Apkon goes to great lengths to assay the obvious. Only in passing does he grant that the image does not exist in isolation,...

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THE AGE OF THE IMAGE

REDEFINING LITERACY IN A WORLD OF SCREENS

Debut author Apkon, executive director of the Jacob Burns Film Center, makes a strong case for the moving image as today’s primary form of communication. Yet, like many true believers, he pays short shrift to the cultural downside.

With the new technologies has come the democratization of media, writes the author. Inexpensive access to the tools and techniques of video and filmmaking enables us to circumvent the “elitist” gatekeepers of production companies and TV networks. Now it is possible for anyone who is visually literate to conceive, shoot and disseminate his or her own videos, influencing the world overnight. Visual media may be redefining the sorts of literacy we need to comprehend the digital age. Visual literacy also might better engage and prepare students in our flailing school system. However, Apkon spends too much time considering how students will enter the global economy and not enough examining what they might do of value within it. What does it matter if 20 million viewers see a YouTube video if that video is vacuous? While the author cautions that we must be sophisticated consumers of visual media, he ignores a worrisome byproduct: When anyone can make “art,” everyone will. What about talent and professional standards? Apkon’s scholarly rigor and generally cogent analysis are offset by his preoccupation with trivial achievements, the occasional slippage into pop psychology and a dismissive tone. He drips scorn on anyone who resists this inexorable visual tide, but one need not be a Luddite to recognize that not every innovation is an advance. Though a devotee of independent cinema, the author’s cultural touchstones appear to be famous Hollywood storytellers whose work is dominated by technically impressive yet empty entertainments.

Apkon goes to great lengths to assay the obvious. Only in passing does he grant that the image does not exist in isolation, that word and image are inextricable. After all, he required this ancient technology—a book—to communicate his ideas.

Pub Date: April 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-10243-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: March 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2013

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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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