The Child Now

ddglq_22_4Futurity, innocence, and childish subversion—as concepts, as frameworks—have yet to catch up to where the child has moved in the present century. In “The Child Now,” a special issue of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, edited by Julian Gill-Peterson, Rebekah Sheldon, and Kathryn Bond Stockton, contributors explore topics that are both vital and challenging for current queer studies.

Offering three new, rich formulations calibrated for thinking the child in this century, “The Queer Child Now and its Paradoxical Global Effects” by Kathryn Bond Stockton includes a reflection on how the terrain of the queer child has dramatically changed since the publication of her foundational book, The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century, in 2009. “Same-Sex Marriage Litigation and Children’s Right to Be Queer” by Clifford Rosky combines queer theory and legal frameworks to bring much-needed context and critical questions to recent landmark legal decisions on same-sex marriage in the United States.

Other topics in this issue include child revolutionaries’ actions in Egypt and the colonial afterlife of the boarding school for indigenous children. Following the twists and turns of children now, contributors confront how race, gender, and sexuality are made to live and grow in children’s bodies.

Read the introduction to the issue, made freely available.

Two Duke University Press Authors Named MacArthur “Genius” Fellows

We are excited and proud to learn that two of our authors, Kellie Jones and Josh Kun, have been named 2016 MacArthur Fellows.

Kellie Jones, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, New York, New York, September 9, 2016

Kellie Jones is Associate Professor of Art History at Columbia University and author of EyeMinded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (2011) and the forthcoming South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s (April 2017). The MacArthur Foundation praises her for “deepening our understanding of contemporary art of the African Diaspora and securing its place in the canons of modern and contemporary art.”

Josh Kun, 2016 MacArthur Fellow, USC, Los Angeles, CA, Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016.

Josh Kun, Professor of Communication at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is a longtime collaborator with Duke University Press. He is a co-editor of our popular series Refiguring American Music, which publishes bold, innovative works that pose new challenges to thinking about the nature and character of American Music. He is also co-editor of Tijuana Dreaming: Life and Art at the Global Border (2012). He has also written for our journal Public Culture. The MacArthur Foundation says ,”In work that spans academic scholarship, exhibitions, and performances, Kun unearths and brings to life forgotten historical narratives through finely grained analyses of material and sonic manifestations of popular culture.”

The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.

We’re pleased to offer a special discount on Eyeminded and Tijuana Dreaming in honor of this award. Please use coupon code GENIUS16 on our website to save 40% on these books. Congratulations again to these two authors!

Upcoming Events: Tim Lawrence

In his new book  Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983, Tim Lawrence examines the city’s party, dance, music, and art culture between 1980 and 1983, tracing the rise, apex, and fall of this inventive, vibrant, and tumultuous scene. Lawrence has a number of launch events in New York and London including readings, a symposium on the book and even some dance parties. We hope you can make it to one of them.

Party and Book Signing
25 September, 5:00 to midnight
Lucky Cloud Sound System Loft Party
Rose Lipman Building, de Beauvoir Road, London N1

Presentation, Discussion, Screening and DJing
Join Tim Lawrence in a conversation with Greg Wilson, a screening of Downtown 81, and DJing by Guillaume Chottin and Simon Halpin.
30 September
Hosted by Pages of Hackney at The Institute of Light
376 Helmsley Pl, London E8 3SB

Reading, Exhibition and Book Signing
Exhibition curated by Conor Donlon and Tim Lawrence.
1 October
Donlon Books
75 Broadway Market
London, E8 4PH

October 4, 1:00pm
Yale University
Interdisciplinary Performance Studies Working Group
220 York Street, Room 201
New Haven, CT

Lecture and Q&A
October 6, 4:30pm
Cornell University
Music Department, Lincoln Hall, Room 124
Ithaca, NY 14850

Lecture, Discussion and Book Signing
Lawrence will lecture on and discuss his book with Tavia Nyong’o.
October 7, 6:30 pm
The CUNY Graduate Center
365 5th Ave, NY 10016

Symposium Keynote: Tim Lawrence
October 8, 10:00am
Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at NYU
Performance Studies Studio
721 Broadway, 6th Floor, Rm. 612
Readings: Patti Astor and Tim Lawrence
Contributors: Leonard Abrams (East Village Eye), Emily Armstrong (video filmmaker), Patti Astor (downtown actor, Fun Gallery, Wild Style), Jeffrey Deitch (curator), Johnny Dynell (Mudd Club, Pyramid, Danceteria, Area), Kit Fitzgerald (video filmmaker), Jim Fouratt (Hurrah, Danceteria), Bernard Gendron (author), Steven Harvey (New York Rocker), Michael Holman (Negril, breaking impresario), Pat Ivers (video filmmaker), Danny Krivit (Roxy), Sal Principato (Liquid Liquid), John Robie (musician, producer), Chi Chi Valenti (Mudd Club, Danceteria), Sharon White (the Saint), Michael Zilkha (ZE Records)

Book Photo Show and Reception
Bobby Grossman (with Richard Boch), Allan Tannenbaum, Harvey Wang, Ande Whyland (with Dany Johnson) present photographs with commentary
October 8, 6:30pm
Howl Gallery
6 E 1st St, New York, NY 10003

