Friday, July 14, 2017

"Night Music: Essays on Music 1928-1962 by Theodor W. Adorno (Seagull Books)

ISBN: 978-0857424501 Seagull Books
What I know of classical music is what I hear on record/vinyl/cd.   Beyond that, almost nothing.  My reaction to Classical it totally musical, and the occasional liner note on the back cover of the album.  With curiosity, I picked up Theodor W. Adorno's "Night Music," in the hopes of learning more about this form of music as well as dipping into the brain of Adorno, one of the leading 'thinkers' of the Frankfurt School of critical theory.  Adorno was also a composer, and what is interesting about "Night Music" is that it was written from the late 1920s to 1962.  The essays are not organized in chronicle order, but in a manner that is very readable.  The book consists of two collections of texts "Moments musicaux" and "Theory of New Music."  When Adorno speaks of new music, he's not talking about Cage (who does get a brief mention in a later essay) but composers of his generation and time, for instance, Schönberg, who is the main figure in these series of writings, along with Berg, Webern, and Ravel.  There is also the commentary on Beethoven, Wagner, and Bach, but the heart of the book is on the Second Viennese School of music.  For one, it's interesting to read these essays knowing that they were written during a time when Schönberg and Ravel were active and doing music.  One is not looking back, but at the present when these essays were written.   The writing for me is readable, but also difficult due to its density and Adorno's knowledge of music.  People who are either serious fans of Classical (especially 20th-century) or musicians will jump on this book with no problem, but for the guy or gal, it's a serious journey into the rabbit hole that is music.   Seagull Books who published "Night Music" should get special notice for the design of the book, and their great taste in titles.  Also, Wieland Hoban did a fantastic job in doing the translation from German to English.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Lun*na Menoh: "A Ring Around The Collar" Fashion Show 2017 with Les Sewing Sisters, July 22, 2017

Lun*na Menoh: "A Ring Around The Collar Fashion Show 2017, with Les Sewing Sisters July 22, 2017

All photos by Steven Nilsson & Jennifer Cheung

Contact Information : (562) 999-2267

ArtExchange - ArtX with the Long Beach Museum of Art

Lun*na Menoh “ A Ring  Around The Collar: fashion show 2017”


Lun*na Menoh “A Ring Around The Collar: fashion show 2017,”
with Les Sewing Sisters
Date: Saturday, July 22, 2017
Time: 8:00 P.M.

ArtExchange - ArtX with Long Beach Museum of Art presents “Lun*na Menoh, A Ring Around The Collar Fashion Show 2017.”

Taking place at ArtExchange Gallery, 356 East 3rd Street, Long Beach, CA, 90802 and featuring art performance/ music band Les Sewing Sisters.

Unlike a commercial fashion show, Lun*na Menoh ’s fashion show is more of a “de-fashion show.”  There are Runway models changing outfits one after another but Menoh’s clothing, although wearable, is more conceptual in theme and practice. For this event/performance,  Menoh’s theme of the fashion show is “ A Ring Around The Collar”  which is also the title of the exhibition of her artwork that is taking place at ArtExchange/ArtX.   Menoh worked on "A Ring Around The Collar" art/clothing project for 18 years, and this is her first fashion show in Long Beach.  The majority of the wearable clothing is made by dirty stained white collars or the image of the dirty collar.

In addition, Les Sewing Sisters will perform their music before the fashion show.

Les Sewing Sisters are Lun*na Menoh’s music project with Saori Mitome, which uses the sewing machine as a music instrument.  All music heard by Les Sewing Sisters are original sounds that come from the sewing machine and then altered through electronics, which in turn changes noise into music.  Les Sewing Sisters is a mixture of spoken word, singing, jazz-influenced pop, with a side of hip-hop, yet danceable experimental noise music. All the lyrics are about dressmaking, sewing, fashion, and clothing.

Also a short video for the program:

"A Ring Around The Collar" 7 min video
Directed by Jeff Mizushima

A video directed by Jeff Mizushima on the history of Lun*na Menoh's collecting and using men's dirty white collars for her artwork.  Ten years of the artwork and fashion shows that Lun*na directed and made with respect to her art. 

