-round for President Assad. That's why politicians are forced to suck up to billionaire donors, who expect them to tailor their policies accordingly, thereby further widening the gulf between parties and the public.
But wait. Not all parties are alike. The Daily Telegraph has revealed that, last year, Ukip made a whopping £80,000 from flogging branded merchandise to the public from its online store.Continue reading...
There's a very interesting Peter Capaldi Sunday Times interview(via Blogtor Who) http://bit.ly/1pm9bY3 in which he states:
"There'll be no flirting, that's for sure," Capaldi said. "It's not what this Doctor's concerned with. It's quite a fun relationship, but no, I did call and say, 'I want no Papa-Nicole moments. I think there was a bit of tension with that at first, but I was absolutely adamant."This is a big deal for the fans, a big change in the direction of the new Doctor Who. Some whovians will hate this and others, like me, love this.
Since the eighth Doctor kissed Grace, for no reason at all, really, Doctor Who fandom has been debating the value of sexualizing the Doctor. If it's used with great restraint and with purpose, it works. We know because Rose's relationship with the Doctor was well done, tasteful and seemed to have a purpose within the development of the Doctor's character, as a traumatized war survivor learning to enjoy life again; Great. However, having Martha, then Amy, then River, then Clara also fancy him and "steal" kisses,(oh so, then, it's not his fault, chicks can't help themselves!) sucked the fun out of the Doctor-companion relationships and the adventure. Donna was one of the best new companions for a reason. We got to know Donna in her own right, not as someone whose self fulfillment and identity was entirely dependent on whether a thousand plus years old alien fancied her. An equal friendship made their adventures just as gripping or more than other new Who companions.
It also suits the Doctor's character so much better. He doesn't spend his time turning down flirtatious advances he couldn't possibly care about(sorry, but he's how old?!) and he can focus on the companion as an equal rather than someone he has to keep at an arms length - True companionship and friendship. Not to mention the writers can't go very far with a romance which means that eventually a love interest has to be dumped. RTD did it well with Rose and bringing back the series, but it devalues Rose's significance if every subsequent storyline has the Doctor kissing female companions. Those kisses also become meaningless and the Doctor just starts seeming a bit of a cad, instead of a hero. I'd rather have the hero.
Maybe you aren't such a good man, Doctor, but Capaldi might just put you right again.
~ The opinions expressed on this post represent my own and not those of any other Dirty WHOer. ;-)
One of the less enjoyable parts of being on the internet is dealing with other people. Don’t get me wrong, some of them are lovely—Matt McFarland and the fine folks of Growling Door, Alyssa and the Fünhaver crew, Avery McDonaldo, and many others that I’m forgetting.
But of the seven billion people in the world, a lot of them are arseholes.
I’m going to focus on games, but the point about defending the status quo being implicitly political applies to the real world too. It’s just that this site is for my own elfgames work; people get enough about Scottish independence by [following me on twitter].
One thing that crops up more and more around that tendency to be an arsehole is a curious blind-spot around how things are compared to how they could be. Take, for example, the ongoing issues of female representation in games. To the arseholes, anyone arguing for a change is “being political” or “wasting time with political correctness” or “putting issues ahead of game design”. In other words, daring to say that the way things are isn’t just peachy keen is a political act.
And they’re right. It is a political act. Pretty much any call for systemic change is a political act, be that around the representation of women in games, the frankly disgusting treatment of LGBTQ people in games, or the employment of toxic individuals in the design of the world’s biggest RPG. The principle also applies to topics that are obviously political in the real world, such as Scottish independence or gay marriage. One side, the one that wants to change things, gets attacked as being “political” just for mentioning that things could be different. The other side, that is fine with how things are, aren’t “political” unlesss they’re actively campaigning.
This is, oh, what’s the phrase? Total and utter fucking bullshit.
If expressing a desire for the world to change is a political act, then saying that the world is fine just as it is is also a political act. You can support one change, you can be against it, or you can say “meh, doesn’t bother me”. The third option implicitly accepts that the status quo is fine. Some people actively campaign for the status quo. Far more campaign passively, by vocally claiming to not give a shit.
If you think the status quo is fine, you’re outright stating that the current level of bigotry—in games and in the real world—is fine:
- That it’s fine for many states in the USA to not allow gay people to marry.
- That it’s fine for many countries to ban homosexuality outright, in many cases torturing or even executing people for their “crime”.
- That it’s fine for employers to promise attractive women as a “perk” of a job.
- That it’s fine to have a world where women, people of color, bisexual, gay, lesbian, transgender, and non-binary/genderqueer people only exist as stereotypes at best.
- That giving people who are not cisgendered heterosexual white males a chance to see themselves represented in media as individuals is not necessary.
While I can’t do much more than campaign on the broader social issues, and donate to groups advocating for the causes that I believe in, gaming is a small space and I happen to have a voice in it.
If you think any of the above is fine? GET OUT OF MY FUCKING HOBBY.
Mirrored from ZeroPointInformation.
It’s Monday, so we have the weekly Ashcroft poll and the first of Populus’s two weekly polls
Populus shows slight movement away from the Conservatives, Ashcroft a movement towards the Conservatives… but one that is probably just a reversion to the mean after an unusually low score last week. I suspect all we are seeing here is normal sample variation around an average Labour lead of 3 or 4 points.
We are now heading towards the silly season, so big, unexpected events aside, don’t expect much in the way of poll shifts in the month ahead. It’s an election year so it may not be as quiet as usual – the parties will be trying to make the most of that empty news agenda with announcements… but equally, I doubt they’ll want to waste any major announcements in the Summer. Unless any events come along to change things Westminster politics will have a bit of a quite period until conference season – punctuated, of course, by the extremely major event of the Scottish referendum in seven weeks time….
