RDS Volume 4, No. 2

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    Les Paul at 91
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa -- Center on Disability Studies, 2008) Lubet, Alex
    Guitar legend Les Paul continues to perform to enthusiastic audiences as a nonagenarian whose age and impairments impact his playing technique. This essay describes the exemplary sociocultural relations that permit Paul, a person with disabilities largely a function of advanced age, to continue his career as a productive, respected, and affectionately esteemed member of a community.
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    Music to My (Deaf) Ears: The Installation Work of Joseph Grigely
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa -- Center on Disability Studies, 2008) Millett, Ann
    The installations of artist and literary theorist Joseph Grigely compose memories, mannerisms, messages, (mis)communications, and music to explore the perceptions of and interfaces between deaf and non-deaf worlds. Grigely has been deaf since the age of ten. His visual and literary works exhibit memory and communication as multi-sensual and fragmented, while they deconstruct stereotypes of deafness.
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    “Hear Us Shout:” Music Celebrating Disability Pride and Liberation
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa -- Center on Disability Studies, 2008) Brown, Steven E.
    An exploration of a sampling of music about disability issues, primarily from musicians with disabilities. The focus of the music discussed in this article is protest, power, oppression, and resilience. References and websites for the musicians discussed are included when available.
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    People with Disabilities Get Ready: Curtis Mayfield in the 1990s
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa -- Center on Disability Studies, 2008) Pence, Ray
    This article breaks with precedent by emphasizing disability’s role in the life and work of Curtis Mayfield (1942-1999) and by arguing that his experience of quadriplegia had both positive and difficult dimensions. Analysis focuses on Mayfield’s representation by journalists and other writers in the 1990s, and on how Mayfield answered their portrayals as an interview subject and as a musician with his final studio album New World Order (1996). Considered within the whole of Mayfield’s career, quadriplegia is revealed as one among many difficulties that he answered with critical positive thinking and powerful music.
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    Transformer Man: An Exploration of Disability in Neil Young’s Life and Music
    (University of Hawaii at Manoa -- Center on Disability Studies, 2008) Stein, Isaac
    This article begins with a short personal narrative of my own struggles growing up with a form of cerebral palsy (right hemiplegia), and the way music – and in particular Neil Young’s songs – provided a crucial emotional and cathartic outlet for me. I then examine Neil Young’s intimate personal connection with disability, including his own struggles with polio and epilepsy and his experiences raising his two sons Zeke and Ben, both of whom have cerebral palsy (one milder, one quite severe). I delve into many of Neil’s songs that either subtly or explicitly explore issues of disability and difference, such as Mr. Soul and Transformer Man. I conclude by recounting my experience attending the Bridge School Benefit, an annual concert put on by Neil and his wife Pegi to raise funds for the school they founded for disabled children. In sum, this article will attempt to capture something of the way in which Neil Young and other artists have created music that is both personally therapeutic and collectively empowering for members of the disabled community.