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Jack Halberstam

Jack Halberstam loves falsettos in men, women, and everyone else. Kate Bush is just the latest in a long line of falsetto-voiced singers (Sylvester, Prince, Maxwell, Antony Hegarty, Justin Timberlake, Thom Yorke) that Jack has obsessed over in the past few decades. What this means, Freud only knows, but Jack is delighted to be able to legitimately indulge his continued love for the falsetto at EMP this year given the theme of “the voice.” Jack’s engagement with Bush’s song cycle in “the ninth wave” forms part of his new book in progress, Wild Thing: Unart, Queer Theory and Beyond. He has written some other books and hopes that some of them were wild too. Twitter: @JHalberstam

“Roundtable: Queer DisEmbodiments: Voice, Sexuality, Synchronization”
Though most of us can readily admit to hearing “sexy” voices, fewer of us go out on a limb to divine the sexuality behind that voice, to vocally recognize—and in effect synchronize—the sound of someone’s voice with our expectations about the bodies who are its sources. This roundtable discussion considers the many ways in which bodies resound queerly, as well as how queer voices leave bodies behind altogether by inhabiting other bodies, and creating dazzling asymmetries between source, sound and sex(uality). From the ethereal as well as irritating murmurs of Kate Bush’s The Ninth Wave (Halberstam), to Sia’s ventriloquial automatons, including her dancing child avatar, Maggie Ziegler (Kessler); to the dispassionate, polyamorous disco rapture of Grace Jones’ voice (McMillan); to the breathy, helium seductions of nerdy, androgynous crooners like Green Gartside of Scritti Politti and Michelle Chamuel from NBC’s The Voice (Tongson); to the British dance band Years and Years’ uncanny channeling of black women’s voices (Nyong’o), this roundtable moves in and out of bodies in an effort to understand the technologies of queer vocalization. We invite everyone to hear queerly with us and, in the words of a recent exhibit curated by Jeanne Vaccaro at Cooper Union, to “Bring Your Own Body”—even if it isn’t yours.

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