Americanist Dinner Forum: "Excavating Operatic Gentrification: Sound "Resources," Intertextual Urban Spaces, or Neocolonialism?"

September 27, 2018

6:30pm - 8:00pm

DUC 234

Join Megan Steigerwald Ille, American Culture Studies Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Cultures as she presents at the first dinner of the 2018/19 academic year.  

Performed in limousines, under bridges, and on top of buildings across L.A and transmitted by audience members via livestream, The Industry's opera Hopscotch (2015) challenges conventions of operatic spectatorship and place. Although reviewers of the opera (Ross, Waleson) positioned works like Hopscotch as a panacea to bourgeois stereotypes of the operatic genre—a move out of the inaccessible house and into the space of the street—these works are far from utopian for all spectators. In fact, anti-gentrification protests organized by Serve the People LA (STPLA) in Hollenbeck Park disrupted multiple performances of Hopscotch. While director Yuval Sharon deliberately staged the Hollenbeck Park scene in a way that was meant to reflect the surrounding neighborhood, some onlookers interpreted this choice as a sign of neocolonialist appropriation and aggression  The protests reveal that for some, alternative works are mediated not only by genre, technology, and place, but also by whiteness, class, and questions of access. In this paper and accompanying talk, I examine conflicting interpretations of the Hollenbeck Park performances and notions of gentrification, mobility, and the experience economy more broadly.  

The Americanist Dinner Fora are the flagship intellectual event for the AMCS community. Each month features a new set of speakers exploring a topic relevant to American Studies through the medium of a selected reading. The reading will be circulated the week prior. AMCS graduate students are expected to attend each of the fora, and AMCS Faculty are strongly encouraged to attend.

RSVPs are due to Terri Behr by September 25th.


Megan Steigerwald Ille, American Culture Studies Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Cultures

key contact

Contact the AMCS office for more information: