Research Journal 3-30-2009


Monday, March 30, 2009

Today I spent some more time perusing The Flat Hat and The Virginia Gazette from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. I am still striking out on information about the Rainbow Room. It looks like I will have to rely solely on interviews to gather information about this venue, which is very intriguing to me. I did find a recent article from The Virginia Informer that says the basement of what is now the Cheese Shop used to be a disco hall. This information is corroborated by Sharon Scruggs’ in-class interview.

A few chunks of time are set up when Maya, Ash, and I are available to interview Glen Gormley. Maya is in touch with Glen and we will hopefully solidify an interview time in the next few days.

(45 minutes)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Exchanged emails with Maya and Ash. Maya has done a great job at trying to quickly set up an interview with Glen Gormley, owner of the Green Leafe. It appears this may happen in the near future, so in the next few days I will be working on a list of questions for him. Most of my questioning will be focused on the Green Leafe Underground, which is not opening until the fall, but will be a venue for live music and dancing.

Looked up J.M. Randall’s performance schedule and decided to go next Saturday, April 4, to see The Buddy Parker Band, who are from Virginia Beach and perform somewhat regularly at J.M. Randalls. They have been playing in the Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads region since 1985.

(20-30 minutes)

Spent most of this day working on other assignments for Monday.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Read another chapter in Barry Shank’s book. The chapter was entitled “The Performance of Signifying Practice.” It presented some potentially useful theories about the formation of music scenes, their relationship with universities, and the role of youth in the Austin music scene.

(75 minutes)

Friday, March 27, 2009

I went to Swem and checked out Barry Shank’s book entitled Dissonant Identities: The Rock ‘n’ Roll Scene in Austin, Texas. This is a book Prof. Knight suggested when I expressed my interest in having a significant theoretical aspect to my final paper. I read through a few of the chapters, and found some information that I will definitely keep in mind when conducting my interviews and other research. I took notes and placed tabs on pages with intriguing points.

The first chapter of the book is called “The Imaginary Tourist: An Introduction to Austin’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Scene.” While Austin is not comparable to Williamsburg in many ways, some of the theories here can still be useful. The University of Texas, according to Shank, has a profound influence on Austin’s music scene. The relationship between a college and its town’s music scene is certainly applicable in my research. He also discusses how regional segregation affects the formation of a city’s music scene. The existence of record stores is also a very important aspect of Austin’s music scene, which led me to believe I should probably try to talk to someone at Plan 9 Music on Monticello Ave.

The other interesting chapter I read was entitled, “Punk Rock at Raul’s: The Performance of Contradiction.” This is an article that focuses on one venue, which no longer exists, called Raul’s. I was a bit disappointed that this didn’t provide me with more useful information, but it did talk about the relationship between Austin’s music scene and the entertainment and mainstream press. I will be interested to see how local venues advertise and to what extent local press advocates such venues.

(2 hours)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I met with Prof. Knight and Jenna to discuss my project. It was decided that my project would be, to some extent, an extension of Kevin Leslie’s project from last year. While his report covered music up until about 1975, I will try to survey the music scene in the years since then.

(30 minutes)

I found an article in The Flat Hat that discussed the upcoming opening of The Green Leafe Underground, which will be a venue for performance and dancing aimed specifically at college students. I will be pursuing an interview with Lindsey Gormley, who is quoted often in this article and seems to be most involved with planning for this Green Leafe venue. I will also try to contact Samantha Greenwood of the Class of 2009, because she worked on the Underground’s marketing campaign as part of a class project. It will be interesting to hear about some of the group’s strategies.

I went to Swem Library and began searching through Flat Hat and Virginia Gazette issues from the late 1970’s. I was particularly looking for information about the Rainbow Room, which Sharon Scruggs mentioned, and Glenn Gormley mentions in the recent Flat Hat article about the Underground. In the venue that will be the Underground, there used to be a place called The Rainbow Room. I had no luck finding such information.

(1 hour)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I read an article in Andy Bennet’s book Popular Music and Youth Culture: Music, Identity, and Place. The article was entitled “The Benwell Floyd: Local Live Music, Sociality and the Politics of Musical Taste.” This was a case study on a Pink Floyd cover band from Newcastle, England in the 1980’s. Bennet proposes a theory that financial affluence of a community can affect its music scene. He quotes Sara Cohen in this discussion of why the Liverpool music scene thrives. She says that participation in a music scene is normal “in a city where the attitude of many young people was that you might as well pick up a guitar as take exams, since your chances of finding full-time occupation from either were just the same…” This theory, I think, is going to become a major part of my research, since Williamsburg is a fairly prosperous community and is home to little or no music scene.

(1 hour)


The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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