Book Reviews – November 2010

Board To Lose: Tattooist, Skateboarder Art
Concept by C.J. Starkey
Flaco Productions 2010.
Street: 02.12
I like tattoos, skateboarding and lowbrow art—this book has all of those things.  This book is basically a collection of tattoos on skateboards instead of skin. There’s a lot of art in here that is really great, but there’s also a lot of stuff that looks like it would go better on a t-shirt than a skateboard. There are a lot of skulls and stuff like that, which I’m not totally into, but maybe you are.  There’s some cool luchador art and you also get to see cool shit from Jud Ferguson (who I’m pretty sure is the same Jud Ferguson who rode for Zero in the ‘90s) and Eric Dressen (who, if you know skate history, is OG as shit). There are some cool local guys in here too, like Dean Bodily, Nate Drew, Aaron Reeber and Anthony Anderson from Lost Art Tattoo as well as Patrick Delvar from Good Times. Put together by Salt Lake Local C.J. Starkey, this book is awesome enough that you should at least give it a look, even if you decide it’s not a must-have for your collection.  –Giuseppe Ventrella

Heroes And Villains: Essays on Music, Movies, Comics, and Culture
David Hajdu
Da Capo Press
Street: 10.06
As Americans, we truly live in a melting pot of many different cultures and ideas.  There is so much going into how we live that is derived from media, multi-ethnic influences, music, television, literature, pop-icons and more.  The trouble is tracking a specific idea or behavior down to its original roots or even taking the time to think about why we do what we do.  Hajdu takes on explaining and exploring many unexpected paths though our heritage as Americans.  How much have you thought about how Starbucks has influenced not only the way you drink coffee, but the books and music you buy?  Or how Woody Guthrie wrote “This Land Is Your Land” as an angry response to Irvin Berlin’s “God Bless America?”  Heroes and Villains is composed of several different essays in which Hajdu shares his unique point of view.  As a music writer for The New Republic, many of the essays focus on the music industry by looking at different artists, songs, and even music controversy and theory such as the good and the bad of open-source remixing.  Hajdu navigates other subjects with precision like Will Eisner’s influence on the comic book industry.  Through Hajdu’s own exploration, I found myself thinking more critically about my own ideas and being enlightened by ideas that I had never even considered.  –Ben Trentelman

Remembering Salt Lake
Jeff Burbank
Trad Paper Press
Street: 06.14
The idea that Salt Lake is seen as conservative is now completely contradicted by this amazing photo journal. The images contained in Remembering Salt Lake are gorgeous representations of how we became known as the beehive state. With trolley cars all throughout the downtown area and people out on the streets everywhere, it reminds me of an esoteric San Francisco—it’s just a shame it has not been preserved. New buildings are great for looking modern and all, but really, can’t beauty be seen in what is? Another fantastic thing about Remembering Salt Lake is looking at the growth of the trees on the few remaining original buildings. Saplings are now behemoths at the Salt Lake City and County building, and it has only been a little over a century. Another thing that hurts my hollow bones is the few images of people new to the state who mustered up all they could to make it in a new city with their business ideals, and even now that the buildings have been sold and bought and sold again, it’s still really quite sad that the family businesses eventually went under. My condolences to the radicals out there. –Adam Dorobiala