The University of Dayton (one of my alma maters!) will host a heavy metal conference this weekend. I wrote a cover feature about the conference for the Dayton City Paper. Here's that story.
Studying heavy metal as an academic pursuit isn’t new. The interdisciplinary study has gained popularity in recent years, first in European countries and now in America. This November 6-8, add Dayton, Ohio to the list. The University of Dayton will hold a conference called “Metal and Cultural Impact: Metal’s Role in the 21st Century.” The conference, brainchild of English professor Bryan Bardine, will welcome scholars, business professionals and musicians alike to the campus for three days of insight, education and fun. Events include a presentation on “Queer Metal Matters,” an art exhibition on masks and popular culture, a screening of the documentary, “March of the Gods” and presentations by special guests Alex Skolnick (of the legendary thrash metal band Testament) and Josh Bernstein (creator of the annual Revolver Golden Gods awards).
Bardine, a lifelong metalhead, said he was inspired to create a metal conference at UD after attending a similar event at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in 2013. Bardine also presented at that conference.
“I was asked to be on a panel about metal and community,” Bardine said. “The last four years, I’ve been bringing in scholars [to UD] for different workshops and seminars. I brought one in on heavy metal and globalization. And we had four scholars, two from BGSU, one from Chicago – DePaul [University] – and the other from [University of] California, Irvine. They all talked about different aspects of metal and its influence around the world. And then, after the Bowling Green conference, I thought, ‘Why can’t we do something like this at UD?’ So we started the process.”
Bardine sought permission from UD officials to get the ball rolling. He’s been granted a lot of support, not only from the English department and grad students, but also campus officials like his department chair and even the Dean.
“I sort of borrowed the structure from the one at Bowling Green,” Bardine told the Dayton City Paper. “So instead of having concurrent sessions, we’re having consecutive ones. Once you’re here, you pretty much get to stay in the same place all day.”
Some folks from Bowling Green are also on the UD conference planning committee.
An academic conference takes a considerable amount of time to plan, from the day-to-day tasks like scheduling space for speakers and making travel arrangements, to dealing with the much longer process of formally “calling for papers” from academics across the country and world. And “world” is accurate since UD’s take on metal will welcome people from all over the globe, including New Zealand and South Africa, a feat that doesn’t exactly surprise Bardine. After all, he knew the interest was there.
“Metal studies is a legitimate field,” he said proudly. “It’s youthful and relatively new. But we’ve got great scholars working in this field now.”
In all, the conference will boast 13 sessions, including keynote speakers, meaning there’s likely something for everyone whose passion is metal. Like business more than strumming chords? No worry. Josh Bernstein, Director of Sales and Business Development at Alternative Press Magazine, will be a keynote speaker at the conference. The title of Bernstein’s keynote is “Heavy Metal: A Business, A Lifestyle, Past, Present, and Future.” He’ll address the business side of the metal world and provide an interesting commentary on an industry that has been turned upside down thanks to the Internet and file sharing. Surprising to some, Bernstein is a firm believer that the business side of metal actually helps spur creativity, providing outlets for new music and ideas.
“For years, the idea of ‘selling out’ was deemed the worst thing an artist could do; but, more recently, metal fans are smart enough to realize that it’s a necessary part of the process and essential in letting artists create, distribute and tour with their music,” Bernstein said. “People don’t think Leonardo DaVinci’s artwork was stifled because he had funding from the Medici family, or that Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel was work-for-hire from the Pope. I think all musicians should know the basics of the business side of the industry to help protect their interests.”
Keep reading the rest of the story on the Dayton City Paper website.
It's never too soon to plan for summer! The official Rocklahoma Facebook page was updated just hours ago with this message and image:
The countdown is on to America's Biggest Memorial Day Party, ROCKLAHOMA, returning to ROCK you in 2015!!! Seat renewals will begin on November 17 - visit www.Rocklahoma.com for details. Line-up will be announced in January.
I can't believe it's already November. The year will be over before we know it. In America, we celebrate Thanksgiving in November... and the day after is known as Black Friday, a huge day for sales. I usually grab a few albums during the sales - Best Buy and Amazon typically has good deals on music. So, help me build my shopping list.
What albums should I be buying this month? Suggestions don't have to be just Glam or metal, either. I'm not a country fan really, but beyond that I'll usually give most music a fair shot. It's been awhile since I've been turned on to something completely new -- so I'm due for that I guess. I look forward to your suggestions.