Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Monthly archive February, 2011
branding alienation with Tony Wilson

branding alienation with Tony Wilson

I recently watched Joy Division (2007, dir. Grant Gee), an exciting documentary that carries more intellectual heft than maybe any other film about a rock group.  Great interviews not just with the surviving band members and others who knew them, but also early followers who were deeply affected by the band’s records and performance.  I’m struck, for...
adventures in arts-based urban revitalization: the RoboCop statue in Detroit

adventures in arts-based urban revitalization: the RoboCop statue in Detroit

On February 7th, someone tweeted the mayor of Detroit with a passing thought: “Philadelphia has a statue of Rocky & Robocop would kick Rocky’s butt. He’s a GREAT ambassador for Detroit.”  The city’s mayor (and former NBA all star) Dave Bing replied, “There are not any plans to erect a statue to Robocop. Thank you...
Teaching Musical Urbanism

Teaching Musical Urbanism

As you may know, this blog runs in tandem with a team-taught undergraduate seminar I teach at Vassar College with Hua Hsu.  We’re four weeks into the semester now, and I’m excited by the multidisciplinary group of students we have in the course.  In case you’re interested in what a course on musical urbanism looks...
singing in Tahrir Square

singing in Tahrir Square

Words can hardly convey the magnitude of this historic moment in Egypt, or of my awe and admiration at the people’s achievement in forcing the dictator out nonviolently. So no essay today. Instead, the sights and songs of the joyful crowds in Egypt’s streets. To get a feel for what it might sound like in...
uncovering the underground: Ladbroke Grove

uncovering the underground: Ladbroke Grove

As someone who’s been seeking out underground rock music for over 25 years, punk rock really fucked me up. Specifically, the punk rock dogma I internalized by reading the English music weekly New Musical Express religiously between 1983-85. Punk rock in England was largely over in these years, unless you were talking about groups like...
gathering no moss with Keith Richards

gathering no moss with Keith Richards

The beginning of the new semester has kept me from posting recently. Well, that and the excellent distraction provided by Keith Richards’ autobiography, Life. So much fun to read, and so much food for thought for someone who’s admittedly not the world’s biggest Stones fan. One theme that emerges loud and clear is his cosmopolitanism. Raised...