PLEASE KILL ME

THE UNCENSORED ORAL HISTORY OF PUNK

Punk's chaotic energy and revolutionary spirit come through vividly in this mesmerizing account of American punk. For instance, Kathy Asheton notes, ``I remember the day of his [Iggy Pop's] wedding because that was the day Iggy and I started our romantic relationship.'' Legions of groupies and other American punk scene denizens are similarly heard from here, as are central figures, including Iggy, Richard Hell, Malcolm McLaren, and members of the Velvet Underground, the Patti Smith Group, et al. During the heyday of hippiedom, the Velvets, the Stooges, and the MC5 distinguished themselves by their refusal to have any part of the peace-and-love agenda. Their unromanticized visions of boredom, violence, drug use, and weird sex had little commercial appeal. But the Velvets' Lou Reed and especially the Stooges' drug-crazed Iggy Pop became icons for a generation of disaffected kids who identified with the impulse to roll around shirtless in broken glass while howling ``I Wanna Be Your Dog.'' In the early '70s the New York Dolls continued the tradition, combining goofy glamour and short, fast songs; the overdose death of the Dolls' first drummer cemented narcotics abuse as a central feature of the punk life. Authors McNeil, one of Punk magazine's founders, and McCain, a former promoter of downtown New York poetry readings, definitively assert punk's all-American origins; British impresario Malcolm McLaren tells here how he molded the Sex Pistols after patterns set by the Dolls and Richard Hell. Despite the astonishing prevalence of drug addiction, the New York bands and scene-makers of the mid-'70s, led by the Ramones, had splendid instincts for music and style, and most subsequent pop culture is to some degree indebted to them. An essential accompaniment to the first, still-thrilling punk records, this preposterously entertaining document just reeks with all the brilliance and filth of the Blank Generation. (illustrations, not seen)

Pub Date: July 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-8021-1588-8

Page Count: 456

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1996

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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