An extraordinary piece of cinema, meticulously restored with its original music. If you think you’ve seen this movie, you haven’t – all the previous versions. Including the ones shown in the States when it made its first appearance, were hacked and scratched and rescored. The earlier Bleat review of the movie is here. A good gift for anyone interested in sci-fi, movie soundtracks, or cinema history.
We only see the thirties in black and white – movies, newsreels, newspaper photos. But color did not first grace the world when Dorothy opened the door in Oz. And the 30s weren’t all breadlines and WPA photos – at least not in the pages of the magazines that crowded the racks.

This is the fourth volume in Taschen’s All-American Ads series, and it’s as impressive as its predecessors. Sharp reproductions, vivid colors, and hundreds of fascinating images. People still had to buy soap and smokes, you know.

(If you have a graphics art professional on your gift list, and you’re willing to spend a buck, buy all four volumes.)
The best graphic novel ever. No hip post-adolescent ennui, no grimacing superheroes rewriting American Myths. “Jimmy Corrigan” is a history of four generations of Corrigan men, from Chicago at the time of the Exposition to the present day. Hilarious, immeasurably sad, and brilliantly executed.
Bad science fiction? You’re soaking in it! Now at a low-low price you can help any young sci-fi fan understand how bad things really were in the 70s. See! Bruce Dern as a wacky, tortured Messiah of the Foliage! See! Small adorable proto-R2D2s scurry about, each containing a double amputee. See! Douglas Trumbull’s cool spaceships wasted in Douglas Trumbull’s movie. Wonder! How exactly the world survived without trees. Hear! PDQ Bach’s serious score.

We thought this was SO DEEP. Of course, we were 14.
It all began in 1997 with the Ultra-Lounge series – an excuse for Capitol to reissue its moldy back catalogue under the hip imprimatur of the new cocktail culture. Whatever. This is one of the best in the series – it has the Route 66 theme by Nelson Riddle, Julie London vamping through “Black Coffee,” and best of all, Milt Buckner’s “The Beast” – if you own only one tune that proves the organ can be the coolest instrument on the planet, it’s this one. Plus! The theme from “Our Man Flint” AND Melancholy Serenade. The Ultra-Lounge series was a source for much of my bumper music on the Diner radio show - we always closed the week with “Route 66” (not the version you’re thinking about, incidentally) and dropped in “Street Scene ’58” close to midnight, because it had one of the punchiest va-va-voom crescendos I’ve ever heard.

It’s the pop music that ran parallel to rock, and lost the race. I bought one disc . . . and ended up owning the entire series.
Trust me. A brilliantly written description of Gotham at the end of the war, and the start of the new world.
An exceptional documentary – 26 hours long. People who think we live in an incipient fascist state might be interested to see what a militarized society really looks like. Nearly every moment isn’t just a history lesson, but a reflection on our world as well. Sir Laurence Olivier has never sounded world-wearier, either.
Brian Setzer Orchestra. Boogie Woogie Christmas. Hepcat brass with rockabilly geetar. And I need to say more . . . why?
For the computer geek in your life. A nifty, brisk account of the invention of the first true computer. But it's more than that - the book follows the lives of the two men who pushed the project forward, and what happened in the years that followed. Very much an American tale.
No Down Payment" features a big backyard BBQ on the patio. If you'd like to recreate such a postwar wingding, here's your guide.
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