Gender/Amateurism in the Athens, GA Music Scene
- Wednesday, February 13, 2019 from 5:00pm to 7:00pm
- Norm Asbjornson Hall, 165 - view map
The departments of Art History, History, and American Studies present a talk by Dr. Grace Elizabeth Hale, Professor of American Studies, and Director of the American Studies Program at the University of Virginia. Her fields and specialties include 20th century US cultural history, history of the US South, documentary studies, and sound studies. Her forthcoming book is Cool Town: Athens, Georgia and the Promise of Alternative Culture in Reagan’s America.
Her talk will draw on Karl Miller’s brilliant work on amateur music-making and her own forthcoming narrative history of the Athens music scene, based on over one hundred and fifty interviews with participants to explore the relationship between amateurism and gender. In the first decade of the scene, local bohemians’ celebration of amateurism gave women license to play. When bands tried to move beyond the local scene, however, touring and negotiating with labels, the amateurism of women musicians invited sexism. As Lynda Stipe remembered, soundmen told her to pluck her bass harder, that she “played like a girl.” More than once, male audience members unplugged her bass during shows. Ironically, the historical association between women and amateurism worked better for queer, gay, and bisexual men trying to create new ways of being male rockers—Ricky Wilson of the B-52’s, Mark Cline of Love Tractor, Michael Stipe of R.E.M., and Tom Cheek of the Kilkenny Cats, for example—than it did for women.
- School of Art