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George Plimpton needed no encouragement. If there was a sport to play, a party to throw, a celebrity to amaze, a fireworks display to ignite, Plimpton was front and center hurling the pitch, popping the corks, lighting the fuse. And then, of course, writing about it with incomparable zest and style. His books made him a legend. The Paris Review, the magazine he founded andGeorge Plimpton needed no encouragement. If there was a sport to play, a party to throw, a celebrity to amaze, a fireworks display to ignite, Plimpton was front and center hurling the pitch, popping the corks, lighting the fuse. And then, of course, writing about it with incomparable zest and style. His books made him a legend. The Paris Review, the magazine he founded and edited, won him a throne in literary heaven. Somehow, in the midst of his self-generated cyclones, Plimpton managed to toss off dazzling essays, profiles, and New Yorker “Talk of the Town” pieces. This delightful volume collects the very best of Plimpton’s inspired brief “excursions.”Whether he was escorting Hunter Thompson to the Fear and Loathing movie premiere in New York or tracking down the California man who launched himself into the upper atmosphere with nothing but a lawn chair and a bunch of weather balloons, Plimpton had a rare knack for finding stories where no one else thought to look. Who but Plimpton would turn up in Las Vegas, notebook in hand, for the annual porn movie awards gala?Among the many gems collected here are accounts of helping Jackie Kennedy plan an unforgettable children’s birthday party, the time he improvised his way through amateur night at Harlem’s famed Apollo Theater, and how he managed to get himself kicked out of Exeter just weeks before graduation.The grand master of what he called “participatory journalism,” George Plimpton followed his bent and his genius down the most unbelievable rabbit holes–but he always came up smiling. This exemplary, utterly captivating volume is a fitting tribute to one of the great literary lives of our time....

Title : The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair: And Other Excursions and Observations
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781400063420
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 184 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair: And Other Excursions and Observations Reviews

  • David Ward
    2019-04-25 18:21

    The Man in the Flying Lawn Chair and Other Excursions and Observations by George Plimpton (Random House 2004) (814) is a series of essays on lifestyles and occupations that Plimpton finds odd or worthy of further debate and investigation. He is not often wrong here.The centerpiece here is the title story, "The Man In the Flying Lawnchair." It recounts the tale of one Larry Walters, an undistinguished former army cook and Vietnam veteran, who finally followed his dream on July 2, 1982 in Los Angeles: he tied thirty-seven weather balloons filled with helium to a Sears-Roebuck lawn chair; he sat back in his chair and let go the tether. He wore a parachute in case he fell; he took a life preserver in case he floated out over the ocean; he tied on plastic water bottles for ballast; and he took a BB gun to pop the balloons when he was ready to descend.He floated to a height of 16,500 feet over Los Angeles. He was spotted by a TWA pilot taking off from LAX; the pilot reportedly radioed to air traffic controllers, "This is TWA 231, level at sixteen thousand feet. We have a man in a chair attached to balloons in our ten o'clock position, range five miles." Walters survived the trip and was later fined by the FAA for "flying an un-airworthy airworthy machine." Another essay in the group concerns commercial pornography and the star performers it has created. Entitled "In the Playpen of the Damned," it in part pays homage to a male actor known in the industry as "T.T. Boy:" "A male star named "T.T. Boy"....is a legend in the business [actor in commercial porn films]. T.T. Boy does not look at all glamorous - he's a small, tough-guy, assistant mobster type; sometimes he chews gum during his lovemaking scenes. He pounds his partners. Once memorably described as 'nothing more than a life-support system for his penis,' he got the kind of admiring, solid applause reserved for a large artillery piece going by in a parade." (pp. 163-64). Several other essays are included in this humorous little volume. My rating: 7.5/10, finished 3/13/14.

  • Robert Isenberg
    2019-03-26 14:32

    George Plimpton was my kind of essayist -- witty, energetic, and lived life in three dynamic dimensions. His "participatory journalism," now a hopeless cliche, was a fun novelty when it first debuted.In his final years, though, you can tell that Plimpton loved to self-congratulate and name-drop. Modest in tone, Plimpton is still the kind of conversation-dominating braggart that everybody feels obliged to applaud. He started behaving like an old man: Let me tell you about the time that... Kurt Vonnegut and I... Jackie Kennedy once told me... the Playboy Mansion is ultimately disappointing...Plimpton's weirdest habit was his libido -- unfettered by age or circumstance. He is constantly assessing women by their appearances, but he uses vague words like "a pretty girl" or "an attractive woman," never naming a single physical attribute, and assigning even fewer adjectives to their personalities. I recall a profile of Natalie Portman that Plimpton wrote for "Black Book" magazine, which sounded like the diary of a pedo-stalker.In the end, TMITFLC is a brisk and enjoyable read, but Plimpton's era has clearly passed. Today, modesty is passe but arrogance is a little more honest.

  • John Orman
    2019-04-21 17:48

    Here are documented many of Plimptons excursions into the wacky world of sports and show biz. And some commoners who fly off in lawn chairs lifted by weather balloons!"Participatory journalism" is what Plimpton does, and does well. How could he have "improvised" his way through an amateur night performance at the Apollo? It's here, as well as an essay on his visit to Las Vegas to report on the annual porn movie awards show and celebration parties!Quite an interesting essay on George's time as a Playboy photographer, though he did not fare well at that, nor during his time at the U.S. Olympic Training grounds to see if he was suited for any Olympic sports.An entertaining read about a very interesting and adventurous guy!

  • John
    2019-04-18 13:34

    The title story is a real gem of human ingenuity. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to tie large helium balloons to your lawn chair, with, naturally, water bottles for ballast, so you could soar over LA towards the San Gabriel Mts, at say, 9,000 ft. Of course you have. Well, one man did this, after years of obsessing about it. It's of story of will, stubbornness, vision, and luck. Even thoguh I love this particular title story, the others in this collection of Plimptonian escapades don't age so well. Plimpton, in all his daring, never managed a feat like lawn chair soaring.

  • Molly
    2019-04-06 17:30

    So fabulous. Wish I'd known more about Plimpton when he was alive - it was his death that brought him onto my radar screen. There are some terrifically funny moments in this book, with tales that you'll re-tell to your friends because they're so outrageous. I've foisted this book upon more than a few people...and then had trouble getting it back!

  • IGR
    2019-04-23 13:26

    This made me want to read other George Plimpton, largely because it was fairly disappointing. It read like an old guy telling cool stories about his life, and I realized as I read it that I was more interested in reading about these events as they happened - i.e. the way they appear in his older works.Also, he's a little namedroppy.

  • Kamili
    2019-04-22 18:36

    Some of the stories aren't that funny. But the flying lawn chair man is kind of poetic.

  • Eric
    2019-04-26 20:49

    Sublime. Plimpton's wordsmanship is next to none, his storytelling enthrall ing, and his eye for what story or detail merits inclusion a thing of true wonder. Great read, highly recommend.

  • Linda
    2019-04-24 19:22

    Favorites = "I Played the Apollo" and "My Last Cobra"

  • Tayla
    2019-04-08 18:47

    I love George Plimpton. I even named my first dog after him. This is a wonderful collection of some of his essays. All enjoyable and all worth sitting down and spending some time with.

  • Tom
    2019-04-21 18:27

    Entertaining...requires little thought to get through it.

  • David Glenn Dixon
    2019-04-26 21:31

    Title essay (incidentally, not about Plimpton) gets five stars, but everything else gets two.

  • Tracy
    2019-04-11 14:44

    Can I use the word delightful without sounding like I'm 90 years old? If so, I found this book delightful.