Lynne d Johnson



« Previous Entry | Main Diary | Next Entry »

09.23.04 12:58 AM

it's emp pop conference time again

Music as Masquerade:
Poseurs, Playas, and Beyond

The 2005 Experience Music Project Pop Conference
Seattle, WA
April 14 - 17, 2005

Decades ago, Johnny Rotten snarled "We mean it, man." By now, presumably, we've all stopped caring whether he was kidding or not. So substitute a different icon: X-Ray Spex's Poly Styrene, singing "I am a poseur and I don't care / I like to make people stare! If rock valued sincerity and postmodern pop a kind of deliberate artifice, contemporary writing about music seems much more to stress the overlapping power of both modes. This can be seen in the explosion in academic work on blackface minstrelsy, the dominance of hip-hop with its fused notions of realness and fronting, and our increased awareness of pop's hybrid history and global variants.

For this year's Pop Conference, we invite papers or other presentations that look at how performances of identity, as much as choices of sound or lyrics, anchor the musical process.

As examples only, presentations might focus on:
-- Drag, punk, opera, and other acts of transformation
-- The central role of race in setting the terms for musical impersonation
-- Public settings like carnival or the rock concert, where anything goes
-- Private settings like the home studio or web, where no one is watching
-- Boundaries of genre, subculture, profession, media or technology
-- The musicology and ethnomusicology of crossover sounds
-- Localized and international variations of musical masking
-- Pop hooks as a sort of masquerade; also musical marketing
-- Music we get grief for liking or writing about: our own masquerades
-- The masks of youth and modernity often imposed on pop
-- Classical, jazz, folk, and country as poses.
-- Schtick of any kind

The EMP Pop Conference first convened in Spring 2002 and is now entering its fourth year. The goal has always been to bring academics, writers, artists, fans, and other participants into an all-too-rare common discussion. Proposals are judged by liveliness of prose as much as pertinence of topic. Most presentations are of the 20 minute panel talk variety, but unorthodox suggestions are our favorite kind and we can support a wide range of technological experimentation. Previous year's conferences have resulted in the anthology This is Pop (Harvard, 2004), a forthcoming issue of Popular Music, and such highlights as the ego trip Wheel of Topics and the unveiling of "critical karaoke."

The members of this year's program committee are: Robert Fink (UCLA), Sasha Frere-Jones, (The New Yorker, the Sands). Judith Halberstam (USC), Marybeth Hamilton (Birbeck College, University of London), journalist Joan Morgan, Mark Anthony Neal (Duke), Ann Powers (EMP), Stephen Rumph (University of Washington), Johnny Temple (Girls Against Boys, Akashic Books), and Eric Weisbard (EMP organizer). The conference is sponsored by the Seattle Partnership for American Popular Music: EMP, KEXP FM, and the University of Washington School of Music.

Proposals of about 250 words are due Wednesday, December 15, and should be accompanied by a brief bio and full contact info. Email Eric Weisbard directly at with your proposals, as well as questions about the theme, your topic, or the conference in general. For more information on previous conferences, including a full range of participants and abstracts, go to:

posted by lynne | |


TrackBack URL for this entry:


This weblog is powered by Movable Type 3.3 and licensed under a Creative Commons License.