 "Lun*na Menoh has brilliantly narrowed the catwalk between art and haut couture, fashioning work that adorn bodies with thrilling ingenuity and restyles our mind.”
- Ralph Rugoff: Director of the Hayward Gallery, London

Monday, July 3, 2017

Paul McCarthy: "WS Spinoffs, Wood Statues, Brown Rothkos" July 1 - Sept 17, 2017 at Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

Paul McCarthy
WS, Bookends
Black walnut
Bookends (Horizontal) (12'): 365.8 x 304 x 444 cm / 144 x 119 5/8 x 174 3/4 inches (overall dimensions)
Bookends (Vertical) (14'): 444 x 303.7 x 365.8 cm / 174 3/4 x 119 5/8 x 144 inches (overall dimensions)

Paul McCarthy “WS Spinoffs, Wood Statues, Brown Rothkos” July 1 - September 17, 2017, Hauser & Wirth Los Angeles

Like many of my generation, Walt Disney’s “Snow White” has a strong presence in my life. The year I was born, so was Disneyland. So I feel very much like the child of Disney, and keep in mind, that I never actually saw the Disney "Snow White and the Seven Drawfs" film, but just the byproducts of the movie that is very much part of my childhood culture. Paul McCarthy and I are only nine years apart, so I feel that him being an American and McCarthy exposed to Disney’s world around the same time as I, there is a common understanding of that culture. Beyond that, I rarely think of Disney as an adult, even though where I live (Silver Lake / Los Feliz) there are traces of this man’s work and his world. Again, hard to avoid. Paul McCarthy jumps into the Disney world with both feet, hands, and head. 

His current exhibition at the Hauser Wirth in Los Angeles is a fascinating show on many levels. When I walked into the gallery and confronted with these massive sculptures, I’m struck by not only the size of the works, but also the Black Walnut wood textures that convey the image of Snow White, The Prince, the horse, and the Seven Drawfs. I tend to draw myself to art exhibitions that take me from the outside world into another world of the artist’s making. McCarthy’s work does that in the extreme. My childhood memories came back to me that instant when I entered the show. I see the work as a re-mix version of my take on Disney’s Snow White.

Snow White came into existence courtesy of the Brothers Grimm, which they published in their first edition of “Grimms’ Fairy Tales.” In German, it’s title is “Schneewittchen. The final version of the Grimms’ version of Snow White appeared in 1854, the birth year of Oscar Wilde and 100 years away from my birth date as well. Disney, like McCarthy, totally did a re-write of the folk tale to serve his aesthetic and perhaps pleasure. I think the exhibition is not a commentary on the Grimms take of the story, but involved and obsessed with the Disney version. 

The sculptures are so grand that I also thought of various portraits of Napoleon done when he was alive. Heroic, on a grand scale, with emotions on the skin level. The fact that these sculptures made out of wood have an organic feeling of nature being contained to make a human’s vision. There is also kitsch added to the mixture, which reminds me of going to my Grandma’s house and she too, with his "WS, Bookends," had fairy tale figures as bookends. Disney became not only a thought but also a product. If we have to think about Cambell Soup through the eyes of Warhol, then clearly we have to think of Walt under the telescope of McCarthy. 

Snow White here (and always in my opinion) is very sexual. The boundaries between The Prince and Snow White are explicitly joined where there is no space between the figures. The same goes for the Seven Drawfs. It’s a combination of an orgy, pleasure, and perhaps pain. On the walls are McCarthy’s “Brown Rothkos” which gives the entire exhibition a sense of balance and placement. For me, it is like putting a period after the sentence. What I’ve read of the Brown Rothkos is that they are carpeting laid out in McCarthy’s designed forest in his exhibition that took place at Park Avenue Armory in 2013, and this is the drippings and residue of the individual trees that are painted on these carpets. Placed on the wall gives the work an importance, but also a connection perhaps the sculptures in this show and the exhibition at the Park Avenue Armory. In other words, these pieces can stand alone but are also connected theme-wise with other artworks by McCarthy. Like Disney’s world, it’s “a small world.”

Lucky me, I can go back to the exhibition again and again. It is both a journey into my childhood obsessions with the Disney motif, but also McCarthy’s take on a landscape that most in my (our) generation can relate to. (Un)happy Trails!

Saturday, July 1, 2017

"The Subject Matter" by Tosh Berman

Hallo, I’m facing a blank page.  

The only words I can see are the ones above this sentence. 

I’m in search of a subject matter.  Although the subject isn’t coming to me. 

The subject matter is like a lover that is kept waiting.  Eventually, won’t come along at all. 

Reservations made at 4, and here I sit here waiting for the subject to come to me.

As I put the pen on the page, I can see reflections of the subject matter, but it’s always from a side view and not straight on. 

Ten minutes later I still wait, and the subject matter is beginning to mock me. 

