More book reviews from the memory hole:Freaks and Geeks: the Complete Scripts
In case you didn't know, I am a big fan of Freaks and Geeks
. These scripts, divided into two volumes, are a good time. Besides shooting scripts (with original edits, and alternate lines--NBC's standards and practices department didn't always let 'em get away with things) for all 18 episodes, there are also introductory essays for each episode, usually by the episode writer, essay introductions to each volume (one from Paul Feig and the other from Judd Apatow) and 'scrapbook' pages which excerpt character descriptions and whatnot.
Recommended for people who like reading television scripts, and for Freaks and Geeks
fans. People who are new to this wonderful program would be better served, of course, by watching the program, which means either hitting up p2p or getting the DVDs. Also: there's a volume of the first two seasons of Seinfeld
scripts. Worth reading, if you're into that kind of thing, and available pretty cheap secondhand.Midnight Lightning: Jimi Hendrix and the Black Experience, Greg Tate
I like Greg Tate a lot. I seek out his Village Voice
writings, I'm a big fan of his anthologized pieces, I've interlibrary-loaned Flyboy in the Buttermilk
more than once and I've even considered checking out his band, Burnt Sugar. Yeah, it's a music critic's band, but like I said, I like Tate a lot.
It is clear, though, that Greg Tate likes Jimi Hendrix even more than I like Greg Tate. Midnight Lightning
is an introduction, a primer, a collaborative history and an attempt to simultaneously introduce Jimi to an African-American listening public that never gave him as much fame as the white folks and reclaim him as part of the same black cultural pantheon that includes Satchmo, Miles and Trane. Ugh. Who am I, Maynard G. Krebs? Make that Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and John Coltrane, lest the familiar be mistaken for the diminutive.
And I digress. It's an ambitious premise, and Tate's the right man for the job. He's an excellent writer who moves smoothly between slang, poetic diction and the language of academia. What's more, my man's a consummate hipster and an astute observer of race relations, popular music and American culture. Excellent, well-written musical and cultural criticism.
This is Pop: In Search of the Elusive at Experience Music Project, Eric Weisbard, ed.
This book doesn't have that much to do with the EMP
. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It's an anthology, with some of the usual heavy hitters (Simon Frith, Bob Christgau, Ann Powers) and some people I've never heard of. 25 essays, mostly kinda bridging a gap between the pop kind of criticism and the academic kind. It's nice to see Ann Powers ('Bread and Butter Songs: Unoriginality in Pop') stretch herself a little bit, just like it's nice to see Deena Weinstein ('Creativity and Band Dynamics') dumb it down enough to produce something that makes good pleasure reading. Good for fans of music criticism and highbrow pop fans, ironic or otherwise.Attack Poodles and Other Media Mutants: The Looting of the News in a Time of Terror, James Wolcott
Wait, the news media is filled with jingoists and profiteers? Peggy Noonan is kind of shallow? George Will is kind of pompous? This book is okay, though the same ground has been trod in ways both funnier and more thoughtful. It is funny, and it is thoughtful, but Wolcott preaches to the choir. Good for people who aren't already sick of reading books about the emptiness and greed of the mass media.
Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of the City's Most Unwanted Inhabitants, Robert Sullivan
It's kind of in the same category as Salt
. That is to say, it's pretty good, with something to appeal to pop historians and amateur population biologists and cultural studies types. Great cover, too. But it needs a soundtrack. So far, and with the help of AMG
, I've thought of:
Ben - Michael Jackson
Ben - Boyzone (never heard it, but how can you go wrong?)
Ben - additional cover versions by Monty Alexander, Jennifer Love Hewitt, the Brady Bunch Kids, Hank Mancini, Sonny Stitt, Toots Thielemans...)
Rats in the Cellar - Aerosmith
Rats - Subhumans
Kitty Empire - Big Black
Allmusic returns quite a few other rat songs, but I don't think I've heard any of 'em.
Also: Someone recently donated a bunch of CDs to the library. One of them was a promo copy, and so the library couldn't use it. And so the audiovisual librarian gave it to me. Nice. It's Cecil Taylor's In Florescence
, a 1989 trio recording with William Parker and drummer Gregg Bendian. Nice work if you can get it, right?