Neil Strauss

Neil Strauss was once a well-respected and even influential music writer for The New York Times. Then he wrote a book about apprenticing to a sleazy pick-up artist, The Game, co-authored porn star Jenna Jameson’s autobiography, and essentially destroyed his reputation. What to do next? Celebrity interviews for Rolling Stone. And now this anthology, Everyone Loves You When You’re Dead (It Books, $16.99). Which, it must be admitted, merely consists of celebrity-interview outtakes, making the book sound far less entertaining than it actually is. With its beads-on-a-string chapter associations (Thom Yorke mentions R.E.M.; the next section is on R.E.M.), Everyone Loves You is perfect nightstand reading, with 228 very short chapters. (Or bathroom browsing, if you must.) It’s also a document of Strauss’ best, favorite years, the ’90s, a riffy history of a decade now already churned into frothy VH1 nostalgia. Dave Navarro, Oasis, Korn, Perry Farrell, Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, Marilyn Manson … Jesus, did we actually once listen to them? And do we care what they said to Strauss back in the day? Still, though Strauss appends some life lessons to the end of his tome, you hardly get the feeling he cares either. Everyone Loves You is a good-natured compendium of random humor and fairly constant stupidity among its famous subjects. And to be fair, Strauss is still a working journalist devoted to his craft. Even a decade after leaving the Times, he’s still bitter about the copyeditor there who wouldn’t let him reference Garth Brooks’ pee break. Because micturition just isn’t as funny. BRIAN MILLER

Tue., March 22, 7 p.m., 2011

 
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