Part memoir, part dance history and ethnography, this critical study explores ballet’s power to inspire and to embody ideas about politics, race, women’s agency, and spiritual experience.
The author knows that dance relates to life in powerful individual and communal ways, reflecting culture and embodying new ideas. Although ballet can appear (and sometimes is) elite and exclusionary, it also has revolutionary potential.
Theatre of the Ridiculous is a significant movement that highlighted the radical possibilities inherent in camp. Much of contemporary theatre owes this form a great debt but little has been written about its history or aesthetic markers. This book offers a comprehensive overview of the important practitioners, along with critical commentary of their work.
Beginning with Ridiculous’ most recognizable name, Charles Ludlam, the author traces the development of this campy, queer genre, from the B movies of Maria Montez to the Pop Art scene of Andy Warhol to the founding of the Play-House of the Ridiculous and the dawn of Ludlam’s career and finally to the contemporary theatre scene.
“Magick” as defined by Aleister Crowley is “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” This book explores expressions of movie magick in classic occult films like Hammer’s adaptation of Dennis Wheatley’s The Devil Rides Out and modern occult revival movies. These films are inspired by the aesthetics of fin de siècle decadence, the symbolist writings of Villiers de l’Isle Adam, Wagnerian music drama, the Faust legend, the pseudo-science of theosophy, 1960s occult psychedelia, occult conspiracy theories and obscure aspects of animation.
Game of Thrones has changed the landscape of television during an era hailed as the Golden Age of TV. An adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy A Song of Fire and Ice, the HBO series has taken on a life of its own with original plotlines that advance past those of Martin’s books.
The death of protagonist Ned Stark at the end of Season One launched a killing spree in television—major characters now die on popular shows weekly. While many shows kill off characters for pure shock value, death on Game of Thrones produces seismic shifts in power dynamics—and resurrected bodies that continue to fight. This collection of new essays explores how power, death, gender, and performance intertwine in the series.
For half a century the Manson Family has captured the public imagination—the lurid, inexplicable violence in a glamorous Hollywood setting, the bizarre and lengthy trials, and Charles Manson’s strange charisma and willingness to embrace the role of evil icon.
For years, the story has been documented, dramatized and lampooned in dozens of films and television programs. This comprehensive study examines the various on-screen portrayals, from factual accounts based on prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi’s true crime classic Helter Skelter to prime-time TV dramas to a claymation spoof and even hardcore porn.
This day-by-day chronicle of every live concert by the Rolling Stones from 1962 through 1982 traces their development from a band playing small clubs around London to the global phenomenon we know today. Comprehensive coverage of the shows includes set lists, venues, concert reviews, anecdotes and notable events in the lives of the band members.
A list of the Stones’ radio recordings— some of which were performed before live audiences—and television performances is included, along with never-before-published posters, programs, tickets, handbills and photographs.
We realize that the stores have had their trees and Christmas decorations out for sale for weeks now. At McFarland though, no one wants to leapfrog past our favorite holiday, Halloween! McFarland has scheduled a sale for our books about horror – whether on film, television, literature, games, comics, culture or anything else. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code HORROR25, print editions of all horror books are 25% off Friday, October 26 through Halloween, October 31. Be prepared to be up late with the lights on…
One of the most popular Hollywood child stars of the late 1910s, Virginia Lee Corbin was well known to fans worldwide. With her mother as her manager, Corbin retained her popularity as she grew older. She performed in vaudeville for a couple of years before continuing her film career. Corbin fit well into the flapper mold of the Jazz Age and appeared in many films throughout the 1920s. As she matured, her mother found it ever more difficult to control her. Corbin led a difficult life. After her mother’s suicide attempt, she found that all the money she had earned was gone. Her marriage (at age 18) failed and she was eventually separated from her children. The flapper struggled to remain relevant in the sound era and was trying to make a comeback when she died at 31 in 1942.
Reexamining the purported 1949 exorcism of a 13-year old boy in Mount Ranier, Maryland—the most famous and widely documented case in history—the author explores the subject of demonic possession in the light of science. Eyewitness accounts, unpublished photos and never before published documents from the archives of the Rhine Research Foundation provide fresh perspective on the events that inspired the novel, and later the film, The Exorcist.
Prior to the collapse of communism, Romanian historical movies were political, encouraging nationalistic feelings and devotion to the state. Vlad the Impaler and other such iconic figures emerged as heroes rather than loathsome bloodsuckers, celebrating a shared sense of belonging. The past decade has, however, presented Romanian films in which ordinary people are the stars—heroes, go-getters, swindlers and sore losers. The author explores a wide selection, old and new, of films set in the Romanian past.
Christopher Nolan is one of the defining directors of the 21st century. Few of his contemporaries can compete in terms of critical and commercial success, let alone cultural impact. His films have a rare ability to transcend audience expectations, appealing to both casual moviegoers and dyed-in-the-wool cineastes.
Nolan’s work ranges from gritty crime thrillers (Memento, Insomnia) to spectacular blockbusters (the Dark Knight trilogy, Inception). They have taken audiences from the depths of space (Interstellar) to the harsh realities of war (Dunkirk). They have pushed the boundaries of possibility in modern movie making. This critical history covers his complete filmography, tracing his career from film student to indie darling to Oscar-nominated auteur.
Songwriters, performers and producers Erik Appelwick, Eric Fawcett, John Hermanson and Darren Jackson were important players in an early 2000s musical collective. This collective included genres such as folk, power pop, R & B, electro-funk and indie rock. Well-known bands Storyhill, Spymob, Alva Star, Kid Dakota, Vicious Vicious, Tapes ’n Tapes, Olympic Hopefuls and others were part of this movement.
These four men worked for their rock n’ roll dreams, producing well-crafted albums and exciting live performances along the way. Their shared biography draws from dozens of new interviews and hundreds of articles to document their intersecting musical journeys—from playing air guitar to KISS records to rocking gyms in high school cover bands to touring the world with some of pop music’s biggest names. Equal parts celebration and cautionary tale, this book discusses both the rewards and difficulties of life as an independent musician.
Jean Gabin was more than just a star of iconic movies still screened in film festivals around the world. To many, he was France itself. During his 45-year career, he acted in 95 French films, including Le Quai des Brumes, La Grande Illusion, Touchez Pas au Grisbi and French Cancan.
