Posted by Carole Stuart on September 30, 2013
Last Friday night I visited Fort Greene, a part of Brooklyn I used to live in and had not been back to for a long time. It isn’t the Fort Greene I knew.
What brought me there was the BAM production of the opera, “Anna Nicole” with libretto by Richard Thomas and music by Mark-Anthony Turnage.
It struck me that if Barricade Books had not published “Great Big Beautiful Doll” by Eric and D’eva Redding, there would not have been an opera.
Eric was the photographer who took the first pictures of Anna (then known as Vickie) who lived in Mexia (pronounced Mahaya), Texas. He took snapshots of a very pretty Vickie, and sent them to Playboy. They responded by sending her a ticket to Los Angeles to have a photo session.
Anna, being somewhat lacking in education, was upset when she got her airline ticket. “You said I was going to Hollywood,” she complained to Eric. This ticket says Los Angeles.”
Well, intelligence may not have been her strongest suit but her beauty, augmented by new breasts, sure was. Enormously photogenic, she quickly became a star. Her life story has been widely reported in the press including its tragic ending.
The opera was amazing. Funny, smart, and wildly entertaining. Sarah Joy Miller, the soprano who played Anna, was just terrific. The rest of the cast was wonderful.
It was a great show but a sad moment. This New York City Opera production may have been the company’s last. The company couldn’t afford to stay at Lincoln Center and backing has not been enough to keep it going.
Oddly ironic if its final performance was about the life and death of Anna Nicole Smith.
Until next time,
Posted by Carole Stuart on July 01, 2013
As we approach the July 4th holiday, some in publishing are thinking more about beach than books. Summer always brings a sort of quiet in the book business. (Do people still have shorter Fridays? Or no Fridays? )
Before everything closes down, this Hot News is to call attention to a Barricade Books author who is one of our most effective salesmen. Bruce Mowday’s specialty is hand selling. This is pretty remarkable at a time when more people are going on line for their shopping.
Bruce is the author of three Barricade titles: JAILING THE JOHNSTON GANG, co-author of LIFE WITH FLAVOR A Personal History of Herr’s, with founder of Herr’s snack foods, Jim Herr, and the third, and most recent, and very much in time for the holiday, is PICKETT’S CHARGE, The Untold Story.
Many of the books written about Pickett’s Charge are written from the Confederate point of view. General George E. Pickett led a battle that was the last best chance for a Confederate victory in the Civil War and came during the final day’s fighting at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. The story of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s greatest gamble has been told and retold, but the heroic stand of the Union forces has received little attention.
This book is the untold story of Union valor. It also contains remarkable photos from the famous J. Howard Wert Gettysburg collection, unseen before.
A book about the Civil War is not typical for us. More of our books, including JAILING THE JOHNSTON GANG deal with crime wars, not The Civil War. We have a long line of true crime/mafia books.
But when Bruce came to us with this book, I said yes immediately.
Bruce needed the books in time for an appearance he was making at Gettysburg which coincided with the July 4th holiday. We were on a tight deadline but getting finished books as it turned out, was not a problem. Suzanne Henry, our production manager, worked with our cover designer, got the book into a PDF quickly and the printer was on board. PICKETT’S CHARGE was produced and in Bruce Mowday’s hands swiftly and he’s already off and selling.
Actual publication is February, 2014, a date that is determined by our distributor.
That enables them to publish a catalog and have their sales staff sell to the bookstores and jobbers months ahead of actual publication. The book is timeless, so the February pub date is fine.
I’ll be celebrating the 4th of July having had a history lesson thanks to Bruce Mowday who will be at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania selling his book.
Happy Fourth of July. I’ll be watching the fireworks from my terrace.
Posted by Carole Stuart on May 08, 2013
Today’s (5/8/13) New York Times has three pieces about sexual abuse in the military: The lead story on the front page, “Sexual Assaults In Military Raise Alarm in Capital,” an editorial, “The Military’s Sexual Assault Crisis,” and a column by Maureen Dowd, “America’s Military Injustice.”
