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Jackalope Theatre Company, in collaboration with the Chicago Inclusion Project, has developed CIRCLE UP!, a collection of new playing readings that is dedicated to amplifying stories that are diverse in scope, as well as providing a safe harbor for evolving work. In the CIRCLE UP! Podcast, hosts Landree Fleming and Drew Johnson (You Simply Must Podcast) interview CIRCLE UP! playwrights about their lives, their plays, and their process, while including clips from the play reading itself.
 
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The smoke was thick, the music was loud, and the beer was flowing. In the fast-and-loose 1980s, Jackson Station Rhythm & Blues Club in Hodges, South Carolina, was a festive late-night roadhouse filled with people from all walks of life who gathered to listen to the live music of high-energy performers. Housed in a Reconstruction-era railway station…
 
The “diva” is a common trope when we talk about culture. We normally think of the diva as a Western construction: the opera singer, the Broadway actress, the movie star. A woman of outstanding talent, whose personality and ability are both larger-than-life. But the truth is throughout history, many cultures have featured spaces for strong female ar…
 
Sailor Song: The Shanties and Ballads of the High Seas (University of Washington Press, 2020) by performer and scholar Gerry Smyth includes lyrics and commentary for dozens of sea shanties, as well as a brief history of the genre. The world that emerges in these 19th century sailor songs is surprisingly multi-cultural; in a sense, sea shanties were…
 
How do songwriters, worship leaders, and music industry professionals collaborate to make music that can become prayer? Ari Y. Kelman explores this question in his excellent study, Shout to the Lord: Making Worship Music in Evangelical America (New York University Press, 2018). Presenting years of research through fieldwork, case studies, and inter…
 
Anthony Valerio's Before the Sidewalk Ended: A Walk with Shel Silverstein (Daisy H. Productions, 2020) is a startling portrait of the great writer of children's books, songs and plays Shel Silverstein. What he was like as a man and a friend. What interested and inspired him. Some of the women in his life. The loving, often hilarious relationship be…
 
Enter the Wu-Tang. Return to the 36 Chambers. People listening to these albums by the Wu-Tang Clan and its members likely never knew about Sophia Chang: a Korean-Canadian woman who worked with members like RZA, ODB and Method Man. Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest called Sophia Chang “an integral part of the golden era of hip-hop.” The Baddest Bitch in…
 
Mark Porter (@mrmarkporter) explores the relationship between music, sound, space, and spirit in his new book Ecologies of Resonance in Christian Musicking (Oxford University Press, 2020). Using the analytical tools of resonance to describe the sounding and re-sounding of sonic production in different spaces, Porter uses the disciplines of musicolo…
 
In the first book in the Modern Music Masters series, Tom Boniface-Webb examines the Manchester band Modern Music Masters-Oasis (MMM, 2020). Founded in 1994 and playing together until their spectacular and abrupt breakup in 2009, during their time together Oasis made an imprint on British music that will last for generations, impacting fans through…
 
HONK! A Street Band Renaissance of Music and Activism (Routledge, 2020), edited by Reebee Garofalo, Erin T. Allen, and Andrew Snyder, explores a fast-growing and transnational movement of street bands—particularly brass and percussion ensembles—and examines how this exciting phenomenon mobilizes communities to reimagine public spaces, protest injus…
 
In Bedroom Beats & B-Sides: Instrumental Hip-Hop & Electronic Music at the Turn of the Century (Velocity Press, 2020), Laurent Fintoni explores the rise of a new generation of bedroom producers at the turn of the century through the stories of various instrumental hip-hop and electronic music scenes. From trip-hop, downtempo, and IDM to leftfield h…
 
There is no shortage of books about the British Invasion or the history of R&B and the Blues in the United Kingdom. Belfast might seem like something of a peripheral backwater to that story, only meriting a passing reference as Van Morrison’s hometown. Yet, in How Belfast Got the Blues: A Cultural History of Popular Music in the 1960s (Intellect Bo…
 