From his start as a reluctant song and dance man at the Moulin Rouge and Folies Bergère, Gabin became a first-magnitude actor under such directors as Julien Duvivier, Marcel Carné and Jean Renoir. This revealing biography traces his involvement in the réalisme poétique and film noir movements of the 1930s and 1940s, his unhappy Hollywood years, his role in the World War II liberation of France, his tumultuous affairs with Michèle Morgan and Marlene Dietrich and his real-life role as a Normandy gentleman farmer.
One of the most versatile actors of his generation, Edmond O’Brien made an impact in a series of iconic noir films. From a man reporting his own murder in D.O.A. (1949) to the conflicted title character in The Bigamist (1953), he portrayed the confusion of the Everyman in the postwar world.
His memorable roles spanned genres from Shakespeare to westerns and comedies—he also turned his hand to directing. He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as the harassed press agent Oscar Muldoon in Joseph Mankiewicz’s bitter Cinderella fable The Barefoot Contessa (1954). This first in-depth study of O’Brien charts his life and career from the Broadway stage to Hollywood in its heyday and the rise of television, revealing a devoted family man dedicated to his craft.
Twenty-first century American television series such as Revolution, Falling Skies, The Last Ship and The Walking Dead have depicted a variety of doomsday scenarios—nuclear cataclysm, rogue artificial intelligence, pandemic, alien invasion or zombie uprising. These scenarios speak to longstanding societal anxieties and contemporary calamities like 9/11 or the avian flu epidemic. Questions about post-apocalyptic television abound: whose voices are represented? What tomorrows are they most afraid of? What does this tell us about the world we live in today? The author analyzes these speculative futures in terms of gender, race and sexuality, revealing the fears and ambitions of a patriarchy in flux, as exemplified by the “return” to a mythical American frontier where the white male hero fights for survival, protects his family and crafts a new world order based on the old.
Covering the years 1945–2018, this alphabetical listing provides details about 2,923 unaired television series pilots, including those that never went into production, and those that became series but with a different cast, such as The Green Hornet, The Middle and Superman.
Rarities include proposed shows starring Bela Lugosi, Doris Day, Humphrey Bogart, Barbara Stanwyck, Orson Welles, Claudette Colbert and Mae West, along with such casting curiosities as Mona Freeman, not Gale Storm, as Margie in My Little Margie, and John Larkin as Perry Mason long before Raymond Burr played the role.
Charlie Chaplin the actor is universally synonymous with his beloved Tramp character. Chaplin the director is considered one of the great auteurs and innovators of cinema history. Less well known is Chaplin the composer, whose instrumental theme for Modern Times (1936) later became the popular standard “Smile,” a Billboard hit for Nat “King” Cole in 1954.
Chaplin was prolific yet could not read or write music. It took a rotating cast of talented musicians to translate his unorthodox humming, off-key singing, and amateur piano and violin playing into the singular orchestral vision he heard in his head.
Drawing on numerous transcriptions from 60 years of original scores, this comprehensive study reveals the untold story of Chaplin the composer and the string of famous (and not-so-famous) musicians he employed, giving fresh insight into his films and shedding new light on the man behind the icon.
Central to every vampire story is the undead’s need for human blood, but equally compelling is the human ingestion of vampire blood, which often creates a bond. This blood connection suggests two primal, natural desires: breastfeeding and communion with God through a blood covenant.
This analysis of vampire stories explores the benefits of the bonding experiences of breastfeeding and Christian and vampire narratives, arguing that modern readers and viewers are drawn to this genre because of our innate fascination with the relationship between human and maker.
The experience of growing up in the U.S. is shaped by many forces. Relationships with parents and teachers are deeply personal and definitive. Social and economic contexts are broader and harder to quantify.
Key individuals in public life have also had a marked impact on American childhood. These 18 new essays examine the influence of pivotal figures in the culture of 20th and 21st century childhood and child-rearing, from Benjamin Spock and Walt Disney to Ruth Handler, Barbie’s inventor, and Ernest Thompson Seton, founder of the Boy Scouts of America.
Budd Boetticher (1916–2001) was a bullfighter, a pleasant madman and a talented journeyman filmmaker who could—with the right material and drive—create a minor Western film classic as easily as he could kill a bull. Yet pain and passion naturally mixed in both endeavors. Drawing on studio archives and featuring insightful interviews with Boetticher and those who worked with him, this retrospective looks at each of his 33 films in detail, covering his cinematic career from his days as an assistant’s assistant on the set of Hal Roach comedies to his last documentary some 45 years later.
As video gaming and gaming culture became more mainstream in the 1970s, science fiction authors began to incorporate aspects of each into their work. This study examines how media-fueled paranoia about video gaming—first emerging almost fifty years ago—still resonates in modern science fiction. The author reveals how negative stereotypes of gamers and gaming have endured in depictions of modern gamers in the media and how honest portrayals are still wanting, even in the “forward thinking” world of science fiction.
This collection of new essays covers the myriad portrayals of the figure of the pirate in historical records, literary narratives, films, television series, opera, anime and games. Contributors explore the nuances of both real and fictional pirates, giving attention to renowned works such as Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, the Pirates of the Caribbean saga, and the anime One Piece, as well as less well known works such as pirate romances, William Clarke Russell’s The Frozen Pirate, Lionel Lindsay’s artworks, Steven Speilberg’s The Adventures of Tintin, and Pastafarian texts.
This book is the definitive guide to the film, stage, radio and television career of Kay Francis, one of the most glamorous stars from the golden age of Hollywood. For each film, the authors provide a thorough synopsis plus cast and crew information (including biographies), opening dates, production notes, behind-the-scenes details, and reviews. In addition, information is provided on her stage, radio, and television appearances, and a section is devoted to collecting Kay Francis memorabilia, including such items as cigarette cards, sheet music and soundtracks. Also covered is the stage and vaudeville career of Kay Francis’ mother, Katherine Clinton. A brief biography of Kay Francis is provided, along with an insightful foreword by film scholar James Robert Parish. Truly a treasure trove for Kay Francis fans and anyone interested in classic filmmaking in the 1930s and 1940s, the book includes more than 130 illustrations, many of them rare.
Jethro Tull was one of the truly innovative rock bands to emerge from the late 1960s. At their peak the idiosyncratic group, fronted by multi-instrumentalist Ian Anderson, resembled a troupe of roving English minstrels.
Crafting a signature progressive rock sound that resisted easy categorization, they were often derided by critics as too British, too eccentric, too theatrical. Over the span of a decade, Tull released a string of sublime albums featuring intricate compositions in a wide range of musical styles, with little regard for the showbiz maxim “give the public what it wants.”
