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Music & Performing Arts from our 2021 Winter Newsletter

These titles were featured in our 2021 Winter Newsletter.


Unprotected by Billy Porter

I could not put down this engaging memoir by Emmy, Grammy, and Tony award winner Billy Porter, the star of Pose and Kinky Boots. Humorous, heartbreaking, sassy, and inspiring, Unprotected takes readers from Porter’s childhood in Pittsburgh (where his vocal talent and gayness were evident by age 5) to New York City, where he pursues his dream of being a performer. Porter leaps from past to present and from personal to political while calling out homophobia and racism in the industry, the church, and beyond. Incredibly gifted and hard working, he will have you cheering for him as he fights to live life as his authentic self.—S.B.

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Unprotected: A Memoir By Billy Porter Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419746192
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Abrams Press - October 19th, 2021

The Storyteller by Dave Grohl

Ignore promised photos and ephemera; you just need to know that Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl is a phenomenal writer. Each essay—stories and streams of consciousness, ranging from growing up to activism to rock stardom and, always, music—stands alone. But Grohl knows exactly what he’s doing, his prose and points nailing it like the perfect chord at the end of your favorite song, the whole an album of a singular life you’ll read again and again.—Jocelyn

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The Storyteller: Tales of Life and Music By Dave Grohl Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063076099
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dey Street Books - October 5th, 2021

Hip-Hop (And Other Things) by Shea Serrano

If you know everything about hip-hop, Shea Serrano will give you a brand-new way to look at it. If you know nothing about hip-hop, you will learn so much and be entertained the whole time. Serrano absolutely loves what he is writing about and would like nothing more than to keep talking to you about it forever. Read just one essay, full of sly humor and sincere passion, and you just may let him.  —Jocelyn

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Hip-Hop (And Other Things) By Shea Serrano, Arturo Torres (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Shea Serrano, Arturo Torres (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781538730225
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Twelve - October 26th, 2021

Center Center by James Whiteside

American Ballet Theater principal dancer James Whiteside details his rise to fame and his life beyond ballet in this energetic and humorous memoir. Knowing he was gay at an early age, Whiteside thought that ballet “was doing something super gay” only to be disappointed by the heteronormative roles that male dancers were cast in. While keeping up with the demands of ballet, he also ventured out into becoming a New York drag queen and breaking into the pop-music scene in order to stay connected to his true self. While Center Center doesn’t delve into the details of dance technique or the wonders of performances, it’s a fun read detailing the flair and determination it takes to reach the top.—S.M.C.

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Center Center: A Funny, Sexy, Sad Almost-Memoir of a Boy in Ballet By James Whiteside Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593297834
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Viking - August 17th, 2021

Music is History by Questlove

The perfect gift for music lovers, history lovers, and story lovers, Music Is History covers it all. Questlove takes favorite and familiar songs, one essential track from each of the past 50 years, and illuminates them with his unique, personal connection to the music as well as to issues of race, gender, politics, and identity. This book made me want to load up the playlists Questlove includes and listen with new ears and new understanding.—Jenny

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Music Is History By Questlove Cover Image
ISBN: 9781419751431
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Abrams Image - October 19th, 2021

King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King by Daniel de Vise

From impoverished sharecropper to global music ambassador, B.B. King’s story is nothing short of legendary. But this is also a story of the Black experience in America, of the Great Migration, and of Jim Crow. It is the story of a man reaching out to his people in the language of their own music. And it is also a story about commodification and cultural appropriation. Telling this story is quite an undertaking, and de Vise accomplishes it with a wit and charm to parallel King’s own.—Travis

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King of the Blues: The Rise and Reign of B.B. King By Daniel de Vise Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802158055
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Grove Press - October 5th, 2021

Baggage by Alan Cumming

Alan Cumming’s last memoir was a catharsis; this one is a hard-hitting stroll through his star-studded past. Cumming looks back at the moments that shaped him into the man he is today from teen journalist (really!) to stardom and beyond. I think I ended up reading half of this book aloud to my partner because it was so funny and raw. I’m always in awe of how richly his voice comes through in his writing, as it does once again in Baggage.—Ivy

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Baggage: Tales from a Fully Packed Life By Alan Cumming Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062435781
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Dey Street Books - October 26th, 2021

Long Players: Writers on the Albums That Shaped Them by Tom Gatti

In this very entertaining anthology, 50 writers describe their relationship with the album that has most influenced their life. The great diversity among those included—Marlon James, Rachel Kushner, David Mitchell, Esi Edugyan, George Saunders, etc.—yields an equally diverse collection of albums. Rachmaninov, Miles Davis, the Beatles, Warren G, Kraftwerk, and Lizzo are all represented. As fun as it is to follow along as your favorite author geeks out on their favorite band or musician, the book offers surprising insights on the ways artists from one genre take inspiration from artists of another.—Rico

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Long Players: Writers on the Albums that Shaped Them By Tom Gatti Cover Image
ISBN: 9781526625786
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - August 3rd, 2021

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