Time to load up the beach bag for summer reading. Here’s what I have so far:
That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick by Ellin Stein (W.W. Norton, $27.95). This is a terrific narrative of the comic revolution at the dawn of the 1970s. The book focuses on the epicenter of this comedy, National Lampoon, and its stars, Doug Kenney, Michael O’Donoghue and P.J. O’Rouke. The Lampoon was wickedly funny then and this well-crafted saga ought to help you appreciate the breakthroughs. One complaint: no illustrations. What’s up with that?
Lee Marvin Point Blank by Dwayne Epstein (Schaffner Press, @27.95). It’s time to revisit this movie tough guy, who’s been gone now for a quarter century. Epstein covers Marvin’s early life, his war record, and his steady rise from tough-guy and heavy roles to brutal leading man. Seems that Marvin excelled in every role he attempted, even as a singer in “Paint Your Wagon.”
I suspect the idea for this book comes from Chatman's successful writing career, which paved a path for other comedians to become famous by using Chatman's material on programs like The Chris Rock Show, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, South Park, Louie, and That's My Bush — which according to Wikipedia isn't the best failed game show you've never heard of. He also does the voice for South Park's Towelie, who fans will remember as "the worst character ever."
Because I don't have the tools to do this interview properly — I don't have the cash to hire the same incompetent essay writers who wrote half of Mindsploitation — I decided to copy Chatman's style and enlist his talents to complete various writing assignments I've been delaying. My apologies to those of you who started reading this interview expecting an analysis of the comedic process, or who want to know if using a urinal next to the creepily tall Conan O'Brien is as awkward as it seems.
Publisher's Description: Once again, Rachel Kramer Bussel has collected the year’s most challenging and provocative nonfiction articles on this endlessly evocative subject. The essays here comprise a detailed, direct survey of the contemporary American sexual landscape. Major commentators examine the many roles sex plays in our lives in these literate and lively essays. Judged by the Dr. Carol Queen, who is without peer, this stunning collection of sexsmart essays is sure to stir the heart, the brain, as well as other major organs.
We at CL apologize for the silliness of the following interview. It’s an affront to Tampa Bay readers and their cornpone sensibilities. Ultimately, it’s my fault for assigning the interview to Shawn Alff, a journalist famous for shirking duties and missing deadlines while he wallows carefree and naked on the sticky floors of airports and other public places. Shawn Alff could have done a better job of making this make sense. He could have talked about the value of 15 Views as a literary portrait of our community. He could have talked about the vibrancy of our local literary culture and brilliance of our local writers. Instead, he shirked and wallowed, leaving one more sticky mess of words to suck at the soles of our shoes. I’m sorry for Shawn Alff. I’m sorry for everything. I love you all.
—John Henry Fleming, editor of 15 Views of Tampa Bay—a collection of 15 linked stories by 15 local authors.
Publisher's Description: Like Freakonomics, Dollars and Sex takes economics and converts it into a sexy science by applying the principles of supply and demand, and other market forces, to matters of love, courtship, sex, and marriage. As she does in her popular blog, author Marina Adshade explores the marketplace for sex and love using research, economic analysis, and humor to reveal just how central the interplay of libido, gender, love, power, and economic forces is to the most important choices we make in our lives. Call it "Sexonomics."
At some point along the way she dated famed counterculture cartoonist Robert Crumb, and married novelist Geoff Nicholson. In 2001 she was recruited to be the Sexy Book editor for the powerhouse art publisher, Taschen. In this role she has acted somewhat as an erotic historian, serving as the main creative force behind such books as Vanessa Del Rio: 50 Years of Slightly Slutty Behavior, The Big Penis Book, The Big Book of Legs, The Big Book of Pussy, The Big Butt Book, and Dian Hanson's History of Pinup Magazines. Recently I had a chance to chat with Hanson about the sexual zeitgeist that fueled her latest collection, The New Erotic Photography 2.
Looking to make good on that resolution to read classic novels? The Oxford Exchange is hosting a book club complete with wine and a selection of delicious housemade hors d'oeuvres. The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald is the book club's first selection.
Pubisher's Description: In the wake of a divorce, science writer and single mother Kayt Sukel made herself a guinea pig in the labs of some unusual love experts to find out what science has to say about love. In each chapter of this edgy romp through the romantic brain, Sukel looks at a different aspect of love above the belt. What in your brain makes you love someone—or simply lust after them? (And is there really a difference?) Why do good girls like bad boys? Is monogamy practical? How thin is that line between love and hate? Do mothers have a stronger bond with their children than their fathers do? How do our childhood experiences affect our emotional control? Should you be taking an oxytocin supplement to improve your luck in love? Who is most at risk for love addiction? In her search for truth, Sukel also has an fMRI during orgasm, ponders a cure for heartbreak, and samples a pheromone spray called Boarmate.
The book begins with a postcard from the grandfather of depraved comics (Stan Lee's evil twin), R. Crumb — a man who made a career illustrating gritty tales of losers and antiheroes. Crumb writes that he would love to contribute to the collection if he had ever been in a Nevada brothel or used the services of a professional sex worker. In some ways this preface symbolizes the passing of the pen to a new generation of experimental artists who will venture even farther into the unlit realms of the human experience. I caught up with Ogilvie, the grand madam of this collection, to shed some light on the story behind the graphic stories in Lust to Dust.