Monday, April 18, 2005

Mondino: (Deja Vu ) (Hardcover)

Mondino: (Deja Vu ) (Hardcover)



Although the images of this book were all taken in the 1990's and seem to be part of the "past", Mondino definitely had transcendent artistic visions. I'd describe his work as a cross between Mark Seliger and David LaChapelle with a heavy dose of contemporary European flair and humor. Aside from your usual models and pop musicians, Mondino has pointed his camera at many art-world icons, and lesser-knowns...and I also commend his abilities to include a wider range of ethnic faces/subjects, and even body-types. And as was prevalent in the 90's (and common among many fashion photographers), there is that dose of homoeroticism, for whatever it stands for.
I own the first-edition of this book published by Te Neues NY, the USA/Canada branch publisher of Schirmer-Mosel in Europe. For this edition, the majority of the images were very well-reproduced on semi-glossy paper and are sharp, bright, vivid, with nice contrast. It is especially the case in works which emphasize Mondino's lighting usage, with lots of color-casted shadows, highlights and backdrops which make the images striking eye-candy. There are also a couple of video-stills included.
All the images in the book are full-page, and I felt some images could've been scaled down on the pages to make them look sharper and eliminate the "graininess" (such as the photo of Bjork sticking her tongue out at a silver bubble). And many images are double-page spreads, which don't work as well visually, due to the binding. But it also would've been great if this were an oversized edition like many fashion books. The sequencing of the images could've been better (they seem scattered, rather than grouped with related images). There are no references to where the images were used in publications. Also, certain works of Mondino's that I have recalled seeing in the past were excluded from this book. And there is no extensive bio of Mondino's life etc.
I know I may sound too serious, but I'm a print-quality freak when it comes to art monographs. Another complaint I have is that a couple of the pages have tiny ink "spottage" and one of my copy's pages had slight discolored "streaking" (it's an eye-sore, esp. since they were bluish streaks on a B&W photo of a male model's face painted black). But this was obviously a flaw in the printing process. This came to a surprise to me, as Schirmer-Mosel releases some of the highest quality fashion monographs on the market with high regard to state-of-the-art printing techniques (I highly recommend getting their Nick Knight release "Nicknight").
But looking aside from my trivial complaints, this is one of the most visually stunning and "entertaining" monographs I own. I'm looking forward to getting the follow-up book "Mondino: Two Much, 2003" which has already been released in Europe. ....Enough said, just buy it, you know you want it.




Hotel Lachapelle (Hardcover)

Hotel Lachapelle (Hardcover)by David LaChapelle (Photographer)

This second boxed book of David LaChapelle's photographs (LaChapelle Land is the first) ends with a beautifully written commentary by LaChapelle himself offering readers insight into the book and his photographic process: "And when people come for a photo session with me, they are giving themselves over, sort of checking in. When you stay at a hotel you're living for one day in a place where you don't normally live.

That feeling can be true with photographs, too." LaChapelle's photographs can be spotted a mile away. If you read magazines, you know his work: it jumps out like none other with the expertly created environments and alternate realities in which he places his subjects. These universes are complete and constantly evolving to fit dynamic personalities. Hotel LaChapelle is filled with a celebrity cast as well as what LaChapelle calls "characters on the peripheries."

The colors are as vibrant and inorganic as the settings that encapsulate his models. In this world, heads are sewn onto different-colored bodies, a nurse holds a face with a pair of tweezers, Marilyn Manson works as a school crossing guard, Madonna is a Krishna goddess, Leonard DiCaprio becomes Marlon Brando, and Ewan McGregor's face peers into a dollhouse while his body bleeds from a gunshot wound fired from Barbie's diminutive gun. The list goes on, and what it says about LaChapelle's vision is that excess is never too much. --Amra Brooks

Hotel LaChapelle takes the reader another step deeper into the shocking world of David LaChapelle. Each full-color page is metaphorically, a room in a crazy hotel.

Hotel LaChapelle is full of neon, sex, and strange people;and the result is a beachy postcard from that nuns-with-guns place in the sun that could only exist in the vision of David LaChapelle. Hotel LaChapelle will be luxuriously printed and handsomely, colorfully boxed. Boasting more than 158 full-color images, it is a passport to this groundbreaking photographer's unique imagination. His subjects include the hottest celebrities to today: Leonardo DiCaprio, Madonna, Tori Amos, Uma Thurman, Marilyn Manson, Daniel Day Lewis, Mike Myers, Pamela Anderson, and many others. Spectacular in style as in content, Hotel LaChapelle promises to be the wildest, freshest volume of photography of the next few years.


