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I start my essay with a recount of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennetts’ final show at Radio City Music Hall. The class is called ‘Performance in the City’ and we discuss NYC being a building block of performance and performers. When I submitted my prompt to the teacher, he said:
I think this is such a great project to take on, and such an interesting question to be asking. I also love that you can ground this line of questioning in a singular performance, in Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett live at Radio City Music Hall, such an emblematic show of the spectacular, theatrical quality of musical performance in this city but also as you so aptly recognize with such an intimate connection with the small bars/performance venues that both of these artists would frequent to study the forms of music they topped the charts with. There’s a really interesting relationship here between the underground and the above (I guess of course I will say this in this language because that’s also in large part what I’ll be writing my dissertation on – though with different objects of study), thinking about the underground as a space where popular music is formed through experimentation and then reaches these grand stages through exactly this process your describing- deep study by artists like Gaga and Bennett who are then backed by large production teams and labels to perform the music on such a larger and more grand scale. I’m also thinking here of the racial piece of this, the whiteness of Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett versus the blackness of the jazz/popular music that they are performing, and the ways these structures of racialization play into who is in the small clubs and who is at Radio City Music Hall.
-The essay is more about the city as a whole than the biography of the performers; However, they are great examples of New York born performers of different generations brought together through jazz.
-How Radio City Musical Hall became an iconic venue. Why?
-What about the underground scene of jazz- who makes it and who doesnt. why? etc. etc. it can take many turns.
-must pull from the three files. outside research and sources are encouraged as well.
thank you.

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