Loft Party with Book Signing
October 9
The Loft

 718 Sessions Party with Book Signing
October 9
718 Sessions

Conversation and Book Signing
Tim Lawrence in conversation with Ivan Baker (Mudd Club, Pyramid), Justin Strauss (Mudd Club, the Ritz), and Will Socolov (Sleeping Bag)
October 11
Rough Trade
64 N. 9TH St.
New York, NY

Screening, Panel Discussion and Book Signing
Dany Johnson DJing, screening of Downtown 81, panel discussion led by Tim Lawrence featuring Patti Astor, Johnny Dynell, Michael Holman and Ann Magnuson.
October 13, 6:30pm
Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Film Plus, 425 seat Titus 1 Theater
11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

Conversation, DJ Set and Book Signing
Tim Lawrence conversation with Ivan Baker (Mudd Club, Pyramid) and Justin Strauss (Mudd Club, the Ritz); DJing set by Ivan Baker and Justin Strauss
October 15, 4:00pm
Super Elevation Records
100 White St., New York, NY

Party and Book Signing
Better Days party at Analog, Bruce Forest DJ set.
October 15
Analog BKNY
177 Second Ave.
Brooklyn NY 11215

Discussion and Reading
Tim Lawrence in discussion with Steven Harvey.
October 16, 3:00pm
Steven Harvey Fine Art Projects/SHFAP
Exhibition, Paradise: Underground Culture in NYC 1978-83
208 Forsyth St, New York, NY 10002 

October 17, 4:00pm
Columbia University
Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality
754 Schermerhorn Ext, New York, NY 10027

Talk, Reading and Book Signing
26 October
Phonica Records
51 Poland St, London W1F 7LZ

Listening Session, Talk and Book Signing
Tim Lawrence presents Dinosaur L 24-24 Music.
6 November
Classic Album Sundays

Discussion and Book Signing
Tim Lawrence in conversation with Greg Wilson.
26 November, 6:00pm
Walthamstow Rock n Roll Book Club
Waterstones in Walthamstow
Unit 30-31 Selbourne Walk Shopping Centre
Walthamstow, London, E17 7JR

After Party
Wildcard Brewery featuring Soul Picnic DJs and special guest DJ
26 November, 8:00pm
Ravenswood industrial estate off Shernall St, Walthamstow


Match Up: Duke University Press Journals

For a #TuesdayTreat, we have a fun game for you. Match the article to the journal in which it was published to test your knowledge of Duke University Press journals! See below the image for the answers to the match up.

1. “Punks, Bulldaggers, and Welfare Queens: The Radical Potential of Queer Politics?”

2. “Real (Software) Abstractions: On the Rise of Facebook and the Fall of MySpace”

3. “Sex and the Colonial Archive: The Case of ‘Mariano’ Aguilera”

4. “Nostalgia, Desire, Diaspora: South Asian Sexualities in Motion”

5. “Disseminating Common Sense: Thomas Paine and the Problem of the Early National Bestseller”

6. “Rosie the Riveter’s Job Market: Advertising for Women Workers in World War II Los Angeles”

7. “Condemned to Repeat: On the Racism and Sexism of Failing to Address Structure”

8. “Saving Other Women from Other Men: Disney’s Aladdin

9. “Hip-Hop Women Shredding the Veil: Race and Class in Popular Feminist Identity”

10. “A Zombie Manifesto: The Nonhuman Condition in the Era of Advanced Capitalism”


















Answers: 1) d; 2) j; 3) e; 4) h; 5) a; 6) f; 7) g; 8) c; 9) i; 10) b

How did you score? Share your Duke University Press journal knowledge and rock star status in the comments. If some of the articles above piqued your interest, you can read them, made freely available, here:

Occupy Rio 2016

Daryle Williams, co-editor of The Rio de Janeiro Reader, continues his Olympics updates from Rio. Here he offers some thoughts on Rio’s Occupy movement. Follow Williams on Twitter @DaryleWilliams or with the hashtag #RioReader.

Nearly to the day, the Paralympics Closing Ceremonies coincide with the fifth anniversary of the launch of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The close-out to Rio 2016 also marks five years of mobilizations and occupations fueled by a rage against inequality and Big Capital in dozens of cities around the world, including the first South American city to host the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

logo-twitter_400x400Just about five weeks after Occupy Wall Street was established in Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan, a self-defined “Ocupa Rio” encampment was set up in Cinelândia, in the heart of downtown Rio. The movement opened a Twitter feed, staking a claim on the webosphere that continues to the present.

The original Occupy Rio movement appeared somewhat out of tune with the Brazilian mood of late 2011. Economic indicators were pretty good, driven by Brazil’s privileged place in the global commodities bonanza and the success of various federal cash transfer programs that were making substantive progress towards poverty reduction and the expansion of the middle class. The Rio state government was eyeing a seemingly endless stream of revenue from strong petroleum prices and vast offshore oil deposits. Rio city was riding high on the promise of three looming megaevents that would bring millions of visitors and billions of investment dollars to the Marvelous City: World Youth Day 2013, the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and the XXXI Olympiad. Grande Rio enjoyed nearly full employment, with the official measure of the economically active population hovering around 95%. Public safety and social citizenship appeared, finally, to be working in tandem, thanks to the apparent success of coordinated efforts of favela “pacification” that had begun in 2008 at Morro Dona Marta.

