Letter to the Reader:

Media Wars


Thinking about the Occupy protestors, the media professor in me is once more engaged. As someone who now has a major stake in the online media world, and who has also worked years in the offline media world, and taught the subject at major universities, I have a deep historical sense of the powerful role that offline media has had, and continues to have, on human behavior.

I can also see how perplexed everyone feels at how to take full advantage of this new online world.

In just a little over a decade, the online world, which brought all of those people together in the Occupy Movement, and has given the Neworld Review close to 600,000 visitors (and counting) world-wide, has become a world where anyone can join in.

In this world, anyone with something deeply heartfelt to say can now become a “somebody,” and find hundreds, if not thousands, of like-minded “friends.”

In the offline world, it is still a small group of folks, especially in New York City, that control everything, including all the media that counts.

In the offline world, where much of the “old” money still resides, you will remain--unless they give you permission, and in spite of your obvious passion and great skills-- a nobody, with friends that matter little.

With all that we are witnessing, not only on Wall Street, but across the globe, is it any wonder then that these two deeply opposing views and very different technologies, are at war with one another?

One world likes things just as they are, and the other world is giving them the finger. It is indeed an interesting time for media historians.

In fact, It is times like these that I almost wish I was back in the classroom.

***

Meanwhile, one good thing about writing this column for you folks each month is that there is always plenty of drama to report when I don’t have my head in the clouds, (being philosophical), or when I’m simply bragging about the Bronx.

One article always seems to leave everyone in the dust, back articles suddenly zoom out of nowhere, and sharp spikes in readership from places like China--are suddenly what everyone is talking about, keeping me, O’Brien, Bernie, Kara and Margaret on our toes, and constantly thinking about what we could do next to enhance our product.

Speaking of zooming out of nowhere, China is now number two after Russia in overseas visitors, quickly zipping by Japan and the United Kingdom in just a few short months (I just hope they like the magazine and are not trying to capture our website for whatever nefarious purposes they may have in mind!).

I can see from the stats that many visitors just give us a quick going over, and sometimes give us a gentle nod, or, more often, a large, quiet yawn, and quickly move on.

But what all at once commanded my full attention as I viewed my latest stats, was Time Spent on Site.

Despite the many brush-offs, I was surprised, and even elated to see so many visitors--those that think we are engaging--spending 30 minutes or more visiting our site.

I think you can see what that means.

***

  

Enjoy this issue of the Neworld Review.


Fred Beauford

Editor-in-Chief
/Publisher



garage restaurent ad garagejazz.com link

Neworld Review
Vol. 4 No 27 - 2011

Editor-in-Chief
/Publisher

Fred Beauford

Online Managing Editor

Richard D. O'Brien

Managing Editor

Margaret Johnstone

Art Director

Bernie Rollins

Director of Photography

Kara Fox


Contributing Writers


Jane M McCabe: History
Janet Garber
Loretta H. Campbell
Herb Boyd
Sarah Vogelsong
Barbara Snow
Sally Cobau
Michael Carey
Brenda M. Greene
Jan Alexander
Jill Noel Shreve
Madeleine Mysko
Emily Rosen
Steven Paul Leiva
Lindsey Peckham: Art Beat
Molly Moynahan: A Writers' World

The Neworld Review is a publication of Fred Beauford, 3183 Wilshire Blvd,
Suite 196,
Los Angeles, CA. 90010.

Material in this publication may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission. Opinions expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers.

Manuscripts should be accompanied by a self-stamped envelope. Online submissions are accepted at literarylife1@hotmail.com.

Neworld Review cannot be held responsible for unsolicited photographs or manuscripts.

All correspondence to:

Fred Beauford
Editor-in Chief/Publisher

Neworld Review
3183 Wilshire Blvd,
Suite 196,
Los Angeles, CA. 90010


E-mail



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This Month's Articles

MEMOIR

Harry Belafonte—My Song (A Memoir)

With Michael Shnayerson


Reviewed by Herb Boyd


book jacket

My first encounter with Harry Belafonte occurred as a teenager when his “Day-O” and “Jamaica Farewell” were at the top of the charts and calypso was all the rage.  I had a friend who was so absolutely fascinated by Belafonte; he did everything to be like him, including his dress, mannerisms, and hair-style.  We used to kid him that it was too bad he couldn’t sing because otherwise he was a dead ringer.

