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In Heaven Everything Is Fine: The Unsolved…
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In Heaven Everything Is Fine: The Unsolved Life of Peter Ivers and the…

by Josh Frank

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I had never heard of Peter Ivers before this book, which means I also had not heard of New Wave Theatre. He was a man who needed a book to help people like me know who he was and why he was so important and influential, even though his name is not remembered to the degree that his influence should dictate. The book as a whole is a look at how the Ivy League drama departments and National Lampoon magazine spawned Saturday Night Live, a whole bunch of hilarious 70s films like Caddyshack, and how Peter Ivers was a member of all those specific tribes as well as being a pioneer who introduced punk and new wave music to America on an early cable station.

Peter Ivers was one of those people who was perpetually ahead of the curve, able to know instinctively what was going to be the next big thing. Educated at Harvard, Ivers was primarily a musician and a song writer but his influence spilled over into much of the entertainment industry. Yet despite having his finger on many pulses, he never really achieved the level of fame his talent and perspicacity deserved. Worse, he was murdered right when it looked like he was about to become as famous as the people in his circles, like Harold Ramis, John Belushi, and Chevy Chase. His is a very sad story in so many ways, but at the same time the overwhelming sadness wasn’t apparent to me until I began to write this discussion because this book really is such an engaging, rollicking read that the sheer entertainment value of the book blunted the injustice of Ivers’ murder. That’s not a flaw, either, because eventually the reality of the waste of life hits you, but it’s also a testament to the interesting nature of Ivers’ life and the interesting nature of those around him that this is not a wholly sad book.

It’s actually maddening to realize what an interesting person Ivers was and know that he slipped under my radar for all these years, and the reason he was not even a blip on the mainstream radar is because he was indeed so far ahead of the curve that the public didn’t appreciate his efforts until the moment was gone. Muddy Waters once said that Ivers, who never missed a chance to jump up on stage and jam with blues men of great renown, was the best blues harmonica player alive, but Ivers’ band’s new wave album was released and received with little fanfare. However, David Lynch heard Ivers’ album and decided that Ivers’ sound was just what he needed for his bizarre film school effort, Eraserhead.

You can read my entire discussion on Odd Things Considered: http://www.oddthingsconsidered.com/in-heaven-everything-is-fine-by-josh-frank-wi... ( )
  oddbooks | Aug 24, 2015 |
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On March 3, 1983, Peter Ivers was found murdered in his loft, ending a short-lived but essential pop cultural moment. For the previous two years, Ivers had hosted the underground LA-based music and sketch-comedy cable show New Wave Theatre, which brought together comedians-turned-Hollywood players like John Belushi, Chevy Chase, and Harold Ramis with West Coast punk rockers Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, Fear, and others--transforming music and comedy forever. The show was a jubilant, chaotic cabaret, and Ivers was its charismatic leader and muse. He was, in fact, the only person with the vision, the generosity of spirit, and the myriad of talented friends to bring together these two very different but equally influential worlds, and with his death the improbable and electric union came to an end. This is the first book to explore both that fertile, gritty scene and the life and death of its guiding spirit.--From publisher description.… (more)

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