Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame

How—and why—do we obsess over movie stars? How does fame both reflect and mask the person behind it? How have the image of stardom and our stars’ images altered over a century of cultural and technological change? Do we create celebrities, or do they create us?

Ty Burr, film critic for The Boston Globe, answers these questions in a new book, Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Modern Fame, a lively and fascinating anecdotal history of stardom, with all its blessings and curses for star and stargazer alike. From Florence Lawrence and Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin to Archie Leach (a.k.a. Cary Grant) and Marion Morrison (a.k.a. John Wayne) and Julia Roberts to today's instant celebs famous for being famous, Burr takes us on an insightful and entertaining journey through the modern fame game at its flashiest, most indulgent, occasionally most tragic, and ultimately, its most revealing.

Ty Burr will be discussing his new book on Saturday, September 29 at Book Passage in Corte Madera. Burr will be in conversation with local film writer Thomas Gladysz.

“... lively and provocative chronicle of the genesis of movie stars and the metamorphosis of movie stardom.”—New York Times

“Burr has both a fan’s and scholar’s grasp of the history of film, and he travels along a celluloid highway that extends from the early days of Thomas Edison to Zac Efron. Of greatest interest to the author is our evolving notion of celebrity—of what celebrities mean. . . . A focused history of films.”—Kirkus Reviews

Gods Like Us is an entertaining, wide-ranging account of the way movies created a new kind of fame, and changed the world in the process. Ty Burr's encyclopedic history of movie stardom is gossipy (in the best of sense of the word) and insightful, and his cultural analysis is as provocative as it persuasive.”—Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children and The Leftovers

“[A] solid analysis of celebrity. . . . In this fascinating cultural study, film critic Burr explores the rise of stars in the early film industry. . . . Burr chronicles the star system—silents, talkies, movie factories, postwar studios—while citing factors such as television (‘evoked not glamour, but ordinariness’), music (Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Madonna), MTV, HBO, and YouTube (‘teenagers have at their disposal the fundamental moviemaking facilities of a Hollywood studio in the 1930s’).”—Publishers Weekly

1 comment:

  1. More on Ty Burr's new book on examiner.com at http://www.examiner.com/article/ty-burr-on-gods-like-us-on-movie-stardom-and-modern-fame

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