Continuing his analysis of the New York City party scene, Tim Lawrence focuses on the early 1980s, a largely neglected period that was characterised by its creativity, intensity and integration. Drawing on his new book, Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83, he outlines how the period witnessed the discreet sounds of disco, punk, rock, rap and dub-reggae give way to an array of mutant combinations. He also explores how the city’s party venues became multi-sensory hubs that regularly combined DJing, live performance, performance art, art, video, film and immersive happenings. What were the economic and social conditions that gave rise to this era of hybrid activity? How did participants challenge dominant strands of hetero- and homonormativity? And how did changing circumstances, from creeping neoliberalism to the spread of AIDS, augur its premature end?
Tim Lawrence is the author of Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-83 (2016) as well as Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-79 (2003) and Hold On to Your Dreams: Arthur Russell and the Downtown Music Scene, 1973-92 (2009), all published by Duke University Press. He is a professor of Cultural Studies at the University of East London, co-director and co-founder of the Centre of Cultural Studies Research, and a co-founder of Lucky Cloud Sound System, www.timlawrence.info.
Sponsored by LGBT Studies, with generous support from the Wallace-Sexton Fund for LGBT Studies