Karaoke Idols (Book)

Popular Music and the Performance of Identity

Most ethnographers don't achieve what Kevin Brown did while conducting their research: in his two years spent at a karaoke bar near Denver, Colorado, he went from barely able to carry a tune to someone whom other karaoke patrons requested to sing. Along the way, he learned everything you might ever want to know about karaoke and the people who enjoy it.
The result is Karaoke Idols, a close ethnography of life at a karaoke bar that reveals just what we're doing when we take up the mic—and how we shape our identities, especially in terms of gender, ethnicity, and class, through performances in everyday life. Marrying a comprehensive introduction to the history of public singing and karaoke with a rich analysis of karaoke performers and the community that their shared performances generate, Karaoke Idols is a book for both the casual reader and the scholar, and a fascinating exploration of our urge to perform and the intersection of technology and culture that makes it so seductively easy to do so.

Category: Music, Performing Arts

Edition

Most ethnographers don’t achieve what Kevin Brown did while conducting their research: in his two years spent at a karaoke bar near Denver, Colorado, he went from barely able to carry a tune to someone whom other karaoke patrons requested to sing. Along the way, he learned everything you might ever want to know about karaoke and the people who enjoy it.

The result is Karaoke Idols, a close ethnography of life at a karaoke bar that reveals just what we are doing when we take up the mic – and how we shape our identities, especially in terms of gender, ethnicity, and class, through performances in everyday life. Marrying a comprehensive introduction to the history of public singing and karaoke with a rich analysis of karaoke performers and the community that their shared performances generate, Karaoke Idols is a book for both the casual reader and the scholar: a fascinating exploration of our urge to perform and the intersection of technology and culture that makes it so seductively easy to do so.

Dr. Kevin Brown is Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Performance Studies in the Department of Theatre at the University of Missouri, Columbia, United States. He has been a producer, director, actor, and designer of theater for twenty-five years. His writing has appeared in Popular Music Studies , Popular Entertainment Studies , the International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media , the Journal of Religion and Theatre , and Puppetry International.

Acknowledgments

Synopsis

About the Author

Overture

Chapter 1: My Way

Chapter 2: Turning Japanese

Chapter 3: Boys Don’t Cry

Chapter 4: Paint It Black

Chapter 5: Friends in Low Places

Chapter 6: Sweet Caroline

Finale

Afterword: Karaoke as Performance Reactivation by Philip Auslander 

Brown’s volume is marked by clarity of research goals (and approach) and an engaging writing style.  This book will be especially valuable to those who are new to performance studies ethnography.'

M. Goldsmith, CHOICE
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