You've no doubt heard the old chestnut that only a few thousand very disturbed teenagers bought the Velvet Underground's debut album upon its initial release in 1967, but each and every one went out and started a band. Richie Unterberger is one of the hardest-working journalists on the rock beat, and his new book, White Light/White Heat: The Velvet Underground Day-by-Day (Jawbone Press), is methodically researched and a smart writ. I predict that in years to come, the people who note these things will note that everyone who read White Light/White Heat went out and wrote their own Velvet Underground history, but, like the bands that mimicked the Velvets, none will be as brilliant as Unterberger's. He's captured a Zeit whose geist is consistently misunderstood. Characters like Lou Reed and John Cale were not merely edge dwellers who worked without a net, they are artists who still create and astonish a half-century later. The author signs books and displays rare audiovisual material tonight.
Mon., Aug. 17, 7 p.m., 2009