This series of back-pocket-sized books of drawings and photographs ranges widely, from backbiting satire of the art world to images of pursuit of the sublime. In between there are cats, castles in exploding fields, and a gentler but even sadder take on the art world.
Recently, the Rail caught up with Melissa Rossi, via email, on the subjects of false prophets, the lone Swiss Bush supporter, why you shouldnt pay your taxes, and other issues raised by her most recent book, What Every American Should Know About the Rest of theWorld (Plume, December 2005).
Studio A: The Bob Dylan Reader, edited by Benjamin Hedin, is a collection of literary and journalistic essays, poems, and speeches by Dylan scholars, rock critics and connoisseurs. Like the beat paperbacks and pocketbook existentialism collections that Dylan might have carried with him as a young escapee to New York, Studio A is a portable key to a secret world, not dark yet but getting there.
Every generation, a certain city or neighborhood becomes the capital of Americas counterculture. Whether Concord in the mid-19th Century, Greenwich Village in the early 20th century and again in the early 60s, Haight-Ashbury in the mid to late 60s, or Seattle in the early 90s, these places attract the restless and the dissatisfied, and they also give form to the furtive dreams of the rest of the country.
Kept secrets are like time-bombs, silently ticking away in separate mental vaults, waiting to detonate and make trouble. For those that cant find a tangible listener, theres always the internet; catharsis has become as easy as clicking a button.
And what about all those NGOs and government organizations? What are they doing? Neuwirth hooked up with UN Habitat, bloated with conferences and studies but not with anyone who got down and dirty with the squatters, an especially vexing fact since they were within a stones throw of the Kibera slums in Nairobi.
All the animals come out at night, Robert DeNiros famous malcontent, Travis Bickle, declares in Taxi Driver. His New York is equal parts danger and grime, a thoroughly decrepit Times Square serving as the epicenter of vice.