2020 February

Elizabeth Lindau at UNLV

We are very much looking forward to Professor Lindau’s lecture this coming Monday! More information at this link: click here.

Lecture: Elizabeth Lindau on Andy Warhol/Velvet Underground
February 20, 2020

UNLV, HAM Fine Arts, Room 147
7:00 p.m.


ELIZABETH LINDAU (California State University, Long Beach) – February 24, 2020

“Boring Things”: Drone and Repetition in Andy Warhol’s The Velvet Underground
[Punk and arthouse culture]

Since its rediscovery in 1990, Andy Warhol’s film The Velvet Underground (1966) has utterly disappointed journalists, scholars, and fans of the band it features. That’s probably because it is boring. Even within the context of Warhol’s notoriously tedious cinematic oeuvre, critics concur that this document of an aimless hour-long jam session is almost unwatchable. But boredom was a deliberately cultivated state within the Velvets’ avant-garde artistic milieu, where extremes of repetition or stasis were thought to become fascinating if one only endured them for long enough. In a similar way, my presentation argues for The Velvet Underground’s potential to be interesting, even captivating. The Velvets’ combination of repetition and drone—itself nested within a combination of the supposed opposites of avant-gardism and rock ‘n’ roll—develops an equally paradoxical aesthetic of boredom.

Kimberly Mack at UNLV

KIMBERLY MACK (The University of Toledo) – March 11, 2020

Big Mama and Amy: Autobiographical Fictions and Addictions
[Big Mama Thornton and Amy Winehouse]
Ham Fine Arts, Room 147
7:00 p.m.

Join Dr. Kimberly Mack for a conversation about two transatlantic blueswomen who create works in the mold of the early-20th-century American blues queen. Focusing on mid-20th-century American blues legend Big Mama Thornton, and the late contemporary English singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, this talk considers the ways in which blueswomen talk back to their limiting representations through autobiographical self-expression. In Thornton’s early years, she was dubbed the “New Bessie Smith,” serving as a bridge between the classic blueswomen and contemporary reimaginings of the classic blues queen. Through unconventional autobiographical performances on stage and in interviews, Thornton reclaimed ownership of her work as young white performers such as Elvis Presley and Janis Joplin garnered critical accolades and enjoyed tremendous commercial success covering her songs. The lyrics of Amy Winehouse, too, are part of a tradition of American classic blues expression. In songs such as “You Know I’m No Good” and “Wake Up Alone,” Winehouse’s vocals, lyrics, and performance style engage with music traditionally performed by blacks in the United States and create an alternative autobiography that contests her public persona largely derived from sexist and misogynistic mass-media representations of her life.

Big Mama Thornton (1926–1984)