Yet even in those good times, Ocupa Rio’s work groups could identify the dark underpinnings of Carioca society: homelessness, the anticipated removals of the poor for the megaevents, the abuses associated with police pacification, unconstitutional limits on democratic expression, racism and homophobia, and the undue influence of big media. Bouts of foul weather and attrition, combined with a December 4 police raid, put a halt to use of Praça Floriano to denounce such perceived injustices. The seizure of the protesters’ tents and belongings held distinct echoes of Rio’s municipal government’s well-honed penchant to use public safety officers and municipal sanitation workers to remove squatters when they proved to be inconvenient.


In 2016, amidst the grave political and economic crisis that has engulfed all Brazil since 2014, those dark elements of exclusion identified by Ocupa Rio continue to animate an organizationally amorphous movement whose original encampment site in front of Cine Odeon has been remade into a picture-perfect setting for a group selfie with the restored Theatro Municipal and the new light rail as backdrop. The offshoots of the original Ocupa Rio — some with direct lineage to 2011 and others merely taking inspiration in the name — have appeared in the 2013 Passe Livre Movement as well as protests against the Olympics, the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff, and the neoliberal reforms of the Michel Temer government. In solidarity with striking teachers, students from public schools throughout Rio state, starting with the Colégio Estadual Prefeito Mendes de Moraes on the capital’s Ilha do Governador, have used the language and tactics of the Occupy Movement to denounce the educational crisis that has accompanied the state’s fiscal calamity.

In May 2016, artists and intellectuals took over the Palácio Gustavo Capanema to protest the proposed elimination of the federal culture ministry (MinC). When the police forced the occupiers from the iconic modernist edifice on Rua da Imprensa after 73 days, Ocupa MinC moved to Canecão, a storied concert hall in Botafogo. Over the protests of the adjacent campus of the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, a few hundred protesters appropriated the shuttered venue for a raucous arts festival that attracted the support of singers Zélia Duncan and Chico Buarque, among other luminaries of the Rio cultural circuit. The surprise visit by Buarque on the eve of the Olympics Opening Ceremony included a collective rendition of “Apesar de você,” a protest song made famous in 1970 during the depths of a civil-military dictatorship that began six years prior.


On social media, #OcupaMinC and #OcupaCanecão have become closely linked to #ForaTemer, that frustrated aspiration to restore constitutional powers to Rousseff and deny her traitorous vice president the spoils of a legislative golpe. Banners, buttons, stickers, placards, and graffiti decrying “Fora Temer” approximate the occupiers at Canecão with the loud chorus of Temer’s detractors seen throughout Olympic Rio. (Initial attempts to censor #ForaTemer in the Olympic arenas were a near comical failure.)

These most recent iterations of the still-young Occupy Movement must become a central element of the history-to-be-written of the Rio Olympics. A cultural history of Ocupa MinC — song, art, and performance — shall be written alongside the analysis of the motifs of the opening and closing ceremonies or the staged programming in the Olympic Park. The story of other Ocupa mobilizations shall write into the history of the Olympiad and its host city the experiences and voices of local actors (and global actors acting locally) arrayed across a spectrum of oppositional projects — some radically anti-institutional, some progressive, others familiarly statist — that have remained vibrant during what sometimes appears to be a moment of national history commandeered by corrupt big-moneyed interests hostile to constitutional rule and inclusive social justice.

In other words, the history of Olympic Rio de Janeiro shall not be reduced to a singular, tragic narrative of the defeat of the aspirations of institutional democracy, economic justice, and social inclusion that were part of the original Rio 2016 bid to the international Olympic and Paralympic committees. (Whether or not the original inclusion of those aspirations was carried out in genuine sincerity or with cynicism remains to be seen once the archival records and oral histories are open to researchers.) A full history of Rio 2016 must account for Ocupa Rio, Ocupa MinC, and variants like #OcupaCinelândia, #OcupaEscola, and #OcupaTudo as co-producers of the city’s Olympic Time.

That full history shall also consider fault lines that lie at the margins of the Occupy Movement. Here, we look to the participants in the social media campaign and accompanying violent clashes that interrupted the torch relay in the Baixada Fluminense and others locales in Rio state; the legal actions that framed opposition to displacements at Vila Autódromo and Horto; the popular “invasions” of the Olympic X-Park in Deodoro; the reaction among Cidade de Deus residents to local hero Rafaela Silva’s vindicating gold medal in Olympic judo; the Brazilian Institute for the Rights of People with Disabilities’ uses of the Paralympics to press to make city public sidewalks more accessible to people in wheelchairs and the blind. In each of these episodes, we find clues to the multiple associational, discursive, organizational, and identity mobilizations that have shaped struggles for space and citizenship in Olympic Rio. Some of these mobilizations share Ocupa Rio’s aspirations, but they fall outside the movement’s formal boundaries (whatever they may be). Class and race composition differ. They must be studied on their own terms.