By Brakhage - Anthology - Criterion Collection

By Brakhage - Anthology - Criterion Collection

While you go out to see most other kinds of movies, you must go inward to see the extraordinary avant-garde films of Stan Brakhage. Foremost among American experimental film artists, Brakhage influenced the evolution of the moving image for nearly 50 years (his impact is readily seen on MTV), and this meticulously prepared Criterion Collection anthology represents a virtual goldmine of Brakhage's finest, most challenging work. Challenging because--as observed by Brakhage film scholar Fred Camper in the accompanying booklet--these 26 carefully selected films require the viewer to be fully receptive to "the act of seeing with one's own eyes" (to quote the title of one film, consisting entirely of autopsy footage), which is to say, open to the perceptual and psychological responses that are provoked by Brakhage's non-narrative shorts, ranging here from nine seconds to 31 minutes in length.

While "Dog Star Man" (1961-64) is regarded as Brakhage's masterpiece, what emerges from this superb collection is the creative coherence of Brakhage's total vision. Through multilayered textures (often painted or scratched directly on film) and infinite combinations of imagery and rhythmic cutting, these films (most of them soundless) represent the most daring and purely artistic fulfillment of Criterion's ongoing goal to preserve important films on DVD. --Jeff Shannon DescriptionWorking completely outside the mainstream, Stan Brakhage has made nearly 400 films over the past half century.

Challenging all taboos in his exploration of "birth, sex, death, and the search for God," Brakhage has turned his camera on explicit lovemaking, childbirth, even actual autopsy. Many of his most famous works pursue the nature of vision itself and transcend the act of filming. Some, including the legendary Mothlight, were made without using a camera at all. Instead, Brakhage has pioneered the art of making images directly on film itself––starting with clear leader or exposed film, then drawing, painting, and scratching it by hand.

Treating each frame as a miniature canvas, Brakhage can produce only a quarter- to a half-second of film a day, but his visionary style of image-making has changed everything from cartoons and television commercials to MTV music videos and the work of such mainstream moviemakers as Martin Scorsese, David Fincher, and Oliver Stone.

Criterion is proud to present 26 masterworks by Stan Brakhage in high-definition digital transfers made from newly minted film elements. For the first time on DVD, viewers will be able to look at Brakhage's meticulously crafted frames one by one.

A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis by David M. Friedman

A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis by David M. Friedman

David M. Friedman's A Mind of Its Own is a cultural examination of the penis, from ancient Sumer to the present. Friedman convincingly suggests that humankind's various and contradictory attitudes toward the penis have been instrumental in mapping the course of both Western civilization and world history.
Friedman begins with pagan attitudes: ancient Greeks considered the penis a measure of a man's proximity to "divine power," while the Romans, whose generals were known to promote soldiers based on penis size, saw it as an indicator of earthly strength.

Thanks to the spread of Christianity, the "sacred staff became the demon rod"--a fearful manifestation of the devil. Theology gave way, grudgingly, to science. In the Renaissance, anatomical discoveries allowed for the possibility that this "agent of death" was, in fact, only a "blameless instrument of reproduction." Subsequent chapters discuss the penis's role as a racial yardstick; its "defining role in human personality" as asserted by Freud; its politicization; and finally, through the likes of Viagra, its objectification as a "thing ... impervious to religious teachings, psychological insights, racial stereotypes and feminist criticism."


Friedman's study of what he calls the "symbolic muscle" is filled with fascinating side trips (castration cults, ancient graffiti, the anti-masturbation "semen-retention movement," aphrodisiacs through the ages, and, to modern eyes, risible medical practices with the likes of monkey glands), as well as a rich cast of characters (Leonardo da Vinci, John Kellogg of cornflake fame, Kate Millet, Clarence Thomas, and Walt Whitman). The book is informal, but well researched (and documented), entertaining but not cute, wide-ranging but not sketchy, and simultaneously irreverent and respectful. --H. O'Billovitch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Setting out to "make intellectual and emotional sense of a man's relationship with his defining organ," David Friedman moves from highbrow to lowbrow in this lighthearted but substantive cultural history. Successively viewed as a life source, a symbol of a sacred covenant with God, an emblem of shame, an instrument of domination, a mere prop for the pharmaceutical companies, and finally, as simply a means of penetration-the penis has always been at the core of Western man's (and woman's) cultural evolution. With such luminaries as Leonardo da Vinci, Sigmund Freud, Walt Whitman, and Norman Mailer marking their territory on the subject, A Mind of Its Own is an intelligent and often hilarious account of man's complicated bond with his closest friend.



