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By Barbara Ehrenreich

"Fascinating . . . An admirably lucid, level-headed historical past of outbreaks of pleasure from Dionysus to the thankful Dead."--Terry Eagleton, The Nation

Widely praised as "impressive" (The Washington publish publication World), "ambitious" (The Wall road Journal), and "alluring" (The l. a. Times), Dancing within the Streets explores a human impulse that has been so successfully suppressed that we lack even a time period for it: the will for collective pleasure, traditionally expressed in revels of feasting, costuming, and dancing.

Drawing on a wealth of heritage and anthropology, Barbara Ehrenreich uncovers the origins of communal social gathering in human biology and tradition. From the earliest orgiastic Mesopotamian rites to the medieval perform of Christianity as a "danced religion" and the transgressive freedoms of carnival, she demonstrates that mass festivities have lengthy been crucial to the Western culture. In fresh centuries, this festive culture has been repressed, cruelly and infrequently bloodily. yet as Ehrenreich argues during this unique, exhilarating, and eventually positive publication, the celebratory impulse is just too deeply ingrained in human nature ever to be thoroughly extinguished.

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Extra resources for Dancing in the Streets

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Montalban is not heard on the soundtrack—which features a young André Previn—but he gives an exceedingly convincing visual performance of the virtuoso piece, an arrangement by MGM music director Johnny Green of Aaron Copland’s El Salon Mexico as a piano concerto. ) Montalban has visually authentic piano skills and the sound/image illusion—an elaborate technical confection—works to good effect. Here, then, is a screen hero who dances, plays piano, and fights bulls, all packaged with an exotic masculinity and a movie-star handsome face and physique (something Astaire never had going for him).

Murphy could sing and dance passably well. ”)3 Musicals never dominated Murphy’s career; MGM mixed in dramatic and comic roles for him from the start. And despite appearing in a fair number of musicals, Murphy never had a well-defined songand-dance identity. He could keep up with real dancers, like Astaire and Eleanor Powell in Broadway Melody of 1940, but his career never depended on his doing so. 4 The ideal contract player, Murphy played the role of the requisite male who danced a bit when required to do so.

3 Musicals never dominated Murphy’s career; MGM mixed in dramatic and comic roles for him from the start. And despite appearing in a fair number of musicals, Murphy never had a well-defined songand-dance identity. He could keep up with real dancers, like Astaire and Eleanor Powell in Broadway Melody of 1940, but his career never depended on his doing so. 4 The ideal contract player, Murphy played the role of the requisite male who danced a bit when required to do so. He was not a creative force in musical production.

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