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MacArthur Fellow, writer, art critic, songwriter, lecturer and art curator Dave Hickey presents his astonishing insights on a variety of subjects from Disney World to surfing in California as a youngster; Susan Sontag; jazz musicians; his own work and so much more. Despite some esoteric references (usually about artists and fine art) he's never supercilious. In fact, he offers a voice that's at once down-home and urbane. No idea if he had an extensive formal education or is an autodidact. I'd place my heavier money on the latter. Regardless, these essays are enlightening and edifying. I have all of Hickey's books and consider them part of my ongoing education. I'll take everything cerebral he has to offer. Also, reader Joe Barrett is the perfect choice here. I know it's blasphemous not to go all warm and runny about Scott Brick, who does a good job, but Barrett IMO eclipses any reader in the audible stable. He's literally pitch perfect.
There is no greater way to reset your priorities than to listen to a Dave Hickey thread on art, culture, philosophy, politics, sociology and his unique personal reflections. What a tapestry. It's the original magic carpet ride.
From leaving Texas in the menacing shadows of his narcissistic parents— to shooting the pier in the permanent California sunshine on a board named Milton— Dave's memories evoke a palpable nostalgia like few others.
His essay on William Claxton looks at freedom from someone who actually experienced it, reflecting on cool and esthetics of the time, "If the cars of that era resembled the cars of this one-- I wouldn't be an art critic." Hickey grinds on "American cool" going all the way back to George Washington.
Joe Barrett, the narrator, is a campfire storyteller. I had so much fun listening to him, I'd be blindsided finding myself in tears. I didn't know the bombs were coming.
Smart, fun, enlightening, and entertaining. I can't recommend this highly enough.