Archive for publications, April 2021

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[Commlist] New book: Musicals at the Margins

Thu Apr 22 13:08:10 GMT 2021

New book

*/Musicals at the Margins: Genre, Boundaries, Canons/, edited by Julie Lobalzo Wright and Martha Shearer (Bloomsbury, 2021)* <>*

/But is it a musical? /This question is regularly asked of films, television shows and other media objects that sit uncomfortably in the category despite evident musical connections. /Musicals at the Margins/ argues that instead of seeking to resolve such questions, we should leave them unanswered and unsettled, proposing that there is value in examining the unstable edges of genre. This collection explores the marginal musical in a diverse range of historical and global contexts. It encompasses a range of different forms of marginality including boundary texts (films/media that are sort of/not quite musicals), musical sequences (marginalized sequences in musicals; musical sequences in non-musicals), music films, musicals of the margins (musicals produced from social, cultural, geographical, and geopolitical margins), and musicals across media (television and new media). Ultimately these essays argue that marginal genre texts tell us a great deal about the musical specifically and genre more broadly.

“Harnessing a mixture of critical insight and knowledge as dazzling as the musical itself, Julie Lobalzo Wright and Martha Shearer have brought together a diverse group of writers to define and redefine musical films beyond the familiar canon. This superbly revealing collection offers entirely new perspectives on the boundaries of a genre that has often left scholars bewitched, bothered and bewildered.” – */Dominic McHugh, Professor in Musicology, University of Sheffield, UK/*

“/Musicals at the Margins/ covers a wide range of musical texts existing on the borders of the genre, expanding and complicating how musical texts make meaning as musicals. The anthology's remarkable selection of scholars examines generic outliers-like rockumentaries, dance-focused films, televised lip-synching contests, Bollywood “song picturization,” and short-form pop music film-demonstrating how methodologies developed by canonical musical scholars like Rick Altman and Jane Feuer continue to inform contemporary scholarship. As the boundaries between genres, media platforms, and audiences become increasingly difficult to parse, Shearer and Wright's collection is a much-needed addition to the existing literature on the musical, and the field of genre theory as a whole.” – */Amanda Ann Klein, Associate Professor of Film Studies, East Carolina University, USA/*

*Table of Contents*

1. Introduction: Genre Panic at the Margins
Julie Lobalzo Wright and Martha Shearer

*Generic boundaries*
/2. /Danceploitation, Musical Disruption, and Synergy in /Saturday Night Fever/, /Flashdance/, and /Breakin'/
Jenny Oyallon-Koloski
3. Pitching Utopia: Popular Music, Community, and Neoliberalism in the Choir Film
Eleonora Sammartino
4. E-Q-U-I-T-Y: Generic Boundaries, Gender, and Real Estate in the /Magic Mike/ Films
Martha Shearer
5. /Saint-Louis Blues: /From Oral Storytelling to Aural Filmmaking
Estrella Sendra

*Musicals of the margins*
6. The Marseille Film Operetta
Marie Cadalanu and Phil Powrie
7. Heteroglossia in the Musical Number: Song, Music Performance, and Marginalised Identity in Tony Gatlif's /Swing/ (2002)
Tamsin Graves
8. Sexsationalist Feminism in /The Devil's Carnival /Project (2012, 2015)
Joana Rita Ramalho

*Musical sequences*
9. The On- and Off-Screen Politics of Sophia Loren's Musical Performances in /Houseboat /(1958)//and /It Started in Naples /(1960)
Sarah Culhane
10. 'Just a Little Warm-Up for the Job': Harold Nicholas, the Specialty Act, and the Hollywood Song-and-Dance Man
Kate Saccone
11. A Language of its Own: Mani Ratnam's Experiments with the Song Scene
Aakshi Magazine

12. Pianos, Affect and Memory
Paul Mazey and Sarah Street
13. Everybody Wants to Be a Cat: Jazz Culture and Disney Animation in the 1960s
Landon Palmer
14. Short-Form Pop Music Films in 1960s Britain
Richard Farmer
15. “Good Evening Pasadena!”: Fantastical Performance Spaces in the Rock Documentary
Richard Wallace

*Musicals across media*
16. Live Musical Spectaculars: Eventizing Network Television in the Post-Network Age
Anthony Enns
17. Camp and the Celebration of the Popular Song in /RuPaul's Drag Race/ “Lip Sync for Your Life”
Julie Lobalzo Wright


The book is, uh, not cheap, but the BAFTSS and SCMS 35% discount codes (BAFTSS21 or SCMS21) should work until June 1st, I believe. And to whet your appetite you can also listen to the book's banging soundtrack <>.

At 6pm (BST/IST) on May 20th, the date of hardback publication, we will be holding a book launch on the internet featuring some of our contributors. All welcome. BYOB. You can register for that here:

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