Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Girls in Popular Music

New book from Routledge, sounds terrific: Voicing Girlhood in Popular Music: Performance, Authority, Authenticity, Edited by Jacqueline Warwick and Allison Adrian


Introduction Jacqueline Warwick and Allison Adrian  
Part I. Voice and Activism
1. I’m with the Band: Redefining Young Feminism Lucy O’Brien
2. Girl Activists Talk Beyoncé, Pussy Riot … Lyn Mikel Brown
3. To Them I am Just Some Girl Marion Leonard  
Part II. Voice and Singing
4. Valuing and Vilifying the New Girl Voice Diane Pecknold
5. Girls and Puberty: The Voice, it is a-Changin’ Barbara Caprilli  
Part III. Voice and Audience
6. The Curse of "O Mio Bambino Caro" Dana Gorzelany-Mostak
7. Nowhere to Run: Girl Group Transnationalism Gayle Wald  
Part IV. Voice, Body, Authenticity
8. Performing Pop Girlhood on the Disney Channel Morgan Blue
9. Girls Who Twerk on YouTube Kyra Gaunt
10. When Loud Means Real Sarah Dougher  
Part V. Voice and Narrative
11. Listen to the Mockingjay Robynn Stilwell
12. Struggling to Become Women Lori Burns and Alyssa Woods

And, the description:

This interdisciplinary volume explores the girl’s voice and the construction of girlhood in contemporary popular music, visiting girls as musicians, activists, and performers through topics that range from female vocal development during adolescence to girls’ online media culture. While girls’ voices are more prominent than ever in popular music culture, the specific sonic character of the young female voice is routinely denied authority. Decades old clichés of girls as frivolous, silly, and deserving of contempt prevail in mainstream popular image and sound. Nevertheless, girls find ways to raise their voices and make themselves heard. This volume explores the contemporary girl’s voice to illuminate the way ideals of girlhood are historically specific, and the way adults frame and construct girlhood to both valorize and vilify girls and women. Interrogating popular music, childhood, and gender, it analyzes the history of the all-girl band from the Runaways to the present; the changing anatomy of a girl’s voice throughout adolescence; girl’s participatory culture via youtube and rock camps, and representations of the girl’s voice in other media like audiobooks, film, and television. Essays consider girl performers like Jackie Evancho and Lorde, and all-girl bands like Sleater Kinney, The Slits and Warpaint, as well as performative 'girlishness' in the voices of female vocalists like Joni Mitchell, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Kathleen Hanna, and Rebecca Black. Participating in girl studies within and beyond the field of music, this book unites scholarly perspectives from disciplines such as musicology, ethnomusicology, comparative literature, women’s and gender studies, media studies, and education to investigate the importance of girls’ voices in popular music, and to help unravel the complexities bound up in music and girlhood in the contemporary contexts of North America and the United Kingdom.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Resources: Labadie Collection of Political Posters, University of Michigan

A massive collection, including many anti-war posters, Black Panthers, and so on. You can search for Vietnam War posters by putting 'Vietnam' into the search engine, but this doesn't yield all the relevant results, unfortunately. Perhaps the pacificism category does. I just looked through the entire collection, which takes some time!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Vietnam: photos from the "other side"

1973: A Viet Cong guerrilla stands guard in the Mekong Delta. "You could find women like her almost everywhere during the war," said the photographer. "She was only 24 years old but had been widowed twice. Both her husbands were soldiers. I saw her as the embodiment of the ideal guerrilla woman, who'd made great sacrifices for her country." (Image: Le Minh Truong/ANOTHER VIETNAM/NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC BOOKS)

"Many famous images of the war were taken by Western photographers and news agencies, working alongside American or South Vietnamese troops. 

But the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong [sic] had hundreds of photographers of their own, who documented every facet of the war under the most dangerous conditions. 

Almost all were self-taught, and worked for the Vietnam News Agency, the National Liberation Front, the North Vietnamese Army or various newspapers. Many sent in their film anonymously or under a nom de guerre, viewing themselves as a humble part of a larger struggle...

One hundred eighty of these unseen photos and the stories of the courageous men who made them are collected in the book Another Vietnam: Pictures of the War from the Other Side."

More of these photos here.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Vivienne Westwood drives a tank to PM David Cameron's house to protest fracking

Still punk after all these years...one of the original punk provocateurs, Vivienne Westwood, co-owner of the London boutique Sex together with Malcolm McLaren, where the punk scene incubated...now a world famous designer...

September 9, 2015, the 74-year old, as part of a protest against fracking, drives a tank through David Cameron's constituency in Oxfordshire to his home in Chadlington.

Check out the vid here. More info here.

photo credit: PA

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Marijuana, the beats, and Mezz Mezrow

Wonderful article in the LA Review of Books, by Loren Glass (May 7, 2015).

Some key quotes:

The Beats were the first generation of writers for whom cannabis was central, both to the experiences they recounted and to the prose style in which those experiences were rendered (and, insofar as Kerouac, Ginsberg, and Burroughs frequently wrote while stoned, to their compositional methods as well). Furthermore, cannabis was central to the cross-cultural contacts, not only in Mexico but in the African-American community as well, that informed their countercultural sensibilities...

The central figure for both the culture and the circulation of cannabis in the United States prior to its countercultural apotheosis is the jazz clarinetist Mezz Mezzrow, born Milton Mesirow in Chicago in 1899, who became the principal supplier of Mexican marijuana to Harlem in the 1930s...

Mezzrow, according to Wolfe [who collaborated with Mezzrow on his autobiography], “came to believe he had actually, physically, turned black,” and is both an underappreciated inaugural example of Norman Mailer’s “White Negro” and a crucial antecedent to the Beat fascination with jazz and African-American culture more generally. Really the Blues, which went through numerous printings and was read by all the Beats, reveals how crucial marijuana use was to this well-known cross-cultural and, for the most part, homo-social complex...

Most significantly, though, Really the Blues illustrates a somewhat underappreciated claim in “The White Negro”: there Mailer calls marijuana the “wedding ring” in the interracial marriage whose “child was the language of Hip"...Mezzrow represents jive as emerging due to cannabis, which is why much of its vocabulary refers to the substance that at least partially enabled it.

Marijuana was also crucial to the music...

Marijuana also facilitated cultural exchange...

Mezzrow’s marijuana network was legal until 1937 when, after aggressive lobbying on the part of Commissioner of the Bureau of Narcotics Harry Anslinger, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act, making cannabis illegal across the United States. Soon after, in 1940, Mezzrow was arrested. In jail, he insisted on being housed with the African-American inmates, with whom he promptly formed an interracial band. Their jamming was enhanced by marijuana smuggled into the jail by Mexican-American WPA workers running a sewer pipe under the building...

...as Really the Blues amply documents, cannabis was crucial in establishing the social networks, cultural contacts, insider vocabularies, aesthetic styles, and compositional techniques that the Beats would introduce by way of the counterculture into the American mainstream. Cannabis was central to, as Mezzrow put it, “a whole new language.”