Tag Archives: Biographies

Art: “The Lives Of Rubens” Through 17-Century Biographies (The Getty)

Art + Ideas - Getty PodcastsPeter Paul Rubens was among the most influential artists in 17th-century Europe. Despite a childhood marred by a scandal that landed his father in prison, Rubens rose to become not only a prominent court painter in the Spanish Netherlands but also a lauded diplomat who worked across Western Europe.

With countless biographies written about the artist and exhibitions of his work continuing into the present day, the legacy of this Flemish Baroque artist is hard to overstate.

In this episode, Getty curator Anne Woollett discusses the life of Rubens through 17th-century biographies by three authors: Giovanni Baglione, Joachim von Sandrart, and Roger de Piles.

For images, transcripts, and more, visit getty.edu/podcasts.

Sir Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish artist and diplomat. He is considered the most influential artist of Flemish Baroque tradition. Rubens’s highly charged compositions reference erudite aspects of classical and Christian history.

Podcast Interviews: Craig Brown, Author Of “One Two Three Four – The Beatles In Time” (Monocle)

Monocle on Culture PodcastsRobert Bound speaks to writer Craig Brown about his new biography of the Beatles, called ‘One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time’. How do you say something fresh about one of the most written-about bands in history?

Author/writer Craig Brown
Author Craig Brown

From the award-winning author of Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret comes a fascinating, hilarious, kaleidoscopic biography of the Fab Four.

John Updike compared them to ‘the sun coming out on an Easter morning’. Bob Dylan introduced them to drugs. The Duchess of Windsor adored them. Noel Coward despised them. JRR Tolkien snubbed them. The Rolling Stones copied them. Loenard Bernstein admired them. Muhammad Ali called them ‘little sissies’. Successive Prime Ministers sucked up to them. No one has remained unaffected by the music of The Beatles. As Queen Elizabeth II observed on her golden wedding anniversary, ‘Think what we would have missed if we had never heard The Beatles.’

One Two Three Four traces the chance fusion of the four key elements that made up The Beatles: fire (John), water (Paul), air (George) and earth (Ringo). It also tells the bizarre and often unfortunate tales of the disparate and colourful people within their orbit, among them Fred Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Maharishi, Aunt Mimi, Helen Shapiro, the con artist Magic Alex, Phil Spector, their psychedelic dentist John Riley and their failed nemesis, Det Sgt Norman Pilcher.

From the bestselling author of Ma’am Darling comes a kaleidoscopic mixture of history, etymology, diaries, autobiography, fan letters, essays, parallel lives, party lists, charts, interviews, announcements and stories. One Two Three Four joyfully echoes the frenetic hurly-burly of an era.

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Rock & Roll Biographies: “Conversations With Tom Petty” (February 2020)

Conversations with Tom Petty book February 2020Author Paul Zollo conducted a series of in-depth discussions with Tom about his career, with special focus on his songwriting. The conversations are reprinted here with little or no editorial comment and represent a unique perspective on Tom’s entire career. Originally published in 2005 (also by Omnibus Press), Tom’s wife Dana has fully approved this updated edition, which retains its foreword by Petty, adds additional interview material, an expanded introduction as well as additional photos from Petty’s last ever live performance. This is, perhaps, as close as you can get to an autobiography by the great man.

Tom Petty has long been considered one of the great songwriters of American rock ‘n’ roll, as well as one of the key standard bearers of integrity in the music business. Conversations With Tom Petty is the first authorized book to focus solely on the life and work of the man responsible for some of the most memorable rock anthems of our generation, including: ‘American Girl’, ‘Breakdown’, ‘Refugee’, “The Waiting’, ‘Don’t Come Around Here No More’, ‘I Won’t Back Down’, ‘Free Fallin’, ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream’, ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’, ‘Mary Jane’s Last Dance’ and many others.

Read more or purchase

 

Biographies: “Shatner” By MICHAEL SETH STARR (2019)

Shatner by Michael Seth Starr December 2019Shatner takes a comprehensive look at this singular performer, using archival sources and information culled from interviews with friends and colleagues to transport readers through William Shatner’s remarkably bumpy career: his spectacular failures and triumphs; tragedies, including the shocking death of his third wife, Nerine; and, ultimately, the resilience Shatner has shown, time and again, in the face of overwhelming odds. Author Michael Seth Starr unravels the mystery of William Shatner, stripping away the many myths associated with his personal life and his relationships with fellow actors, presenting a no-holds-barred, unvarnished look at the unique career of an inimitable performer.

In the early months of 1966, a handsome, hardworking thirty-five-year-old Canadian-born actor named William Shatner was cast as Captain Kirk in Star Trek, a troubled, low-budget science-fiction television series set to premiere that fall on NBC. Star Trek struggled for viewers and lasted only three seasons, but it found a huge, rabidly dedicated audience when it premiered in syndication following its cancellation—turning Shatner into a pop-culture icon and launching him on a career path he never could have imagined after graduating from McGill University with an economics degree twenty years earlier. As he approaches his ninetieth year, he’s still working at a furious pace as a man of boundless contradictions: by turns one of the most dissected, disliked, revered, respected, mocked, imitated, and beloved stars in the show business firmament.

To read more or order book: https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781493050659/Shatner

New Celebrity Books: “The Mighty Elvis – A Graphic Biography” By Seymour Chwast & Steven Brower

The Mighty Elvis is a commemoration of his life and times in the form of an art book, told through the unique vision of legendary designer and illustrator Seymour Chwast. Beautifully illustrated throughout, it presents an enhanced portrait of one of America’s greatest celebrities.

