Brilliant, practical, and humorous conversations with one of the twentieth-century’s greatest musicologists on art, culture, and the physical pain of playing a difficult passage until one attains its rewards.
Throughout his life, Charles Rosen combined formidable intelligence with immense skill as a concert pianist. He began studying at Juilliard at age seven and went on to inspire a generation of scholars to combine history, aesthetics, and score analysis in what became known as “new musicology.”
The Joy of Playing, the Joy of Thinking presents a masterclass for music lovers. In interviews originally conducted and published in French, Rosen’s friend Catherine Temerson asks carefully crafted questions to elicit his insights on the evolution of music—not to mention painting, theater, science, and modernism. Rosen touches on the usefulness of aesthetic reflection, the pleasure of overcoming stage fright, and the drama of conquering a technically difficult passage. He tells vivid stories on composers from Chopin and Wagner to Stravinsky and Elliott Carter. In Temerson’s questions and Rosen’s responses arise conundrums both practical and metaphysical. Is it possible to understand a work without analyzing it? Does music exist if it isn’t played?
Throughout, Rosen returns to the theme of sensuality, arguing that if one does not possess a physical craving to play an instrument, then one should choose another pursuit. Rosen takes readers to the heart of the musical matter. “Music is a way of instructing the soul, making it more sensitive,” he says, “but it is useful only insofar as it is pleasurable. This pleasure is manifest to anyone who experiences music as an inexorable need of body and mind.”
Long before Batman, Flash Gordon, or the Lone Ranger were the stars of their own TV shows, they had dedicated audiences watching their adventures each week. The difference was that this action took place on the big screen, in short adventure serials whose exciting cliffhangers compelled the young audience to return to the theater every seven days.
Matinee Melodrama is the first book about the adventure serial as a distinct artform, one that uniquely encouraged audience participation and imaginative play. Media scholar Scott Higgins proposes that the serial’s incoherent plotting and reliance on formula, far from being faults, should be understood as some of its most appealing attributes, helping to spawn an active fan culture. Further, he suggests these serials laid the groundwork not only for modern-day cinematic blockbusters like Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark, but also for all kinds of interactive media that combine spectacle, storytelling, and play.
As it identifies key elements of the serial form—from stock characters to cliffhangers—Matinee Melodrama delves deeply into questions about the nature of suspense, the aesthetics of action, and the potentials of formulaic narrative. Yet it also provides readers with a loving look at everything from Zorro’s Fighting Legion to Daredevils of the Red Circle, conveying exactly why these films continue to thrill and enthrall their fans.
The greatest trick the videogame industry ever pulled was convincing the world that videogames were games rather than a medium for making metagames. Elegantly defined as “games about games,” metagames implicate a diverse range of practices that stray outside the boundaries and bend the rules: from technical glitches and forbidden strategies to Renaissance painting, algorithmic trading, professional sports, and the War on Terror. In Metagaming, Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux demonstrate how games always extend beyond the screen, and how modders, mappers, streamers, spectators, analysts, and artists are changing the way we play.
Metagaming uncovers these alternative histories of play by exploring the strange experiences and unexpected effects that emerge in, on, around, and through videogames. Players puzzle through the problems of perspectival rendering in Portal, perform clandestine acts of electronic espionage in EVE Online, compete and commentate in Korean StarCraft, and speedrun The Legend of Zelda in record times (with or without the use of vision). Companies like Valve attempt to capture the metagame through international e-sports and online marketplaces while the corporate history of Super Mario Bros. is undermined by the endless levels of Infinite Mario, the frustrating pranks of Asshole Mario, and even Super Mario Clouds, a ROM hack exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
One of the only books to include original software alongside each chapter, Metagaming transforms videogames from packaged products into instruments, equipment, tools, and toys for intervening in the sensory and political economies of everyday life. And although videogames conflate the creativity, criticality, and craft of play with the act of consumption, we don’t simply play videogames—we make metagames.
