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Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music

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When it first appeared in the early 1970s, glam rock not only caused a stir among audiences and performers, it also stood counterculture and psychedelic rock on their heads. Glam rock was outrageous and overtly theatrical, and its unforgettable characters-adorned with flamboyant costumes and heavy makeup and accompanied by elaborately constructed sets-were personified by p When it first appeared in the early 1970s, glam rock not only caused a stir among audiences and performers, it also stood counterculture and psychedelic rock on their heads. Glam rock was outrageous and overtly theatrical, and its unforgettable characters-adorned with flamboyant costumes and heavy makeup and accompanied by elaborately constructed sets-were personified by performers such as Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, and Suzi Quatro. A sea change in rock performance had occurred. Yet glam was as much about substance as style, and Performing Glam Rock delves into the many ways glam paved the way for new explorations of identity in terms of gender, sexuality, and performance. Philip Auslander positions glam historically and examines it as a set of performance strategies, exploring the ways in which glam rock-while celebrating the showmanship of 1950s rock and roll-began to undermine rock's adherence to the ideology of authenticity in the late 1960s. In this important study of a too-often-overlooked phenomenon, Auslander takes a fresh look at the genius of the glam movement and introduces glam to a new generation of performance enthusiasts and scholars alike. Philip Auslander is Professor in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology and author of numerous books, including Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture and Presence and Resistance: Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary American Performance. He is editor of the major reference work Performance: Critical Concepts and coeditor, with Carrie Sandahl, of Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance.


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When it first appeared in the early 1970s, glam rock not only caused a stir among audiences and performers, it also stood counterculture and psychedelic rock on their heads. Glam rock was outrageous and overtly theatrical, and its unforgettable characters-adorned with flamboyant costumes and heavy makeup and accompanied by elaborately constructed sets-were personified by p When it first appeared in the early 1970s, glam rock not only caused a stir among audiences and performers, it also stood counterculture and psychedelic rock on their heads. Glam rock was outrageous and overtly theatrical, and its unforgettable characters-adorned with flamboyant costumes and heavy makeup and accompanied by elaborately constructed sets-were personified by performers such as Marc Bolan, David Bowie, Bryan Ferry, and Suzi Quatro. A sea change in rock performance had occurred. Yet glam was as much about substance as style, and Performing Glam Rock delves into the many ways glam paved the way for new explorations of identity in terms of gender, sexuality, and performance. Philip Auslander positions glam historically and examines it as a set of performance strategies, exploring the ways in which glam rock-while celebrating the showmanship of 1950s rock and roll-began to undermine rock's adherence to the ideology of authenticity in the late 1960s. In this important study of a too-often-overlooked phenomenon, Auslander takes a fresh look at the genius of the glam movement and introduces glam to a new generation of performance enthusiasts and scholars alike. Philip Auslander is Professor in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology and author of numerous books, including Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture and Presence and Resistance: Postmodernism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary American Performance. He is editor of the major reference work Performance: Critical Concepts and coeditor, with Carrie Sandahl, of Bodies in Commotion: Disability and Performance.

30 review for Performing Glam Rock: Gender and Theatricality in Popular Music

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dani

    Read this for my thesis research on gender bending in Japanese Visual Kei music. I mean cmon, academic research with such an amazing front cover?!

  2. 5 out of 5

    miles honey

    this book is a revelation. i picked it up on a whim when i was in the throes of velvet goldmine-induced glam passion, expecting to skim a page or two and sheepishly toss it in the book return. instead, after getting into the meat of the introduction, i was captivated. it DID help that auslander starts right off with an in-depth analysis of marc bolan's contributions to glam—if he'd begun anywhere else he might have lost me, but i'll read anything t. rex. be warned: this is a (relatively) VERY ac this book is a revelation. i picked it up on a whim when i was in the throes of velvet goldmine-induced glam passion, expecting to skim a page or two and sheepishly toss it in the book return. instead, after getting into the meat of the introduction, i was captivated. it DID help that auslander starts right off with an in-depth analysis of marc bolan's contributions to glam—if he'd begun anywhere else he might have lost me, but i'll read anything t. rex. be warned: this is a (relatively) VERY academic book and if you're not in love with the subject matter it may be dry as fuck. it's hard to imagine a great number of people reading this for fun—it's footnoted to hell and written pretty formally. not recommended for fans of 'our band could be your life' and co. BUT if you love glam rock and are interested in gender analysis, this book will make your day. i learned a lot from it and i had a ton of fun reading it, highly recommended.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Karen Jean Martinson

    Good stuff. Obliquely useful to my El Vez research, although I think EV does something started in Glam, but that far exceeds it - perhaps because he isn't trying to be a rock star, but rather he uses the rock star idiom to create his art. Good stuff. Obliquely useful to my El Vez research, although I think EV does something started in Glam, but that far exceeds it - perhaps because he isn't trying to be a rock star, but rather he uses the rock star idiom to create his art.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Thomas

  5. 5 out of 5

    Anya

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erin

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pierre

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melmoth

  9. 4 out of 5

    Megan Murdie

  10. 5 out of 5

    Huilen S.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ashleigh Williams

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lissock

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rosemary

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amanda Roslansky

  16. 4 out of 5

    Tiny Pants

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tootle Darling

  18. 5 out of 5

    Niklas Heed ollas

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  20. 4 out of 5

    chimchooree

  21. 4 out of 5

    Domenica

  22. 5 out of 5

    Roxy

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marie Pascale Geist

  24. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

  25. 5 out of 5

    Al

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hollowkid

  27. 4 out of 5

    Martin

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sandra Szwarc

  29. 4 out of 5

    Allison

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rafael Munia

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