Sounds

La Mission: Life in a Hedonist-Doomsday-Cult-Art-Collective


La Mission Logo

La Mission’s mail logo / revolutionary symbol.

La Mission has been a big part of my life here in Berlin since last summer, but strangely enough it’s taken me nearly a year to get around to writing about it on this blog. Maybe I wanted to wait until the first round of multimedia craziness emerged from this performance art collective / music label / magazine, before I started crowing about it. Maybe I was too shy about discussing my own creative work. No, wait…I remember why: I was on the academic job market last fall, which meant that I got nothing else done.

La Mission is a lot of things, including a satirical doomsday cult, a music label, a magazine, an art collective, and a group of dance-music-lovers with a very dirty sense of humor. La Mission’s identity is perhaps best summed up by cult-leader El Jefe’s manifesto/sermon, “The Sermon for the Steps of the Ziggurat in our Hearts,” published in our first La Mission magazine: (more…)

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Build an Archive: Drag Queens and Young Men


“Pass This On” by The Knife. A (rather muscular) drag queen singing in what looks like a Bavarian Football club.

Folks, I need your help. I’ve been seeing a trend in indie and eletro-ish music videos towards scenarios that involve ostensibly “straight” young men and older drag queens, usually involving some sort of wordless, eye-to-eye communication that causes some sort of transformation or breaking of boundaries. I want to figure out what this is about and why this is a popular theme right now, but first I need to build an archive of them. You can help me by posting links to music videos in the comments (or emailing me if you prefer), and then I’ll update this blog post and add your suggestions.

“Pass This On” by The Knife. The young man who is drawn to her.

Here’s what I have so far: (more…)

Grenada Soundwalk


All the bougainvilleas everywhere on this island…

Grenada! I’ve been here for a few days with my mom, who has this lovely gig where she guest-lectures at the university here for a week, and in exchange she’s flown out here with one companion and put up in a nice hotel. In previous years, it was my dad or my sister who went, but this year it’s my turn (as a post-dissertation reward). Yay! It’s wonderful, but I’ll admit that my blog-productivity has taken a hit this week. I’ll be back next week and hopefully back to blogging (if selling off/packing my whole apartment doesn’t kill me first), but here’s a little something to tide you over until then. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Grenada Nighttime Soundwalk:

This was a recording a took of an 8-minute walk I took around the grounds of the hotel, accompanied by the sounds of chirping frogs, (more…)

Chapter 2, Part 2: Gender, Sexual Touch, and Rethinking Intimacy


Splendor in the Grass

Splendor in the Grass: the residue of pleasure in Lakeshore Park, Chicago

Although the first half of this chapter describes EDM events as intensely tactile spaces where there is a greater openness to touch, it’s not like everyone at a nightclub is hungry for touch—sexual or otherwise—nor is everybody all that tolerant of being touched. And yet, touch is everywhere at EDM events. How does that work? How someone manages this diversity of attitudes towards touch in a crowd of strangers is one of the more obscure aspects of EDM tactility, (more…)

Chapter 2, Part 1: Touching Strangers: Touch and Intimacy on the Dancefloor


Somewhere in Paris, 11eme arr., 2006

Back when I had just returned from my second year of fieldwork in Paris, I had this great moment of short-circuited intimacy. I was at Souvenir#3 warehouse party (with Seuil headlining), when a woman came up and introduced herself as a Lola, a friend of some friends I had in Chicago. We talked briefly, and then went back to dancing. More than twelve hours later, as I was leaving the after-party, our mutual friend asks me and Lola if we had met each other. Lola replied, “Of course! We’re best friends,” and we gave each other a big hug and a peck on the cheek. When I wrote about it on my old blog a few days later, (more…)

Back to Blogging & the DissertationDistraction Podcast


Somewhere in Chicago

I

‘m back! Well, sort of.

 

As you probably noticed, I’ve been rather silent on this blog for the past couple of months. Sometime around mid-April, I realized that the deadlines for the submission of the final draft of my dissertation aligned with travel plans for both me and my committee members in such a way that I needed to either defend my dissertation in mid-June (with plenty of time to revise post-defense) or in mid-July (with barely a week to do all revisions). I went into Emergency Dissertation-Finishing Mode (more…)