Focusing on the years 1968–1980, this history includes insider accounts based on exclusive interviews with key members and rare photographs from Ian Anderson’s personal collection.
British author and essayist George Orwell shot to fame with two iconic novels: the anti–Stalinist satire Animal Farm and the dystopian masterpiece Nineteen Eighty-Four.
A few years after his death in 1950, the CIA bankrolled screen adaptations of both novels as Cold War propaganda. Orwell’s depiction of a totalitarian police state captivated the media in the 1980s. Today, mounting anxieties about digital surveillance and globalization have made him a hot property in Hollywood.
Drawing on interviews with actors, writers, directors and producers, this book presents the first comprehensive study of Orwell on film and television. Beginning with CBS’s 1953 live production of Nineteen Eighty-Four that mirrored the McCarthy witch hunts, the author covers 20 wide-ranging adaptations, documentaries and biopics, including two lost BBC dramatizations from 1965.
What is known of the legendary King Arthur is mostly derived from folklore and literature. Though today, one is just as likely to have been introduced to King Arthur by a cartoon boy pulling a sword from a stone. You’ll find books covering all disciplines in our new King Arthur catalog.
For film studies, McFarland’s latest catalog includes such titles as Kevin J. Harty’s groundbreaking Cinema Arthuriana and The Reel Middle Ages. For students (and professors) of Arthurian literature, William W. Kibler and R. Barton Palmer have brought us a very useful book for the classroom, Medieval Arthurian Epic and Romance. It offers new translations from Latin, Middle English and Old French of texts that exemplify the most important traditions of Arthurian literature in the Middle Ages. In addition to Arthuriana in folklore, literature and film, this new catalog also includes our line of popular works debating the evidence about historic sites and figures, including Hengest, Gwrtheyrn and the Chronology of Post-Roman Britain. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code Arthur25, print editions of all Arthuriana books are 25% off September 15 through September 30.
During the “Must See TV” 1990s, Americans enjoyed such immensely popular sitcoms as Friends, Seinfeld, Home Improvement and The Drew Carey Show. Shows that did not make the ratings cut numbered in the hundreds—the emergence of new networks and cable channels airing original programming resulted in a vast increase in short-lived sitcoms over the previous decade. Some of these “flops” were actually quite good and deserved a better fate.
The author revisits them—along with the “dramedies” of the day—with detailed entries providing production and broadcast information, along with critical analyses, and recollections by cast and crew members. A subsection highlights sitcoms that returned for an abbreviated second season. Dozens of cast and crew photographs are included.
Critics and audiences often judge films, books and other media as “great” —but what does that really mean? This collection of new essays examines the various criteria by which degrees of greatness (or not-so) are constructed—whether by personal, political or social standards—through topics in cinema, literature and adaptation. The contributors recognize how issues of value vary across different cultures, and explore what those differences say about attitudes and beliefs.
From Faust (1926) to The Babadook (2014), books have been featured in horror films as warnings, gateways, prisons and manifestations of the monstrous. Ancient grimoires such as the Necronomicon serve as timeless vessels of knowledge beyond human comprehension, while runes, summoning diaries, and spell books offer their readers access to the powers of the supernatural—but at what cost? This collection of new essays examines nearly a century of genre horror in which on-screen texts drive and shape their narratives, sometimes unnoticed. The contributors explore American films like The Evil Dead (1981), The Prophecy (1995) and It Follows (2014), as well as such international films as Eric Valette’s Malefique (2002), Paco Cabeza’s The Appeared (2007) and Lucio Fulci’s The Beyond (1981).
Over the years, board games have evolved to include relatable characters, vivid settings and compelling, intricate plotlines. In turn, players have become more emotionally involved—taking on, in essence, the role of coauthors in an interactive narrative.
Through the lens of game studies and narratology—traditional storytelling concepts applied to the gaming world—this book explores the synergy of board games, designers and players in story-oriented designs. The author provides development guidance for game designers and recommends games to explore for hobby players.
A bold and singular collection of six plays by Arab and Jewish playwrights explores the human toll of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: The Admission by Motti Lerner, Scenes From 70* Years by Hannah Khalil, Tennis in Nablus by Ismail Khalidi, Urge for Going by Mona Mansour, The Victims by Ken Kaissar, and The Zionists by Zohar Tirosh-Polk.
Rather than striving to achieve balance and moral equivalency between “competing” narratives, the plays investigate themes of identity, justice, occupation, exile, history and homeland with honesty and integrity. The plays do not “take sides” or adhere to ideological orthodoxies but challenge tribalism and narrow definitions of nationalism, while varying widely in thematic content, dramatic structure, and time and place.
Where politicians and diplomats fail, artists and storytellers may yet succeed—not in ratifying a peace treaty between Israel and Palestine, but in building the sort of social and political connectivity that enables resolution.
From the beginning, both Robert Kirkman’s comics and AMC’s series of The Walking Dead have brought controversy in their presentations of race, gender and sexuality. Critics and fans have contended that the show’s identity politics have veered toward the decidedly conservative, offering up traditional understandings of masculinity, femininity, heterosexuality, racial hierarchy and white supremacy.
This collection of new essays explores the complicated nature of relationships among the story’s survivors. In the end, characters demonstrate often-surprising shifts that consistently comment on identity politics. Whether agreeing or disagreeing with critics, these essays offer a rich view of how gender, race, class and sexuality intersect in complex new ways in the TV series and comics.
The first of its kind, this study examines the exemplars of hardcore horror—Fred Vogel’s August Underground trilogy, Shane Ryan’s Amateur Porn Star Killer series and Lucifer Valentine’s “vomit gore” films.
The author begins with a definition and critical overview of this marginalized subgenre before exploring its key aesthetic convention, the pursuit of realist horror. Production practices, exhibition and marketing strategies are discussed in an in-depth interview with filmmaker Shane Ryan. Audience reception is covered with a focus on fan interaction via the Internet.
The Academy Awards—that yearly Hollywood bash that brings together the glamour and glitz of the international film industry—is highly revered yet has been minimally explored beyond the category of Best Picture. Over the last decade, more than 2,000 films have been submitted for the title of Best Foreign Language Film. Of those, 312—including Italy’s 8 ½, Sweden’s Through a Glass Darkly and Mexico’s Pan’s Labyrinth, as well as Denmark’s lesser-known Harry and the Butler, Yugoslavia’s I Even Met Happy Gypsies and Nicaragua’s Alsino and the Condor—have received nominations.
