The Best of the World’s Worst

Stan Lee

With only the universal constant “Bad Taste + Good Marketing = Big Money” to guide them, Rhino has found its niche—and they’re working it with the same thoroughness and determination as the most rapacious clear-cutting or strip-mining juggernaut.
The Best of the World’s Worst marks Rhino’s entry into the arena of the printed word, and it’s a title that seems almost too perfectly suited to the task. Although the book is credited to Marvel Comics mastermind Stan Lee, a team of over 20 less-famous researchers actually did most of the work, scouring all of the available literature and then some (The Guinness Book, The Book of Lists and even Statistical Abstracts of the United States) to present the lowest of the low, from “The Worst Mass Killing of Civilians” to “The Worst Addiction to Hamburgers.” Who needs the thrill of victory when the agony of defeat is so much more satisfying to snicker at, as long as it’s at the expense of others?
As arbitrary as some of the categories are (“The Worst Reason for a Married Couple To Stab One Another,” “The Worst Costliest Album”), much of The Best of the World’s Worst is surprisingly funny. Funny, that is, until you make the mistake of actually reading any of Stan Lee’s “entertaining one-liners” that unfortunately follow every anecdote. Guess they had to let him do something in order to use his name on the cover, but these italicized cheap shots are so embarrassingly bad they make the gangly guy that hosts America’s Funniest Home Videos seem like a comedic genius in comparison. ‘Nuff said? DB

Publisher: General
Paperback: 191 pages

Here on Gilligan’s Isle

Russell Johnson and Steve Cox

Who could resist the tale of this fateful trip? And it ain’t no three-hour tour! Written by Russell Johnson (the Professor), Here on Gilligan’s Isle is a 235-page treasure trove full of everything anyone’s ever wanted to know about Gilligan’s Island and lots more: original interviews with the cast, behind-the-scenes gossip and trivia, original prototype sketches of the Professor’s wacky inventions (attention, alternative-science fans!), candid backstage photos and a complete episode guide. Now you too can know why and when the lyrics to the theme song were changed from “and the rest” to “the Professor an’ Mary Ann.” And why the later version was performed by a different group than the first! DB

Publisher: Harper Perennial
Paperback: 320 pages

New World Order Comix: #1, The Saga of… White Will!!

William L. Pierce, Drawing and Lettering Daniel “Rip” Roush

Follow the wacky adventures of White Will and his pals, as they try to get to the bottom of a mysterious wave of “political correctness” that threatens to turn their whole school upside down! When the teacher suddenly claims that Cleopatra, Hannibal and even Beethoven were really black, White Will smells a rat. Despite a ban on “politically incorrect” books, Will and his pals learn the truth about the race-mixers’ evil plan, and when they decide to stand up to the vicious Jews, revisionist Negroes, inscrutable Orientals and race-traitor “wiggers,” get ready for a laff riot!
The fun really begins when that rascally Jew Izzy Rabinowitz uses every trick in the Talmud to turn not only his Negro lackeys but the “wiggers” against Will and the gang. When Izzy and his mudrace mongrels try to stage a bogus “anti-racism” assembly, White Will gives ‘em a taste of their own medicine, and, in a rollicking free-for-all that’ll have you in stitches the Satanic ZOG-meisters find out the hard way that “Race Mixing isn’t Kosher!” New World Order Comix is brought to you by the nice folks of the National Alliance. DB

Publisher: National Vanguard
Pamphlet: 37 pages

Phantasmic Radio

Allen S. Weiss

With a title that reinforces the already indelible “ghost in the radio” image from Cocteau’s Orpheus, Phantasmic Radio explores and expounds on the radio experiments of Artaud, John Cage, Valere Novarina (Theatre por Orielle), Gregory Whitehead, Louis Wolfson and Christoff Migone. A little on the arty and pretentious side (kind of unavoidable when dealing with the likes of Artaud and Cage), but full of information and frighteningly meticulous analysis on a subject that—thanks to the FCC-approved corporate stranglehold on commercial radio, the “family values” funding paranoia that has lobotomized public radio and Pacifica’s pathetic “suicide by political correctness”—most of us will never be able to experience firsthand. Better tape those Joe Frank shows, before he steps out of line and ends up as just another footnote in Phantasmic Radio: Volume 2! DB

