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Celebrating the Life

Minstrel Show (sound recording)

[Longhorn Review] Minstrel Show (sound recording)

Material Type: All, music — Posted on December 19, 2008, 9:27 am

By: Kuhn, Joseph

This is a magnificent selection including "Preacher and the Bear" and "Asleep in
the Deep" Warren Biggs (Basso) was perhaps the finest bass singer in the history of
this "Pre-Politically Correct" format. I've got an original copy (still) in good
condition. Some of the jokes I still use -- the best involved a Hair
Restorer.

Reviewer: James Thurber

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Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday papers, 1985-1995

[Longhorn Review] Calvin and Hobbes: Sunday papers, 1985-1995

Material Type: All, books — Posted on December 15, 2008, 8:33 am

By: Watterson, Bill

This book is like totally kewl and it is soooooooooooooooooooooo funny :D

Reviewer: Longhorn Reviewer

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American Wife: A Novel

[Longhorn Review] American Wife: A Novel

Material Type: All, books — Tags: Laura Bush — Posted on December 12, 2008, 8:57 am

By: Sittenfeld, Curtis

The summary says most of what you need to know about plot, leaving out only that
this is a novel about sphinx-like first lady Laura Bush. What *must* she think of it
all? The bulk of the novel, and the best part, deals with the early life of Alice
Blackwell, the LB-surrogate, in the days before her husband became first a governor,
then POTUS. Sittenfeld gives some sympathetic insight into how someone could find
herself living a life "in opposition to itself." This novel will make you want to
read bios of Laura Bush, as well as more fiction by Curtis Sittenfeld.

Reviewer: tonstant weader

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Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood

[Longhorn Review] Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood

Material Type: All, Books — Tags: film, hollywood, mike nichols, Movies, sidney poitier, warren beatty — Posted on December 11, 2008, 9:14 am

By: Harris, Mark

Any serious or casual movie buff should read this book. It interweaves the
stories of five movies nominated for Best Picture Oscar in 1967: "In the Heat of the
Night", "The Graduate", "Bonnie and Clyde", "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner", and -
most improbably - "Dr. Dolittle". These disparate films, with their long, tortured
development and production histories vividly described, represent a watershed moment
in the history of the US film industry. The old Studio System, dominated by moguls
and super-producers like Jack Warner, Joe E. Levine, Stanley Kramer, Walter Mirisch,
and the like, was tottering on its last legs, consumed with turning out expensive
"road-show" musicals and epics like "Cleopatra", "The Sound of Music," and "The
Bible" - which, if successful, could put a studio in fine financial condition. But
if they failed, which they began to do with shocking regularity in the mid-60s, they
could break a studio and end careers.

"Guess/Dinner" and "Dr. Dolittle" represented
this Old Hollywood model in 1967. "Dinner" was the last teaming of the legendary
screen duo of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, who died shortly after filming
was completed. It was glossy, tame, and relentlessly old-fashioned despite its
"risky" subject matter of an interracial marriage. Despite critical drubbing, it was
a huge hit. "Dr. Dolittle" conversely was a ghastly flop, attempting to bring an
aging series of children's books to the big screen with a big splashy budget and the
musical-comedy star of the moment Rex Harrison. None of it worked for a minute, the
reviews were savage and the kids stayed away, but that didn't prevent its studio
from buying its way into the Oscar race.

But real change was in the air. Warren
Beatty, then a successful young star, tried his hand at producing a film that would
translate the concepts of the French New Wave to American audiences. "Bonnie and
Clyde" was very stylish, hip, and youth-oriented despite its shocking - to audiences
of the time - bloody violence. Beatty sold the concept to Warner Brothers, despite
Jack Warner's antipathy to the concept and the final result. Even though Warner did
their best to bury the film after its initial release, word of mouth and Beatty's
relentless salesmanship eventually made the film a must-see hit and one of the most
talked about and written about films of the last 50 years.

Coming alongside it was
"The Graduate", an edgy anti-establishment film based on a novel by Charles Webb and
directed by Broadway wunderkind Mike Nichols, and starring an unknown New York actor
named Dustin Hoffman. The risks Nichols took in a script by Buck Henry and casting
Hoffman paid off in a huge way, resulting in another iconic masterpiece.

Falling
somewhere in between was Norman Jewison's "In the Heat of the Night", a tense story
of a black detective (Sidney Poitier) helping a racist Southern sheriff (Rod
Steiger) solve a small town murder.

Poitier, then the only African-American movie
star with proven box office clout, also starred as the saintly groom-to-be in "Guess
Who's Coming to Dinner" the same year, but was not nominated for an Oscar for either
one. Poitier was stuck between his uncomfortable role as a movie star expected to
present the best features of his race to traditional white audiences still not used
to seeing black leading men, and the high expectations of younger and black
audiences who wanted a stronger, rougher, less idealized black man to be an advocate
for civil rights. Poitier's dilemma is a centerpiece of Harris' book.

