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I am a student of language and literature. I have been reading, writing, and studying for most of my life. I received a B.A. in English from Fresno State and then went on to receive an M.A. and Ph.D. in English at Indiana University. I am interested in literature, philosophy, history and gardening. For the last 16 years, I have been a teacher at Peninsula College and, when not working, reading, or writing, spend much of my time in my garden. Note-Content belongs to Wes Cecil, this podcast mi ...
 
Art helps us emotionally, in all kinds of ways. In fact, life with out the Arts wouldn't be much of a life at all. They help us celebrate, cheer up, calm down, let go, grieve, rage, tell our stories to ourselves and process our feelings. These conversations with Frances Butt and guests are short explorations of art and emotion (started when we'd been robbed of so much access to art); with shared passions, stories and suggestions.
 
Learn to block and delete idiots from your life. Remove addiction to bad people, drugs, alcohol, government and more (WITHOUT MEETINGS!) Then use your new-found time and energy to MAKE A LIVING DOING WHAT YOU LOVE, like the author does. A USER'S MANUAL FOR THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE is a libertarian manifesto for getting healthy, getting brilliant, maximizing potential and changing the world. WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS BOOK: "Part intellectual memoir, part self-help book. Michael W. Dean's ...
 
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show series
 
Pablo Palomino's The Invention of Latin American Music (Oxford UP, 2020) reconstructs the transnational history of the category of Latin American music during the first half of the twentieth century, from a longer perspective that begins in the nineteenth century and extends the narrative until the present. It analyzes intellectual, commercial, sta…
 
Conceptual artist Elizabeth Mikellides plays with different ways of visualising music, and conversely, turning visual art into music. The results are stunning, colourful pieces. You can see Elizabeth's work at elizabethmikellides.art or follow her on Instagram. Musical references: Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Amy Beach, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Cag…
 
For more than thirteen centuries, caravans transported millions of enslaved people from Africa south of the Sahara into what is now the Kingdom of Morocco. Today there are no museums, plaques, or monuments that recognize this history of enslavement, but enslaved people and their descendants created the Gnawa identity that preserves this largely sup…
 
Music from East Asia has recently been making its way round the world on waves created and mediated by new technologies and global interconnections. This may seem like something very novel, but as Andrew Jones shows in Circuit Listening: Chinese Popular Music in the Global 1960s (U Minnesota Press, 2020), popular music from this region – and here s…
 
Brooke McCorkle Okazaki’s Shonen Knife’s Happy Hour, part of the 33 1/3 music history and culture series, is a joyful romp through the career of the internationally successful Japanese trio, Shonen Knife. The book focuses on the intersection of food, gender, and music for these pioneers of what Okazaki calls “josei rock,” in other words, music by w…
 
We live in a networked world. Online social networking platforms and the World Wide Web have changed how society thinks about connectivity. Because of the technological nature of such networks, their study has predominantly taken place within the domains of computer science and related scientific fields. But arts and humanities scholars are increas…
 
Paola Hernandez's book Staging Lives in Latin American Theater: Bodies, Objects, Archives (Northwestern UP, 2021) looks at a wide range of documentary theatre practices across South and Central America, including the plays of Guillermo Calderón, the biodramas of Vivi Tellas, and the autobiographical reenactments of Lola Arias. Throughout, she exami…
 
Southern women of all classes, races, and walks of life practiced music during and after the Civil War. Dr. Candace Bailey examines the history of southern women through the lens of these musical pursuits, uncovering the ways that music's transmission, education, circulation, and repertory help us understand its meaning in the women's culture of th…
 
In Punks in Peoria: Making a Scene in the American Heartland (University of Illinois, 2021) Jonathan Wright and Dawson Barret explore do-it-yourself scene built by Peoria punks, performers, and scenesters in the 1980s and 1990s. Peoria, Illinois the quintessential Midwest town, where "if it could play in Peoria, it could play anywhere," was fertile…
 
Stefania Marghitu's Teen TV (Routledge, 2021)explores the history of television's relationship to teens as a desired, but elusive audience, and the ways in which television has embraced youth subcultures, tracing the shifts in American and global televisual and youth cultures. Organized chronologically, Teen TV starts with Baby Boomers and moves to…
 
