Cover songs operate as a form of cultural discourse across various musical genres and different societal, historical and political conditions. Case studies include a comparative analysis of Jimi Hendrix's and Whitney Houston's versions of "The Star-Spangled Banner" as well as a mapping of the trajectory of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" from the original version by the Rolling Stones through cover versions by Otis Redding, Devo, and Britney Spears. The radical deconstruction of pop and rock songs by the Residents and Laibach is also examined, with additional studies of cover songs by such as Van Halen, Kim Wilde, Rufus Harley, the Four Tops, Pat Boone and Johnny Cash. Rather than questions of quality or how a cover song measures up as "better or worse" than other versions, this book focuses on the ideological implications and social stakes of the "same old songs" as they are reconfigured to consider, comment on and confront political issues of gender, sexuality, race, the nation-state and the generation gap.
"This political analysis of teen culture examines the historical and ideological development of American youth society, the economic and ideological relationship between television and popular music, and the ideological rivalry between Nickelodeon and Disney. "--Provided by publisher.
Thanks in large part to an exploitation film producer and distributor named K. Gordon Murray, a unique collection of horror films from Mexico began to appear on American late-night television and drive-in screens in the 1960s. Ranging from monster movies clearly owing to the heyday of Universal Studios to the lucha libre horror films featuring El Santo and the "Wrestling Women," these low-budget "Mexploitation" films offer plenty of campy fun and still inspire cult devotion, yet they also reward close study in surprising ways. This work places Mexploitation films in their historical and cultural context and provides close textual readings of a representative sample, showing how they can be seen as important documents in the cultural debate over Mexico's past, present and future. Stills accompany the text, and a selected filmography and bibliography complete the volume.
This work examines the unique and ever-changing relationship between politics and comedy through an analysis of several popular American television programs. Focusing on close readings of the work of Ernie Kovacs, Soupy Sales, and Andy Kaufman, as well as Green Acres and The Gong Show, the author provides a unique glimpse at the often subversive nature of avant-garde television comedy. The crisis in American television during the political unrest of the late 1960s is also studied, as represented by individual analyses of The Monkees, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, and All in the Family. The author also focuses on more contemporary American television, drawing a comparative analysis between the referential postmodernism of The Simpsons and the confrontational absurdity of South Park.
An examination of the cinematic and cultural discourse surrounding work, the worker, organized labor, and the working class in 20th century America, this book analyzes a number of films within the historical context of labor and politics. Looking at both comedies (Modern Times, Gung Ho, Office Space) and dramas (The Grapes of Wrath, On the Waterfront, F.I.S.T., Blue Collar, Norma Rae, and Matewan), it reveals how these films are not merely products of their times, but also producers of ideological stances concerning the status of capitalism, class struggle, and democracy in America. Common themes among the films include the myth of the noble worker, the shifting status of the American Dream, and the acceptability of reform versus the unacceptability of revolution in affecting economic, political, and social change in America.
The convergence of rock music, counterculture politics and avant-garde aesthetics in the late 1960s underscored the careers of the Beatles, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, and the Velvet Underground. This book examines these artists' relationships to the historical avant-garde (Artaud, Brecht, Dada) and neo-avant-garde (Warhol, Pop Art, minimalism), considering their work in light of debates about modernism versus postmodernism. The author analyzes the performers' use of dissonance and noise within popular music, the role of social commentary and controversial topics in songs, and the experiments with concert and studio performance. Albums discussed include Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album, Freak Out!, We're Only in It for the Money, The Velvet Underground and Nico and White Light/White Heat, as well as John Lennon's collaborations with Yoko Ono, the Zappa-produced Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band, and Nico's The Marble Index.
Following the national and international upheaval and tragedy in 1968, Mexican trash cinema began to shift away from the masked wrester genre and towards darker, more explicit films, and disturbing visions of the modern world: films which can be called avant-exploitation. This work covers six of those films: El Topo, Mansion of Madness, Alucarda, Guyana, Crime of the Century, Birds of Prey, and Santa Sangre.
Filmmaker Ed Wood was controversial and critically maligned, even labeled “the worst director of all time,” yet he achieved cult status and remains of great interest today. This book frames Wood’s work, such as the cross-dressing themed Glen or Glenda? and the haphazard Bride of the Monster, as reflections of the culture of their era. Wood invariably worked with infinitesimal budgets, shooting at breakneck speed, incorporating plot twists that defied all logic. Yet there was a tangible if unfocused thematic thrust to Wood’s films, which meditate fitfully on gender, religion and society, revealing a “holy trinity” of fixations—sex, death and resurrection. Wood’s infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space encapsulates the fixations and flaws that were his hallmarks, and with 22 other films, is explored here. A filmography and 47 photographs are included.