Book Reviews – March 2010

Marilyn Monroe: Your Personal Fashion Consultant
Michael Feder and Karan Feder
Abrams Image
Street: 09.01.09
Charming enough to alleviate my initial irritation with the misinforming title, this collection of pop-out paper dolls is sure to entertain anyone captivated by Marilyn Monroe’s allure. With ridiculous fashion advice such as “Daily housework is best accomplished in an evening gown that doubles as a floor mop” under an image of the icon in a stunning red floor-length gown, it is clearly not intended to serve as any sort of legitimate style guide. The images are brightly colored and sometimes sparkly, something sure to appeal to those idolizing Ms. Monroe. I just hope that some young stylist-in-training doesn’t pull this off the shelf and take the advice to heart. Far-fetched? I’m talking about the fashion industry here, people. –Ischa Buchanan

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Me and My Friends
Tony Woolliscroft
Abrams Image
Street: 10.01.09
Suffice it to say that Tony Woolliscroft is a photographer, not a writer. What this book lacks in captivating prose, it certainly compensates for with a collection of photographs that depict the story of one of, in my humble opinion, the greatest bands of our generation. Punctuation and spelling errors aside, the behind-the-scenes tidbits were compelling enough to keep me going. Plenty of information was omitted, purposefully I imagine, but the photographs don’t lie, and that’s what this book was all about. For example, although Mr. Woolliscroft doesn’t specify, it’s clear that John Frusciante’s departure from the band in 1992 was drug-related. The first picture of him is disconnected, the images of him six years later, upon his return to the band, tired and used-up. Nothing like opiates to take it out of ya. It also chronicles the many hairstyles of Anthony Kiedis, beloved frontman of the band, something I like to attribute to his life in L.A. I’m not sure who told him the short blond pixie cut was hot, or that the bob with bangs was a good look for him, but it certainly does emphasize his will to try different things. Entirely palatable, the book left me wanting more, which, when it comes to marketing the band, can only be viewed as a good thing. After googling the gaps in the story, I felt very satisfied with the experience, and can certainly suggest this book as a coffee table addition once it lands on the $9.99 table at your local bookstore. –Ischa Buchanan

The Stooges: The Authorized and Illustrated Story
Robert Matheu, Jeffrey Morgan [ed.]
Abrams Image
Street: 10.01.09
The music of The Stooges is a force that exists outside of time­—it’s just as raw, fucked up and scary today as it was when it was released four decades ago. They don’t seem like a band very well suited for a retrospective book celebrating their legacy, but it’s no less weird than the fact that Iggy Pop has outlived two of his bandmates. The Stooges’ story is retold here via some amazing photos by Robert Matheu, taken during the band’s heyday and after their recent union, blown up big to fit a 12x9 page. The accompanying text is sometimes interesting, but it mostly comes across as attempts by aging rock journalists to remind themselves about how interesting their lives used to be or to let readers know that they did, in fact, meet Iggy Pop. Even so, Matheu’s photos are great and there is some occasionally insightful stuff.  –Ricky Vigil