A sketchy, superficial treatment of a subject worthy of much more.

READ REVIEW

SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

SHAPING TV COMEDY AND AMERICAN CULTURE

This brief overview of the long-running, influential sketch-comedy show is brimming with facts but lacking in substance.

When Saturday Night Live premiered in 1975, it was bold, raw and revolutionary. It offered sharp, biting commentary on politics and other current events, as well as witty satirical pieces skewering all facets of American culture. Kaplan’s brief overview of the show chronicles its rise, impact upon popular culture, influence upon comedians and comedy programs that followed it, occasional controversies it stirred, and how it has served as a launching pad for a remarkable number of future stars in film and television. He is quite correct when he claims, “Saturday Night Live changed the way we think about comedians and comedy” and that it “paved the way for other provocative and intelligent comedy shows.” Unfortunately, Kaplan never elaborates on this statement, focusing instead on who were the most popular performers and what were the most popular catchphrases and describing some of the more notable sketches in the show’s history. He does pay some cursory attention to how the show evolved in its treatment of minority cast members. Another notable shortcoming is the singular attention given to the show’s star performers—there’s no mention made of the essential role writers had in making the show innovative and sustaining its longevity.

A sketchy, superficial treatment of a subject worthy of much more. (source notes, bibliography, further information, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-1086-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Twenty-First Century/Lerner

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist.

MAYA LIN

THINKING WITH HER HANDS

One of the world’s most celebrated creators of civic architecture is profiled in this accessible, engaging biography.

Similar in style and format to her Everybody Paints!: The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family (2014) and Wideness and Wonder: The Life and Art of Georgia O’Keeffe (2011), Rubin’s well-researched profile examines the career, creative processes, and career milestones of Maya Lin. Rubin discusses at length Lin’s most famous achievement, designing the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Chinese-American Lin was a reserved college student who entered and won the competition to design and build the memorial. Her youth and ethnicity were subjects of great controversy, and Rubin discusses how Lin fought to ensure her vision of the memorial remained intact. Other notable works by Lin, including the Civil Rights Memorial for the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama, a library and chapel for the Children’s Defense Fund, the Museum of Chinese in America, and the outdoor Wave Field project are examined but not in as much depth as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Attractively designed, the book is illustrated extensively with color photos and drawings.

An engaging, admiring, and insightful portrait of an uncompromising, civic-minded, visionary artist. (bibliography, source notes, index) (Biography. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4521-0837-7

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Chronicle

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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Though there are plenty of issues worthy of attention not addressed here, this lively effort serves well as a revealing,...

EYES & SPIES

HOW YOU'RE TRACKED AND WHY YOU SHOULD KNOW

From the Visual Exploration series

The word “Orwellian” is oddly absent in this chilling look at how we now live in a world of near-constant surveillance and data collection.

Kyi examines how information and data about almost everyone are collected and used by individuals, government agencies, companies, and other organizations. She poses three questions to readers: who’s watching, and why? Where is the line between public and private? How can you keep your secrets to yourself? These questions are addressed in chapters exploring such subjects as computer surveillance, cyberbullying, data mining, and personal privacy. There is discussion of such surveillance technologies as drones, GPS, and RFID tags. Although there is little here that does not seem creepy, “Creepy Line” sidebars in each chapter highlight controversial real-life scenarios and ask readers where they would set their own boundaries. That label refers to a statement from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who said the company’s policy was “to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.” There are also ongoing arguments posed for both increased security and increased privacy, encouraging readers to think critically about the issues.

Though there are plenty of issues worthy of attention not addressed here, this lively effort serves well as a revealing, thoughtful, and provocative introduction to a complex subject and alarming realities. (further reading, source notes, index) (Nonfiction. 12-16)

Pub Date: March 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-55451-911-8

Page Count: 140

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 26, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2017

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