Tuesday, May 1, 2007

IASPM 2007

Well, I'm back from the IASPM 2007 conference, or more accurately, music geekfest 2007. It was a great conference, if a bit draining. As this is a music blog, I thought I'd share some highlights of what I saw.

Perhaps the best panel I saw the entire weekend directly preceded my own.
-Wendy Hsu gave a great paper on Yoko Ono. Admittedly, this was the paper I was most looking forward to. When I first saw it listed in the program, I was nervous that we would be doing similar projects, but such was not the case at all. Wendy's paper focused on the role of gender and race in Yoko Ono's identity and her music, and did a great musicological analysis of "Kiss Kiss Kiss."

-David Brackett followed with a discussion of the unreleased Pennebacker documentary of Dylan's 1966 tour. Also very interesting. I could be wrong, but I think this is the documentary which includes footage of Lennon and Dylan riding around in a limo, wherein they have to pull over for one of them to puke. I didn't get a chance to ask. Brackett also looked very familiar to me for some reason.

-Keir Keightley spoke on Capitol's initial rejection(s) of the Beatles' music in the Americas. Lots of good history here, and he also set up some extremely interesting context by discussing the "Capitol of the World" series.

-Norma Coates had a very amusing presentation on John and Yoko's stint on the Mike Douglas show, which I hadn't seen footage of in years. I forgot what a weird (and cool) pop cultural moment that was.

My own panel was also really interesting.

-Richard Carlin drew on his personal history to discuss the Folkways Record label

-Cynthia Fuchs did a great presentation on Jay-Z's so-called retirement and comeback.

-Deborah Pacini had a very interesting discussion on Latin American music in the US, and the various ways in which it has been labeled and marketed over the years.

I was less consistent and hopped around on saturday. Some more highlights:

-Zarko Cvejic's presentation on Klaus Nomi. This is someone that I don't know much about, but Zarko showed some fascinating video clips on this very interesting figure from the late '70s/early '80s.

-Theo Cateforis delivered my favorite paper of the day on the current rash of 1980s nostalgia and the new wave revival. We heard about the rash of current bands appropriating the new wave aesthetic and even watched a bit of Devo 2.0, which I had hoped to never see again but was amused by nonetheless.

The last session I attended was a roundtable on VH1's White Rapper show. The roundtable format was perfect for this topic - everybody had really interesting comments and insights about this show which I've admittedly never seen.

All in all, an incredibly fun conference. I look forward to next year when it's in Iowa City and I don't have to travel for it.


While in Boston I also did some record shopping. Given that I'm going to Pittsburgh soon and will be hitting the vinyl mecca that is Jerry's Fine Used Records, I forced myself to show restraint. That said, I picked up some odds and ends in the 50 cent bins and kept my other purchases to things I've been looking for but haven't come across. These included:
-Madhouse 16
-Siouxsie and the BansheesJuJu
-Sweet - Desolation Boulevard
-Funkadelic - Uncle Jam

Speaking of which, has anybody used any of those record cleaning solutions? I've got a few discs that skip, but are unscratched. Wondering if this would rectify the problem.

That's all for now.

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