Friday, October 31, 2014

Pop culture roundup: Dylan; vinyl; Marvel; Twin Peaks; Wonder Woman

The New Yorker discusses the long (long, long)-awaited release of Bob Dylan's complete "Basement Tapes," out next week.
In 1984, he told Rolling Stone, “I never really liked ‘The Basement Tapes.’ I mean, they were just songs we had done for the publishing company, as I remember. They were used only for other artists to record those songs. I wouldn’t have put ’em out.” The public wasn’t quite as skeptical. In 1975, Robert Christgau gave the album one of his rare A-plus grades and wrote, “This is the best album of 1975. It would have been the best album of 1967 too. And it’s sure to sound great in 1983.”
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Meanwhile, the Guardian has a detailed review of the Basement Tapes box set.
...the albums that preceded The Basement Tapes sound like works of supreme confidence, but these recordings sound rickety and strange...Sometimes he sounds like a man who thought the guy who shouted “Judas!” might have had a point after all, returning to the kind of songs he would have sung in folk clubs six years previously as if hoping to tunnel his way out of the mid-60s and back to a less chaotic, complicated time
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Via Jazzwax: A series of short educational films about how vinyl records were made back in their glory days.

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Variety previews Roy Thomas' upcoming "75 Years of Marvel Comics: From the Golden Age to the Silver Screen," a humongous, 712-door stop from Taschen (in the tradition of its big DC book a few years back) that traces Marvel from its early days as a struggling comic book publisher to its current status as a Hollywood powerhouse.


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"Twin Peaks" is returning to TV 25 years after its cancellation, but the Double R Diner (Twede's Cafe in real life) has been serving cherry pie and coffee that whole time. Fun place. I stop in nearly every time I drive to Seattle.

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The New York Review of Books looks at two new tomes examining the weird side of Wonder Woman. I read an excerpt from Lepore's book in the New Yorker recently and it's quite good.
It’s Jill Lepore’s contention in The Secret History of Wonder Woman that in looking back to the original Wonder Woman for a model, Steinem and her cofounders were on to more than a commercial hook. The superheroine, Lepore argues, has all along been a kind of “missing link” in American feminism—an imperfect but undeniable bridge between vastly distinct generations. Hiding in her kitschy story lines and scant costume were allusions to and visual tropes from old struggles for women’s freedom, and an occasional framing of battles like the right to a living wage and basic equality that have yet to be decisively won.

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