Gestures associated with more conservative tendencies in contemporary Brazil — Neymar’s use of a headband declaring “100% Jesus” at the gold medal ceremony at the last night of Olympic competition (a victorious athlete’s declaration of faith? a wink at forces in favor of a Christian moralization of the public square?); the widespread use of the canary-yellow national soccer team’s jersey at Olympic arenas (“good” nationalism? a nod to the anti-Dilma coxinhas?); the Desocupa Já student movement calling for the end of public school occupations (youth of modest means yeaning for educational opportunity? teenage reactionaries?); the durability of racist terms on the dating and hookup apps that made Olympic Rio a City of Sex — offer hints at a history of the multiple publics, narratives, aspirations, and readings of Rio 2016 that fall outside the machinations of Big Capital and its critics. Like Ocupa Rio, these gestures have already started to write the first draft of their histories on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Grindr. With the closing of the Paralympics, the moment is now upon us to archive, systematize, and analyze these and other sources that will tell a history of the Rio Games that is as complex and compelling as their troubled, marvelous host city.

Learn more about Rio’s history in The Rio de Janeiro Reader. Buy a copy now and save 30% with coupon code E15RIO or get instant gratification by purchasing an e-book from one of our partners.

History’s Ghosts

wpj_33_3In the most recent issue of World Policy Journal, “History’s Ghosts,” contributors grapple with attempts by various governments to mobilize history to serve their own authority and erase the blemishes of history by writing over them. “The past always haunts the present, but most political science fails to acknowledge, let alone describe, the influence of history’s ghosts,” editor Christopher Shay argues.

Topics in this issue include using Sanskrit to advance a Hindu supremacist agenda in India, using a rhetoric of peace to justify aggression and imperialism in Japan, removing the Oromo and other minority groups from the Battle of Adwa in Ethiopian history and national storylines, and how the Chinese Communist Party compelled a country to forget Tiananmen Square in 1989.

“Our writers remind us that simply remembering history is not enough. Many people recall their trauma and then inflict the same suffering on others. A worthwhile project of remembering, [Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Viet Thanh] Nguyen says, ‘has to get us to figure out a way to prevent that suffering from happening again,'” Shay concludes.

To learn more, read “The Big Question: What Lessons from History Keep Being Forgotten?,” made freely available.

Advanced Carioca

rioDaryle Williams, our very own Olympics correspondent and co-editor of The Rio de Janeiro Reader, is back in Rio again, this time to watch the Paralympics. Here he reflects on the opening ceremonies, which took place September 7. Follow Williams on Twitter @DaryleWilliams or with the hashtag #RioReader. Read his post on the Olympics opening ceremonies here.

Midway through the XXXI Olympiad, Rio 2016 certainly seems to prove Tom Jobim’s wry observation that Brazil is not a country for beginners. Any beginner would be bewildered by the conundrum of a nation hosting a global mega-event fundamentally gone right, including the national soccer team’s redemptive victory over sourpuss Germany, in the midst of existential crises for a ruling class fundamentally gone wrong. A beginner would wonder how a country that actually swam against the tide of inequality in the 2000s might intentionally choose the Olympic Moment to institutionalize policies that will likely increase poverty and widen social exclusion in the 2020s. A beginner would question why the small-time idiocies of LochteGate could rattle national sensibilities. A beginner might be curious and confused that there have been, to date, no documented cases of Zika transmission during the Olympics when the naysayers cried of a global public health catastrophe.

A beginner would have to wonder how Brazilian vice president Michel Temer (acting as interim president) could be in attendance at the Olympics Opening Ceremonies and then absent at the Closing Ceremonies, to then return as president for the opening of the Paralympics. Had the placards seen throughout Rio declaring “Fora Temer” (Out Temer) and “Jamais Temer” (Never Temer), or the protests in Copacabana and Lapa, inadvertently greased the slide of this highly unpopular, seemingly amoral figure into the presidential palace in Brasília? Meanwhile, the democratically-elected (now former) president Dilma Rousseff was out of sight while the world’s eyes were on the festivities at Maracanã. Yet, she adopted the bold move of making a personal appearance before the Senate to defend herself in an impeachment trial that she characterized as a legislative coup. What is a beginner to make of the forsaken opportunity to also make the case in Rio on a world stage? Finally a beginner would have to wonder how the Marvelous City could put on such a series of tremendously complex and expensive sporting events yet never quite figure out how to ensure that Olympic visitors should not be forced to solve the riddle of non-functional kiosks designated specifically to sell the transport passes required to travel to the Olympic Village in Barra da Tijuca.

But being that Brazil is not a country for beginners, perhaps these questões and confusões should be reserved for the experts.

