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Session 4-46 (IASPM-SAM)
Music and Space

Robert Walser (University of California, Los Angeles), Chair

 

"Come on in North Side, You're Just in Time": The Negotiation of
Ethnically Segregated Social Space in a South Side Chicago Jazz Club

T.M. Scruggs (University of Iowa)

Von Freeman now enjoys the deserved reputation as one of the most prominent post-bebop jazz tenor saxophonists in the last quarter of the 20th century. All too typically, his hard-won stature in his home town of Chicago and the U.S. only gradually followed his earlier appreciation in Europe and Japan. However, his importance to jazz must also be measured in at least two other major respects: 1) his role as mentor to younger players, and 2) his long-standing role of presiding over a unique social space for mixed-race audiences in highly segregated Chicago. His weekly performances on Chicago's nearly exclusively African-American South Side have been a locus for jazz musicians and followers of the music in both black and white communities. These events are not just presentations of his quartet, nor limited to opportunities for aspiring musicians to sit in, for Von Freeman's own verbal performance has been a key, if not crucial element, in creating the social event. Drawing on extensive fieldwork beginning in the late 1970s, this paper examines the totality of Von Freeman's performances and some of the meanings it involves for members of one of the world's most racially divided cities.

 

Grateful Dead Musicking

Matthew Tift (University of Wisconsin - Madison)

In his 1998 book, Musicking, Christopher Small challenges the dominant Western idea of music as a thing and explores the idea of music as an activity. In addition to performing, rehearsing, and practicing, "musicking" (the gerund form of "to music"), according to Small, might include activities like dancing in one's living room, listening to a Walkman, or cleaning the stage after a performance. In part, by looking at the various dimensions of the traditional symphony concert, Small describes the relationship between the activities he characterizes as musicking and their contribution to our individual and social identities.
Drawing from Small's theory of musicking, I submit a theory of Grateful Dead musicking. Tape trees, touring, illicit drugs, dancing bears, and Deadheads, in addition to the band itself, all contributed to Grateful Dead musicking; the intricate relationships between these activities defined musicking at Grateful Dead concerts. After defining Grateful Dead musicking, I examine how it, in its modern forms of Internet surfing, sharing recorded tapes, and buying Jerry Garcia ties, etc., occupies a transposed space. This new approach, by focusing on the rituals (actions) associated with Deadhead culture, helps to elucidate why the Grateful Dead inspired a sui generis mode of musicking.

 

The Development of the "New" Times Square
And Its Impact on the Broadway Musical

Elizabeth L. Wollman (City University of New York)

This paper will examine the impact that the recent economic development of New York City's Times Square district has had on the Broadway musical. The renovation of Times Square was spurred in the mid-1990s, when the Walt Disney Company purchased the New Amsterdam Theatre (currently home to the musical version of The Lion King) and named it the site for their own theatrical productions. The increased presence of entertainment conglomerates, both as real-estate owners and theater producers, has contributed to a remarkable transformation of Times Square: In less than a decade, the area--once viewed as a decaying neighborhood overrun by peepshows and porn shops--has become a slick, commercialized tourist attraction that has traded local flavor for its new status as a "global crossroads."
The corporate presence in Times Square has resulted in the development of Broadway musicals that are produced, marketed, and advertised in unprecedented ways, for unprecedented amounts of money. Subsequently, Broadway musicals have a more complex relationship with the mass media than ever before. A resultant trend that shows no sign of waning is the proliferation of spectacle-laden, live versions of popular films on Broadway. Although such ventures prove popular with tourists, they work to limit access by independent, original productions to Broadway theaters. The paper will include case studies--drawn from original fieldwork--of the recent, highly successful theatrical versions of the films Footloose and Saturday Night Fever, which rely on familiar plots and music to draw their audiences.

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