A challenging but illuminating critique of female action heroes.

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THE DIGITAL WOMAN

ACTION WOMEN IN THE CYBERAGE

Debut author Fussfeld Cohen examines the rise of the female action hero in the digital age in this work of film criticism.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, video games and Hollywood movies began offering viewers something that they had not often seen before: female action heroes who behaved a lot like their male counterparts. (Think: Tomb Raider, Resident Evil, and Kill Bill.) Fussfeld Cohen argues that the primary reason for this trend was the newly available digital technology that allowed female characters to suddenly perform outside the physical constraints of the actresses portraying them. “By avoiding material limitations,” writes Fussfeld Cohen in the book’s preface, “the digital woman embodies a postgender reflection and articulates a new potential for a cultural change in a cybersociety that embraces digital technologies as a central means of expression.” By tracing the evolution of female heroes from the 1970s exploitation era (Foxy Brown, Charlie’s Angels) to contemporary depictions in works like The Hunger Games, Westworld, and Mass Effect, Fussfeld Cohen explores the various ways that female action protagonists have eroded, undermined, and upheld traditional understandings of womanhood. What’s more, Fussfeld Cohen uses these female characters as a lens to analyze the ways that digital technology has affected Western culture and the narratives we consume. The book is an outgrowth of Fussfeld Cohen’s doctoral research, and it reads as such, reflecting the specialized language of academic theory: “While forced to use hegemonic languages, the new diasporic cinema is regarded as creating hybrid combinations of images that express the disjunction between the visual and the verbal.” General readers might be turned off before they make it out of the introduction, but those who stick with it will find that Fussfeld Cohen has constructed a comprehensive study of this particular archetype. More interestingly, she has shown that the digital revolution has changed popular entertainment in more ways than simply allowing for more convincing green screen environments and better video game graphics. It has altered the way we consider gender, beauty, and the human body (for better and for worse). Suffice it to say, readers will go into their next summer blockbuster with a new perspective.

A challenging but illuminating critique of female action heroes.

Pub Date: Dec. 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-978336-18-6

Page Count: 214

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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MOMOFUKU MILK BAR

With this detailed, versatile cookbook, readers can finally make Momofuku Milk Bar’s inventive, decadent desserts at home, or see what they’ve been missing.

In this successor to the Momofuku cookbook, Momofuku Milk Bar’s pastry chef hands over the keys to the restaurant group’s snack-food–based treats, which have had people lining up outside the door of the Manhattan bakery since it opened. The James Beard Award–nominated Tosi spares no detail, providing origin stories for her popular cookies, pies and ice-cream flavors. The recipes are meticulously outlined, with added tips on how to experiment with their format. After “understanding how we laid out this cookbook…you will be one of us,” writes the author. Still, it’s a bit more sophisticated than the typical Betty Crocker fare. In addition to a healthy stock of pretzels, cornflakes and, of course, milk powder, some recipes require readers to have feuilletine and citric acid handy, to perfect the art of quenelling. Acolytes should invest in a scale, thanks to Tosi’s preference of grams (“freedom measurements,” as the friendlier cups and spoons are called, are provided, but heavily frowned upon)—though it’s hard to be too pretentious when one of your main ingredients is Fruity Pebbles. A refreshing, youthful cookbook that will have readers happily indulging in a rising pastry-chef star’s widely appealing treats.    

 

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-307-72049-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Clarkson Potter

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2011

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