Thriller Nights: A cultural discussion on Michael Jackson hosted by the AU Library

Thriller Nights: A cultural discussion on Michael Jackson hosted by the AU Library

Darkness falls across the land…

The midnight hour is now at hand…

Calling all creatures of the night, Halloween fanatics, Michael Jackson lovers, and pop-culture connoisseurs! On October 25th, the American University Library will be presenting a cultural reading of Michael Jackson’s best-selling album, Thriller.

Director of American Studies, Dr. Tristan Cabello, will discuss Thriller on a deeper level than the mainstream popularity we’re all familiar with. Despite the fact that the opening synth chords in the album’s title track urge everyone to bust out its’ signature dance moves, the song, music video, and album also had a significant impact on pop-culture moving forward into the next three decades.

American pop has experienced many shifts in its musical evolution, but it has never seen anything quite like Michael Jackson’s influence after the release of Thriller on November 30th, 1982. “From the birth of the music video as an art form, to the participation of ballroom-trained black queer choreographers, to the negotiation of the digital turn in the recording industry,” there is much to learn about his contributions to society both during and after his lifetime.

If you’re interested in attending this event and wish to prepare, feel free to stop by the Music Library to check out our complete Michael Jackson Discography! CDs are available to check out for 1 week or you are more than welcome to use the CD player provided in the library to enjoy.

The discussion will be held in Bender Library Training and Events Room 150, and more information can be found on the University Library’s page: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-meaning-of-michael-jacksons-thriller-tickets-37424132588

 

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Your April Guide to DPA Events!

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From now until Finals week, there are multiple performances happening every weekend in Katzen!

An Evening with the AU Jazz Trio and Friends
Jarrett Murray, Nate Gibson, and Austin Jaffe & Special Guests

Friday, April 14 at 8 pm in 112.
FREE

 

Circle Mirror Transformation a Play by Annie Baker
AU Players
April 20 & 21 at 7 pm, and April 22 at 2 pm and 7 pm. Performances will take place on the Rooftop of McKinley (SOC)
Tickets: $8

 

The Living Composer’s Series: The Music of Amy Williams
AU Workshop
Friday, April 21 at 8 pm in the Abramson Family Recital Hall.
Student Tickets $5.

 

Jazz: Concert and Conversations
AU Jazz Orchestra
Saturday, April 22. Panel and Discussion 6 pm. Concert at 8 pm
Student Tickets $5.

 

Frenzy and Calm
AU Symphonic Band
Sunday, April 23 at 3 pm in the Abramson Family Recital Hall.
Student Tickets $5.

 

Ain’t It a Pretty Night: Scenes and Aria
Nicole Cherecwith’s Senior Recital
Sunday, April 23 at 8 pm in the Abramson Family Recital Hall
FREE

 

Senior Musical Theater Capstone Performance
April 27 & 28th at 8 pm and April 29 at 2 pm & 8 pm in the Studio Theater
Student Tickets: $10

 

Lux in Tenebris (Light in the Darkness)
AU Chorus and AU Symphony Orchestra
Friday, April 28 at 8 pm and Saturday, April 29 at 8 pm in the Abramson Family Recital Hall
Student Tickets: $5

 

Joe Gallo’s Senior Recital
Saturday, April 29 at 2 pm in the Abramson Family Recital Hall
FREE

 

Veronica Hylak’s Composition Recital
Friday, May 5 at 7:30 pm in the Abramson Family Recital Hall
FREE

 

A Path Appears
A Senior Composition Recital by Caroline Salant
Saturday, May 6 at 2 pm in the Abramson Family Recital Hall
FREE

Cool DC Events: NPR’s Screening a Punk Doc

The impact of Dischord Records and its surrounding miniverse of hardcore and post-hardcore punk is enormous, and its influence is still felt today in D.C. and everywhere. For alternative music fans living in our nation’s capital, it is nearly a ritual to glorify D.C.’s past as a hotbed for a thriving, groundbreaking punk scene.

The latest artifact of this culture has surfaced in an in-depth documentary on the old scene, entitled “Salad Days: A Decade of Punk in Washington, DC (1980-90).” Created by Scott Crawford, a zine publisher-turned-documentarian, the 90 minute film combines unique vintage concert footage with current-day interviews.

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In a great tip of the hat to the scene of old, NPR Music will be hosting a screening of this documentary in its DC office. According to their blog, Scott Crawford will appear after the screening on a panel along with Jim Saah, the film’s director of photography, as well as veteran DC punk Brian Baker (Minor Threat, Bad Religion) and moderated by Ally Schweitzer of WAMU.

The event is on Tuesday, May 5 at 7pm. Unfortunately, it’s already been fully sold out, but hopefully you know someone who can get you in! Otherwise, don’t fret. The Library has your back. Come by and ask about our great (and still building) collection of DC punk classic CDs and DVDs! You can celebrate the rich punk legacy of our city here with us.

AU Musical Events: The Antlers with Boon, 4/18

S-A,T-U-R, D-A-Y, hey! What are you doing this Saturday night, readers? Let me tell you exactly what.

