Category Archives: Books

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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Beastie Boys Audiobook Is Out With A Stellar Guest List To Tell Their Story, Including Bette Midler

Beastie Boys Audiobook
The Beastie Boys

Mister D: For 15 years I managed record stores, and during that time the Beastie Boys were huge. I wasn’t very much into rap ever, but my employees were and one thing you could guarantee…on any given day The Beastie Boys and Bette Midler would be playing. They were a group that got better and better with each new album and making end of the year Best Music lists. Somehow, I can’t see many of you listening to their records nor Bette Midler telling their story, but you’re missing out. I was really ecstatic that Bette was participating in this. I need to contact some of my old employees. They’d get a kick out of this. Read More

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha By Goth Girl Reads

Goth Girl Reads
BOOK REVIEW: Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel by A.W. Jantha
By Goth Girl Reads
October 8, 2018

Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel

Let’s get one thing straight; I wasn’t expecting to LOVE this book, (as I’m sure anyone who’s a huge Halloween and/or Hocus Pocus fan would); I figured it would be extremely corny and completely unnecessary, but at least slightly entertaining, which is why I read it. This book was both surprisingly better, but also overtly cringy at some parts. In the end, they all balanced out and came down to a basic (imo) rating of two stars.

The book begins as an almost exact, word-for-word copy of the movie; in fact, the actual ‘sequel’ of the story doesn’t begin until page 203! After reading about fifty pages, I got bored and skipped ahead to this; I love Hocus Pocus, but I’m not about to read a two-hundred page copy of the movie when I would much rather watch Bette Midler being fantastic on-screen. It’s pretty apparent that ‘A.W. Jantha’ is some sort of ghost-writer pen name for at least 2-3 different authors who collaborated on this book. Read More

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Book: I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers By John Logan – Bette Midler On Broadway

Book: I'll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers By John Logan - Bette Midler On Broadway

The debut 2013 American production starred Bette Midler. The play, which cost $2.4 million to produce, was a hit.

Playbill was joined by star Bette Midler and playwright John Logan on the opening night of the new one-person play I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat With Sue Mengers. The 80-minute show features Midler channeling the late great agent (she represented Burt Reynolds, Cher, Steve McQueen and Barbra Streisand amongst others) as she charts her path through the man’s world of Hollywood. Here, Midler talks about what Mengers means to her and Logan reveals what it took to convince Midler to return to Broadway after more than 30 years.
  • I’ll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Menger
  • Written by: John Logan
  • Characters: Sue Mengers
  • Date premiered: 24 April 2013
  • Place premiered: Booth Theatre, New York
  • Original language: English
  • Subject: Sue Mengers, Hollywood
  • Genre: Biographical


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Saturday, September 1, 2018

Blu-Ray Review: “Hocus Pocus” Anniversary Edition

Laughing Place
Blu-Ray Review: “Hocus Pocus” Anniversary Edition
by Alex Reif | Aug 31, 2018

Hocus Pocus Painting, Bette Midler

It’s been 325 years since the Sanderson Sisters were hanged by the Salem townsfolk. That means it’s been 25 years since the witches came back to life in 1993 to terrorize Max, Dani, and Allison on All Hallows Eve. In celebration, Disney is re-releasing Hocus Pocus in a brand-new Anniversary Edition with bonus features for the first time ever on September 2nd!

Winifred (Bette Midler), Mary (Kathy Najimy), and Sarah (Sarah Jessica Parker) Sanderson are back for one night of frightful fun in this highly quotable comedy. When teenage Max lights the Black Flame Candle to impress a girl he has a crush on, he accidentally brings three of Salem’s most terrifying witches back to life. Along with a talking cat named Binx, these kids will spend their Halloween trying to stop the witches from sucking the lives of children before sunrise if they want to send these “Hags” back to hell where they belong. Read More

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Why Even Celebrities Endorse the South Beach Diet

MD Thinks News
Why Even Celebrities Endorse the South Beach Diet
mdthinksnews 
19 Aug 2018


Mister D: I was backstage with Ms. Midler when she met Dr. Arthur Agatston, the author of The South Beach Diet.  I had read that she lost a lot of weight on it, plus felt much more energetic. She was jumping up and down when she met him. Not sure if she’s still on it, but at that time she really thought it worked.