The book is
meticulously researched, and Harris interviewed most of the surviving principals.
The narrative makes very clear how agonizing making a film can be, and how perilous
the process is at every step: artistic and financial compromises must be made, years
and scripts go by, stars come in and drop out, and the whole thing can fall apart at
any minute. The determination of producers and directors to see the process through
is truly an act of love and faith.

Harris' book serves as a prequel of sorts to
"Easy Riders, Raging Bulls" which chronicles the "second golden age" of American
filmmaking in the 1970s, before blockbusters and comic book retreads destroyed what
was left of the studio system. The mid-1960s was a time of transition that laid the
groundwork for directors (auteurs) like Coppola, Altman, Ashby, Scorsese, Hopper,
Friedkin, Cimino, and others to create enduring films outside the Hollywood factory
system. Harris captures this change with a wonderfully written history of a
Hollywood long gone.

Reviewer: David Flaxbart

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Favre

[Longhorn Review] Favre

Material Type: All, books — Tags: autobiography, favre, football — Posted on December 3, 2008, 11:44 pm

By: Brett Favre and Bonita Favre with Chris Havel

This autobiography of Brett Favre is heartwarming. When you read on what he has
gone through in his life and the challenges he has faced, it's just unreal how
badass of a football player he is. He's played sick, hurt, cold, hot. He's
incredible. My biggest role model in life. I would highly recommend this
book.

Reviewer: Josh

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Pulling a Dragon's Teeth

[Longhorn Review] Pulling a Dragon's Teeth

Material Type: All, books — Posted on November 21, 2008, 1:27 pm

By: Wei, Shao

She is a poet at the UT Michener Center, originally from China and writes
bilingually. Worth reading.

Reviewer: Longhorn Reviewer

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Tales of the Caddo [microform]

[Longhorn Review] Tales of the Caddo [microform]

Material Type: All, books — Posted on November 19, 2008, 10:28 am

By: Tomlyn, John

Just so you know this is not Folklore by any stretch of the imagination.

Reviewer: Longhorn Reviewer

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Hvarf / Heim

[Longhorn Review] Hvarf / Heim

Material Type: All, music — Tags: awesome, gorgeous, Iceland — Posted on November 17, 2008, 3:35 pm

By: Sigur Rós

Beautiful, gorgeous and awe-inspiring. "Heim" is "home" in Icelandic and the film
documents a number of (mostly) impromptu performances by Sigur Ros undertaken around
the island. This band is off in its' own world. Clearly, not 'rock' music --but it
still rocks at times --they have broken new territory and are doing something that
is dangerously emotional and that is hard to put into words.

Reviewer: Tim S

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Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency

[Longhorn Review] Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency

Material Type: All, books — Tags: Cheney, evil, pirate — Posted on November 17, 2008, 3:26 pm

By: Gellman, Barton

Short of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Dick Cheney does indeed have the
mark of the beast (666) tattoed on his torso, Barton Gelman lays out an almost
complete argument that Dick Cheney is the most evil being ever to take human form.
Cheney never claimed to be a civil servant after all, instead, since his days as a
Nixon staffer, Cheney has claimed power, as much and as quickly as possible, and
then scurries off into the darkest recesses to wield it. What is most annoyinng is
that Cheney has had great success at turning our democracy into a piratocracy.
Gelman effectively points out all of the mis-deeds, from sanctionaing torture to
undermining any environmental controls that he could get his hands on, to outright
lying to people like Dick Armey in order to secure votes for the Iraq war. Gelman
also points out that this 'perfect storm' of a weak and un-interested President, a
fearful country, and a cabal of ruthless bucaneers is what has damaged our heritage
the most. There is almost always somehting that intervenes between pure evil and
potical success in American politics, but Cheney shrewdly outmaneuvers, hoodwinks
and threatens everyone (including "W" and Codi And Colin Powell!)into handing over
the poltical booty.  Cheney is a pirate and he has brought this country to its
collective knees. Gelman, to his credit, has written a fine book, much better
balanced than this review.

Reviewer: Longhorn Reviewer

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A Beautiful Blue Death

[Longhorn Review] A Beautiful Blue Death

Material Type: All, books — Tags: detective fiction, fiction, mystery, Victorian — Posted on November 17, 2008, 11:08 am

By: Finch, Charles

Set in London in 1865, it’s true to the language and milieu (as far as I can
tell) and has an amalgam of elements of the classic British detective story and 19th
century novel: an aristocratic amateur detective and his valet, gentlemen’s clubs,
old boys, country houses and town houses, balls and bridge and afternoon tea. The
London winter is palpable and the understated romance between sleuth and lady
sweet.

Reviewer: Janice Duff

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