Saturday, March 26, 2011

On the Road Again...

I'm outward bound tomorrow for my second conference in the last few weeks. This time, it's the Business of Live Music conference, hosted by Simon Frith at University of Edinburgh. Frith and a research team including Martin Cloonan have just finished a three year study of the British live music industry and this conference marks the culmination of their project. Given that I'm in the early stages of my own book-length study on the history of live music in the U.S., this is pretty much the perfect conference for me. I also love that it's small, with only about 40 presenters over three days, so it will be a cozy group which should make for some lively exchanges.

Here's a link to the conference website, where the curious can see the program. I'll be presenting some of my work on Jenny Lind, the Swedish concert singer whose early 1850s tour of the U.S. was a sort of milestone in the history of American live music. The image below is from a concert program from one of her early performances, which I found at the American Antiquarian Society.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Good News and More Good News!

My book, This Ain't the Summer of Love, was just announced as the winner of the 2010 Woody Guthrie Award for the best scholarly book on popular music, given by IASPM-US. That the award was announced at the IASPM-US conference, for which I'd worked as program chair, made it especially sweet. There aren't many awards that honor work on popular music, even fewer that honor scholarly work of the more academic variety, so this is an honor, and I am very happy.

As to the conference itself, it was a success, if I may say so myself. Things went more or less smoothly, there were far more good papers than not-so-good from what I could see, and everyone I talked to seemed to have a pretty cool time. And, Bootsy Collins was there, and I got to shake his hand and say hey, which is also cool. And I took this picture with my crappy cell phone camera.

I took some video of Bootsy and former King Records session drummer Philip Paul talking about their experiences with the label for my friends at the Rock Hall, who helped to organize the panel that featured them (one of them, Lauren Onkey, is in the photo, sitting next to Bootsy). If and when they post it to the web I'll include the link in a future post.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

IASPM, Here I Come...

As I've mentioned in what now seems like a long-ago post, I've been the program chair for this year's IASPM-US conference (the acronym stands for International Association for the Study of Popular Music, US chapter, for the uninitiated). And now, after months of planning, I'll be on my way to Cincinnati tomorrow when things start to get underway.

For those who want to know what they'll be missing, you can check out the program here.

It's going to be a real cool time, but I'll tell ya, I will be filled with such relief when it's all over. Now I'm in a state of suspended high anxiety, hoping no tragedies strike.

(In case you think I'm being melodramatic, the last time I chaired a conference program committee, for the same organization, it was scheduled to start in mid-September 2001. And then, 9/11 happened, and the whole fucking thing was canceled. And that's why it's taken me ten years to do it again.)

Meantime, anyone who plans to be there, don't be surprised if you hear me quoting, from time to time, the immortal words of Darby Crash: "Will someone buy me a beeeahr?"