d / m / s / r Year Two in Review

d / m / s / r Year Two in Review

(Featured Image: My quick ‘n’ dirty d / m / s / r logo, apologies to Warner Bros. and Andy Warhol.)

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a whole two years since I launched dance / music / sex / romance. I want to thank everyone who’s been following along thus far; many of you, I know, have been here pretty much from the beginning. If you need a refresher on (most of) what’s happened since the last year-end round-up, here you go:

Dirty Mind, 1980
The Time, 1981

And for those who are just stumbling upon it now, here’s where I recommend you start (all of the posts in chronological order):

The Story So Far

Last but not least, here are the podcast episodes released since last June. First, the miniseries on the University of Salford’s Purple Reign conference:

Welcome to the New Story: Jane Clare Jones
The Evolution Will Be Colorized: Zack Stiegler
It’s Time Someone Programmed You: Leah McDaniel
Everybody Shut Up, Listen to the Band: Felicia Holman and Harold Pride
Something Wrong with the Machinery: Carmen Hoover
Vous êtes très belle: Joni Todd and Karen Turman
I Know That the Lord is Coming Soon: Erica Thompson
I am Something That You’ll Never Understand: Chris Aguilar-Garcia and Natalie Clifford
Yes: Chambers Stevens

Then the miscellaneous episodes, including a few with noted authors in the Prince community:

Am I Straight or Gay: Snax
24 Feelings All in a Row: Duane Tudahl
Nothing Compares: Marylou Badeaux
The Crazy Things You Do: Kimberly C. Ransom
Paisley Park is in Your Heart: Stuart Willoughby

And finally, the first installment of what I hope to be another miniseries offering alternate perspectives on Prince’s studio albums:

40 Years of For You

So, what have we done in the last 12 months? A little less than I promised this time last year, but also a lot more. If you look purely at the number of songs covered on the blog, my progress has slowed significantly: a mere 20, versus last year’s 45. If I keep up this pace, the 2036 end point I semi-jokingly offered last year just might become a reality. But I’ve also been doing a lot more than I was doing in June 2017. The podcast has taken on a life of its own; I’ve become a regular guest on another podcast, Prince: Track by Track; I wrote an essay about Prince and New Wave for publication in an anthology on Prince and the Minneapolis Sound; I presented on two panels at the Prince from Minneapolis conference; I launched my own magazine, thanks in large part to the support and goodwill of a small but dedicated group of readers.

I’m not gonna lie, I have more plans for extracurricular activities in 2018-19. Some of them depend on external forces outside my control; some of them you’ll probably be hearing about in the near future. But I also think that the next 12 months of d / m / s / r will be a little bit of a “back to basics” move. I really want to get through more than two albums by next June; I really want to go back to my weekly post routine. I have some thoughts about how to make this possible with my other commitments, which I’ll be sharing in the near future. For now, if you’ve been reading this blog, thanks for hanging in there for the lean times and thanks for your support. And if you’ve just started reading, welcome! I hope you enjoy this labor of love as much as I continue to.

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Surprise, Dystopian Dance Party is Out!

Yesterday I sent the first physical issue of Dystopian Dance Party, the magazine I create with my sister Callie, to the press. I initially tried to share a preview of the page layout, but apparently the service we’re using doesn’t allow that without it being listed for sale on their storefront; so, what the fuck, you can now order our inaugural Prince issue a week earlier than planned!

If any readers out there are wondering why I haven’t been posting much lately, this is pretty much your answer. We put a lot of work into the magazine, and I hope that shows in the results. Included is work by myself and Callie, obviously, but also poets (including friend of the blog Jane Clare Jones!), artists (9T99, Jonathan Caustrita, Purple Project, and more), and even an honest-to-goodness spiritual medium. It’s exactly what I wanted it to be: eclectic, slightly irreverent, and unlike any other Prince tribute on the market.

For those interested in a digital copy, those will be available next week at a slightly reduced price (I’m thinking $6.99). And if you happen to be in Minneapolis next week for the Prince from Minneapolis conference and/or Celebration 2018, I’ll have about 50 extra copies for sale at $9 each!

You guys know I hate sounding too sales-pitchy, but I really am proud of this and want to get it into the hands of as many people as possible. I’ll be back to giving away my work for free soon, I promise!

Podcast: 40 Years of For You

Podcast: 40 Years of For You

(Featured Image: Cover art for For You, 1978; photo by Joe Giannetti, © Warner Bros.)

dance / music / sex / romance is fast approaching its third year, so to celebrate, we’re going…backwards? That’s right, to mark the 40th anniversary of Prince’s debut album, I thought now was the perfect time to go ahead with an idea I’ve been toying with for a while: our own sub-series of review podcasts looking at each of Prince’s albums in isolation.