After the establishment of the Turkish Republic, Turkey's secularized society disdained the ney, the Sufi reed flute long associated with Islam. The instrument's remarkable revival in today's cities has inspired the creation of teaching and learning sites that range from private ney studios to cultural and religious associations and from university clubs to mosque organizations.
Banu Şenay documents the years-long training required to become a neyzen—a player of the ney. The process holds a transformative power that invites students to create a new way of living that involves alternative relationships with the self and others, changing perceptions of the city, and a dedication to craftsmanship. Şenay visits reed harvesters and travels from studios to workshops to explore the practical processes of teaching and learning. She also becomes an apprentice ney-player herself, exploring the desire for spirituality that encourages apprentices and masters alike to pursue ney music and its scaffolding of Islamic ethics and belief.
Playing from Memory
David Milofsky University Press of Colorado, 1999 Library of Congress PS3563.I444P5 1999 | Dewey Decimal 813.54
Playing From Memory is a deeply moving, compassionate novel about the power of marriage to survive under stress, a love story that tells of a musician's courageous battle against a degenerative illness and his wife's struggle to face the end of their life together.
Ben Seidler, an intense, passionately committed violist, is at the height of his career as a member of the Casa Bella Quartet, one of the foremost string quartets in the nation. His gifts as a concert artist had always been intuitive, but love did not come so easily. It took determination to win the hand of his wife, Dory, who was reluctant to set aside her ambitions of becoming an artist.
Their marriage is at once complex and ordinary, balancing the rigors of long rehearsal sessions against the daily round of family life with their two sons. Then suddenly the rhythm of their lives is shattered when Ben falls victim to multiple sclerosis. Stubbornly independent, Ben refuses to rely on others until necessity forces him to see that there are things beyond his control. Through a new closeness with his aging father, his older son, and, most importantly, Dory, he learns to accept help and to appreciate human frailty and affection.
As Ben's health declines, Dory is forced to resume her career and compete in a world dominated by men, and to re-examine her feelings and commitment to her husband. As their lives change, so does their marriage, and Ben and Dory forge a new kind of love, a fierce love that sustains them through everything.
Playing in the Shadows considers the literature engendered by postwar Japanese authors’ robust cultural exchanges with African Americans and African American literature. The Allied Occupation brought an influx of African American soldiers and culture to Japan, which catalyzed the writing of black characters into postwar Japanese literature. This same influx fostered the creation of organizations such as the Kokujin kenkyu no kai (The Japanese Association for Negro Studies) and literary endeavors such as the Kokujin bungaku zenshu (The Complete Anthology of Black Literature). This rich milieu sparked Japanese authors’—Nakagami Kenji and Oe Kenzaburo are two notable examples—interest in reading, interpreting, critiquing, and, ultimately, incorporating the tropes and techniques of African American literature and jazz performance into their own literary works. Such incorporation leads to literary works that are “black” not by virtue of their representations of black characters, but due to their investment in the possibility of technically and intertextually black Japanese literature. Will Bridges argues that these “fictions of race” provide visions of the way that postwar Japanese authors reimagine the ascription of race to bodies—be they bodies of literature, the body politic, or the human body itself.
From jazz fantasy camp to running a movie studio; from a fight between an old guy and a fat guy to a fear of clowns—Carlo Rotella’s Playing in Time delivers good stories full of vivid characters, all told with the unique voice and humor that have garnered Rotella many devoted readers in the New York Times Magazine, Boston Globe, and Washington Post Magazine, among others. The two dozen essays in Playing in Time, some of which have never before been published, revolve around the themes and obsessions that have characterized Rotella’s writing from the start: boxing, music, writers, and cities. What holds them together is Rotella’s unique focus on people, craft, and what floats outside the mainstream. “Playing in time” refers to how people make beauty and meaning while working within the constraints and limits forced on them by life, and in his writing Rotella transforms the craft and beauty he so admires in others into an art of his own.
