I count my idols on one hand. When I was 18 I took a cross country road trip with my father during which we listened to Martin's LET'S GET SMALL on re...moreI count my idols on one hand. When I was 18 I took a cross country road trip with my father during which we listened to Martin's LET'S GET SMALL on repeat for the entire length of New Mexico. The trip confirmed a few beliefs, yes my father was the greatest man on the planet, and yes Steve Martin was a close second. Martin's stand-up has still never been rivaled, a perfect blend of absurd with a straight face, as if his goal was to make the joke fly over the audience's heads. Many times there weren't even jokes, no real punchlines or section to pause and laugh. To this day I can recite LET'S GET SMALL on cue from opening Banjo licks to his final Thank you's, which he gave to each and every audience member individually.
So many comedian memoirs tend towards one of two paths: "I am a comic and I will make you laugh" with the entire book being one punchline to the next, or "my life has been horrible, THIS is why I make people laugh". Born Standing Up never tries to make you laugh, nor does it try to make you pity Steve's struggling beginnings. It's sweet without venturing towards splenda, funny without ever trying, and inspiring to the point I gave it a hug when I finished. Oooh and it also settled a 10 year debate with an old college friend. (Ha, Jodie! See Steve Martin DID do all those rope tricks in Three Amigos!)
While Steve Martin as stand-up comedian will always be my favorite incarnation of the man, Steve Martin as writer deserves some applause as well. (less)
All true lovers of bad movies have to respect the role luchadores have played in the history of film. You haven't seen camp until you've seen the silv...moreAll true lovers of bad movies have to respect the role luchadores have played in the history of film. You haven't seen camp until you've seen the silver masked legend EL SANTO wrestle vampires to the ground and single handedly beat up a bunch of lepers (yes that's right, lepers). And who can ignore the equally revered BLUE DEMON in such films as "Blue Demon vs The Infernal Spiders" and the classic "Blue Demon vs The Infernal Brains". The man was good with infernal things I guess.
Now a love of bad movies was not the right reason to pick up this book, a rather detailed account of the history of lucha libre mexican wrestling with more of a focus on the blood-baths than on the glued on werewolf hair. The book in general took too personal an approach to the subject, the author being incredibly aware of himself. If this were marketed as a personal memoir about an American finding a love for the luchadore world I would have been more forgiving, but marketed as a history I was truly disapointed.
There were fantastic moments, such as learning the origin of the masks including the first mask maker. There also were enough old movie posters to satisy my bad-movie intentions and I did enjoy the personal lives of the legends of the sport, Santo and Blue Demon being given their own large sections. Did you know El Santo NEVER took over his mask in public during his career? And when he finally unmasked himself on a television show he died one week later? *insert DUNT DUNT DUNNNNN! here*
One thing I have to give this book credit for is the fantastic photographs. Eye-catching from afar, I was approached by more folks while reading this book than probably any other I've carried around. Single ladies out there, forget going to the bars, just walk around with this book open and surely you'll get hit on...though I can't promise the kind of fella that will be doling the hitting.
If you are a luchadore fan, you might want to check this out, but if you are new to the world of the sport this book isn't going to entice you to buy a mask and join the screaming crowds. (less)
I re-read this to prepare for my moderator job at the SPLAT: Graphic Novel Symposium. This book is filled with great interviews and overviews of some...moreI re-read this to prepare for my moderator job at the SPLAT: Graphic Novel Symposium. This book is filled with great interviews and overviews of some of the best webcomics out there, including three of my all-time favorites CAT AND GIRL, PIXEL, and PERRY BIBLE FELLOWSHIP. The interview with Chris Dlugosz is particularly funny and intriguing as he explains his beliefs in creative purism (aka his desire to make sure he never makes a cent off of his comic) and his strong beliefs on use of color...which goes on for about six paragraphs until he realizes half-way through the sixth that the book is being printed in black and white.
The thing that makes this book stand out isn't only that it's one of the few SERIOUS texts out there about comics on the web, but it's Ted Rall's interview style which feels more like intimate conversations than standard questionnaires. Also fantastic is the fact the book is filled with black-mail level pictures of the creators as kids, often showcasing their 80's computers and game systems behind large pairs of glasses.
Every morning before I put on pants and often while I put on pants I read webcomics. I think there are about 40 i follow on a fairly regular basis, which, considering there are probably 100,000 out there doesn't make a huge dent in the creative pool. Webcomics have become my morning savior, and I'm pretty darn sure I don't want to find out how to handle mornings without them. It's like the newspaper, if the newspaper actually had good comics...um...and no news.
Completely backwards of most hardcore comic fans (as I've become), before I ever read a comic book, before I ever picked up a graphic novel, I fell in love with webcomics. The amount of creative freedom, sense of community, and great work being done turns me into a giddy little kid every time I think about it. While I grew to love graphic novels, my heart will always belong to the DIY'ers on the web. (less)
Thinking about adopting a bunny. His name is Bunjamin Franklin. What more do I need?! (Other than to read this book a few more times. Tiny NYC apartme...moreThinking about adopting a bunny. His name is Bunjamin Franklin. What more do I need?! (Other than to read this book a few more times. Tiny NYC apartments may not be the best place for Bunjamin and a friend and I wouldn't want that Never-President-But-Shoulda-Been bunny to be sad. (less)
So much amazingness in such a small package! This book and bunnies are similar that way. For anyone into crafting/woodworking/or caring for tiny creat...moreSo much amazingness in such a small package! This book and bunnies are similar that way. For anyone into crafting/woodworking/or caring for tiny creatures this is a super helpful and creative book.(less)
I really think Eugene Mirman is the most original comedian in this generation. The book doesn't totally do him justice, since his delivery is a big pa...moreI really think Eugene Mirman is the most original comedian in this generation. The book doesn't totally do him justice, since his delivery is a big part of humor, but still a "i laugh-snorted on the train" read. (less)
Such a simple and brilliant book of modern photography and politics without a single word needed. The book just contains the official portraits of all...moreSuch a simple and brilliant book of modern photography and politics without a single word needed. The book just contains the official portraits of all of the political leaders involved in the UN in 2004. The variation of photograph style, from utterly candid to disturbingly staged/photoshopped could be discussed for hours. (less)
Beautifully laid out (they must know someone in graphic design or something). Engaging and incredibly informative, this is the best historic breakdown...moreBeautifully laid out (they must know someone in graphic design or something). Engaging and incredibly informative, this is the best historic breakdown of graphic styles in poster art that I have ever come across and lordy-lordy they sure don't skimp on the pictures. Worth every single penny and 20,000 more. (less)
Not nearly as entertaining as the man himself. I am usually a fan of this style of biography as well, told from the people who were there. I mean the...moreNot nearly as entertaining as the man himself. I am usually a fan of this style of biography as well, told from the people who were there. I mean the LIVE FROM NY book is one of my all time favorite nonfictions. Interesting to note that this cover was chosen as one of AIGA's 50 best of the year. (less)