The Mercer’s House
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From Irving Berlin to Cy Coleman, from “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” to “Big Spender,” from Tin Pan Alley to the MGM soundstages, the Golden Age of the American song embodied all that was cool, sexy, and sophisticated in popular culture. For four glittering decades, geniuses like Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, and Harold Arlen ran their fingers over piano keys, enticing unforgettable melodies out of thin air. Critically acclaimed writer Wilfrid Sheed uncovered the legends, mingled with the greats, and gossiped with the insiders. Now he’s crafted a dazzling, authoritative history of the era that “tripled the world’s total supply of singable tunes.” It began when immigrants in New York’s Lower East Side heard black jazz and blues–and it surged into an artistic torrent nothing short of miraculous. Broke but eager, Izzy Baline transformed himself into Irving Berlin, married an heiress, and embarked on a string of hits from “Always” to “Cheek to Cheek.” Berlin’s spiritual godson George Gershwin, in his brief but incandescent career, straddled Tin Pan Alley and Carnegie Hall, charming everyone in his orbit. Possessed of a world-class ego, Gershwin was also generous, exciting, and utterly original. Half a century later, Gershwin love songs like “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “The Man I Love,” and “Love Is Here to Stay” are as tender and moving as ever. Sheed also illuminates the unique gifts of the great jazz songsters Hoagy Carmichael and Duke Ellington, conjuring up the circumstances of their creativity and bringing back the thrill of what it was like to hear “Georgia on My Mind” or “Mood Indigo” for the first time. The Golden Age of song sparked creative breakthroughs in both Broadway musicals and splashy Hollywood extravaganzas. Sheed vividly recounts how Cole Porter, Richard Rodgers, Jerome Kern, and Johnny Mercer spread the melodic wealth to stage and screen. Popular music was, writes Sheed, “far and away our greatest contribution to the world’s art supply in the so-called American Century.” Sheed hung out with some of the great artists while they were still writing–and better than anyone, he knows great music, its shimmer, bite, and exuberance. Sparkling with wit, insight, and the grace notes of wonderful songs, The House That George Built is a heartfelt, intensely personal portrait of an unforgettable era. A delightfully charming, funny, and most illuminating portrait of songwriters and the Golden Age of American Popular Song. Mr. Sheed’s carefully chosen depictions and anecdotes recapture that amazingly creative period, a moment in time in which I was so fortunate to be surrounded by all that magic.” –Margaret Whiting From the Hardcover edition.
Shots rang out in Savannah's grandest mansion in the misty,early morning hours of May 2, 1981. Was it murder or self-defense? For nearly a decade, the shooting and its aftermath reverberated throughout this hauntingly beautiful city of moss-hung oaks and shaded squares. John Berendt's sharply observed, suspenseful, and witty narrative reads like a thoroughly engrossing novel, and yet it is a work of nonfiction. Berendt skillfully interweaves a hugely entertaining first-person account of life in this isolated remnant of the Old South with the unpredictable twists and turns of a landmark murder case. It is a spellbinding story peopled by a gallery of remarkable characters: the well-bred society ladies of the Married Woman's Card Club; the turbulent young redneck gigolo; the hapless recluse who owns a bottle of poison so powerful it could kill every man, woman, and child in Savannah; the aging and profane Southern belle who is the "soul of pampered self-absorption"; the uproariously funny black drag queen; the acerbic and arrogant antiques dealer; the sweet-talking, piano-playing con artist; young blacks dancing the minuet at the black debutante ball; and Minerva, the voodoo priestess who works her magic in the graveyard at midnight. These and other Savannahians act as a Greek chorus, with Berendt revealing the alliances, hostilities, and intrigues that thrive in a town where everyone knows everyone else. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is a sublime and seductive reading experience. Brilliantly conceived and masterfully written, this enormously engaging portrait of a most beguiling Southern city has become a modern classic.
