Category Archives: counterculture

March Trilogy

By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell (2016)
Discover the inside story of the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of one of its most iconic figures, Congressman John Lewis. March is the award-winning, #1 bestselling graphic novel trilogy recounting his life in the movement, co-written with Andrew Aydin and drawn by Nate Powell. Congressman John Lewis was a leader in the American Civil Rights Movement. He was chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and played a key role in the struggle to end segregation. Despite more than 40 arrests, physical attacks, and serious injuries, John Lewis remained a devoted advocate of the philosophy of nonviolence. He is co-author of the first comics work to ever win the National Book Award, the #1 New York Times bestselling graphic novel memoir trilogy March, written with Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell. He is also the recipient of numerous awards from national and international institutions including the Lincoln Medal, the John F. Kennedy “Profile in Courage” Lifetime Achievement Award, and the NAACP Spingarn Medal, among many others. He lives in Atlanta, GA.

Posted in autobiography, counterculture, culture, history, politics

Destruction Was My Beatrice: Dada and the Unmaking of the Twentieth Century

By Jed Rasula (2015)
In Destruction Was My Beatrice, modernist scholar Jed Rasula presents the first narrative history of Dada, showing how this little-understood artistic phenomenon laid the foundation for culture as we know it today. Although the venue where Dada was born closed after only four months and its acolytes scattered, the idea of Dada quickly spread to New York, where it influenced artists like Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray; to Berlin, where it inspired painters George Grosz and Hannah Höch; and to Paris, where it dethroned previous avant-garde movements like Fauvism and Cubism while inspiring early Surrealists like André Breton, Louis Aragon, and Paul Éluard. The long tail of Dadaism, Rasula shows, can be traced even further, to artists as diverse as William S. Burroughs, Robert Rauschenberg, Marshall McLuhan, the Beatles, Monty Python, David Byrne, and Jean-Michel Basquiat, all of whom—along with untold others—owe a debt to the bizarre wartime escapades of the Dada vanguard.A globe-spanning narrative that resurrects some of the 20th century’s most influential artistic figures, Destruction Was My Beatrice describes how Dada burst upon the world in the midst of total war—and how the effects of this explosion are still reverberating today.

Posted in art, biography, counterculture, culture, history

ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman

By Laurie Pepper (2014)
Art Pepper told his sexy, sordid, and exciting true adventure stories to his lover, Laurie, who put them in a book. She quizzed him (and those who knew him) unrelentingly over seven years, editing and structuring a narrative to which she dedicated all her energy. Straight Life by Art and Laurie Pepper was published in 1979. It was a critical success and remains a classic of its kind, the subject of college literary and music studies. Laurie went on to marry Art and manage his resurgent career, touring the world with his band. ART: Why I Stuck with a Junkie Jazzman describes her marriage to the deeply troubled, drug-addicted, madly gifted artist. “That marriage was the making of me,” says Laurie. “Some people go to grad school or join the Marines. I married a genius who valued and inspired me and challenged me to use MY gifts. We had a difficult, powerful partnership. I had to tell that story.” She says she also needs to set the record straight and clarify her role: “People think I was some kind of little wifey-saint who rescued him. And Art encouraged them in that. But he knew how truly crazy I could be. We rescued each other.”

Posted in autobiography, counterculture, jazz, music, photography

Straight Life: The Story Of Art Pepper

By Art and Laurie Pepper (1979)
Art Pepper (1925–1982) was called the greatest alto saxophonist of the post-Charlie Parker generation. But his autobiography, Straight Life, is much more than a jazz book—it is one of the most explosive, yet one of the most lyrical, of all autobiographies.

Posted in autobiography, counterculture, jazz, music

Dangerous Drawings: Interviews With Comix & Graphix Artists

Dangerous Drawings: Interviews With Comix & Graphix ArtistsEdited by Andrea Juno (1997)
Editor Juno has compiled interviews with and samples from 14 leading comics artists, including Art Spiegelman (Maus), Diane Noomin (Twisted Sisters), and Anne Kominsky-Crumb (Weirdo), whose aesthetics and politics often diverge but who are linked together in their “subversive” use of a populist narrative form. A glance at the index reveals an intermingling of high and low, art and culture, sex and politics; citations range from Madame Bovary to Madame X, from Picasso to Pinocchio the Big Fag. The artists’ investigations into their own work provide analysis in a field lacking in ample research and theory and reveal clues to material that is sometimes startlingly autobiographical. Each interview contains biographical data, numerous illustrations, and portraits.