Wigstock - The Movie by Barry Shils

Wigstock - The Movie by Barry Shils

The king, or maybe that should be queen, of all drag shows, New York City's 10th annual Wigstock festival, provides the setting for this lively and frequently funny documentary. Some 30,000 fans showed up, many of them suitably adorned with impossibly huge wigs, and roving cameras did a fine job of capturing the celebratory atmosphere. It goes without saying that those who find men performing as women fascinating will revel in what the camera captured.

Several drag performers prepping for their star turns on the Wigstock stage are profiled, and some of them speak about what possesses them to admittedly make spectacles of themselves. There are also quirky interviews with construction workers building the festival's stage, jaded neighbors in the East Village, and even some encounters with bemused New York City cops.

The film features very professionally shot performance footage of such characters as RuPaul, Deee-Lite, Crystal Waters, and even a pair of dueling Tallulah Bankhead impersonators performing "Born to Be Wild," but the real star of the production is the hip sense of humor the filmmakers brought to the project. At times the interviews with people attending the shows and passersby in New York who simply shrug it all off come close to upstaging the guys in size 14 heels singing and dancing their hearts out onstage.



Hell House by George Ratliff

Hell House by George Ratliff

Hell Houses are a distinctly American phenomenon which began in 1990 just outside of Dallas, at the Trinity Assembly of God Church. The original Hell House was conceived as a modern-day fire-and-brimstone sermon. Today, this religious ceremony of sorts is replete with actors, extensive lighting equipment and full audio-visual tech crews.

Inside the Hell House, tour guides dressed as demons take visitors from room to room to view depictions of school massacres, date rape, AIDS-related deaths, fatal drunk driving crashes, and botched abortions. Hell Houses have now spread to hundreds of churches worldwide. With full access to the behind-the-scenes action, HELL HOUSE follows the process from the first script meeting until the last of the 10,000 visitors passes through the Hell House doors.

The movie gives a verite window into the whole process of creating this over-the-top sermon, while showing an intimate portrait of the people who fervently believe its message. The film also features a score by Bubba and Matthew Kadane, formerly of the band Bedhead.

Devil's Playground by Lucy Walker

Devil's Playground by Lucy Walker

This Sundance Festival sensation has attracted attention because of its jarring images of Amish kids immersed in debauchery: plain-dressed girls in white bonnets slugging back beers and flicking ashes from their cigarettes, boys passing out in the back of pickups after all-night parties, even Amish teens in bed together.

But like a good drama, it's the characters themselves and their heartbreaking dilemma that linger in the mind. In the Amish vernacular, "Devil's Playground" refers to the "English" or outside world. The protected teens are suddenly thrust into this world upon their 16th birthday as they begin "Rumspringa," a period during which they decide whether to join the church as adults. Crystallizing this predicament is the 73-minute documentary's most compelling figure, 18-year-old Faron, a preacher's son fighting drug addiction.

His earnest intent to return to the church and astonishing articulateness makes his misadventures in the drug underworld and penal system undeniably poignant. Devil's Playground explores the Amish ritual of Rumspringa, a coming-of-age "time for decision" presented to Amish youth when they must decide which path they will follow as adults... 16th century religious scripture or 21st century pleasure. "Sensitive, revealing and at times heart-wrenching." --Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era


Terry Richardson by Terry Richardson

Terry Richardson by Terry Richardson

A comprehensive collection of raucous images by a rising star in fashion photography, a man often called the "magazine world's Marquis de Sade" . American photographer Terry Richardson has been called the "magazine world's Marquis de Sade." His photographs of friends and models in raucous abandon manage to achieve a delicate balance between the raw, spontaneous, and fun loving, and the poignant and very personal. Richardson began his career in 1990 with a series documenting New York's East Village undergound scene and, since the mid 1990's, has been working predominantly as a fashion photographer. His sizzling images have appeared in the pages of I-D, French Vogue and Harper's Bazaar as well as in campaigns for Gucci, Sisley and Armani Exchange. Books of Richardson's photographs include Too Much (2002), Feared by Men, Desired by Women (2001), Son of Bob (1999) and Hysteric Glamour (1996).


