Joseph Vogel, author, “Man in the Music: The Creative Life and Work of Michael Jackson”
Joseph Vogel, a Ph.D. student at the University of Rochester, was featured in Fast Start in January shortly after his book was published by Sterling. He has been busy since then promoting the book, consulting and working on his dissertation.
What’s new with the book distribution?
“Man in the Music” has done really well so far. This past summer, translated editions in Japanese and Italian were released. A couple of other translations are in the works.
Have you given talks about your book? I spoke at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland back in June, which was a great experience. Just a couple of weeks ago I spoke at a conference in Michael’s hometown of Gary, Ind. Director Spike Lee had me speak to his film class at New York University last spring.
Tell us about the project you are involved in with Spike Lee.
Spike called me several months ago to be a consultant for the “Bad 25” documentary, which explores the making of Michael Jackson’s classic 1987 album, “Bad.” The documentary premiered at the Venice Film Festival Aug. 31; it’s received standing ovations and great reviews so far. It also will show in Paris and London before making its way to the Toronto Film Festival in mid-September, where it will be shown at 9 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Ryerson Theatre and noon Sept. 16 at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema. The TV debut will be on Thanksgiving on ABC.
What is your part in it?
In addition to consulting, Spike also interviewed me a couple of times for the film.
What sort of writing do you do for The Atlantic?
I mostly do in-depth pieces that detail behind-the-scenes histories of songs, demos or albums, or that address cultural issues that interest me.
Any other news or projects since the article ran?
I’ve mostly been engaged in studying, researching and writing at the University of Rochester. I’m working on my dissertation, which includes chapters on James Baldwin, Michael Jackson and Spike Lee, among others. The working title is “At the Cross: Race, Masculinity and Representation in the American Imaginary.”
Another exciting note: My book is being taught at Duke University this fall in a class by Mark Anthony Neal, professor of black popular culture. He is the founder of the “NewBlackMan” blog and a frequent commentator on National Public Radio.
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