FYI for reader BEN MERLISS: https://www.thevideobeat.com/music-documentaries/brian-epstein-story-1-2.html Bought it several years ago. Good quality. Pretty certain it's the original UK version.

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Interesting to hear you speak on T.D. Rice. I drew a similar conclusion from Lhamon's "Jump Jim Crow" in New Literary History, and Lott's idea that blackface was (paraphrasing), 'a symbolic resolution to an intractable social dilemma'--negotiating racism through "magic," or magical thinking, mimesis.

On the subject of magical thinking, I have a dilemma of my own: there's an apocryphal story that Rice was imitating a "Jim Crow" dance he once saw performed by an Afro-American stablehand, and the stablehand was in turn imitating an Afro-American trickster figure, the Crow. In other words, the racial imitation act (blackface, and later rock n' roll) that eventually led to the end of Jim Crow segregation, and is once again a signifier for racism itself, was derived from an Afro-American trickster myth.

This seems too sublimely poetic and ironic to be true. I'm tempted to believe that Rice was unwittingly attracted to the symbolic power of a trickster (a mediator like Skip Gates' Elegba, wearing a black-and-white mask in Signifying Monkey). However it seems far more plausible that I'm the one attracted to magical thinking--projecting myths and anthropological concepts onto a minstrel performer. That may be how the apocryphal story about Rice imitating a stablehand imitating the Crow got started in the first place.

It's my understanding that--regardless of how Rice stumbled upon it--Jim Crow was an actual character in Afro-American lore, and he was named after a West African trickster figure, the Crow.

So how to explain the incredible coincidence that the inspiration for Rice's "Jim Crow," which stirred-up talk of abolition, came to signify racial segregation, then upended it, and is now synonymous with racism itself, was an African trickster figure? Is this historical accuracy, or apocrypha?

Please help. I'm stuck in Ouroboros, the snake is eating its tail. Tell me where to read.

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Yeah, thanks for the book titles on Minstrel music.

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Is Letter in the Ether going to merge with greilmarcus.net? Or repost on it?

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Big thanks to Steve O’Neill for continuing the CanCon conversation and for unearthing the Battered Wives for me, “Lover’s Balls” is incredible.

I am also a big fan of “Any Other Way” and her live cuts off that recent compilation are electric. I wish the oldies stations were still that creative to throw those on the air.

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