From Mel Brooks to Beyoncé | Arts Previews, January 2019

Anolik, Lili. Hollywood’s Eve: Eve Babitz and the Secret History of L.A. Scribner. Jan. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9781501125799. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781501125812. BIOGRAPHY/PERFORMING ARTS West Coast groupie, celebrity seducer, album cover designer (e.g., Buffalo Springfield), author of eye-poking autobiographical fiction, and famous for a 1963 photograph in which she sits naked playing chess with Marcel Duchamp, Eve Babitz exemplified the heady spirit of Sixties and Seventies America, particularly dream-machine Hollywood. From a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. Chambers, Veronica. Queen Bey: A Celebration of the Power and Creativity of Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. St. Martin’s. Jan. 2019. 240p. ISBN 9781250200525. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250200532. BIOGRAPHY/PERFORMING ARTS Author of the much-cheered memoir Mama’s Girl and editor of the best-selling The Meaning of Michelle, veteran journalist Chambers limns the performer who has won 22 Grammys and is the most nominated woman in the award’s history. Not a lot of images, so not scrapbook-like but meant as a study. Kweli, Talib. Vibrate Higher: A Rap Story. Sean McDonald: Farrar. Jan. 2019. 288p. ISBN 9780374283407. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780374717346. MEMOIR/MUSIC Celebrated hip hop artist Kweli has worked both independently and with folks like Mos Def, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and Kendrick Lamar and in 2011 founded the music-film-and-books juggernaut Javotti Media. Here he delivers not just a memoir but the story of hip-hop as a political force. Big-deal publicity. McGilligan, Patrick. Funny Man: Mel Brooks. Harper. Jan. 2019. 832p. ISBN 9780062560995. $40; ebk. ISBN 9780062560964. BIOGRAPHY/FILM Having assayed Alfred Hitchcock, George Cukor, and a host of others in the film industry, McGilligan gives us the hard knocks–to–international celebrity life of Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy award–winning funny man Mel Brooks. It all started with making his family laugh. Blaze away, Mel! Port, Ian S. The Birth of Loud: Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock ’n’ Roll. Scribner. Jan. 2019. 320p. ISBN 9781501141652. $28. MUSIC You’ll know music critic Port from his award-winning work for venues like Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, and the Threepenny Review, but this is his first book. Here he presents the history of rock’n’roll as a battle royal between Leo Fender and Les Paul, who invented competing electric guitars to deliver rock’s revved-up, superloud sound. What’s your preference?

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