I’m doing this for a few reasons. First, it’s a way to bring those of you who have been listening to the podcasts but not reading the blog into the loop on my chronological Prince project–and also a way for me to work through some of these albums before I can get to it with my glacially paced writing schedule.

Second, I’ve known from the beginning of this project that if I really wanted to do Prince’s catalogue justice, I would need to incorporate more voices and perspectives than just my own. We all have our biases and blind spots, and as a Prince fan I am acutely aware that one person’s sentimental favorite can be another’s unlistenable mess (and vice versa). That’s why I asked my friends Harold and KaNisa, both of whose encyclopaedic knowledge of Prince’s career dwarfs my own, to join me. I think you’ll find that our tastes and opinions both intersect and diverge in a lot of interesting ways, which allowed us–and hopefully, will allow you–to take a different perspective on some of these songs and the context in which they were created.

I hope you enjoy this new approach to an album that remains underappreciated in Prince’s catalogue. If you do, I hope you’ll subscribe to the podcast on your streaming app of choice (iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play), and if you’re so inclined, leave a review! No matter what, thanks for listening, and see you again soon.

Continue reading “Podcast: 40 Years of For You”

Dystopian Dance Party Issue 1 Kickstarter is Up!

Dystopian Dance Party Issue 1 Kickstarter is Up!

(Featured Image: Cover art for Dystopian Dance Party Issue 1 by Nazzpuller.)

Last November I announced the next stage of my and my sister Callie’s joint venture, Dystopian Dance Party: a physical magazine, the first issue of which–because we know where our interests lie and on what side our bread is buttered–will be dedicated to art and writing inspired by the music of Prince. Well, we’re now ready to roll out the next phase of the project: a Kickstarter to gauge interest and maybe even keep me from putting myself into (more) credit card debt!

The magazine will feature art by Callie, a.k.a. Nazzpuller, and writing by yours truly. One of the articles I have planned is an essay and accompanying playlist about Prince’s New Wave music: sort of a companion piece/introduction to my forthcoming chapter in Prince and the Minneapolis Sound. Our $100-level Kickstarter reward also includes the option to commission me to write a short essay on a subject of your choosing; so, if you’ve been dying for that close reading of Tony M’s rap from “Jughead,” now is your moment! And for those out there who like to read words by people other than me, I can disclose that we received some great submissions, including a poem by friend of the blog Jane Clare Jones that is as funny and beautifully written as I’m sure you expect it to be.

You can check out the Kickstarter–we’re already 25% of the way to our funding goal!–here:

I already say this on the Kickstarter page, but I will say it again here because it bears repeating: I do not expect to make a profit off this. At best, I’d love to be able to pay some of our contributors; at better than best, it would be great to get a head start on funding for Issue 2. I know there’s a lot of rancor in the fan community, warranted and otherwise, about people trying to make a buck off of Prince’s legacy; that ain’t me. We’re independent artists with no startup capital who want to do something cool and maybe even get fairly compensated for our labor in the process–I think that’s something Prince, of all people, would understand.

Anyway, please do take a look, and if you can’t support the project financially, share it! The magazine is coming out April 17, whether we’re funded or not; but Callie is working on some cool rewards that won’t be available anywhere else, so you might as well get in on the ground floor!

In the meantime, I’ll be back to d / m / s / r soon–hopefully by the end of the week. Thanks for indulging me as I continue to give myself more unprofitable side projects than any one human should reasonably have.

Podcast: The Crazy Things You Do – A Conversation with Kimberly C. Ransom

Podcast: The Crazy Things You Do – A Conversation with Kimberly C. Ransom

(Featured Image: Prince by Robert Whitman, 1977.)

For the first d / m / s / r podcast of 2018 (!), it was my pleasure to speak with budding educational historian and Prince scholar Kimberly C. Ransom. Kimberly presented at the University of Salford’s interdisciplinary Prince conference last May–those of you who listened to my series of podcasts on that event probably heard her name come up once or twice–and her essay, “A Conceptual Falsetto: Re-Imagining Black Childhood Via One Girl’s Exploration of Prince,” was published last fall in the Journal of African American Studies’ special Prince issue. If any of my listeners haven’t checked out that issue yet, I’m hoping this interview will offer some incentive: Kimberly’s essay in particular brilliantly interweaves her lifelong love for Prince with an incisive critique our often-pathologized discourses of Black childhood. She also has a surprisingly lovely singing voice.

As we embark on a brand new year of dance / music / sex / romance, allow me to direct your attention to our iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play feeds; if you feel compelled to subscribe, rate, or review us on your service of choice, it will be much appreciated. And of course, if you enjoy the podcast (or blog!), don’t be afraid to spread the word. Lots more exciting things to come!

Continue reading “Podcast: The Crazy Things You Do – A Conversation with Kimberly C. Ransom”