In the Muse has been known to make unlikely connections along the musical spectrum, from Lawrence Welk to the Velvet Underground, from Paul Williams to DJ Shadow. And if you have a second, we’ll explain how the disco-era novelty singles of Rick Dees, (the bell-bottomed Jekyll and Hyde of “Disco Duck;” “Bigfoot,” which imagines that the mating call of the cryptozoological beast is “Baby baby let’s boogie”) celebrate the kind of body and identity transformation espoused by Davids Cronenberg, Johanson, and Bowie.
But the king of associative leaps is Greil Marcus, whose freewheeling tome Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century, weaves connective tissue between the Sex Pistols and the Situationists, Elvis Costello and Dada poet Walter Mehring – and that’s just in the prologue! (A compilation CD later issued as a companion to the book includes the fantastic pairing of Marie Osmond reciting Hugo Ball’s sound poem “Karawane.”)
We can’t promise to sustain such a level of strange bedfellows, but join us next Thursday as culture critic and popular music scholar Greil Marcus brings his omnivorous intellect to the Whittall Pavilion with the lecture, “Sam McGee’s Railroad Blues and Other Visions of the Republic.” Marcus will also sign copies of his new book, collecting his writing on Bob Dylan spanning five decades. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Music Division and the American Folklife Center, whose collections are full of the sounds, like Woody Guthrie, that inspired Bob Dylan. Visit the Whittall Pavilion in the Jefferson Building on Thursday, October 21 at 6:15 p.m. No tickets are required. Request ADA accommodation five days in advance at (202) 707-6362 or at ada[at]loc.gov. For general information, call Solomon Haile Selassie at (292) 707-5503.