Book-It Repertory Theatre’s AMERICAN JUNKIE: Beyond the Theatre

Book-It Repertory Theatre presents AMERICAN JUNKIE by Tom Hansen, adapted by Jane Jones & Kevin McKeon, directed by Jane Jones, from February 14-March 10, 2019. Librarians at Seattle Public Library created this list of books, videos, and music to enhance your experience of the show.

Hansen’s memoir chronicles his heroin addiction and recovery against a backdrop of the Seattle grunge music scene. For more recollections of grunge-era Seattle, check out Everybody Loves Our Town, Mark Yarm’s thick, sprawling oral history of grunge that features interviews with over 250 people, including Tom Hansen. The 1996 documentary Hype! uses concert footage and interviews to examine how grunge moved from a small, independent scene to a massive pop culture phenomenon.

For another candid memoir that details the lows of addiction and the difficult path to sobriety, read Hole drummer Patty Schemel’s Hit So Hard. Schemel’s proximity to the fame, excess, and tragedy that surrounded the grunge scene in the 1990s provides a unique insight into the era. There is also a companion documentary Hit So Hard: The Life & Near Death Story of Patty Schemel.

To get a feel for Seattle in the 80s and 90s, immerse yourself in the music of the time. Green River’s Dry as a Bone is a great example of the music that would become known as grunge. The explosive popularity of Nirvana’s Nevermind brought grunge and the Seattle scene to the forefront of mainstream rock music. To hear a variety of lesser-known bands from that time, listen to No Seattle: Forgotten Sounds of the North-west Grunge Era 1986-97. Of course grunge wasn’t the only Seattle sound to have mainstream success in the 90s. Sir Mix-A-Lot’s debut album Swass went platinum, but the single “Baby Got Back” off Mack Daddy launched Sir Mix-A-Lot to new heights of fame.

For these suggestions and more, see the complete resource list for AMERICAN JUNKIE.

~ posted by Richard V.

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