The Exclaim! Holiday Gift Guide: Books:
● Festival Man (Pictured Above)
by Geoff Berner (Dundrin)
Best known as a singer-songwriter and accordion player, with Festival Man, Geoff Berner makes the leap into the publishing world. "What's another dying industry I can go into?" he jokes. Festival Man is a "found memoir" in the voice of music manager Campbell Ouiniette, part huckster, part musical visionary. "He's kind of a con artist, he's kind of a liar. He's unreliable, but he may have the saving grace that he's a true believer that music can save your life." The novel follows Campbell as he tries to bluff his roster of musical misfits into the big time at the Calgary Folk Festival. The book comes with a downloadable tribute album of Berner's own tunes performed by the likes of Rae Spoon, Carolyn Mark and Corb Lund. "I live in a strange world of strange musicians," he says. "I wanted to get across the feeling of what it's like to be in that world."
Readers Who Rock:
● Late Century Dream: Movements in the U.S. Indie Music Underground
edited by Tom Howells (Black Dog Publishing)
Music scenes disappear in the blink of an eye, but their legacies can last decades. Late Century Dream documents the myriad local scenes that appeared in punk's wake: grunge in Seattle; DC hardcore; San Diego post-hardcore and early screamo and Chapel Hill's indie rock evolution.
More: Steve Miller examines five decades of Motor City madness in the appropriately-titled Detroit Rock City: The Uncensored History of Rock'n'Roll in America's Loudest City (Da Capo). And challenging Motley Crüe's The Dirt for the title of filthiest rock tome, Jon Wiederhorn and Katherine Turman take on the daunting task of documenting heavy metal from its inception to the present in Louder Than Hell: The Definitive Oral History of Heavy Metal (It Books).
Lives In Pictures:
● Gered Mankowitz: 50 Years of Rock and Roll Photography
Fifty years is a long time in any field, let alone the rough and tumble world of rock'n'roll. Yet photographer Gered Mankowitz has remained one of rock's most endearing documentarians even as many of his subjects sadly helped codify its fatalistic image. "There's always the fear that someone is going to knock on the door and say, 'You've got to give it all back,'" he says. Famed for his work with Jimi Hendrix and the Rolling Stones — he took the photographs on the cover of Stones albums Out of Their Heads and Between the Buttons — Mankowitz didn't just shoot your favourite artist: he helped create their defining images. "I've been told by people that when they look at my pictures… they see the human being not the rock God."
More: The Art Gallery of Ontario is currently playing host to a career-spanning exploration of David Bowie. Highlights from the touring collection have been collected in the elaborate photo book David Bowie Is… (V&A Publishing).
For Film Nerds:
● Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections and Other Obsessions
by Guillermo del Toro (Harper Design)
If the idea of taking a peek inside the mind of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro doesn't creep you out, full stop, then this is the book for you. The man behind creature-infested films like Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy and this summer's mecha-fuelled Pacific Rim offers up a window into his creative process via this collection of sketches, notes and diary entries. It's rounded out by new interviews with the director, testimonials from Neil Gaiman and John Landis and a forward from James Cameron.
More: Looking outside of the Hollywood box, Chris D, front-man of legendary L.A. punks the Flesh Eaters, has compiled Gun and Sword: An Anthology of Japanese Gangster Films 1955-1980 (Poison Fang Books). For a more esoteric approach, try House of Psychotic Women: An Autobiographical Topography of Female Neurosis in Horror and Exploitation Films (FAB Press), which explores the neurosis ascribed to women in horror films.