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Repurposing Music in the Digital Age
From Attali’s “cold social silence” to Baudrillard’s hallucinatory reality, reproduced music has long been the target of critical attack. Steve Savage, however, deploys an innovative combination of designed recording projects, ethnographic studies of contemporary music practice, and critical analysis to challenge many of these traditional attitudes about the creation and reception of music. Savage adopts the notion of “repurposing” as central to understanding how every aspect of musical activity, from creation to reception, has been transformed, arguing that the tension within production between a naturalizing “art” and a self-conscious “artifice” reflects and feeds into our evolving notions of creativity, authenticity, and community. Three original audio projects form an integral part of the work, drawing from rock & roll, jazz, and traditional African music. Through these projects, Savage is able to target areas of contemporary practice that are particularly significant in the cultural evolution of the musical experience from the perspective of composers, musicians, and listeners. This work stems from Savage’s experience as a professional recording engineer and record producer. “Instead of focusing solely on legal aspects, as many authors have done, Savage takes the time to study not only how technologies have altered the way we make and consume music, but also how technology relates to culture. This balance between ‘empirical’ and ‘critical’ approaches is powerful.” — Serge Lacasse, Université Laval
Television Beyond Broadcasting
Cable television, on the brink of a boom in the 1970s, promised audiences a new media frontier-an expansive new variety of entertainment and information choices. Music video, 24–hour news, 24-hour weather, movie channels, children's channels, home shopping, and channels targeting groups based on demographic characteristics or interests were introduced.
Cable Visions looks beyond broadcasting’s mainstream, toward cable's alternatives, to critically consider the capacity of commercial media to serve the public interest. It offers an overview of the industry's history and regulatory trends, case studies of key cable newcomers aimed at niche markets (including Nickelodeon, BET, and HBO Latino), and analyses of programming forms introduced by cable TV (such as nature, cooking, sports, and history channels).
Vol. 15 (2000) - vol. 19 (2004)
Since its inception, Camera Obscura has devoted itself to providing innovative feminist perspectives on film, television, and visual media. It consistently combines excellence in scholarship with imaginative presentation and a willingness to lead media studies in new directions. The journal has developed a reputation for introducing emerging writers to the field. Its debates, essays, interviews, and summary pieces encompass a spectrum of media practices, including avant-garde, alternative, fringe, international, and mainstream.
American Business and the Success Mystique
Achieving the American Dream became inextricably linked with career/business success after World War II, as an increasingly consumerist America learned to define the dream through possessions and status. Not surprisingly, Hollywood films in the postwar years reflected the country’s preoccupation with work and career success, offering both dramatic and comedic visions of the career quest and its effects on personal fulfillment, family relations, women’s roles, and the creation (or destruction) of just and caring communities. In this book, Jack Boozer argues that the career/business film achieved such variety and prominence in the years between 1945 and 2001 that it should be considered a legitimate film genre. Analyzing numerous well-known films from the entire period, he defines the genre as one in which a protagonist strives for career success that often proves to be either elusive despite hard work, or unfulfilling despite material rewards and status. Boozer also explores several distinct subgenres of the career movie—the corporate executive films of the 1950s; the career struggles of (single, married, and/or parenting) women; the entrepreneurial film as it is also embodied in texts about immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities and business-oriented femmes fatales; the explosion of promotionalism and the corporatization of employment; and, finally, the blurring of work and private life in the brave new world of the televirtuality film.
Affect and Online Pornography
An exploration of the modalities, affective intensities, and disturbing qualitites of online pornography.
" ""Far and away the best film book published so far this year.""--National Board of Review Cecil B. DeMille was the most successful filmmaker in early Hollywood history. Cecil B. DeMille's Hollywood is a detailed and definitive chronicle of the screen work that changed the course of film history and a fascinating look at how movies were actually made in Hollywood's Golden Age. Drawing extensively on DeMille's personal archives and other primary sources, Robert S. Birchard offers a revealing portrait of DeMille the filmmaker that goes behind studio gates and beyond DeMille's legendary persona. In his forty-five-year career DeMille's box-office record was unsurpassed, and his swaggering style established the public image for movie directors. DeMille had a profound impact on the way movies tell stories and brought greater attention to the elements of decor, lighting, and cinematography. Best remembered today for screen spectacles such as The Ten Commandments and Samson and Delilah, DeMille also created Westerns, realistic "chamber dramas," and a series of daring and highly influential social comedies. He set the standard for Hollywood filmmakers and demanded absolute devotion to his creative vision from his writers, artists, actors, and technicians.