I’m beginning to feel like a lounge lizard, and people are noticing that I just hang around

 The word here, a word there, oh for the push to add another word!  Well, the wait ever end?

The subject matter you taunt me.   I listen to a song and read a text, in the hope of obtaining you.

I want to remember, just to remember that I should be remembering, but alas, I forgot.

- Tosh Berman, July 1, 2017

Friday, June 30, 2017

"How To Be A Man: A Guide to Style and Behavior for the Modern Gentleman" by Glenn O'Brien (Rizzoli)

I'll read anything by the late and great Glenn O'Brien.  He wasn't the easiest writer to follow, since he moved around a lot from one publication to another, and had various positions in the commercial world for the fashion and magazine industry.  I discovered him when he wrote his music column in Interview Magazine sometime in the 1970s.  His wit and style came out when he wrote brief pieces on the bands that were performing in NYC during the height of the punk era.  "How To Be a Man: A Guide To Style and Behavior for The Modern Gentleman" is his masterpiece.

On the surface, this is a guidebook for the guy who is trying to improve himself, but there is something textural in this book that goes very deep into one's consciousness.  O'Brien wrote a column for GQ, and I suspect that this book is a collection of his writings from that publication.  The interesting thing is that it starts off with the subject matter of what it is like to a male in the 21st century, but then goes off on different tangents regarding class, politics, and how one carries himself in a world that seems pointless at times.  O'Brien makes sense of the chaos and gives advice in how one can handle themselves in this world of uncertainty.

O'Brien quotes Oscar Wilde (duh), Boris Vian, and various European and American authors, as well as dipping into the contemporary arts and music.  His range of interest is endless, and his love for culture is like a bottomless well. It never ends.  The book's format is tight chapters on specific subject matters.  "Socks," "Underwear," Shirts, and so forth.   It eventually springs to the topic of aging and death.   Since O'Brien passed away recently, it is quite moving (and hysterical) to read these later chapters in this book.  If one likes the essay writings of John Waters, then for sure, you will love Glenn O'Brien, and especially this book.   Lots of good advice, but it is also a great way of spending time with a unique character.  

Monday, June 26, 2017

"Vinyl Freak : Love Letters to a Dying Medium" by John Corbett (Duke)

ISBN: 978-0-8223-6366-8 Duke University Press

Perhaps it's due to my mood at the moment, but "Vinyl Freak" is the best book I have read on record collecting, or to be more specific, for the love of vinyl and music discovery. First of all, I read this book due to my friend Amber Noé, who suggested to me at a bookstore. She doesn't (at the moment) share my love for the vinyl world, but still, it was sweet of her to find this book for me. Second, I may only know eight albums here that the author John Corbett writes about. All, are obscure Jazz or experimental music albums. To say that they are obscure is like saying the night is dark. I never heard of these artists or their music. So, what is the purpose of someone like me reading a book on someone's collection that is mostly, if not all, entirely unknown?

Corbett recognizes the importance of sharing one's love of a collection and showing it to someone else. He not only shows this body of work but also explains what and where they came from. It's a geek book of course, but a very generous one, where the reader doesn't feel left out of the information or more importantly, the passion of such a collection.

The book is beautifully designed in that every album he writes about we can see the record cover as well. All entries listed here are not on CD or streaming, as of the publication's date. If you're a music collector, all this will do is make one keep a list to check out later. Corbett also writes an essay on the issues of collecting and his history of his passion. There is also an excellent piece at the end of the book regarding his over-the-top passion: Sun Ra. I sense there will be a separate detailed account of that subject matter in another book by Corbett. Nevertheless, this has been a total fun read for me and made me re-think what I do with my music blog regarding my collection. Learn from the master!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

"The Dream Colony: A Life in Art" by Walter Hopps (Bloomsbury USA), 2017

ISBN: 978-1632865298
Since my dad Wallace Berman is in the narrative of Walter Hopps own narrative, I was a little nervous to open up and read his memoir.  The fact is, there is a chapter here focusing on my father, and it is one of the best things I have read on Wallace.  On the other hand, Wallace did a solo show at the Ferus Gallery, where he got busted for pornography (this is the 1950s!), and the exhibition was closed down by the LAPD.   When my dad got some friends to go pick up the artwork from the gallery, the works went missing.  According to Walter in this book, my father destroyed the works.  This is not the case.  Someone at the gallery either caused the works to go missing, or they destroyed the artworks.   Either by accident or design, the whole exhibition disappeared. And without bitterness on my part, I feel Walter and Ed Kienholz are responsible for these works missing, due that they are the Ferus Gallery at the time.   Still, Wallace and Walter were very close friends.  I remember Walter from my childhood with fond memories.

