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American Utopia    by David Byrne & Maira Kalman order for
American Utopia
by David Byrne
Order:  USA  Can
Bloomsbury, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Rheta Van Winkle

American Utopia was a hit musical on Broadway, which has been made into a Spike Lee film. This book aims to portray the essence of the show in drawings and quotes from its words and lyrics.

The colorful artwork shows people, some dancing, some just there, from all over the country, with the names of various towns given next to some of the pictures. The phrase 'I'm not alone and we're all the same and the world won't end it will just change its name' sums up the joyful approach to life that exists in the musical itself.

This is a welcome addition to any library, especially now, when Broadway is closed and we're all experiencing a new reality during an uncontrolled pandemic. It's about the connections between all people, and the many people who are portrayed in the book are all colors and come from all backgrounds.

The colorful artwork was originally created by Maira Kalman for the Broadway show's curtain, but we can really see the details in the book. Even though we can't sing or dance on stages now (which is certainly a sad experience for those of us whose lives revolve around those joyous expressions of life), the book reassures us that things will improve.

At the beginning of the book David Byrne says, 'Despite all that has happened, despite all that is still happening, I think there is still possibility we are still a work in progress. We're not fixed, our brains can change.' Paging through this book when your mood falters is sure to help cheer you up and make your day a little brighter.

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