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The Rhythm of Rap | Performing Arts Reviews, December 2018

Sidelined in Hollywood | Performing Arts Reviews

Music & Art, December 2018 | Best Sellers


Mother American Night: My Life in Crazy Times

Though the style is breezy and doesn't go too deep emotionally, Barlow's memoir tells such riveting stories on a variety of topics that it's hard to resist. Essential for Deadheads, fans of Wired, and Internet technology mavens.

Famous Father Girl: A Memoir of Growing Up Bernstein

An unforgettable memoir filled with poignancy and humor. A must for music lovers and general readers alike. [See Prepub Alert, 1/8/18.]

Fare Thee Well: The Final Chapter of the Grateful Dead's Long, Strange Trip

For Deadheads only and not all will be interested. Better starting points would be Dennis McNally's definitive A Long Strange Trip, David Browne's So Many Roads; or Blair Jackson and David Gans's This Is All a Dream We Dreamed.

On the Road and off the Record with Leonard Bernstein: My Years with the Exasperating Genius

More memoir than biography, this engaging account will do well in general collections.

Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke, and the Making of a Masterpiece

Essential for sf fans, Kubrick enthusiasts, and film history buffs.

Stanley Kubrick: New York Jewish Intellectual

To approach this work without knowing Kubrick's major films, oy vey! For film enthusiasts and Kubrick fans, Peter Bailey's Critical Insights: Stanley Kubrick flies above this thematically burdened work.

Homey Don't Play That! The Story of In Living Color and the Black Comedy Revolution

Highly recommended for those who enjoy reading about the entertainment industry, how their favorite TV shows are created, In Living Color, the Wayans family, Jim Carrey, and African Americans in the entertainment industry.

Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television

Highly recommended for those who enjoy reading about the entertainment industry, how their favorite TV shows are created, and women. [See Prepub Alert, 10/4/17.]

Heather, the Totality

In his fiction debut, Weiner, creator of the Mad Men TV series (and executive producer on The Sopranos) delivers a razor-sharp, fast-paced dark look at the class divide. Fans of Richard Yates will enjoy this chilling addition to noir literature. [See Prepub Alert, 4/10/17.]

Silent Films in St. Augustine

This recommended title will be of interest to both specialists and general readers of American film history as well as those who want to know more about the history of Florida and St. Augustine.

Florida Soul: From Ray Charles to KC and the Sunshine Band

Recommended for those already well versed in the history of soul looking to learn more; especially essential for libraries in Florida.

Their Finest

A motion picture is in the works, and one wonders how much will be changed to accommodate the modern filmgoer. Which is rather ironic, given the novel's subject.

If I Could Tell You

Readers who enjoy introspective and morally ambiguous tales such as Jojo Moyes's The Last Letter from Your Lover and Anita Shreve's The Pilot's Wife will want to pick up this tale from a promising writer. At times a bit slow-paced, Wilhide's title delves deep into the human psyche, especially when it comes to loving and losing.

Steven Spielberg: A Life in Films

Recommended for readers of film criticism or commentary.

J.J. Abrams vs. Joss Whedon: Duel for Media Master of the Universe

Recommended for readers looking for a brainy take on pop culture.

The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley

This title will appeal to die-hard Elvis fans as well as readers curious for insight into the continuing significance of the performer.

Elvis Style: From Zoot Suits to Jumpsuits

While sure to be an Elvis fan favorite, this quick read will also appeal to pop culture enthusiasts and designers. However, readers wanting a biography or scholarly study should look elsewhere.

Lew Ayres: Hollywood’s Conscientious Objector

This well-written book looks at Ayres’s entire life but provides extensive information about  his actions during World War II. Recommended for readers interested in celebrity biographies, World War II, and conscientious objectors.

Up All Night: My Life and Times in Rock Radio

The incessant name-dropping becomes tiresome as the thin veneer of Miller’s modesty wears off, and many chapters end with crude foreshadowing of future events. Nevertheless, this is an essential title for any reader who grew up listening to Miller’s distinctive voice or who simply had a passion for rock music. [See Prepub Alert, 3/5/12.]

The Big Screen: The Story of the Movies

This is an essential title for readers who know and love film and for those who wish to know more; it functions both as a great reference and a great read. Chronology and linearity be gone, this thing sparkles.

Creole Trombone: Kid Ory and the Early Years of Jazz

A well-researched look at an oft-chronicled period, this book uses solid research to dispense with romantic apocrypha. An essential title for any serious popular music collection.

The Leading Man: Hollywood and the Presidential Image

Peretti’s writing rises above many Hollywood-centered books by viewing the industry from an historian’s perspective, albeit sometimes ponderously. It should appeal to knowledgeable general readers and serious film buffs.