With text by author Steven Brower (Satchmo: The Life and Art of Louis Armstrong), The Mighty Elvis reminds us of the continuing stardom of one of the most popular American singers of all time. Through Chwast’s illustrations, cartoons and comics we get to relive his early life, his meteoric rise to fame and how he was affected by, and in turn, affected the world of music in the many genres he mastered. The book covers his first appearances on television, Graceland, his meeting with President Nixon, his wedding to Priscilla, and much more. Millions of fans loved him, purchased his records, attended his sold-out shows, and went to his 33 films. Death, 40 years ago, has not diminished his fame. “Elvis Lives!”

To read more and/or purchase: https://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Elvis-Graphic-Biography/dp/1684055601/ref=sr_1_79?Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.x=39&Adv-Srch-Books-Submit.y=15&field-datemod=12&field-dateop=During&field-dateyear=2019&qid=1576432769&refinements=p_n_feature_browse-bin%3A2656020011&rnid=618072011&s=books&sr=1-79&unfiltered=1

New Biographies: “The Shadow Of Vesuvius -A Life Of Pliny” By Daisy Dunn

The Shadow of Vesuvius A Life of Pliny by Daisy Dunn Dec 2019When Pliny the Elder perished at Stabiae during the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD, he left behind an enormous compendium of knowledge, his thirty-seven-volume Natural History, and a teenaged nephew who revered him as a father. Grieving his loss, Pliny the Younger inherited the Elder’s notebooks—filled with pearls of wisdom—and his legacy. At its heart, The Shadow of Vesuvius is a literary biography of the younger man, who would grow up to become a lawyer, senator, poet, collector of villas, and chronicler of the Roman Empire from the dire days of terror under Emperor Domitian to the gentler times of Emperor Trajan. A biography that will appeal to lovers of Mary Beard books, it is also a moving narrative about the profound influence of a father figure on his adopted son. Interweaving the younger Pliny’s Letters with extracts from the Elder’s Natural History, Daisy Dunn paints a vivid, compellingly readable portrait of two of antiquity’s greatest minds.

Artist Profiles: Film Director Mike Nichols (1931-2014) Profiled In New Book (NY Times Podcast)

Mike Nichols Life Isn't Everything Ash Carter and Sam KashnerMike Nichols, who died in 2014, was a film and stage director of genius, and he wasted no time in showing it. The first two films he directed were “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Graduate.” In the new oral history “Life Isn’t Everything,” Ash Carter and Sam Kashner draw on 150 respondents to tell the story of his incredible career.

The New York Times Book Review

Website: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/06/books/review/podcast-life-isnt-everything-mike-nichols-still-here-elaine-stritch-alexandra-jacobs.html

New Books: “Edison” By Pulitzer Prize-Winner Edmund Morris (2019)

From a Wall Street Journal online review:

Edison by Edmuns Morris 2019Not until July 16 did Edison feel that he had a device worth patenting. The application he signed that day specified multiple timpani that “reproduced” vocal inflections and a sibilant-sensitive diaphragm. But a laboratory visitor (spying for Bell) found the instrument more powerful than clear, with the word schism sounding more like kim.

“We have had terrible hard work on the Speaking telegraph,” Batchelor complained to his fellow inventor Ezra Gilliland. For the past five to six weeks, he added, Edison’s team had been “frequently working 2 nights together until we all had to knock off from want of sleep.”

Thomas Alva Edison’s self-proclaimed greatest invention, the phonograph, won him overnight fame. Journalists would marvel that such an acoustic revolution, adding a whole new dimension to human memory, could have been accomplished by a man half deaf in one ear and wholly deaf in the other.

In February 1877, the same month that saw Edison turn 30 and show his first streaks of silver hair, he and his fellow inventor Charles Batchelor began a new series of experiments on what they called, variously, the “telephonic telegraph,” the “speaking telegraph” and the “talking telephone.”

To read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-making-of-thomas-edisons-miraculous-machine-11571324989

New Books: Frank Lloyd Wright Bio “Plagued By Fire” By Paul Hendrickson

From a Wall Street Journal online review:

Plagued by Fire Paul HendrickonWhereas most Wright biographies build from one structure to the next, this one caroms from one digression to the next. Mr. Hendrickson spins miniature biographies of the people who commissioned Wright to build their homes and office buildings. An array of midcentury figures appears: e.g., Glenway Wescott, the novelist and poet who rubbed shoulders with Gertrude Stein in Paris and whose sister commissioned one of Wright’s homes; and Clarence Darrow, the renowned lawyer, who waded into the murk of Wright’s personal life when a disgruntled housekeeper attempted to use the Mann Act to have Wright arrested. We also meet the little-known residents of various structures. Seth Peterson, for instance, dreamed of living in a Wright home so powerfully that he camped out in the one he commissioned as it was being built. 

Even when you grant how exposed to the elements an architect’s work may be, Frank Lloyd Wright appears to have been an insurer’s nightmare. If a building could shake, burn or flood, time and again Wright’s structures did. Like the exquisite Rose Pauson House in Phoenix, which lasted a mere year before succumbing to fire. Or the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, with its gorgeous H-shaped guest wing, rocked by an earthquake on the day it opened. The Johnson Wax building in Racine, Wis., was so porous that office staff were known to keep buckets by their desk on rainy days.

To read more: https://www.wsj.com/articles/plagued-by-fire-review-the-spirit-in-the-form-11570806240?mod=ig_booksoctober12