For years the world has been waiting for Harry Belafonte to tell his story, to sing a song of his life that only he could do.  Often when reporters asked about the possibility of such a memoir or autobiography, Belafonte would quickly brush off the inquiry, insisting they move on to the next question.

Many were left to conclude that maybe he had too many skeletons in the closet, too many things about him he’d rather not discuss, incidents and episodes he’d rather not relive.  

Well, those skeletons and episodes come fully to life in My Song, and the legendary singer/actor/activist spills out his story, warts and all.

Readers finally get the lowdown about his off-and-on friendship with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier, whom.....Read More



REVIEWING

The Night Strangers

by Chris Bohjalian


Reviewed by Sally Cobau


book jacket

Ghosts in Vermont


Ghost stories have a great appeal to many.  I am amongst the many who enjoy unreliable narrators and characters in books that can be seen through multiple lenses. The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian, is a rich collection of either demonic or just plain kooky and eccentric side characters, and a protagonist who has apparently flipped his lid.

Bohjalian has made a career of writing books of topical interest. His novel Midwives, was an Oprah selection and made him a “best-selling author.”  And for good measure, the book was riveting.  He writes books about alternative medicine (midwifery), violence (often related to gun violence), the occult, herbalists, and people living on the margins.  Sometimes these topics merge in a compelling narrative.  But Bohjalian can sometimes be an uneven writer, with some clunkers mixed in with his better works.  Some of his novels hold up to the sometimes overly dramatic events, while the weight of his topics seem to suffocate others. Midwives (perhaps his best known book) is—as countless people have pointed out—a “read-late-into-the-night,” book about a home birth gone awry. The questions Bohjalian poses in this book about the responsibilities of our caregivers and what we expect from them (seamless childbirth, in this case, though in our hearts we know this is impossible) is fascinating. My favorite Bohjalian book, however, is The Double Bind. This book relies.....Read More



REVIEWING

Lost Memory of Skin

by Russell Banks


Reviewed by Emily Rosen


book jacket

This book may go down as Russell Banks’ best-to-date.  It is hefty in size, concepts and ambivalence, and although it is hardly to be labeled a book of “action,” one gets the sense that stuff is happening on each page.         Banks plows into the heart and guts of his characters with a word palette that is meticulous in detail, color, composition and dimension, so that by the time his canvas is complete, three “D” people walk out of his pages in full flesh with their thoughts, feelings and contradictions spread across their bodies in clear signage. Lost Memory of Skin is a remarkable blend of character and social issues.

The novel is essentially about losers who are not what they seem to be. The protagonist calls himself “The Kid.” He is a 22-year old skinny convicted sex offender whose personality “had no specialty.”

He must wear an ankle locator for the ten years of his probation, and must never “locate” any closer than 2500 feet from where children might reasonably be expected to assemble. He therefore winds up living under “The Causeway,” in fictitious Calusa, (Miami?) living among a motley group of other banished-from-society sex offenders. He is obsessively caring of his beloved 30 foot, full grown,.....Read More



REVIEWING

And So It Goes: Kurt Vonnegut: A Life

by Charles J. Shields


Reviewed by Sarah Vogelsong


book jacket

What do you do when you find out that the author of one of the greatest works of American literature ever written was an asshole?

It’s a disorienting experience, one not so far from a storyline Vonnegut himself might have written: Everyman reader discovers that the Great Author in the sky is either ignoring his own system of morality, or else willfully subverting it. But what can you do? You can’t change another man’s life. We might as well just shrug along with Billy Pilgrim and Vonnegut’s pantheon of confused men and say to ourselves: “So it goes.”

I suspect that Charles Shields was driven to the same conclusion in writing this first major biography of Kurt Vonnegut. As close to an authorized biography that we will ever get—Vonnegut sanctioned the project, met with the author twice, and then died abruptly after becoming tangled in his dog’s leash and falling .....Read More



NOVEL

The African Gentleman


…and The Plot to Re-establish The New World Order


A Novel by Fred Beauford


Chapters 36-38


36

Gladys and Eric, with their highly imaginative minds, will love what came next. I am going to cherish the many expressions on their faces when I give them all the details. The actor in me just can’t wait.