"Sonic master of the universe" (says Courtney Love) Will Sergeant talks to Frances Butt about the processes of writing and recording his excellent memoir Bunnyman, along with a few of the stories in it. Bunnyman is out 15th July 2021 via publishers Constable in the UK, and via Third Man in the US. -- Recorded July 8th 2021 Music: Will Sergeant, Gli…
 
“What are we thinking about when we think about music in non-naturalistic terms?” asks Benjamin Steege—Assistant Professor of Music Theory, Columbia University—in his new book An Unnatural Attitude: Phenomenology in Weimar Musical Thought (University of Chicago Press, 2021). This deceptively subtle question exercised the minds of some of Europe's m…
 
Children’s folklore is simultaneously a conservator of tradition and a site for creativity and innovation. For over five decades, Dr. Jeanne Pitre Soileau documented and collected the jokes, chants, rhymes, and games that that she observed on school playgrounds throughout her career as a public school teacher in southern Louisiana. From the early d…
 
Would there have been a Third World without the Second? Perhaps, but it would have looked very different. Although most histories of these geopolitical blocs and their constituent societies and cultures are written in reference to the West, the interdependence of the Second and Third Worlds is evident not only from a common nomenclature but also fr…
 
Federico Fellini’s distinct style delighted generations of film viewers and inspired filmmakers and artists around the world. In Fellini’s Films and Commercials: From Postwar to Postmodern, renowned Fellini scholar Frank Burke presents a film-by-film analysis of the famed director’s cinematic output from a theoretical perspective. The book explores…
 
Hilary Barber RHS (Royal Horticultural Society) returns to talk with Frances about the history and art of garden design. The variety of style and taste is of course endless, but there's something for everyone here, and there are plenty of suggestions of spectacular and inspiring places to look up and maybe visit one day. Hilary also offers some hel…
 
It is now just over a decade since protests in Cairo's Tahrir Square started Egypt's chapter in the events of the Arab Spring. Much has been made in western criticism of art and culture's role in the revolution, but the everyday cultural production of studio artists, graffiti artists, musicians, and writers since has attracted less attention. How h…
 
Theatre has long been considered a feminine interest for which women consistently purchase the majority of tickets, while the shows they are seeing typically are written and brought to the stage by men. Furthermore, the stories these productions tell are often about men, and the complex leading roles in these shows are written for and performed by …
 
George Frederick Bristow, born in 1825, was a significant musical figure in the United States from the 1850s until his death in 1898. Now, almost one hundred years after his birth, Katherine Preston has just written his first biography--George Frederick Bristow (University of Illinois Press, 2020)-- as part of the American Composers Series. Bristow…
 
Nostalgia has received increasing attention for its role in shaping contemporary social and political life in the United States. Dr. Badia Ahad-Legardy distinguishes Afro-Nostalgia as a framework to think about the relationship between affect, black historical memory, and joy. Afro-Nostalgia: Feeling Good in Contemporary Black Culture (University o…
 
What makes a woman 'bad' is commonly linked to certain 'qualities' or behaviours seen as morally or socially corrosive, dirty and disgusting. Bad Girls, Dirty Bodies: Sex, Performance and Safe Femininity (Bloomsbury, 2020) explores the social, sexual and political significance of women who are labelled bad or dirty. Through case studies (including …
 
Richard Thompson's Beeswing: Losing My Way and Finding My Voice 1967-1975 (Algonquin Books, 2021) gives fans of his music a tale as rollicking and entertaining as the reels and ballads he recorded with the band Fairport Convention. Fairport Convention was one of the central bands in the British Folk Rock scene, blending traditional English songs an…
 
Dancing the Dharma: Religious and Political Allegory in Japanese Noh Theater (Harvard UP, 2020) examines the theory and practice of allegory by exploring a select group of medieval Japanese noh plays and treatises. Susan Blakeley Klein demonstrates how medieval esoteric commentaries on the tenth-century poem-tale Ise monogatari (Tales of Ise) and t…
 
