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Biblio File, 24 Frames per Second, The Ticketless Traveler

The Ticketless Traveler: Suburbia


Whether you grew up there or just read about it in books or seen it in the movies, Suburbia is a most definite and unique place.  With these books, movies and CDs you can visit without ever having to take the Long Island Railroad!  So if you did grow up there—maybe it’s time to go home again. And if you didn’t—scroll through this list and see what you missed!


from Edward Scissorhandsfrom Edward Scissorhands

Long Island, NY parking lot at twilight. 2011.Long Island, NY parking lot at twilight. 2011.


  • The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever. The master of ennui, backyards and yearning.
  • Appointment in Samarra by John O’Hara. Early suburbia - life in a 1930s commuter community.
  • The Rabbit Series by John Updike. Updike once said his style was to give "the mundane its beautiful due."
  • American Pastoral by Philip Roth. How the '50s became the turbulent '60s through one family's story.
  • Flesh and Blood by Michael Cunningham. A family saga as only the great Cunningham can articulate it.


Books into Movies

  • The Stepford Wives and the movie: Funny, yes, but ultimately a harrowing evocation of the quest for exterior perfection.
  • The Ice Storm and the movie: Fave moment: Remember when you had to commit to a TV channel—because changing it meant getting up and turning the dial?
  • Little Children and the movie: Affairs of the heart, obsession and childcare: all suburban issues.
  • Revolutionary Road and the movie: The apotheosis of the suburban novel—intense. (More on that in Robert's post.)

Katharine Ross in The Stepford Wives.  Love the 70s wallpaper!Katharine Ross in The Stepford Wives. Love the 70s wallpaper!


  • Justin Bieber Since Ricky Nelson and David Cassidy, teen idols have been blasting from suburban bedrooms.
  • American Idiot Green Day's broadway show about the kids in the 'burbs.
  • Pet Shop Boys Well, they have a song called Suburbia!
  • Hair Metal: RATT, Motley Crue and Def Leppard. Air guitar in the bedroom while tossing your hair from side to side—rock out suburbia!
Rick Besoyan, Digital ID 84166, New York Public Library


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The Suburbs

What about 2010's Grammy-winning Album of the Year?

It would be remiss not to

It would be remiss not to mention Eric Bogosian's film (and play)"subUrbia": thankfully, we do not have to approach Michael Shannon's portrayal of schizophrenic John Givings to deliver the truth of suburbia and its concomitant nihilism(s); it is readily apparent to teenagers (or at least, used to be...). Also, there is the punk rock film, Spheeris' "Suburbia", which oddly dovetails with Bogosian's portrayal, albeit in a more Roger Corman~like manner.


Thank you Trevor and Lauren! I was hoping readers of the blog would make suggestions and fill in the gaps! I wanted to highlight material I had seen, listened to or read - thanks again!

This is awesome frank I love

This is awesome frank I love it!

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