Feature: History of NorShor

By Christa Lawler
Duluth News Tribune

If these walls could talk — well, they kind of do. From the catwalks of what is now called the NorShor Theatre, evidence remains of when this space was a vaudeville house in the early 1900s. The gilded ceiling is visible — though now covered with a false ceiling — as are a few balcony rows of seats.

On Sunday, the space formerly known as the Orpheum Theatre celebrates 100 years since its grand opening.

Since that time, it has undergone a series of renovations, ranging from opera house to movie theater to strip club. The Duluth Playhouse, current caretakers of the venue since the Duluth Economic Development Authority bought the theater and Temple Opera buildings in mid-June for $2.6 million, is hosting events tonight and Saturday to celebrate the building’s history and to raise money for renovations.

“I think it’s wonderful that we’re going to add life into it,” said Tony Dierckins, a local historian whose video, “121 Years of Performance and Film,” will be shown today and during Saturday’s open house.

“The stewardship of the building has been lacking in quality. It’s kind of a heartbreaking thing,” Dierckins said. “It’s great we’re going to revitalize it. It’s a lynchpin to revitalizing Old Downtown.”

The Orpheum Theatre opened on Aug. 22, 1910, after “keen anticipation,” the Duluth News Tribune reported. Tickets for the maiden production sold out in 45 minutes and attracted upper-crust Duluthians to downtown. “Seldom has the city’s wealth and culture been seen so heartily,” said an article about the opening night, which quotes then-Mayor Cullum, referred to as “His Honor,” as telling those who gathered: “You look swell.”

The structure was built by G.G. Hartley and cost $150,000. It included a

marble-tiled lobby off Second Avenue East, and walls decorated with hand-painted canvases. Through the lobby, there were four fire-proof imitation mahogany doors leading to the parquet floor of the theater. Seats were covered in silk velour and had ample leg space.

There was a mezzanine for general lounging, and smoking rooms.

Charlie Chaplin and the Marx Brothers were among those who performed.

In the early 1940s, the space went through a major renovation to movie house by J.J. Liebenberg. The stage area shifted 180 degrees, incorporating the Orpheum’s garage space, and the entrance was moved to Superior Street to give the space a presence among the other movie houses.

“The opulent boxes and drapery (from the opera house) were very difficult to keep up,” said Dierckins, who has researched public records and newspaper accounts. “It was the ’40s, and they wanted to go for a different look.”

Local historian Jim Heffernan remembers seeing the much talked-about religious film “The Robe,” starring Richard Burton, at the NorShor.

“In the halcyon days of movies, the lobby would be full of people,” he said. “It was such a big event, they allowed us to get out of school to see it.”

In the 1980s and 1990s, the NorShor became a stop for Minneapolis punk musicians like the Suburbs and Husker Du — whose performances followed edgy films like David Lynch’s “Eraserhead.”

“The space has an incredible sense of intimacy,” said Chris Bacigalupo, a local musician who played and worked at the NorShor

Theatre. “That’s apparent the second you walk through the door. You’re at one with the band, and at that second you’re intimate with the history there. There is a sense of legacy. … You’re playing with Charlie Chaplin’s ghost or something.”

This article originally ran Aug. 19, 2010, in the Duluth News Tribune.

Feature: Orpheum Theatre turns 100

By Christa Lawler
Duluth News Tribune

The old space on East Superior Street has been a vaudeville theater, and it has been a strip club. At one time it housed a milk bar. It has been the site of Geek Proms and a deli.

Bands from the Minneapolis punk scene have rocked the main stage, and local bands have left their graffiti backstage. Films have been shown in the balcony theater. A local theater company wrote and produced the comic opera “Phantom of the NorShor.”

On the cusp of its 100th birthday, the venue formerly known as the Orpheum Theatre — now the NorShor Theatre — is about to be reinvented again.

Those involved with reviving the building at 211 E. Superior St. say it will become another portal for music, theater and art — in a stretch of East Superior Street that’s becoming an entertainment district with Carmody Irish Pub, the Sheraton’s Restaurant 301, the Black Water Lounge and the Zeitgeist Arts building.

“This can and should be the arts and entertainment center, not only for the community but for the entire region,” Duluth Mayor Don Ness said.

The place has been spit-shined for events this week celebrating the building’s century mark. A fundraiser will be held at the NorShor Theatre at 7 p.m. today. An open house is planned for Saturday afternoon with an eight-band lineup later in the evening.

