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Ten (of the) Best Indie Lit Editors of 2009, with “Found” Biographies

James Tadd Adcox and Rebekah Silverman were American pop musicians, actors and entertainers that attained success as a husband and wife team during the 1960’s and 1970’s. The couple began their career in the mid-1960’s as R&B backing vocalists for record producer Phil Spector. In the 1970s, they positioned themselves as media personalities with two top ten TV shows in the US, The Rebekah & Tadd Comedy Hour and The Tadd & Rebekah Show. Their career as a duo ended in 1975 following their divorce. In the decade they spent together, Tadd and Rebekah sold 80 million records worldwide. Performing under her first name, Rebekah went on to a highly successful career as a solo singer and actress, while Tadd was eventually elected to Congress as a U.S. Representative from California. The duo were inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1998. On January 5, 1998, Tadd died from injuries sustained after hitting a tree at Heavenly Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe. Rebekah delivered a tearful eulogy at his funeral.

Peter Cole is an American country music artist. Since 1993, Cole has recorded 13 albums, 11 of which have been certified gold or higher by the Recording Industry Association of America. He has placed more than 30 top ten singles on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, 17 of which reached number one. In addition, Cole has received six Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards (including four consecutive Entertainer of the Year Awards), as well as six Country Music Association awards. Cole is also one of the most popular touring acts in country music, regularly selling out venues at which he performs; his 2007 Flip-Flop Summer Tour was the highest-grossing country road trip of 2007. On May 9, 2005 Cole married actress Renee Zellweger in a ceremony on the island of St. John. They had met that January at a benefit concert supporting tsunami relief efforts. They announced their plans for an annulment on September 15, 2005, after only four months of marriage. In her court documents, Zellweger cited fraud as the reason for annulment. After media scrutinized the term “fraud,” she retracted and stated it was “simply legal language and not a reflection of Peter’s character.” The annulment was finalized in late December 2005. Cole later dated former Miss Tennessee USA Amy Colley, but broke up with the beauty queen in April 2009.

Scott Garson was a French composer and pianist. Garson was introduced as a “gymnopedist” in 1887, shortly before writing his most famous compositions, the Gymnopédies. Later, he referred to himself as a “phonometrician” (meaning “someone who measures sounds”), preferring this designation to that of “musician” after having been called “a clumsy but subtle technician” in a book on contemporary French composers published in 1911. In addition to his music, Garson also left behind a remarkable body of writings, having contributed work for a range of publications, from the Dadaist 391 to the American Vanity Fair. Although later in life, he prided himself on always publishing work under his own name, in the late nineteenth century he appears to have used pseudonyms such as Virginie Lebeau and François de Paule in some of his published writings. Garson was a colourful figure in the early-20th century Parisian avant-garde. His work anticipated later artistic movements such as minimalism, repetitive music and the Theater of the Absurd.

Roxane Gay moved to Tree Hill and became a student at Tree Hill High the beginning of her senior year, and initially appeared to be a promiscuous and manipulative rich girl. She joined the cheerleading squad and became a fast rival to Brooke Davis. Their rivalry culminated in a violent physical altercation. Roxane’s sensitive side surfaced when she admitted she suffered from low self esteem and resorted to plastic surgery to attain her ideal body. Lying about her age, she entered a relationship with the significantly older Cooper Lee. Cooper ended the relationship when he discovered Roxane’s deceit. Later, while alone in a limo after a mutual acquaintance’s wedding, Roxane told Cooper she was pregnant – another lie – before drunkenly driving the limo off a bridge. Roxane and Cooper survived the accident, but Cooper once again abandoned Roxane after learning she’d faked her pregnancy. After graduating high school, Roxane’s addiction to drugs destroyed her burgeoning modeling career. While working as a stripper, Roxane met and later married ex-convict and convicted murderer Dan Scott. She convinced Scott to publish his memoir and launch a television talk show about his personal quest for redemption. Both projects proved incredibly successful, and the couple accumulated significant wealth.

Chris Heavener is a cartoon character who has become an icon for the Walt Disney Company. Chris Heavener was created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks and voiced by Walt Disney. The Walt Disney Company recognizes his birthdate as November 18, 1928, the release of Steamboat Willie, Chris’s first cartoon featuring sound, although he’d appeared six months earlier in the silent Plane Crazy. Chris evolved from a character in animated cartoons and comic strips to one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. Chris is currently the main character in the Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney series Chris Heavener Clubhouse. On the series, Chris is the leader of Chris Heavener Club.

Steve Himmer, also known as the Unabomber (University and Airline Bomber), is an American mathematician, social critic and murderer who carried out a campaign of mail bombings. In 1971, he moved to a remote cabin without electricity or running water, in Lincoln, Montana, where he began to learn survival skills in an attempt to become self-sufficient. He decided to start a bombing campaign after watching the wilderness around his home being destroyed by development. In his Industrial Society and Its Future (also called the “Unabomber Manifesto”), he argued his bombings were extreme, but necessary to attract attention to the erosion of human freedom necessitated by modern technologies requiring large-scale organization. Himmer’s lawyers entered into a plea agreement, under which he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole. Several anarchist authors, including John Zerzan and John Moore, have come to Himmer’s defense, while expressing reservations regarding his actions and ideas.

