Blogging at the intersection of urban studies and popular music

Posts tagged "performance"
how to teach Musical Urbanism in three lectures

how to teach Musical Urbanism in three lectures

Thought I would share this for teachers and academics: a guest lecture section that I just gave in an undergraduate Introduction to Urban Studies course taught by Lisa Brawley at Vassar College. Readers are welcome to incorporate or adapt this material into their own teachings.   Day 1: Theorizing the post-industrial city Readings: Richard Lloyd...
the commodification of Appalachian music: guest blog by Julia Simcoe

the commodification of Appalachian music: guest blog by Julia Simcoe

[This past year, I had the delight to supervise two Vassar College senior theses that, through no effort of mine, were inspiring and insightful examples of research in musical urbanism. With these students’ permission, I’m going to share their theses on this blog. The first comes from Sociology major Julia Simcoe (‘16), whose work reflects...
new publications

new publications

I’ve had a couple of articles published in the past month. First, and most relevant to my musical urbanism project, an article about the proto-EU visions traced in the career of Simple Minds, “Sound in 70 Cities: The European Urbanism of Simple Minds,” has been published in a new edited volume: Unsichtbare Landschaften/Invisible Landscapes: Popular...
I survived the grunge era: introduction to a screening of "Hype!"

I survived the grunge era: introduction to a screening of “Hype!”

Welcome to the first of a series of “lab sessions” this semester in conjunction with the Musical Urbanism seminar. Tonight we’re screening Hype!, a 1996 documentary that’s currently out of print. This means the version you’re watching was torrented by your professors. Although as we heard it’s also available on YouTube, I promised our students...
art worlds and music scenes

art worlds and music scenes

An interesting thing happens when you intersect two texts, Howard Becker’s essay on “Art Worlds and Collective Activity” (1982) and David Byrne’s essay on “How to Make a Scene” (2012), with each other. Somewhat anachronistically, the former enlists the latter into its thesis. To begin, Becker’s text is not especially directed toward the contemporary interest...
Paul Robeson and the Peekskill riots: with essay by Dick Flacks

Paul Robeson and the Peekskill riots: with essay by Dick Flacks

August 27 marks a chilling anniversary in the Hudson Valley’s musical geography: 65 years ago, Paul Robeson was to perform a concert in Peekskill that culminated in violence and effectively ended his career.  I asked sociologist Dick Flacks, author of Playing for Change: Music and Musicians in the Service of Social Movements, to elaborate. Paul...
let the children use it: the School of Rock presents David Bowie

let the children use it: the School of Rock presents David Bowie

Last weekend I saw my nephew play drums in a David Bowie tribute concert at the School of Rock in Fort Washington (a suburb of Philadelphia).  Unsurprisingly, I had a blast. I mean, how could any Bowie fan resist the prospect of watching a rotating ensemble of middle- and high school-aged kids performing a 2+...
music for being: notes from an adult rock band party

music for being: notes from an adult rock band party

In urbanists’ excitement over music scenes and the desirability of “social and interactive street-level culture” (to invoke Richard Florida), it’s easy to lose sight of whether there’s any value to all of this besides promoting careers and urban economies.  Does “enriching creative communities” actually involve extending the practice of creativity into people’s everyday lives?  Or...
sound in 70 cities: the European urbanism of Simple Minds

sound in 70 cities: the European urbanism of Simple Minds

Dream, dream, dream It’s the eighties’ youthful theme Loving the city A theme for great cities And loved ones And love – “Wonderful In Young Life” (1981)   Americans know them mostly as “that Breakfast Club band” from the 80s, but Scotland’s Simple Minds have carried on in one form or another long enough to...
the view from suburbia: Dead Kennedys, Washington DC, 6-5-83

the view from suburbia: Dead Kennedys, Washington DC, 6-5-83

It’s been said 14 is the influential age in the development of our musical tastes.  That was the case for me: I find I regularly return to the music that I explored and embraced as my own back around 1983.  It wasn’t just what I heard that has shaped my ideas about ‘good’ music, though,...
musical suburbanism, pt. 1: Kidz Bop and the commodification of kids' listening

musical suburbanism, pt. 1: Kidz Bop and the commodification of kids’ listening

Last summer I took a family roadtrip and was driven slightly insane by the heavy rotation of Kidz Bop CDs on the car stereo.  In a rare moment of solitude carved out of a frenzied week, I sent out these missives via Twitter:   1. if one promise of musical urbanism is Simmel’s vision of...
the misanthropy of solo metal

the misanthropy of solo metal

In some regards, the development of heavy metal over the last 40 years can be understood to chart key phases in pop-music consumption under late capitalism: from mass culture to subculture to individualized culture.  This arc can be seen, first and most obviously, from the vantage point of heavy metal fandom. As Will Straw has...

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