Call for Essays About Any Aspect of Popular Culture, Present or Past

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Monday, Jul 21, 2014
by Shyam K. Sriram
A splendid collection of tales of Southerners traveling abroad and children of immigrants living in the South and reflecting on their heritage.

When I was a senior at Purdue, I took a class on “American Regionalism” with Sean “Kip” Robisch, and it completely changed how I looked at literature. From delving into Ken Kesey’s underrated classic, Sometimes a Great Notion to discovering Willa Cather for the first time, Robisch opened a door for me into a world where the physical setting of a novel or poem mattered just as much as its contents and that writing about a place was the highest form of realism.


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Monday, Jul 21, 2014
by PopMatters Staff
PopMatters seeks essays (1,200 to 3,000 words, usually) about any aspect of popular culture, present or past.

(If you are interested in pitching a review of some specific current work or performance, please contact the appropriate section editor.) We prefer careful analysis of the chosen subject matter with the intention of supporting an original thesis; we aren’t particularly interested in articles that merely want to promote their subject. An assessment of what ideological work a given pop culture phenomenon performs (i.e. what has allowed something to become popular, what’s at stake in its popularity besides money, how it is situated in a historical or geographical context, etc.) is especially welcome. Ideally essays will draw on sophisticated interpretive strategies derived from a theoretically informed point of view, but will be presented for a general reader in lively, accessible language.


For examples of the diversity of topics and range of approaches we welcome, please have a look at PopMatters features and columns archives.


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Friday, Jul 18, 2014
Little Daylight have the enthusiasm of Chvrches and the infectiousness of Charli XCX which turns one listen of their debut into several repeats.

The Little Daylight trio Nikki Taylor, Matt Lewkowicz, and Eric Zeiler (plus a fourth member for the show) celebrated the release of their debut album Hello Memory on July 15th at a sold out Mercury Lounge show. The band had recently opened for Au Revoir Simone at Brooklyn Bowl but they had a funny story to share about an early performance at the Mercury Lounge. Taylor spoke of them booking the gig under an alias so they could test out their material but somehow people got the wrong belief Phoenix would be performing so the venue packed with folks. Te ruse was still successful in the end however, everyone had fun. Now Little Daylight were back with an opening set from their friends Stationary Set, whom they shared a bill with recently.


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Friday, Jul 18, 2014
We are the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx. Our great computers fill the hallowed halls. And it's time to talk about Rush, and their 1976 concept piece. Also, attention all Planets of the Solar Federation: we have assumed control.

Mendelsohn: There are two types of people in this world, Klinger — people who love Rush and people who don’t. Rush was the band that introduced me to rock ‘n’ roll, specifically their 1976 dystopian concept album 2112, so when we started working our way through the Great List, the first thing I did was check to see how long it would be before we got to a Rush album. I was sorely disappointed to find Moving Pictures, the band’s highest-selling and most well-regarded album sitting at number 867. Even worse was finding 2112 at number 1005. It seems the critics were mostly made up of people who didn’t like Rush. I may be a little biased here, but where’s the critical love for Rush? There are only two bands who have more gold and platinum records than Rush, you may have heard of them — the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Rush has sold over 25 million records worldwide, putting them squarely in the top 100 in that category. But yet critical love seems to elude them. The reasons, I suppose, aren’t all that hard to ascertain. They do have a tendency to write complicated suites that regularly top ten minutes and eschew pop constructs for extended jams that are heavy on the riffs but light on the things that the critics love. Honestly, I wasn’t all that surprised to find them languishing on the Great List.


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Friday, Jul 18, 2014
A long time ago, Disney wanted to bring a bit of excitement into a kid's entertainment world. Planes: Fire and Rescue revisits that idea, and succeeds.

There was a time, at least 50 years ago, when Disney took as much care with its live action films as its did with its animation. While these titles could never live up to the breathtaking artistic breakthroughs being made by their pen and ink masterworks, Disney still managed to craft family entertainment without resorting to ridiculous contrivances or obvious audience pandering. It all began with an adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic Treasure Island, and flourished with efforts like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Swiss Family Robertson. There was even some unheralded excellence buried among the goofball comedies (The Shaggy Dog) and oddball entries (Greyfriar’s Bobby? Seriously).


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