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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Speech! Speech! by Geoffrey Hill

For the most part the book has a kind of messy music, and such brilliant juxtapositions of language, that more than thrice I felt like Emily Dickinson, like the top of my head had just been taken off.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Some Assembly Required by George Bradley

Who else but George Bradley would dare use a phrase such as 'which for the nonce' without looking around for a volley of tomatoes? Who else but Bradley would dare use a noun like 'naïf' and keep a straight face?"

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Snow Train by Joseph Cummins

We need to take the lesson that Cummins' offers us: Peace of mind can come from accepting the transition to adulthood. When we begin to think about others and about the history of our actions, we can make peace with ourselves and with the world around us.

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Sixties Rock: Garage, Psychedelic & Other Satisfactions by Michael Hicks

In his efforts to define the very building blocks of this music, [Michael Hicks] has stripped it of its vitality and power, although it is perversely impressive to witness Hicks analyse something so primal as Mick Jagger's vocal stylings.

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Saving Louisiana? The Battle for Coastal Wetlands by Bill Streever

Scientists have a singular function, to write papers that are printed in 'Science' and 'Nature'. That is about it. But in this context, the scientists live and work in the environment they study, and their laboratory is sinking beneath their feet. They are immersed in the problem by definition.

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Spider-Man Confidential: From Comic Icon to Hollywood Hero by Edward Gross

Gross adds nothing new to a story known by anyone with even a passing interest in comics.

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Science or Psuedoscience: Magnetic Healing, Psychic Phenomena, and Other Heterodoxies by Henry H. Ba

Bauer's comparisons are thought-provoking and explain some of the dilemmas of anomalistics. Science depends on reproducibility. Anomalistics is the study of things that do not repeat.

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Synthetic Bi Products by Sparrow L. Patterson

it just winds up in places much like the teenage world of boredom and struggle for meaning that the novel depicts.

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Surrealist Painters and Poets - An Anthology by Mary Ann Caws

This weighty volume has the potential to prove a significant milestone in the appreciation and understanding of that familiar yet much-maligned phenomenon, Surrealism. Beautifully produced, it works in the way the best anthologies should. Well-known pieces take on a new life when placed alongside unknown items and, vast as the collection is, you end up wishing for more.

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72dpi-Anime by Edited by Robert Klanten, Hendrik Helige, and Birga Meyer

Far-out publisher Die Gestalten Verlag has created an unprecedented collection of revolutionary multi-media graphic artists. '72dpi-Anime' is a web design exposition, a virtual art fair.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Sentimental, Heartbroken Rednecks by Greg Bottoms

PULL.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Smallest Color by Bill Roorbach

Roorbach is a bona fide, credential-carrying '60s savant, and you can trust his voice to describe the era.

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Somehow Form A Family (Stories That Are Mostly True) by Tony Earley

I realize, soon after reading the title essay, I'm not really learning anything of substance about Earley except how he had a crappy TV set and loved 'The Brady Bunch'.

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Sign After the X ____ by Marina Roy

Takes us on a journey to x, the land of graphemes, mathematical symbols, and subversive texts.

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Running Scared: The Life and Treacherous Times of Las Vegas Casino King Steve Wynn by John L. Smith

'Running Scared' is a collection of stories and anecdotes that uncovers connections between the mob and corporate America in Las Vegas. It is a striking, detailed look at the life of the man who made Vegas 'family-friendly.'"

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Race, Rock, and Elvis by Michael T. Bertrand

What is there to say about Elvis Presley that hasn't already been said? Well, how about calling him an 'organic intellectual'? I don't remember that one from my uncle's fanzine collection.

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Rave America: New School Dancescapes by Mireille Silcott

Much like punk, rave disciples argue over whether it was developed on America's shining shores first or across the sea in England's dance halls. With rave, the answer is the same as punk's: Neither. Both punk and rave mostly got their initial start in the same place, namely, New York City.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Regarding Film by Stanley Kauffmann

PULL.

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Rock ‘Til You Drop: The Decline from Rebellion to Nostalgia by John Strausbaugh

The author believes rock music to be necessarily an evanescent form of statement. 'Here today, gone later today' should be, he states, 'the motto of all rock bands. The shelf life of rock credibility is too short for it to be a lifetime career.'"

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

RE>LA>VIR by Jan Ramjerdi

Jan Ramjerdi has created chaotic pages (both visually and ideologically) that reinforce the narrative of sexual violence, and that insist on a constant and almost debilitating anxiety . . . I had chills for hours.