This guide lists each nominee—from the first-honored Shoeshine in 1948 through Iran’s second Oscar winner, The Salesman, in 2017—chronologically and includes synopses, basic facts about personnel and production qualities, and rankings among annual competitors that often differ from those of the Academy.
In November 1977, Warner Bros. secured the rights to release the album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols in America. The following January, the Sex Pistols—already the “scourge” of Britain—were discovered by unsuspecting American audiences in an infamous U.S. tour, accompanied by sensational media coverage and moral panic.
Malcolm McLaren, the band’s manager, eschewed the established rock ‘n’ roll markets of New York and Los Angeles in favor of off-the-radar venues in Memphis, San Antonio and Baton Rouge, sowing the seeds for countercultural clashes in the conservative South. Two weeks later the band split up but punk had invaded mainstream American culture.
Drawing on input from fans, the author chronicles the Pistols’ first and only U.S. tour and separates fact from fallacy in the mythology surrounding those 12 days of mayhem.
Focusing on the decade following 9/11, this critical analysis examines the various portrayals of Muslims in American cinema. Comparison of pre– and post–9/11 films indicates a stereotype shift, influenced by factors other than just politics. The evolving definitions of male, female and child characters and of setting and landscape are described. The rise of the formidable American female character who dominates the weak Muslim male emerges as a common theme.
The theme of death is an essential component of film narrative, particularly in how it affects the hero. Filmmakers from different cultures and backgrounds have developed distinct yet archetypal perspectives on death and the protagonist’s response. Focusing on Western and Japanese period genre films, the author examines the work of John Ford (1894–1973), Akira Kurosawa (1910–1998) and Sergio Leone (1929–1989) and finds similarities regarding death’s impact on the hero’s sense of morality.
While rock groups such as the Beach Boys and Jan and Dean defined the beach music of Southern California during the 1960s, a different, R&B influenced sound could be heard along South Carolina’s Grand Strand. Drawing on extensive research and exclusive interviews, this richly illustrated reference work covers the music, songwriters and performers who contributed to the genre of classic Carolina beach music from 1940 to 1980. Detailed entries tell the stories behind nearly 500 classic recordings, with release dates, label information, chart performance and biographical background on more than 200 artists.
Boxing might not have survived the 1930s if not for Max Baer. A contender for every heavyweight championship 1932–1941, California’s “Glamour Boy” brought back the “million-dollar gate” not seen since the 1920s. His radio voice sold millions of Gillette razor blades; his leading-man appeal made him a heartthrob in The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933). The film was banned in Nazi Germany—Baer had worn a Star of David on his trunks when he TKOed German former champ Max Schmeling.
Baer defeated 275-pound Primo Carnera in 1934 for the championship, losing it to Jim Braddock the next year. Contrary to Cinderella Man, (2005), Baer—favored 10 to 1—was not a villain and the fight was more controversial than the film suggested. His battle with Joe Louis three months later drew the highest gate of the decade.
This first comprehensive biography covers Baer’s complete ring record, his early life, his career on radio, film, stage and television, and his World War II army service.
A mainstay of modern life, the global media gives out information about disabilities that is often inaccurate or negative and perpetuates oppressive stigmas and discrimination.
In response to representations that have been incomplete, misguided or unimaginative, this collection of new essays encourages scholars and allies to refashion media so as to disrupt the status quo and move toward more liberatory politics. Images in film, television and social media are assessed through the lenses of disabilities studies, media studies, cultural studies and intersectional studies involving critical race theory and gender.
Critical humorists and religion are steeped in a long-standing cultural antagonism. This book recounts the dramatic skirmishes between religion—its dogma and edicts, political manifestations, and the nature of faith—and the satire, parody, jokes and hyperbole of popular wits. The writings of Twain, Vonnegut, Mencken and Hitchens are included, along with the films of Monty Python, the cartoons of Charlie Hebdo, the animated television series The Simpsons and South Park, the comedy of George Carlin and Bill Maher, the music of Randy Newman and Pussy Riot, the performance monologue of Julia Sweeney and the magic of Penn Jillette.
Now revised and updated, this book tells the story of how the automobile transformed American life and how automotive design and technology have changed over time. It details cars’ inception as a mechanical curiosity and later a plaything for the wealthy; racing and the promotion of the industry; Henry Ford and the advent of mass production; market competition during the 1920s; the development of roads and accompanying highway culture; the effects of the Great Depression and World War II; the automotive Golden Age of the 1950s; oil crises and the turbulent 1970s; the decline and then resurgence of the Big Three; and how American car culture has been represented in film, music and literature. Updated notes and a select bibliography serve as valuable resources to those interested in automotive history.
As a Ziegfeld Follies girl and film actress, Justine Johnstone (1895–1982) was celebrated as “the most beautiful woman in the world.” Her career took an unexpected turn when she abruptly retired from acting at 31. For the remainder of her life, she dedicated herself to medical research and social activism. As a cutting-edge pathologist, she contributed to the pre-penicillin treatment of syphilis at Columbia University, participated in the development of early cancer treatments at Caltech, and assisted Los Angeles physicians in oncology research. As a divorced woman in the 1940s, she adopted and raised two children on her own. She later helped find work for blacklisted Hollywood screenwriters and became a prominent participant in social and political causes.
The first full-length biography of Johnstone chronicles her extraordinary success in two male-dominated fields—show business and medical science—and follows her remarkable journey into a fascinating and fulfilling life.
The cultural fantasy of twins imagines them as physically and behaviorally identical. Media portrayals consistently offer the spectacle of twins who share an insular closeness and perform a supposed alikeness—standing side by side, speaking and acting in unison.
Treating twinship as a cultural phenomenon, this first comprehensive study of twins in American literature and popular culture examines the historical narrative—within the discourses of experimentation, aberrance and eugenics—and how it has shaped their representations in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The best four days in gaming, Gen Con 2018, starts this week in Indianapolis. McFarland will be in the exhibit hall at booth #142. Visit us to peruse our books and to get the buzz about McFarland’s latest offerings. (Also, Lisa Camp will be in the booth representing the editorial team, and welcomes proposals for nonfiction manuscripts.)
For those of us that can’t make it to Gen Con, McFarland’s Games & Hobbies catalog covers books about role-playing games, tabletop games, video games, chess, and more. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code GAME25, print editions of all games & hobbies books are 25% off August 1 through August 15. Happy reading!
