Life Sentences, Day 126: Pleasure Fair Update

February 4th, 2011

The band that keeps on giving.

One hundred and forty-one years after The Pleasure Fair disbanded, its members continue along their remarkably diverse paths

Steve Cohn, seen above, goes on his way as a composer of serious music.  He’s had works premiered and performed all over the world; he’s won awards up the wazoo, including an Emmy, and he JUST had a piece premiered to critical rapture here in Los Angeles.

The fast-rising Eclipse Quartet, in a concert at Pasadena’s Armory Center for the Performing Arts, introduced Stephen’s Winter Soul, which the critic whose piece was picked up by The Huffington Post described as. “a precision-cut jewel of twelve minutes duration.”

So congratulations to Steve, who has followed his muse into a very select group: contemporary American composers of concert music.  The whole review — and it’s a honey — is here.

And Robb Royer , pictured below . . .

. . . is the CEO of Nashfilms Records, described in its website as “a hotbed of unsettled creative people seeking safe shelter as they scamper among the ruins of a fallen record industry.”  Nashfilms’ most recent production is a nothing-short-of-sensational CD by Robb’s Bread-mate and longtime writing partner, Jimmy Griffin, that I’ve been playing on my iPod for weeks.

Jimmy Griffin is clearly a labor of love, one talented musician’s monument to another.  You can buy it, and you should, at Nashfilms.

Tim Hallinan continues to coast in the aftermath of his Edgar nomination, and was just thrilled to see a really wonderful review of that book, The Queen of Patpong, in a wrap-up of the best of 2010 on the site of the novelist Barbara Fister, author of Through the Cracks and In the Wind, among others.  I’m putting it up because it’s not every day I get a review with language like, “This is an amazing book: an honest and utterly absorbing depiction of women’s lives in Bangkok, showing their strength in the face of huge odds. And the writing is just lovely on every page.”  And also because you could find a much worse reading list than Fister’s choices for best of the year.  I’ve read many of them and loved them all.  Here’s Barbara’s page.

As for the fourth member of the band, Michele Cochran, none of us has seen her for years.  But an English writer named Malcolm Searles, who’s doing a book about Bread, found her and got her permission to send us her contact info.  So sometime next week, Stephen and I are going to try to set up a lunch.

Will report back here.

8 Responses to “Life Sentences, Day 126: Pleasure Fair Update”

  1. Stephen Cohn Says:

    Thanks for your kind words, Tim. It is interesting how diverse our paths have become. However, in retrospect, I think anyone who knew us (like ourselves) could see the seeds of what has grown. It will be interesting to put Michelle’s path into the mix to get the whole picture.

  2. Everett Kaser Says:

    Are you sure it’s 141 years? I read elsewhere on the web that it was only 127.

  3. Philip Coggan Says:

    Well done all of you. Tim, from those reviews, you seem to be in danger of entering the Serious Literature stakes.

  4. Laren Bright Says:

    Pretty impressive statistically as well as creatively.

    Congrats on (yet another) great review.

  5. Gary Says:

    Gee, all Barbara says about QUEEN was stuff like “blow you socks off excellence”, “a book that really took my breath away”, “an amazing book” and “pitch-perfect prose”.

    So what’s the big deal already?

    [very small font]: Congratulations, Tim.

  6. Everett Kaser Says:

    This has nothing to do with this particular blog entry, but…

    Last fall, you wrote the “Spirit House” short story, in which one of the characters was Doris, the GPS unit.

    Then, just last night, I was reading through your blogs of years past (I’m up to Jan 2010 now, yay!) and I encountered your stories of travelling with Doris the GPS unit on your Fall 2009 Book Tour (darn! if only I’d encountered your books a year earlier… you drove right down through here, about 5 miles from my home!).

    Then this morning comes this story about

    Death by GPS

    (which also mentions “Willamette Valley wine country, which is where I live; small world…)

  7. John Lindquist Says:

    Wow. A Pleasure Fair Reunion. After all of the seasoning the four of you picked up during your 141-year hiatus, I would think that you could get together in Robb’s recording studio and put the likes of a Radiohead or Cocteau Twins to shame.

    And congratulations, Tim!

  8. Timothy Hallinan Says:

    Well, haven’t I arrived late? Sorry, sorry. This book is eating me alive.

    Let’s work backwards — John, great to hear from you. For the rest of you, John is THE chronicler of all things Bread and, by extension, most things Pleasure Fair. His site is the one Robb (who should know) says is always accurate.

    The 141-year hiatus hasn’t dimmed our enthusiasm at all John, though I can’t say the same for our vision and hearing. We shall see. After all, Robb and Stephen have actual lives, and Michele may, too. I’m the only one who’s loitering without intent in cyberspace.

    Everett, I can’t believe you’re actually reading all of these. The DEATH BY GPS STORY is frigging hilarious. We’re probably weeks away from lawyers insisting on a printed warning on the screen: DO NOT RELY ENTIRELY ON GPS. LOOK THROUGH WINDSHIELD WHILE DRIVING.

    Doris is still alive and unpleasant. But she gets me where I want to go, even if she does insist on waiting until I’m at full stop in bumper-to-bumper traffic to say, “Traffic ahead.”

    Gary, this is a favorite review, especially since Barbara Fister is a good novelist, and I’m always gratified to hear nice words from people who have slogged their way through one or more books. And Barbara’s are fine books, too.

    Thank you, Laren. A little something like this can really lift one’s spirits and keep them elevated all day long.

    Hi, Philip. I think I’m safe from ever being considered Serious Literature. If not, I’m really doing something wrong.

    Stephen — let’s find out. I’ll call you to see when we can all get together.

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