Created by Matt Zoller Seitz
Directed by Judith Carter
“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
HBD LYNCH! In honor of David Lynch's birthday, January 20th!
We're offering 20% off EVERYTHING in the David Lynch collection!
Enter the code LYNCHLOVE at checkout to get your discount!
January 6, 2023 - January 20, 2023 (midnight PST)
Author Odie Henderson will sign your copy of Black Caesars and Foxy Cleopatras while co-hosting a film series at the Texas Theatre in Dallas, Texas with Matt Zoller Seitz on Feb. 15 (Shaft) and Feb. 16 (Blazing Saddles and Car Wash). Copies will ship to customers immediately after that. $27 is the pre-order price for the signed hardcover edition. This offer is only good until Feb. 14, after which point the price is $35.
A definitive account of Blaxploitation cinema—the freewheeling, often shameless, and wildly influential genre—from a distinctive voice in film history and criticism.
In 1971, two films grabbed the movie business, shook it up, and launched a genre that would help define the decade. Melvin Van Peebles’s Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, an independently produced film about a male sex worker who beats up cops and gets away, and Gordon Parks’s Shaft, a studio-financed film with a killer soundtrack, were huge hits, making millions of dollars. Sweetback upended cultural expectations by having its Black rebel win in the end, and Shaft saved MGM from bankruptcy. Not for the last time did Hollywood discover that Black people went to movies too. The Blaxploitation era was born.
Written by film critic Odie Henderson, Black Caesars and Foxy Cleopatras is a spirited history of a genre and the movies that he grew up watching, which he loves without irony (but with plenty of self-awareness and humor). Blaxploitation was a major trend, but it was never simple. The films mixed self-empowerment with exploitation, base stereotypes with essential representation that spoke to the lives and fantasies of Black viewers. The time is right for a reappraisal, understanding these films in the context of the time, and exploring their lasting influence.
“This exuberant debut from Boston Globe film critic Henderson provides commentary on and social context for 1970s Blaxploitation films . . . a thoughtful and loving ode to the genre.”―Publishers Weekly
“Plenty of ink has been spilled and words have been said about the Blaxploitation era, but Black Caesars and Foxy Cleopatras is perhaps the most sweeping (and fun) exploration of the subject yet. Whether he’s discussing stone-cold classics or regrettable trash, Odie Henderson tells it like it is; he approaches these films and their creators with a palpable affection for the genre, without sacrificing his keen critical and analytical sensibilities.”―Aisha Harris, cohost of NPR’S Pop Culture Happy Hour and author of Wannabe: Reckonings with the Pop Culture That Shapes Me
“A great book on a spectacular era of film history, by a spellbinding and hilarious storyteller.”―Matt Zoller Seitz, author of The Wes Anderson Collection, Mad Men Carousel, and The Sopranos Sessions
“With his critical recording of Blaxploitation cinema, Odie Henderson champions the moment when Hollywood anointed Black stories as king. A delightful guide to the major heroes and lesser-known creatives who’ve influenced Black culture and cinema for decades, Henderson provides a personal, hilarious, informative, spontaneous, and brazen point of view that stands as a bible for the era.”―Robert Daniels
MZS.Press is the online arts bookstore founded by author, critic, and filmmaker Matt Zoller Seitz and directed by Judith Carter. It offers new, used, signed, collectible, and rare books on film, TV, music, photography, and the visual arts. The store was launched in 2019 on a different platform and has expanded to incorporate arts books published by MZSPress's private imprint: titles currently include Seitz's The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon and Dreams of Deadwood, about the HBO Western, and Walter Chaw's A Walter Hill Film.
Our deepest wish is to promote, encourage, and distribute work by small presses, academic presses, and individuals. Extraordinary work tends to get swallowed up on giant platforms like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The store's inventory of nearly 1000 volumes is currently in the process of being reconstructed after its relocation from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dallas, Texas. The titles featured here are personally selected by a group of curators and advisors, including Seitz, Carter, and an array of critics, artists, journalists, educators, publishers, and arts mavens who are known for their ability to suss out what Seitz's jazz musician dad liked to call "the good sh*t."
“Since MZS is the brains behind the brand and concept, I guess that makes me the brawn. Even though my 'gun show' looks more like a water pistol exhibit in a toy store window...”
Matt Zoller Seitz
Critic, Author, Filmmaker, MZS Press Creator
Matt Zoller Seitz is the Editor at Large and film critic of RogerEbert.com; a staff writer for New York Magazine and Vulture.com, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism. His writing on film and TV has appeared in Sight and Sound, The New York Times, Salon.com, The New Republic and Rolling Stone. Seitz is the founder and original editor of the influential film blog The House Next Door, now a part of Slant Magazine.
Seitz has written, narrated, edited or produced over a hundred hours’ worth of video essays about cinema history and style for The Museum of the Moving Image, Salon.com and Vulture, among other outlets such as Texas Highways and AARP. His five-part 2009 video essay Wes Anderson: The Substance of Style was spun off into the hardcover book The Wes Anderson Collection. This book and its follow-up, The Wes Anderson Collection: Grand Budapest Hotel were New York Times bestsellers.
Other Seitz books include the New York Times bestellers The Sopranos Sessions and Mad Men Carousel; TV (The Book), The Deadwood Bible: A Lie Agreed Upon, and The Wes Anderson Collection: The French Dispatch. He is also an interviewer, moderator, and film programmer who has curated and hosted film and TV presentations for the Museum of the Moving Image, IFC Center, San Francisco's Roxie Cinema, and other venues. He is currently launching a Dallas extension of his MZS Film Series at the historic Texas Theater.
Judith is quoted as saying "his hobbies include exotic dancing, moonwalking, and affixing masking tape labels to every food item in the refrigerator, including eggs. Oh and he has the attention span of a gnat." MZS agreed to it all except the moonwalking.