Publisher: Duke University
Paperback: 124 pages

Thames and Hudson Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Music

Paul Griffiths

A useful, compact and, except for a number of omissions, comprehensive reference guide to what has been Western classicism’s most musically explosive century-and it’s not over yet.
This deceptively tiny book contains basic information on: 500 composers from 30 countries (not all the greats but a whole lot of them including Mauricio Kagel, Steve Reich, Claude Debussy, John Cage, Pierre Schaefer, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Alvin Lucier, Oliver Messiaen, LaMonte Young, Iannis Xenakis, Krzysztof Penderecki, Edgard Varese, Igor Stravinsky, Harry Partch, Arnold Schoenberg, Pierre Henry); their major works (Hymnen and almost any other Stockhausen composition you can name, Varèse’s Poeme Electronique, Ligeti’s Atmospheres); important musical techniques and styles (Futurism, chance operations, dada, intuitive music, serialism, musique concrete, Fluxus, minimalism); elements and definitions (noise, organized sound, envelopes, resonance); performers (Aloys Kontarsky, AMM, Wilhelm Furtwangler, Musica Eletronica Viva); instruments (Russolo’s intonarumori, the theremin, ring modulator, trautonium); institutions (Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Groupe de Recherches Musicales, Columbia Princeton Electronic Music Center); and “other people” (Jean Cocteau, Robert Moog). DB

Publisher: Thames and Hudson
Paperback: 207 pages

Skinhead Nation

George Marshall

One of the more intelligently written and well-researched books on what the author calls “the greatest of all youth cults.” The fellow responsible, George Marshall, is an almost unbelievable dichotomy: an articulate and readable writer with unassailable street-level skin credibility. An ex-skinhead himself, Marshall spent six years as editor and publisher of a small tabloid-style paper called Skinhead Times, but is best known as the author of Spirit of ‘69: A Skinhead Bible. In Skinhead Nation, he presents as objective an overview as possible of this much- maligned and generally baffling phenomenon, informative and entertaining for the most clueless outsider and the hardest-core skinhead alike. The unbiased attitude toward the mind-boggling array of often diametrically opposed factions and the coverage of a good assortment of “scenes” from all over the world set this book apart from most other works on the subject.
The problem of “skinhead reality vs. media perception” is a constant theme, so much so that if you took out all the copy spent addressing this particular issue, this book would be a leaflet. Still, the way Marshall manages to say “Skinheads aren’t by nature political, but have political beliefs like anyone else,” and “Sure, there are Nazis, but there’s 2 Tone, SHARP, black, asian, and hispanic Skinheads, too” in almost every paragraph without ever actually repeating himself verbatim is an incredible, almost gymnastic, literary achievement worthy of a Nobel Prize, or at least a free pint of ale. Illustrated with a whole bunch of appropriately 2 Tone (oh, all right, black and white) photos, Skinhead Nation helps shed some much-needed light on this little-understood topic. So why am I still so mystified about what would drive a person to actually become a Skinhead? Or, for that matter, a Deadhead, Preppy, born again Christian … DB

Publisher: S.T.
Paperback: 156 pages

Action Art: A Bibliography of Artists’ Performances From Futurism to Fluxus and Beyond

