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Video Slut: How I Shoved Madonna Off an…
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Video Slut: How I Shoved Madonna Off an Olympic High Dive, Got Prince into…

by Sharon Oreck

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This book took me much longer to read than it should have because I kept having to go to my computer and YouTube the videos described within. For a child of the 80's I was really less familiar with them than I should have been. It might have been helpful for Oreck to put up a website with links to her work to make tracking them down less complicated.
For the most part, chapters regarding Ms. Oreck's large-scale productions were interspersed with ones about her personal life prior to becoming a rock video producer. I actually found the personal stories far more heartfelt and entertaining than the ones about spoiled celebrities and their crises.
The writing is, well, highly profane. Not that that was surprising considering the title, but some readers might be put off by it. It also seemed that there was an excessive amount of hyperbole and subterfuge. I'm sure Oreck felt she needed to spice things up a bit, but I'd venture to guess that a straightforward account of her experiences would have been just as fascinating. That said, however, it was fascinating. I would have liked to read more of it, actually. ( )
  EmScape | Jan 4, 2012 |
If you've ever wondered who does the work behind the scenes on music videos, Sharon Oreck's book Video Slut opens a small window on the subject, from the formative days of videos. In the mid-1980s, Oreck set herself up as a producer and soon had the opportunity to make videos with Madonna, Sheila E., Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, Sting, Chris Isaak, and many others.

Of course, as in any behind-the-scenes look, people are the source of story. Personalities are constantly in conflict, money is always being mishandled, and chaos threatens anew every morning. Oreck's raw materials are the very stuff of comedy. This book, however, is funny only in passing.

Oreck writes with an acidic sense of humour, often couched in long hyperbolic lines overstuffed with descriptors (the subtitle gives readers a taste of this style). It's a device that works sparing but quickly becomes predictable. Her cynicism and cattiness about the musicians, the business, and the work make the book less compelling than it might have been, however. One might say her take is fresh, honest, and eye-opening; then again, the negativity with which Oreck reports says much about the author herself.

Then there is the other narrative, the chapters about Oreck's teenage pregnancy, which are not funny at all. These passages are generally bitter and hostile, and many of the descriptions of people and situations are tainted by race- and class-based generalizations. It's uncomfortable reading, and these chapters are only weakly integrated into the overall book.

Not quite a tell-all, somewhat less than a full-fledged memoir, Video Slut is an uneven, sometimes unattractive story of one woman's decade as a video producer. If you enjoy snark, you may like this book. If you're looking for a reflective analysis of women's roles in directing and producing popular culture, give this one a miss. ( )
  laVermeer | May 15, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0865479860, Paperback)

When video killed the radio star, Sharon Oreck was calling the shots.

Video Slut takes an irreverent look behind the scenes of the music-video industry during its eighties heyday. Oreck, one of the top producers of all time, bluffed her way into the business with no experience whatsoever and went on to produce more than six hundred video shoots with Madonna, Sting, Mick Jagger, Prince, and several members of the increasingly unstable Jackson family—not to mention a cadre of delinquent caterers, deranged interns, self-absorbed record executives, and malfeasant animal trainers.

Oreck also shares the at turns hilarious, biting, and poignant story of her origins as a single teen mother, disowned by her middle-class parents, and of her journey from welfare to kung fu movie sets to film school. She approaches her own delinquency and that of the superstars she encountered with humor and candor. The result is an acerbic but sympathetic account of the outrageous effects of fame, power, and money on people in the entertainment business. No one is spared, especially herself.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:36:41 -0400)

"Takes an irreverent look behind the scenes of th music video industry during its eighties heyday. Oreck, one of the top producers of all time, bluffed her way into the business with no experience whatsoever and went on to produce more than six hundred video shoots . . . . Also shares the at-turns hilarious, biting, and poignant story of her origins as a single teen mother disowned by her middle-class parents, and of her journey from welfare to kung fu movie sets to film school." -- cover, p. [4].… (more)

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