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Critical Mass

Noteworthy new releases for September

BOOKS

 

Mr. Skin’s Skintastic Video Guide

SK Books, $19.95
Howard Stern regular Mr. Skin, a Chicagoan who got a major shout-out in the summer film Knocked Up, forgoes plot and picks the best 501 mainstream movies for gratuitous nudity. Nos. 1 and 2, respectively? Showgirls (breasts: 48, butts: 5) and Fast Times at Ridgemont High (breasts: 4).

 

-30-: The Collapse of the Great American Newspaper

Ivan R. Dee, $26
Media pundits Ken Auletta, Rachel Smolkin, and others trace the tragic decline of the big-city American newspaper in this essay collection edited by former Tribune columnist Charles M. Madigan.

 

In a Cardboard Belt!

Houghton Mifflin, $26
Upon turning 70, Chicago essayist Joseph Epstein reminisces about bygone days at Joe Stein’s on Roosevelt: “[L]ong before the awareness of cholesterol, the first of many snakes to have crept into the American gastronomic Garden of Eden.” The collection is his largest to date.


The Work of Days

Coach House Books, $13.95
In her début poetry collection, Northwestern University Ph.D. student Sarah Lang riffs on concepts as meta as romantic love and as minute as a liter of diet Coke. Echoing Carole Maso and Virginia Woolf, Lang toys with sentence structure and vocabulary to yield an abstract, yet emotive, volume of work.

 

Class Pictures

Aperture, $45
A coffee-table-worthy collection of photographs from Columbia College photography prof Dawoud Bey, who has focused his lens on teens for the past 15 years. Bey’s disarming portraits of students and their accompanying autobiographical statements challenge the stereotype of the angst-ridden, self-absorbed youngster-while showing a photographer at his best.

 

Dearest Dorothy: If Not Now, When?!

Penguin, $16
In this sixth installment of her Dearest Dorothy series, local author Charlene Ann Baumbich returns readers to Partonville, where a contest to name the new minimall sends residents’ tempers flaring.

 

MUSIC

 

Money Music

Bloodshot Records
Recorded in just two days, this second album from Chicago-rooted rock band Dollar Store retains the same gritty, unfiltered sound as in 2004’s début (which one critic called a “slab of greasy roots rock"). Not for the easy listener, the album offers no pretension or filler, just roadside rock meant to be heard over a mug of Bud.

 

Long Live the New Flesh

Paribus
When this full-length début hits shelves, Sally-a band, not a woman-will cease to be Chicago’s best-kept secret. They sound like the Smashing Pumpkins in their glory years: sheets of guitars, heavy drums, and a sneering lead singer-Charlie Deets-who comes off sinister and childlike. Catch them at the Hideout Sept. 15th.


 

Photography: Black Box Studios, Inc.

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