The world is used to celebrity promotions, from politics, to clothing and everything in between. What is different when they promote a diet plan is that weight control is part and parcel to their careers. Most celebs need to maintain their trim, toned bodies as a part of their job. Packing on the pounds will cause headlines proclaiming a weight gain nightmare for a starlet. Because their weight loss and fitness programs are a requirement to maintain their image, this is one endorsement where they are actually practicing what they preach. Read More

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Friday, August 3, 2018

25th Anniversary ‘Hocus Pocus’ Blu-ray Coming in September With Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook

Bloody Disgusting
25th Anniversary ‘Hocus Pocus’ Blu-ray Coming in September With Best Buy Exclusive Steelbook
Published 53 mins ago on August 3, 2018 By John Squires

Bette Midler, Book, DVD, Blu-Ray, Anniversary

 

This year marks 25 years of Halloween classic Hocus Pocus, and there’s a lot to be excited about if you’re a fan of the film. Not only is Spirit Halloween going to be carrying an exclusive wave of Sanderson Sisters POP! vinyl toys, but an official sequel book was just released and a 25th anniversary extravaganza is coming to Freeform in October.

Additionally, we’ve just learned that Hocus Pocus is getting a special 25th anniversary Blu-ray this year, with Best Buy getting an exclusive Steelbook

 based on the film’s spell book! Read More

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Saturday, July 28, 2018

What Shakespearean Play Is Big Business Based On?

It’s Good To Read
The Comedy Of Errors – William Shakespeare
Author Unknown
July 21, 2018

bette midler, lily tomlin, big business

For more “It’s Good To Read” Click Here

Summary:

This play, based on two identical twins separated at birth, and the circumstances of their accidental reunion, is fully in the standard tradition of Elizabethan plays at that time.

There is a war between the city-states of Syracuse and Ephesus, with those citizens caught behind enemy lines being sentenced to death, unless they can ransom themselves.

Egeon is one such from Syracuse, yet gladly accepts the death penalty (the crime is trespass) as handed down by the Duke of Ephesus. Egeon gives the Duke the sad outline of his life. The Duke gives him a stay of one day, until sunset, to either find the money, or be executed.

Egeon is an old man, weighed down by the actions of his life. Many years ago, he was a successful merchant. While on a visit abroad, his wife gave birth in an inn to identical twin boys. A poor woman staying at the same inn also birthed identical twin boys, and sold them to Egeon to be raised as servants to his children.

On the homeward journey, their ship is hit by a terrible storm. Egeon and his wife each take two boys, one of each set, but get separated when the boat breaks up and sinks. All were rescued, Egeon being taken to Epidaurus, the wife taken to Corinth, and they never saw each other again.

Egeon raised both boys as his own, in Syracuse, giving each the name of their lost brothers. His biological son with Antipholus, the servant is Dromio. For future reference, and to keep the lines from blurring, I’ll call them SA and SD (Syracuse Antipholus and Syracuse Dromius). When they turned eighteen, SA and SD resolve to find their brothers, and leave their father.

Egeon has also spent his time looking for these two, which is how he ended up in Ephesus, world-weary, tired, and hopeless. By coincidence, the two boys have also turned up, and they book into the Centaur, a local hostelry.

While SD is gone, SA is accosted by Dromius of Ephesus (whom I’ll call ED, and his brother is EA, Antipholus of Ephesus). ED mistakes SA for his own master EA, and tries to bring him home for dinner. SA resists, and beats ED so hard that he runs off. EA’s wife (Adriana) becomes furious when ED returns without his master, thinking he is philandering.

SD returns to SA, and receives a beating for trying to make his master a fool. SD is completely confused by his master’s reaction. In the middle of this, Adriana and her sister Luciana approach SA and SD, and reproach them for not coming home to dinner. SA decides to go with them, leaving SD outside their house to stand guard. He locks the gate.

EA finally arrives home, accompanied by ED, a goldsmith named Angelo (from whom he got a necklace for his wife), and Balthazar, a wealthy merchant. SD refuses to let them in, and cannot see them through the bulky gate. As it is impossible to gain entrance, EA and ED decide to have dinner at a courtesan’s house, telling Angelo to bring along the finished necklace during dinner.

Inside the house, SA tries to seduce Luciana, who thinking he is her brother-in-law, is flattered but completely confused, and runs away from him. SD also has found he is married to the kitchen-maid. They make fun of her, comparing her body to countries (Ireland is her buttocks, apparently – “I found it out by the bogs”. America is also referenced!).