Happily, Rio 2016 provides beginners and experts alike with plenty of material to try to put together the puzzle that is Brazil. Pieces to that puzzle — literal and figurative — were incorporated into the Paralympics Opening Ceremonies, held September 7 (Brazil’s Independence Day). The event officially welcomed to Rio 161 Paralympic delegations and 4,300 athletes. Spectators saw some of the same cheery cheesiness on display at the August 5 ceremonies that welcomed 207 Olympic delegations. The Paralympic Parade of Nations had some familiar moments of cheekiness and tedium. Yet, the final result was rather beautiful — and refreshingly different from its Olympic predecessor. The September 7 spectacle eschewed the cosmopolitan urbanity of August 5 and the celebration of Brazilian regional popular culture of the Closing Ceremonies, held August 21. All three ceremonies relied upon  plenty of fireworks, but the whizz-bang factor was muted on September 7. Whereas the city was literally built to an instrumental version of Chico Buarque’s “Construção” before the audiences of August 5, Rio was merely a concept on September 7.


On that night, a jigsaw puzzle made up of pieces carrying the name of each competing nation were transformed into an enormous pulsating heart. The scene underscored the notion that Brazil is a nation of physical bodies and embodied sentiments. I tend to prefer this to the save-the-forest climax to the Olympic Parade of Nations. And it felt little like the fun, but clichéd, desfile de samba that closed the Olympics.

A message of physical bodies and embodied sentiments was threaded throughout the Paralympics kick-off. The simple pleasures of a roda de samba (the samba wheel or circle) evolved within a circle of cadeiras de rodas (wheelchairs). A deconstructed Vitruvian Man spoke to the urge to de-normalize the western classical body. The choreography of illuminated walking sticks — dancers’ bodies shrouded in darkness — raised possibilities of intentional movement and sensation without sight.

A prolonged sequence telling the story of a day at the beach, staged to the music of Gilberto Gil’s “Aquele Abraço,” was my personal favorite. I must recognize that the scene required some background in the specificities of Rio beach culture: the carting in and out of umbrellas for rent, the ambulantes selling Biscoito Globo and ice-cold sweetened mate tea. Brazil may not be a country for beginners, but that scene required a course in Advanced Carioca to really get it. It was, nonetheless, a pleasure.

The last fifteen minutes of the Paralympics opening ceremony helped me glimpse what Rio’s Paralympics (my first disability sports event) might be about. Winter Paralympic medalist and “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Amy Purdy executed a pas de deux with an industrial robot that showed us what human beauty and technological precision can look like without falling into the sci-fi fantasies of the cyborg sexpot. Playing to the moment, she danced a samba in her running blades. Yes, Paralympians also have the right to show that tudo acaba em samba. In Rio, it would seem, it all ends in samba.


Yet the actual end to the Opening Ceremonies struck me on a different register of Cariocaness. As Purdy exited the field, a light drizzle began to fall at Maracanã. Surely unwanted, the rain was nonetheless anticipated. Clear ponchos were quickly distributed to the assembled athletes and delegates. As the rain continued, the program moved towards its climax: the lighting of the Olympic Flame. 1984 gold medalist Marcia Malsar took the relay torch from fellow Paralympian Antônio Souza and began to walk towards the cauldron, assisted by a walker. As the showers intensified, she slipped and fell to the ground. The torch tumbled with her. After the collective gasp heard round the world, Malsar collected herself and stood back up to continue to carry the torch on to track and field medalist Ádria Santos. It was a moment made perfectly for televised sports: the unbroken spirit of the elite athlete who falls yet rises again to carry the game forward. It was a moment made for an able-bodied audience: the para-athlete’s indomitable fortitude feeds into the audience’s endless well of benevolent sympathy. Yet it was also a very Carioca moment, when the crowd jumped to its feet to rally Malsar. Here, the recent international coverage about Brazilian crowd behavior — boisterous, partisan, and thoroughly disrespectful of polite requests to follow the rules of decorum — seemed exceptionally silly. Cariocas are deeply engaged sports fans and will use all of their corporal powers to communicate with the athlete and move her body as they wish it to move. Rio’s rightful place as a city of intense fandom proved itself not merely accurate, but a necessary truth for Malsar and the world.


This emotional roller coaster of Malsar’s fall and rise was followed by the exceptionally gorgeous sequence of the lighting of the cauldron. Paralympian swimmer Clodoaldo Silva ascended a series of slickened ramps to light the Olympic Flame. As the rain fell hard, Silva sat solitary in his wheelchair watching along as the lit pyre rose into the night sky, to be met by a reflective rotating chandelier. Far from the explosive alegria the Olympics festivities (and quite the contrast from Aaron Fotheringham’s pyrotechnical wheelchair jump that opened the Paralympics), a rain-soaked Silva and the Flame were reminders that Rio can also be a city of contained emotion and elemental natural beauty.

A course in Advanced Carioca surely helps us appreciate this sequence, but it is not a prerequisite for taking in the Paralympic inflection of this peculiar Olympic Time for the host city and its citizens and fans, disabled and able-bodied.

The Rio de Janeiro Reader is a great place to start learning more about the 2016 Paralympics host city. Buy a copy now and save 30% with coupon code E15RIO or get instant gratification by purchasing an e-book from one of our partners.

Revisiting 9/11 Across the Globe

Yesterday marked the 15th anniversary of the 2001 September 11th attacks on the United States. Revisit “9/11 Across the Globe,” a blog post featuring journal issues and books on the al-Qauda attack as well as the 1973 Chilean coup d’état that overthrew then-President Salvador Allende and allowed Augusto Pinochet to assume power.