Posted in art, counterculture, history, interview

Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary Culture

Out There: Marginalization and Contemporary CultureEdited by Russell Ferguson, Martha Gever, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Cornel West (1990)
Out There addresses the question of cultural marginalization – the process through which various groups are excluded from access to and participation in the dominant culture. It is a wide-ranging anthology that juxtaposes diverse points of view on issues of gender, race, sexual preference, and class. It takes up the fundamental issues raised when we attempt to define concepts such as “mainstream” and “minority,” and it opens up new ways of thinking about culture and representation in our society.

Posted in art, counterculture, culture, exhibition, feminism, history, politics, theory

Joseph Beuys in America: Energy Plan for the Western Man

Joseph Beuys in America: Energy Plan for the Western ManBy Joseph Beuys (1993)
Joseph Beuys, artist and scholar, was the most influential thinker among artists of the postwar generation. He inspired the avant-garde with his impassioned appeals for democratic anarchy, and actually founded a string of ‘free universities’ across Europe. His credo was “Every man is an artist.” In 1974, he accepted an invitation to visit the U.S. His travels too him to New York, Chicago, and Minneapolis, and he called the trip – fact an extended performance piece – “Energy Plan for the Western Man.” Beuys’ writings have never before been collected in any language, and most of the interviews and speeches in Joseph Beuys in America have never before appeared in book form.

Posted in art, counterculture, education, history, interview, myth, philosophy, politics, science

Yes Yes Y’All: An Oral History of Hip-Hop’s First Decade

Yes Yes Y\'All: The Experience Music Project Oral History of Hip-Hop\'s First DecadeEdited by Jim Fricke and Charlie Ahearn (2002)
Based on the “Hip-Hop Nation” exhibit at Seattle’s Experience Music Project and the project’s ongoing Oral History Program, this history of the beginnings of hip-hop in 1970s New York City is a lavishly illustrated and lovingly compiled homage to the many artists who contributed to the birth of what soon became and remains today, more than 25 years later a worldwide cultural institution. Editors Fricke and Ahearn (director of the hip-hop film Wild Style) weave the insights and attitudes of nearly 100 of the key players into a multihued and multiracial tapestry that illustrates what the excitement of that era and its music was all about. Since the hip-hop style was first developed in the Bronx borough of New York City as a dance-floor alternative to the then-prominent “disco” sound, the oral narrative is dominated by the voices of well-known DJs: Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash. But much of the success of the book is derived from its exploration of the roots of other related hip-hop trends: how the massive new styles of graffiti were both a response to urban violence as well as a way to provoke the interest of downtown New York avant-garde artists; how the competitive world of break dancing was rooted in the rapidly changing and fading gang culture of the Bronx; and how many women were far more active and influential in all types of hip-hop styles than was obvious or recognized at the time. This is an excellent documentation of how early hip-hop expressed “a balance between pain and the celebration of music and movements.”

Posted in art, counterculture, culture, exhibition, history, interview, language, music

Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein

Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. FunkensteinBy John Corbett (1994)
Using obscure and familiar figures from around the world as touchstones for portraits, interviews, and essays, Corbett roams an incredible breadth of musical territory: blues and jazz, contemporary classical, funk and rap, free improvisation, rock, and reggae. His true talent becomes clear as he exits surface terrain to guide the reader through a labyrinth of philosophical and intellectual thought amid the musical landscape. His interview techniques (particularly with Cage), breadth and depth of knowledge and understanding, and use of words in a way that imparts wisdom and provokes deep thought all shine. This work shows Corbett to be an important writer of our time; recommended for serious musicians and all others who enjoy the “outside.”

Posted in counterculture, culture, history, interview, music, theory

Dark Fiber: Tracking Critical Internet Culture

Dark Fiber: Tracking Critical Internet Culture (Electronic Culture: History, Theory, and Practice)By Geert Lovink (2002)
In Dark Fiber, Lovink combines aesthetic and ethical concerns and issues of navigation and usability without ever losing sight of the cultural and economic agendas of those who control hardware, software, content, design, and delivery. He examines the unwarranted faith of the cyber-libertarians in the ability of market forces to create a decentralized, accessible communication system. He studies the inner dynamics of hackers’ groups, Internet activists, and artists, seeking to understand the social laws of online life. Finally, he calls for the injection of political and economic competence into the community of freedom-loving cyber-citizens, to wrest the Internet from corporate and state control.

Posted in counterculture, culture, media, politics, technology