Laughs Gives Reviewer
Terrific Case of Reader’s Indigestion
Laughs: Adventures with Celebrities &
Other Unusual Characters”by
is certainly an interesting concept for a humor book with a flair
for drama and stories laced with eccentricity that revolve around
well-known (and not so well-known) dancers. Rod Long, is the
author. His biography reports that he is a well-known stand
up comedian from Seattle, with a long list of credits in Los
Angeles and Seattle.
stand up comedy may be his forte, but writing an interesting
book is not.
I was hoping
to be chuckling to myself at least part of the time while reading
his book and expected to be roaring with laughter at the amusing
antics of many dancers’ life
experiences that can only be categorized as pure "outrageousness".
the main contributors in stories were centered around Tamalyn
Dalal, Jodette, Amaya,
and Mezmera as examples of famous dancers, there were a
few contributions of other artists that somehow got their "fascinating
stories" to Rod Long for this ho-hum book.
At times, as
I was reading the litany of strange, bizarre, and/or self –aggrandizing
stories that filled the pages, I wondered if perhaps Rod Long
simply had sent a questionnaire to every dancer for whom he had
an address, to relate their most bizarre or wacky experience. Some
were interesting, others rather disjointed and not quite believable.
story, "Paolo and the Priest", was actually quite funny. Of
course, that could be because it involved old world Italians
and priests, with whom I have a particular symbiotic relationship. So,
for me, that one story was the highlight of the whole book (the
very first story). Tragically, it was downhill from there.
Rod Long, trying to perhaps enliven a story told by a dancer,
embellished many a tale with typical stand-up comic patter
that was as out of place in the story as canned laughter
in a comedy club routine.
careers, all of us dancers have encountered a fantastical, crazy,
bizarre story or two that we could share. I was hoping to see
some of the more hilarious variety appear in this book. Instead,
what was presented were disjointed short essays on the tradition
of Belly dance involving the name dropping of famous people,
and sandwiched in between them was a story of dancing for a celebrity
opening for the singer, Madonna.
that I think about it, if you are an Enquirer or Star fan,
you really may enjoy this book, as it has the elements
of reality that those particular tabloids carry; a tinge
of truth, but a twilight-zone effect emerges!
Over 80% of
the stories in “Belly Laughs” relate in some way to a dancer's
encounter with a celebrity or well known Saudi Prince. After
about four vignettes, it began to blur into stories that seemed
to compete for the highest number of celebrity encounters, featuring Jodette's
rather dubious Hollywood style B-movie story lines that always
seemed to find her crying and stamping her feet in a tantrum
or being seduced by some wealthy Middle Eastern minor prince
and stolen away to be dazzled and draped with jewels.
of jewels, there is one story in the book that was so incredible
I must admit I can't believe the event took place...
A dancer who
travels in Bogata, Columbia, receives a dance tip consisting
of a precious heart-shaped emerald given to her by an influential
and dangerous drug lord. During the course of her adventures
and escapes, she tries to pay for gasoline for her car with the
heart shaped emerald because she had no cash! I ask you, …...is
anyone really that desperate or stupid to resort to buying gasoline
with a priceless jewel?
There are a
lot of stand-up comedic jokes and one-liners thrown into every
storyline that have no resemblance to the story being unfolded.
care to note especially the number of jokes regarding natural
body functions should you be so foolish as to waste time
with this dud.
though I admire the many contributing dancers for their
dancing abilities, as a competent piece of literature to
entertain and make you laugh, or even to chuckle a bit,
“Belly Laughs” will simply give you indigestion.
I do not blame the dancers who shared their probably cute stories,
but the way each story was finally presented and embroidered
by Mr. Long’s heavy writer’s hand transformed each one in ways
that leave the reader wishing for a good dose of Pepto Bismal.
If you want
to find laughable stories involving dancers’ experiences, I would
recommend having a party, or a simple get-together with some
of your own favorite dancers and friends and spend a whole afternoon
over a cup of tea trading your own true, treasured dance memories.
more from Sadira-
9-26-01 "RETRO-TRIEVING" by
remember those days back in the '70s when ethnic stylizing was the
only "true" way to dance.
Latest addition to our North Beach Memories!
The Costumers Bookshelf, by Dawn Davina Devine
Indian Embroidery by Rosemary Crill, Davina's second in a series
of book reviews. This
book includes a chapter on textiles made specifically for export to
Europe and other parts of the globe.
of the Year Pageant, May 19th, 2001, by GS Staff
Are the dancers setting the trends, showcasing the trends, or simply trying
to appease the judges? This was one of the questions we pondered during Leah
Aziz's 28th Bellydance of the Year Pageant.