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Pop Conference

A melting pot for fans, musicians, scholars, and journalists.

  1. Director of Curatorial Affairs Jasen Emmons speaks at the Pop Conference 2015 keynote address.

    Photo courtesy AJ Dent.

  2. American author, music journalist, and cultural critic Greil Marcus joined the weekend's discussions of pop culture and music scholarship.

    Photo courtesy Nat Seymour.

  3. Local Seattle act TacocaT took part in a showcase of subversive Seattle music performed by some of the region’s most oppositional and talented bands.

    Photo courtesy AJ Dent.

The annual EMP Pop Conference, first held in 2002, mixes together ambitious music writing of every kind, in an attempt to bring academics, critics, musicians, and dedicated fans into a collective conversation.

Our thanks to all who attended the 2015 EMP Pop Conference, with its theme of “Get Ur Freak On: Music, Weirdness, and Transgression.” For those who could not be there, want to enjoy presentations that they missed, or  just hope to share favorites with others, we will be offering some highlights from the gathering in coming months.

To begin with, we present Sofía Córdova’s  “El Cumbanchero Que Se Vá." Córdova is an interdisciplinary artist with a focus on performance, video, and installation. Her work dissects the pleasures and pains of Caribbean Diaspora through the creation of various performances scored with original music. Here, she looks at the afterlives of Hernández Marín’s “El Cumbanchero,” first recorded in 1949, then as a Tito Puente staple, a salsa anthem for expatriated Puerto Ricans in NY (through Ismael Rivera) in the ‘70s, and later, as “Rockfort Rock” in Jamaica. After taking a detour to Italy, where italo-disco group Raggio De Luna interpolated portions of the song into their 1984 single “Comanchero,” we will circle back to Hernández Marín’s native Puerto Rico by way of Iris Chacón, a performer better known for her over-the-top”‘vedette” (showgirl) performances. In each of these performances, the song's transgressive potential is renegotiated, depending on who is embodying El Cumbanchero and his denial of identity and concomitant refusal to be tied down.

More to come!
Eric Weisbard, University of Alabama and Pop Conference Organizer

2015 Conference Information

About the Conference

The conference was held at EMP from 2002–2010, then traveled to UCLA in 2011; NYU in 2012; and simultaneously at USC, NYU, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Tulane University, and EMP in 2013; before returning to EMP as the sole venue in 2014. Three books of conference writing have been published: This Is PopListen Again, and Pop When the World Falls Apart.

Date + Location

April 16-19, 2015
EMP Museum; Seattle, WA

2015 Program Committee Members

Will Hermes (Rolling Stone), Jennifer Lena (Columbia University), Emily Lordi (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) Greil Marcus (The Believer), Rashod Ollison (The Virginian-Pilot), Ann Powers (NPR Music), Shana Redmond (University of Southern California), Julianne Escobedo Shepherd (New York University), and Travis Stimeling (West Virginia University)

Questions?

Please email PopConference@EMPmuseum.org.

Program Committee Members

Will Hermes (Rolling Stone), Jennifer Lena (Columbia University), Emily Lordi (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) Greil Marcus (The Believer), Rashod Ollison (The Virginian-Pilot), Ann Powers (NPR Music), Shana Redmond (University of Southern California), Julianne Escobedo Shepherd (New York University), and Travis Stimeling (West Virginia University)

PDF Resources

Schedule At-a-Glance

2015 Call for Proposals

Archive