This week’s Monday Magazine features a 52-word story called The Celebrity, a section on the moon, an Arts Section, a Book Review, and a few of Bumba’s songs and artwork.

The Celebrity

The iced coffee at the Starbucks revived him. He was safe. He could catch his breath. The paparazzi had lost his trail.

“Funny,” thought the celebrity. No one recognized him. He sat among the people, who were apparently indifferent to his presence. Without the paparazzi and his usual entourage he looked anyone else. The celebrity had thought that he was special. “Maybe I’m just like everyone else after all,” he said to himself. “This is much better'” he considered, as he sipped his iced coffee.

Moon Stuff

Moon Eclipse and Moon Tides. Click to hear Moon Tides, one of Baum’s original songs, which is on his Up in the Bronx and Down in LA CD.

And a bit of the recent Lunar Eclipse

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Arts Section

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The literary world is a-buzz images-2 with the prospect of listening to a new companion CD to the second of Bumba”s (Stephen Baum’s) novels. Following the response – or lack thereof – to his first novel/music pairing (the novel Up in the Bronx and the CD Up in the Bronx and Down in L.A.), it is curious to this reporter, and frankly concerning, that Baum is currently at work on yet another musical companion piece to accompany his second novel One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles.

“I can’t help it,” explains the author. “I guess I’m just a musical kind of guy. I can’t help it. It seems nearly all the One Life and The Phantom Speaks characters, use musical terminology, and make all kinds of weird references to country music. They can’t help it.”

It appears that the author really “just can’t help” himself for verily, throughout the One Life/The Phantom Speaks saga, one finds innumerable references to jazz and country blues favorites. But why Baum should go to all the trouble to record his own home-made versions of these admittedly very nice songs is beyond this reporter’s limited grasp. Simply put: Why would anyone go to all that trouble?

“Well,” responds Baum, “I thought that the multi-media concept was not only original, but exceedingly cool. I’m even planning on embedding some of these songs into the text of an ebook – if that can ever be done. Meantime, I’ll make the CD, and the reader can simply listen to the CD whenever she or he chooses, and thus augment and extend his or her reading experience. I believe this is a musical and a literary first.”

Although this reviewer must admit that this is indeed the first time he has ever heard of a literary novel coupled with a musical soundtrack of songs performed by the author himself, all the same it seems a bit of a waste of time. In this reporter’s considered judgment, there must be a good reason why no one ever did this before.

However, Baum appears undeterred by the naysayers. His list of songs include Hank Williams’ Half As Much, Leadbelly’s Irene Goodnight, Randy Travis’ On the Other Hand, and Hoagy Carmichael’s Georgia and Up a Lazy River, among others. There is one original Baum composition on the CD, called Lonely Times, which truly does belong to the One Life narrative. Click to hear. (Baum is still working on it).

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Book Reviews

CD or no CD, One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles and The Phantom Speaks have received several very positive reviews.

See S. Johnson’s reviews of both books. In case you didn’t know SteJ’s wordpress site is a gem!

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