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Everybody’s Doin’ It: Sex, Music and Dance in Victorian New York
November 18, 2019 @ 6:15 pm - 8:00 pm$5 – $10
Prostitution was big business in New York up to World War I, and where sex workers plied their trade, there was generally dancing and music. Musicologist and author Dale Cockrell’s lecture, based on his new book, Everybody’s Doin’ It: Sex, Music, and Dance in New York, 1840-1917 (W. W. Norton), will explore New York’s Victorian meeting places where sex, drink, music and dance mingled. Spirited live music, whether played by a single pianist or a small band, was enjoyed nightly in hundreds of basement dives, dance halls, brothels and concert saloons. Crowds of multiethnic men and women danced wildly to intoxicating music—to the horror of the moralistic elite. This rollicking demimonde drove innovative new music, including ragtime and jazz, and the development of risqué new dance styles. Cockrell’s talk will illuminate the how, why and where of America’s popular music and dance, and trace a buoyant journey from downtown Five Points to midtown Tin Pan Alley and all the way to Harlem.