by Combustive Motor Corporation
Powerhouse Books • Now available
Is it calculated artifice? Self-deluded obsession? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s real? C.M.C.’s glossy new photo book U.F.O., which purports to document the appearance of genuine extraterrestrial iconography on earth (read: U.F.O. graffiti), is largely the former, but it is the tinge of the latter two that makes for compelling reading. Using their collection of U.F.O. graf photos taken in NYC as a starting point, the C.M.C. posits the existence of alien advance-guard taggers, who’ve come to earth with cans of spray paint to apprise us of their presence, and possibly their impending arrival. The C.M.C. have also seen fit to solicit the opinions of various experts, celebrities, and celebrity experts, sending mildly sinister black packages to the likes of Stephen Hawking, David Bowie, Art Bell and Terry Winters. Though the responses vary from non-existent to polite dismissal to guarded enthusiasm, perhaps the most insightful (and generous) comes from non-celebrity academic, Susan Phillips: “My thoughts on the subject are that you must be the artist yourself. No one could follow something as closely and with as much detail and artfulness as you put in.” I concur wholeheartedly with Ms. Phillips on the matter. Jonny Diamond
Hemingway & Bailey’s Bartending Guide to Great American Writers
by Edward Hemingway and Mark Bailey
Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill • Now available
An exquisite cocktail of fizzy historical anecdotes, literary excerpts and drink recipes, all garnished with beautifully rendered illustrations. Seizing upon the mythical relationship between writers and booze, the book is a breezy but thoroughly researched gallery of 43 literary lions.
Both images and text are soaked with nostalgia for that part of the last century when the culture of cocktails and books were held in higher esteem. The imagery evoked by the drink-fueled escapades of giants like Chandler and Fitzgerald is irresistible — Robert Lowell straddling an iron horse statue, John O’Hara swinging at a dwarf at “21”, or poet John Berryman delivering a bleary-eyed dawn reading to a bewildered French baker. The beautiful illustrations of each holding their favorite drinks, complexions ruddy with alcohol is an indispensable touch. And yes, the illustrator is indeed related to the writer holding a mojito on page 38. Jason Bogdaneris