Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rodeo at the (old) Student Union Ballroom, 1971

New technology, especially that which allows people to duplicate and share pieces of expressive culture, always allows for reconfigurations and DIY revisions of historical memory. The libratory possibilities involved in this are compromised of course, by the (small) circulation of these materials relative to mass-market artifacts and instituionally derived narratives, and by the imbrication of the technology and its social apparatus in networks of capital that posit exclusionary barriers and offer consolation prizes in order to co-opt the possibility of truly extracting freedom from a world of necessity. But, caveats aside, and apologies for sounding like a .com uptopian ten years too late, I do think that we're living through the birth of the digital vernacular, and that whatever it's corporatized and compromised position, Youtube offers a fascinating forum for people to personalize and revise local history. there's a line to walk here, over the pit of nostalgia and false consciousness, but for me this came roaring out of the screen and obliterated what Jameson calls "the nostalgia for the present" which keeps us dangerously disconnected from the past. Your mileage may vary.

Riffs: I imagine that the tape recorder this was recorded on, now obsolete, inspired many of the same Utopian visions that I'm tapping into regarding Youtube. And well it should, since that technology is just as, if not more important in delivering this artifact to us than digital video. Second, note the club "West Street" which I'd heard about but never seen pictures of, located on the corner of Laffayette and West Ave, longtime home to the Magnolia Haircutters and a bike shop. I don't know what it is now. Also: lots of gigs with Moloch, a truly revolutionary multi-racial heavy blues band from Memphis that included Mudboy and the Neutrons guitarist Lee Baker. Also, maybe because I know him and not the others, I find the pictures of a young Windy Austin, still 5 years or so away from Zorro's first performance, fascinating.

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