Daily Archives: December 15, 2016

Holiday Stocking Stuffer: ‘Born a Crime Stories from a South African Childhood’: by Trevor Noah

9780399588174

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The stories collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother’s unconventional, unconditional love.

http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/537515/born-a-crime-by-trevor-noah/9780399588174/

 

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Holiday Stocking Stuffer: ‘Testimony’: A Memoir by Robbie Robertson

9780307401397

Robbie Robertson’s singular contributions to popular music have made him one of the most beloved songwriters and guitarists of his time. With songs like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “Up on Cripple Creek,” he and his partners in The Band fashioned music that has endured for decades, influencing countless musicians.

In this captivating memoir, written over five years of reflection, Robbie Robertson employs his unique storyteller’s voice to weave together the journey that led him to some of the most pivotal events in music history. He recounts the adventures of his half-Jewish, half-Mohawk upbringing on the Six Nations Indian Reserve and on the gritty streets of Toronto; his odyssey at sixteen to the Mississippi Delta, the fountainhead of American music; the wild, early years on the road with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks; his unexpected ties to the Cosa Nostra underworld; the gripping trial-by-fire “going electric” with Bob Dylan on his 1966 world tour, and their ensuing celebrated collaborations; the formation of The Band and the forging of their unique sound,  culminating with history’s most famous farewell concert, brought to life for all time in Martin Scorsese’s great movie The Last Waltz.

This is the story of a time and place—the moment when rock ʼnʼ roll became life, when legends like Buddy Holly and Bo Diddley crisscrossed the circuit of clubs and roadhouses from Texas to Toronto, when The Beatles, Hendrix, The Stones, and Warhol moved through the same streets and hotel rooms. It’s the story of exciting change as the world tumbled through the ʼ60s and early ʼ70s, and a generation came of age, built on music, love, and freedom. Above all, it’s the moving story of the profound friendship among five young men who together created a new kind of popular music.

Testimony is Robbie Robertson’s story, lyrical and true, as only he could tell it.

http://penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/212912/testimony#9780307401397

Holiday Stocking Stuffer: Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s ‘Messiah’ (Sunday December 18 – Friday December 23, 2016)

‘Handel’s Messiah is one of the great traditions of the season. Somehow, this time of year makes traditions seem even more significant. It is a turning point in the year—by the calendar, it is the time when the days cease to grow darker and begin to grow lighter with the promise of spring a few months away, and this great work is a perfect way to celebrate. Messiah was written to celebrate faith, but it is first and foremost a work of music, not of philosophy or religion. Great melodies transcend any divisiveness among people, making us one, voices united. Handel has achieved something remarkable in this wondrous music: it overcomes time and language, and links the past and the future. Simultaneously pious and joyous, it is music that is both old and still new, still able to communicate to contemporary audiences. Nicholas McGegan returns to the TSO with this wonderful celebration, and he is joined by four outstanding soloists and the ever popular Toronto Mendelssohn Choir.’

Peter Oundjian

Music Director

https://www.tso.ca/concert/messiah-0