You will, if you know what’s up, be attending WVAU’s spring concert! For those who don’t know, WVAU is American University’s very own student-run radio station. They broadcast from MGC and hold awesome campus events like this one. Also, they are the current holder of CMJ (College Music Journal)’s award for #1 student-run, internet-only radio station. Anyways they put on a decent-size concert every semester, highlighting artists from the world of independent music, in a series called “Capitol Punishment.”

This semester’s show features the Antlers, an indie rock band known for their deeply emotional and atmospheric style. Frontman Peter Silberman released solo projects under the name until 2009’s Hospice, the first full-band album by the Antlers, which garnered huge amounts of critical praise and devotion from fans for its intensely sad content and powerful sound. 2011’s sophomore album Burst Apart cooled the emotional jets (just a little) and added some more atmosphere, again very successful. On 2012’s Undersea EP and last year’s third album Familiars, the band have proven themselves to be experts in sonic texture, blending enormous atmospheres of guitar pedals and melancholy brass with beautiful melodies in a sweeping, nearly post-rock style. Their performance is sure to be hypnotic and moving.

Opening for them will be a group of AU students going by Boon (full disclosure: I am in Boon). This four-piece, composed of AU seniors Brendan Principato, Drew Sher, Luke Ramsey and myself, alternates dynamic, energetic tempos with more spacious instrumentals. At least I like to think so. Listen to Boon’s debut EP here!

And with a poster this cool, you know the event is going to rule!

The show begins tomorrow night at 8:30 in the SIS Founder’s room (which surprisingly can sustain a great concert!). It is free with AU ID, closed to the public, so no 30 year-old Tinder dates allowed. But that’s okay, because you will be able to cry out your loneliness in a room filled with feeling friends, all enjoying the beautiful music together in arms. See you there!

P.S. Here’s the facebook event.

AU Musical Events: The Music of Steve Antosca

Events, events, events! AU’s Dept. of Performing Arts sure knows how to end a semester. This weekend brings several events, which I will further cover this week. The first comes this Friday night: AU Workshop’s Spring Concert. Led by saxophonist and AU musician in residence Noah Getz, AU Workshop is a large ensemble that plays in whatever genre or style they feel like in the moment, often meshing popular music with jazz and avant-garde style.

Titled “The Music of Steve Antosca,” this is the latest in the Workshop’s “Living Composers Series” which highlights, well, living composers. Steve Antosca is a D.C.-based composer who blends live instrumentation with electronic processing to create improvisatory technological soundscapes. According to the facebook page for this event, his work has been described as “spectacular and wonderfully provocative” by the Washington Post. Side note: this guy taught me as an adjunct prof during my first ATEC class here at AU.

Back to the topic at hand, this should be a really exciting event! It’ll be cool to hear the ways that our student musicians adapt to the strange and adventurous compositional style of Antosca’s works.

The event will be this Friday (April 17) at 8pm, in the Abramson Family Recital hall in Katzen. Come to hear the very reverberant walls echo with warped instruments and space sounds!

AU Musical Events: A Blast of Brass, 4/11-12

Boy, do I love spring in the AU Department of Performing Arts. It seems as if every new day brings a new performance or event, which means fun and easy blog content! But actually, it is great to walk around Katzen knowing I’ll probably run in on some concert or other. It’s an exciting artistic environment!

As you all know, tonight is our AU Jazz Orchestra’s spring concert, sure to be a wild time, but do you think our performing arts students and faculty will take the weekend off afterwards? No way! Instead, AU’s Chamber Singers are partnering up with the Rockville Brass Band to bring you “A Blast of Brass!” on both Saturday and Sunday.

Led, respectively, by our own Dan Abraham and the appropriately-named Nigel Horne, these two ensembles will join in a rendition of John Rutter’s “Gloria,” as well as traditional British Brass Band works by Eric Ball, Peter Graham and Richard Strauss. What a sturdy trio of names.

The events will occur at 8pm tomorrow and 3pm on Sunday afternoon, both in the Abramson Recital Hall in Katzen. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $5 for AU community members and seniors. RSVP for the facebook event, and find tickets here!

AU Musical Events: Spring Jazz Concert, 4/10

That’s right! AU’s formidable jazz orchestra/ensemble/band is putting on their renowned semesterly show THIS Friday! Led by the musical legend Joshua Bayer, this student/community group will bring their best in a nice (thunderstorm-ridden) spring night of jazz!

The band, including a VERY TALENTED drummer (me), will play through a set full of classic swing and bop tunes, spiced up with a couple of latin and funk numbers, and one student arrangement of a Joe Sample piece. Also playing will be the Frederick Community College Jazz Ensemble, and possibly a combo comprised of AU students as well!

Formally titled the “AU Jazz Orchestra Spring Swing Fling” (what a mouthful!), the event will be at 8pm in the Abramson Family Recital Hall. Tickets are $5 for students and community members, $10 for the general public.

Here’s the facebook event, and you can buy tickets here. Hope to see you there!