Something’s coming, something good: West Side story and the American imagination by Misha Berson

Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2011

Applause Theatre & Cinema Books, 2011

Arguably the greatest musical of them all, West Side Story has achieved almost mythic status in the annals of musical-theatre, or indeed music and theatre as separate entities! When it first appeared on Broadway in 1957 it transformed overnight the very idea of what a musical could be, introducing a level of realism and tragedy into an art form not known for its gritty tackling of urban issues. This book looks at its history and influence, as well as how it has been staged, filmed, recorded and reimagined over the years. When you’re a Jet…….

William Etty: art & controversy edited by Sarah Burnage, Mark Hallett and Laura Turner

Philip Wilson Publishers & York Museums Trust, 2011

Philip Wilson Publishers & York Museums Trust, 2011

The English painter, William Etty, is a figure somewhat lost in history due to a rather conflicted reception to his work during his lifetime; which of course makes him rich pickings for contemporary re-evaluation. Famous for his nudes, and unswerving loyalty to the classical principles of the Royal Academy, few people doubted his painterly skills but quite a few found something vaguely troubling (even repulsive) about his subject matter. In his own day his female nudes caused the disquiet, with some critics finding less than exalted attributes in the way they were represented, but perhaps the most interesting chapters in this scholarly re-examination are those that focus on his male nudes and their attendant homoerotic subtexts; which strangely caused few ripples at the time. Go figure…….

The Queen : art & image by Paul Moorhouse

Hardie Grant Books, 2011

Hardie Grant Books, 2011

You don’t have to be a royalist to find this incredible survey of portraits of Queen Elizabeth II really fascinating. She may well be the most portrayed monarch of all time, and with the rise of the paparazzi and a voracious media desperate for images, royal personages the world over find themselves less and less in control of how they are represented. Here we have images that have become iconic next to those far less familiar, and it’s remarkable to see how flexible the Queen has been in allowing her official portraitists to portray her as they see her.

1001 comics you must read before you die: general editor, Paul Gravett

Universe, 2011

Universe, 2011

Who said anything about dying? Anyway, you’d better start reading now as this brick-like tome is so chock full of colour and movement that you can literally open it at any page and start making your list! Unfortunately I couldn’t find too much local content (not even Stanley Pitt’s wonderful Silver Starr!), but you can check out Bonzer for a more down-under angle.

Something royal from the Picture Collection:

Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh on the verandah of O'Shannessy Lodge Warburton

Queen Elizabeth and Duke of Edinburgh on the verandah of O'Shannessy Lodge Warburton

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