Read an excerpt from the post:

In recent years, the date 9/11 has become firmly associated with al-Qaeda’s 2001 attacks on the United States and the presumed advent of a new era of global conflict between democracy and fundamentalist jihad.

The Other 9/11” reminds us not only that other seminal acts of violence occurred on a prior 9/11, beyond the borders of the United States, but that Allende’s 1973 overthrow was an act of documented state-sponsored terror supported by the United States against a democratically elected government. Read the introduction to “The Other 9/11,” made freely available.

For more on the topic, read “9/11 Across the Globe.”

What is Journal Work? A Small Axe Event

ddsmx_20_2_50This year, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism, turns 20 years old. The journal also published its 50th issue, “What is Journal Work?” which features a preface by editor David Scott on Small Axe and the ethos of journal work.

In celebration of its 20th year and 50th issue, Small Axe is marking the occasion with a roundtable conversation on journal work featuring the contributors to the 50th issue. The speakers are editors (or founders) of notable journal platforms and will discuss ways to think about the distinctive work—in all its dimensions—of journals in intellectual and artistic innovation and intervention.

Small Axe would like to extend the invitation for anyone to join on Friday, 16 September 2016 from 1:00 to 6:30pm at Sulzberger Parlor, 3rd floor, Barnard Hall, Barnard College. Barnard Hall is located immediately upon entering through the main gate of the Barnard College campus at Broadway and 117th Street. If you cannot attend in person, the event will be streamed live.

There are two parts to the Small Axe celebration: part one will be a roundtable conversation and part two will feature a number of people speaking about the contribution of Small Axe over the twenty years of its existence. See the full schedule:

Part 1: Roundtable Program
What is Journal Work? A Conversation

Welcome: Vanessa Pérez-Rosario, managing editor, Small Axe
Opening Remarks: David Scott, Small Axe

Moderator: Vanessa Agard-Jones, Small Axe, Souls

Louis Chude-Sokei, The Black Scholar
Lowell Fiet, Sargasso
Kaiama L. Glover and Alex Gil, sx: archipelagos
Sean Jacobs, Africa is a Country
Kelly Baker Josephs, sx salon
Patricia Saunders, Anthurium
Ashwani Sharma, darkmatter
Kuan-Hsing Chen, Inter-Asia Cultural Studies: Movements
Yolanda Wood, Anales del Caribe

Part 2: Small Axe Celebration

Moderator: Nijah Cunningham, coordinator, Small Axe Project

Hazel Carby, Yale University
Silvio Torres-Saillant, Syracuse University, Latino Studies Journal
Brent Hayes Edwards, Columbia University

Closing remarks: David Scott, Small Axe


Chuck Eddy’s “Terminated for Reasons of Taste” Playlist

978-0-8223-6225-8Veteran rock critic Chuck Eddy takes the reins in today’s blog post, sharing music and excerpts from his new book Terminated for Reasons of Taste: Other Ways to Hear Essential and Inessential Music.

In Terminated for Reasons of Taste, I want to show how the world of pop music is bigger, more multi-dimensional, endlessly compelling in more directions, than readers ever imagined; I want to demonstrate how, in pop music, history repeats itself, recurring again and again in strange, intriguing, disturbing, revealing, often hilarious ways. In the more than three decades during which I wrote these pieces, popular music itself, music criticism, the music industry, communication media, and America have all changed immeasurably. But this book tracks all of those changes as they occurred, and then some.

I started writing professionally, if you can call it that, in early 1984, and the book divides itself into five chronological sections, revolving around music from the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and – in the first one, facetiously titled “B.C.” – all of history Before I was a Critic. Under each of those umbrellas, I tried to organize pieces like a playlist or mixtape or good radio set, to transition logically into each other – to set each other up, answer each other’s questions, carry on an internal conversation or debate. Here are some excerpts, with visual aids to make things more fun.

A living fossil in the age of rock’roll, Cowboy Copas had a career that dated back to ‘20s string bands, then had a top five country hit in 1946. “Alabam,” which topped the country chart and got to #63 pop in Billboard when he was 47 in 1960, partook in a rhythm unmistakably echoing those bygone eras. And it wasn’t even the last of its kind – Guy Drake (1970’s race-baiting “Welfare Cadillac”), Jerry Reed, obese Hee Haw sideshow Junior Samples, and “Convoy” trucker-rapper C.W. McCall all made music at times harking back, somehow, to the white talking country blues of the Great Depression, long after most anybody remembered what was being harked back to. “Alabam” itself consists primarily of warmly recited couplets that, for all we know, could’ve survived on stages or in barn dances since Reconstruction days – about people down the street eating like wild geese, tramps in the cornfield, Sal with worn-down shoes tied onto her feet. Who knows anymore whether it was heard as a novelty, or whether its sound had simply retained backwoods currency over the decades?