Realising something serious is amiss, and that the two women are in fact witches, SA and SD try to find a ship, so they can leave Ephesus. On their way out of the house, Angelo intercepts them and gives SA the necklace. Surprised, but not looking a gift horse in the mouth, SA takes it.

While SA and SD search for a ship, Angelo meets EA in the marketplace and looks for payment. EA refuses, as he has not received it. As Angelo has witnesses, EA is put into debtors prison.

SD, having found a ship, sees EA and tells him they are ready to leave. EA thinks it is ED, and believes he is mad. He sends SD to Adriana for bail, to get him out of prison. Once secured, SD runs back to the marketplace, where he meets SA. SA confusedly refuses the bail money, and just wants to know about the ship.

ED then meets EA, and gets a beating for not getting the bail money from Adriana (he, of course, knew nothing about the request). Adriana arrives, and amid great scenes of confusion and anger, ED and EA are tied up, and brought home to Adriana’s house.

We are almost there – hold on!!

Catching their breath, Adriana and Luciana try to get to the bottom of EA’s debt problem, when SA and SD encounter them. The two men attack the group, which scatters and disappears.

Angelo then re-appears and points out the necklace that he says EA denied receiving. SA says he denied nothing (which is true, but Angelo thinks he is EA). Pride and honor bristle, and they are about to come to blows when Ariana and her group come back. SA and SD take refuge in an Abbey. The Abbess asks the people what is going on, and refuses to cede SA or SD to Adriana, as it is a place of sanctuary.

It is coming close to dusk, and the Duke appears to make good on the sentence handed down to Egeon (the man who really is responsible for all this!). Adriana appeals to the Duke to force the Abbess to give up her husband, but then news arrives that EA and ED have escaped, and are headed to the Abbey.

EA enters the Abbey, and makes his own appeal to the Duke, asking for justice to be served on his wife, who has maligned him. The Duke is caught up in all this and declares it all madness. Egeon then adds his voice, saying that EA is his own son, from Syracuse. EA naturally responds that he has never seen Egeon in his life, which news Egeon takes really badly.

Finally, the situation is resolved, when the Abbess returns with SA and SD. With the four men in the one room, each facing his identical twin, everyone realizes what has happened. SA and Egeon recognize each other, and it is a joyful reunion. In a surprise twist, the Abbess reveals she, in fact, is Egeon’s long-lost wife! SA once again offers to wed Luciana, and the play ends with the Duke forgiving everyone, including Egeon, and they all exit to the Abbey to catch-up on each other’s lives.

Main Characters:

Egeon: He is a tragic figure, having had and lost everything, and is at the point of being executed. There is no joy in his life, until the very end.

Antipholus of Syracuse: Having lost both his mother and brother at an early age, he is possessed by the idea of finding them. He feels like a drop of water in the ocean, looking for another drop, which is a very lonely speech. He is the more developed character of the two brothers and causes confusion in Ephesus. The play centers on his search for his brother.

Antipholus of Ephesus: He is married, seemingly well-established in Ephesus, and is more a man of action and decisions than his brother. He is completely confused by all his familiar and well-known friends and family acting out in bizarre ways, with wild accusations and speeches. At the end, neither of them seem overly-enthused to have found each other.

Adriana: A more rounded character than would be normal in these plays at the time, hers is the experienced practical voice of marriage, compared to her sister’s romantic notions. I think her character is more authentic, speaking to the realities of married life.

Minor Characters:

The Duke: Ultimate arbiter of power, he makes decisions that affect all the characters, but is shown to be a pillar of sense.

The Dromio Twins: These are the comic relief of the play, accepting even beatings with humor, and turning it back on their masters and each other in clever word-play. They have a subordinate relationship with their masters and seem genuinely delighted to finally find their true brother.

Luciana: Meek compared to the towering rage of her sister, she is not a role model for any modern woman, accepting subservient obedience to husband, regardless of his treatment. She is unmarried but wants to be. She only values loyalty to her sister and family above this, which is to her credit.

Themes:

Appearance v Reality: Everybody mistakes everybody for someone else in the play, people think their own appearance is failing them, but appearance is not substance. For example, the two Antipholus (Antipholi??) are identical but have nothing in common with each other. Appearances cannot be trusted, as they can and do mislead (a theme expanded on in a later play!).

