THE WRITE STUFF
Queens of Noise: The Real Story of the Runaways (Da Capo Press,$25.99)
Sex. Drugs. Rock and roll. The ingredients for fun . . . even if you don’t remember them the next morning. Author Evelyn McDonnell takes the story of The Runaways, the first all-girl punk band starring Joan Jett and Lita Ford, beyond the usual s/d/r&r–though there’s plenty of that–to tell a different story of sorts. This is the tale of girls on the cusp of womanhood who dare to put themselves in exciting (but dangerous) positions in the music industry of the ’70s. McDonnell opens The Runaways’s closet of skeletons, revealing the good, bad and ugly, revealing the inspirations and collective insecurity of this groundbreaking band as it shredded guitar riffs and moaned into microphones, rebelling against the gender norms that threatened to hold it back. Written with the cooperation of all the surviving band members and infamous former manager Kim Fowley, Queens of Noise reveals the little-known reality behind post-glam punk and puts the girls in their rightful places in cultural, music and feminist history. Meet us backstage.
FOR THE RECORD
No one can accuse Sony Classical of doing anything less than first-rate. Leon Fleisher: The Complete Album Collection is a 23-CD box set spanning the legendary pianist’s fifty-five years recording for the Columbia/Epic and Sony Classical labels from 1954-2009, yielding some of classical music’s definitive recordings. The release comes exactly one week before Fleisher’s 85th birthday on July 23, 2013,and is supported by a full schedule of appearances as pianist, conductor and mentor, in the coming year.
This expansive collection illuminates an epic career, beginning with Fleisher’s earliest recordings from the treasured decade between 1954 and 1963. The signing of Leon Fleisher to Columbia Masterworks/Epic made musical history in 1954, when George Szell, conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra, approached him to record every major work ever written for piano and orchestra. Included here are Fleisher’s iconic Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, Schumann and Grieg concerto collaborations with Szell and the Clevelanders, as well as his highly acclaimed solo and chamber music recordings.
At the height of his career in 1965, Fleisher was suddenly limited to playing with only his left hand when focal dystonia disabled his right. But he refused to let this affliction stop him from championing the one-handed repertoire. This collection includes two discs capturing Fleisher at the peak of his reemergence playing solo works, plus a third disc of Piano Concertos for the Left Hand with the Boston Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Seiji Ozawa.
DVD QUICK PICKS
Shrouded in mystery and long the subject of debate, the amazing story of Loreta Velazquez is one of the Civil War’s most gripping forgotten narratives. While the U.S. military may have recently lifted the ban on women in combat the Cuban immigrant from New Orleans was fighting in battle 150 years ago–one of the estimated 1,000 women who secretly served as soldiers during the American Civil War. Who was she? Why did she fight? And what made her so dangerous that she has been virtually erased from history?
These and many other questions are answered in the riveting Rebel (PBS Distribution). Deftly weaving lushly dramatized scenes of Loreta’s riveting tale with historical commentary and archival material, the documentary explores the story of a complex woman, a myth and the politics of national memory. Rebel chronicles Loreta’s rebellious relationship with her traditional family and her early marriage to an American soldier known only as William. After the devastating sudden death of William and her three young children, Loreta turned her grief into transformation. She embarked on a new secret life, disguising herself as a man and, under the name of Harry T. Buford, served first as a soldier in the Confederate Army and later as a Union spy.
Buckle up. It’s going to be a helluva ride. A recently paroled man unwittingly picks up the wrong rental vehicle after a long flight. He soon realizes that he is the target of an entire police force that will use any means necessary to stop him and the tied-up female “passenger” he discovers in the trunk from getting to the courthouse to testify against their city’s top-to-bottom corruption. Vehicle 19 (Ketchup Entertainment) will take you for one thrilling (if bumpy) ride.