It’s just a glimpse of what could happen in this space, if all goes according to plan.

‘A cultural lightning rod’

The Duluth Economic Development Authority bought the NorShor Theatre and Temple Opera buildings in mid-June for $2.6 million dollars, bringing an end to the venue’s era as a strip club known as the NorShor Experience.

For the next two years, little will change at the venue while decisions are made about renovation, use and scheduling and a fundraising campaign gets under way, said Christine Seitz, executive director of the Duluth Playhouse, the group charged as caretakers of the space.

Meanwhile, expect plenty of music. Starting in September, there will be concerts at mezzanine level every Thursday night at the NorShor Theatre.

“As far as getting the NorShor back on line as a cultural lightning rod, the music community has been asked to work together to provide a rhythm of events there,” said Chris Bacigalupo, who is part of a committee to fire up the venue’s music scene. “They aren’t going to be able to have movies right away, or theater right away. The mezzanine represents the first active space.”

Events have been held in the building in the last few months. During Homegrown Music Festival in May, two local bands with international audiences played back-to-back. Retribution Gospel Choir and Trampled by Turtles drew a maximum-capacity 800 people to the main stage. In June, the Sound Unseen Film Festival used the balcony theater during part of the week-long newbie event. The Playhouse hosted Unplugged at the NorShor in June and July, which involved six nights of acoustic acts, also in the balcony theater.

Readying the theater space for concerts requires electrical upgrades but isn’t hampered by structural issues that put live events on hold several years ago.

According to records from the Duluth Fire Department, the venue is inspected every three years unless they receive complaints about the building. The last inspection was in 2007, and another is scheduled for the fall. Eight items from the last inspection were noted, including making sure exits are not obstructed, adding visible exit signs in the upper balcony, securely fastening a light in the basement, and documenting annual inspections of fire alarms and sprinkler systems. Each of these violations was corrected by Jan. 1, 2008, according to a report from the fire marshal.

The movie screen has a gouge in it and needs to be replaced before they can host films. There are lighting issues in the balcony theater, and a shallow main stage without dressing rooms or fly space.

Another priority: The liquor license. The NorShor was a destination bar into the early to mid-2000s, open even when there weren’t events on site. The Duluth Playhouse is applying for a full license — more than the beer and wine license that the ballet, opera and local playhouses can get away with. But for now, the bar will only be open when there are performances.

Convergence of the arts

It was like the scene from the “The Godfather” when heads of all of the Mafia families converged to plot strategy for the future.

Representatives from most of Duluth’s arts groups gathered on the mezzanine level of the NorShor to talk about the future of the building, how and if their organizations would use the space, and what would be required to make it operational.

There were opera singers, choral singers, ballet dancers and rock promoters; local historians, media and venue operators; those affiliated with theater, and a University of Minnesota Duluth dean; the head of a film festival and the manager of Bayfront Festival Park.

Participants drew up a wish list and discussed ways to use the space:

* Should it remain as it is, with three venues — the main stage, the balcony theater and the mezzanine — or would it make sense to revert the space back to its original incarnation, a single-stage house where seats extend to the rafters and opera boxes line the wings.

* What style of stage would work best in the main stage area? Black-box style like at the Duluth Play Ground, or a thrust stage surrounded on three sides by audience?

* What were the needs for each organization? Risers, sound system, lights, dressing rooms.

* Would they use the space if they had the chance?

Robert Gardner would. The artistic director for the Minnesota Ballet wasn’t at the meeting, but he had the chance to tour the facility a few weeks ago. It’s already an acceptable space for fundraisers with solos and duets. And with some work, the balcony theater would work for smaller shows like the company’s September event dances at the Board of Trade, which includes contemporary and new dance.

After getting a taste of the balcony theater during the Sound Unseen Film Festival, a Twin Cities import, director Rick Hanson is itching to get back inside. He considers the NorShor a dream venue for filmmakers and enthusiasts. And if he has his way, he’ll be in there by the end of 2010.

“When I first started coming to Duluth to see if it was a place where we could pull off this type of festival, I saw the NorShor and said: ‘Please, please, please.’ This is exactly what the film festival needs. It’s a centerpiece, within walking distance of anything downtown.”

There is still time to sort these things out. Ness said that the decisions will be made with input from the arts community and architects who specialize in stage design. But that’s three to five years away.