Rotella is best known for his writings on boxing, and his essays here do not disappoint. It’s a topic that he turns to for its colorful characters, compelling settings, and formidable life lessons both in and out of the ring. He gives us tales of an older boxer who keeps unretiring and a welterweight who is “about as rich and famous as a 147-pound fighter can get these days,” and a hilarious rumination on why Muhammad Ali’s phrase “I am the greatest” began appearing (in the mouth of Epeus) in translations of The Iliad around 1987. His essays on blues, crime and science fiction writers, and urban spaces are equally and deftly engaging, combining an artist’s eye for detail with a scholar’s sense of research, whether taking us to visit detective writer George Pelecanos or to dance with the proprietress of the Baby Doll Polka Club next to Midway Airport in Chicago.
Rotella’s essays are always smart, frequently funny, and consistently surprising. This collection will be welcomed by his many fans and will bring his inimitable style and approach to an even wider audience.
The role of the fool is to provoke the powerful to question their convictions, preferably while avoiding a beating. Fools accomplish this not by hectoring their audience, but by broaching sensitive topics indirectly, often disguising their message in a joke or a tale. Writers and thinkers throughout history have adopted the fool’s approach, and here Ralph Lerner turns to six of them—Thomas More, Francis Bacon, Robert Burton, Pierre Bayle, Benjamin Franklin, and Edward Gibbon—to elucidate the strategies these men employed to persuade the heedless, the zealous, and the overly confident to pause and reconsider.
As Playing the Fool makes plain, all these men lived through periods marked by fanaticism, particularly with regard to religion and its relation to the state. In such a troubled context, advocating on behalf of skepticism and against tyranny could easily lead to censure, or even, as in More’s case, execution. And so, Lerner reveals, these serious thinkers relied on humor to move their readers toward a more reasoned understanding of the world and our place in it. At once erudite and entertaining, Playing the Fool is an eloquently thought-provoking look at the lives and writings of these masterly authors.
The phrase “Harlem in the 1920s” evokes images of the Harlem Renaissance, or of Marcus Garvey and soapbox orators haranguing crowds about politics and race. Yet the most ubiquitous feature of Harlem life between the world wars was the game of “numbers.” Thousands of wagers, usually of a dime or less, would be placed on a daily number derived from U.S. bank statistics. The rewards of “hitting the number,” a 600-to-1 payoff, tempted the ordinary men and women of the Black Metropolis with the chimera of the good life. Playing the Numbers tells the story of this illegal form of gambling and the central role it played in the lives of African Americans who flooded into Harlem in the wake of World War I.
For a dozen years the “numbers game” was one of America’s rare black-owned businesses, turning over tens of millions of dollars every year. The most successful “bankers” were known as Black Kings and Queens, and they lived royally. Yet the very success of “bankers” like Stephanie St. Clair and Casper Holstein attracted Dutch Schultz, Lucky Luciano, and organized crime to the game. By the late 1930s, most of the profits were being siphoned out of Harlem.
Playing the Numbers reveals a unique dimension of African American culture that made not only Harlem but New York City itself the vibrant and energizing metropolis it was. An interactive website allows readers to locate actors and events on Harlem’s streets.
Relations between the sexes was a pervasive concern of ancient Greek thought and literature, extending from considerations of masculine and feminine roles in domestic and political spheres to the organization of the cosmos in a pantheon of gods and goddesses. In Playing the Other Froma Zeitlin explores the diversity and complexity of these interactions through the most influential literary texts of the archaic and classical periods ranging from epic (Homer) and didactic poetry (Hesiod) to the theatrical productions of tragedy and comedy in fifth-century Athens.
Zeitlin demonstrates the indispensable workings of gender as a major factor in Greek social, religious, and cultural practices and in more abstract ideas about nature and culture, public and private, citizen and outsider, self and other, and mortal and immortal. Focusing on the prominence of female figures in these male authored texts, she enlarges our perspective on critical components of political order and civic identity by including issues of sexuality, the body, modes of male and female maturation, and speculations about parentage, kinship, and reproductive strategies. Along with considerations of genre, poetics, and theatrical mimesis, she points to the powerful mythmaking capacities of Greek culture for creating memorable paradigms and dramatic scenarios that far exceed simple notions of male and female opposition and predictable enforcement of social norms. Consisting of both new and revised essays, Playing the Other is a wide-ranging account of a central category of Greek literature by a scholar who pioneered an approach to classics through the perspective of gender.
