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Dr. Judith Schlesinger

Author of "The Insanity Hoax: Exposing the myth of the mad genius," now in its updated second edition,Dr. J combines her love of jazz and her fascination with psychology, focusing on where they overlap: in celebrating the individual spirit.

About Me

The most exciting recent news: finally published the second edition of “The Insanity Hoax: Exposing the Myth of the Mad Genius.” It's available in both paper and e- at lulu.com (no amazon). More info at www.theinsanityhoax.com.

This 2020 update, with a new foreward by creativity guru Eric Maisel, details all the happy progress made since the 2012t edition. A rare breed of serious scholarship and humor, “Hoax” dismantles the toxic notion that great creativity must be linked to some kind of mental disorder. This myth began with a basic misunderstanding of Plato and stumbled through the centuries to today, where there's a vague public notion that it's been “scientifically” proven. Hogwash!

Despite being self-published, with no academic affiliation, agent, mainstream PR machine, or any social media whatsoever (still!), HOAX has made some impressive global waves. Ripples include being invited to the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam as part of a group of 30 international experts who discussed and voted on whether Vincent was truly “crazy” or not (spoiler alert: no, he wasn't).

Another honor was being asked to contribute a chapter to the definitive textbook on creativity and madness from Cambridge U Press, submitting ”Building on Sand: The Cautionary Chapter” which resulted in the editors agreeing that “the myth has been seriously oversold.” HOAX itself has been a textbook at both Temple University and the Royal College of Music, in London.

There is a free pdf download of my much-quoted 2009 journal article on the subject, “Creative Mythconceptions” at www.theinsanityhoax.com.

Another recent activity was creating and hosting “Dr. J's Jazz Emporium,” an hour-long jazz show on local public radio featuring jazz luminaries and their music. Continuing biweekly until the station imploded, there were 43 relaxed, in-depth interviews with Gene Bertoncini, Chris Brubeck, David Finck, Bill Mays, Jay Leonhart, Paulinho Garcia, Kim Nazarian, John Clayton, Peter Eldridge, Taylor Eigsti, Lorraine Feather, Lynn Seaton, Marlena Shaw, uber-publicist Ann Braithwaite, Jackie Ryan; Heleen van den Hombergh (calling from Amsterdam) Paul Meyers; Neil Tesser, uber-critic and author of “The Playboy Guide to Jazz”; David Budway and Ken Needleman (who run Maureen's Jazz Cellar and the Jazzmasters series at Sarah's Wine Bar, respectively); Sean Smith both solo and representing The Humanity Quartet (composed of Smith, Joel Frahm, Peter Bernstein and Leon Parker); Ted Rosenthal, Eliane Elias, Wycliffe Gordon, Lukas Rande (calling from Copenhagen), Martin Wind, Darmon Meader, Leslie Pintchik, Terell Stafford, Susan Pereira, Todd Strait, and Mike Metheny.

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My Jazz Story

I love jazz because when it's done right, there is no music more personal, joyful and engaging. I was first exposed to jazz by Stan Getz and Joao Gilberto in 1963-4.

My House Concert Story

Hosted two house concerts with Gene Bertoncini playing solo. My house is small, and far from so-called "civilization," so the guest lists only had about 14 people each. But they were chosen well: they were mesmerized by his playing, and enjoyed his jokes (!) and warm, relaxed personality. It was catered by the local Italian deli. Not a pretentious afternoon; very family-like.

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