New Religions, Media, and Authority in Occupied Japan
Celebrity Gods explores the interaction of new religions and the media in postwar Japan. It focuses on the leaders and founders (kyōsō) of Jiu and Tenshō Kōtai Jingū Kyō, two new religions of Japan’s immediate postwar period that received substantial press attention. Jiu was linked to the popular prewar group Ōmotokyō, and its activities were based on the millennial visions of its leader, a woman called Jikōson. When Jiu attracted the legendary sumo champion Futabayama to its cause, Jikōson and her activities became a widely-covered cause célèbre in the press. Tenshō Kōtai Jingū Kyō (labeled odoru shūkyō, “the dancing religion,” by the press) was led by a farmer’s wife, Kitamura Sayo. Her uncompromising vision and actions toward creating a new society—one that was far removed from what she described as the “maggot world” of postwar Japan—drew harsh and often mocking criticism from the print media.
Looking back for precursors to the postwar relationship of new religions and media, Benjamin Dorman explores the significant role that the Japanese media traditionally played in defining appropriate and acceptable social behavior, acting at times as mouthpieces for government and religious authorities. Using the cases of Renmonkyō in the Meiji era and Ōmotokyō in the Taishō and Shōwa eras, Dorman shows how accumulated images of new religions in pre-1945 Japan became absorbed into those of the immediate postwar period. Given the lack of formal religious education in Japan, the media played an important role in transmitting notions of acceptable behavior to the public. He goes on to characterize the leaders of these groups as “celebrity gods,” demonstrating that the media, which were generally untrained in religious history or ideas, chose to fashion them as “celebrities” whose antics deserved derision. While the prewar media had presented other kyōsō as the antithesis of decent, moral citizens who stood in opposition to the aims of the state, postwar media reports presented them primarily as unfit for democratic society.
Celebrity Gods delves into an under-studied era of religious history: the Allied Occupation and the postwar period up to the early 1950s. It is an important interdisciplinary work that considers relations between Japanese and Occupation bureaucracies and the groups in question, and uses primary source documents from Occupation archives and interviews with media workers and members of religious groups. For observers of postwar Japan, this research provides a roadmap to help understand issues relating to the Aum Shinrikyō affair of the 1990s.
The Life and Times of Vito Russo
Celluloid Activist is the biography of gay-rights giant Vito Russo, the man who wrote The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies, commonly regarded as the foundational text of gay and lesbian film studies and one of the first to be widely read.
But Russo was much more than a pioneering journalist and author. A founding member of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and cofounder of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT UP), Russo lived at the center of the most important gay cultural turning points in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. His life as a cultural Zelig intersects a crucial period of social change, and in some ways his story becomes the story of a developing gay revolution in America. A frequent participant at “zaps” and an organizer of Gay Activists Alliance (GAA) cabarets and dances—which gave the New York gay and lesbian community its first social alternative to Mafia-owned bars—Russo made his most enduring contribution to the GAA with his marshaling of “Movie Nights,” the forerunners to his worldwide Celluloid Closet lecture tours that gave gay audiences their first community forum for the dissection of gay imagery in mainstream film.
The Warner Bros. Campaign Against Nazism
During the 1930s many Americans avoided thinking about war erupting in Europe, believing it of little relevance to their own lives. Yet, the Warner Bros. film studio embarked on a virtual crusade to alert Americans to the growing menace of Nazism.
Polish-Jewish immigrants Harry and Jack Warner risked both reputation and fortune to inform the American public of the insidious threat Hitler's regime posed throughout the world. Through a score of films produced during the 1930s and early 1940s-including the pivotal Sergeant York-the Warner Bros. studio marshaled its forces to influence the American conscience and push toward intervention in World War II.
Celluloid Soldiers offers a compelling historical look at Warner Bros.'s efforts as the only major studio to promote anti-Nazi activity before the outbreak of the Second World War.