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.”

Ruth Benedict 1887-1948

We at American Ethnography think that the obituary pages of the newspaper are curiously delightful – when we read them we don’t read about death, we read about life, and therefore they leave us with high spirits.

With that in mind, here’s Ruth Benedict’s obituary, penned by Margaret Mead in 1949.

Southern Ute Peyote Rite

“What do you mean a bad thing? Does it hurt your church? Well, then, let them have it. It’s their church.”

From Marvin K. Opler’s The character and history of the Southern Ute peyote rite.

The Peyote Cult

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

Like Primitive Savages …

Browsing through some American wrestling magazines from the 1970’s we stumbled upon the make-believe world of apartment wrestling.

 

The Perfect Whatever Drug

Anthropologist Michael Agar tries to describe what he calls, in an email to American Ethnography, “that first seductive dance with the drug, the song of the opiate siren, the early high times before biology takes over biography.” We have an excerpt from his book Dope Double Agent: The Naked Emperor on Drugs.

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: Martin Hoyem

It’s around noon, late October, in a small town on the northwestern edge of the Colorado Desert. The outside air is clean and fresh, almost cold. A breeze blows through an open balcony door. Indoors, a modestly sized living room is jam-packed with dazzling paraphernalia, effects from the glamorous past of the lady who lives here. She’s worked in burlesque since the early 1960s.

Read the rest of our interview with Satan’s Angel here.

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: Dizzy Gillespie Afro

Today we’re digging Afro by Dizzy Gillespie.

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