The Man Who Saw a Ghost: The Life and Work of Henry Fonda

Those interested in the intimate lives of the stars will appreciate the attention to detail and richness of research. Highly recommended for readers looking to complete their old Hollywood education. [See Prepub Alert, 5/1/12.]

Mary Pickford: Queen of the Movies

This impressive anthology belongs in the collection of any fan of silent film and perfectly showcases why Pickford was a superstar. It will interest a wide audience and is an important work on one of the leading lights of cinematic history.

Shall We Play That One Together?: The Life and Art of Jazz Piano Legend Marian McPartland

De Barros shows how a talented, white, British woman was able to fully participate in American jazz through multiple eras, styles, and channels. Recommended for jazz fans and those interested in musicians with long, varied careers.

Hendrix on Hendrix: Interviews and Encounters with Jimi Hendrix

This is a valuable and informative book for Hendrix and music fans. A great compendium of primary material on the musical culture of the late 1960s.

The Accordion in the Americas: Klezmer, Polka, Tango, Zydeco, and More!

Simonett’s book is an excellent collection of ethnomusicology scholarship that will be of interest to those who like world music, ethnography, or unusual instruments.

Christian Wolff

Musicologists, historians of 20th-century music, experimentalist composers and listeners, and music students are all served by this work.

Light & Shade: Conversations with Jimmy Page

Fans of all stripes will be delighted by the wealth of new interview material. This book offers genuine insight into the musical and philosophical vision of one of rock’s living legends.  Highly recommended for guitar aficionados and readers who enjoy an intimate look at the creative process.

Prisoner of Southern Rock: A Memoir

Smith’s intimate knowledge of and passion for Southern rock make this a welcome addition to the literature on the subject. It will be of interest to fans of the genre or readers looking for a breezy memoir of life around popular musicians, much like Rolling Stones sax-man Bobby Keys’s memoir, Every Night’s a Saturday Night.

A Few Honest Words: The Kentucky Roots of Popular Music

Howard ranges from anonymous mountaineers to urban pioneers in this sprawling, honest exploration of a seminal source of American music. This book’s combination of interviews and history makes for an entertaining study of the heart of American roots music.

Bluegrass Bluesman: A Memoir

While the exterior suggests it may be a bit dull, this book is in fact thoroughly Southern, spicy, real, and lots of fun. Excellent for popular music history collections.

Will Oldham on Bonnie “Prince” Billy

A rare glimpse into the thoughts of a truly original artist. Fans of Bonnie “Prince” Billy will not be disappointed.

Love Song: The Lives of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya

While light on purely personal details (Lenya’s fourth marriage is given only one sentence, and there is little explanation of why Weill tolerated his wife’s many extramarital affairs), the book offers thorough analysis of Weill’s musical style, Lenya’s personal magnetism, and the creative environment in which they lived. Academic readers will appreciate the excellent annotated back matter, which includes a discography, list of sources, and further reading suggestions. [See Prepub Alert, 4/9/12].

How Music Works

While he avoids focusing on his musical career, Byrne’s ability to draw upon his experiences with Talking Heads and as a solo artist to illustrate his points is a clear strength. Music fans of all stripes will find engaging material in this book.

Shocked but Connected: Notes on Laughter

Roemer invites readers to think critically about comedy in films. This text will impress the serious student of film comedy and will be a welcome addition to film studies literature. Recommended.

The Guy Under the Sheets: The Unauthorized Autobiography

Not funny! Recommended only for the hardest of the hardcore Chris Elliott fanboys. [See Prepub Alert, 4/23/12].

Pete Seeger: In His Own Words

This remarkable collection displays Seeger in all his cantankerous, playful, idealistic, and loving glory. He’s one of America’s national treasures, and this treasure trove of his writing reveals why.

We Killed: The Rise of Women in American Comedy

A valuable social history that is humorous, touching, and revealing, this book will be an asset to both women’s studies and entertainment collections. It will appeal to a wide general readership with an interest in the art of comedy.

Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand

A compelling, detailed look at the rise of the multitalented Streisand from 17-year-old unknown to chart-topping singer and Broadway star. Highly recommended for fans of Streisand, biographies, and theater.

Woody’s Road: Woody Guthrie’s Letters Home, Drawings, Photos, and Other Unburied Treasures

This book is limited in scope and recommended (with some reservations) for readers interested in the iconic musician. Readers seeking an introductory biography of Guthrie will be better served by Elizabeth Partridge’s This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie.

Ballerina: Sex, Scandal, and Suffering Behind the Symbol of Perfection

Although there’s no end of readily available ballet histories, such as Jennifer Homans’s Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet, this title will be a pleasurable read for any balletomane. Index not seen.

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