Sleazy 1971 wet-dream song “Chick-A-Boom (Don’t Ya Jes’ Love It),” maybe the aesthetic spawn of both War’s “Spill The Wine” and Pipkins’ “Gimme Dat Ding” from the year before, kinda creeped me out as a 10-year-old, since it concerned hippie girls with missing bikini tops and bottoms. Yet I’ve always remembered it as Saturday morning cartoon rock — and yep, sure enough, it was done for a cartoon called Sabrina and the Groovie Ghoulies, and Daddy Dewdrop was actually a Cleveland songwriter named Dick Monda. Rest of the album was clearly tossed off overnight, and nobody bought it because 10-year-olds back then only bought 45s not LPs, but it’s pretty wacked out — songs about “fox huntin'” and “diggin on Mrs. Jones,” but the weirdest titles are probably “March Of The White Corpuscles” and “Migraine Headaches,” the latter of which goes from Huey Smith to “You’re Sixteen” to some nutty vaudeville-rock prototype for Disco Tex and his Sex-O-Lettes.

Probably either as “rock” a disco album or as “disco” a rock album as ever existed — And yeah, as the muscular male camaraderie on the front and back cover indicate, Leather Nun-level leather-bar gay (seems the Skatt Bros were marketed as the “metal” Village People or thereabouts.) Best song, “Walk The Night,” sounds basically how Wax Trax fascist industrial fetish metal disco (KMFDM or whoever) should have sounded, almost a decade early. Most over-the-top hook: “I got a ROD beneath my coat/It’s gonna RAM right down your throat/Hooo-ahh!!!” Almost as good: “Life At The Outpost” (“give your love to a cowboy man/He’s gonna love ya hard as he can, can” – plus spaghetti western guitar parts) and “Midnight Companion” (ballad, country in mood if not mode, about disguising one’s self as a trucker to meet bikers to prevent lonely nights – best song ever to mention a Rand McNally map).

Funky Four Plus One’s 1981 “That’s The Joint” – quite possibly the most exhilarating record in the history of the human race, with five 17-year-olds thrusting the beat by swerving the beat and passing off lines behind backs like Globetrotters while lady plus-one Sha Rock rock-shocks the whole darn place — makes their 1980 “Rapping And Rocking The House” sound in comparison like the merely mindblowing rough draft it was.

At 32 minutes past two the morning of 16 January 1987, two Beastie Boys broke into my West Hollywood hotel room and dumped a wastebasket of extremely wet water on my head, my bed, the carpeting and my Converse All-Stars. (I’d stupidly left the chain-lock unsecured, and I suppose they bribed the night clerk into giving them a key.) Earlier that evening, after Pee-Wee Herman had visited their dressing room and before they appeared on Joan Rivers’ show, the Beasties were tossing parsley at me, dropping ice cubes in my hair, and “dissin’” (graffiti-artist lingo for “saying bad things about”) my brown socks and flannel shirt. I interpreted all of this to mean that they did not like me.

Nobody dared call it a German invasion, maybe because it would’ve been a really weird time for one, as the Cold War whittled down – hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops spread across West Germany (I was one of them, from 1982 to 1985); the Green Party breaking through nationally; the Red Army Faction exploding vehicles and soldiers near Heidelberg and Kaiserslautern and Frankfurt bases; 600,000 protesters showing up at a 1983 anti-nuke demonstration in West Berlin. But in 1984, a song sung in German, about nuclear annihilation, just happened to hit #2 on the American pop chart. English version on the flipside got airplay too: “This is what we’ve waited for, this is it boys, this is war. The president is on alert…super high-tech jet fighters…I’m standing pretty, in this dust that was a city.” The music was deliriously bouncy teenybop new wave; the video showed the singer, an adorably tom-boyish fraulein known as Nena, balancing on a log. Nena was her band’s name, too (more confusing than Blondie!), and her four West Berlin boy-pals were almost as cute as she was.

Boney M were influential deep into the third world in ways that have yet to be charted – Before M.I.A., for instance, they clearly inspired Midi, Maxi and Efti, three teenage-girl refugees from Ethiopia and Eritrea who united in Sweden in 1992 to make a flawless bubble-dance album immersed in ragga and the savanna, with one song imagining a “Sisterhood Of Africa” that hid daily from machine gun bullets; Columbia put the CD out in the U.S., where the single “Bad Bad Boys” snuck into the basement of the Hot 100, but they never made another record.

“We Are Frank Chickens” (“about us – Chicken gangsters – living in garbage,” the liner notes explain, a couple years before “gangsta rap” existed), features clucking sounds that could be M.I.A.’s “Bird Flu” two decades before the fact; “We Are Ninja” has Kazuko Hohki and Kazumi Taguchi, two Japanese women living in London, chopping you in two  and “hiding in the drains of Yokahama” where they beat up alligators then take a shower, all over a Mouse Trap game of poly-percussion and incidental sounds that culminates in a minefield detonating.