Loneliness and Isolation: SA is truly adrift, and his motivation to find his brother is really a way of finding out who he is. EA may also be isolated, with the suspicions of his wife about him cheating pointing to a potential gap in the openness of the marriage. Egeon is left alone, having lost his wife and one son, and abandoned by his other son. What in their relationship before this point was lacking, that left the two of them adrift from each other?

Note:

This play is widely considered to be the first of all Shakespeare’s plays, even though not published until the First Folio in 1623. It was first recorded as performed in 1594.

Fun Facts:

The 1988 comedy Big Business, starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin, was based on this play.

It is the shortest of all Shakespeare’s plays.

Famous Everyday Phrase Coined/Popularised:

“Tis high time”

“Time comes stealing”

“Something in the wind”

“Fortune-teller”

Paperback

Kindle

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Saturday, July 21, 2018

CARPE LIBRUM: Taking on the best beach reads this season, Including “Beaches II”

Encore
CARPE LIBRUM: Taking on the best beach reads this season
By GWENYFAR ROHLER
JUL 17

Welcome to Carpe Librum, encore’s biweekly book column, wherein I will dissect a current title and even old books—because literature does not exist in a vacuum but emerges to participate in a larger, cultural conversation. I will feature many NC writers; however, the hope is to place the discussion in a larger context and therefore examine works around the world.

This time of year evokes the idea of “beach reads”—good, escapist paperback fiction to get lost in while sitting in the sand and sun. I get asked for “beach reads” a lot. For every person, a beach read is different.

Next week we will get back to more serious and important topics, but this week, let’s all work on our tans and splash in the water a bit…

Dune“Dune”
By Frank Herbert

Dune, Paperback

Though not located near a sea shore, if sand is what you crave, this book is filled with it. In every way, it is guaranteed to make readers feel hot, dry and grateful for water.

Written in the early 1960s, it is one of the books that set the standard for science fiction in the second half of the 20th century. Since it was written 60 years ago, there are some embarrassing and out-molded ideas of gender roles. I mean, readers will know how the book ends by page seven. It’s obvious: Paul is going to fight his battles, assume his destiny and save the planet. But readers will hang in there for the next 400 pages to see just how all of it will unfold.

Frankly, Paul wouldn’t get anywhere were it not for the women in the book, who actually make pretty much everything happen for him. He might be chosen, but without them he would be sunk in a sea of sand with no hope.

Overall, it’s a book filled with a lot of sun, sand and heat. Very summery.

“Jingo” and “Pyramids”
By Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett’s Discworld has a couple of books that approach both sand and water. My two favorites are “Pyramids” and “Jingo.” “Jingo” chronicles the struggles on The Disc when an island emerges from the water between two warring nations. A lot of the book takes place on boats or submarines that try to lay claim to the island or stage, daring military maneuvers to seize the island. This book has lots and lots of boating and time on the water.

“Pyramids” gives sand and heat. Set in Djelibeybi (a parody of ancient Egypt), it explores the problems of unintentional time travel, when Pyramids get involved. It’s very funny, very smart, with lots of hot, dry sand. It may be possible to get a tan while just holding this book.

A Caribbean Mystery”
By Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie’s brilliant sleuth, Miss Marple (the person I hope to grow into), goes on vacation to a beautiful resort in the Caribbean. Of course, anywhere she goes, there is a mystery to solve. Set in a tropical paradise, with a private beach at the resort, this might be my favorite beach read for sheer escapism and joy. The writing is brilliant and the scenery is so evocative. The beach is relaxing, as is swimming in the crystal clear Caribbean. And there is Miss Marple showing everyone up and proving once again little old ladies might get ignored but they see everything, damn it.

The book is filled with romance, mistaken identity, secrets, sexual innuendo, and just enough violence to keep readers on the edge of their beach chairs. As beach reads go, it doesn’t get more beachy than this.

“Beaches II: I’ll Be There”
By Iris Rainer Dart

Beaches, Paperback

Obviously, “Beaches” by Iris Rainer-Dart takes the cake as the ultimate summertime read. Like many people, I came to the book from the movie that starred Bette Midler, Mayim Bialik and Barbara Hershey. Now, the book doesn’t have the soundtrack of Midler’s amazing voice; however, it opens on a beach.