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Remember Me To Harlem: The Letters of Langston Hughes and Carl Van Vechten, 1925-1964 by Emily Bertr

When Hughes met Carlo (as he calls him), the older man held a unique position as the link between Harlem and the wider literary world. Within two years Van Vechten had made the fatal mistake of entitling his exotic novel of Harlem life 'Nigger Heaven'. It was to haunt him to the grave and beyond.

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Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford by Scott Eyman

'Print the Legend' gives the curious reader a bird's-eye view of the man who helped shape the world of cinema and the way we perceive the history of his beloved United States.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

A Place Called Vatmaar by A. H. M. Scholtz

...is a positive, moving, real account of the complex and streetwise creature that constitutes the mavericks in South African society: the people who are given untenable circumstances but who use them wisely and creatively in constructing a life.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Punktown by Jeffrey Thomas

'Punktown' not only explores humanity's inability to interact healthily with their fellow inhabitants in the city of Paxton, but also itself.

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Positively 4th Street by David Hajdu

'Positively 4th Street' draws a potent picture of artists as young men - and women - run through as it is with the spice and spark of success and disappointment, treachery and infidelity, ambition and antagonism.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint

Charles de Lint eschews the label 'urban fantasy' for his own description: 'mythic fiction'.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Outland by Roger Ballen

In 'Outland' Roger Ballen steps into the breach between photojournalism and constructed art. His new works disturb because what they take from the idiosyncrasies of local [South African] Poor White culture, they give to the sense of fictional possibility, leaving an odd sense of dignity in their protagonists.

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Out of the Past: Adventures in Film Noir by Barry Gifford

'Out of the Past' has a pasted-together feel one might expect from a website entitled 'Noir Films I've Seen'. The book fails to deliver a big picture and doesn't do a very good job at delivering a lot of little pictures either.

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One Thousand Beards:  A Cultural History of Facial Hair by Allan Peterkin

Popular culture hasn't had so wide a reach since the invention of the telegraph when cranky mothers could finally harass their children from across the world.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Noctambulists & Other Fictions by Peter Spielberg

These tales flirt with notions of archetype: they make use of our desire to read meta-characters as stand-ins for veracity and personal experience.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Neo-Pagan Sacred Art and Altars by Sabina Magliocco

Neo-paganism has become a cute type of nonconformity and not just in California either.

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New York is Now! The New Wave of Free Jazz by Phil Freeman

[This book] the result is a handy primer for newcomers to the music and those taking the first tentative steps into free jazz, and a manifesto of sorts that will likely become the fulcrum of debate for years to come.

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News Dissector: Passions, Pieces and Polemics 1960-2000 by Danny Schechter

Superficial sound bite journalism doesn't really inform us.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Not a Chance by Jessica Treat

PULL.

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New Stories from the South: 2001, the Year’s Best, Edited by Shannon Ravenel

. . . the House of Southern Fiction is in the process of remodeling.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

While some of us claim to have a mind-body problem, Lionel Essrog, the anti-hero of [Jonathan Lethem's] 'Motherless Brooklyn' and a sufferer of Tourette's syndrome, has a more fundamental quandary: a mind-mind problem.

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The Mouse That Roared: Disney and the End of Innocence by Henry A. Giroux

Disney seems pretty vigilant about separating the animated Disney features from the more adult Touchstone features (although I wonder how well a 'Pretty Woman'-themed ride would be received).

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Miss Wyoming by Douglas Coupland - PopMatters - Books - Reviews

You might not have read any of Douglas Coupland’s books, but there’s no doubt you’ve heard the phrase he coined in 1992: Generation

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Mainly About Lindsay Anderson by Gavin Lambert

While 'If' concludes with change wrought through the barrel of a gun, what lingers about the film is the breadth of Anderson's imagination and the passion with which he at the same time savages and memorializes the environment of his youth.

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The Man Who Grew Young by Daniel Quinn

If the universe expands and contracts like a yo-yo, what effect does that have on time and its relationship to humanity? We would all wind up living our lives in reverse.

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The Modern Fantastic: The Films of David Cronenberg by Michael Grant

The utility of the majority of the essays is limited, hardly explaining the film (or films) that the authors attempt to unravel, and doing little to explain science fiction/horror films or Cronenberg's oeuvre.

