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Amy Poehler, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson Team Up With Beastie Boys on New Retelling of the Group’s Formation Story

The Beastie Boys Photographed in 1987
Mpifreeberg/Mediapunch/REX/Shutterstock

Some of Hollywood’s biggest Beastie Boys fans are lending their stories to a new book that celebrates the iconic hip-hop trio’s legacy in music and entertainment.

Amy Poehler, Spike Jonze, Wes Anderson, and Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Colson Whitehead are among the contributors teaming up with Ad-Rock and Mike D for the “Beastie Boys Book,” a 590-page tome that eschews the traditional memoir format in favor of an ad hoc collection of stories, think pieces, illustrations, and behind-the-scenes photographs, that date back to the band’s formation in New York City in 1981.

Though books on the Beastie Boys have been written before, publisher Spiegel & Grau says this is the first time fans have heard the stories told directly from Ad-Rock (Adam Horovitz) and Michael “Mike D” Diamond, both of whom are credited as authors in the book. The late Adam “MCA” Yauch’s presence is also felt throughout the book, with the opening chapter dedicated to the trio’s unlikely formation and friendship, and subsequent passages addressing his death from cancer in 2012.

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Poehler, a self-professed Beastie Boys fan who appeared in the band’s 2011 music video for their song “Make Some Noise,” spends a chapter reviewing some of her other favorite videos from the group’s catalog. Jonze, meantime, shares personal photographs from his time with the band members, both at work and behind the scenes. The “Where the Wild Things Are” director was a close collaborator with the band, helming their ’70s-inspired music video for “Sabotage.” The clip went on to be nominated for five 1994 MTV Video Music Awards, leading to the now-infamous incident of MCA rushing the stage when the group failed to take home a single trophy. Tellingly, Anderson’s chapter in the book is titled “Hörnblowér: Profile of Shepherd.” “Nathanial Hörnblowér” was the pseudonym used by Yauch when he took over the mic at the VMAs that night, and was subsequently used by the artist as an alter ego in later projects.

The book isn’t all stories and photos, though. Korean-American chef Roy Choi, famous for pioneering the Korean taco truck, offers a host of recipes inspired by the band, in a chapter titled “Ate O Ate,” while fashion editor André Leon Talley, who himself was the subject of a documentary earlier this year, sits down with Horovitz to review the band’s most memorable outfits.

The “Beastie Boys Book” also includes a graphic novel, cartoons, mixtape playlists, and even a map of the Beastie Boys’ favorite haunts in New York.

Though the group hasn’t performed since Yauch’s death in 2012, Horovitz and Diamond have embarked on a “Beastie Boys Book: Live & Direct” book tour to celebrate their new memoir. The two are in San Francisco on Monday and hit London on Nov. 30. Tickets are still available online.

“Beastie Boys Book” is now available on hardcover and Amazon Kindle. You can also download and listen to it for free on audiobook right now with a 30-day free trial to Amazon Audible.

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