Compiled by John Gray

Those who have tried to locate any information at all about performance-oriented art from before the ‘70s and ‘80s (when the genre finally started to enjoy increased coverage in such publications as High Performance, Artforum, Flash Art), will truly appreciate the value of this handy and compact little volume. The first of the book’s three sections focuses on the “formative years, from Marinetti’s 1909 Futurist stage works to John Cage’s ‘Untitled Event’ of 1952. Section Two covers Action Art’s most fertile period: from the early ‘50s Gutai Group actions, to late ‘50s and early ‘60s Environments and Happenings, to the Fluxus and event art of the early and mid-’60s, to the hideous blood orgies of the Viennese Actionists, and including the Dutch Provos, the Situationist International, and the hijinks of the Guerrilla Art Action Group. The final section is devoted to biographical and critical studies of over 115 Action artists and artists’ groups. All this is followed by five appendixes filled with all sorts of useful information and obsessive cross-referencing, and, finally, four indexes—by artist, subject, title and author. A revelation for those who think performance art was invented by Laurie Anderson, Karen Finley or the Kipper Kids. DB

Publisher: Greenwood
Hardback: 360 pages

The Surrealist Parade: Literary History

Wayne Andrews

“Surrealism is a secret society that will introduce you to death.” Thus spake André Breton, the main focus of this easygoing and highly personal overview of the movement he is credited with founding. The author, who has written over 16 books on many topics (including a cultural history of Nazism called Siegfried’s Curse and, as Montague O’Reilly, the surrealist novels Pianos of Sympathy and Who’s Been Tampering With These Pianos?), knew most of his subjects personally, which makes for a lively read. Although he died before completing the last chapter, if that information weren’t right there on the back cover, no one would be the wiser. Besides an extremely detailed portrait of Breton, Andrews’ “little insider’s history of Surrealism” is a curious pastiche of what the afterword correctly labels “caustic yet admiring sketches” of all the major surrealists—Dali, Ernst, Eluard, Buñuel, Picabia, Roussel—”illuminating their achievements with choice examples of their eccentricities and obstinacies.” At 178 pages (including the afterword and index) it’s hardly a definitive reference source, but it’s not like there’s a shortage of that sort of thing in the literature of art history. Besides, as Voltaire once said, “To tell everything is to bore.” DB

Publisher: New Directions
Paperback: 178 pages

Un Chien Andalou

Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali

No image is more closely identified with Surrealist film than the opening scene of Un Chien Andalou—a young woman sits calmly while a man slices her eyeball open with a straight razor. Although it is technologically primitive, not to mention silent, Un Chien Andalou remains an enigmatic landmark in the history of cinema, as radical today as when it was released, in 1929. A collaboration between upstart Spaniards Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel, the film was quickly if grudgingly accepted by the notoriously fickle Surrealist group, mainly due to André Breton’s enthusiasm. Public reaction was mixed, although Buñuel, in 1929, attacked “those spectators who, recuperating the film as ‘beautiful’ or ‘poetic,’ overlooked its true intention as a ‘desperate and passionate appeal to murder.’” DB

Publisher: Faber and Faber
Paperback: 38 pages

Creating Covenant Communities

Robert K. Spear

For those who wish to survive the coming Tribulation without having to resort to taking the Mark of the Beast or even paying taxes to ZOG, a covenant community is the way to go. Author Spear, the self-defense instructor for Bo Gritz’s SPIKE Survival Training Team, has written numerous books and pamphlets on self-defense, and is also the author of Surviving Global Slavery: Living Under the New World Order, a book that presents “practical common sense solutions to the challenges created by rejecting the Mark of the Beast.” Creating Covenant Communities is a more detailed tactical companion to Surviving Global Slavery. As per instructions from the Holy Spirit, it’s written in a more narrative style and includes a number of informative, though fictionalized, scenarios. These use a loose “interview” format, allowing the various characters to discuss such important topics as the pros and cons of certain alternative economic exchange systems, such as the HOURS system and the Mormon’s “United Order”; why paying state and federal taxes is “similar to paying a title to Satan”; how to battle “environmental wacko laws”; how and why to be “adopted” by an Indian tribe; the importance of seeking a “Godly and righteous” leader; and speculation on the ‘’divinely inspired document” known as the U.S. Constitution. Includes a handy resource guide and a Mormonesque “Ward Organization” chart. DB

Publisher: Universal Force Dynamics
Paperback: 136 pages