Happy Weekend, folks. It’s certainly been an interesting week of the DNC stumbling over themselves to avoid nominating an actually sorta progressive candidate, and I wanted to make sure that a handful of items worthy of your attention didn’t slip through the cracks!
If you see this right after I posted it and you’re in Central Michigan, you still have time to catch the 12:30pm screening today of the Bruce Springsteen film Western Stars at the Broadway Theater. I’ll be talking for a few minutes afterwards. I’m sure tickets will still be available at the door, but here’s the link with more info.
Amanda Petrusich (my favorite music journalist) is at it again, this time with a great New Yorker review of Taylor Swift’s documentary. It makes for a great read about the nature of fame and class in 2020.
Jathan Sadowski just published a new article in Antipode about Internet Platforms and Rentier society, which sounds amazing. I may need to wait until next month to get my hands on the full thing what with EBSCO restraints.
Speaking of Antipode, there are several sites online where you can look up your current antipode! This is one of them.
Thank you so much to everyone who came out to see my talk at SoCA down in Windsor on Friday, and an extra special thanks to Dr. Jamey Essex for the invitation as well as being a consummate host and good friend of almost two decades now. As I said to the audience before my presentation, be nice to your TA’s, kids, and maybe one day they’ll shepherd you across the border. Also, the audience of U Windsor students and faculty may have provided the best set of post-talk questions I’ve ever received, and I wish I could have had more time to meet and chat with everybody.
With the Windsor music map on Dub Night at The Phog, Windsor ONT. Photo by Jamey Essex.
Happy February, everyone. This is shaping up to be quite a busy month for me, if this week is any indication. I’ve actually got two talks in two different countries planned for this weekend, both of which are about musical geography.
Friday, I will be paying a visit to the University of Windsor over the river in Ontario to talk about Capitals of Punk with students at the School of Creative Arts, in the Armouries. The talk starts at noon.
Saturday (6pm) and Sunday (12:30pm), I’ll be speaking about the Boss for a bit following CMU Film Festival screenings of his performance film ‘Western Stars.’ The Saturday screening will be at the CMU Main Library, and the Sunday screening will be at the Broadway Theater, downtown.
Have a great week, everyone! I’ll be back with some more clips, announcements, and randomly chosen videos next week.
I write this, regretfully, not in Roanoke, VA at the SEDAAG Meeting. The abstract/registration deadline proved too tight for me after I moved to Tennessee and began working here. Next year! At least I’ve received word from a few of my colleagues who are there and having a great time. Serious respect is due to my colleague Derek Martin, who took home the honors for best PhD paper. I linked that video because he hates it.
Respect is also due to my colleague Matt Cook, who I just discovered drew inspiration from my site to resurrect his. So, I’ll feed the worm of mutual inspiration its tail and use that as inspiration for me to throw a quick update out there. I’ve relayed a number of fun announcements about new books in the works (both involving and not involving my work), but since I’m knee-deep in the end-of-semester crunch time, I don’t have a whole lot of time to contribute a substantial essay to the glut of web content for now. But there are a couple of items you all may enjoy coming in the next few weeks. For now, here are a couple thoughts about Canada.
In case you’re at all interested in underground/punk culture, progressive politics, or just great writing on underrepresented issues, Razorcake is absolutely essential. It’s a non-profit monthly fully dedicated to the universe it covers, and subscriptions are inexpensive and worth every penny. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute band interviews to the magazine and their (soon to be overhauled, I think) website in the past few years.
For those of you who have access to it, do try to find the latest issue and have a read of their interview with Steve Adamyk of the Steve Adamyk Band. It’s a simple, straightforward conversation about the restrictions that he and his band face in trying to set up shows south of the border (in the United States). Between the months-long application process and expensive equipment rental and management, to simply play three hours south of his hometown of Ottawa (without risking getting banned for years) has become nearly impossible for a musician of his means.
Over the past few years, I’ve seen bands from the Middle East remove all dates from their websites in order to fly under the radar of the State Department, and I’ve heard singers from the Great White North tell crowds “if anyone asks, we’re here for a bachelor party!” Granted, if you knew the latter band I’m talking about (they’re pretty good), you’d probably question their singer’s ability to say anything serious.
Toronto: Exhibit A (source: beatgoeson.com)
Considering what fertile power-pop music scenes Ottawa, Toronto, and Montreal have grown over the past decade (or for that matter, have had for decades), it’s incredibly disappointing how our government denies us this goodness by leaning on poorly managed and antiquated border laws. I’ll never understand what the United States accomplishes with roadblocks for visiting artists, forcing musicians to construct elaborate lies just to build their fan bases and bring their music to potentially tens of thousands of fans. Fortunately, countries like Germany have been a boon for Adamyk and bands like his, opening their arms to his music (even releasing records for him). Here’s hoping that the network of American fans will, sometime in the near future, be able to show up and shout along with the solid, hardworking Canadian bands that don’t happen to be filling arenas (and asking their fans to play dress up).