and provocative a book of criticism as anyone has published in years."
"Dave Hickey's prose transports are like an eye attached to a butterfly
attached to a rocketshipwhich is to say, lucidity uncannily yoked
to both a deft lightness of touch and sheer gangbusters propulsion: the
down-to-earth, time and again, taking off and taking flight. The generosity
of the man's vervethe suppleness of its profusionscan get
to be downright ravishing. On top of which, the guy's really funny."
Lawrence Weschler, critic,
The New Yorker
Air Guitar is Dave Hickey's "memoir without tears"a
journey through the vernacular cultural landscape of the United States
in the second half of the twentieth century. Looking back from the vantage-point
of his adopted hometown of Las Vegas, Hickey speculates on everything
from jazz and rock-and-roll to basketball and professional wrestlingfrom
magic and psychedelia to gambling and the culture of "little stores"from
automotive design to series television to Saturday-morning cartoons. The
emphasis in these 23 essays is on the way the arts function in the drift
of everyday life, outside the venues of official culture, and on singular
"lives in the arts," lived outside those venues, with meditations
on the careers of Liberace, Hank Williams, Chet Baker, Andy Warhol, Johnny
Mercer, Norman Rockwell, magicians Siegfried & Roy, and wrestler Lady
Godiva. Underlying Hickey's writing is an abiding belief that cultural
life in a democracy can (and occasionally does) function in a democratic
manner, sustained by the whims of affection and the commerce of opinion.