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Mind the Doors by Zinovy Zinik

[Zinovy Zinik's stories] seem to fall on the line where surrealism and magical realism collide, where the waking world is still the dream.

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A Massive Swelling. Celebrity Re-Examined As A Grotesque Crippling Disease by Cintra Wilson

If she [Wilson] acknowledged more often how the obsession with celebrity results from such systematic social inequities, 'A Massive Swelling' would be something other than an occasionally amusing but ultimately unsatisfying exercise in attitude.

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Material Matters:  Appliqués by the Weya Women of Zimbabwe and Needlework by South African Coll

The stories told in the appliqués are about AIDS, unemployment, crime, wife-beating, and baby-dumping. They're strong, gutsy and don't pull punches. These are appliqués with balls.

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The Museum of Unconditional Surrender - PopMatters - Books - Reviews

dana”>“Progressive ideas that are . . . appropriate at one historical moment, can, in time, fade and decay or become defensive in the face of further progress.

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Men at Play: A Working Understanding of Professional Hockey by Michael Robidoux

The story [Michael Robidoux] presents is shocking, describing the daily life of the average hockey player in a world that relies upon the strict socialization of young Canadian boys, often 13 and 14 years old, into a system run by multibillion-dollar corporations that depend upon young men to skate around on fake ice and physically beat the crap out of each other.

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Labyrinth of Desire:  Women, Passion and Romantic Obsession by Rosemary Sullivan

Like desire itself, her prose and her message are not always comfortable. They aren't easy to hear, and although she reserves her text for discussion by and for women, it has many implications for everyone who has ever obsessed or desired another.

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The Language of Comics: Word and Image  Edited by Robin Varnum and Christina T. Gibbons

If comics are words and images together, then logically (Logic? Comics? Together? Dogs driving trucks? Madness!) the words can follow the images (or verse visa) sequentially or 'in the readers head' to make a sequence of 'images.'"

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The Last Madam: A Life in the New Orleans Underworld by Christine Wiltz

Norma Wallace and her operations are presented as a historical force that fused crime and punishment, high culture and low culture together during a period of New Orleans history when below the belt was above the law.

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Let it Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America’s Greatest Rock Critic - PopMatters - Book

It’s hard to imagine that Jim DeRogatis’s fine book on Lester Bangs won’t become, before too long, a movie. Not a lavishly

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The Lantern Bearers by Ronald Frame

Ronald Frame creates an eerie story rapt with betrayal, envy and obsession.

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Lester Leaps: The Life and Times of Lester ‘Pres’ Young In by Douglas Henry Daniels- PopMatters Book

He was bop before bop was hip and could swing with the best of them.

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Lowell Limpett and Two Short Stories by Ward Just

According to Ward Just, one day he sat down a novelist and got up a playwright. It wasn't really that simple. With 'Lowell Limpett', Ward Just makes it seem that way.

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Looking For Poetry: Poems by Carlos Drummond de Andrade and Rafael Alberti, with Songs from the Quec

We see a pretty fair representation of the urges and circumstances of our planet in April 2002.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Love Her Madly by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith

Has more twists and turns in it than a Texas sidewinder, and just about as much bite and venom, too.

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Looking For Andrew McCarthy by Jenny Colgan

Similarities to 'Bridget Jones' are plentiful.

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The Late Great Johnny Ace And The Transition From R&B To Rock ‘n’ Roll by James M. Salem

Johnny Ace's influence on the development of American music was, if not quite as seismic as Elvis Presley's, an essential element in the creation of the musical revolution of the mid-Fifties.

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Liberty’s Excess by Lidia Yuknavitch

The body is Yuknavitch's medium, and she puts it through its paces here. Her most powerful stories subject their protagonists to extremes of delight and torment -- when these characters feel, they feel in spades.

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Kamikaze Lust by Lauren Sanders

Forging identities is seductive, but in the end it's a zero-sum game, unless one is willing to weld the new persona to the old circumstances, a point Lauren Sanders makes eloquently and insightfully in 'Kamikaze Lust'.

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Jerusalem Calling: A Homeless Conscience in a Post-Everything World by Mark Desrosiers

The book combines tweedy rant with engaging memoir to reveal a refreshingly cynical, cloyingly elitist, and analytically Marxist point of view.

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John Huston: Interviews by Robert Emmet Long

Huston is revealed as a seamless whole, tough guy and gentleman of culture, one of the last of the Renaissance Men.