Groove Theory: The Blues Foundation of Funk (University Press of Mississippi, 2020) by Tony Bolden, an Associate Professor of African and African American Studies at the University of Kansas, and author of Afro-Blue: Improvisation in African American Poetry and Culture (University of Illinois Press, 2003), is a history of funk artists such as Georg…
 
Timothy Hampton's Bob Dylan: How the Songs Work (Zone Books, 2020) is a fascinating and meticulous study of Bob Dylan's songwriting craft. Hampton discusses how Dylan incorporated and then transcended the Greenwich Village folk music tradition, how he reinvented himself as a visionary poet in the mid sixties, how he learned from poets as diverse as…
 
Harmony and Normalization: US-Cuban Musical Diplomacy (University Press of Mississippi, 2020) explores the channels of musical exchange between Cuba and the United States during the eight-year presidency of Barack Obama, who eased the musical embargo of the island and restored relations with Cuba. Musical exchanges during this period act as a lens …
 
It is often assumed that creative people are prone to psychological instability, and that this explains apparent associations between cultural production and mental health problems. In their detailed study of recording and performing artists in the British music industry, Sally Anne Gross and George Musgrave turn this view on its head. By listening…
 
In his new book, We're Not Here to Entertain: Punk Rock, Ronald Reagan, and the Real Culture War of 1980s America (Oxford UP, 2020), Kevin Mattson documents punk rock in the early 1980s through a comprehensive look into the music, zines, films, bands, and punk Do-It-Yourself (DIY) tactics. He shows how widespread the punk movement was in creating a…
 
CAN you hear the people sing? Political music is often understood as the property of the common people, used as a potent (and noisy) weapon against the interests of the powerful. This is particularly true within the unruly context of the early American republic, when rowdy public demonstrations typically went along with democratic politics. In Harn…
 
Soul is one of those concepts that is often evoked, but rarely satisfactorily defined. In The Meaning of Soul: Black Music and Resilience Since the 1960s (Duke University Press 2020), Emily J. Lordi takes on the challenge of explaining “soul,” through a book that zooms in and out between sweeping ideas about suffering and resilience in Black cultur…
 
Born around 1820, Augusta Browne was a pianist, organist, composer, music pedagogue, entrepreneur, music critic, and writer. In Augusta Browne: Composer and Woman of Letters in Nineteenth-Century America (University of Rochester Press, 2020), author Bonny Miller contextualizes the life and career of this remarkable woman who built a public career t…
 
In 1985, Greg Mack, a DJ working for Los Angeles radio station KDAY, played a song that sounded like nothing else on West Coast airwaves: Toddy Tee’s “The Batteram,” a hip hop track that reflected the experiences of a young man growing up in 1980s Compton. The song tells about the Los Angeles Police Department’s battering ram truck, an emblem of th…
 
Simone C. Drake and Dwan K. Henderson's Are You Entertained?: Black Popular Culture in the Twenty-First Century (Duke UP, 2020) is an engaging and interdisciplinary exploration of contemporary black popular culture and how to think about this broad and diverse landscape, especially in relation to power, capitalism, gender identity, and presidential…
 
In his new book, Memoir of a Roadie: Axl said I made a great Cup of Tea…Scott Weiland liked The Carpenters…and Ozzy Drinks Rosé (2020) Joel Miller recounts his time in the early 2000s as a road for Stone Temple Pilots, Guns N’ Roses, Poison, and The Cranberries. Using his journal entries from being on the road, Miller shares what it was like for a …
 
Farzaneh Hemmasi is the author of Tehrangeles Dreaming: Intimacy and Imagination in Southern California's Iranian Pop Music (Duke UP, 2020). The title obviously refers the song "California Dreamin'," but in this case the "Dreaming" refers to the active imagining, or reimagining, of Iranian and Persian identity by the artistic community that relocat…
 
It would be hard to overstate the importance of culture. It teaches us, heals us, rips us apart and puts us back together in new and surprising ways. Given its fundamental importance to the human experience, it would make sense that looking at the sort of people who produce it for us, thinking about who they are, what their experiences are, and wha…
 
