If Manhattan’s reputedly crumbling subway system really did collapse into the ground underneath New York University this weekend, the world would face a frightening loss of future discourses on situationist spectacle in Nicki Minaj and treatises on the lost wax poetics of early recorded cylinder music.
The 11th annual Experience Music Project Pop Conference takes place this weekend in downtown Manhattan, drawing some 340 scholars, journalists, artists and activists to pontificate and more than 2,000 dedicated ears. It’s the event’s first time on the East Coast, and by far its biggest conference yet. Numbers for advance registrants were more than triple the previous high.
Three days of panels and punditry commenced a bit wanly Thursday night as an impressive quartet of musicians -- Angelique Kidjo, Esperanza Spalding, Santigold, and Heems from Das Racist --politely answered questions about their experiences as urban dwellers and listeners, posed by former Los Angeles Times pop critic Ann Powers. Pop Con’s theme this year is "Sounds of the City."
“I speak eight different languages,” the Benin-born Kidjo said, sparking the discussion with her great laugh. “I learned them all through music.”