Wednesday, August 29, 2007

"The Office" (Workstation series) 30 (full-moon-madness edition)

Back at the on-campus "office-away-from-office": Starbuck's coffeeshop just down the road from the Music Building. Dell laptop (with crucial iTunes for teaching and headphones for blocking out the "sad-bastard" [Jack Black tm] rock they play on the store sound-system), Dharmonia's elbow and headphones as she familiarizes with the materials for the course of mine she is covering while I'm "on leave"."

Hafta make an appearance at colleague's "Music as Cultural History: The Early Period" class, reciting the opening of the Odyssey's Prologue with lyre accompaniment. Blues Monday, Homer Wednesday, Irish music Thursday and Friday.

On the docket: a revisit to Dale Cockrell's brilliant (and seminal) study of the carnivalesque roots of blackface minstrelsy: Demons of Disorder: Early Blackface Minstrels and Their World. This was a very important and significantly early (1997) corrective to the earlier conviction, which had scared away from the topic most musicologists, that minstrelsy was nothing but inept noxious racial parody. Cockrell shows that the tradition of masking, face painting, motley clothes, and "rough music" (clattering banging outdoor music for drums and winds) goes all the way back to Roman Saturnalia, and that blackface, while undoubtedly heavily influenced by the early performers' awareness and study of African-American performance in the urban North and frontier West, found its audience because of that audience's existing traditions of charivari and "shivaree." A great book when I first read it, but one which I expect to be even more illuminating in light of all the other work I'm doing with minstrelsy sources prior to departing. Am trying to get as much of that reading and note-taking done in advance, because I don't want to be carrying books in the damned roll'y-bag.

I've got no complaints about my life.

Bonus: Full pre-Harvest moon rising.

A real white-night last night--moon still up and full when I left at 5:45am headed for the cross-trainer.

Now playing: Hubert Sumlin - The Same Thing

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