John Herndon “Johnny” Mercer (1909–76) remained in the forefront of American popular music from the 1930s through the 1960s, writing over a thousand songs, collaborating with all the great popular composers and jazz musicians of his day, working in Hollywood and on Broadway, and as cofounder of Capitol Records, helping to promote the careers of Nat “King” Cole, Margaret Whiting, Peggy Lee, and many other singers. Mercer’s songs—sung by Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Lena Horne, and scores of other performers—are canonical parts of the great American songbook. Four of his songs received Academy Awards: “Moon River,” “Days of Wine and Roses,” “On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe,” and “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening.” Mercer standards such as “Hooray for Hollywood” and “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” remain in the popular imagination. Exhaustively researched, Glenn T. Eskew’s biography improves upon earlier popular treatments of the Savannah, Georgia–born songwriter to produce a sophisticated, insightful, evenhanded examination of one of America’s most popular and successful chart-toppers. Johnny Mercer: Southern Songwriter for the World provides a compelling chronological narrative that places Mercer within a larger framework of diaspora entertainers who spread a southern multiracial culture across the nation and around the world. Eskew contends that Mercer and much of his music remained rooted in his native South, being deeply influenced by the folk music of coastal Georgia and the blues and jazz recordings made by black and white musicians. At Capitol Records, Mercer helped redirect American popular music by commodifying these formerly distinctive regional sounds into popular music. When rock ’n’ roll diminished opportunities at home, Mercer looked abroad, collaborating with international composers to create transnational songs. At heart, Eskew says, Mercer was a jazz musician rather than a Tin Pan Alley lyricist, and the interpenetration of jazz and popular song that he created expressed elements of his southern heritage that made his work distinctive and consistently kept his music before an approving audience.
This collection of twelve essays describes aspects of town life in medieval Wales, from the way people lived and worked to how they spent their leisure time. Drawing on evidence from historical records, archaeology and literature, twelve leading scholars outline the diversity of town life and urban identity in medieval Wales. While urban histories of Wales have charted the economic growth of towns in post-Norman Wales, much less has been written about the nature of urban culture in Wales. This book fills in some of the gaps about how people lived in towns and the kinds of cultural experience which helped to construct a Welsh urban identity.
Historic House Museums in the United States and the United Kingdom: A History addresses the phenomenon of historic houses as a distinct species of museum. Everyone understands the special nature of an art museum, a national museum, or a science museum, but “house museum” nearly always requires clarification. In the United States the term is almost synonymous with historic preservation; in the United Kingdom, it is simply unfamiliar, the very idea being conflated with stately homes and the National Trust. By analyzing the motivation of the founders, and subsequent keepers, of house museums, Linda Young identifies a typology that casts light on what house museums were intended to represent and their significance (or lack thereof) today. This book examines: • heroes’ houses: once inhabited by great persons (e.g., Shakespeare’s birthplace, Washington’s Mount Vernon); • artwork houses: national identity as specially visible in house design, style, and technique (e.g., Frank Lloyd Wright houses, Modernist houses); • collectors’ houses: a microcosm of collecting in situ domesticu, subsequently presented to the nation as the exemplars of taste (e.g., Sir John Soane’s Museum, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum); • English country houses: the palaces of the aristocracy, maintained thanks to primogeniture but threatened with redundancy and rescued as museums to be touted as the peak of English national culture; English country houses: the palaces of the aristocracy, maintained for centuries thanks to primogeniture but threatened by redundancy and strangely rescued as museums, now touted as the peak of English national culture; • Everyman/woman’s social history houses: the modern, demotic response to elite houses, presented as social history but tinged with generic ancestor veneration (e.g., tenement house museums in Glasgow and New York).
Can a rogue be a hero? Dagdron was raised as a rogue, his dagger his only companion and pickpocketing his favorite pastime. But when his father forces him to attend the Adventurers’ Academy, where warriors, enchanters, and rogues learn how to fulfill quests to become heroes, Dagdron must face a whole new life. When Dagdron is accused of stealing the Arch of Avooblis, he and his ever-honorable roommate, Earl, embark on a quest to recover the magical crystal. Along the way they must deal with the mysterious Headmaster Gwauldron, a snobby princess-enchantress, and the fact that their involvement with the Arch of Avooblis may very well cost them their lives. Book 1 in the Adventurers' Academy Series
Jordan's brother was killed two years ago in what appeared to be a random act. Now, as the family reads their impact statements in court before the suspect is sentenced, a different story emerges. Maybe this was not a random act. Maybe Jordan knows more than he is saying. What was the impact of that violent act? And who set the wheels in motion?
