Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wildman of Rhythm: The Life and Music of Benny Moré, The New Book by John Radanovich (GSAS, 92)


John Radanovich's (GSAS, 1992) new book, Wildman of Rhythm: the Life and Music of Benny Moré (University of Florida Press) has just been published and is available for purchase here. It is a biography of the greatest Cuban singer ever recorded, and the leader of the best orchestra from the 1950s. John spent 12 years researching Benny's life and music, in the States and with two research trips to Cuba.

Journalist John Radanovich has spent years tracking down the musicians who knew More and More family members, seeking out rare recordings and little-known photographs. Radanovich provides the definitive biography of the man and his music, whose legacy was forgotten in the larger scheme of political difficulties between the United States and Cuba. Even the exact spelling of More's first name was unknown until now. The author also examines the milieu of Cuban music in the 1950s, when Havana was the playground of Hollywood stars and the Mafia ran the nightclubs and casinos.

John has published articles and reviews in Living Blues and New Orleans Times-Picayune. He has covered the New York music scene for the Bergen Record newspaper, and has written about Latin music, jazz, and world music for Offbeat and Downbeat.

Advance praise for the book:

“This new book about ‘El Bárbaro del Ritmo’ celebrates the life and music of
one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century.”—Grammy award winning
musician Paquito D’Rivera

“Anybody with hot blood in their veins who has ever found Cuban music
irresistible, and who believes that jungle-crazy mambo is the real thing,
will feel indebted to John Radanovich’s fascinating chronicle of Benny
Moré’s life. Wildman of Rhythm is more than a biography—it’s a huge window
into one of the richest, most creative cultures on earth.”—Bob Shacochis,
National Book Award finalist for Swimming in the Volcano

"An important and highly entertaining book that tells the story of the great
and troubled Cuban singer Benny More. Helps roll back the curtain that often
comes between American audiences and their appreciation of the great musical
cultures to the south."--Sam Charters, author of A Language of Song:
Journeys into the Musical World of the African Diaspora

"An informative and compelling chronicle on the life of Cuba's most dazzling
singer, Benny More, tidily strung together as a series of small bright
story-jewels."--Ann Louise Bardach, author of Cuba Confidential

Monday, August 10, 2009

Jonathan Tropper (GSAS '93) - This Is Where I Leave You


Jonathan Tropper's newest book, This Is Where I Leave You was released last week and many of his novels will soon be making it to the silver screen.

Tropper is writing a remake of the play Harvey, for Fox 2000 and is also writing the adaptation of This Is Where I Leave You, as a feature film for Warner Brothers.

From Publishers Weekly
Tropper returns with a snappy and heartfelt family drama/belated coming-of-age story. Judd Foxman's wife, Jen, has left him for his boss, a Howard Stern–like radio personality, but it is the death of his father and the week of sitting shivah with his enjoyably dysfunctional family that motivates him. Jen's announcement of her pregnancy—doubly tragic because of a previous miscarriage—is followed by the dramas of Judd's siblings: his sister, Wendy, is stuck in an emotionless marriage; brother Paul—always Judd's defender—and his wife struggle with infertility; and the charming youngest, Phillip, attempts a grown-up relationship that only highlights his rakishness. Presided over by their mother, a celebrated parenting expert despite her children's difficulties, the mourning period brings each of the family members to unexpected epiphanies about their own lives and each other. The family's interactions are sharp, raw and often laugh-out-loud funny, and Judd's narration is unflinching, occasionally lewd and very keen. Tropper strikes an excellent balance between the family history and its present-day fallout, proving his ability to create touchingly human characters and a deliciously page-turning story.

To purchase This Is Where I Leave You, click here