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I Almost Killed George Burns!  And Other Gut-Splitting Tales From the World’s Greatest Comedy Event

Explains how humor is manufactured, packaged, and delivered to the masses.

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The Iowa Award: The Best Stories, 1991 - 2000 by Frank Conroy

Reading this book, it is easy to imagine a world where good writing sells, where the notion of story reigns supreme, and where the artful gesture is appreciated, even coveted.

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In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself by Marlow Peerse Weaver, ed.

...calls upon writers all over the world born between the years 1960 and 1982 to express the thoughts, hopes, fears, and concerns of 'Generation X', now that they're old enough to qualify for nostalgia.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The IV Lounge Reader by Paul Vermeersch, ed.

This book, like a jewel made more interesting by flaws, is unique because we see authors genuinely struggling with the material to make it work. It is vital and alive.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Inflatable Butch: New Funny Stuff by Ellen Orleans

Each story winds up with some kind of larger-picture statement about lesbian life, yet it falls short because you just can't sum up something universal about lesbian life in a two-page quip.

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I May Not Get There With You: The True Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dyson illuminates the complexities of King’s identity and challenges the boundaries in which King and his legacy have been forced to inhabit because of desires on the part of the King family, traditional Civil Rights leaders, and the mass media to neuter (pun, absolutely intended) his persona and his politics.

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In Therapy We Trust: America’s Obsessions with Self-Fulfillment by Eva S. Moskowitz

I do not knock the importance of counseling for people with serious problems... [but] only a culture like ours can develop on-line therapeutic support systems and then diagnose Internet Addiction Disorder.

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In the Box Called Pleasure by Kim Addonizio

Wild women, alcoholics, sluts, masochists, the lustful and the ravaged populate these stories with a vengeance -- not necessarily a political one, but a human one that demands that these realities be exposed and explored.

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Here To Go: Brion Gysin by Terry Wilson and Brion Gysin

Gysin deserves much better treatment than relegation to a footnote in the history of the Beats, much more consideration than simply as a 'friend of Bill'.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Henderson’s Spear by Ronald Wright

These critiques, however, are as close as you can come to having too much of a good thing. 'Henderson's Spear' is a fascinating tale that teaches its readers small lessons about Polynesian life, the British royalty and the Korean war effortlessly without seeming overstuffed.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami

[Expatriate Indian] writers -- among others -- cannot write as 'South Asians' or about India without encountering controversies over authenticity that push and prod the author to define, albeit reluctantly, a national identity. Perhaps the only way to truly answer the question of identity is by refusing to answer at all, or answering only with the condition that the interrogator be thoroughly comfortable with hyphens.

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The Holocaust’s Ghost: Writings on Art, Politics, Law and Education by F.C. DeCoste and Bernard Schw

After many generations of being inculcated with 'real' television and movie reels, we have found the Holocaust equivalent to less than fiction - a reified historical memory that frequently appears in our lives through various media outlets and forms, but little more.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Hell’s Kitchen by Chris Niles

Niles applies her brilliant one-liners to play havoc with are our pop-culture silliness.

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History of Suicide: Voluntary Death in Western Culture by Georges Minois

While it sure isn't beach reading, Georges Minois's 'History of Suicide' isn't nearly as dark nor depressing a book as one might think. Which isn't necessarily a good thing.

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The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America by Lawrence Epstein

Even as Jews were earnestly absorbing American life, they were twisting popular culture to reflect their own fear of alienation.

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Habeas Codfish: Reflections on Food and the Law by Barry M. Levenson

Most of the people here in Madison are like everyone else in the state: Packer lovin', Milwaukee avoidin', fried cheese curd eatin' 'Sconsinites, and that's that.

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Heart of the Old Country by Tim McLoughlin

Tim McLoughlin's 'Heart of the Old Country' exposes the soul inside the seamy underbelly of New York. It's a gritty slice of life drawn from McLoughlin's experiences, as he reveals in an interview with 'PopMatters'.

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High Drama in Fabulous Toledo by Lily James

The central unifier involves a computer programmer who leaves the Novell basement of Unix realtime and attempts to blend into corporate culture, thinking the 1950s ideal man is what he needs to emulate. Knowing he is socially illiterate, he figures the only way to acquire a wife is by taking a woman hostage. [Review and interview with Lily James, author of 'High Drama in Fabulous Toledo'].

