Monday, September 10, 2007

My Husband is Top Notch.

I have been brought low, screaming at my own dining table over barbecued beef and I am not loving anyone very well at all I'm afraid. Nevertheless it was just announced that Yo La Tengo is opening for Bright Eyes and I got tickets. AND:

IWOSC General Meeting
The Art of Book and Theater
Reviews, hosted by Digby Diehl
Monday, September 24
7:30 to 9 p.m.
Veterans Memorial Building
4117 Overland (at Culver Boulevard in Culver City)
Free Parking
A top-notch panel of book and theater reviewers
moderated by Digby Diehl demystifies the steps
involved in critiquing a work of literature or theater:
what they look for, what matters, and what qualities
make literature and theater resonate with the public. In
addition, who is it that decides which books are
reviewed and which plays are seen? Panelists include
Los Angeles Times Book Review critic Erika Schickel,
Amazon reviewer Dr. John L. Murphy, Daily Variety
theater critic Hoyt Hilsman, literary fiction reviewer
Edward St. John, nationally syndicated radio host
Michael Dresser, and award-winning author and
critique Amy Wilentz.
Digby Diehl
The Moderator:
DIGBY DIEHL is one of the most trusted and
successful literary collaborators in America. He is the
founding editor of the Los Angeles Times Book
Review, and was the first online book reviewer for
Prodigy. Over his distinguished career, he's been a
literary and entertainment critic for numerous
broadcast outlets. His book credits include many
entertainment autobiographies, including the New
York Times bestseller Million Dollar Mermaid, actress
Esther Williams's life story, and Natalie Cole's Angel
on My Shoulder, a Los Angeles Times No. 1 bestseller.
He also penned the novel Soapsuds with actress
Finola Hughes. Diehl has moderated IWOSC
"Conversations" with Mariette Hartley and Sandra
Tsing Loh.
The Panel:
AMY WILENTZ divides her time between being a
critic and an author. Her criticism and stories have
appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles
Times, Time magazine, The New Republic, Mother
Jones, Harper’s, Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel &
Leisure, The San Francisco Chronicle, More, The
Village Voice, The London Review of Books, and many
other publications. She is the author of The Rainy
Season: Haiti Since Duvalier (1989), Martyrs' Crossing
(2000), and I Feel Earthquakes More Often Than They
Happen: Coming to California in the Age of
Schwarzenegger (2006). She is the winner of the
Whiting Writers Award, the PEN Martha Albrand Non-
Fiction Award, and the American Academy of Arts and
Letters Rosenthal Award, and also a 1990 nominee for
the National Book Critics Circle Award. She is the
former Jerusalem correspondent of The New Yorker
and a long-time contributing editor at The Nation. She
teaches in the Literary Journalism program at the
University of California at Irvine.
ERIKA SCHICKEL is a regular book critic and
occasional opinion page contributor for the Los
Angeles Times. Her reviews can also be seen in the
Chicago Tribune and Bust magazine. She writes
features for LA Weekly, LA City Beat, and In addition, her work has appeared
online at,,, and she is a featured "Native
Intelligence" contributor on She is
the author of You're Not the Boss of Me: Adventures of
a Modern Mom, which is currently being developed as
a television series.
Raised in New York City, Schickel, the daughter of
noted film critic and author Richard Schickel, now
makes her home in Los Angeles, where she divides
her time between being a writer, a mom, and sometimes
actress. Her website is
DR. JOHN L. MURPHY, a full-time professor of
Humanities at DeVry University in Long Beach, is one
of the most prolific book and music critics to appear
on He was ranked a “Top 1000”
Amazon reviewer as of September 2006 and has
logged upwards of 730 reviews. With a specialty in
Irish literature, folk, and rock music, Murphy’s reviews
can also be found in scholarly works such as The Irish
Book Review, Irish Literary Supplement, and New
Hibernia Review. More than three dozen of his articles
and reviews can be found online at The Blanket, and
at, a digital magazine of world music.
HOYT HILSMAN is an award-winning screenwriter,
playwright, and journalist. Hilsman has also been a
regular theater and television critic for Daily Variety.
He’s written screenplays for a number of studios and
television networks, including Disney, Sony, New Line,
ABC, NBC, and CBS. His stage plays have been
produced in theaters around the country and abroad,
and have won numerous awards. His television script,
"Foggy Bottom," based on his childhood in
Washington, was honored at the 2005 Slamdance
Festival. In addition, he is a past President of the Los
Angeles Drama Critics Circle, and a judge of the PEN
West Literary Awards.
While EDWARD ST. JOHN has made a career out
of cataloging music and other information at various
academic institutions such as Smith College, Loyola
Marymount University, and Loyola Law School, he’s
led a parallel life as a literary critic. He began reviewing
literary fiction for the Library Journal in the mid-1980s.
Additionally, he’s added Dow Jones, Salem Press,
and Magill’s Literary Annual to his repertoire during
the ‘90s.
MICHAEL DRESSER is a nationally syndicated
talk radio host whose author-centric programs are
heard from California to New York, and also
abroad. On an average day, his radio show features
eight authors. He has utilized his 25 years of
experience and knowledge to create a media training
and communications program on his show that
gives writers the ability to bring their message home
with confidence, clarity, and the relevance needed to
intrigue the buying public, regardless of subject
matter. According to Dresser, “if you sell the sizzle your
book sales will skyrocket.” Visit Dresser's website at
IWOSC members - FREE; non-members - $15.
space is still available) is noon, Monday, September
24. Call (877) 799-7483 or e-mail 


Fionnchú said...

Does that mean I can leave after the opening act? Thanks for featuring me amidst the luminarii literati of our City of Angels. Keep rating me, please, dear readers: it's a short hop from CasaM to "My Husband's Blog" and then a lateral skip to "My Amazon Profile & Reviews" for, well, it's now nearly 750 reviews, to append the IWOSC blurb from last April.

Sorry to plug meself, but...Praise to any and all of you who may have voted (helpfully!) for my many obscure books, and maybe one in a hundred that somebody else has heard of. Trouble is, I get slammed on these for not taking the party line on liberals, God, or what passes for rock music! I am unpredictable, eclectic, and a complete amateur driven if not by free copies than love of learning. And, thanks to my spouse despite her bbq-beef torment, I thrive in her captivity in this domicile. Not top notch yet, but it will be.

Fionnchú said...

You're top notch too, on the same totem pole. I might add that I am like you prematurely grey. xxx me