With over forty years of experience as a sought after diagnostician, Dr. Stuart Mushlin has cracked his share of medical mysteries, ones in which there are bigger gambles than playing the ponies at the track. Some of his patients show up with puzzling symptoms, calling for savvy medical detective work. Others seem to present cut-and-dry cases, but they turn out to be suffering from rare or serious conditions.
In Playing the Ponies and Other Medical Mysteries Solved, Dr. Mushlin shares some of the most intriguing cases he has encountered, revealing the twists and turns of each patient’s diagnosis and treatment process. Along the way, he imparts the secrets to his success as a medical detective—not specialized high-tech equipment, but time-honored techniques like closely observing, touching, and listening to patients. He also candidly describes cases where he got things wrong, providing readers with honest insights into both the joys and dilemmas of his job.
Dr. Mushlin does not just treat diseases; he treats people. And this is not just a book about the ailments he diagnosed; it is also about the scared, uncertain, ailing individuals he helped in the process. Filled with real-life medical stories you’ll have to read to believe, Playing the Ponies is both a suspenseful page-turner and a heartfelt reflection on a life spent caring for patients.
Playing with Earth and Sky reveals the significance astronomy, geography, and aviation had for Marcel Duchamp—widely regarded as the most influential artist of the past fifty years. Duchamp transformed modern art by abandoning unique art objects in favor of experiences that could be both embodied and cerebral. This illuminating study offers new interpretations of Duchamp’s momentous works, from readymades to the early performance art of shaving a comet in his hair. It demonstrates how the immersive spaces and narrative environments of popular science, from museums to the modern planetarium, prepared paths for Duchamp’s nonretinal art. By situating Duchamp’s career within the transatlantic cultural contexts of Dadaism and Surrealism, this book enriches contemporary debates about the historical relationship between art and science. This truly original study will appeal to a broad readership in art history and cultural studies.
How gaming intersects with systems like history, bodies, and code
Why do we so compulsively play video games? Might it have something to do with how gaming affects our emotions? In Playing with Feelings, scholar Aubrey Anable applies affect theory to game studies, arguing that video games let us “rehearse” feelings, states, and emotions that give new tones and textures to our everyday lives and interactions with digital devices. Rather than thinking about video games as an escape from reality, Anable demonstrates how video games—their narratives, aesthetics, and histories—have been intimately tied to our emotional landscape since the emergence of digital computers.
Looking at a wide variety of video games—including mobile games, indie games, art games, and games that have been traditionally neglected by academia—Anable expands our understanding of the ways in which these games and game studies can participate in feminist and queer interventions in digital media culture. She gives a new account of the touchscreen and intimacy with our mobile devices, asking what it means to touch and be touched by a game. She also examines how games played casually throughout the day create meaningful interludes that give us new ways of relating to work in our lives. And Anable reflects on how games allow us to feel differently about what it means to fail.
Playing with Feelings offers provocative arguments for why video games should be seen as the most significant art form of the twenty-first century and gives the humanities passionate, incisive, and daring arguments for why games matter.
Seven voices contribute to this rare glimpse of the work being done on the front lines of the fight for social change in India. Playing with Fire is written in the collective voice of women employed by a large NGO as activists in their communities and is based on diaries, interviews, and conversations among them. Together their personal stories reveal larger themes and questions of sexism, casteism, and communalism, and a startling picture emerges of how NGOs both nourish and stifle local struggles for solidarity. The Hindi edition of the book, Sangtin Yatra, published in 2004, created controversy that resulted in backlash against the authors by their employer. The publication also drew support for the women and instigated a public conversation about the issues exposed in the book. Here, Richa Nagar addresses the dispute in the context of the politics of NGOs and feminist theory, articulating how development ideology employed by aid organizations serves to reinforce the domination of those it claims to help. The Sangtin Writers, Anupamlata, Ramsheela, Reshma Ansari, Richa Singh, Shashibala, Shashi Vaish, Surbala, and Vibha Bajpayee, are grassroots activists and members of a small organization called Sangtin in Uttar Pradesh, India. Richa Nagar teaches women’s studies at the University of Minnesota.