In his remarkable 50-year career, D-Day veteran, international film publicist and executive and production associate Charles “Jerry” Juroe met, knew or worked with almost “anyone who was anyone,” from Cecil B. DeMille and Alfred Hitchcock to Mary Pickford, Marilyn Monroe, Bob Hope, Katherine Hepburn, Brando and the Beatles.
He made his name working on the iconic James Bond films, running publicity and advertising for both United Artists and legendary producers Albert “Cubby” Broccoli and Harry Saltzman’s EON Productions. From Dr. No to GoldenEye, Juroe traveled the globe with Sean Connery, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan. His entertaining memoir reads like insider history of Hollywood.
Some of you may share a guilty failing of our editors. When they receive proposals and manuscripts, while reading about almost any car–learning how it took shape, its quirks and qualities, how it changed over the production run–desire starts to sprout. Previously ignored vehicles (and even disliked vehicles) show their hidden appeal. On more than one occasion, an editor has looked at ads and undertaken calculations (financial, emotional, marital) for said cars.
If you’re the same, peruse our transportation catalog with caution! In addition to a broad range of books about automobiles, you’ll find offerings about aircraft, locomotives, bicycles, ships, military vehicles and transportation-related topics. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code TRANSPORT25, print editions of all transportation books are 25% off July 16 through July 31. Happy motoring and happy reading!
With the increased popularity of zombies in recent years, scholars have considered why the undead have so captured the public imagination. This book argues that the zombie can be viewed as an object of meditation on death, a memento mori that makes the fact of mortality more approachable from what has been described as America’s “death-denying culture.” The existential crisis in zombie apocalyptic fiction brings to the fore the problem of humanity’s search for meaning in an increasingly global and secular world. Zombies are analyzed in the context of Buddhist thought, in contrast with social and religious critiques from other works.
Renowned composer Jennifer Higdon is best known for her symphonic pieces blue cathedral, Concerto for Orchestra, City Scape, Concerto 4-3 and Violin Concerto (2010 Pulitzer Prize). These compositions illustrate her breadth of style and avant-garde technique. The author examines these works—with commentary by Higdon—as well as the music of her first opera, with a focus on compositional history, musical characteristics, formal analysis and critical reception.
Vampire narratives are generally thought of as adult or young adult fare, yet there is a long history of their appearance in books, film and other media meant for children. They emerge as expressions of anxiety about change and growing up but sometimes turn out to be new best friends who highlight the beauty of difference and individuality.
This collection of new essays examines the history of vampires in 20th and 21st century Western popular media marketed to preteens and explores their significance and symbolism.
Hollywood, the 1970s. Jason Williams, a former college athlete from very conservative Orange County, hopes to become a film actor in a town where everyone’s looking for a break. He jumps at the chance for the lead in a science fiction parody, an X-rated (later R) spoof of Flash Gordon.
Sure, he has to get naked on camera—but so do lots of cute girls. He has no idea the production will be the start of an odyssey that will take him through the highs and lows of Tinseltown, and make him the most known unknown in movies—Flesh Gordon!
Set in politically unstable environments, Shakespeare’s history plays—Richard II, 1 Henry IV, 2 Henry IV and Henry V—and HBO’s Western series Deadwood (2004–2006) all stand as critiques of myths of national origin, the sanitized stories we tell ourselves about how power imposes order on chaos. Drawing parallels between the Shakespeare plays and Deadwood, the author explores questions about legitimate political authority, the qualities of an effective leader, gender roles and community, and the reciprocal relationship between past and present in historical narratives.
Hollywood studios were once eager to bring stand-up comedy king Richard Pryor’s dynamic humor to the big screen—so much so that studio executives gave him full access to available resources and creative control to develop his own projects. Unfortunately Pryor’s screen talents were far less acclaimed than his stage ones, and flops such as The Toy and Superman III greatly diminished his reputation. The author examines how this downfall unfolded through comprehensive analyses of each of Pryor’s movies.
Richard Matheson’s 1954 novel I Am Legend has spawned a series of iconic horror and science fiction films, including The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971) and I Am Legend (2007). The compelling narrative of the last man on earth, struggling to survive a pandemic that has transformed the rest of humanity into monsters, has become an American myth. While the core story remains intact, filmmakers have transformed the details over time, reflecting changing attitudes about race and masculinity.
This reexamination of Matheson’s novel situates the tale of one man’s conflicted attitude about killing racialized “others” within its original post–World War II context, engaging the question of post-traumatic stress disorder. The author analyzes the several film adaptations, with a focus on the casting and interpretations of protagonist Robert Neville.
Group Motion—an improvisational dance performance practice—represents fifty years of co-creation by the authors, with the participation of thousands of dancers, musicians, videographers and others around the globe. Informed by Mary Wigman’s expressionist dance and other contemporary dance and theater traditions, Group Motion has brought dance not only to stages worldwide, but also to public parks, prisons and airports.
Part memoir, part guidebook, part philosophy of art treatise, this book provides step-by-step guidance to dozens of improvisational structures or games for dance professionals, theater artists, musicians and other performers who use movement for creative expression.
John McTiernan is one of the most influential action filmmakers of his generation. Educated
at the American Film Institute and influenced by European cinematic style, he made his name with a trio of groundbreaking action films—Predator, Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October.
His later output was a mixture of successes and failures, including Last Action Hero, one of the most colossal misfires in Hollywood history. His career and personal life unravelled when he was indicted and briefly imprisoned for involvement in a wiretapping scandal.
Drawing on extensive research, the author covers McTiernan’s tumultuous life and career, from his early triumphs through his extensive legal battles and his multiple attempts at a comeback.
This collection of 23 new essays focuses on the lives of female screenwriters of Golden Age Hollywood, whose work helped create those unforgettable stories and characters beloved by audiences—but whose names have been left out of most film histories. The contributors trace the careers of such writers as Anita Loos, Adela Rogers St. Johns, Lillian Hellman, Gene Gauntier, Eve Unsell and Ida May Park, and explore themes of their writing in classics like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Ben Hur, and It’s a Wonderful Life.
The apocalypse on the big screen has expanded beyond the familiar end-of-the-world movies. Romantic comedies, teen adventures and even children’s films frequently feature apocalyptic imagery—disintegrating cities, extreme weather events, extinctions, rogue military forces, epidemics, zombie armies and worlds colliding. Using sophisticated CGI effects, filmmakers are depicting the end of the world ever more stunningly.