In 2007 we published a book by Dr. Mic Hunter, “HONOR BETRAYED, SEXUAL ABUSE IN AMERICA’S MILITARY.” The response was, to put it mildly, underwhelming. Dr. Hunter had counseled veterans, both men and women, who described their experiences of being sexually assaulted while serving.
The subject was a perfect fit for Barricade: important and controversial.
We anticipated headlines in print, interviews on radio and television.
The reality was – complete silence. Was it because the topic was too hot?
The author sent books to members of Congress. They not only didn’t take any action to assist veterans, they never even acknowledged receiving the book and were silent about it.
Dr. Hunter is part of a group of mostly military people interviewed for a documentary film to be released soon. The title is “Women of War: The Shocking Truth about America’s Military Sexual Trauma.” Maybe the time is right and the message will get out and something will be done to assist the veterans whose abuse has been ignored far too long.
I’m not sure what has changed in thirteen years but finally the men and women who were and still are being abused are at last telling their stories and they are being heard. The book is, unfortunately, as relevant today as when we first published it. “Honor Betrayed, Sexual Abuse in America’s Military.
Until next time….
Posted by Carole Stuart on March 25, 2013
With Passover approaching I was thinking about the remarkable Kellermans and how much coincidence affects the direction of our lives.
Some years ago a young man, very self-confident, came to our office that was then on Fifth Avenue and 20th Street in Manhattan. He wanted a job. There was no job. But he was insistent that he could be an important part of the still young Barricade Books. His name was Sam Kellerman.
Sam was quite a fellow. With all of his youthful confidence he talked himself into a job. And Lyle took him under his wing. Sam was given the sort of tasks that interns and new hires are given – whatever needed to be done, he did. He was eager and very smart. He also did copyediting on various books.
Sam told us about his family. He was one of four sons of Henry and Linda and grew up on Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village. The four brothers, Sam, Max, Harry and Jack were all quite remarkable. All talented, and very close.
While not particularly observant Jews, they celebrated Jewish holidays Like Chanukah and Passover, and every summer they all went to Yiddish camp where they learned the language.
Henry is fluent in Yiddish and appeared in Yiddish theater as a young man. His performance archive is housed at the National Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, as well as at YIVO in New York City and will be available at DOROT, the Yiddish/Jewish division of the New York Public Library.
As Passover was approaching, Sam invited us to their family Seder. Knowing that Lyle was an atheist, Sam nevertheless was persistent. “This is not a regular Seder. It is a Seder with interesting people who will be sharing their stories. There will be more stimulating stories than ritual. Promise.”
Sam described the Seder as secular, not religious. The focus would be on universal themes derived from the Passover story. He promised this would be fast, with good conversation and good food.
We arrived and the table was set for the Passover meal. On each plate was a Haggadah. I learned later that it was the personal Haggadah written by Henry Kellerman.
I picked one up and flipped through the pages. A lot of pages. “Hmmm” I thought, “this is going to be a long night.”
And it was. And it was very special. The guests around the table were, as promised, fascinating people and the conversation was lively.
The night of that Seder we met Henry Kellerman, a psychoanalyst, the head of the family and his wife Linda, a talented artist.
We also met the other Kellerman sons: Max, Jack, and Harry. They are all accomplished in their fields of endeavor. Max has a popular radio show In Los Angeles, “Max and Marcellus” on ESPN radio covering sports and everything else. Harry is a screenwriter, actor, director whose first script will soon be produced and he’ll be directing it. Jack has his own company and writes, edits and produces videos for TV streaming and other venues and is straddling his business with the movie industry. They all live in and around Los Angeles.
Dear Sam, who set in motion this scenario, died tragically, as a young man.
The world of publishing is a small world but has a certain allure. Once you say you are a publisher, everyone has a book they are writing.
