Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Short one today: abstracts, practice, stone

Short one today: working on conference abstracts this morning, for:

  • Southwest/Texas - Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association
  • conference at UCD on Dublin on Irish/American musical interactions
  • Society for American Music, Denver
First one is a conference at which I serve as chair of "Music and Politics" and "Music and Tradition," mostly because, when I came on as a presenter, the entire area was subsumed under "Folk and Protest Music" (what is this, 1962?!?!?). I've since dragged the two areas more-or-less out of the '60s but it's time now to turn over the Area Chair duties to the two grad students I've trained for them;

Second is a new conference, with a really good roster of plenary speakers (Paul Muldoon, Eric Lott, and my hero Mick Moloney) and an interesting concept. And it's an opportunity for me to go be the "American roots music guy" at another Irish conference, which is important in terms of overseas research profile (nobody in Dublin gives a shit about another American who happens to play Irish tenor banjo--but if I can frail African-American turnes, then they're really interested and receptive);

Third is the old "Sonneck Society", now aptly renamed. There, I'm proposing to present a paper (interesting extension of the minstrelsy project, but this time extending to look at black/white musical interaction along rivers and canals in the period 1800-20), but really the main motives are (a) proximity (Denver's a quick flight on Southwest) and (b) recruitment: really crucial for us to maintain visibility at region-specific conferences, as we strive to grow the graduate musicology program--and, really, to simply get the word out about what we're already doing so well.

Then it was back home for 2 hours of bouzouki practice; there's really no excuse for not practicing in the summer, when my schedule is so much at my own volition, and a six-concert tour of China with Roger Landes will kick my ass if my chops aren't up.

Had to do that before the third chunk of the day: laying stone for a rose garden and some yard walkways. That kind of work is good for me and I like to do it, but it beats up my hands, so I have to do it after, not before practicing. Dharmonia has done sterling service in resurrecting the previous owner's herb garden, and adding roses, but the garden kind of sprawled with ill-defined borders. We went out and ordered some tapered pavers in a kind of aged-brick-tinted concrete and I laid up two rounds for the roses. A nice combination of shades, picking up on the pink of the old brick and the brown of the caliche and sandstone we scrounged from a colleague. Another big chunk of that caliche will go for pathways and hard-scape where the junipers suck up all the water and keep the grass from growing.

Brains, hands, body: not a bad day.

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