The authors explore the phenomenon of the cinematic apocalypse and its origins in both our anxieties and our real-world events, and they identify some flashes of hope in the desolate landscape.
Traditional African musical forms have long been accepted as fundamental to the emergence of blues and jazz. Yet there has been little effort at compiling recorded evidence to document their development. This discography brings together hundreds of recordings that trace in detail the evolution of the African American musical experience, from early wax cylinder recordings made in West Africa to voodoo rituals from the Carribean Basin to the songs of former slaves in the American South.
A childhood comic book fan turned comic book retailer, the author soon discovered the prevalence of scams in the world of comics collecting. This book is his tutorial on how to collect wisely and reduce risks. Drawing on skills learned from 20 years with the San Diego Police Department and as a Comic-Con attendee since 1970, he covers in detail the history and culture of collecting comic books and describes the pitfalls, including common deceptions of grading, pricing, as well as theft, and mail and insurance fraud.
The Women of Orphan Black: Faces of the Feminist Spectrum
Valerie Estelle Frankel
“Frankel takes a deep dive into the sci-fi cult hit Orphan Black…explor[es] how the show challenged female stereotypes and the often-limiting categories women are put into on screen by creating female characters who were radically different despite having the same DNA…examines each character in depth…Frankel also illuminates the science at the heart of the show, along with the many literary allusions referenced each season…smart analysis”
Women are now central to many science fiction films—but that has not always been the case. Female characters, from their token presence (or absence) in the silent pictures of the early 20th century to their roles as assistants, pulp princesses and sexy robots, and eventually as scientists, soldiers and academics, have often struggled to be seen and heard in a genre traditionally regarded as of men, by men and for men.
Surveying more than 650 films across 120 years, the author charts the highs and lows of women’s visibility in science fiction’s cinematic history through the effects of two world wars, social and cultural upheavals and advances in film technology.
Who are the most significant gay icons and how did they develop? What influence do they have on gay individuals and communities?
This book focuses on the superstars, femmes fatales and divas of the gay celebrity pantheon—May West, Julie Andrews, Britney Spears, RuPaul, Cher, Divine, Sharon Needles and many others—and their contributions to gay culture and the complications of sexual and gender identity. The author explores their allure along with the mechanisms of iconicity.
Myth pervades heavy metal. With visual elements drawn from medieval and horror cinema, the genre’s themes of chaos, dissidence and alienation transmit an image of Promethean rebellion against the conventional. In dialogue with the modern world, heavy metal draws imaginatively on myth and folklore to construct an aesthetic and worldview embraced by a vast global audience. The author explores the music of Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica and many others from a mythological and literary perspective.
In the midst of acne, social anxiety and training bras are the teen idols that make adolescent life a little more bearable. Whether their cutouts are plastered on bedroom walls or hidden behind locker doors, there is no denying the impact of these stars on young women.
This collection of new essays explores with tenderness and humor the teen crushes of the past 50 years—from Elvis to John Lennon to Diana Ross—who have influenced the choices of women, romantically or otherwise, well into adulthood.
Digital role-playing games such as Rift, Diablo III, and Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning help players develop skills in critical thinking, problem solving, digital literacy, and lifelong learning. The author examines both the benefits and the drawbacks of role-playing games and their application to real-world teaching techniques. Readers will learn how to incorporate games-based instruction into their own classes and workplace training, as well as approaches to redesigning curriculum and programs.
Many critics and fans refer to the 1990s as the decade that horror forgot, with few notable entries in the genre. Yet horror went mainstream in the ’90s by speaking to the anxieties of American youth during one of the country’s most prosperous eras.
No longer were films made on low budgets and dependent on devotees for success. Horror found its way onto magazine covers, fashion ads and CD soundtrack covers. “Girl power” feminism and a growing distaste for consumerism defined an audience that both embraced and rejected the commercial appeal of these films.
This in-depth study examines the youth subculture and politics of the era, focusing on such films as Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), Scream (1996), I Know What You Did Last Summer (1997), Idle Hands(1999) and Cherry Falls (2000).
On December 31, 1939, nationwide radio audiences listened as 17-year-old Josephine Owaissa Cottle, a Texas schoolgirl, won Gateway to Hollywood’s new talent competition. Her prize was a movie contract at RKO and a memorable stage name—“Gale Storm.” One of the United States’ most beloved entertainers, she appeared in 35 films, starred in two hit television series (one was My Little Margie) and earned a gold record for “I Hear You Knockin’.”
Drawing on interviews with family, friends and colleagues, this biography provides many unpublished details of her life and career. An annotated filmography encompasses Storm’s time at Monogram Pictures, her roles in westerns and her appearances in classics such as It Happened on 5th Avenue. Her TV career is covered, including complete production histories and episode guides.
Director, producer and screenwriter Joss Whedon is a creative force in film, television, comic books and a host of other media. This book provides an authoritative survey of all of Whedon’s work, ranging from his earliest scriptwriting on Roseanne, through his many movie and TV undertakings—Toy Story, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly/Serenity, Dr. Horrible, The Cabin in the Woods, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.—to his forays into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
The book covers both the original texts of the Whedonverse and the many secondary works focusing on Whedon’s projects, including about 2000 books, essays, articles, documentaries and dissertations.
During the 1960s, many models, Playboy centerfolds, beauty queens, and Las Vegas showgirls went on to become “decorative actresses” appearing scantily clad on film and television. This well illustrated homage to 75 of these glamour girls reveals their unique stories through individual biographical profiles, photographs, lists of major credits and, frequently, in-depth personal interviews. Included are Carol Wayne, Edy Williams, Inga Neilsen, Thordis Brandt, Jo Collins, Phyllis Davis, Melodie Johnson, and many equally unforgettable faces of sixties Hollywood.
The history of Italian cinema includes, in addition to the renowned auteurs, a number of peculiar and lesser-known filmmakers. While their artistry was often plagued with production setbacks, their works—influenced by poetry, playwriting, advertising, literature, comics and a nonconformist, sometimes antagonistic attitude—were original and thought provoking.
Drawing from official papers and original scripts, this book includes previously unpublished information on the works and lives of post–World War II filmmakers Pier Carpi, Alberto Cavallone, Riccardo Ghione, Giulio Questi, Brunello Rondi, Paolo Spinola, Augusto Tretti and Nello Vegezzi.
