Current Events
Featured Items
Change Your Underwear Twice a Week: Lessons from the Golden Age of Classroom Filmstrip
Change Your Underwear Twice a Week
Lessons from the Golden Age of Classroom Filmstrip
Paperback      ISBN: 1579652638

In the pre-Internet, pre-VCR--oh, go ahead, call them prehistoric--days of baby boomers' grade school, the high art of audiovisual classroom programming was the filmstrip. If you're old enough, you remember the darkened room, the hum of the projector, and the beeep that signaled the teacher to turn to the next frame.

If you weren't busy shooting spitballs, filmstrips might even have taught you something about science, hygiene, the great bounty of American farms and factories. With simple illustrations and quaint photographs that evoke a more innocent era, Change Your Underwear Twice a Week is the first book to collect dozens of these filmstrip treasures together, creating a panorama of four decades of overlooked graphic design, popular culture, and inadvertent humor.

Readers from the Internet generation will get a good chuckle over what appears to be electronic cave art. But you'll also discover one of the great subtexts of postwar American life. From the mid-1940s until the late 1960s, filmstrips were the coming attractions of capitalism and the American way, teaching youngsters how society wanted them to view the world.

Filmstrips celebrated our foundering railroads ("Tommy Takes a Train Trip"), the space program ("The Moon, Our Nearest Neighbor"), and our trusted friend the butcher, the milkman, the mailman, and the cop. They taught us not to sit too close to our new TV sets and why we should change our underwear twice a week (presumably, Commies did this only once a week).

A chronicle of America's filmstrip experience, Change Your Underwear Twice a Week is also a glimpse into the companies and eccentric pioneers who created these graphic gems and how they influenced several generations of American youth.

Hip: The History
Hip
The History
Paperback      ISBN: 0060528184

What is "hip?" We can all recognize it when we see it, and yet very few manage to achieve true hipster status. But the meaning of hip goes far beyond an artsy movie or the right pair of sunglasses. Hip's impact belongs to the mainstream, permeating our language, music, literature, fashion, and commerce. From the conservative to the most socially daring, large numbers of Americans hold a nearly identical vision of this inherently subjective standard.

In his book debut, New York Times reporter John Leland tracks the evolution of hip, and how it helped America shape its view of itself. Hip: A History is ultimately the story of the development of American popular culture over the 20th Century. While the racial, economic and philosophical tensions that gave rise to "hip" a century ago have not gone away, they have evolved. And so has hip, as it continues to shape and be shaped by our national character.

John Leland is a reporter for the New York Times. His first journalism job was as one of the founding writers and editors of Spin magazine in 1984. Hip: A History is John Leland's first book. He lives in New York City's East Village with his wife and son.

"Who knew the story of Hip is actually the story of America? This is a nuanced, informative, enjoyable read that takes us from Africa to African Americans, deep into the cultural gumbo that is America. Hip: The History is the seminal work on the topic and a must read for all you hipsters " -- Fab 5 Freddy
Let It Blurt: The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic
Let It Blurt
The Life and Times of Lester Bangs, America's Greatest Rock Critic
Paperback      ISBN: 0767905091
Let It Blurt is the raucous and righteous biography of Lester Bangs (1949-82)--the gonzo journalist, gutter poet, and romantic visionary of rock criticism. No writer on rock 'n' roll ever lived harder or wrote better--more passionately, more compellingly, more penetratingly. He lived the rock 'n' roll lifestyle, guzzling booze and Romilar like water, matching its energy in prose that erupted from the pages of Rolling Stone, Creem, and The Village Voice. Bangs agitated in the seventies for sounds that were harsher, louder, more electric, and more alive, in the course of which he charted and defined the aesthetics of heavy metal and punk. He was treated as a peer by such brash visionaries as Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Richard Hell, Captain Beefheart, The Clash, Debbie Harry, and other luminaries.

Let It Blurt is a scrupulously researched account of Lester Bangs's fascinating (if often tawdry and unappetizing) life story, as well as a window on rock criticism and rock culture in their most turbulent and creative years. It includes a never-before-published piece by Bangs, the hilarious "How to Be a Rock Critic," in which he reveals the secrets of his dubious, freeloading trade.
Reefer Madness: Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market
Reefer Madness
Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market
Paperback      ISBN: 0618446702

America's black market is much larger than we realize, and it affects us all deeply, whether or not we smoke pot, rent a risqu video, or pay our kids' nannies in cash. In Reefer Madness the best-selling author of Fast Food Nation turns his exacting eye on the underbelly of the American marketplace and its far-reaching influence on our society. Exposing three American mainstays -- pot, porn, and illegal immigrants -- Eric Schlosser shows how the black market has burgeoned over the past several decades. He also draws compelling parallels between underground and overground: how tycoons and gangsters rise and fall, how new techonology shapes a market, how government intervention can reinvigorate black markets as well as mainstream ones, and how big business learns -- and profits -- from the underground.
Reefer Madness is a powerful investigation that illuminates the shadow economy and the culture that casts that shadow.

