music as social action :: Blog
I couldn't have ordered up a more fascinating capstone for the ideas and theories we've discussed in class this term. Alas, we've missed most of the shows — what a field trip this woulda been! — but be sure to read all about this. (And, hey, if you have friends at UCLA, drop everything and head up there this weekend for the final show!)
Taylor Mac is a performance artist who's been creating some challenging multifaceted stage work and art for more than a decade. He won a genius grant last year, which he's apparently used to stage a 24-hour, 24-decade history of American popular music. Broken into four six-hour installments, Mac has been showcasing the width and depth of humanity's historical use of music to express, counter, and queer ideologies. He's attempting to present a history of the United States, but in concert song rather than written text or documentary film. Much of what we discussed in class is at work here — the things music can do that other texts can't, the ecstasy of a performance spectacle, perhaps even a different context for social-group cohesion.
This L.A. Times article is a good summary, and check out this staid but thorough PBS report on the show ...