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Picks by Edward Crouse (EC) and Michael Stabile (MS)

Super Casino: Inside the 'New' Las Vegas
By Pete Earley (Bantam, 387 pp, $27)

Earley is everywhere at once, like the surveillance cameras used to monitor fairness and crime on the casino floor. Artless, he stops just short of laying the Vegas ghost in Jean Baudrillard's America as the '90s version of the winking, sparkling New Mecca comes across as an entity that has already outwitted post-modern critics--a self-aware simulacrum of itself. What Super Casino lacks in kitsch it makes up for in pedestrian testimonials of the moguls and a few by the performers, including a token look (inspired by the movies based on the Hollywoodishness of the town?) at a showgirl and a "whore." Though he tries to establish his distance, and therefore his journalistic authority, by documenting carefully how he's rejected the privileges offered to him by his subjects (the Mirage's Steve Wynn and the Circus Circus company), Earley and his book are eventually swallowed by the drone of a better aesthetic--Vegas itself. Five minutes mesmerized by the electronic music of the slots read better. (EC)

A Love Supreme
By TaRessa & Calvin Stovall ($23.95, Warner Books, 220pp)

Subtitled Real-Life Stories of Black Love, this is a collection of first-person accounts of African American marriage, through the eyes and on the wings of love. Since black marriage has been subject to a media beatdown for several centuries, one might think that a book dedicated to examples of triumphant love would be a more-than-opportune way to start the millennium. While some of the stories are inspirational, unusual and compelling, it's hard to escape the book's final destination on buppie coffee-tables. And while every book on black love needn't address the Ike & Tinas of the world, it's probable that the book's message will unfortunately be preached to the converted. (MS)

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From the January 24, 2000 issue of the Metropolitan.

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