I Hit The Newspapers

Being A Writer Comedy Lit-Crit Personal Reviews
2008 is off to a good start for me: my review of Steve Martin's new autobiography Born Standing Up (and my first-ever newspaper book review) is running in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

While I am clearly comfortable critiquing other newspaper book critics, I'd never imagined until recently that I'd ever see my own byline in print. I met editor Frank Wilson at a panel on book reviewing in 2006, and it's due to his generosity (as well as the encouragement of some blogging colleagues) that I was given this chance. I was nervous writing the review, and I sure was nervous as hell this morning reading it back. But I guess I sound like I know what I'm talking about, and I see I managed to name-check Wittgenstein and Descartes in an article about comedy, so it must be me.

LitKicks is still on hiatus (until Thursday or so) as I try to get our new poetry software to work. Happy New Year, people!
11 Responses to "I Hit The Newspapers"

Top notch, old boy!

Steve Martin is a good subject for you, Levi, considering Martin is an entertainer who mixes humor, intelligence, hipness, and enthusiasm.

In college, Martin majored in philosophy before switching to theater. I happen to know that you also excel in both academic settings and stage performance. Steve plays banjo, you play guitar, and you both rock a mike with words.

Levi, we know that Litkicks began with a focus on the Beat Generation. Steve Martin once wrote for the hip, forward-thinking Smothers Brothers show. Even though your blog has expanded beyond hipsters, you continuously remind me that the true meaning of hip involves keeping a fresh, informed outlook on life and the world; to be “on top of things”, as they say. You and Steve Martin share that trait, as well as an enthusiasm that comes from doing what you apparently love.

by Jaime on

Congrats Levi, great article from another "Wiiilld and craaazy guy"!

by marydell on

Nice job, Levi!

by Sylph on

Kudos!

I've always had a penchant for Steve Martin quirky sense of humor, he's an artist who believes in his art and works at keeping a fresh perspective, which fans appreciate and relate to.

Thanks for sharing another great review Levi, keep them coming.

by Levi Asher on

Thanks, everybody. And, Bill, guess what, I do play banjo as well! Not very well, but I'm learning. And I definitely agree with you about the true meaning of "hip".

by Cecil on

An excellent article on an excellent artist.

Congratulations, Levi, but please aspire to be more than a critic. ;-)

by Steve Plonk on

Great review, Levi! Congrats. Looks like an interesting autobiography by Steve Martin. "The Philadelphia Inquirer" is a wonderful paper. Hope you become a "stringer" book reviewer there.

by judih on

(and who doesn't like Harpo Speaks?)

Fabulous review. Makes reading him twice as compelling.

by TKG on

Wow! Congrats Levi. And a great subject. I was an obsessed Martin fan in High School. I have read this book all ready -- I cranked through it quick. It was well written and compelling. I had never known the extent of Martin's relationship to Disneyland and how much Disneyland (and Wally Boag) influenced him. The section on Disneyland in his book is fantastic and of great interest to a lot of the Disneyphiles out there. Martin is the host of a 50th anniversary short film that is being shown at Disneyland.

For those who haven't read the book yet, Martin moved near Disneyland the same year it opened when he was ten years old or so. Walt Disney had been a paperboy and wanted to have kids sell a Disneyland newspaper. Martin was 10 and took that job. Talk about a dream. He was able to sell his papers, make some money and then have access to Disneyland all he wanted. A few years later he got a job at the Magic shop and began learning entertainment from the older magicians working with him. It turns out Steve Martin is another of Walt Disney's legacies.

This was outside of the Hollywood mainstream and harkened back to vaudeville. The interesting thing about his career path is how despite living in the LA area he did it all early on outside of the show business establishment.

A recent DVD release is called Disneyland Secrets, Stories and Magic. It has in it a 1962 show from the Golden Horseshow Review at Disneyland that includes a fair amount of Wally Boag. Martin fanatics would probably like to see that.

by Frank Berelson on

Well Done.

Your review gave me more of an insight into Steve Martin and made me aware of the old story, an overnight success after many years of trying applies to even the very best.

I plan to read his book, it sounds interesting. Since you mentioned "Harpo Speaks" in your review, I did read "Harpo Speaks" and am now reading it for a second time)

Frank

Levi,

Congratulations on the review. It is well done and I look forward to reading the book.

I grew up a big fan of Steve Martin, too.

Daniel