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David Savran: Highbrow/Lowdown: Theatre, Jazz and the Making of the New Middle Class

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May 18, 2010
May 18, 2010
Segal Theater

Highbrow-LowdownThe arrival of jazz in the 1920s sparked a cultural revolution that was impossible to contain. Join author David Savran (Distinguished Professor of Theatre and Vera Mowry Roberts Chair in American Theatre at the CUNY Graduate Center), John Graziano (Professor Emeritus of Music at The Graduate Center and City College) and Kevin Byrne (Doctoral Candidate in Theatre, CUNY Graduate Center) as they discuss Dr. Savran’s new book, which argues that jazz was not only the first distinctively American art form, but also a powerful force that altered America’s social and cultural landscape.

David Savran is Distinguished Professor (Graduate Center) and Vera Mowry Roberts Chair in American Theatre. He holds a Ph.D. in Theatre Arts from Cornell University. Major publications include: Breaking the Rules: The Wooster Group(1988); In Their Own Words: Contemporary American Playwrights (1988); Communists, Cowboys and Queers: The Politics of Masculinity in the Work of Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams (1992); Taking it Like a Man: White Masculinity, Masochism, and Contemporary American Culture(1998); The Playwright’s Voice: American Dramatists on Memory, Writing, and the Politics of Culture (1999); and A Queer Sort of Materialism: Recontextualizing American Theater (2003). He is the editor of the Journal of American Drama and Theatre and has served as the Vice President of the American Society for Theatre Research. He was a judge for the Village Voice Obie Awards for two years and has been a member of the nominating committee for the Lucille Lortel Awards since 2005. His most recent book is Highbrow/Lowdown: Theater, Jazz, and the Making of the New Middle Class, published by the University of Michigan Press.  His new project studies the history of theories of production, distribution, and consumption since Marx to argue that under late capitalism, relations of distribution (which include marketing, advertising, and branding) have become primary.  His intent is to use a theory of branding as cultural performance to analyze the exportation to U.S. theatre to Germany, Brazil, and China, and so rethink the economics of cultural imperialism.

6:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Martin E. Segal Theatre. Free!