A striking collection of images that ably spotlight the balletic artistry of board sports.

CONCRETE TO SALTWATER

Skateboarders and surfers defy gravity on a California beach in this vibrant photography book.

Averill, a photographer, surfer, and skateboarder, collects 10 years of his photos from the Venice, California, beach, which hosts an iconic surf culture as well as a thriving beachside skateboarding park (which, alas, is currently buried in sand because of COVID-19 restrictions). The setting offers a wealth of resonant visual juxtapositions. The ocean pictures feature surfers riding roughly 4-to-12-foot waves that curl into translucent green-blue pipes amid gorgeous beachscapes, where sea and sun mesh to drape the hills in a golden mist. The skateboard park is a riotous sea, frozen in stone, shaped in curves and undulations, and surfaced in perfectly smooth, gray concrete; it’s a terrain that looks simultaneously austere and sensuous through Averill’s lens. (A few photos cover excursions to grungier Los Angeles skateboarding sites, including a giant drainpipe and an abandoned swimming pool.) In part, the photos are an engaging fashion catalog; the surfers seem somewhat buttoned-down in their neoprene wetsuit uniforms, but the skateboarders feature a profusion of long hair and dreadlocks inside no-nonsense helmets and bulky padding on top of floridly tattooed skin, open to the sky. (Bridging the divide is a classic California tableau of a blond-haired woman in a bikini gliding along on a skateboard—while carrying a surfboard.) Still, there’s much commonality in the athleticism of surfers and skateboarders as they thread their ways along vertical surfaces and rocket off of them. Averill’s skateboard photos are particularly vivid in their portraits of elegant aerobatics; he captures the skaters high in midair, sometimes sideways or upside down, clinging nonchalantly—or not at all—to their flimsy boards. Their postures are crouched and twisted with spindly arms flung out for balance, yet poised and perfectly at ease. The result is a captivating vision of grace.

A striking collection of images that ably spotlight the balletic artistry of board sports.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-73337-370-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: The Hesperium Group, LLC

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

Basketball fans will enjoy Pippen’s bird’s-eye view of some of the sport’s greatest contests.

UNGUARDED

The Chicago Bulls stalwart tells all—and then some.

Hall of Famer Pippen opens with a long complaint: Yes, he’s a legend, but he got short shrift in the ESPN documentary about Michael Jordan and the Bulls, The Last Dance. Given that Jordan emerges as someone not quite friend enough to qualify as a frenemy, even though teammates for many years, the maltreatment is understandable. This book, Pippen allows, is his retort to a man who “was determined to prove to the current generation of fans that he was larger-than-life during his day—and still larger than LeBron James, the player many consider his equal, if not superior.” Coming from a hardscrabble little town in Arkansas and playing for a small college, Pippen enjoyed an unlikely rise to NBA stardom. He played alongside and against some of the greats, of whom he writes appreciatively (even Jordan). Readers will gain insight into the lives of characters such as Dennis Rodman, who “possessed an unbelievable basketball IQ,” and into the behind-the-scenes work that led to the Bulls dynasty, which ended only because, Pippen charges, the team’s management was so inept. Looking back on his early years, Pippen advocates paying college athletes. “Don’t give me any of that holier-than-thou student-athlete nonsense,” he writes. “These young men—and women—are athletes first, not students, and make up the labor that generates fortunes for their schools. They are, for lack of a better term, slaves.” The author also writes evenhandedly of the world outside basketball: “No matter how many championships I have won, and millions I have earned, I never forget the color of my skin and that some people in this world hate me just because of that.” Overall, the memoir is closely observed and uncommonly modest, given Pippen’s many successes, and it moves as swiftly as a playoff game.

Basketball fans will enjoy Pippen’s bird’s-eye view of some of the sport’s greatest contests.

Pub Date: Nov. 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-982165-19-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more