Elijah Wald: presentation on the huge set of racial and ethnic stereotypes on stage at the turn of the century, point: it wasn't just blackness that was debased/satirized. Reminds me: of the movement to understand the importance of Chinese labor in the American West. Butte, Montana.
Steve Waksman: as always, best hair. Amazing dude from Smith University, talked about Alice Cooper's art school tendancies. Great thought, maybe a Bangs quote: Alice Cooper reversed the rock standards by using music to sell hype.
Tim Lawrence: of the "Love Saves the Day" fame, keeps moving on in his history of dance music with Sylvester. great thought: people want gayness to be camp, but Sylvester's was real and passionate - people were afraid.
Sharon Mesmer: best read paper of the conference. Talked about 'alternative femaleness" as found in Patti Smith pix when she was young. Brave to be in a room full of rock dudes and talk about having small breasts.
James Hannaham: lip-synching. Calling out the Ashlee haters - great moment: after his paper, Hannaham lip-synced the Whitney H. national anthem. How could people have loved that shit in 1991? Yikes.
Charles Kronengold: "If you're a song and you don't want to be known as pop, what can you do?" amazing.
Eric Martin Usner: do not steal our faculty! His paper on Starbucks CD track selections - good stuff. Drank from the paper cup dramatically. Must learn about this "third place" of which he speaks, the place between home and work, the place we need to fill the void of the social. 9000 Starbucks! The guy next to me on the plane (see last post) said, "I don't know whether to move back to North Carolina and open a Starbucks or a bowling alley?" duh, if you can't be a rock critic, open up a Starbucks. lucrative.
Nate Harrison: played a fucking acetate of his paper about the "Amen" break by the Winstons and its history in jungle. dude! He then made a great argument for fair use - information wants to be free - and well, then the record was done. Wish people would have asked more abt his process.
Fred Maus: talked about "Deadbeat Club" in terms of dealing with the AIDS crisis, through close listening. I was a little lost at first and then there was the 'damn, that's smart' moment at the end. Used the word 'ventriliquise' - bang!
Ted Widmer: most unlikely jobswitch - fake band to Clinton speech writer. Amazing. was in a band called Upper Crust, 18th century noble wannabes whose high point was opening for Aerosmith in Boston and a hilarious night on Conan. Best song "Sting, where art thou death?" best cover: "Monarcy in the USA"
Sara Shurr: High priestess of Philly indie, part-time drag troupe girlie girl. Awesomely weird footage of her Bob n' Barbaras (!) pals in all sorts of poses. Best moment: very large gay man in a Pop Tart box singing Gypsy Rose.
Amy Phillips: The kiddie of EMP talks about age(ism) and played disembodied voices of the crowd - got people thinking all weekend long about how we don't mind calling out age as if it were not somehow a paranoid factor of biography. Quarter life crisis, an upswing in said phrase?
Evelyn McDonnell: How awesome is she? talked about Miami's unheralded influence on a decade of hip hop. It's more than blink and beach - people pay attention. South Beach was segregated until very recently, she said. Sick.
Ned Sublette: best storyteller, hands down. "As an experiment, I was moved from 2nd grade to 7th grade, and that is where I developed my love of giantesses." Imagine said with a Northern Louisiana accent. Amazing. talked about the sex slavery of the Americas, and how domestic production of slaves was the south's true cash crop. Also talked abt the Mardi Gras indians. Boy am I glad I didn't try to give that paper.
Carl Wilson: talking about how singer/songwriters take on band names to deflect the connotations of the 1970s. Ann made a good point: that it also deflects the overt lust of a female fanbase, unless yr Conor. Smarty panel "the autobiographical fallacy" - a new staple thing to say and think about.
Lenny Kaye: Okay, a paper about crooners, one of my favorite topics. Head-tilted sung examples, talk of double "oo" vowel stretches, whisper into the female ear. And Lenny Kaye, fercryingoutloud!
Daphne Brooks: what would black feminist rock criticism look like? I wish it looked just like Daphne Brooks. How awesome is she? Arguing for new language and new vision, embracing multi-genres and questioning the given truths of your own identity.
Keith Harris: used the term "hickface" to describe latterday Bruce. Totally valid. Also used the word "sexily" which is, I think the word that least resembles itself in soundform. Sex-il-ee. He's right tho - that Toby Keith song about beer for horses is like the most racist bullshit ever - shame on you, Willie.
Will Hermes: not so secret jam band lover talking about the 'acoustic set' as a precursor to death. great phrase "the warm glow of existential dread that is so very French." also used the word brio, which should be used often and vigorously. Dude, what about the ladies? For us acoustic is 'normal,' rock is the courtship of demons.
Chris Nickson: reggae man. I know so little about reggae I can't even tell you. He played a lot of amazing examples of reggae that had been 'stringsed up' to be more popular for a British audience, and then examples of how British reggae changed with the black conciousness movement. I am schooled.
Mica Hilson: has the best conference voice ever. Talked about 'synth zombies" and whiteness, the new marked! use of conditional in lyrics as sublimation of desire, the overwhelming, high place of swirls and swelling keys over dead vox. made me want to DJ or start a band. Am I a zombie? don't answer that.
Peter Mercer-Taylor: winner for most unlikely paper. A Mendelssohn scholar with a love of black metal deconstructs a Cradle of Filth song as if it were an opera, all in a deep southern accent. "If I weren't here right now, I'd be singing in my church choir." He said it twice, I believed it both times.
Eric Weisbard: caught only a bit of his paper (what's up with the conference host switching his own panel around?) talking about Buddy Holocaust. I'll email him for the paper and re-report since I only caught the 'and in conclusion, people said this was an act of necromusicology,' which is of course intriguing and yet another word brought into my brain this fine weekend.
will add links tomorrow. should like, do some schoolwork now.
if you'd like to read my paper "Dancing, Democracy and Kitsch: Poland's disco-polo" - email me. I'll send it with some mp3s and pix. am just keeping it DL cause I'd like to publish something from it...