Two young girls, Cece Bloom and Bertie White, from vastly different worlds, collide at the Boardwalk one summer and begin a friendship that will span their lives. When Bertie realizes she is dying, she entrusts her daughter to CeCe.
In many ways, “Beaches” encapsulates female friendship (fights, jealousy and reconciliation included) better than any book I’ve ever encountered. Honestly, though, the sequel, “Beaches II: I’ll Be There,” is the better and more memorable book.

Cece and her ward, Bertie’s daughter, are trying to make their way together in a new world without Bertie. Cece is completely unprepared for parenthood, especially to parent a child in the throes of grief. Then add all the problems of celebrity and money and how they impact family life. Disaster ensues, but, together, they find a way to climb out of it.

It is powerful, beautiful and incredibly evocative. The most beachy part is probably the locale around California.

Kindle:

Mass Market Paperback:

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Book Review: Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel

Laughing Place
Book Review: Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel
by Alex Reif | Jul 6, 2018

Fans of Disney’s Hocus Pocus have waited twenty-five years for a sequel to the hilarious and heartwarming film starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy. While the original cast and creative team are ready and willing to revisit their old tricks, Disney isn’t prepared to give us that treat… With the exception of Disney’s Freeform Books, which is publishing Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel on July 10th. So light your black flame candle and cozy up with a boooOOOOOK to get a glimpse at what a sequel could actually be like.

Out of 521 pages, the first 197 recount the events of the original film. Readers may be tempted to skip past them, but I encourage you to at least skim it. Author A. W. Jantha has altered a few moments that set up new characters in the sequel that weren’t in the original film, which would cause some confusion if left unread. (Note: If you can find a copy at a reasonable price, the original Junior Novelization from 1993 was based on the script and contains deleted scenes, which are not included in this version).

The sequel takes place in 2018, twenty-five years since the Sanderson Sisters last stepped foot on earth. Poppy is the daughter of Max and Allison and she isn’t crazy about Halloween due to her parents’ and aunt’s insistence that they brought the witches back to life in their youth. Trying to impress a popular girl she has a crush on, Poppy and her best friend Travis sneak into the Sanderson house on All Hallow’s Eve during a blood moon and accidentally bring the witches back to life!

The book explains that a blood moon on Halloween would be an exceptional night for magic. Only on a night like this could the Sanderson Sisters use the moonstone to unleash a powerful evil spell that could wreak havoc over the entire world… if they could find it. It’s up to Poppy, Travis, and Isabella to find the moonstone and destroy it before the witches can get it.

Like all reboots and delayed sequels this era, this follow-up is plagued by a plot where history merely repeats itself, homages to the original feel forced, and character arcs feel unnatural. “Ice,” for example, is Poppy’s high school principal, and Max is her history teacher who refuses to follow the Salem tradition of recounting the Sanderson story on Halloween because he’s still traumatized by it. All of the characters from the original are merely side characters this time around, with a new generation of kids taking center stage.

Poppy is likable and relatable enough for readers to get hooked into her story. It takes a while to get going, but the exposition is essential for the reader to have any kind of emotional connection to her. The plot device to bring the Sanderson Sisters back is fun and different, although it brings up some other questions that go unanswered (ironically, they’re mostly about Winnie’s spell book).

Speaking of the “Sistas,” Winifred, Sarah, and Mary don’t get enough time in the spotlight in the 324 pages that occupy this untitled sequel. When they do, their dialogue seldom reads as funny, nor does it have the same musicality that the original script empowered the actresses with. It all sounds clunky, it’s hard to picture the character’s saying some of these lines, and their primary objective this time around seems too grand and sinister, even for them. The original is so charming because their motives are entirely selfish. This time around, they are acting in the best interest of their master and it’s hard to imagine them doing someone else’s bidding.

Hocus Pocus & the All-New Sequel fails to capture the magic and fun of the original story on almost every account. However, it’s mostly harmless and has a few moments of genuine delight. Those who find themselves enjoying it will love the “post-credit tag” for a possible third story. But the majority of Hocus Pocus super fans will be left with an unquenched thirst for a real sequel from the original film’s cast and creative team. Dear Disney, “Dost thou comprehend?”

Hardcover:

Companion Piece in Paperback

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Saturday, July 7, 2018

Book Download: Still Divine [Mark Bego] Free Download With 7 Day Free Trial!

Bette Midler Bego Mark

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