Miserable Miracle: Mescaline
Miserable Miracle
Mescaline
Paperback      ISBN: 1590170016

"This book is an exploration. By means of words, signs, drawings. Mescaline, the subject explored." In Miserable Miracle, the great French poet and artist Henri Michaux, a confirmed teetotaler, tells of his life-transforming first encounters with a powerful hallucinogenic drug. At once lacerating and weirdly funny, challenging and Chaplinesque, his book is a breathtaking vision of interior space and a piece of stunning writing wrested from the grip of the unspeakable.

Includes forty pages of black-and-white drawings.
The Encyclopedia of Stupidity
The Encyclopedia of Stupidity
Paperback      ISBN: 1861891970

Matthijs van Boxsel believes that no one is intelligent enough to understand their own stupidity. In The Encyclopaedia of Stupidity he shows how stupidity manifests itself in all areas, in everyone, at all times, proposing that stupidity is the foundation of our civilization.
In short sections with such titles as The Blunderers Club, Fools in Hell, Genealogy of Idiots, and The Aesthetics of the Empty Gesture, stupidity is analysed on the basis of fairy tales, cartoons, triumphal arches, garden architecture, Baroque ceilings, jokes, flimsy excuses and science fiction. But Van Boxsel wants to do more than just assemble a shadow cabinet of wisdom; he tries to fathom the logic of this opposite world. Where do understanding and intelligence begin and end? He examines mythic fools such as Cyclops and King Midas, cities such as Gotham, archetypes including the dumb blonde, and traditionally stupid animals such as the goose, the donkey and the headless chicken.
Van Boxsel posits that stupidity is a condition for intelligence, that blunders stimulate progress, that failure is the basis for success. In this erudite and witty book he maintains that our culture is the product of a series of failed attempts to comprehend stupidity.
"

Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the 20th Century
Lipstick Traces
A Secret History of the 20th Century
Paperback      ISBN: 0674535812

This is a secret history of modern times, told by way of what conventional history tries to exclude. Lipstick Traces tells a story as disruptive and compelling as the century itself. Hip, metaphorical and allusive...--Gail Caldwell, Boston Sunday Globe. Full-color illustrations and halftones.

The Pirates and the Mouse: Disney's War Against the Underground
The Pirates and the Mouse
Disney's War Against the Underground
Hardcover      ISBN: 156097530x

The novelist and essayist Bob Levin recounts this rollicking saga with humor, wit, intelligence, and skill, bringing alive the times, the issues, the absurdities, the personalities, the changes wrought within them and us all. Includes never-before seen art from the Air Pirates archives Two excerpted chapters of this book in The Comics Journal in 2001 proved to be one of the magazine's most popular features in recent memory. Black-and-white illustrations throughout.
Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Techno Logy
Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder
Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Techno Logy
Paperback      ISBN: 0679764895

Finalist for Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction
Finalist for National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction

Pronged ants, horned humans, a landscape carved on a fruit pit--some of the displays in David Wilson's Museum of Jurassic Technology are hoaxes. But which ones? As he guides readers through an intellectual hall of mirrors, Lawrence Weschler revisits the 16th-century wonder cabinets that were the first museums and compels readers to examine the imaginative origins of both art and science.
Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories
Stranger Than Fiction
True Stories
Paperback      ISBN: 0385722222

Chuck Palahniuk's world has always been, well, different from yours and mine. In his first collection of nonfiction, Chuck Palahniuk brings us into this world, and gives us a glimpse of what inspires his fiction.At the Rock Creek Lodge Testicle Festival in Missoula, Montana, average people perform public sex acts on an outdoor stage. In a mansion once occupied by The Rolling Stones, Marilyn Manson reads his own Tarot cards and talks sweetly to his beautiful actress girlfriend. Across the country, men build their own full-size castles and rocketships that will send them into space. Palahniuk himself experiments with steroids, works on an assembly line by day and as a hospice volunteer by night, and experiences the brutal murder of his father by a white supremacist. With this new direction, Chuck Palahniuk has proven he can do anything.