- Hardcover: 338 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (March 29, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393066754
- ISBN-13: 978-0393066753
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 14 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,246,209 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture Hardcover – March 29, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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
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Top customer reviews
What it meant socially to different groups, how it changed US culture and values, the lifestyles behind the music, and best of all, the music itself.
Copious footnotes, and even includes a DJ setlist!
Great all-encompassing history of disco, with special focus on disco and GLBT, disco and women, and disco and Black Americans.