Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chapter 44: Book recommendations

Double meaning day!

So I'm looking for places to read on my upcoming tour. So far I'm doing gigs in Santa Cruz and Olympia, Washington. If anybody can think of any good places to book readings in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, SoCal or Oregon, leave a comment and let me know. I've been doing a lot of online research, trying to find open mics or reading series in Southern California. It's not easy to get up-to-date information. An article talks about the reading series. So you Google it, find a website. Website hasn't been updated since 2007. You find a blog. Blog hasn't been updated since '09. You go to the Facebook. Facebook hasn't been updated in three weeks and there's no contact emails. Argh! Slowly but surely, we're booking shows. I've always wanted to take a real road trip through this area of the country, so the excitement is building.

Speaking of reading, you must get this book:

I found this in a store the other day, quite randomly. It's hard to miss, being six hundred pages long. Now, I'm not a punk. I was into the scene for a while, going to the Mr. Roboto Project, but never felt comfortable, and honestly found most of the bands horrible (unless I was drunk). This book reminded me why the subculture is so fascinating. It is a huge, comprehensive and very opinionated collection of reviews, not only of movies about punk, or movies starring punks, but every movie in which a punk is onscreen. Seriously. If punks show up for five seconds, the movie makes it in there. In doing so, the authors paint a picture about how the mainstream reacted to punk rock after it came out in the 70s. A good deal of these flicks are schlocky '80s B-movies. It seems that directors in the '80s and '90s, in order to establish that a place was seedy or dangerous, would do so by sticking punks in there. It doesn't matter whether it made sense or not for a punk to be slam-dancing to Juliette Lewis in Strange Days. It's all about the power of the image.

The book is not just reviews. They interview punk movie luminaries, from Penelope Spheeris, director of the classic Suburbia, to the punk who flipped off Kirk and Spock in Star Trek 4. In doing so, they paint a picture of how film has analyzed, celebrated and exploited the image of the mohawked hooligan since the inception of the punk genre. This is not just a movie book. It is a valuable piece of sociology. Buy it. After you buy my book.

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