A sometimes-familiar but often appealing guide to living a more creative life.

ARTIST

AWAKENING THE SPIRIT WITHIN

Jones’ debut motivational memoir encourages readers to find their inner thespians.

As the daughter of actor Henry Jones (who won a Tony Award in 1958 for his performance in Sunrise at Campobello), the author was able to observe performers up close from a young age. She realized something about the most successful ones: “They seemed to have made themselves up out of thin air, manifesting an image and personality that resided somewhere in their imaginations.” Jones eventually grew up to be an actor and acting coach herself, developing an approach to the craft grounded in intentionality and internal inspiration. With this book, she seeks to share her method with artists of all stripes, including readers who simply want to access their creative sides. She blends stories from her life in creative communities—spending time in art colonies in her youth in the 1950s, studying acting in New York and Los Angeles in the ’60s and ’70s, and serving as a creative consultant in Hollywood starting in the ’80s—with advice and exercises meant to unlock one’s artistic abilities. She coaches readers on how to meditate, observe, be in the moment, set goals, and employ other valuable skills. Jones’ teaching experience comes through in her prose, which is concise, insightful, and often funny. Here, for instance, she riffs on the importance of maintaining the proper attitude: “I don’t want to be an actor. I am an actor because every day, I do the things actors do….I don’t want to be an organ grinder. I am an organ grinder because I grind the organ every chance I get. Plus, I bought a monkey and named him Marcel.” Much of the material is familiar, with its references to the Law of Attraction, manifesting, intentionality, and so on, but Jones packages it all in a way that manages to feel practical but delightfully low-stakes at the same time. Aspiring actors will likely get the most from this work, but creatives of all types are likely to benefit from the advice here.

A sometimes-familiar but often appealing guide to living a more creative life.

Pub Date: Feb. 22, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5445-2830-4

Page Count: 286

Publisher: Goodspeed Press

Review Posted Online: June 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

TANQUERAY

A former New York City dancer reflects on her zesty heyday in the 1970s.

Discovered on a Manhattan street in 2020 and introduced on Stanton’s Humans of New York Instagram page, Johnson, then 76, shares her dynamic history as a “fiercely independent” Black burlesque dancer who used the stage name Tanqueray and became a celebrated fixture in midtown adult theaters. “I was the only black girl making white girl money,” she boasts, telling a vibrant story about sex and struggle in a bygone era. Frank and unapologetic, Johnson vividly captures aspects of her former life as a stage seductress shimmying to blues tracks during 18-minute sets or sewing lingerie for plus-sized dancers. Though her work was far from the Broadway shows she dreamed about, it eventually became all about the nightly hustle to simply survive. Her anecdotes are humorous, heartfelt, and supremely captivating, recounted with the passion of a true survivor and the acerbic wit of a weathered, street-wise New Yorker. She shares stories of growing up in an abusive household in Albany in the 1940s, a teenage pregnancy, and prison time for robbery as nonchalantly as she recalls selling rhinestone G-strings to prostitutes to make them sparkle in the headlights of passing cars. Complemented by an array of revealing personal photographs, the narrative alternates between heartfelt nostalgia about the seedier side of Manhattan’s go-go scene and funny quips about her unconventional stage performances. Encounters with a variety of hardworking dancers, drag queens, and pimps, plus an account of the complexities of a first love with a drug-addled hustler, fill out the memoir with personality and candor. With a narrative assist from Stanton, the result is a consistently titillating and often moving story of human struggle as well as an insider glimpse into the days when Times Square was considered the Big Apple’s gloriously unpolished underbelly. The book also includes Yee’s lush watercolor illustrations.

A blissfully vicarious, heartfelt glimpse into the life of a Manhattan burlesque dancer.

Pub Date: July 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-27827-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2022

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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