According to the Yup’ik Eskimo of Alaska, fish are not to be played with. It’s an adage instilled in children that’s as basic as looking both ways before crossing the street, but at its heart lies a concern for nature. Yup’ik traditions are tested each generation by this people’s struggle for survival, the admonition not to play with fish has been further tested by the arrival of sport fishing from the south. Worlds are colliding—whose will emerge unscathed? Robert J. Wolfe, a cultural anthropologist from California, spent twenty years in Alaska documenting the traditional hunting and fishing practices of Alaska Natives. During that northern sojourn he discovered much about sustainable relationships between people and nature and about the basis of meaningful communities. In Playing with Fish he has crafted a series of thought-provoking essays on nature, culture, and the human condition that convey unsuspected lessons from the North. In contrasting California and Alaska—worlds far apart yet connected by peoples, cultural traditions, and ecology—Wolfe not only draws distinctions between compass points, he also conveys memorable stories about nature and life. He depicts bears and humans as both neighbors and ancient adversaries, and how cultural views about bears can destroy or preserve those relationships. He shows us Alaskan villages where security is found not in locks but in neighbors, unlike electronically sealed suburban California homes, their lawns studded with security signs. And he describes the peaceful resolution of conflict between California bird hunters and Eskimos of the Bering Sea coast over declining geese numbers, where small humanizing acts tipped the balance in favor of cooperation. Blending insights into subjects as diverse as music and chaos theory, Wolfe challenges readers to reflect on their own personal conduct within nature and within our multicultural world. Playing with Fish is a delightful and insightful collection of modern parables that offer a new way of looking at cultural and ecological issues, reminding us that the road between two worlds is always a two-way street.
The spectacle of modern sport displays all the latest commercial and technological innovations, yet age-old religious concerns still thrive at the stadium. Coaches lead pre-game and post-game prayers, athletes give God the credit for home runs and touchdowns, and fans wave signs with biblical quotations and allusions. Like no other nation on earth, Americans eagerly blend their religion and sports. Playing with God traces this dynamic relationship from the Puritan condemnation of games as sinful in the seventeenth century to the near deification of athletic contests in our own day.
Early religious opposition to competitive sport focused on the immoderate enthusiasm of players and spectators, the betting on scores, and the preference for playing field over church on Sunday. Disapproval gradually gave way to acceptance when "wholesome recreation" for young men in crowded cities and soldiers in faraway fields became a national priority. Protestants led in the readjustment of attitudes toward sport; Catholics, Jews, Mormons, and Muslims followed. The Irish at Notre Dame, outstanding Jews in baseball, Black Muslims in the boxing ring, and born-again athletes at Liberty University represent the numerous negotiations and compromises producing the unique American mixture of religion and sport.
Since the advent of the American toy industry, children’s cultural products have attempted to teach and sell ideas of American identity. By examining cultural products geared towards teaching children American history, Playing With History highlights the changes and constancies in depictions of the American story and ideals of citizenship over the last one hundred years. This book examines political and ideological messages sold to children throughout the twentieth century, tracing the messages conveyed by racist toy banks, early governmental interventions meant to protect the toy industry, influences and pressures surrounding Cold War stories of the western frontier, the fractures visible in the American story at a mid-century history themed amusement park. The study culminates in a look at the successes and limitations of the American Girl Company empire.
Playing with Memories is the first collection of scholarly essays on the work of internationally acclaimed Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin. It offers extensive perspectives on his career to date, from the early experimentation of The Dead Father (1986) to the intensely intimate revelations of My Winnipeg (2007). Featuring new and updated essays from American, Canadian, and Australian scholars, collaborators, and critics, as well as an in-depth interview with Maddin, this collection explores the aesthetics and politics behind Maddin’s work, firmly situating his films within ongoing cultural debates about postmodernism, genre, and national identity.