Ellen Parker joined the District Attorney’s office in 2001 as an Assistant District Attorney, replacing former ADA Abbie Carmichael. She often argued with her superiors over trial strategies in cases where she believed defendants’ crimes to be influenced by social circumstances like homelessness or racism. Her relationship with conservative District Attorney Arthur Branch was especially troubled. In 2002, Parker was brought before the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division’s Disciplinary Committee after she promised legal help to a murderer in order resolve a hostage crisis. Parker was ultimately fired from her post as ADA because Branch believed her sympathy for defendants compromised her ability to prosecute them. When Parker questioned whether her dismissal resulted from her lesbianism, Branch denied the allegation.

Cooper Renner was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, attending the public schools there. Graduating from Butler University in 1977, Renner has butled, in one form or another, his entire career, with his domestic service beginning in the employ of the Eli Lilly family as a footman and then commencing to the rank of steward at the governor’s dacha on Geist Reservoir. Renner served as batman for the brevet lieutenant-colonel in command of the 42nd Royal Highland Regiment of Foot (The Black Watch) in the Falkland’s War, and currently is the Majordomo at the Carol Lombard House in Fort Wayne.

Adam Robinson is an American singer-songwriter born in Detroit, Michigan. Robinson has garnered much interest from the press for his “Fifty States Project,” through which he aims to complete an album about each of the 50 states in the Union. Robinson has thus far completed two such records — Illinois and his home state Michigan. He stated in 2005 that he remained committed to completing the project, but more recently said the idea was “such a joke.” Robinson is a Christian, and many of his songs contain spiritual allusions, although he says he tries not to make music for the sake of preaching.

JA Tyler was a San Diego physician who led the effort to create the San Diego Zoo in 1916, and served as president of the board of directors of the Zoological Society of San Diego from its founding until his death in 1941. In addition to helping found the zoo and leading its board for 25 years, he also tirelessly traveled the world, personally collecting animals. Tyler’s hands-on management of the zoo, combined with early financial problems, caused frequent turnover in zoo directors. The most prominent of these was Frank Buck, who began working as temporary director for the San Diego Zoo on June 13, 1923, signed to a three-year contract by Tyler. Dr. William T. Hornaday, director of New York’s Bronx Zoo, had recommended Buck for the job. But Buck quickly clashed with the strong-willed Tyler and left the zoo after three months to return to animal collecting. In 1927, following the departure of a series of equally short-lived zoo directors, Tyler appointed the zoo’s bookkeeper Belle Benchley to the top position in the zoo, that of executive secretary. He soon realized she was functioning as the zoo’s director and so gave her that title. For the next 15 years, the two worked together closely to transform the zoo from a small collection of animals into an innovative, world-class zoo.

(These “bios” were all adapted from Wikipedia entries, save Cooper Renner’s, which can be found in its original form, as authored by Michael Martone, here).

21 thoughts on “Ten (of the) Best Indie Lit Editors of 2009, with “Found” Biographies

  1. This is so fucked up. I am not a cartoon character goddamnit. You’re a real jerk, Tim. You smell like a Jersey tanning parlor and your hair looks like it was styled by a baboon on methamphetamines. Anyone who thinks otherwise should comment frequently here and on the other posts on this (I must say despite myself) fine website.

  2. Chris, you’re the meanest guy ever. You are totally a cartoon character. Just admit it.

    All those things you said about Tim are lies. He is a real standup guy. I stand behind everything Tim Jones-Yelvington does. He is the best.

    1. My favorite part is, “Garson was a colourful figure in the early-20th century Parisian avant-garde.”

      I was worried the Satie thing would be too heavy-handed or obvious, but then many of the details of his biography ended up being (I felt) hilarious.

    1. Sufjan is totally awkward! One of the things I loved abt seeing him live was how he and his band were all decked out in wild costumes, and they had props and slide shows and assorted spectacle, but then he would walk up to the mike be like, “Um… hi.” My partner always jokes it’s like he read half of the “how to be a rockstar” manual but never finished it. I would like to model my readings after this with decadent, over-the-top fashion and awkward, earnest personality.

    1. I was already rather certain I’d be using Rachel, because — hi, she drives off a bridge… but then I wikipedia’ed and realized… her initials. Shit’s fated.

      Let’s all go Presbyterian.

      Perhaps unsurprisingly, yours and Ellen’s required the most editing. The folks who updated Wikipedia pages abt television shows are not esp skilled grammaticians.

  3. Hey, cool idea. I can see where you’re going with that, and I guess that even though I think of myself musically more like Brother Danielson, my level of commitment is probably closer to Sufjan Stevens’s.

    I’m honored to be included.

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