I know that you can’t (or shouldn’t) judge a book by its cover and maybe the same can be said about the title as well, but some things just demand your attention!

From the graveyard of the arousal industry by Justin Pearson

Soft Skull Press, 2010

Soft Skull Press, 2010

Described as “an icon of the West Coast (American) noise and punk scene”, this memoir by one of its more confronting practitioners captured the heart of another iconoclastic icon, film director John Waters: “Showbiz never looked so violent yet cheery, chaotic yet level-headed. Justin Pearson is a lovely lunatic who writes with kindness even if he’s describing being in the middle of an on-stage brawl. He may pick the wrong girl and never be able to escape the mayhem in his personal life but he still seems kind of perfect . . . in a twisted way.”

What more do you need?

7 dirty words : the life and crimes of George Carlin by James Sullivan

Da Capo Press, 2010

Da Capo Press, 2010

 I’m sure that I have no idea what those seven words are but George Carlin, another American iconoclast, used comedy to open up topics long considered unsuitable for nice entertainment. No surprise that he was in the audience when Lenny Bruce was arrested for obscenity! We’ve also got his autobiography, Last Words, considered to be required reading by the Carlinophile.

Untitled # by Ross Watson

Bruno Gmünder Verlag, 2010

Bruno Gmünder Verlag, 2010

Australia’s own (indeed Melbourne’s own) Ross Watson has been “reinterpreting” the Renaissance over a number of years, and his startling imagery has finally found its way into print with this beautiful book from German publisher Bruno Gmunder.

Rude Britannia : British comic art, Tate Britain

Tate Gallery Publications, 2010

Tate Gallery Publications, 2010

From the biting social commentary of Rowlandson and Hogarth to naughty seaside postcards, cartoonists and comic artists have long been highlighting the foibles and absurdities of life, politics and everything in between. Australia has a great tradition of its own, but looking through this eyebrow raising British collection you can definitely spot the antecedents!

Memoirs of a showgirl by Shay Stafford with Bryce Corbett

Hachette Australia, 2010

Hachette Australia, 2010

I recall seeing a documentary a while back about the Moulin Rouge in Paris, and most of the dancers in the company seemed to come from anywhere but France! Shay Stafford’s story of 12 years spent on stage in Paris at the Moulin Rouge and Lido makes my own trips seem rather tame! She certainly looks better in feathers than me.

And last but certainly not least, a bit of razzle-dazzle from our Picture Collection!

chorus line of 8 dancers and a principal girl

chorus line of 8 dancers and a principal girl

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