For neo-glamsters, a blueprint for how to get things done; for oldsters, a nostalgic look into a shining, glittery era.

“In the early seventies, decadence was what we’d nowadays call a ‘meme.’ ” The wide-ranging rock journalist probes the highs and lows of glam.

What was the first glam rock song ever released? Little Richard may be in the running, but for Reynolds (Retromania: Pop Culture’s Addiction to Its Own Past, 2011), the era begins in the later 1960s, when John’s Children began to morph into Tyrannosaurus Rex and then T. Rex, even as hippie Marc Bolan became hippie with platform heels. As the author writes, glam rock—the term is slippery, one of those “you know what I mean” things—was a reaction to the “earnestly uncamp” rock of the era, “when things got heavy and bluesy, rootsy and backwoodsy,” leaving kids like David Jones, soon to become David Bowie, out in the cold. The case of Bowie is instructive: reacting to a complaint from his father that he wasn’t bringing down enough income as a rocker, he divined that he could mix cabaret into his act, even if his first efforts were “deemed too clever for the cabaret circuit.” Then there’s the sexuality aspect of it: gay kids needed a way to rock, too, and in the face of the “drabness, the visual depletion of Britain in 1972,” they found a subculture in shag haircuts, high shoes, and feathers. For Bowie, interested not just in sex, but in its theatrical possibilities, glam was the way forward. With him came lesser bands that sometimes morphed into great ones: Slade, Mott the Hoople, Cockney Rebel, and particularly Roxy Music, whose 1973 album “For Your Pleasure” may be the finest moment in all of glam. Reynolds gets a little gluey when he gets theoretical—“other songs on “Roxy Music” aren’t disjointed horizontally (structural extension through time) but vertically (the layering together of jarring textures and incongruent emotions)”—but for the most part, this is straightforward music/cultural history.

For neo-glamsters, a blueprint for how to get things done; for oldsters, a nostalgic look into a shining, glittery era.

Pub Date: Oct. 11, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-227980-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016



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




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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