How do we distinguish art from non-art artifacts, and what does cognitive science have to do with it? In Attentional Engines: A Perceptual Theory of the Arts (Oxford University Press, 2020), William Seeley offers a cognitive science-based account of how we engage with art, what it is that artworks do, and what artists do to make sure they do it. In…
 
In Everyone Loves Live Music: A Theory of Performance Institutions (University of Chicago Press), Fabian In Everyone Loves Live Music: A Theory of Performance Institutions (University of Chicago Press), Fabian Holt shows how festivals and other institutions of musical performance have evolved in recent decades. Adopting a critical approach, Holt up…
 
How does the music industry work in the modern world? In Selling Out: Culture, Commerce and Popular Music (Bloomsbury, 2020), Bethany Klein, a Professor of Media and Communication at the University of Leeds, explores the relationship between music and money, from the early years of the pop industry to contemporary society’s ‘promotional culture’. T…
 
The Beatles’ sojourn in the St. Pauli district of Hamburg during the early 1960s is part of music legend. As Julia Sneeringer reveals in A Social History of Early Rock ‘n’ Roll in Germany: Hamburg from Burlesque to The Beatles, 1956-69 (Bloomsbury, 2018), though, this was just the most famous episode in the neighborhood’s momentous engagement with …
 
Thank you for tuning into another episode of The Stay Tranquil'o podcast! We are joined today by the infamous Amelia Caridad! A true genius when it comes to human behavior and psychology. Ami speaks on Dr. Dan Siegel principle of the 3 R's: Reflection, Relationships, and Resilience and how they all tie together. Amelia speaks about the power of min…
 
Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven were all working in Europe during the last quarter of the eighteenth century, so perhaps it is no surprise that musicologists have diligently studied these men and their music. Yet, the musical culture of the generation born around the time of the Revolution in the United States has been all but ignored. In Cultivated b…
 
Can’t Be Faded: Twenty Years in the New Orleans Brass Band Game (University of Mississippi Press, 2020) is a collaboration between musician and ethnomusicologist Kyle DeCoste and more than a dozen members of the Stooges Brass Band, past and present. It is the culmination of five years of interviews, research, and writing. Told with humor and candor…
 
Red Wave: An American in the Soviet Music Underground (Doppelhouse Press, 2020) is Joanna Stingray’s autobiographical account of her time on the underground music scene in the USSR and Russia in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During this time Joanna met and worked with some of the most important names in Russian rock like Boris Grebenshchikov of A…
 
A few months later and we're back!! Welcome to the Stay Tranquil'o Podcast, your stress free destination. In this episode of the pod, we talk about life during the pandemic and what has occupied our time. Andre Dunand (aka The Tranquilo Guy) and Cris Calderin talk about the importance of exercise during this time and how we miss traveling. Cris and…
 
In Johnny Cash International: How and Why Fans Love the Man in Black (University of Iowa Press, 2020), Michael Hinds and Jonathan Silverman examine transnational and translocal fandoms and the legacy of Johnny Cash beyond the United States. Hinds and Silverman explore Cash fandom through YouTube comments, fan pilgrimages to the American South, and …
 
During a seven-decade career that spanned from 19th century Vienna to 1920s Broadway to the golden age of Hollywood, three-time Academy Award winner Max Steiner did more than any other composer to introduce and establish the language of film music. In Music by Max Steiner: The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer (Oxford University Pr…
 
In White Negroes: When Cornrows Were in Vogue ... and Other Thoughts on Cultural Appropriation (Beacon, 2019), Lauren Michele Jackson analyzes Christina Aguilera, high fashion, the conceptual poetry of Kenneth Goldsmith, digital blackface, and the dearly departed video platform Vine. She demonstrates that cultural appropriation (especially of Black…
 
In 1933, the Chicago Symphony performed the Symphony in E Minor by Florence B. Price. It was the first time a major American orchestra played a composition by an African American woman. Despite her success, Price sank into obscurity after her death in 1953. Dr. Rae Linda Brown spent much of her career researching and writing about Price’s life and …
 
