Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Getting my geek on with Star Trek and William Shatner

You ever hear something that excites your soul and celebrate that knowledge by squealing like a stuck pig? Yeah, me too. It happened only yesterday when I learned there's a new book out called The Autobiography of James T. Kirk by David A. Goodman. Sqwee, gasp, engage wishlist warp factor 10!

Let's look at a few Trekkie tomes pulled from my bookshelf below. You think the Kirk bio will fit in? Hell yes, it will! Note two of the books by William Shatner are hardback. As in, purchased immediately after release (or received as a Christmas gift shortly after publication). 'Cause yes, I used to be that level of fanatic.

Star Trek delights from my bookshelf

I even used to love a good Trek Con. This was back in the days when most conventions were one actor visiting towns large and small to talk a little Trek smack and sell some signed photos (then I discovered Atlanta's DragonCon with the access and free entry of the hallowed Media Pass, and I was in geek heaven). I never went so far as to dress up, but I did get to interview and chat with various Trek luminaries.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Why Sick in the Head should be on every comedy fan's bookshelf

Comedy fans who go deep will love Judd Apatow's Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy. Those who don't merely enjoy comedy but relish seeing how the jokes came together, including the life experiences and technique a comic draws on to create his or her act, will devour this book.

A compilation of 30 years of interviews with comedy greats on how they got into the biz and how they write, as well as some general experiences from the road, this book alternates between funny, fascinating and just plain fantastic. It even serves up insightful advice about life in general (for instance, check out what Chris Rock and Harold Ramis have to say in my excerpts below).

Seriously, go to Amazon now (or actually walk into a bookstore, if you've got one handy) and get this STAT. Don't sweat the price -- the proceeds benefit 826LA, a literacy charity. My frugal self bought this as soon as it came out rather than wishlisting it and waiting for a price drop or hitting up the library, like I usually would. My uncharacteristic full-price buy was not only because I greedily wanted to get my hands on it immediately, but because I could feel good about helping a charity at the same time. So grab a copy and pat yourself on the back for your largess.

Here's the gist of how this all came together: Apatow, before he was known for the groundbreaking show Freaks and Geeks and hit films like The 40 Year Old Virgin and Anchorman, was just a kid who wanted to know how to make it in comedy. So he did what any wise-ass teen would do -- he bullshitted his way into interviewing comedy heroes, starting with Jerry Seinfeld in 1983 (he follows up with a second Seinfeld interview in 2014, offering insight to where the comic was at very different stages of his career).