And so it was that Sam’s father, Henry, was not only a respected psychoanalyst, he was a writer of professional books. Henry also had a talent for popular writing and now you know where this is going.
We became friends and have been publishing some of Henry’s books – two are non-fiction: “Hollywood Movies On the Couch: A Psychoanalyst Examines 15 Famous Films” and “Greedy, Cowardly and Weak, Hollywood’s Jewish Stereotypes.” The most recent is a novel, a psychological thriller, “The Making of Ghosts” with a psychologist as the main character.
So, here’s my advice: If you receive an invitation to a Seder…at the home of a new friend…go. You never know who you’ll meet or what will happen.
Posted by Carole Stuart on February 03, 2013
When I heard the news of Ed Koch’s being hospitalized again last week, I looked out the window of my apartment in Ft. Lee at New York Presbyterian Hospital. I silently thought, “that’s probably the last time.”
And so on February 1st, the news of Edward I. Koch’s death appeared on Page One of the New York Times, and went on at great length about his career. Articles suggested Koch was both admired and detested, but all agreed he was one of the more colorful people in New York politics.
I knew him as one of our authors. Barricade published his GIULIANI: NASTY MAN in 1991. It is a collection of articles Koch wrote for the New York Post and New York Daily News chronicling Giuliani’s two terms in office. Koch thought Giuliani was a good administrator but believed he had a tyrannical streak, a nastiness, that was an impediment to effective governing.
We came to know Koch by way of Allen G. Schwartz, who was Lyle’s partner when Barricade Books started. Within a few years he was appointed a federal court judge and gave up his association with Barricade.
Allen was Koch’s law partner when they were both new attorneys. They shared one desk, sitting opposite each other in a very modest office. As Koch’s political career grew he promised Allen that one day Koch would be mayor of New York and Allen’s son, David, would have his bar mitzvah party in Gracie Mansion. He kept that promise.
Allen remained one of Koch’s closest friends and after the first mayoral win, Koch called him the morning after his inauguration and asked Allen, “What job do you want?” Allen took only a moment to respond, ”Corporation Counsel,” and Koch granted him his wish. They remained great friends until Allen’s death in 2003.
Koch, who was remembered by many for his standby remark, “How’m I doing?” was a great promoter of himself and his books. We had a book signing for GIULIANI: NASTY MAN at Bookends, a terrific independent bookstore in Ridgewood, New Jersey, where he sold more than 160 copies. People were lined up outside the store waiting to get in to buy a book and listen to his stories.
I will always remember him as a good guy.
A recent book, “GOING CLEAR: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief” by Lawrence Wright exposing the Church of Scientology just appeared on the New York Times best seller list high up on the non-fiction list. Good job!
Many of the readers of this blog will not be surprised that Barricade had its own expose of Scientology written by Bent Corydon and published in 1996.
Corydon had left Scientology and wrote about the Church as a number of other ex-Scientologists had done. The run-up to publication was quite an adventure, much of it unpleasant. I went with Lyle to the celebrity headquarters of Scientology in Hollywood where they put on a great show trying to convince him not to publish the book. If you knew Lyle, you would know it only made him more eager to publish.
In the months before publishing, Scientologists were turning up in the parking lot of our offices in Secaucus, N.J. and also in front of our apartment building in Fort Lee in an attempt to discourage bringing the book out.
They are determined “good soldiers” who work for their Church. They use threats and intimidation against those who write about them in any negative way. What they didn’t realize was that Lyle was fearless. And, of course, Barricade published the book.
There’s an interesting aspect to the story. When Lyle came out of military service after World War II, with the help of the G.I. Bill he took a few writing classes at New York’s New School. In his class were such budding writers as William Styron, Mario Puzo and, yes, L. Ron Hubbard. Hubbard, went on to his first success as a science fiction writer. But back then he said to Lyle, “If you really want to get rich, you should start a religion.”
Until next time