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The Q Guide to Broadway by Seth Rudetsky
The Q Guide to Oscar Parties and Other Award Shows by Joel Perry

Book Reviews by Steven LaVigne
© February 26, 2007, Steven LaVigne

The Q Guide to Broadway

We’ve all seen those “Dummies” books. In the Ordway lobby during Minnesota Opera productions, they even sell “Opera for Dummies.” Now, Alyson Books has released a series of “Q Guides, Pop Culture Out There” books on topics as diverse as “The Golden Girls,” “Soap Operas,” the two titles reviewed here, and two more to come shortly.

Seth Rudetsky is responsible for the “Guide to Broadway.” I reviewed his solo off-Broadway show, “Rhapsody in Seth” a few years ago. He’s worked on and off Broadway and hosts a Sirius Radio show called Broadway Chatterbox. To be sure, Rudetsky is an expert in this field, and its a dazzling read, but unfortunately, “The Q Guide to Broadway” isn’t anything special.

Ken Mandelbaum’s “Not Since Carrie,” and Ethan Mordden’s “The Happiest Corpse I’ve Ever Seen,” part of an exhausting study of the Broadway Musical in seven volumes, cover similar material with more authority than Rudetsky.

The Q Guide to Oscar Parties

Joel Perry’s “Guide to Oscar Parties,” on the other hand, is superb. A regular contributor to Instinct Magazine, Perry covers in detail, and with a lot of humor, not only the Oscars, but such events as the Emmys, the Golden Globes and the Tonys.

His gay perspective on the Academy Awards is an absolute pleasure, and with only one minor mistake, his knowledge is authoritative. The error: he states that Bill Murray is the only “Saturday Night Live” performer nominated for an Oscar, but Dan Aykroyd was also nominated, for “Driving Miss Daisy.”

Among Perry’s recommendations are parties with a theme, and they include everything from “Planet of the Apes,” “Valley of the Dolls,” to “The Sound of Music.” He discusses bargain-basement shopping for party favors, be they minimalist, trailer-trash or a kid’s theme. Perry includes recommendations for party games — be they filled with trivia or drinking — menu items and gift bags.

After reading “The Q Guide to Oscar Parties,” the question arises as to how soon Joel Perry will join Brini Maxwell on cable to plan that gathering to end all Oscar gatherings.

The Q Guide to Broadway:
Stuff you didn’t even know you wanted to know … about
the hits, flops, Tonys, and life upon the wicked stage
by Seth Rudetsky
Alyson Books, 160 Pages, $12.95
The Q Guide to Oscar Parties and Other Award Shows
by Joel Perry
Alyson Books, 180 pages, $12.95

© 2007, Steven LaVigne

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