Sir Christopher Lee (1922–2015) was one of the most beloved actors of the past sixty years. He appeared in more than 200 feature films—from Hammer Horror and James Bond thrillers to Star Warsand Lord of the Rings—and more than 100 made-for-televison movies. A versatile performer, he played a menacing figure in Dracula and The Wicker Man, a tragic one in The Curse of Frankenstein and The Mummy, and a spiritual hero in The Devil Rides Out. This study explores his legacy as a film actor and his diverse interpretations of the theme of good vs. evil.
FOX’s musical drama Empire has been hailed as the savior of broadcast television, drawing 15 million viewers a week. A “hip-hopera” inspired by Shakespeare’s King Lear and 1980s prime-time soap Dynasty, the series is at the forefront of a black popular culture Renaissance—yet has stirred controversy in the black community. Is Empire shifting paradigms or promoting pernicious stereotypes?
Examining the evolution and potency of black images in popular culture, the author explores Empire’s place in a diverse body of literature and media, data and discussions on respectability.
This collection of new essays explores the many ways in which composers have been depicted in film and what audiences have taken away from such depictions. Beginning with some of the earliest silent film examples—including some of the first feature-length “bio-pics” ever produced—these essays range from the 12th century abbess Hildegard of Bingen to the great classical and romantic eras of Verdi, Wagner, Berlioz and Strauss, up to the 20th century’s Elgar, Delius, Gershwin and Blitzstein.
The entertainment world lost many notable talents in 2017, including iconic character actor Harry Dean Stanton, comedians Jerry Lewis and Dick Gregory, country singer Glen Campbell, playwright Sam Shepard and actor-singer Jim Nabors.
Obituaries of actors, filmmakers, musicians, producers, dancers, composers, writers, animals and others associated with the performing arts who died in 2017 are included. Date, place and cause of death are provided for each, along with a career recap and a photograph. Filmographies are given for film and television performers. Books in this annual series are available dating to 1994—a subscription is available for future volumes.
For the better part of three decades romance comics were an American institution. Nearly 6,000 titles were published between 1947 and 1977, and for a time one in five comics sold in the U.S. was a romance comic.
This first full-length study examines the several types of romance comics, their creators and publishing history. The author explores significant periods in the development of the genre, including the origins of Archie Comics and other teen publications, the romance comic “boom and bust” of the 1950s, and their sudden disappearance when fantasy and superhero comics began to dominate in the late 1970s.
Claire Trevor (1910–2000) is best remembered as the alluring blonde femme fatale in such iconic noir films as Murder, My Sweet (1944) and Raw Deal (1948). Yet she was a versatile performer who brought rare emotional depth to her craft. She was effective in a range of diverse roles, from an outcast prostitute in John Ford’s classic Stagecoach (1939) to the ambitious tennis mother in Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951) to the embittered wife of a landowner in William Wellman’s overlooked gem My Man and I (1952). Nominated for four Oscars, she deservedly won Best Supporting Actesss for her portrayal of Gaye Dawn, a gangster’s broken-down moll in Key Largo (1948). The author covers her life and career in detail, recognizing her as one of the finest actresses of her generation.
Summer blockbuster season seems to start earlier each year, but that’s all fine and dandy with the Marvel and Star Wars fans at McFarland! Beginning on Star Wars Day, McFarland is offering a sale for our books about film, television and related pop culture. When you order direct from our website using the coupon code PopCulture25, print editions of all pop culture books are 25% off on Star Wars Day, May 4 through Friday, May 11. May the fourth be with you!
Science fiction movie audiences may sometimes wonder how fictitious the science in a film really is. Yet for many—call them the “Jurassic Park generation”—film and popular media can present a seemingly plausible melding of science and fiction that forms a distorted understanding of scientific facts and concepts. Recognizing that film is both the dominant entertainment medium and an effective tool for teaching, this book—featuring articles originally published in the magazine Scary Monsters—separates biological reality from fantasy in dozens of science fiction films, including The Island of Lost Souls (1933), The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), War of the Worlds (1953), A Clockwork Orange (1971), Scanners (1980), The Serpent and the Rainbow (1987) and Outbreak (1995).
The witch as a cultural archetype has existed in some form since the beginning of recorded history. Her nature has changed through technological developments and sociocultural shifts—a transformation most evident in her depictions on screen.
This book traces the figure of the witch through American screen history with an analysis of the entertainment industry’s shifting boundaries concerning expressions of femininity. Focusing on films and television series from The Wizard of Oz to The Craft, the author looks at how the witch reflects alterations of gender roles, religion, the modern practice of witchcraft, and female agency.
Set in the American Southwest, “desert terror” films combine elements from horror, film noir and road movies to tell stories of isolation and violence. For more than half a century, these diverse and troubling films have eluded critical classification and analysis. Highlighting pioneering filmmakers and bizarre production stories, the author traces the genre’s origins and development, from cult exploitation (The Hills Have Eyes, The Hitcher) to crowd-pleasing franchises (Tremors, From Dusk Till Dawn) to quirky auteurist fare (Natural Born Killers, Lost Highway) to more recent releases (Bone Tomahawk, Nocturnal Animals). Rare stills, promotional materials and a filmography are included.
Orphan Black’s Tatiana Maslany plays a host of the show’s main characters, all clones of an illegal experiment. The mighty heroines save one another and destroy the patriarchy—with the aid of supportive yet bumbling males—while subverting gender expectations and celebrating the many facets of feminism.
Sarah, the punk feminist clashing with her radical feminist foster-mother; Alison, the quintessential post-feminist housewife; Cosima, a herald of second-wave lesbian feminism in Birkenstocks and dreads; Beth, a third-wave feminist bogged down by drug and relationship problems; and M.K. a fourth-wave feminist who tackles the hardships of disability through the Internet. This book explores these portrayals and how they relate to the science and ethics surrounding cloning through an emphasis on the women’s war against corporate power.
Featuring interviews with the creators of 36 popular video games—including Deus Ex, Night Trap, Mortal Kombat, Wasteland and NBA Jam—this book gives a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of some of the most influential and iconic (and sometimes forgotten) games of all time. Recounting endless hours of painstaking development, the challenges of working with mega publishers and the uncertainties of public reception, the interviewees reveal the creative processes that produced some of gaming’s classic titles.
“What audacity!” exclaimed Robert Wagner when he heard about the authors’ adolescent exploits in nabbing interviews with celebrities of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
In 1978, David Fantle and Tom Johnson, St. Paul teenagers fresh out of high school, boarded a plane to meet with Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly. On a lark, they had written the two stars requesting interviews—to their amazement, both had agreed.