"The Dream Colony" is an excellent memoir.  Although I do disagree with certain things (like above) and making it sound like my dad didn't like Irving Blum, which as far as I know is not the case at all - is a superb look of the Los Angeles art scene as well as an excellent series of narratives from Walter.  Reading the book I can hear his voice, and there is at least one great (and usually) hysterical story per page.  This is not a stuffy art bio or autobiography; this is the world seen through Walter's eyes.  He was a remarkable and very articulate lover of art.  He wasn't schooled in a specific school.  Walter allowed himself to roam through art collections and he pretty much knew art in a very instinct manner.

He was a man of great taste and had the brilliant talent of being in the right place at the right time.   Walter never wrote anything as far as I know.  He mostly dictated his essays and introductions to catalog through another's typing.  Everything here that Walter says about himself is basically true, and his lateness in doing things was legendary.   Still, he had the vision of giving my dad his first (and only, in his lifetime) gallery show, as well as giving Marcel Duchamp his first retrospective in Pasadena.  I was there at the Duchamp opening!

Deborah Treisman and Anne Doran did a fantastic job in editing this book.  Ed Ruscha's introduction is smart, warm, and entirely correct. I know it must be difficult to do a project like this, especially after Walter's passing.  "The Dream Colony," I think is one of the better books regarding the art world of the 20th century.  Walter always struck me as a romantic figure, and I can understand those who are seduced or swayed by his presence and thoughts on art.   He was the real deal.  And yes, I don't agree on certain narratives that run in this book, it is still Walter's story - and that is not a bad thing at all.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

"Beat Boy" by Tosh Berman & City Lights Publishers

As an author, I'm very happy to be part of the City Lights Publishers' family. It's a great honor to be among Allen Ginsberg, Frank O'Hara, Antonin Artaud, Rene Daumel, Neil Cassidy, Jack Kerouac, Paul Bowles, Bill Burroughs, Diane diPrima, Andre Breton, David Meltzer, Huey Newton, Pasolini, Angela Davis, Kevin Killian, Jacques Prévert, Bataille and so many others. And me! My memoir "Beat Boy" is coming shortly. - Tosh Berman.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Marek Hłasko's "Beautiful Twentysomethings"

ISBN: 978-0-87580-477-4 NIU Press

Due to my newly interest in the Polish composer/musician Krzysztof Komeda, I discovered "Beautiful Twentysomethings" by Marek Hłasko. It may be the case Hłasko killed Komeda in a drunken mishap in the woods near Los Angeles in the late 1960s. Hłasko was very guilty what happened to his friend, and eventually, within a week he died in Germany. Both were friends of Roman Polanski - who is a guy that seems to have bad luck as his permanent friend. 

Hłasko is described as the James Dean of Polish literature, and that may be the case, but to me, he really reminds me of the French poet and author Blaise Cendrars. Both are guys-guy and there is a certain amount of charm that runs with Hłasko, even though it sounds like he was a nightmare of a person to actually know or be a friend of. "Beautiful Twentysomethings" is Hłasko's memoir, which sometimes reads like a rant and at times literary criticism on his fellow Polish authors and Russian literature as well. He was very fond of noir films and knows a lot about the cinema. His observations on Humprey Bogart is pretty fantastic. He would have made a great film critical writer/journalist. Alas, I don't think that happened. 

This is a fascinating book on what it's like to live in Poland during the 1950s, and really living the life in the rough with no dough and a heavy drinking lifestyle. He wanders over to Israel and Paris, but he is a man who doesn't really have a home. He is at home in bars, the streets, and reading books. Handsome devil he was, he could have been a world literature figure, but nothing seem to connect for him. Oddly enough this is not a depressing read, due to his character in that he's funny. Hłasko writes and expresses serious issues, but it's in the style of the wise guy in the street, who's whispering devilish things to you that can be dangerous. A fascinating post-war figure, whose insight will be welcome by those who want to study European life during those times, but also a great introduction to a very interesting writer. 

Saturday, May 27, 2017

"1966: The Year the Decade Exploded" by Jon Savage (Faber & Faber)

ISBN: 978-0571277629

I'll follow Jon Savage anywhere, especially to one of my favorite year: 1966.   I turned 12 that year, and I was very much into buying or receiving music at the time. I also had an intense curiosity about what's happening in England.  I was of course, aware of the Fab Four and the Stones, but I knew there were bands like The Small Faces, The Move and of course, shows as "Shindig" exposed me to other bands/artists of that year.  Oddly enough, there was so much great music from that era - and Savage opens the door to the reader that is 1966.  