There may not be a darker, bluesier country hit in the post-Jimmy Carter era than this one – and certainly not one that crossed over to the upper reaches of the pop chart. Terri Gibbs was a blind pianist from suburban Augusta, Georgia who sang husky enough to pass for a man, or at least for Phoebe Snow; no doubt she’d listened to her share of Ray Charles as well. She started out gospel and eventually wound up back there again — “The wheel of life keeps turning as your carriage turns to rust,” as her other great hit, 1982’s extremely spare and spooky “Ashes To Ashes,” put it. “Somebody’s Knockin’” takes its pulse from Donna Summer’s proto-techno “I Feel Love,” and its haunted temptation from Robert Johnson: The blue-jeaned, blond-haired man at the door, asking Terri her place or his place, is the devil. “He must have known I was spending my nights alone/My body’s burning so he oughta feel right at home.” Even now, the song inspires quotable youtube comments: “Those blond cowboys are so hard to resist, even for a Presbyterian.” “Great song! Maybe somebody can do a metal or gothic-metal cover.”

Obviously peppier than anything I expected to hear from the Butthole Surfers again in my lifetime, and probably peppier than anything I heard from them before in my lifetime; only competition is “Hey”, from way back on their first ep a century ago, back when you couldn’t write the word “Butthole” in a newspaper, much less say it on the radio. The mere fact that these performance-art mutants have a pop hit is so mind-boggling that, well, it boggles the mind. The chorus (the quasi-Arabic twang of which makes me think “Yardbirds”) is lovely—my only question is how come Gibby smells me in his clothes instead of his nose (which is where I always smell me when I sing along). Some 16-year-old girl filled out the “physical description” block on her subscriber profile in our local Internet service’s online registry by writing in “YoU nEveR kNoW jUsT hOw YoU lOoK tHrOuGh OtHeR pEoPlE’s EyEs” (that’s how she typed it!), and I wished I’d thought of it first. The rap verses (which make me think “88 Lines about 44 Women” by the Nails more than “People Who Died” by Jim Carroll more than “Walk on the Wild Side” by Lou Reed) are sensationalist horseshit, recited too monotonally. But that’s what initially bugged me about “Loser” by Beck, too, and it still kinda does, though more when I’m thinking about it than when I’m hearing it. So maybe it’s just nitpicking.

Back in Marty Robbins’s “El Paso,” the way Robbins’s voice keens up on the high notes owes something to the fancy, super-emotional filigrees of boleros. It’s a technique which has weaved in and out of country music over the years; Roy Orbison was famous for it. But the country crooner who really made Latin music’s rococo vocal embellishments work was Mexican American. Raised in a family of migrant farm laborers, the man born Baldemar Huerta in Texas picked up his stage moniker Freddie Fender in the late ’50s, he says in the liner notes to his 1975 album Before the Next Teardrop Falls, as a way to sell his music to gringos, “but now I like the name.” And the title of his ornately quivering 1975 hit “Wasted Days and Wasted Nights” (first recorded as rockabilly in 1959) sums up the theme of the ’90s-to-’00s country-goes-to-Mexico wave as perfectly as “Margaritaville” does: Wasting days and wasting nights is the expressed mission of songs like “Beer in Mexico” by Kenny Chesney.

Rock’n’roll history is written by the winners. Which stinks, because the losers have always played a big role in keeping rock interesting. Sacha Gervasi’s Anvil!: The Story Of Anvil takes that as a given, and has a hilarious, heartbreaking time proving the point. Core Anvil members guitarist/singer Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner – now in their 50s, but joined at the metal hip since they were 14 – respectively earn their keep as a driver for a children’s catering company and as a sometime construction contractor, in hardscrabble neighborhoods on the outskirts of Toronto. One of metal’s attractions has always been as a voice of the white working class, and no movie has ever made that identification so explicit. But honestly, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Kudlow trying to balance a cart loaded with three large vats of shepherd’s pie through the snow on the way to his van.

Perennially also-ran Motor City garage-revival outfit with nonetheless notably African American frontman resurrects archetypal 1981 Motor City proto-techno classic (theoretically inspired by Kano’s 1980 Italo-disco-metal “Holly Dolly,” though I’ve always heard Telex’s 1979 Belgian robo-electro “Moskow Diskow” at least as much) on Genuine Rock Instruments (usually a corny move at least in theory), makes a sonic rendezvous with Motor City muscle-car guitar-rock while retaining zee deceptive fake Continental Euro-accent that the previously nameless (until wgpr “Midnight Funk Association” dj Electrifying Mojo named them) A Number of Names had always preposterously used to chronicle their zeegarrrette-smoking and carrrcassette-blasting disco lounge-lizard cruising with his hot playmate in his Porsche 928 (significantly not a Detroit-made car) in the first place. Result: both the Sprocketiest U.S. quasi-Kraut-rock droned in decades, and a record that ties together seemingly unrelated cross-racial streams from America’s most musical city in ways even I had never imagined possible.

And I can hear Orleans’ innocuous 1975 soft-rock hit “Dance With Me” – a song I’ve never owned in any form or given a second’s thought – while shopping for zucchini at Fresh Plus, and I’m immediately flashed back through a mental wormhole to some sunny late afternoon early in tenth grade when I was both mortified and exhilarated by whatever limitless possibilities I associated with asking Shelly or maybe Barb to a high school dance (right, like it was the ‘50s or something), which I’m not sure I ever even got up the nerve to do. Old songs can do that.

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