Monday, November 06, 2006

Bad Girls Book Club

(Image courtesy of Mina Lee Studio Art)

This month's reading selections:
Dirty Blonde by Courtney Love
Love writes in her introduction: "I have always said that I would never write a book, and I really haven't." It's true—"diaries" is something of a misnomer, as "scrapbooks" would more accurately describe the collection of old photographs, hand-scrawled song lyrics and other documents that fill these pages. The materials assembled by Stander cover every phase of the rock star's "wild pirate life," from a failed childhood audition for The Mickey Mouse Club to an e-mail exchange with Lindsay Lohan about dealing with negative press coverage. (The compilation is so up-to-date it even includes her shocked reactions to the revelations about JT Leroy.) Along the way there are mimeographed flyers for early Hole concerts, a picture of the actual heart-shaped box that inspired Kurt Cobain to write the Nirvana song and photo after photo of Love herself, from candid backstage shots to more polished celebrity portraits. A foreword by Carrie Fisher and an afterword by political activists Jennifer Baumgardner and Amy Richards (Manifesta) each, in their own way, celebrate Love as an unrestrained feminist, but the best way to understand her may be to plunge directly into the raw materials. One thing's for sure: you really have never seen a celebrity memoir like this.
- Publishers Weekly
***Courtney Love will be signing Dirty Blonde on Wednesday, 11/8, at 6 p.m.***
Pretty Things by Liz Goldwyn
A search for second-hand garments - "pretty things" - first prompted filmmaker Liz Goldwyn's lifelong fascination with the burlesque queens of the 1930s, '40s and '50s. After amassing a museum-worthy collection of their wardrobes and dancing paraphernalia, the enthusiastic young woman grew "convinced that every garment holds undiscovered revelations about its past lives." To learn more, she began contacting long-retired dancers and "through ten years of letters, visits, interviews and striptease lessons" documented their colorful - and sometimes tragic - stories. Tracing the evolution of this form of dancing from the Belle Époque to burlesque's mid-century heyday (which boasted such luminaries as Gypsy Rose Lee, Lily St. Cyr and Zorita), Goldwyn makes a convincing case for recognizing both the choreography and costume-making of this bygone era as a true art form. Fully illustrated with design notes, media clippings and hundreds of photos, this coffee table treasure serves as a companion book to the documentary film of the same name, which Goldwyn premiered on HBO in 2005. Ultimately, Goldwyn's contagious enthusiasm for her subject makes a fitting paean to this once-forgotten generation of women who led lives on the periphery of artistry and respectability.
- Publishers Weekly, starred review
*** Liz Goldwyn signed Pretty Things last week and we have autographed copies in stock***

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