According to Savage, '66 is the year where the 60s started to happen.  Acid (LSD) was hitting the teenage market, and politics, due to racial and Vietnam, were impossible to ignore.  Also, 1966 was the year when things got psychedelic, but at the same time, it got darker.  Things were groovy, but there were signs that things will turn to shit around the corner.  In a remarkable feat of excellent writing/reporting, Savage captures these series of moments in what I think was a correct and realistic manner.  There are at least four locations here in the book:  Los Angeles, London, San Francisco, and New York City.   The book has 12 chapters, representing each month in 1966, and the focus to start off the discussion is usually a very obscure 45 rpm single.   Perhaps 1966 was the last year of the single as an artform.   Not saying that were not great 45 rpm work in the future, but as a statement, for example, The Beach Boys' "Good Vibrations" which took months for them to complete.  

The book covers a lot of ground.  Savage doesn't forget feminism, gay liberation, students, and cinema as well as the music world/scene.  He covers Joe Meek to Country Joe and The Fish.   It's a large book that is over 500 pages, with an incredible discography.   Savage is an obsessed music lunatic, who can write and think objectively but also very pointed in his view of that world.  It's that balancing act and his intelligence that makes him such a great social historian.  

"To Hell With The Ugly" by Boris Vian (Vernon Sullivan) TamTam Books

To Hell with the Ugly

Et on Tuera Tous Les Affreux

By Boris Vian. Translated and Introduction by Paul Knobloch. Drawings by Jessica Minckley.

First published in French in 1948, To Hell with the Ugly saw Boris Vian's noir-novelist pseudonym Vernon Sullivan take on Vian's own burlesque pop sensibilities. An erotic crime novel with science fiction tendencies, Sullivan's third outing is described by its translator as "a pornographic Hardy Boys novel set on the Island of Dr. Moreau to a be-bop soundtrack." To Hell with the Ugly recounts the tale of Rock Bailey, a dashing 19-year-old lad determined to hold onto his virginity amidst the postwar jazz-club nightlife of Los Angeles-a resolution challenged by the machinations of the demented Doctor Markus Schutz, who has decided to breed beautiful human beings and found a colony in which ugliness is a genetic crime. Vian's brutal depictions of American race relations in his previous Sullivan novels here give way to a frenetic fantasy of eugenics and uniformity-a parodic anticipation of the cosmetic surgery that was to rule Hollywood over the coming decades, as well as a comic-book reflection on Nazi Germany's visions of a master race. With the novel's breathless domino tumble of fist fights, car chases, kidnappings, and murders, Vian here set out to out-Hollywood Hollywood, serving up a narrative cocktail of Raymond Chandler, H.G.Wells, Brave New World and Barbarella.


CATALOG: SPRING 2012 P. 47    
ISBN 9780966234664 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $15.95 CDN $17.50

"The Death Instinct" by Jacques Mesrine (TamTam Books)

The Death Instinct

By Jacques Mesrine. Introduction by Robert Greene. Translation by Robert Greene, Catherine Texier.

France's Public Enemy Number One from the late 1960s to the end of the 1970s--when he was killed by police in a sensational traffic shootout--Jacques Mesrine (1936–1979) is the best-known criminal in French history. Mesrine was notorious both for his violent exploits and for the media attention he attracted, and he remains very much a public media figure in France and Europe. In 2008 there were two feature-length films based on his life, one of them starring Vincent Cassel in the lead role. Mesrine wrote The Death Instinct while serving time in the high-security prison La Santé; the manuscript was smuggled out of the prison and was later published by Guy Debord's publisher Gérard Lebovici (who briefly adopted Mesrine's daughter, Sabrina, before being assassinated, a few years after Mesrine). The Death Instinct deals with the early years of Mesrine's criminal life, including a horrifically graphic description of a murder he committed early on in his career and a highly detailed account of the workings of the French criminal underworld--making this book perhaps one of the most intriguing and detailed anthropological studies of a criminal culture ever written.


PAPERBACK, 6 X 9 IN. / 325 PGS.
CATALOG: FALL 2014 P. 77    
ISBN 9780966234688 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $16.95 CDN $20.00

"The Dead All Have The Same Skin" by Boris Vian (Vernon Sullivan) TamTam Books

The Dead All Have The Same Skin

By Boris Vian. Introduction by Marc Lapprand. Translated by Paul Knobloch.

