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Local Book Notes: Curing Suicide, Weight Loss, Freedom

"Nearly a decade after TV pitchman Kevin Trudeau began hawking the controversial weight-loss book that ultimately landed him in prison, a federal judge tentatively approved a plan Tuesday to send refund checks to hundreds of thousands of people who bought into Trudeau's false promises of shedding pounds while eating steak and ice cream," the Tribune reports.

Did the judge also order remedial education for those who bought the book? You almost want them to be punished, too.

*

"The plan greenlighted by U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman calls for the Federal Trade Commission to send several rounds of checks to purchasers of the hit book, The Weight Loss Cure 'They' Don't Want You to Know About, using an address list turned over after the government sued Trudeau for lying about the contents of the book in his infomercials.

"More than 800,000 people bought the book that the smooth-talking Trudeau claimed was filled with 'easy' weight-loss techniques when it actually called for prescription injections of a hormone found only in pregnant women, a month of colon hydrotherapy and a 500-calorie-per-day diet."

Heh.

*

"In a recent report detailing Trudeau's finances, the receiver said Trudeau hid tens of millions in an elaborate 'asset protection plan' that diverted funds overseas to banks in Switzerland and the Caribbean as well as various business entities and shell companies controlled by his wife and personal attorney, Marc Lane.

"In all, Trudeau's vast business empire collected more than a half a billion dollars in revenue from 1999 to 2013, and at least $30 million remains unaccounted for, according to the receiver's report.

"On Tuesday, Gettleman said the report was further evidence that Trudeau lied under oath when he repeatedly told the court in 2013 he was penniless, even though he continued to lead a lavish lifestyle that included jetting around the world and enjoying fancy dinners, luxury homes and expensive cigars. The judge said that if Trudeau thinks there will be a 'pot of gold' waiting for him when he's released from prison, he should reconsider.

"'He told me he was broke when he had hundreds of millions of dollars going through his hands,' Gettleman said. 'When he gets out, we're going to be going right back into this.'"

Heh.

*

They didn't call Trudeau the infomercial king for nothing. He was good. Real good.

Suicide Dreaming
"The young U.S. writer Jesse Ball is enjoying a rise to popularity as the creator of dystopian novels written with an experimental edge. His latest is called A Cure for Suicide," the ABC reports.

Yada yada yada.

"As well as writing fiction and poetry, he gives classes in lying and 'lucid dreaming' at the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

*

From the Paris Review:

I've read that you teach a course on lying. How does one do that?

"It's just a reappraisal of the general moral position that it's wrong to lie and it's right to tell the truth. That's reductive and silly, since everyone lies all the time. Malicious lying is usually a matter of need, but often the cruelest things we say are the truth. My class goes through different ways of lying, and at the end, it's not like students come out of it as expert liars. What they get from the class is that they can write more precisely without having this very weak idea about the morality of truth and lies - to not parody some idea that is very popular."

Eh. Not as interesting as I thought it'd be.

The Freedom Principle
"[T]he Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago [has] launched the exhibition The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now, co-organized by Naomi Beckwith and Dieter Roelstraete," Kristi McGuire writes on the University Of Chicago Press blog.

"An easy explication for the impetus behind the show takes the viewer to the South Side of Chicago in the 1960s, where African American artists and musicians grappled with new language and forms inspired by the black nationalist turn in the Civil Rights movement.

"I'm plucking that line from the jacket copy, but the show (and its associated book) goes beyond [its important] cultural inventory and instead repositions the wide-ranging experimental works and the community of artists who made them in one particular canon to which they have long-belonged: the history of avant-garde collectives engaged equally in art and social justice."

*

From the MCA's website:

"The exhibition, which takes its title from a 1984 book by Chicago jazz critic John Litweiler, showcases the multifaceted world of the black avant-garde in Chicago during the 1960s alongside a selection of contemporary artists' interpretations of this heritage.

"It includes works of music and art from, among others, AACM-founder, pianist, and painter Muhal Richard Abrams; Art Ensemble of Chicago bandleader Roscoe Mitchell; and AfriCOBRA cofounders Jeff Donaldson, Jae and Wadsworth Jarrell, Barbara Jones-Hogu, and Gerald Williams.

"Archival materials - brochures, banners, photographs, posters, sheet music, record covers- provide a rich context for the exhibition. Recent works by artists such as Terry Adkins, Nick Cave, Renee Green, Rashid Johnson, Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Cauleen Smith, and Stan Douglas present an ongoing intergenerational conversation about experimentation, improvisation, collective action, and the search for freedom.

"Working together across multiple platforms, Catherine Sullivan, George Lewis, Charles Gaines, and Sean Griffin are collaborating on an opera, to be presented on the MCA Stage, and on a related installation within the exhibition.

"A listening station and an online microsite accompany the exhibition, as does a fully illustrated catalogue that includes essays by exhibition curators Naomi Beckwith and Dieter Roelstraete, as well as by leading musicians, composers, artists, and scholars."

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Comments welcome.



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Posted on July 22, 2015


MUSIC - The Weekend In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Corporate Spies Like Us.
SPORTS - Why Was This Game Even Scheduled?

BOOKS - Postdictatorship Argentina.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Public Lands Matter.


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