As American studies professor and Janis Joplin biographer (Scars of Sweet Paradise) Echols succinctly states, Nothing seems to conjure up the seventies quite so effectively as disco. But while the decade's weltanschauung is often dismissed as merely polyester and platform heels, Echols aims for—and thoroughly achieves—a range of higher cultural insights. Using an encyclopedic knowledge of the eras' biggest stars, she shows how all sorts of musical disco styles played a central role in broadening the contours of blackness, femininity, and male homosexuality in America. She brilliantly explores the many ways that early disco clubs created new spaces where gay men could safely come together in a large crowd, at the same time often masking an early strain of the racial and class exclusion that dominated disco's later years. She brings to light the influence of underground legends such as club deejay Tom Moulton, who first remixed popular records to make them longer for dancing and created the model for the 12-inch, extended play disco single. Best of all is Echols's revelatory look at how the critique of racism and sexism in the film Saturday Night Fever offers a richer portrait of the disco seventies than its critics have granted. (Nov.)
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Only nominally about the watered-down funk music that was disco, Echols’ history instead focuses on disco’s social effects, particularly the rise of gay consciousness and the mainstreaming of the gay rights movement. Echols proclaims that she likes disco and thinks if others gave it half a chance, they would, too. Be that as it may, she knows her dancin’-fool stuff. She makes a convincing case for disco’s far-reaching cultural legacies, and her discussion of the career arc of the Village People is an excellent vehicle for examining the phenomenon of much of mainstream America embracing disco while blithely ignoring the gay subtext of scads of disco songs. Her dissections of the trials and tribulations of disco artists in general and Donna Summer in particular are telling and well presented. All in all, if one feels the need to be knowledgeable about the rise and fall of the disco lifestyle and how elements of the once-reviled music genre still act upon American culture today—this is the goods. --Mike Tribby --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Editorial Reviews
This book was a nice nostalgic journey back in time to my youth. I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of the Disco Era.Published on March 13, 2012 by DMoney
Aren't people supposed to be paid for writing reviews? I think the same goes for taking pictures. It's a service you are asking me to do for free, yet by"helping other customers" I... Read morePublished on April 12, 2011 by Natle
Echols writes an amateurish, pre-screened dissertation that is painful in some areas. She refers to the Italian-American singer Jerry "Vail" - it's Jerry VALE! Read morePublished on June 5, 2010 by Mweep Mwow
"Hot Stuff" is on the ROROTOKO list of cutting-edge intellectual nonfiction. Professor Echols' book interview ran here as the cover feature on March 29, 2010.Published on March 29, 2010 by ROROTOKO