Just when you thought you were on...


Just when you thought you were on the cutting edge, someone suggests watching "Aeon Flux" while sharing an OK Soda.

To which you very well might respond, "Huh?"

Not to worry. Just read "alt.culture" (HarperPerennial, $17), a veritable Cliff's Notes of hipness. From "Acid Jazz" to "Zima," the book's 900 entries are a road map to the people, fashion, fads, music and movements of the '90s.

Authors Steven Daly, 35, and Nathaniel Wice, 29, are former Spin magazine editors. Thanks to them, you know that acid jazz marries vintage jazz with hip hop, Zima is a clear malt drink from Coors, "Aeon Flux" is a cyberpunk cartoon on MTV and OK Soda is a failed Coke effort marketed to Gen Xers.

Starting out, the authors filled computer screens with no-brainer choices like the Internet, "The Simpsons," Nirvana.

Then, things got more complicated. Daly or Wice would toss out a name -- say, Richard Linklater, the filmmaker who in 1991 produced the seminal Generation X movie, "Slacker."

But they figured that including Linklater meant they'd also have to have other out-of-the-blue '90s filmmakers who touched raw nerves, like Allison Anders, the one-time welfare mother who wrote and directed the trailer-park saga "Gas, Food, Lodging." So the list grew.

Wice, a Harvard graduate from Philadelphia, and Scotland-born Daly know how quickly things change, so they give Internet addresses for most entries. And because those World Wide Web addresses change in a nanosecond, the authors publish updates on their own online address (http: //www.altculture.com).

Pub Date: 9/01/96

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