37

I wondered what took them so long. But here we were, at long last.

I was seated in a rather large conference room around a highly polished dark brown oblong table with three men and two women. All five had a brown folder in front of them, which I immediately guessed was filled with the exciting story of a great actor in a provocative, well-written play, where I was the leading man.

And how right I was.

“Just remember, Mr. Omak,” one of them said to me, “under the Freedom of Information Act, you will be free to view the contents of these files in due time.”

This was the mid-town office of the FBI, and I had correctly guessed that they had before them perhaps everyone I had ever spoken to and slept with (they probably even looked up precious Angel and,.....Read More



REVIEWING

Pauline Kael: A Life in the Dark

by Brian Kellow


Reviewed by Steven Paul Leiva


Any filmgoer born after 1970 might well wonder why anyone would want to

write a biography of a film critic.  A film director?  Yes, certainly, anyone can understand detailing the life of a film director, especially one tapped into the pop culture zeitgeist.

A film actor? Of course it’s an actor’s job to be interesting, so a book about an actor’s life would, it is assumed, also be interesting. A film producer?  Well, maybe if he or she is sufficiently flamboyant and is widely covered by TMZ.

A screenwriter?  No, of course not, screenwriters are just creatures who do some scribbling on paper or tapping on a laptop before a cinematic dream is created, just as film critics are creatures who scribble a little bit on paper, or babble a little bit on TV upon the cinematic dream’s release.

But any filmgoer — especially a passionate filmgoer — who lived through the 1970s, will understand immediately why Brian Kellow has,.....Read More



REVIEWING

The Whip

by Karen Kondazian


Reviewed by Fred Beauford


book jacket

One thing I really like about this job is that I get to discover promising new talent far outside of the world of agents, New York publishers, academics, and establishment book reviewers.

Karen Kondazian’s debut novel, The Whip, is in that category. Her well-written work, based on a true story, displays all the confidence of a seasoned novelist. I didn’t detect one false note.

The Whip was inspired by the true story of a woman, Charlotte “Charley” Parkhurst (1812-1879), who lived most of her extraordinary life as a man in the old west.

As a young woman in Rhode Island, she fell in love with a runaway slave and had his child, which brought about unforgivable human cruelty.

The destruction of Charlotte’s family is detailed with horrendous details.

She then journeyed to California, dressed as a man, to track the person who instigated the slaughter of her family, someone from the orphanage. that she once considered almost a brother

Charley became a renowned stagecoach driver for Wells Fargo (A Whip). She killed a famous outlaw, had a secret love affair, and lived with a housekeeper who......Read More



REVIEWING

Harlem Renaissance Five Novels of the 1920s
The Library of America Collection

Edited by Rafia Zafar


Reviewed by Loretta H. Campbell


book jacket

New Beginnings


“Suddenly the aged Negro dropped to one knee, his hands resting on the arm of the planter’s [master’s] chair, and began weeping aloud.”  This is a passage from Black Thunder, by Arna Bontemps, and one of the four novels in this extraordinary volume, a companion to Harlem Renaissance Five Novels of the 1920s, also edited by Rafia Zafar(author of We Wear the Masks).

In this section, Ben, a house slave in southeastern Virginia during the 1800s, betrays a slave insurrection, condemning hundreds of his brothers and sisters to horrible deaths.

Bontemps describes Ben as the aged house slave/butler who believed his master’s life and comfort were more valuable than the lives of Ben’s own people. In short, Ben was exactly as his master described him, “a good boy.” 

Unfortunately, the leaders of the insurrection believed that Ben and another slave were trustworthy. Bontemps gives us an intimate portrait of Ben’s mindset and that of the leaders of the aborted insurrection.

“Don’t you want to be free, fool,” Blue said.

“I reckon I does.”

“You reckon?”

Bontemps, one of the stars of the Harlem Renaissance, culled thousands,.....Read More



PORTFOLIO

Portfolio: Helen K. Garber

by Kara Fox


helen k garber

Helen K. Garber is a challenge to write about. She is multi-faceted and everything she creates is amazing. This portfolio highlights her most recent work 'Encaustic Noir.'