“We hope every night of every weekend some band or vocalist is using the space,” Seitz said. “We want this space to pop, and keep it active and make it the home it’s supposed to be for our local arts groups.”

This article was originally published August 19, 2010 in the Duluth News Tribune.

Review: ‘The Lovers’ by Vendela Vida

I made a rookie error and poor, poor Vendela Vida’s novel The Lovers is the innocent victim.

It all started when I fell madly in love with Jennifer Egan’s book A Visit from the Goon Squad. I lovingly caressed the cover, made kissy faces at it, considered starting from scratch and rereading it immediately. I tried to think of a better book in all the world over, and failed. I sighed a lot. The music of REO Speedwagon finally made sense to me.

What I should have done: Chased it with something completely different from a a faraway section of the bookstore. A food memoir, travel essays, or lousy vampire fiction.

What I did do: Chased it with Vida’s book. Climbed right back into a piece of contemporary fiction. Stupid. STUPID.

The end result wasn’t pretty. The Lovers is probably a better book than I think it is, in light of where it fell on my reading list. It unwittingly became the block of Velveeta you are forced to consume when you finish the $40 chunk of brie, but still need a taste of cheese.

Yvonne is zeroing in on her twilight years. The school teacher’s husband died tragically two years earlier, and she has adult children, twins with very different lives. Matthew is a success, with a fancy pants fiance and a cool job. Aurelia is a recovering addict who tormented the family through her teen years, with her in and out of rehab bit.

Matthew has invited Yvonne to go on a cruise with his fiance’s family, but instead she decides to travel to a small town in Turkey where she and her husband had honeymooned a zillion years ago. She’ll catch her son during a leg of his trip, but mostly try to recapture her own sense of adventure with this solo gig. Yvonne’s got an itch to reclaim the sense of adventure she had when she was young.

Times have been tough. Yvonne feels like she is on everyone’s watch list, and during the past school year she presented the same lecture, word for word, twice in the same week.

She’s a bit out of her element in Datca, where she rents a house from a possibly abusive man. While roaming the space, she finds a book about anal sex, a nudie photograph, and a sex swing. She makes friends with the man’s wife, a young and colorful woman with a lot of bad ideas and a pregnancy of questionable origin. She makes enemies with a waiter. She is a little scared of the landlord. She meets a young seashell seller named Ahmet, who doesn’t speak English, and they fall into an easy, albeit silent friendship.

But instead of being a healing trip, per se, Yvonne spirals toward her emotional breaking point — helped along by a whack tragedy that pages later is still a head scratcher of an event.

Vida’s novel feels a lot like an Anne Tyler creation, with its quaint thises and thats. The defining moments of the book are kind of snoozers. In one, Yvonne drives her rental along a freshly tarred road and ruins the exterior of the car; In another, an owl gets trapped in the house, which is seemingly an omen. A very obvious omen. There is also a boat ride with new friends during bad weather. Yawn. Yawn, double yawn.

There is also a lot of introspection about her family life back home. Yvonne spends much time thinking about her husband Peter, weighing their relationship and what it was worth, and the struggles with Aurelia and how that affected them all.

Maybe under different circumstances I would have found this book beautiful and light. A pleasant read about a woman popping her emotional bubble. But under the circumstances of cracking it immediately after finishing the epic piece of awesome that is A Visit from the Goon Squad, The Lovers felt dull and uninspired.

This review was originally posted at Minnesota Reads on August 9, 2010.

Review: The Scott Pilgrim series

Note: I write book reviews for Minnesota Reads. This review is totally self-referential and inside baseball, when taken outside the context of that website. But I like to think of it as the kind of writing that used to appear in Sassy magazine.

I drank the Jodi Chromey Kool-Aid and readers, it was delicious.

As anyone who has ever lurked the hallowed halls of Minnesota Reads knows, when Jodi likes something — I mean REALLY likes something — she damn near holds her very own Fourth of July celebration for that thing. Under these circumstances, I tend to listen to her. Aside from a few ticks in her taste buds (what kind of 80s teen disses so hard on Bret Easton Ellis? It’s inhuman), home girl tends to save virtual exclamation points for things that are truly delicious.

When it comes to the passionate reads, we lean similar: I’d guess that we will both end 2010 with plenty of crossover in our Top 10s, including Hot Pants Bognanni, and Cirque de Egan. And neither of our lists will include anything from the vampire domestic assault genre, or “it” books by 120 pound men with first world problems.

