Wednesday, August 8, 2012

American Girl by Roxanne Fontana

( (Guest Review by Marcia Wertheimer)

I opened up Roxanne Fontana’s book American Girl expecting the usual R&R Odyssey we’ve all read and heard before, most of which are primarily fluff.  Not here however!  You open this book and you’ve entered Roxanne Fontana-land.
This is not the usual fare. This is not the same old story told once more with different names and faces.  Roxanne is unique and this becomes more and more evident as you read on.  She is different than your run of the mill average talent seeking recognition and a career because she is an above average talentRoxanne’s music is the key to this book and you can hear it resonating through the stories and the pages.  Artists like Roxanne are rare to come by. Stories like Roxanne’s are beyond rare. This book is an extension of Roxanne in her truest form. You will not be able to put it down.  
Rock n’ Roll is not romantic. It is in truth, the breeding ground for werewolves and vampires, since long before those possessed souls took their angst public and became fashionable to 14 year olds.  And that is about the age that Roxanne Fontana got bitten….and that’s where the bloodlust begins.  But fast forward through all the clichés and “trips”….and decades…. We’ve heard them many times before. Each individual one with its own spin and spice all getting twirled together like a stick full of cotton candy, large and colorful and yet ultimately all the same end product emerges in the fluff.
Now, come through that fluff to the other side, and you’ve entered this Roxanne Fontana-land, a kind of danger filled twilight zone where stories and anecdotes; world travels (alone no less), friends and enemies made in strange locations, and so on are incidental, interesting or not, they come and go and they aren’t what Roxanne’s book is about at all. Nor is it about her Tom Petty days, CBGB club dates, or her pot dealing right outta “weeds”, her wander in or across Eastern Europe so strange and totally alone.  The cat she paid her only money to cure, says a lot.  Travel down the path of Roxanne’s adventures and travel down a path you’ve never traveled before …. you’ll catch a fleeting glimpse here and another there of this brave – and I mean extremely brave young girl, who by the way also wound up in the Los Angeles Music scene, after a big success in the New York Music Scene.  
Imagine an undiscovered, or worse, an underappreciated artist operating on the level of an Amy Winehouse, or a Bob Dylan, or Mick Jagger, or Leonard Cohen.  And imagine those people having never, for reasons of fate, or Karma, etc., got their “break”, or their deserved feedback for their level of Vision and Talent!  Imagine Mick Jagger today as a frustrated, retired gym teacher; or Dylan, as an accountant somewhere in hell in the upper Midwest with Blonde on Blonde and Highway 61 songs on obscure and unheard cassettes in a file cabinet.  Imagine Amy Winehouse still alive, yet in another kind of oblivion and working on one part time job after another while melodies explode through her soul all day, every day, year in and year out.  That’s really what Roxanne’s story is about. Not her adventures but about her Soul!  Roxanne Fontana is no “wanna be”. She IS Dylan or Jagger or Winehouse, without the fame. 
But behind the stories and the journey as interesting as they are, they are the transitory, passing events. But they aren’t what “American Girl” is all about.  Nor is American Girl about Roxanne’s encounters with various celebrities such as Tom Petty to name but one; it’s not a name dropping book at all.  What it’s about is Roxanne’s Creative Force and its effects on her life in every way. From that force came the power to travel the world alone in search of the elusive butterfly.  The intense need to communicate the visions the force generates.  Most performers are driven by needs based on ego and self worth issues and are not operating from that level of Creative Energy that Roxanne operates from, if any at all.  What this book is about is the Creative Force that resides within high level artists and how when that force is not carefully attended to by both the artist and many outside forces, turmoil brews and over time can consume it’s host or try to!  That is what the cliché term “suffering artist” is all about.  What appears to be vanity and self absorption is a total misconception seen by ignorant observers. What you’re really seeing is the effect of the Creative Force’s intense need to communicate the visions that are constantly overflowing and Roxanne’s forces are strong.  Most R&R people however are not operating from that level of Creative Energy, if any. Roxanne is!  True Artists and Creatives are truly rare and when they see the fame and adulation given to those mere imitators and posers, they grow bitter and more creative.  Roxanne is true and trying to navigate her way through a world of pure bullshit and endless jive.  Roxanne has enough power in her talent to have made a mark.  A real and impactful one, “if only” the fates had thrown her a bone, rather than turning every break and opportunity that entered her life, into a series of let downs in varying degrees.  I could go on about all the incidents in Roxanne Fontana’s American Girl book, and they will hold you and entertain. But to me they are secondary to the soul experiencing them.
Read between the lines. Say hello to her soul. And pass this along to everyone you know. And the next time you find yourself getting misty eyed over some fame hungry rock or pop idol worshipper of the various talent contest T.V. Shows, doing an imitation of someone else’s imitation, don’t grow jaded, keep in mind that there are true to their core real artists out there and go to your computer and see and hear what’s really out there.  And now and then, and here and there, you’ll stumble into one of the Great Ones and say “Wow - where’d she come from?!”
Roseanne became Roxanne because she is and has always been Roxanne Fontana!  A name that in and of itself sounds like a song.  So listen to it. It’s all there between the lines in this American Girl’s odyssey.  And get Roxanne Fontana’s music now and get her American Girl book. And pass the word.

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