Isabel Rosario Cooper, if mentioned at all by mainstream history books, is often a salacious footnote: the young Filipino mistress of General Douglas MacArthur, hidden away at the Charleston Hotel in DC. Empire’s Mistress, Starring Isabel Rosario Cooper (Duke University Press: 2021) by Professor Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez refuses to reduce Cooper’s…
 
Today I talked to Jessica Helfand about her new book Face: A Visual Odyssey (MIT Press, 2019) Helfand is a designer, artist, and author. She’s taught at Yale University for more than 20 years, cofounded Design Observer, and has had additional roles at a variety of institutions ranging from the American Academy in Rome to the California Institute of…
 
It is almost twenty years since contemporary art took a ‘participation turn’. Now, just about every museum or theatre company has a participation or engagement department. It is nothing short of orthodoxy that one of art’s core roles is to reach out to audiences beyond art institutions - and paradoxically it is often art institutions that mandate t…
 
Gospel music evolved in often surprising directions during the post-Civil Rights era. Claudrena N. Harold's in-depth look at late-century gospel, When Sunday Comes: Gospel Music in the Soul and Hip-Hop Eras (U Illinois Press, 2020), focuses on musicians like Yolanda Adams, Andraé Crouch, the Clark Sisters, Al Green, Take 6, and the Winans, and on t…
 
How does the record industry work? In Getting Signed: Record Contracts, Musicians, and Power in Society (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), David Arditi, Associate Professor in Sociology and Anthropology at University of Texas at Arlington, analyses the ideology of getting signed and getting a record contract to show the alienating and exploitative effects…
 
Constance Congdon's 2 Washington Square (Broadway Play Publishing, 2020) is a free-wheeling adaptation of Henry James' novel Washington Square set on the cusp of the 1960s as one era gives way to a startlingly different one. As always, Congdon's dialogue crackles with intensity and wit, echoing James' own razor-sharp observations of characters from…
 
Frances talks to legendary Echo & the Bunnymen guitarist Will Sergeant about his creative processes in guitar playing, painting, collage - and his new autobiography. Will's art: willsergeant.com Will's guitar influences: Tom Verlaine and Richard Lloyd of American punk giants Television; “That bloke from Pere Ubu” - they've had quite a few guitarist…
 
Most music students have been taught that the New World Symphony was the first piece of classical music written in an American national style which Antonín Dvorák invented when he utilized influences from Black music in the second movement. The impression most textbooks leave is that this innovation was instantly approved by composers and critics a…
 
Political Theorist Robert Bartlett spoke with the New Books in Political Science podcast about two of his recent publications, which take on translating the work of two distinct classical thinkers, Aristotle and Aristophanes. In discussing these thinkers, we talked about two of Aristophanes’ earliest extant plays, The Acharnians and The Knights. We…
 
Artwork as opposed to experiment? Engineer versus artist? We often see two different cultural realms separated by impervious walls. But some fifty years ago, the borders between technology and art began to be breached. In Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture (MIT Press, 2020), W. Patrick McCray shows how…
 
Edited by Dr. Cécile Fromont, Afro-Catholic Festivals in the Americas: Performance, Representation, and the Making of Black Atlantic Tradition (Penn State University Press, 2019), demonstrates how, from the beginning of the Atlantic slave trade, enslaved and free Africans in the Americas used Catholicism and Christian-derived celebrations as spaces…
 
In Another Aesthetics Is Possible: Arts of Rebellion in the Fourth World War (Duke UP, 2021), Jennifer Ponce de León examines the roles that art can play in the collective labour of creating and defending another social reality. Focusing on artists and art collectives in Argentina, Mexico, and the United States, Ponce de León shows how experimental…
 
In Deviant Opera: Sex, Power, and Perversion on Stage (University of California Press, 2020), Axel Englund examines an increasingly common trope in opera direction: the use of imagery associated with the kink and BDSM communities. This imagery underscores the themes of sexuality and domination that run through the opera repertory, and it also calls…
 
In his follow-up to the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Metaphysical Club, acclaimed scholar and critic Louis Menand, Professor of English at Harvard University and staff writer at The New Yorker, offers a new intellectual and cultural history of the postwar years. The Cold War was not just a contest of power. It was also about ideas, in the broadest se…
 
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