But when we leave the aisles of contemporary fiction, Aunt Jodi takes a left at graphic novels, and I take a right at food and addiction memoirs. And never the twain shall meet. Until she went all Tourettes on the Scott Pilgrim series by Brian Lee O’Malley. I peeked warily over the proverbial bookshelf, saw she was having a blast, and dove in.

My god, Jodi Chromey. You made me a believer. I spent an entire weekend laying around in my underwear reading six consecutive comic books (I believe this is her preferred method as well) and hot damn, I liked it.

A brief overview for those people who automatically edit Michael Cera, who stars in the movie adaptation, out of their consciousness: Scott Pilgrim is a 23-year-old (mostly)  straight edge Canuck, in the okay band Sex Bob-omb who shares a 1BR apartment — and bed — with his gay friend Wallace.

When the series starts, Scott Pilgrim is in the beginnings of a pretty chaste relationship with Knives Chau, a high school girl. A Asian high school girl. The kind of high school girl who wears a Catholic school girl uniform. Oh, Scott. While he is still navigating the leap from hand holding to hugs, he has a dream starring a mysterious girl on roller blades whom he eventually meets in his waking: Ramona Flowers, she of the ever-changing hair du and super secret who do voodoo lifestyle. He shakes loose the jail bait and gets touchy-feely with Ramona. (Not necessarily in that order). But in order for their relationship to succeed, he learns he must defeat her seven evil exes.

Throughout the series, Scott Pilgrim battles the douche bags, twins, vegans and a chick, and struggles with his own demons: a sexy ex of his own, a stalker, his own unemployment, the Fleetwood Mac-ian moments of being part of a band. Our hero is pretty clueless and self-centered (he isn’t even sure where some of his besties work) albeit totally likable. The six books are riddled with pop culture references (my favorite being a Grosse Point Blank movie poster in the background, and references to the Pixies), video game terminology (whatevs), and self-referential barbs — things like this will be explained in Book 3, or the next 30 pages will include a fight sequence. It’s all fantastically clever. For instance, one of Ramona’s exes is vegan and this is treated as a cult-like group with bylaws.

Overall, I tended to like the even-numbered books a star more than the odd numbered books in the series. Book 2 delves more into the relationships with his friends, Book 4 is heavy on the Scott-Ramona relationship, and Book 6 is a wonderful and relate-able finale for anyone who has ever had friends, relationship residue, and has successfully managed their 20s.

Quick note: When you’ve never read something in this style, it is a little clunky to get used to the relationship of pictures and words. My boyfriend used to draw comics, and explained to me all of the opportunities to communicate in this style. The words have to say something, and the picture is an extra opportunity to add another layer to it. With that in mind, I got a little dizzy until I got into a groove. It didn’t take long to get into that groove, mind you, but those first few pages were exhausting.

Overall, this was such a pleasure to read. It oozes with cleverness. Jodi Chromey: That SuperGenius business you throw around is not hyperbole.

This review originally appeared August 15, 2010 at Minnesota Reads.

Review: Adler’s Appetite concert

By Christa Lawler
Duluth News Tribune

Two songs into Wednesday night’s concert at Clyde Iron Works and Steven Adler was whipping sticks into the audience. He flung some floor level, and lofted some into the balcony. The one-time drummer for Guns N’ Roses and the namesake of Adler’s Appetite had more drumsticks in his arsenal than a family-sized variety pack from KFC.

This fivesome — a collection of rockers from bands of a bygone era — put on an arena-level of effort for, unfortunately, just a couple hundred people. But this was an enthusiastic crowd of mostly men ranging from Gen X-Z. The kind of people whose Appetite for Destruction T-shirts have retained their size, shape and coloring for more than 20 years.

The band played a mix of classic GNR, including “My Michelle,” “Rocket Queen” and “Mr. Brownstone” — songs from what many rockologists consider one of the top albums of our lifetime. The Los Angeles-based band also threw an original into the mix, “Crazy,” which has a distinctive hair band sound.

Alder’s Appetite is an eclectic staff, and each had a unique stage presence independent of the rest of the cast:

There was the cool and emotionless bass player Chip Z’Nuff, with his ’70s style of pimp-tastic suave. He wore a suit with a white pointy-collared button-up shirt, a jaunty blue hat and shades.

Quietly noodling away in the corner was the unassuming guitar player, Alex Grossi, who was part of a revamped 2004 version of Quiet Riot.

