In 2012, a slew of rock-star writers published disappointing novels, and a bunch of actual rock stars wrote crappy memoirs. There were some bright corners, but let’s begin with the aging rock stars. Time is not on their side.
The rock-star memoir is one of those dicey genres whose success depends on exceeding the lowest possible expectations. Patti Smith’s Just Kids (2010) was highly acclaimed despite her apparent belief that serious writing is principally a matter of avoiding contractions. Keith Richards’s Life (2010) was New Yorker poetry editor Paul Muldoon’s choice for book of the year despite being called Life. Jay-Z’s remarkable Decoded was co-written with Dream Hampton, so it doesn’t count. The gold standard is Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, Volume One (2004), a work of freaky genius that nevertheless contains several phrases on the order of “Sigmund Freud, the king of the subconscious.”
Expectations duly lowered, I was ready to give Neil Young’s new memoir a chance even though it is a) titled Waging Heavy Peace (Blue Rider Press, 512 pp., $30) and b) written by Neil Young, who has always struggled with lyrics—you know, the writing words part. “That perfect feeling when time just slips / Away between us on our foggy trip,” anyone?
off the record
Earlier today, the official blog of Andre Balázs’ Standard Hotels posted, as it usually does, some pictures of a fete recently thrown at one of the various Standard establishments. This one, however, had an interesting bonus: The apparently multi-talented, oft-adored (or irrationally envied) Vogue-editrix-in-training Tavi Gevinson, singing a cover of Neil Young’s “Heart of Gold” at a movie premiere at The Standard East Village.
On the eve of Fashion Week, style rookie-no-more Tavi Gevinson will be in town to promote a project that flaunts her little-known, nonsartorial gifts: acting and singing.
On Sunday, up-and-coming Chicago director Jonah Ansell (best known, to date, for his viral save-the-date wedding video, which was featured in Glamour) will screen his animated short film Cadaver for a select audience at The Standard East Village.
Based on a poem Mr. Ansell wrote to help his sister fulfill a creative assignment at Northwestern’s medical school, the seven-minute film, which stars Ms. Gevinson, Kathy Bates and Christopher Lloyd, is about a cadaver that comes back to life to say goodbye to his wife. When he decided to develop the story into a short film, Ms. Gevinson, a family friend of Mr. Ansell, was his first pick for the lead, a young doctor.
Blue Rider Press, a new imprint at Penguin started earlier this year by industry veteran David Rosenthal, has signed its biggest book to date: a memoir by Neil Young.
In a universe a lot like this one, the subway clatters to a stop, the doors slide open and a disembodied voice intones, “Stand clear of the closing doors.” Except the universe is one-eighty-seventh the size of ours, and no sprinting figure attempts to defy the resolve of rapidly narrowing doors.
The world of model Read More
Lots of great bands give birth to the odd side project or two. And yet rarely are these ventures of much consequence. Of course, if the great band happens to be Grizzly Bear, and the side project, Department of Eagles, all bets are off. See, the Eagles aren’t technically a side Read More
This heat sucks … we know. So what better way to beat it than by dancing yourself into a sweaty mess surrounded by hundreds of your under-hydrated peers in a shadeless pool? That’s the question JellyNYC poses all summer long with its free weekend "Pool Party" shows at McCarren Park Pool in Williamsburg. Read More
It’s been four years since Ween last released a record—and even longer perhaps since their odd brand of demented joke-pop felt relevant. But the duo from New Hope, Penn. is looking for just that with La Cucaracha, their ninth studio album in 17 years. “Fiesta” and “Your Party” set the ambiguously cheerful tune, and the Read More
Who: Claire Danes, Jefferson Mays
When: Oct. 18 – Dec. 16
Where: American Airlines Theatre
How: Check for tickets here.
Pygmalion, starring Claire Danes as the street urchin who will become a society lady thanks to the help of Read More