America's Music Film & Discussion: Rock

Wednesday April 24, 2013: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm -- Downtown Library: Multi-Purpose Room

Experience the history of American popular music when AADL presents America's Music: A Film History of Our Popular Music from Blues to Bluegrass to Broadway. This eight-week series features documentary film screenings and discussions at the Downtown Library focusing on twentieth-century American popular music. Throughout the series, related concerts performed by some of the area's most prominent musicians will be presented both at the Library and at Kerrytown Concert House.

Mark Clague, Associate Professor of Musicology and Director of Research at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, leads a screening and discussion focusing on the film "The History of Rock n Roll: Episode 6, Plugging In." This episode from the 1995 Emmy-nominated series explores the seismic shifts in rock music that changed 1960's American culture. The film combines electrifying performance footage with commentary from critics and musicians including Arlo Guthrie, Judi Collins, Bruce Springsteen and Pete Townsend.

A fateful meeting between Bob Dylan and the Beatles in London moved the Beatles toward greater experimentation with lyrics, and led Dylan to expand musically. His decision to 'go electric' at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival marked a turning point in rock history and revolutionized the power of rock music to communicate ideas.

The film also chronicles the emergence of 60's California groups. The Beach Boys' musically intricate Pet Sounds proved pop music could be as sophisticated as classical. As albums became artworks and the rise of FM radio showcased album cuts rather than hit singles, rock moved further toward the level of art. The rise of guitarist Jimi Hendrix continued to push rock's boundaries. The Monterey Pop Festival of 1967, where Hendrix and The Who brought a new level of theatrical showmanship to their performances, heralded the emergence of the rock concert as an art form.

The Ann Arbor District Library is one of fifty sites nationwide to host this program series, which is a project by the Tribeca Film Institute in collaboration with the American Library Association, Tribeca Flashpoint, and the Society for American Music. America's Music has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor. The AADL series is also co-sponsored by The Friends of the Ann Arbor District Library, Kerrytown Concert House, UMS and WCBN 88.3 FM.

A related concert featuring Saturday Looks Good To Me will be held two days before this event, at 7:00 pm in the Downtown Library Multi-Purpose Room on Monday, April 22.