It has not been easy to value play. Mainstream culture urges us to rush and finish what we are working on to quickly advance to the next task at hand. Too often we must punch our time clock forward without much consideration. As the minutes and hours move, we indirectly communicate both to ourselves and the world no time remains to play; we must work.
Despite that the world around me does not value play, in my creative life, play is necessary. In fact, I have discovered it is the real work I do as an artist and teacher. As a storyteller, writer, teacher, and imaginative thinker, it is play that has produced the most desired results in my life, in my work, and especially, in my creativity. It is in play that we experience who we are and we begin to extend our choices. Play is not consciously prepared; discovery that happens in the moment. It invites reflection. In fact, Plato once shared, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”
In this book, you will discover new ways to work with your story craft and find new story direction using play. Indeed, play is a meaningful way to create and learn.
In both childhood and adult play, the imagination plays a central role in the meaning making process. Although there are many types of play: school-based, recess, sports, this work is rooted in play inviting the writer, storyteller, or imaginative thinker to make choices as they work to create meaning in their work.
I will share how collaborative play can increase your choices when making a story. You will find not only exercises to build your story making and telling skills, but pedagogy of practice to use when called to create story.
The Purpose of Playing providesthe first in-depth introduction to modern critical acting, enabling students, teachers, and professionals to comprehend the different aesthetic possibilities available to today’s actors. The book presents a comparative survey of the major approaches to Western acting since the nineteenth century, their historical evolution, and their relationship to one another. Author Robert Gordon explores six categories of acting: realistic approaches to characterization (Stanislavski, Vakhtangov, Strasberg, Chekhov); the actor as a scenographic instrument (Appia, Craig, Meyerhold); improvisation and games (Copeau, Saint-Denis, Laban, Lecoq); political theater (Brecht, Boal); exploration of the self and other (Artaud, Grotowski); and performance as cultural exchange (Brook, Barba). The synthesis of these principal theories of dramatic performance in a single text offers practitioners the knowledge they need to contextualize their own practice within the wider field of performance, while encouraging theorists and scholars to be more sensitive to the material realities of artistic practice.
“This analysis of major movements and figures from the early nineteenth century to the present is clear, thorough, and penetrating, and its scope across periods, countries, and styles is impressive.”
--Xerxes Mehta, University of Maryland-Baltimore County
Robert Gordon is Reader in Drama, Goldsmiths College, University of London.
Part of a larger project to examine the Elizabethan politics of representation, Louis Montrose's The Purpose of Playing refigures the social and cultural context within which Elizabethan drama was created.
Montrose first locates the public and professional theater within the ideological and material framework of Elizabethan culture. He considers the role of the professional theater and theatricality in the cultural transformation that was concurrent with religious and socio-political change, and then concentrates upon the formal means by which Shakespeare's Elizabethan plays called into question the absolutist assertions of the Elizabethan state. Drawing dramatic examples from the genres of tragedy and history, Montrose finally focuses his cultural-historical perspective on A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The Purpose of Playing elegantly demonstrates how language and literary imagination shape cultural value, belief, and understanding; social distinction and interaction; and political control and contestation.
For the Renaissance, all the world may have been a stage and all its people players, but Shakespeare was also an actor on the literal stage. Meredith Anne Skura asks what it meant to be an actor in Shakespeare's England and shows why a knowledge of actual theatrical practices is essential for understanding both Shakespeare's plays and the theatricality of everyday life in early modern England.
Despite the obvious differences between our theater and Shakespeare's, sixteenth-century testimony suggests that the experience of acting has not changed much over the centuries. Beginning with a psychoanalytically informed account of acting today, Skura shows how this intense and ambivalent experience appears not only in literal references to acting in Shakespearean drama but also in recurring narrative concerns, details of language, and dramatic strategies used to engage the audience. Looking at the plays in the context of both public and private worlds outside the theater, Skura rereads the canon to identify new configurations in the plays and new ways of understanding theatrical self-consciousness in Renaissance England. Rich in theatrical, psychoanalytic, biographical, and historical insight, this book will be invaluable to students of Shakespeare and instructive to all readers interested in the dynamics of performance.