I Got Yer Christmas Shopping

Never mind your friends’ and relatives’ wish lists! I know what they want! I Know what they want! Trust me! This page of my  blog is the only catalog you’ll ever need for this year’s Holiday shopping!  (um, that is, for Trav S.D.-related items)


Still your only option for quality:  

 No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous

When Groucho Marx and Charlie Chaplin were born, variety entertainment had been going on for decades in America, and like Harry Houdini,Milton Berle, Mae West, and countless others, these performers got their start on the vaudeville stage. From 1881 to 1932, vaudeville was at the heart of show business in the States. Its stars were America’s first stars in the modern sense, and it utterly dominated American popular culture. Writer and modern-day vaudevillian Trav S.D. chronicles vaudeville’s far-reaching impact in No Applause–Just Throw Money. He explores the many ways in which vaudeville’s story is the story of show business in America and documents the rich history and cultural legacy of our country’s only purely indigenous theatrical form, including its influence on everything from USO shows to Ed Sullivan to The Muppet Show and The Gong Show. More than a quaint historical curiosity, vaudeville is thriving today, and Trav S.D. pulls back the curtain on the vibrant subculture that exists across the United States–a vast grassroots network of fire-eaters, human blockheads, burlesque performers, and bad comics intent on taking vaudeville into its second century.

But don’t take MY word for it!

“A book that sharpens the mind and stirs the heart…The writing is as snappy as these troupers and headliners deserve. And the scholarship is high-class.”

–Margo Jefferson, New York Times

“Describes with infectious relish such acts as a banjo-playing Shakespeare reciter, a one-legged tap dancer, a man who wrote backward, a comic lecturer on human anatomy, a drag trapeze artist, and The Vagges—World Famous Bag Punchers.”

–Briefly Noted, The New Yorker

“Exuberant…TravS.D. makes grand claims for vaudeville…His well-researched excursions into vaudeville’s prehistory, and his arguments for its influential role in American culture, make his book something more than a fast-moving tour of popular entertainment and long-forgotten stars…By turns shrewd and amusing.”

–William Grimes, New York Times

“Full of droll anecdotes, old-time showmanship and an intense love for a 100-year-old movement that the author claims never completely died…[TravS.D.’s] admiration for these performers is infectious, and he follows through with compelling analyses of how vaudeville continues to influence contemporary pop culture.”

–Raven Snook, Time Out New York

“Almost a vaudeville show unto itself…Open a single chapter of No Applause and you’ll get a great snapshot of the industry at that time…An ode to the tenacity, the freaks, the slapstick, and yes, the art form that was responsible for entertainment today as we know it.”

–Rachel Shindelman, Time Out Chicago

“Never dull, TravS.D. includes enlightening tidbits that put vaudeville’s history into context for a 21st century audience…an entertaining read.”

Vickey Kalambakal, Variety

“Traces vaudeville’s roots back to Dionysian rites, dropping fascinating bits along the way…[A] spirited tribute.”

–Tim Purtell, Entertainment Weekly

“Much has been written about the American institution of vaudeville, but readers would be hard-pressed to find an account as humorous and sharp as writer and performer Trav S.D.’s tasty chronicle…A well-researched, riotous book.”

–Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“Thorough and thoroughly entertaining…One of the year’s best historical performing arts texts; a wonderful story wonderfully told.”

–Barry X. Miller, Library Journal (starred review)

“Both performer and theatre historian, [TravS.D.] knows of what he speaks. His rich, well-researched history of American vaudeville from its roots in the 1880s onward is a rare enough feat made all the more startling by the wit, zest and fresh eyes [he] brings to the subject.”

–Jack Helbig, Booklist (starred review)

“An astonishing work of vaudeville itself”

Kirkus Reviews

“Trav S.D. is a man of many talents”

–Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post

No Applause, like many an old headliner, is a bit over the top. But its spirit is admirably defensive and quite possibly accurate: ‘Vaudeville is the life spirit itself, our very humanity. The day vaudeville flatlines is the day you can also write the epitaph of the human race.”

–Stefan Kanfer, Wall Street Journal

“Worthy of both the applause and the money,”

–Stuart Miller, New York Theatre News

“An affectionate, clear-eyed and comprehensive history of vaudeville…Brings style, sass and scholarship to bear on the boisterous world of variety.

–Kevin Riordan, Courier-Post

No Applause is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. 

I labored long and hard* (and happily) on the liner notes for this album, Van and Schenck: The Pennant-Winning Battery of Songland,  my second for Archeophone Records (the first was Nat M. Wills).Van and Schenck were BIG, man — they were right on top in the nineteen teens and twenties (their best pal was Eddie Cantor). Schenck died in 1930, and that was that. But their zany, catchy music had such a hold on the public, their fan club was operating as late as the 1960s. To order your copy today  (and read some excerpts from my liner notes), please go here.

* Special thanks to pal Gyda Arber, who helped with research!


Nat M. Wills the Famous Tramp Comedian. My first project for Archeophone Records: the liner notes to this swell CD of early cylinders of Nat M. Wills, one of America’s first stand up comedians and song parodists. Learn more about Nat and buy the CD here.

Ventriloquist: Two Plays Plus a Ventriloquial Miscellany: I was flattered to be asked to write the intro to this unique new book by L.A.-based playwright/ ventriloquist/ scholar Rick Mitchell. It’s really a unique tome – – sort of hits the ventriloquial art from every possible angle: plays, essays, history, “how-to”, etc etc etc. To get your copy go here right now: http://www.bookdepository.com/Ventriloquist-Two-Plays-Rick-Mitchell/9780983925590

imgresPlaybills to Photoplays: Stage Performers Who Pioneered the Talkies — I contributed an essay on some former vaudevillians who became leading men and character actors in Hollywood, in this terrific book by the New England Vintage Film Society. To order your copy go here. 


Plays and Playwrights 2006 I was privileged to write the forward to the 2006 edition of the New York Theatre Experience’s annual anthology of new plays by New York indie theatre artists. The plays in the book are great too, including works by Maggie Cino, Edward Musto, Kelly McAllister, Joseph Langham, et al! To get your copy go here. 

9780967023427_p0_v1_s260x420And, while you’re at it, the 2001 volume contains my play House of Trash, which premiered in 2000 at HERE Arts Center and was revived in the New York International Fringe Festival that year at Surf Reality, with a memorable later production by DM Theatrics at the Red Room in 2003. Versions have been done as far away as Minneapolis, and notable productions have featured Drea de Mateo (Desperate Housewives, The Sopranos, Joey) and Rev Jen Miller. This cool volume also includes plays by Julia Lee Barclay, Adrian Rodriguez, Gorilla Rep, et al) Get your copy here. 


And while you’re at it…Indie Theatre Now, a project of the New York Theatre Experience has electronic editions of several of my other plays on tap, including Willy Nilly, House of Trash, Kitsch, Columbia the Germ of the Ocean, and The Dorothy Building (and more to come soon). To order your copies (at an extremely low rate, go here)

book cover photo0001

Lastly if you’re a really LATE shopper don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.

Thank you for shopping, and Happy Holidays!



3 Responses to “I Got Yer Christmas Shopping”

  1. May one also recommend PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS 2001, which is available here http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/plays-and-playwrights-2001-martin-denton/1004592672?ean=9780967023427 and features a play by a playwright I esteem (as do so many) above all others; a playwright who pretty much leaves all competitors in the dust … a playwright named Trav S.D.


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