Michael Musto, Disco Years
“'Elton John’s coming to [to Studio 54] tonight. Don’t tell anyone,’ [Steve] Rubell confided to me at one point, naturally wanting me to tell everyone. So I did …”
Michael Musto, Disco Years
Image Credit: Disco Years
A copy of Disco Years signed by Ron Galella is available via the Nick Harvill Libraries store.
“The best parody of Truman remained Truman himself … until he lost control of it.”
John Malcom Brinnin, Truman Capote, Dear Heart, Old Buddy
Read what happened when Truman Capote lost control here.
“As for [my role as] a mother—I wish you’d ask my children. I’m aware that there were times when I didn’t pay enough attention to them, and times when I was too strict. I expected them to appreciate their advantages, the things they had as children that I hadn’t had, but in Hollywood that’s hard to do. If we, as adults, couldn’t find reality, how could they?”
Joan Crawford, Conversations with Joan Crawford
“Everything’ll be all right, desolation is desolation everywhere and desolation is all we got and desolation aint so bad.”
Jack Kerouac, Desolation Angels
American and English editions are rarely identical. Obviously the English add the letter U to words like "color" and "labor." The titles might also diverge. For example, Craig Brown's inventive and magnificent biography of Queen Elizabeth II's tragic (but haughty) sister was published in the United Kingdom as Ma'am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret. The American edition was shortened to Ninety-Nine Glimpses of Princess Margaret. Nearly always the dust jackets are different, as it is the publisher that commissions the art on the cover.
Jack Kerouac's Desolation Angels was no exception to the rule. The dust jackets were strikingly different. This semi-autobiographical novel, an installment in Kerouac's Duluoz Legend series, was written around the time of the publication of Kerouac's most iconic novel, On the Road, in 1957. It languished as an underground title for nearly a decade until finally published in the United States in 1965 by Coward-McGann and in the United Kingdom in 1966 by Andre Deutsch. Which publisher designed the better jacket?
This is an easy call. The Pop Art design by the Irish artist Michael Farrell for the English edition is not only eye-catching; it is magnificent. How fun a poster-size version would be hanging on the wall of a midcentury home. Its design was very much of that moment. The realistic etching depicting scenes from the book in the American edition is also of that time period, but in a manner that does not translate in 2019, unlike the "retro" English edition. Part of the problem is that the style of the American edition became overdone, frequently imitated in cheaply produced movie tie-in mass paperbacks.
The only issue with the English edition is that it is not precisely of its time. Kerouac's Desolation Angels is set in the mid-1950s, and the Andy Warhol-inspired soup cans in the illustration did not explode onto the art scene until the early 1960s when they were exhibited at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.
PURCHASE GORE VIDAL'S COPY OF "DESOLATION ANGELS"
The copy of Desolation Angels (English Edition) from the library of Gore Vidal (stamped "From the Library of GORE VIDAL), is available via the Nick Harvill Libraries website. Though Jack Kerouac was straight, he did have a minor dalliance with Vidal. Moreover, a character based upon Gore Vidal appears in Kerouac's Duluoz Legend series (though not this particular installment).
MORE DUST JACKET DUST-UPS
Enjoy this dust jacket dust-up? Check out others here.
“All work and no play may make Jim a dull boy, but no work and all play makes Jim all kinds of jackass.”
William Randolph Hearst, The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst
A vintage copy of this photo is available for purchase here.
“The saddest thing I can imagine is to get used to luxury.”
Charlie Chaplin, My Autobiography
“I find one day of suffering educates us more than one year of book reading.”
Julie Valeria, Park Avenue People
Image Credit: Park Avenue People
“[Albert Einstein's] theory of relativity, as worded by him for laymen: ‘When does Zurich stop at this train?’”
Marlene Dietrich, Marlene Dietrich’s ABC
Image Credit: The Films of Marlene Dietrich
"There is nothing quite so generous as sharing a treasured recipe—of whispering that long-held secret ingredient. It’s quite a gift. I know of people who have jealously guarded recipes all the way to the grave! A friend told me the story of two women she knew who were close in every way but one—sharing recipes. There was a dish in particular that one women had been trying to coax out of her friend for forty years, to no avail. She tried to prepare it on her own, but it never quite worked and she couldn’t find the missing ingredient.
It so happens that her friend became ill and knew she was dying. As she lay in bed, almost too weak to speak, she motioned for the woman to lean close, and whispered with what was practically her dying breath, ‘Cinnamon.’”
Betsy Bloomingdale, Entertaining with Betsy Bloomingdale
In February 1968, Cecil Beaton wrote in his diary that he had attended the ballet with a female friend. In his account of the evening, he noted that the strain of the last five years had aged his friend, but it did not show “in photographs and she is still the most photogenic person in the world, infinitely more so than her infinitely more beautiful sister.”
Who were the sisters to whom he referred?
HINT: The two sisters had shared one special summer but seemed to have grown apart by middle age.
The answer is after the JUMP.