Painters, Photographers, Rappers, and Andrew Lloyd Webber | Arts Previews, Mar. 2018

Bonanos, Christopher. Flash: The Making of Weegee the Famous. Holt. Mar. 2018. 366p. ISBN 9781627793063. $30; ebk. ISBN 9781627793070. BIOGRAPHY/PHOTOGRAPHY
Famed for his gritty, sometimes lurid shots, particularly of mid-century New York, Arthur Fellig was nicknamed Weegee (from the Ouija board) for his spooky ability to arrive at the scene of a crime almost before the police. Bonanos, a senior editor at New York magazine, chronicles Weegee’s rise from young, self-taught immigrant to flashbulb-bright celebrity. With 30 photographs.

Gordon, Robert. Memphis Rent Party: The Blues, Rock & Soul in Music’s Hometown. Bloomsbury USA. Mar. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9781632867735. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781632867759. MUSIC
Without Memphis, we’d hardly have blues, soul, or rock ‘n’ roll, so even though the city is no longer the beating heart of popular music, revisiting its past and those influenced (worldwide) by its musicians is a trip worth taking. Gordon, author of the acclaimed Can’t Be Satisfied: The Life and Times of Muddy Waters and a Best Album Notes Grammy Award winner, has been writing about his hometown’s music for three decades and here collects published and unpublished essays.

Hannah, Duncan. Twentieth-Century Boy: Notebooks of the Seventies. Knopf. Mar. 2018. 480p. ISBN 9781524733391. $28.95; ebk. ISBN 9781524733407. Downloadable: Random Audio. MEMOIR/ARTS
A respected painter whose works hang in the Minneapolis Art Institute and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Hannah made a name for himself (while tending toward figurative painting) even as he partied his way through the darkly glitzy 1970s New York art world. Here he draws directly from notebooks he kept at the time to present a you-are-there experience. Along the way, we get to meet Patti Smith, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, and more. To be serialized in the Paris Review.

Hawkins, Lamont “U-God.” Raw: My Journey into the Wu-Tang. Picador. Mar. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9781250191168. $26; ebk. ISBN 9781250191182. MEMOIR/MUSIC
The Wu-Tang Clan boasts seven gold and platinum studio albums and was proclaimed the best rap group ever by Rolling Stone, but there’s more to learn. Here’s a first-ever chance to get the full story, told by one of the group’s founding members. Look for a national tour and library marketing.

Lloyd Webber, Andrew. Unmasked. Harper. Mar. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9780062424204. $28.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062424228. lrg. prnt. MEMOIR/MUSIC
If I have to tell you who Andrew Lloyd Webber is, you clearly live on the moon, but just to earn my keep I’ll point out that three Lloyd Webber productions are currently playing on Broadway: School of Rock, Cats, and The Phantom of the Opera, Broadway’s longevity champ. In this work, the multi-multi-award-winning composer recalls his life, starting with his pet monkey–owing mum, and limns his creative process. With a 100,000-copy first printing.

Press, Joy. Stealing the Show: How Women Are Revolutionizing Television. Atria. Mar. 2018. 272p. ISBN 9781501137716. $26. TELEVISION
Women like Shonda Rhimes, Lena Dunham, Tina Fey, Amy Schumer, and Mindy Kaling are indeed revolutionizing television, and here’s a look at  backstory (Roseanne, Murphy Brown) as well as current success. From longtime critic/editor Press, who’s covered television and entertainment generally at the Village Voice, Salon, and the Los Angeles Times.

Purdum, Todd S. Something Wonderful: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Broadway Revolution. Holt. Mar. 2018. 352p. ISBN 9781627798341. $32; ebk. ISBN 9781627798358. MUSIC
A contributing editor at Vanity Fair and a senior writer at Politico, Purdum is a man of wide interests: his previous works, A Time of Our Choosing and An Idea Whose Time Has Come, covered Iraq and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, respectively. His new work explains how Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II transformed musical theater, creating a seamless mix in which song and dance numbers served to advance the drama.

Scovell, Nell. Just the Funny Parts: My 30 Years on the Hollywood Jungle Gym. Dey Street: HarperCollins. Mar. 2018. 288p. ISBN 9780062473486. $27.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062473509. MEMOIR
Scovell is a former Late Night writer with plenty of Hollywood insider stories to tell. But because she has felt the need to speak out about the male-dominated and sometimes hostile environment of late-night TV after David Letterman revealed that he had had sex with staffers, her memoir morphs into a treatment of sexual politics in the entertainment world. Originally scheduled for March 2017.

Walsh, Ryan H. Astral Weeks: A Secret History of 1968. Penguin Pr. Mar. 2018. 368p. ISBN 9780735221345. $27; ebk. ISBN 9780735221352. MUSIC
Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison’s second studio album, Astral Weeks was released in 1968 to an initially quiet reception but then roared to life and is now generally proclaimed one of the best albums ever recorded. Musician/journalist Walsh tells the story, focusing on its origins in countercultural Boston and offering a cast that includes Howard Zinn, James Brown, Timothy Leary, Andy Warhol, and numerous visionary types that helped turn the mystical song cycle into a lasting phenomenon.


Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

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