Rose Lemberg was born in Ukraine, and lived in subarctic Russia and Israel before immigrating to the US. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Strange Horizons, Apex, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Unlikely Story, Daily Science Fiction, and other venues. She edits Stone Telling with Shweta Narayan. Rose has also edited two anthologies: Here, We Cross, a collection of queer and genderfluid poetry from Stone Telling (Stone Bird Press, 2012) and The Moment of Change, an anthology of feminist speculative poetry (Aqueduct Press 2012). Rose can be found at roselemberg.net, Livejournal, and Twitter.
Her newest project, An Alphabet of Embers, will be a professional-paying anthology of “unclassifiables – lyrical, surreal, magical, experimental pieces that straddle the border between poetry and prose.” As of today, it’s within a few hundred dollars of being fully funded.
I’m happy to welcome Rose to the blog to talk about diversity and what looks like a beautiful project.
I am very grateful to Jim Hines, who invited me to write about everyday diversity in connection with my new editorial project, An Alphabet of Embers.
Fundraising for diverse anthologies has become something of a trend in SFF, with wonderful, successful projects such as Long Hidden and Kaleidoscope, and painful failures such as Spellbound/Spindles. In the best case scenarios, editors are clueful about encouraging a truly diverse pool of submitters, and choose brilliant stories to challenge and inspire readers; worst case scenarios leave behind them disappointment and bitterness. Since I am currently fundraising for a new fiction project, An Alphabet of Embers, this topic has been much on my mind.
An Alphabet of Embers does not have the word “diverse” in its subtitle. I have envisioned the project as an anthology of very short, surrealist, magical, lyrical pieces that would delight their readers with beauty and meaning. I did, however, end up talking about diversity a lot in conjunction with this project – everyday diversity, which is the topic of my blog post today.
I co-edit Stone Telling, a magazine of boundary-crossing poetry, with Shweta Narayan. When I founded Stone Telling in 2010, I did not envision the magazine as specifically a diversity venue – but I wanted personal, emotional, experimental poetry that pushed the boundaries of genre. I also knew from the get-go that I wanted diversity of both voice and theme – I wanted to work with more PoC poets, more LGBTQIA poets, and others; I wanted to encourage new poets and discover published voices unknown to me, alongside those already established. So, from the very first issue, diversity became a cornerstone of Stone Telling. Not only did we encourage, and continue to encourage, new voices, but we also showcased voices of people who’ve been in genre for a very long time and deserve much greater recognition; e.g., it baffles me why JT Stewart is not more widely known – her work is so powerful.
An Alphabet of Embers is my first prose project. While it is not a diversity-themed anthology, I strongly feel that every project of mine must be diverse (c.f. not only Stone Telling, but The Moment of Change and Here, We Cross), showcasing a range of marginalized as well as non-marginalized voices. While I strongly believe in the power of special issues, I feel that everyday diversity is extremely important.
Here are some thoughts of how to cultivate everyday diversity:
Trust. The more marginalized an author is, the harder this trust is to come by. Even the most well-meaning editors don’t always get your marginalizations; every diverse author I talked to has a horror story of a personal rejection that perpetuated oppressions, of a lack of understanding of harmful clichés, of dismissiveness.
Earning your readers’ and submitters’ trust doesn’t mean that you don’t fuck up. It’s impossible to never fuck up, or at least, I don’t think it is a worthwhile aspiration. It’s the reaction to being called out that matters. My advice to editors is this: don’t get defensive, don’t try to explain/justify what you did. Instead – listen. Consider. Go for some empathy. Talk to others – especially people from demographics different from you. Educate yourself about issues that matter to people different from yourself.
Trust is built through your work – your work with submitters, whether you accept or reject them, and the finished products you put out into the world. Your finished products will speak to your principles and your editorial aesthetic. Your body of work – as an editor, writer, speaker – keeps building up. Trust is organic and evolving.
Accept that diversity is not a zero-sum game. This applies to readers, writers, and editors alike. We benefit from a greater variety of voices, writing, publications, venues – and this growth in the field challenges us as editors and writers to do better. (I am hoping to write more about this topic soon).
Consider issues of power. Who benefits from your editorial work? Whose voices are you showcasing? Whose voices are missing from your work? What are you missing, as a reader as well as an editor? Do you stick to comfortable and/or hegemonic narratives, or are you willing to challenge yourself?
Make an effort to include diversity of voice and theme. Diversity of voice is about including authors from different demographics – authors of color and white authors, authors who identify as LGBTQIA and those who do not, neuroatypical and neurotypical authors, etc. Diversity of theme is about showcasing characters who belong to different demographics, as well as different cultural settings. When we limit ourselves to diversity of theme alone, we may get things like all-man panels on feminism in genre. When we limit ourselves to diversity of voice alone, we run the risk of making marginalized people write only about non-marginalized perspectives; e.g. a queer author would make it into a ToC, but only if they write about straight people. A mix between theme and voice also helps to avoid tokenization.
I have written two more entries on this topic:
The submission guidelines for An Alphabet of Embers are here. We have some fabulous rewards, like custom essays and poetry, an additional chapbook of science poetry featuring forgotten figures of science and technology, custom treasure boxes, songs, and more; and we will soon unveil stretch goals with letterpress-printed broadsides, illustrations, a song by the Banjo Apocalypse Crinoline Troubadours, and a joke issue of Stone Telling! If you’re looking for beauty and wonder, An Alphabet of Embers is for you.
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.