CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 15, 2014 |
Bob Thomas, a Los Angeles-based reporter and columnist who covered entertainment for the Associated Press for more than six decades, writing compelling, human and often humorous stories about Hollywood's glittering and glamorous, has died. He was 92. Thomas, who also wrote biographies of many of the stars and studio chiefs of Hollywood's Golden Age, including Joan Crawford, Fred Astaire, William Holden and Walt Disney, died Friday of age-related causes at his home in Encino, his daughter Nancy said.
February 14, 2014 |
Although he would hardly cause a blip on cultural radar screens today, Carl Van Vechten was, at various stages of his long and storied life, a journalist, provocateur, novelist, nightlife denizen, music and theater critic, confidant to Gertrude Stein, patron of the Harlem Renaissance, literary dandy, urban impresario, portrait photographer, archivist of Modernism and all-together man about town. A person of seemingly endless contradictions, Van Vechten was known for his many affairs with men - yet married to Fania Marinoff, a Russian actress and dancer, for almost 50 years.
February 5, 2014 |
William S. Burroughs' "Naked Lunch" stands with Jack Kerouac's "On the Road" and Allen Ginsburg's "Howl" as the seminal texts of the Beat Generation. With its harrowing scenes of junkie depravity, its view of postwar America was the most extreme of all the Beats. Yet few American literary figures have enjoyed more second acts than Burroughs. He was spokesman for the countercultural movement in the '70s, begrudgingly bore the label Godfather of Punk in the '80s, and was a spoken-word performer and visual artist until his death in 1997.
January 31, 2014 |
In July 2009, a year before his death at age 99, John Wooden was named by the Sporting News as the top coach in the history of American sports. Not many argued with the selection. Over his 29-year career he won 664 of 826 games for a winning percentage of .804. From 1964 through 1975 his UCLA Bruins won 10 NCAA championships, and UCLA's games drew higher TV ratings than most NBA games. Surprising as it seems, Wooden, arguably the most influential coach in basketball history, has never had a definitive biography until now. In "Wooden: A Coach's Life," Seth Davis, a senior writer at Sports Illustrated and studio analyst for CBS Sports, has written a virtual cutaway view of the history and evolution of basketball in the form of a biography.
January 20, 2014 |
In 1984, Gary Hart experienced the whole meteoric-crash-and-burn phenomenon in textbook fashion. The Colorado senator and dark horse presidential candidate finished a distant second behind former Vice President Walter Mondale in the 1984 Iowa caucuses, losing 49% to 17%. But in the odd alchemy of presidential politics, Hart was declared the “winner” of the caucuses -- despite the 32-point blowout -- because he held Mondale below 50% and outperformed...
January 10, 2014 |
As school book fairs and children's library browsers can attest, there is no shortage of biographies aiming to educate young readers about the lives of historical figures, from George Washington to Jackie Robinson, Annie Oakley to Anne Frank, Helen Keller to Harry Houdini, Eleanor Roosevelt to Elvis Presley. This month, several new picture books about famous thinkers and doers - bold breakers of boundaries and blazers of trails - will further crowd the shelves. The best of these deal forthrightly with their subjects' complexities and contradictions, acknowledging that even heroes make mistakes and suffer setbacks and that one can be inspired by someone's successes while acknowledging their failings.