Over the years, more than 250 other stars also agreed—Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, James Cagney, Mickey Rooney, Debbie Reynolds, George Burns, Rod Steiger, Milton Berle, Frank Capra and Hoagy Carmichael, to name a few. Published for the first time and with exclusive photos, this selection of 75 interviews chronicles the authors’ 40-year quest for wisdom, insights and anecdotes from iconic artists who defined 20th century American popular culture.
The Duffer Brothers’ award-winning Stranger Things exploded onto the pop culture scene in 2016. The Netflix original series revels in a nostalgic view of 1980s America while darkly portraying the cynical aspects of the period. This collection of 23 new essays explores how the show reduces, reuses and recycles ’80s pop culture—from the films of Spielberg, Carpenter and Hughes to punk and synthwave music to Dungeons & Dragons—and how it shapes our understanding of the decade through distorted memory. Contributors discuss gender and sexual orientation; the politics, psychology and educational policies of the day; and how the ultimate upper-class teen idol of the Reagan era became Stranger Things‘ middle-aged blue-collar heroine.
Women remain woefully underrepresented in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Negative stereotypes about women in these fields are pervasive, rooted in the debunked claim that women have less aptitude than men in science and math. While some TV series present portrayals that challenge this stereotype, others reinforce troubling biases—sometimes even as writers and producers attempt to champion women in STEM.
This collection of new essays examines numerous popular series, from children’s programs to primetime shows, and discusses the ways in which these narratives inform cultural ideas about women in STEM.
Adventure fiction is one of the easiest narrative forms to recognize but one of the hardest to define because of its overlap with many other genres. This collection of essays attempts to characterize adventure fiction through the exploration of key elements—such as larger-than-life characters and imperialistic ideas—in the genre’s 19th- and 20th-century British and American works like The Scarlet Pimpernel by Orczy and Captain Blood by Sabatini. The author explores the cultural and literary impact of such works, presenting forgotten classics in a new light.
The Incomparable Hildegarde (1906–2005) lived a life of glamour and excitement. She began her career as a pianist in Milwaukee’s silent movie theaters, which led to the Vaudeville stage. By the 1930s, she was singing in the cabarets of Paris and London, rubbing elbows with royalty, White Russians, and Josephine Baker. Returning to the U.S., she became the darling of the New York City supper club scene. Her name and style became synonymous with high-class entertainment at venues like the Persian Room at the Plaza Hotel. She started fashion trends, had her own signature Revlon nail and lip color, and was the first to have hits with many standards of the World War II era.
This first biography of Hildegarde Sill covers her 70–year career, emphasizing her importance in 20th-century American popular culture. The author analyzes her intimate relationship with her manager of two decades, Anna Sosenko.
Jessica Jones barged onto our screens in November 2015, courtesy of Marvel and Netflix, presenting a hard-drinking protagonist who wrestles with her own inner (and outer) demons. Gaining enhanced abilities as a teenager, she eschews the “super costume” and is far more concerned with the problems of daily life. But when Jessica falls under the control of a villain, her life changes forever.
Based on the comic book Alias, the show won a large following and critical acclaim for its unflinching look at subjects like abuse, trauma, PTSD, rape culture, alcoholism, drug addiction, victims’ plight and family conflicts.
This collection of new essays offers insight into the show’s complex themes and story lines.
Detective McNulty applies bite marks to a deceased man’s body with a set of dentures in The Wire, illustrating how officialdom deals in falsehood. Dr. Strangelove lovingly describes the “doomsday machine” as being free from “human meddling,” while it destroys the world, highlighting the absurdity of placing systems above any moral considerations. In Crash, Ballard survives a car accident only to be cared for by a paternal technology that tends only to his physical needs—a life of technical certitude bereft of beauty.
The Cold War, with its promise of imminent and purposeless doom, profoundly shaped the post-modern world in ways that are not yet appreciated. This study examines the Cold War zeitgeist and its aftermath as shown in fiction, film and television.
GB. Grayson and Henry Whitter were two of the most influential artists in the early days of country music. Songs they popularized—“Tom Dooley,” “Little Maggie,” “Handsome Molly,” and “Nine Pound Hammer”—are still staples of traditional music. Although the duo sold tens of thousands of records during the 1920s, the details of their lives remain largely unknown.
Featuring never before published photographs and interviews with friends and relatives, this book chronicles for the first time the romantic intrigues and tragic deaths that marked their lives and explores the Southern Appalachian culture that shaped their music.
The BBC television series Downton Abbey (2010–2016), highly rated in the UK, achieved cult status among American viewers, harking back to the days when serial dramas ruled the airwaves. The show’s finale was one of the most watched in all of television history.
This collection of new essays by British and American contributors explores how a series about life in an early 20th century English manor home resonated with American audiences. Topics include the role of the house in literature and film, the changing roles of women and the servant class, the influence of jazz and fashion, and attitudes regarding education and the class system.
Buster Keaton “can impress a weary world with the vitally important fact that life, after all, is a foolishly inconsequential affair,” wrote critic Robert Sherwood in 1918. A century later Keaton, with his darkly comic “theater of the absurd,” speaks to audiences like no other silent comedian. If you thought you knew Keaton—think again!
Mixed martial arts or MMA is widely regarded as the fastest growing sport. Events fill stadiums around the world and draw vast television audiences, earning strong revenue through pay-per-view at a time when other sports have abandoned it. In 2016, the Ultimate Fighting Championship was bought by the massive talent agency WME-IMG for $4 billion. Despite this success, much of the public remains uneasy with the sport, which critics have denounced as “human cockfighting.”
Through an exploration of violence, class, gender, race and nationalism, the author finds that MMA is both an expression of the positive values of martial arts and a spectacle defined by narcissism, hate and patriarchy. The long-term success of MMA will depend on the ability of promoters and athletes to resist indulging in spectacle at the expense of sport.
When Joss Whedon’s television show Firefly (2002–2003) was cancelled, devoted fans cried foul and demanded more—which led to the 2005 feature film Serenity. Both the series and the film were celebrated for their melding of science fiction and western iconography, dystopian settings, underdog storylines, and clever fast-paced dialogue.
Firefly has garnered a great deal of scholarly attention—less so, Serenity. This collection of new essays, the first focusing exclusively on the film, examines its depictions of race, ableism, social engineering and systems of power, and its status as a crime film, among other topics.