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Reviews

Sunday, January 1 1995

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.


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.


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.'"


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


The Onion Girl by Charles de Lint

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


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.


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.


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.


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.


Neo-Pagan Sacred Art and Altars by Sabina Magliocco

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


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.


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

Superficial sound bite journalism doesn't really inform us.


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