EMP Pop Conference 2011 — Friday presentations

Okay! It’s that time of year and for the first time ever it’s in LA — very handy, I must say. Feel free to review the official site of the conference to see what’s happening, while #PopCon2011 is what to search for on Twitter. As per usual I’ll be updating this entry throughout the day, so keep checking back; I’ll be doing similarly with entries for Saturday and Sunday.

It’s going to be a heck of a crunched time this year — everything’s packed into three days and in some cases there will be five panels and discussions going on at the same time, so what you’re going to read here will only be a small slice of everything going on. Happily there should (I think!) be even more coverage on this than ever from attendees.

Looking forward as well to seeing everyone there! Say hi if you see me around!

Juan Carlos Kase, “Go-Go Dancer and One Hit Wonder: Toni Basil as Embodiment of Cultural Mobility in 60s Los Angeles” — Toni Basil mostly associated with “Mickey” and the accompanying video that she choreographed, banished to VH1 nostalgia specials and the like. Short-sighted! She had a different impact in the 1960s/early 70s as a dancer/choreographer in film and TV, an active visualization of the time. An exchange of sexuality, cinema and sound. TAMI Show, Shindig, Hullabaloo, various B films, dancing in the go-go style of the Sunset Strip. There’s a semantic excess in her style, goes beyond the terms. Clip from _Village of the Giants_ shown — no Tom and Crow though! — Jack Nitzche music and she shakes groove thing to Beau Bridges’ giant leers. Great blue bell bottoms. Classical training, modern dance moves, improv all at once. The film is goofy and formulaic, but still altogether stranger. Representing the social energy of the era — theorist cited on go-go dancing, an icon like the 20s flappers. “The girl is free to let themselves go, as wild as they feel.” Little scholarship here on popular dance of the time, but a change in gender roles, quick turnovers, solo dancing. “Dance, Gender and Culture” cited, males not defining the dancing, a new variety where female physicality is shown. Hoskyns cited on Fred C Dobbs, gathering place of shapers of youth cultures, bohemians into hippies, Basil as a bridge. 1968 Basil works on the Monkees _Head_, heterodoxy in impact — Basil appears in _Easy Rider_, a blunt cultural object, registering sinister connections. Dennis Hopper’s crossing of roles/interchange noted, artistic crossovers noted throughout LA, visual art, etc. Hopper’s photographs, Basil’s films. Samples and stills shown. Didnt start with James Franco! Clip from the opening of her film _Breakaway_ shown. Pleasure and provocation in her motion and gestures in sync with the song, various costumes, set against her Motownish song, her one off for many years before “Mickey.” Stockwell photo of Conner filming Basil shown, studied, lots of back and forths. Sontag invoked, “Against Interpretation,” a neurotic art, textured. Concludes a bit broadly…but hey.

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