Lowrider car parked in garage. Water damage on the garage walls behind the car. Black and white poster showin Jim Morrison on garage wall, hung sideways. Some spraypainted black tag on the wall. Finger of photographer slightly covering camera lens.

Lowrider

Los Angeles, 2005. (The photo is not from the book referred to in the text to the right.)

Photo: Martin Høyem

 

Lowrider Space

We take a special interest in scientific works on outlaw aesthetics here at American Ethnography Quasimonthly. And we also love us some writing on car customization. Thus, when we heard about Ben Chappell’s Lowrider Space, a new publication from the University of Texas Press, we perked up: any academic hep cat who takes a look at lowriders is cool, calm, and a solid wig as far as we’re concerned.

Lowrider Space draws on Chappell’s participant observation fieldwork among car clubs in Austin, Texas. He describes how the lowrider culture creates a social space for its participants, and he points to the value of this space for a group of people who – because of their social status in the society they live in – are often denied access to other spaces.

It’s a cool piece of research, and we’re stoked to share with you an excerpt from the book. Here’s “Regulating Lowrider Space.”

The Peyote Cult

We’ve dug out for you, Morris Edward Opler’s review of Weston La Barre’s The Peyote Cult from 1939.

Posada’s Calaveras

We’ve dug out some of our favorite prints by legendary Mexican engraver José Guadalupe Posada.

Waltz and Swing: The Downfall of American Society

Patsy Holden writes about the history of the Waltz and Swing, both once considered “a nuisance and the downfall of American society.”

The World of Lucha Libre

Anthropologist Heather Levi apprenticed with a retired luchador (wrestler) in Mexico City. She also observed live lucha libre events and interviewed wrestlers, referees, officials, promoters, and reporters, and gathered her insights in a beautiful work of ethnography, The World of Lucha Libre.

Here is an excerpt from Levi’s book.

 

Espectacular de lucha libre

Through hundreds and hundreds of photos on 296 beautiful pages, Lourdes Grobet’s work makes for a thick visual description of the Mexican wrestling scene. I find myself going back to this book, again and again, to engulf myself in the life steaming from its pages.

What else?

Have you got some good stuff you think American Eth­no­gra­phy Quasi­monthly should cover? Please send us an email and tell us about it!

Proposal to perfume within your region

“It is my wish to book with you for a group of 10 students coming from Germany, as they are preparing for their contracted proposal to perfume within your region.”

More on our feedback page.

 

Photo: George Eaton Simpson, 1937.
From National Anthropological Archives, Smithsonian Institution [93-14-1051]

We spilled our best premium rum on the ground. And then, with fire in our heart, we played the bongos till our fingers bled. Offerings, you should know, to Papa Legba – the gatekeeper, the facilitator of communication, the one who greases speech and understanding. A lot of rum and drum went down. But this is what we do for our readers! Ah, yes, this is what we do. Because later, when we dived into the archives, what didn’t we find? A long-forgotten 1940 article by George Eaton Simpson, sociologist and anthropologist, describing a voodoo ceremony in Northern Haiti. And the only reason we found this thing down there in them dusty shelves was all that spilling of rum. And the drumming. And the bleeding a bit. Now we offer the article to you, dear reader. It’s your turn to spill rum. It’s your turn to drum. And then, later, perhaps you’ll read: The vodun service in Northern Haiti.

What’s all this, then?
Black and white pen drawing of car interior with chain steering wheel.

American Ethnography is a stranger in a 1972 Riviera, sunburst yellow banged up and dirty, raving coffee madness cruising Main Street of the quiet desert town at 15 miles an hour …”

 
Record sleeve art: Bob Marley and the Wailers Soul Rebels

Today we’re digging Soul Rebels by Bob Marley and the Wailers.

amazon | iTunes


 
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