There was Michael Thomas, with the kind of wicked guitar shenanigans that didn’t officially make it into this century but tend to rear their head during Jagermeister-fueled rounds of Guitar Hero at 3 a.m. The phrase “made love to his guitar” comes to mind.

Lead singer Rick Stitch has whip-able hair, and he wore a sleeveless flannel shirt that was open — his chest wet by the end of the first song.

And then there was Adler: High-powered fans trained on his curly shoulder-length hair, a big ole smile on his newly sober face. He’s obviously having the time of his life, during this Take Two of his rock ’n’ roll life. Adler was kicked out of Guns N’ Roses in 1990 for his debilitating drug use. He had a very public getting-sober period that was chronicled on VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab” and “Sober House” and maintains a relationship with Dr. Drew Pinsky. Adler was his own personal Coke-Cola commercial, showing off his nonalcoholic beverage of choice throughout the performance.

Their version of “Civil War” struck the core of the purists, and everyone dug down deep for their falsettos in a singalong of “Sweet Child O’ Mine.”

Then Adler’s Appetite did a cover of GNR’s cover of Dylan’s song “Knocking on Heaven’s Door.”

Make no mistake: This is not Guns N’ Roses, and it doesn’t seem to be a Guns N’ Roses tribute band. It’s more of a collection of rowdy dudes reimagining Guns N’ Roses songs — like a decent remake of a classic film. (Although, let’s be honest. That never happens).

They false-finished the night with “Paradise City” and invited the members of the opening band Anchored on stage for an extended remix version of the song filled with playful band interaction. The lead singer of the Texas-based band, Brandon Narrell, bowed down to Steve Adler in a way that suggested the walls of his boyhood bedroom were filled with Adler’s likeness.

Adler’s Appetite did the requisite exit stage right, only to come back for one more song after concert staff grabbed a microphone and led a group chant of “Adler! Adler! Adler!”

Everyone’s favorite drummer came back on stage, and told us he loved us.

You know what this place reminds me of? he asked the audience. “The Jungle!” he called, then they busted out the one fan favorite from “Appetite for Destruction” that they had missed: “Welcome to the Jungle.”

This review originally ran on August 13 2010, in the Duluth News Tribune. It appeared on the newspaper’s website on Aug. 12, 2010.

Feature: Renovating Dylan’s childhood home

By Christa Lawler
Duluth News Tribune

Bob Dylan’s childhood home in the Central Hillside is currently a pale shade of salmon. Beneath that layer of paint are hints of green. But that shade matches some flecks on the storm windows, so that can’t be right. There weren’t aluminum storm windows on the house at 519 N. Third Ave. E. in the early 1940s.

Bill Pagel, the owner of the duplex, has a mystery on his hands.

The historian and collector of Dylan memorabilia — whose collection hit its apex with the purchase of this house in 2001 — is trying to restore the home to its appearance when the folk singer lived there with his parents, Beatty and Abe Zimmerman, and younger brother, David.

“My purpose in doing all of this is I wanted to preserve it and restore it as much as I can to what it looked like,” Pagel said. “Beyond that, I don’t have any idea. For posterity. At some point, get it on the national registry.”

He’s referring to the National Registry of Historic Places, the official list of the nation’s historic places worthy of preservation.

Pagel has a binder with photographs that show the structure of the porch, as well as neighboring properties — some of which have been razed. But the black-and-white image he has of the house exterior, taken in the winter by the owners who came after the Zimmermans, reveals only that the house was a light color but not white. The shade is darker than the snow on the ground.

Pagel is looking for anyone who might have a photograph that shows his house — anything that can help him get it close to how it was from 1941-46 when the Zimmermans lived there.

THE HOUSE

The Zimmermans rented the 900-square-foot, two-bedroom space upstairs of the house built in 1909. It has a dark wood staircase that ends with a twist to the left. It opens into a middle living area with piano windows facing the lake, the view obscured by buildings. Carpet covers the original wood floors, and there is a shelving unit built into the wall.

At the front is a living room with a large window and a door that leads to an upper-level porch with a view of Lake Superior. There is another, smaller porch off the back of the house. The bathtub has its original claw-foot tub. The heavy oak doors remain, as do the push-button light switches.

“Bobby reached up and pushed those a couple times,” Pagel said, fingering the switch panel.

Pagel plans to finish the house’s exterior this summer: fitting the front porch with a skirt of vertical wood, painting the house, and fixing the roof. He will work on inside projects like refinishing the original wood flooring and rehabbing the kitchen in the winter.