For fans of Poldark. For all those who were entranced by Ross Poldark in the TV adaptation of Winston Graham's Poldark comes the sixth novel in a dramatic series of adventures that will sweep you away to 18th century Cornwall. Pride, the curse of the Loveday family, may also be its salvation. While Adam Loveday struggles to maintain the family shipyard and to develop his new lands at Boscabel, his twin, St John, bears a bitter grudge against him for having won the yard he considers his birthright. Then Desiree Richmond arrives unexpectedly from Virginia, and Adam is appalled to learn that she believes herself engaged to St John - though his brother's wife is still living. In London, young Tamasine tries to keep faith with Rupert Carlton, who, seems oddly elusive. And on a convict ship bound for Botany Bay, the family's blackest sheep is battling to survive. Yet both Tamasine and Japhet, the former highwayman, are fiercely proud of the Loveday name and resolved to honour their heritage.
"Some insight into Life in Mani Today The Road to freedom... " Not since the advent of British writer Patrick Leigh Fermor s book, Mani - Travels in the Southern Peloponnesus, more than fifty years ago, has there been an historic update, written in English, concerning this land and its people, from a new and very different perspective. Miami-born, Greek-American urologist, Dr. Mickey Demos, exposes the Mani from a unique angle in his book Life in Mani Today The Road to Freedom. This has been a project that the contributing editor, Panayiotis Kokkinias, has spent nearly two years preparing for publication. Kokkinias spent much of this past year in Mani working with Dr. Demos, who wanted to create an up-to-date version to the changes in history, which he discovered when he moved to Mani. His reasoning was based on the fact that his entire family origin began here centuries ago and, until he turned 69 years of age, he had never even visited Greece. Now, at 80, he was on a quest that encompassed an eleven year odyssey. Realizing the passion Kokkinias had for writing, based upon a number of book and periodicals that he had authored and which Demos had read, he asked Kokkinias to help him organize and complete his 600 pages of thoughts into a concise book format and get it published. Demos was a natural, Kokkinias said in an interview, relating to the Doctor s ability to capture the stories he relates in Life in Mani Today. So many people of Greek descent have had their roots in Mani, and the stories abound reflecting the traits and characteristics of these wild mountain people who all claim to have a direct connection to a man named Petros Mavromichalis, one of the greatest freedom fighters in Hellenic history. So many myths, superstitions, battles, wild stories, songs, poems, hearsay, as well as vampires, bats, vendettas, and the power of the evil eye are just the beginning along with the warning to those who so much as mention the word, Mani, to anyone outside of this region. Everybody in Greece knew about Mani and had something to say about the place. You had better watch yourself. Those people in Mani are dangerous. Life in Mani Today will give new insight into what has transpired over these past 50-plus years. It is not a dry historical chronology, but a lively look, with some comic relief, about life in the old country. You might be surprised at what has changed and more surprised at what has stayed the same. Here is an opportunity to learn more about a part of Greece that has remained independent of the rest of the mainland for many years. How these people have survived and succeeded in life, and have stayed free from a lot of the politics that currently threaten the financial stability of this great country, continues as a credit to their hard work, their intelligence, and their use of common sense.
When Derek Hall moved to the small town of Tanner's Ridge, he never expected to meet the beautiful blond named Alex living next door. He didn't expect to get beaten up by her boyfriend, either. But as the two grow closer, she will introduce him to the town's most disturbing legend: The House on Dead Boy Lane. As Alex begins to dream about the house nightly, she will lead Derek down a path he may not survive...
Buildings surround and affect us all. In this clear and concise introduction to buildings Thom Gorst demystifies the culture of architecture and shows how an interest in our environment - whatever our cultural position - can be of great value to us.