I love black & white photography, and it is this love that brought Helen K. Garber into my life.  Many years go, Cheryl Drasin, an extraordinary art consultant, invited me to visit Helen's studio, suggesting her 'noir' work was significant and important for me to know about. I have never forgotten her striking images of Venice at night.

      Recently, sitting in Helen's phenomenal studio on the beach in Venice, California, I was overwhelmed by the images lining the walls, and the sweet scent of beeswax filling the air. As we spoke, I reflected on how we were destined to know each other. We discovered our relationship had begun many years before when I had visited her husband, Dr. Stuart Garber for a crainiopathy treatment...how often does one learn that the wife of your doctor is a .....Read More



REVIEWING

Contesting Histories: German and Jewish Americans
and the Legacy of the Holocaust

by Michael Schuldiner


Reviewed by Janet Garber


book jacket

The Evil That Men Do


My friend Elaine’s mother, a German Jew, came to America in 1936, just a few years before the entire Jewish population of her village was deported.  About 15 years ago, Elaine began visiting her mother’s birthplace, Breisach, to participate in an effort to educate young Germans about their lost population of Jews, Judaic culture, the basic tenets of the religion. 

The Germans, she tells me, are very eager to learn and Elaine derives great satisfaction from being involved in this outreach. I have wondered why she chooses to invest in these young Germans when perhaps she could be working instead with victims of the Nazis. 

But Schuldiner’s book, Contesting Histories, has opened up a new perspective on the best ways to move forward.

In a remarkably even-handed tone, Schuldiner examines the positions of both German Americans and Jewish Americans on the.....Read More



A WRITER'S WORLD

COLLABORATION

by Molly Moynahan


Collaborating on creative projects involving writing can be difficult. For me, much of my writing begins in my brain and stays there morphing from a vague set of images into actual sentences that later manifest as concrete words on the page. My first real collaborative activity was as an actress working with a director and cast mates, being critiqued, accepting direction and finding an appropriate rhythm with the scenes I shared with others.

There were magic moments such as the time I was in a group production about Sylvia Plath that was written by the female members of the Royal Shakespeare Company. I was studying history at Trinity College Dublin and there were three of us in the cast, an English girl, an Irish girl and myself. The Irish girl was an incredible actress already, well known in Dublin for playing the title lead in a production of Antigone at the Abbey Theater.

The three of us immediately clicked and became an ensemble so tight we mutinied against the director who .....Read More



REVIEWING

The Third Reich

by Roberto Bolaño


Read by: Simon Vance


Reviewed by Michael Carey


audio jacket

Roberto Bolaño was a poet novelist, or rather a novelist poet, who has received great posthumous praise and recognition. The Third Reich is one of his early attempts at a novel found among his papers after his death. Being unfamiliar with his later and award winning novels, or any of his work, frankly, I'm pleased to say that Bolaño shows great skill at weaving story and attracting the listener into the worlds he creates.

The Third Reich is an intriguing account of Udo Berger and his girlfriend, Ingeborg's, first holiday together. Udo is the German champion of Third Reich, a World War II strategy game. They are vacationing in the Costa Brava region of Spain on the Mediterranean, a childhood vacation spot for Udo's family. However, he is there to work on Third Reich strategies as well as to write a game-changing Third Reich article even as .....Read More



A WRITER'S WORLD

Finding your rhythm: Writing & Exercise

by Molly Moynahan


A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.  ~A.A. Milne


Today I wandered up and down the trails of Griffith Park, hiking the alien paths in the alien territory of Los Angeles. I was aware that my legs were beginning to tire as the third hour approached but my brain was teeming with possibilities for the characters in my novel-in-progress and so the pain in my legs was easy to ignore.

These characters are navigating alien territory themselves, tiring of some of the situations they find themselves in, situations that include death, illness, marriage, parenting and facing choices they'd made in the past.

Being lost and confused on a mountain above Los Angeles paralleled nicely with my main character's sense of displacement. The strenuous physical activity kept me moving forward while I considered what I should do .....Read More