"A testament to the synergy of two evolving fields. From the study of staged performances to examinations of the performing body in everyday life, this book demonstrates the enormous profitability of moving beyond disability as metaphor. . . . It's a lesson that many of our cultural institutions desperately need to learn."
-Martin F. Norden, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
This groundbreaking collection imagines disabled bodies as "bodies in commotion"-bodies that dance across artistic and discursive boundaries, challenging our understanding of both disability and performance. In the book's essays, leading critics and artists explore topics that range from theater and dance to multi-media performance art, agit-prop, American Sign Language theater, and wheelchair sports. Bodies in Commotion is the first collection to consider the mutually interpretive qualities of these two emerging fields, producing a dynamic new resource for artists, activists, and scholars.
The conventional way of understanding what musicians do as performers is to treat them as producers of sound; some even argue that it is unnecessary to see musicians in performance as long as one can hear them. But musical performance, counters Philip Auslander, is also a social interaction between musicians and their audiences, appealing as much to the eye as to the ear. In Concert: Performing Musical Persona he addresses not only the visual means by which musicians engage their audiences through costume and physical gesture, but also spectacular aspects of performance such as light shows.
Although musicians do not usually enact fictional characters on stage, they nevertheless present themselves to audiences in ways specific to the performance situation. Auslander’s term to denote the musician’s presence before the audience is musical persona. While presence of a musical persona may be most obvious within rock and pop music, the book’s analysis extends to classical music, jazz, blues, country, electronic music, laptop performance, and music made with experimental digital interfaces. The eclectic group of performers discussed include the Beatles, Miles Davis, Keith Urban, Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj, Frank Zappa, B. B. King, Jefferson Airplane, Virgil Fox, Keith Jarrett, Glenn Gould, and Laurie Anderson.
Most ethnographers don’t achieve what Kevin Brown did while conducting their research: in his two years spent at a karaoke bar near Denver, Colorado, he went from barely able to carry a tune to someone whom other karaoke patrons requested to sing. Along the way, he learned everything you might ever want to know about karaoke and the people who enjoy it.
The result is Karaoke Idols, a close ethnography of life at a karaoke bar that reveals just what we’re doing when we take up the mic—and how we shape our identities, especially in terms of gender, ethnicity, and class, through performances in everyday life. Marrying a comprehensive introduction to the history of public singing and karaoke with a rich analysis of karaoke performers and the community that their shared performances generate, Karaoke Idols is a book for both the casual reader and the scholar, and a fascinating exploration of our urge to perform and the intersection of technology and culture that makes it so seductively easy to do so.
When it first appeared in the early 1970s, glam rock not only caused a stir among audiences and performers, it also stood counterculture and psychedelic rock on their heads. Glam rock was outrageous and overtly theatrical, and its unforgettable characters-adorned with flamboyant costumes and heavy makeup and accompanied by elaborately constructed sets-were personified by performers such as Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, and Suzi Quatro. A sea change in rock performance had occurred.
Yet glam was as much about substance as style, and Performing Glam Rock delves into the many ways glam paved the way for new explorations of identity in terms of gender, sexuality, and performance. Philip Auslander positions glam historically and examines it as a set of performance strategies, exploring the ways in which glam rock-while celebrating the showmanship of 1950s rock and roll-began to undermine rock's adherence to the ideology of authenticity in the late 1960s.
In this important study of a too-often-overlooked phenomenon, Auslander takes a fresh look at the genius of the glam movement and introduces glam to a new generation of performance enthusiasts and scholars alike.
Philip Auslander is Professor in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology and author of numerous books, including Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture and Presence and Resistance: Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary American Performance. He is editor of the major reference work Performance: Critical Concepts and coeditor, with Carrie Sandahl, of Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance.
Most people agree that witnessing a live performance is not the same as seeing it on screen; however, most of the performances we experience are in recorded forms. Some aver that the recorded form of a performance necessarily distorts it or betrays it, focusing on the relationship between the original event and its recorded versions. By contrast, Reactivations focuses on how the audience experiences the performance, as opposed to its documentation. How does a spectator access and experience a
performance from its documentation? What is the value of performance documentation?
The book treats performance documentation as a specific discursive use of media that arose in the middle of the 20th century alongside such forms of performance as the Happening and that is different, both discursively and as a practice, from traditional theater and dance photography. Philip Auslander explores the phenomenal relationship between the spectator who experiences the performance from the document and the document itself. The document is not merely a secondary iteration of the original event but a vehicle that gives us meaningful access to the performance itself as an artistic work.