A queer sort of materialism : recontextualizing American by David Savran

By David Savran

In attractive, obtainable prose, major theater critic and cultural commentator David Savran explores the intersections among paintings and tradition, providing clever, compelling interpretations of the commercial and social contexts of theatrical texts and practices. Acknowledging theater's marginal prestige in U.S. tradition, A Queer type of Materialism takes on "the trouble-makers--the ghost, closeted gay, masochist, drag king, 3rd global laborer, even the white male as victim"--who determine extra prominently in theater than in different cultural varieties. In impeccably researched and argued essays that variety in subject material from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Paula Vogel, from all at once final summer time to Iron John, Savran uncovers the ways in which such troublemakers either problem and make stronger orthodox social practices.
The decisions awarded listed here are by way of turns enjoyable, informative, subtle, and polemical, reflecting the author's twin citizenship as rigorous student and fascinating theater critic. This publication additionally presents a version for a type of queer ancient materialism that would turn out precious to a variety of disciplines, together with theater and function, gender and sexuality, queer/gay/lesbian/transgender reports, American stories, and renowned culture.
David Savran is Professor of Theater, the Graduate middle, the town collage of recent York, and writer of Cowboys, Communists, and Queers and Taking It Like a Man.

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Ripley, from As Good as It Gets to American Beauty-that aspire to the category of art. In 1997, Ellen became the first sitcom to feature a lesbian hero, whil e Ellen DeGeneres's simultaneous coming out provided fodder for count­ less editorials, sermons, and talk shows. Although Ellen was unable to make a go of it, a year later W ill and Grace turned camp into highly suc­ cessful, Emmy-winning, primetime entertainment. d. lang, Melissa Etheridge, and the Indigo Girls amassed devoted fans. The Pet Shop Boys and George Michael managed to retain their niche market.

Whether in its uptown or downtown guises, then, the new queer the­ ater has become a metonym for postnaturalistic performance in the United States. It thereby represents in a particularly dear and incisive form both the situation of theater as a bastard art (which is to say, as a product of the unnatural intercourse of high and low) and the necessary slippage (both on- and offstage) between self and Other. Placing formal innovation at the service of a deconstructed performing subject, this the­ ater refuses the certainties of the neorealisms and cultural nationalisms of the 1 970s in favor of pluralism, undecidability, and anti-essentialism.

And many of the most prominent playwrights, directors, actors, and other theater artists proclaimed themselves proudly, joyously-and matter-of­ factly-queer. A reclamation of a formerly stigmatized term, queer (as adjective or noun) functioned during the 1990s as a deeply utopian designation: a locus of refusal; an unbinding of psychic, sexual, and social energy; a destabilizing third term; a principle of radical democratization; a post­ modernist renovation of camp; an affront to the bipolar system of gen­ der and sexuality; a way of transcending both assimilationist and anti­ assimilationist politics; a privileged mode of subversion.

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