Lehman is the series editor of "The Best American Poetry." His new book "The Last Avant-Garde: The Making of the New York School of Poets" (Doubleday) is a cultural history about a group of poets in the 1950s who he says helped to reinvent literature, like John Ashbery, Frank O'Hara, Kenneth Koch, and James Schuyler. They took their cue from the Abstract Expressionistic painters of the time who were also in New York.
Halberstam has a new book -- a social, political, economic, and cultural history of what he considers the most pivotal decade of the century -- called "The Fifties." His other books include, "The Best and the Brightest" and "The Powers That Be."
Filmmaker John Waters. His latest film is "Cry Baby," a juvenile delinquent love story set in the 1950's, which brings together such performers as Patty Hearst, Johnny Depp (of Fox's tv show "21 Jump Street"), Ricki Lake, David Nelson, and Polly Bergen. Waters is known for his independent, off-beat films, such as "Pink Flamingos," "Female Trouble," and "Polyester." In 1988 Waters entered the mainstream with his popular film, "Hairspray."
Hamill's first book of fiction is called Loving Women, about a man who joins the Navy in the 1950s. Hamill wrote for a number of New York City newspapers, and recently left the New York Post after an editorial dispute.
Rock historian Ed Ward takes on the notion that old-time rock and roll had no message or meaning, that it was simply fun. This is the message that the purveyors of collections of 50s and 60s hits are conveying in ads that recall the "fun" of the era without also evoking the harsher realities.
Guest critic David Marc looks at the growing popularity of 1950s TV sitcoms. He thinks the trend reveals a troubling desire for an idealized suburban culture where whiteness and paternal authority ruled.