Terryworld by Dian Hanson

Terryworld by Dian Hanson

Who took 1970’s porn esthetic and made it fashion chic? Terry Richardson. Who made the trailer park trendy and the tractor hat de rigueur? Richardson again. Who’s equally at home in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Purple and Vice? Our boy Terry. Who uses his fashion money to fund an X-rated website? Yes, Richardson. And who can’t resist getting his clothes off and jumping in front of his own lens? Well, that would be Terry Richardson as well. Porn stars, supermodels, transsexuals, hillbillies, friends, pets, and celebrities all do for his lens what they’ll do for no other. And if anyone ever wonders why they did it, just blame it on Terryworld, where taboos are null and void, and fashion finds sex a perfect fit.



Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

Ham on Rye by Charles Bukowski

Brutally honest, a remarkable author .

Champion by Walter Kundzicz

Champion by Walter Kundzicz

Reed Massengill is the photographer of three collections of male nudes His images also have been included in many important photographic anthologies, including Exposed (Thunder's Mouth, 2000) and Male Nude Now (Universe, 2001). He was commissioned to write the award-winning Becoming American Express; and his first book, Portrait of a Racist (St. Martin’s, 1994), was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for biography in 1994.

The first book of images from Champion Studios, famous for quality color images of handsome, athletic young men from the late 1950s and early '60s. These 345 photographs of scantily clad athletes - packed with amusing props, costumes, and bulging posing pouches - are notable not only for the commercial success they enjoyed during their heyday, but also for their enduring creativity and imagination. Whether measured in terms of his prolific output, sales, his early and sophisticated use of customer mailing lists, or his impact upon the U.S. censorship laws of his time, Kundzicz and his work left an indelible imprint on male physique photography. Today, nearly half a century later, Kundzicz's work and his most popular models continue to have their ardent fans.



At Ease : Navy Men of World War II by Evan Bachner

At Ease : Navy Men of World War II by Evan Bachner

In the years following World War II, images of comradeship, particularly of men being physically close, largely disappeared from the public record. But, as these stunning photographs attest, ordinary American men in the extraordinary circumstances of World War II were affectionate, winsome, and playful-disarmingly innocent in a time of cataclysmic peril.


Led by photography giant Captain Edward J. Steichen, the U.S. Naval Aviation Photographic Unit was organized during the war to record the daily experiences of Navy men all over the world and provide newspapers and magazines with images to promote the American cause. The unit's photographers, which included Wayne Miller, Horace Bristol, Victor Jorgensen, and Barrett Gallagher, took thousands of pictures of soldiers as they relaxed, trained, prepared for the next battle, and waited.


This book brings together more than 150 of those photographs, culled from the National Archives, including many that have never before been published. Whereas World War II imagery tends to be dominated by combat photography and monumental depictions of weaponry, these photographs offer a rare, intimate look at the Navy men themselves



The Butcher Boy by Neil Jordan

The Butcher Boy by Neil Jordan

You can't write off Francie Brady, apple-cheeked hero of The Butcher Boy, as a bad seed and have done with him. In Irish director Neil Jordan's often-surreal fairy tales, bad seeds grow the fruit of subversive knowledge: A master of blending the everyday with the truly mad and wonderfully weird, Jordan loves to encourage charismatic anarchists--driven by amoral energy and imagination--to attack the status quo with extreme prejudice. Exuberant Francie (Eamonn Owens, making a splendid debut) is a thorn in the side of rural Irish repression and hypocrisy.

Better to call this smart, too-sensitive brat an ambulatory Rorschach, an uncensored billboard of his disapproving society's uglier truths and fears. A nonstop standup comedian ("And the Francie Brady Not a Bad Bastard Anymore Award goes to--Great God, I think it's Francie Brady!"), he projects fantasies of '60s cold war paranoia (atomic warfare leaves his village a graveyard of charred pigs), American "cowboys and Indians" pop culture, and Catholic Madonna worship (Sinead O'Connor appears as an earthy Virgin Mary).