In Record Cultures: The Transformation of the U.S. Recording Industry (University of Michigan Press, 2020), Kyle Barnett tells the story of the smaller U.S. record labels in the 1920s that created the genres later to be known as blues, country, and jazz. Barnett also engages the early recording industry as entertainment media, considering the ways …
 
How has social media changed inequality in the cultural industries? In The Politics of Expertise in Cultural Labour: Arts, Work and Inequalities (Rowman and Littlefield, 2020), Karen Patel, AHRC Leadership Fellow based at Birmingham Centre for Media and Cultural Research, Birmingham City University, considers the idea of expertise in cultural labou…
 
How have we used twentieth- and twenty-first-century sound technologies to carve out sonic space out of the hustle and bustle of contemporary life? In search for an answer, in this episode I speak with Mack Hagood, Blayney Associate Professor of Comparative Media Studies at Miami University, writer, and podcaster about his book, Hush: Media and Son…
 
In his book The Globally Familiar: Digital Hip-Hop, Masculinity, and Urban Space in Delhi (Duke University Press, 2020), Gabriel Dattatreyan departs from the existing literature on masculinity in India, which focuses on largely middle-class, upper-caste embodiments of the same. His focus is on non-elite, urban, lower caste/class embodiments of masc…
 
Mitchell and Trask’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch (Routledge, 2019) is Caridad Svich’s love letter to the 1998 musical that introduced the world to its favorite East German ex-pat genderqueer rock star, Hedwig. A tribute both to the New York that spawned the musical and the glam rock that inspired it, this book contextualizes the show in a way that al…
 
Gertrude Hoffman is one of many entertainers who were big stars in vaudeville before World War I, but whose celebrity faded as the American public was seduced by radio and film after the Great War. Sunny Stalter-Pace recounts Hoffmann’s groundbreaking career and contextualizes her work as a dancer, comedienne, producer, and choreographer in the Ame…
 
The reissue and revision of Martin James’ State of Bass: The Origins of Jungle/Drum & Bass (Velocity Press, 2020) examines the origins and progression of British Junglism in the 1990s. Rave culture’s clashes with UK government and police drove the scene into a dark space, but jungle/drum & bass emerged to capture a new audience of youth, creating w…
 
Junior Tomlin: Flyer & Cover Art (Velocity Press, 2020) showcases the artwork of Junior Tomlin. Featuring flyers and record covers Tomlin has created for the rave scene starting in the late 1980s, this is the first book which comprehensively and cohesively documents his work in this important UK subculture. Raised in Ladbroke Grove, west London, To…
 
In Judy Garland's Judy at Carnegie Hall (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020), Manuel Betancourt explores what makes Judy Garland’s landmark album great, and why it holds such a central place in queer culture. A hit when released in 1961 (it was the first album by a woman ever to win the Grammy award for Best Album), Judy at Carnegie Hall quickly came to occ…
 
What is the place of classical music in contemporary society? In Composing Capital: Classical Music in the Neoliberal Era (University of Chicago Press, 2019), Marianna Ritchey, an assistant professor of music history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, explores the relationship between neoliberal capitalism and classical music, showing how…
 
“What makes song sparrows, Verdi, medieval monks, and minstrelsy part of the same taxonomy?” So asks—and answers—Rachel Mundy, who is Assistant Professor of Music at Rutgers University–Newark. In her book, Animal Musicalities: Birds, Beasts, and Evolutionary Listening (Wesleyan University Press, 2018), Mundy shows how the history of the humanities …
 
We might call movies made before the advent of the talkies in 1927 silent films—but for the audience, they were certainly not silent. Live orchestras and solo instrumentalists accompanied early movies, adding evocative music drawn from pre-existent and newly composed sources. Kendra Preston Leonard, author of Music for the Kingdom of Shadows: Cinem…
 
In Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture (University of North Carolina Press), Grace Elizabeth Hale tells the epic story of the Athens, Georgia music scene. Hale explains how a small college town hard to get to even from Atlanta gave rise to dozens of great bands. Some of them are household names li…
 
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