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Mingering Mike Paperback – May 1, 2007

4.8 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From The New Yorker

In the late nineteen-sixties, Mike Stevens, a teen-aged ghetto daydreamer in Washington, D.C., imagined a fabulous existence as Mingering Mike, a soul-music superstar, and he hand-painted a series of colorfully exuberant record-album jackets representing his explosive career. Between 1968 and 1977, he painted some fifty LP covers and nearly as many 45 r.p.m. picture sleeves (inserting cardboard disks with labels and even painted grooves). Into this fictive discography he wove an elaborate personal mythology; pictures, titles, and liner notes incorporate many references to his neighborhood and his family. The covers were discovered at a flea market by Hadar, an R. & B. record collector who subsequently tracked down Stevens. Hadar has clearly discovered a true outsider artist, and the naïve charm of the album covers is a reminder that the greatest pop musicians succeed at implying an entire world as dazzlingly seductive as their songs.
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Review

...done with infinite passion and imagination. Strauss compares Mike to Henry Darger, a janitor whose work was only discovered after his death. The difference is that this artist is still alive, and has met Hadar, but prefers his anonymity. Mingering Mike, however, has finally become a star. -- Under the Radar, July 2007

Hot Wax! In Mingering Mike, Hadar presents the life story and 50-plus "albums" of the pseudonymous star and the outsider artist who created him. -- Entertainmanet Weekly, March 30, 2007

It doesn't matter that none of these albums are real, by the end of the book you feel like you've heard every last song. -- The Fader, Feb. 2007

Mingering Mike is a fitting homage to its subject's ambition and creativity--he even gets a discography in the back--but there's a sadder power in the records' nonexistent existence. These images are bursting but fragile, full of meaning and utterly inconsequential, nothing but promise. -- PopMatters.com, September 25, 2007

One friend of ours explained his artwork as "the black Marcel Dzama or Jockum Nordstrom." We just call it the best music we'll never hear. -- Tokion, March 2007

Thanks to Hadar, almost 40 years later, the "patron saint of crate-digging" is finally able to celebrate his musical career, even if not a single note was ever played. -- Stop Smiling, October 23, 2007

Tracing his amazing journey and collecting together a wealth of Mike's art, Hadar's book is part monograph of an outsider artist and part detective story. It also charts a love affair with that area of graphic design that really reaches out to people: the humble record sleeve. -- Creative Review, June 2007

Ultimately, the man comes across as sweet creative, and goofy--he's no scary, Darger-like shut in. . . The book does an excellent job of highlighting what it is about Mingering Mike that elicits both pathos and wonderment: the fact that his creator's funny and bizarre hobby fantasty is as vivid and affective a document of black cultural experience as the soul music he obsessed over -- BOMB, Spring 2007
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156898569X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568985695
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.6 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #702,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating story of a young man who could be considered to be an outsider artist, an artist who is outside the mainstream of academically trained artists and who follows some vision or conception of the world or self that is creative and leads to a wealth of visual artifacts. Mingering Mike's driving vision is rooted in popular culture, he wants to be a recording artist. Therefore he designs his own album covers and even designs the records that fit inside. Mingering Mike, while now seen as a visual artist, probably did not see himself as such but rather as a recording music artist, his secret desire which inspires his album designs. The many album covers, the hit songs he would like to record, the cardboard records inside the album covers all point to a dream world of popular culture, yet the song titles and the images drawn from African American experiences seem grounded in reality and the challenges of life for a poor young man. This book of illustrations of his album designs is fascinating and puzzling.
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Format: Paperback
Fascinating story and great publication. This is a must buy for anyone interested in Black Culture and History, Soul Music, folk art and everything having to do with current events in the 60's & 70's. It's like reading a diary from that time with groovy illustrations and intriguing ancedotes. Mingering Mike is a clever, inventive superstar.
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Format: Paperback
What an amazing book! Mingering Mike is a true superstar and Mr. Hadar has done a great job chronicling his (imaginary) career. Can't wait to hear the songs!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The idea that Mike's work is the marriage of "outsider art" and 70s Motown is apt...but the body of work was not intended for an audience. It is the manifestation of a dream/wish that is so personal, I feel like a voyeur perusing the pages of a young man's diary. In a parallel universe, this guy is a star! I love this book and bought it as the perfect gift for someone who majored in "communication" and who loves to tinker with sound.
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Format: Paperback
The first time I hear of either Mingering Mike or Dori Hadar was when they both came to Amsterdam. Dori Hadar gave a lecture in the Academy of Architecture in Amsterdam, following the series theme "Amateurism". This book not only tells of a person's amazing power to create beatiful and original art, but also gathers material which is in itself a world to visit over and over again. I was very pleased to have bought it.
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Format: Paperback
I was so excited to finally see Mingering Mike's work in detail- as well as the scoop on this fascinating story. This book delivers- and features all of the charming words and whimsical creativity of a true outsider artist. Much like Henry Darger and his mystique- Mingering Mike's appeal lies in his dedication to his dream and the crafty ways he set out to acquire making it in the music business. The New York Times story on this kept me captivated and now I'm proud to own the final product of all this hard work! Kudos to Hadar and pals who made it possible...and of course mingering mike!
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