But Francie's rich fantasy life is no match for reality's "slings and arrows": His abusive da (Stephen Rea) pickles himself in drink, his fragile mother edges closer to suicide, "blood brother" Joe turns Judas, and a punitive stint at a Catholic reformatory ends with our Gaelic Holden Caulfield tricked out in girlish bonnet and ruffles, plaything of an addled old priest (Milo O'Shea). No wonder Francie's ultimately driven to exorcize his own Wicked Witch of the West.

(He sees Mrs. Nugent (Fiona Shaw), self-righteous pillar of a callous community, as the cause of his cursed life.) Laced with tragedy and hilarity, great beauty and horror, Jordan's adaptation of the Patrick McCabe bestseller mutates the adventures of Francie Brady--psychotic killer, performance artist, and purest innocent--into a sort of saint's life



Latter Days (Unrated Edition) by C. Jay Cox

Latter Days (Unrated Edition) by C. Jay Cox

Huge festival and theatrical hit, Latter Days is the story of 19-year-old Elder Aaron Davis, a sexually confused Mormon missionary who moves into an apartment complex in West Hollywood with a fellow group of missionaries. There he meets a neighbor, Christian, who, on a bet, tries to seduce him. When Christian exposes Davis' secret desire, Davis rejects Christian for being shallow and empty. As each boy's reality is shattered, the two are drawn into a passionate romance that risks destroying their lives. Audiences, young and old and straight and gay, have been moved to tears by this beautiful story of the transformational power of love and family.




OZ : Behind These Walls: The Journal of Augustus Hill by Augustus Hill

OZ : Behind These Walls: The Journal of Augustus Hill by Augustus Hill

OZ: Behind These Walls is the secret journal of Augustus Hill, the show's wheel-chair bound main character. He's been keeping a diary about Oz for the past 5 years and wrote a letter requesting that if he should die, the book be published to show the world what goes on behind the walls of Emerald City.


In his book, Augustus postulates on all aspects of Oz life - the rapes, lies, sex, stabbings, drugs, lost time, love and murder. With each entry, he highlights major events that have happened and offers his particular take on it. As the publisher of his book, we've taken Augustus' journal and added our own editorial sidebars -- some on OZ itself, with R.I.P pages and Poet's poetry -- others on various prisons and prison policies from around the United States, to give the reader a more indepth view of real prison life.


The book also includes an Epilogue by Tom Fontana, creator of OZ, and an Episode Guide of the last 5 seasons of this groundbreaking show. Last but not least, the story behind the book is written into every new episode of the final season of OZ, making it not only a great fan keepsake, but a publishing event.



Strangers With Candy - Season One by Dan Dinello

Strangers With Candy - Season One by Dan Dinello

Everyone's favorite middle-aged high school student has finally come to DVD. Jerri Blank (Amy Sedaris), a self-described "user, boozer and loser," takes on the perils and pratfalls of high school in these ten classic episodes. A critic and cult hit, Comedy Central(r)'s Strangers with Candy twists the conventions of the classic after-school special to create a completely original comedy series.



Reefer Madness : Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market by Eric Schlosser

Reefer Madness : Sex, Drugs, and Cheap Labor in the American Black Market by Eric Schlosser

As much as 10% of the American economy, and perhaps more, is comprised of illegal "underground" enterprises, according to author and Atlantic Monthly correspondent Eric Schlosser. And while this segment is never discussed in the newspaper business pages, Schlosser tackles it with the same in-depth analysis and compulsive readability that made his Fast Food Nation a best seller.

Reefer Madness spotlights marijuana, migrant labor, and pornography, three of the most thriving black market industries, and analyzes the often-tenuous place each holds in society as a whole. While each of the three could be the subject of its own book, Schlosser keeps his scope narrow by concentrating on the lives of the participants in the underground economy, especially Mark Young, an Indiana man given a life sentence for participating in a marijuana sale, and Ohio porn magnate Reuben Sturman.

At just 21 pages, the treatment of migrant laborers in the California strawberry fields is dealt with more briefly but is just as compelling thanks to the first-person narrative of Schlosser’s investigation. In telling these stories, which are both personal and universal, Schlosser deftly explores the manner in which his subjects are treated (and punished) compared to others in more above-ground ventures. Along the way, he asks hard questions as to what that treatment says about America. Schlosser writing is passionately opinionated, but this is no mere opinion piece: his perspective is amply supported by extensive research and clearly reasoned interpretation of data. His direct and forceful writing style makes the impact greater still.