Vian’s second noir novel under the Vernon Sullivan pseudonym is a brutal tale of racism in postwar New York City, as protagonist Daniel Parker is blackmailed by a long lost brother. Also included is the short story “Dogs, Desire and Death,” and Vian’s account of the controversies surrounding his previous novel I Spit on your Graves.
Literary Hub
Appropriation and racial confusion themselves become motifs; the book reads like the nightmare of a person having an extreme identity crisis.


CATALOG: SPRING 2012 P. 47    
ISBN 9780966234657 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $17.00 CDN $20.00

"Red Grass" by Boris Vian (TamTam Books)

Red Grass

By Boris Vian. Introduction by Marc Lapprand. Translation by Paul Knobloch.

Boris Vian (1920–1959) was a magnificent jack-of-all-trades--actor, jazz critic, engineer, musician, playwright, songwriter, translator--not to mention the leading social light of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés scene. His third major novel, Red Grass is a provocative narrative about an engineer, Wolf, who invents a bizarre machine that allows him to revisit his past and erase inhibiting memories. A frothing admixture of Breton, Freud, Carroll, Hammett, Kafka and Wells, Red Grass is one of Vian’s finest and most enduring works, a satire on psychoanalysis--which Vian wholly and vigorously disapproved of--that inflects science fiction with dark absurdity and the author’s great wit. Much in the novel can be regarded as autobiography, as our hero attempts to liberate himself from past traumatic events in the arenas of religion, social life and--of course--sex. Red Grass is translated by Vian scholar Paul Knobloch.


PAPERBACK, 5.75 X 8.5 IN. / 230 PGS.
CATALOG: SPRING 2013 P. 69    
ISBN 9780966234695 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $15.95 CDN $17.50

"Lun*na Menoh" A Ring Around The Collar" (TamTam Books)

Lun*na Menoh: A Ring Around The Collar

Introduction by Leslie Dick.

For 14 years, Los Angeles–based artist, fashion designer and musician Lun*na Menoh has been exploring the many unexpected possibilities of the dirty shirt collar, producing paintings, sculptures, music, DVDs, performance art and fashion shows inspired by this lowly, ubiquitous aspect of clothing. The collar is a fashion boundary--the dividing line between what is hidden by clothing and the body that emerges from the cloth--and the stains commonly found there often confound sartorial panache, a fact which Menoh takes as the mischievous starting point for her work. Lun*na Menoh: A Ring Around the Collar documents the paintings included in this series, as well as Menoh’s performance art and fashion shows. Included with this book is a flexi-disc with two songs by the artist’s band, Les Sewing Sisters, and an introduction by acclaimed author Leslie Dick.


CATALOG: FALL 2014 P. 138    
ISBN 9780985272418 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $59.95 CDN $70.00

"In The Words of Sparks... Selected Lyrics" by Ron Mael & Russell Mael (TamTam Books)

In The Words of Sparks...Selected Lyrics

Edited by Ron Mael, Russell Mael. Introduction by Morrissey.

Sparks--the long-running duo of Ron and Russell Mael--are among the most respected songwriters of their generation, their songs ranking alongside those of Ray Davies (The Kinks having been a formative influence), George Gershwin, Cole Porter and Stephen Sondheim. Formed in Los Angeles in 1971, Sparks have issued over 20 albums and scored chart hits with songs such as “This Town Ain’t Big Enough for Both of Us,” “Cool Places” and “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth.” While their musical style has changed dramatically over the course of 40 years--embracing the British Invasion sound of the 60s, glam rock, disco (they teamed up with Giorgio Moroder for 1979’s “No. 1 in Heaven”) and even techno--their work has consistently stretched the boundaries of pop music and the song form. Sparks continue to break new ground: they are currently working on a project with filmmaker Guy Maddin and are soon to embark on a world tour. Now, for the first time, the Mael brothers have chosen their favorite Sparks lyrics (to some 75 songs), editing and correcting them for presentation in In the Words of Sparks. As James Greer--novelist and former member of Guided by Voices--comments, “Sparks-level wordplay is a gift, and more than that, an inspiration.” This book also includes a substantial introduction by fellow Los Angeles resident and longtime fan, Morrissey.


HARDCOVER, 4.25 X 6.75 IN. / 200 PGS.
CATALOG: SPRING 2013 P. 50    
ISBN 9780985272401 TRADE
LIST PRICE: $24.95 CDN $27.50