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"Salomania" on WNYC


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Right now at 12:50pm in New York City, Toni Bentley, the former NYCB ballet dancer, is discussing her new book Sisters of Salome with Leonard Lopate on WNYC AM 820.

If you want to check out this book, you can go in through the Amazon banner on this site. :D

From Publishers Weekly

Former NYC ballerina and independent scholar Toni Bentley offers a study of four famous women who created versions of the legendary femme fatale Salome (popularized by Oscar Wilde) in Sisters of Salome, a cultural study and the story of an obsession...

For those of you who don't get this station :) - you can check them out on their website.:)

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I'm not sure I can take much more from Ms. Bentley at the moment. The final straw was her remark to the Chicago Tribune: "I'm a sexy chick who's published by Yale University Press. Deal with it."

It will be interesting if male writers of nonfiction decide to take this innovative interviewing stance. I can imagine Gordon Wood saying, "I'm a studly guy who writes distinguished histories of the early years of the American republic. Deal with it." Eric Foner: "I'm this incredibly hot man who's written the definitive history of the Reconstruction era. Get with the program." Bill James: "I'm the author of the Historical Baseball Abstract, a bible to all real fans. Check out my stats. And my abs." I'm sorry, I'm embarrassed for her.

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You know, it was kind of embarassing to listen to. :)

Apparently her next book is about "eroticism" in some novel way, no doubt. What can I say, I thought it might be interesting. I do like Leonard Lopate and think he is a very good interviewer, so figured it might be worth it... Now he is on to Annie Lamott. :D

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I concur that Leonard Lopate is an excellent interviewer, particularly of authors. He always sounds as though he's actually read the book in question. I don't know what the Chicago Tribune person did to provoke such a smart-alecky response from Ms. Bentley, but on the Lopate interview she was polite, intelligent, informative, and self-possessed. I fail to see what was embarrassing about anything she said. The only thing that bothered me slightly was Lopate's references to her as a former "ballerina" with NYCB, "great dancer,"etc. She was in the corps, and wrote an unforgettable book about that experience, "Winter Season." As is well-known, she also co-wrote Farrell's autobiography, "Holding on to the Air." In answer to Lopate's question about what she plans to write next, she said, "an erotic memoir and a book about Lincoln Kirstein." What's not to like?

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Originally posted by Farrell Fan

In answer to Lopate's question about what she plans to write next, she said, "an erotic memoir and a book about Lincoln Kirstein." What's not to like?

Indeed. She is writing, publishing and getting paid. And it seems that she is at the stage of her career where she can pursue what she is interested in.

Although erotic memoirs seem a bit over done just now.

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The Tribune article did not sound especially flippant, or like an attempt to poke fun at Bentley, so I don't know that provocation was involved. I guess I should note,once again, that I greatly enjoyed Bentley's book on Karinska and have no major beef with her writing in general. I just think that on this particular matter she's made a misjudgment. As for the "erotic memoir," while I don't doubt she's had a splendid and fulfilling sex life, I can't say that I will be sprinting to Brentano's to read about it. :)

Farrell Fan, I've noted that people not familiar with ballet often refer to female dancers as "ballerinas" regardless of their actual status, and don't realize that this is rather like grouping an NCO in the same category as General Patton.

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