After reading Reefer Madness, readers are likely to be shocked, appalled, and flat-out bewildered by what’s happening in the cracks and crevices of American business. --John Moe--



The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things by Barry Glassner

The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things by Barry Glassner

Americans are afraid of many things that shouldn't frighten them, writes Barry Glassner in this book devoted to exploding conventional wisdom. Thanks to opportunistic politicians, single-minded advocacy groups, and unscrupulous TV "newsmagazines," people must unlearn their many misperceptions about the world around them. The youth homicide rate, for instance, has dropped by as much as 30 percent in recent years, says Glassner--and up to three times as many people are struck dead by lightening than die by violence in schools. "False and overdrawn fears only cause hardship," he writes.

In fact, one study shows that daughters of women with breast cancer are actually less likely to conduct self-examinations--probably because the campaign to increase awareness of the ailment also inadvertently heightens fears.
Although some sections are stronger than others, The Culture of Fear's examination of many nonproblems--such as "road rage," "Internet addiction," and airline safety--is very good. Glassner also has a sharp eye for what causes unnecessary goose bumps:

"The use of poignant anecdotes in place of scientific evidence, the christening of isolated incidents as trends, depictions of entire categories of people as innately dangerous," and unknown scholars who masquerade as "experts." Although Glassner rejects the notion that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself, he certainly shows we have much less to fear than we think.



Outfoxed - Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism by Robert Greenwald

Outfoxed - Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism by Robert Greenwald

Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism uses the inflammatory tactics of the Fox News Channel to demonstrate the conservative bias that's handed down by Fox's owner, media mogul Rupert Murdoch. The documentary gathers interviews from media watchdogs and former Fox employees (including a former anchor, Jon Du Pre, who describes his flailing efforts to create a celebration for Reagan's birthday when the one he was sent to cover never materialized), but their overwhelming condemnation of Fox's skewed news practices isn't half as effective as footage taken directly from Fox itself--an appalling montage of pundit Bill O'Reilly telling guests to shut up; repeated efforts to paint Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry as weak and waffling, while President Bush is captured in respectful, reverent images; and management memos dictating language, subject matter, and point of view. Outfoxed is unlikely to persuade Fox News fans to change their views, but it may spur outraged liberals to take action.




The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine

The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine

Sometime during the last 30 years, the service economy emerged as the dominant engine of economic activity. At first, critics who were uncomfortable with the intangible nature of services bemoaned the decline of the goods-based economy, which, thanks to many factors, had increasingly become commoditized.

Successful companies, such as Nordstrom, Starbucks, Saturn, and IBM, discovered that the best way to differentiate one product from another--clothes, food, cars, computers--was to add service.
But, according to Joseph Pine and James Gilmore, the bar of economic offerings is being raised again.

In The Experience Economy, the authors argue that the service economy is about to be superseded with something that critics will find even more ephemeral (and controversial) than services ever were: experiences. In part because of technology and the increasing expectations of consumers, services today are starting to look like commodities. The authors write that "Those businesses that relegate themselves to the diminishing world of goods and services will be rendered irrelevant. To avoid this fate, you must learn to stage a rich, compelling experience."

Many will find the idea of staging experiences as a requirement for business survival far-fetched. However, the authors make a compelling case, and consider successful companies that are already packaging their offerings as experiences, from Disney to AOL. Far-reaching and thought-provoking,

The Experience Economy is for marketing professionals and anyone looking to gain a fresh perspective on what business landscape might look like in the years to come. Recommended. --Harry C. EdwardsProduct Description:You are what you charge for. And if you're competing solely on the basis of price, then you've been commoditized, offering little or no true differentiation. What would your customers really value? Better yet, for what would they pay a premium? Experiences.

The curtain is about to rise, say Pine & Gilmore, on the Experience Economy, a new economic era in which every business is a stage, and companies must design memorable events for which they charge admission. With The Experience Economy, Pine & Gilmore explore how successful companies-using goods as props and services as the stage-create experiences that engage customers in an inherently personal way. Why does a cup of coffee cost more at a trendy cafe than it does at the corner diner or when brewed at home?