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Greatest Hits, 1975-2000 by Joel E. Chace

[T]he mystery becomes, really, two mysteries: how someone so apparently skilled and dedicated to a life of writing poetry can fall so far; and second, why?"

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Glued to the Tube: The Diary of My Week in TV Hell. 200 Channels, No Escape by Bill Brownstein

There are more painful pursuits of a week's time than sitting with a 200-channel television from the early rays of the morning to the dark crevices of twilight.

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Ghastly Terror: The Horrible Story of the Horror Comics - PopMatters - Books - Reviews

IIn the days of my callow youth in the early 1970s I spent more hours than I now care to admit hanging around newsstands and

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Girl Beside Him by Cris Mazza

The dialogue is fast-paced, the narrative engages the reader, and Mazza rarely dwells on minute details. She also gives the reader a chance to feel superior to her characters by creating a group that is as emotionally evolved as a concrete chicken.

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Generation Fetish by Lee Higgs; The Beauty of Fetish Vol II by Steve Diet Goedde; Secret Space: The

Bondage is represented in many images, but as an adornment and an enhancement rather than as a means of subjection and degradation. Kenneth Tynan, the English theatre critic, and a lifelong devotee of bondage and sado-masochism, remarked that pain is not, as Freud assumed, the masochist's source of pleasure: it is the unpleasant but necessary side effect of fully embodying a masochistic fantasy.

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Gracefully Insane: The Rise and Fall of America’s Premier Mental Hospital by Alex Beam

How can a book about mental hospitals and wacky rock stars/geniuses be anything 'but' interesting?"

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

GoTo by Steve Lohr

The story of computer languages is really the story of rock 'n' roll. It's the story of the exodus out from under the iron fist of early computing Rat Pack.

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Gunman’s Rhapsody by Robert B. Parker

Next time Robert B. Parker decides to time-travel, especially when mucking about with mythology, he'd be well-advised to bring his 'old' shooting-irons with him.

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The Ghastly One. The Sex-Gore Netherworld of Filmmaker Andy Milligan by Jimmy McDonough

Jimmy McDonough at one point describes Andy Milligan as 'one of those creatures who ride the midnight train, come from the land of the screaming skulls.' Even though we may not wish to take a journey on that vehicle or experience the territory from where it came, the ride is one I will not soon forget.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Fool’s Gold by Jane S. Smith

PULL.

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Freakshow: Misadventures in the Counter-culture by Albert Goldman

By the end of an absorbing piece, Goldman concludes that rock acts 'like a magnet, drawing into its field a host of heterogeneous materials that has fallen quickly into patterns. No other cultural force in modern times has possessed its power of synthesis'.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

PopMatters Books Review - University of Illinois Press: French Film Guides

University of Illinois Press: French Film Guides [13 April 2006] At 128 pages a pop, these books burst with fascinating trivia (Clouzot used to physically abuse his actors;

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Forrest J. Ackerman’s World of Science Fiction - PopMatters - Books - Reviews

Forrest J. (“Forry”) Ackerman is a legendary figure in the world of science fiction (or “sci-fi,” as Ackerman — the coiner of the term — prefers to

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Fear and Loathing in America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist (The Gonzo Letters, volume

'Fear and Loathing in America' . . . helps distinguish the difference between a writer and the work, which has always been a source of aggravation for Thompson. . . the general assumption was that because he 'wrote' about being stoned, he always 'was'.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

The Fish Can Sing by Halldór Laxness

... not only an important work by a Nobel laureate who brought his modern country lasting literary fame, but also the fascinating voice of an earlier, more insular Iceland.

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1 Jan 1995 // 12:03 AM

Fixer Chao by Han Ong

Feng Shui is the so-called ancient Chinese art of arranging one's environment to promote peace and prosperity. Its popularity among the well-to-do in this country speaks volumes about how certain kinds of knowledge, including quasi-knowledge, are appropriated and consumed by different social classes. This is what makes 'Fixer Chao' so timely and worthwhile.

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Falun Gong’s Challenge to China: Spiritual Practice or “Evil Cult”? by Danny Schechter

It's almost unbelievable, the scope of these abuses, and the sheer insanity of the accusations being made -- how on earth could a seventy-year-old grandmother, a former school principal and lifetime Communist Party member, be considered a 'dangerous revolutionary?'"

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More Recent Features
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Good Art Ruins 'White Night'

// Moving Pixels

"White Night is annoying largely due to its own beautiful and haunting art.

READ the article