“I remember it here”

Pauline and Theo Swierc say that when they owned the house from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, Dylan stopped by about three times. He introduced himself to the couple from Poland and told them that he had been born there. They let him look around inside, they said Friday. Pauline’s mother still lives next-door to the house.

“Friendly guy,” said Pauline Swierc. “He said, ‘I remember it here. I (was) born here.’”

Theo Swierc said when they sold the house, the real estate agent added the information about Dylan to the listing, and they sold it the next day to Kathy Burns. She wasn’t interested in the house as much as its history, they said.

Pagel bought the property in 2001, after an initial eBay bidding war fell through on Burns, who listed it as a “must have for the die-hard Dylan fan.” She billed it as the place where the musician took his first steps. Pagel was the second-highest bidder and eventually bought the house for about $82,000. He has been planning renovations for years.

“I just procrastinated,” he said. “I just got to it now. I should have done it earlier.”

Local Dylan enthusiast John Bushey, who hosts the show “Highway 61 Revisited: The Music of Bob Dylan” on Saturdays on KUMD-FM, was rooting for Pagel during that online auction. Bushey had met Pagel at concerts and was familiar with what he considers the premiere Dylan website in the world, http://www.boblinks.com, which Pagel runs.

Bushey said he knew that Pagel had a lot of Dylan memorabilia and liked the idea of the then-Madison resident bringing his collection to the area.

“He’s a historian,” Bushey said. “He wants to preserve the house of one of America’s greatest writers of the 20th century. That’s why I wanted him to get the house. He’s trying to put it back the way it was. He’s intense in his research.”

ATTENTION FROM FANS

The two-story house, which would be nondescript if not for its place in rock ’n’ roll history, attracts plenty of attention from Dylan fans — more so in recent years.

Pagel said a handful of people stop by every week from all over the world. On Friday, he had visitors from France. Former tenant Bertram Bergeron, who lived in the apartment with his wife, Sue, for 13 years until 2002, said traffic was lighter in those days.

Bergeron said the most striking moment of fandom when he lived there came on Dylan’s 50th birthday when some kids asked if they could decorate the light post outside of the house.

“Then they said, ‘Can we come in?’ and we said ‘No,’” he recalled.

Neither Bergeron nor his wife is a fan of Dylan. While they still miss living in the apartment, the space held no “Dylan was here” appeal for them. They never saw Dylan’s initials etched in the woodwork, or any of the other urban legends associated with the space.

When fans stop by now, Pagel will gladly talk about Dylan. He considers himself more of a historian than a lyric interpreter, and will talk about his collection of vintage posters and relics from Dylan’s childhood and teen years. But like Bergeron before him, Pagel won’t let fans inside, either.

Bob Dylan, who is a year older than Pagel, turns 70 next year. Pagel is hoping Dylan will want to come back to the hillside where he spent his first six years. Dylan has mentioned the fog horn, and the rocky ledges of Duluth’s landscape in his poetry. And when he played at Bayfront Festival Park in 1999, he said:

“I was born on the hill over there. Glad to see it’s still there.”

Pagel would offer an opportunity to the star not afforded to others who stop by his residence:

“I’d let him come inside,” Pagel said.

This story originally appeared on August 7, 2010 in the Duluth News Tribune.

Review: ‘A Visit from the Goon Squad’ by Jennifer Egan

There is a scene in Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad, when an aged and plumped and be-cancer-ed rock and roll star named Bosco is pitching an idea to his publicist: He wants to tour again in support of his album “A to B.” A suicide tour. He doesn’t want to fade away, he tells her, he wants to flame away. A spectacle. An attraction. Everyone knows he is going to kick it, they just don’t know when or where. He wants interviews and videos and every humiliation documented.

“The album’s called ‘A to B,’ right?” Bosco said. “And that’s the question I want to hit straight on: how did I go from being a rock star to being a fat fuck no one cares about? Let’s not pretend it didn’t happen. . . .
Time’s a goon, right? Isn’t that the expression?”

Time is, in fact, the title goon of this novel full of short stories, a collection of pulse points in the lives of a full squad of players in the rock and roll scene. Each stars a character that is connected to another in a way that ranges from meaningful to fleeting. Then Egan upped the difficulty level: Each story can stand alone as a short story — and in some cases has actually been published elsewhere. And it isn’t told in chronological order.

Andthisismyfavoritebookever.

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