It's the value that the experience holds for the individual that determines the worth of the offering and the work of the business. From online communities to airport parking, the authors draw from a rich and varied mix of examples that showcase businesses in the midst of creating engaging experiences for both consumers and corporate customers. The Experience Economy marks the debut of an insightful, highly original, and yet eminently practical approach for companies to script and stage compelling experiences.

In doing so, all workers become actors, intentionally creating specific effects for their customers. And it's the experiences they stage that create memorable-and lasting-impressions that ultimately create transformations within individuals. Make no mistake, say Pine & Gilmore: goods and services are no longer enough. Experiences are the foundation for future economic growth, and The Experience Economy is the playbook from which managers can begin to direct new performances.


Director's Series, Vol. 2 - The Work of Director Chris Cunningham by Lance Bangs

Director's Series, Vol. 2 - The Work of Director Chris Cunningham by Lance Bangs

Like the other volumes in the acclaimed Director's Series (featuring the work of Spike Jonze and Michel Gondry), The Work of Director Chris Cunningham offers a feast of visual ingenuity, with one major difference: Unlike the relatively playful brightness of Jonze and Gondry, Cunningham wants to involve you in his nightmares.

From the urban monstrosities of Aphex Twin's "Come to Daddy" to the limb-shattering weirdness of Leftfield's "Afrika Shox," Cunningham's music videos emphasize the freakish and the bizarre, but they are also arrestingly beautiful and otherworldly, as in the aquatic effects used for Portishead's "Only You," combining underwater movements with ominous urban landscapes. Some of Cunningham's shock effects are horrifically effective (his 'flex" video installation, excerpted here with music by Aphex Twin, is as disturbing as anything conjured by David Cronenberg), while others are cathartic or, in the case of Aphex Twin's "Windowlicker," outrageously amusing.

And while the eerie elegance of Madonna's "Frozen" arose from a chaotic production, the signature work in this collection is clearly Björk's "All Is Full of Love," a masterfully simple yet breathtaking vision of intimacy involving advanced robotics and seamless CGI composites. In these and other videos, Cunningham advances a unique aesthetic, infusing each video and commercial he makes with a dark, occasionally gothic sensibility. That these frequently nightmarish visions are also infectiously hypnotic is a tribute to Cunningham's striking originality. --Jeff Shannon

Director's Label Series Boxed Set - The Works of Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, and Michel Gondry by Michael Gondry

Director's Label Series Boxed Set - The Works of Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, and Michel Gondry by Michael Gondry

This is a very cool video release featuring the works of Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham, and Michel Gondry. These guys are created some of the most interesting visual works of the last 10 years.

The Work of Director Spike JonzeWhen you experience The Work of Director Spike Jonze, you enter a world where anything can happen and frequently does. From the innovative director of Being John Malkovich, Adaptation, this superior compilation of music videos, documentaries, interviews, and early rarities offers abundant proof that Jonze is the real deal--a filmmaker ablaze with fresh ideas and fresh ways of filming them.

While collectors will regret that only 16 of Jonze's 40+ music videos are included here, this glorious sampling represents the cream of Jonze's bumper crop, and for sheer ingenuity, it doesn't get any better than this. From the Beastie Boys' popular TV cop-spoof "Sabotage" to the intensely disciplined backwards-filming technique of the Pharcyde's "Drop," it's clear that Jonze has an affinity for inventive street theater, culminating in the sad/happy vibe of Fatli! p's introspective "What's Up Fatlip?" and the pop-jazz effervescence of Bjork's "It's Oh So Quiet."

Technical wizardry is also a Jonze trademark, especially in the elaborate "Happy Days" nostalgia of Weezer's "Buddy Holly" and the graceful fly-wire dancing of Christopher Walken to Fatboy Slim's pulsing "Weapon of Choice." No doubt about it: Every one of these videos is an award-worthy testament to Jonze's ability to combine hard work with fun-loving spontaneity. Accompanied by an informative 52-page booklet, this two-sided DVD also explores Jonze's artistic evolution with an entertaining selection of video rarities and three half-hour documentaries, the best being a revealing and very funny interview with rapper Fatlip after his dismissal from the Pharcyde.

Commentaries for the music videos are consistently worthwhile, supporting Jonze's own belief that his best videos were made for artists whose work he genuinely enjoyed. Lucky for us, his pleasure is infectious.