(Mountain Time Zone)
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 7
1:00-2:30 – Session 1: "I Dream of an Imaginary Time" : Literary Responses to Billy Joel
Novelists and poets write back to Billy Joel, elaborating the wider artistic and cultural resonances of his life and work from a multiplicity of perspectives.
- 1:00 pm: “Bee Girl,” Steven Hayward (Colorado College)
- 1:30 pm: “Space, Time, Storytelling, and Billy Joel’s State of Mind,” Michael Sawyer (Colorado College)
- 2:00 pm: “Billy Joel is Not My Lover,” Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer (University of Toronto)
2:30-3:00 – Coffee Break
3:00-4:30 – Concurrent Sessions:
Session 2A: “For All Our Mutual Experience”: Billy Joel and Professional Discourse
Billy Joel’s music, lyrics, and performances have shaped not only his own professional career, but also other professions and careers. This panel explores such avenues from business, medical, legal, and musical perspectives.
- 3:00 pm: “Twenty-First Century Patronage: Billy Joel’s Madison Square Garden Franchise,” Stan Soocher (University of Colorado, Denver)
- 3:30 pm: “If I Only Had the Words (To Tell You): Billy Joel Lyrics in Medical and Legal Scholarship,” Seuli Bose Brill (Ohio State University Medical Center) & Christian H. Brill (Mallory Law Office, LLC)
- 4:00 pm: “My Lives: Greatest Hits and the Arranging of a Career,” Ryan Raul Bañagale (Colorado College)
Session 2B: “This Is My Life”: Individual/Personal Perspectives
Despite its mass appeal, Billy Joel’s music resonates within us as individuals. In this session three individuals consider issues of class, gender, taste, and theology, all seeking answers to questions surrounding how we personally interpret Joel’s works.
- 3:00 pm: “Working-Class Masculinity and Martyrdom in the Music of Billy Joel: An Autoethnographic Exploration,” Bernard Armada (University of St. Thomas)
- 3:30 pm: “Disavowing Billy Joel: Taste Shaming and ‘Schlock’ Fandom,” James Deaville (Carleton University)
- 4:00 pm: “Jesus and Billy Joel: A Musicotheology,” Amanda Udis-Kessler (Colorado College)
4:30-5:30 – Opening Reception
5:30-7:00 – Dinner On Your Own
7:00-9:30 – Session 3: “Sleeping with the Television On”: Billy Joel and Film
Two significant moments in Joel’s career are both inextricably linked to film: The Stranger (1977), influenced by film noir, established Joel as a household name, while Joel’s history-making concerts in the Soviet Union a decade later became the subject of a 1987 documentary.
- 7:00 pm: Pre-screening talk: “The Stranger: A Film in Black & White,” Thomas MacFarlane (New York University)
- Film Screening: A Matter of Trust: The Bridge to Russia, A Documentary
- Post-screening discussion, hosted by Thomas MacFarlane (New York University) and Dylan Nelson (Colorado College)
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 8
9:30-10:30 – Concurrent Sessions:
Session 4A: Workshop & Roundtable Discussion: “Song and Artifact”
Each time Billy Joel began working on material for a new album he prepared a song notebook. Working through the pages, he would capture a number of lyrical ideas, eventually polishing them into songs, until the final lyrics of a complete album would fill the last pages of a standard notebook. Analyzing and interpreting Joel’s 52nd Street and Storm Front notebooks reveals the artistic process that lead to the final commercial recordings.
- Jason Hanley, Vice President of Education and Visitor Engagement, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
- Kathryn Metz, Manager of Education Outreach, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Session 4B: "Music Set Me on Fire": Billy Joel, Rock and Roll, and the Past
Just like anyone else, Billy Joel’s past has had a profound impact on his life and career. This panel explores Joel’s youth and the future it pointed towards, including thoughts on his formative years, shared by an early bandmate, and a wider look at the way his piano-based style fit into larger musical and aesthetic shifts in the journey from rock ’n’ roll to rock music.
- 9:30 am: “Billy Joel as a Teenager,” Jim Bosse (member of Billy Joel’s high-school rock band)
- 10:00 am: “Billy Joel, Piano Culture, and Rock’s Road Not Taken,” Jonathan Bellman (University of Northern Colorado)
10:30-11:00 – Coffee Break
11:00-12:00 – Concurrent Sessions:
Session 5A: "It Was Always Within You”: Interdisciplinary Approaches
Billy Joel’s music can be approached from a variety of perspectives. Combining sociology, gender studies, and embodiment with musical and lyrical analysis reveals the ways Joel’s songs work for us and challenge us.
- 11:00 am: "Billy Joel and the Language of Pecuniary Aspiration,” Thomas Kernan (Roosevelt University)
- 11:30 am: “‘She’s Got A Way’: The Gendered and Physical Embodiment of Interpreting Billy Joel in American Sign Language,” Elyse Marrero (Florida State University)
Session 5B: “Some Folks Like to Get Away”: Characters and the City
Billy Joel's songs overflow with characters and the places they inhabit. By reconsidering Joel’s catalog in this way, new insights are revealed about his compositional process, the reception of his work, and the real-life responses of the people who live in those places.
- 11:00 am: “The Faces of the Stranger: The Many Personas of Billy Joel,” Andrew Aziz (San Diego State University) & Haley Dercher (Independent Scholar)
- 11:30 am: “‘Nothing Rhymes with “Bethlehem”’: City Branding Schemes and the Strategic Deployment of Billy Joel’s ‘Allentown,’” Sarah Messbauer (University of California, Davis)
12:00-1:00 – Lunch On Your Own
1:00-2:30 – Concurrent Sessions:
Session 6A: “And Your Mementos Will Turn to Dust”: Time, Nostalgia, and History
Many of Billy Joel’s songs deal with the past in ways that enhance both our understanding of and our emotional connections with it. This panel examines Joel’s use of nostalgia and history as he explores particular places and times.
- 1:00 pm: “Your Special Island: Locality, Nostalgia, and the Suburban Blues in Billy Joel’s New York Songs,” Heather Laurel (Rock and Roll Forever Foundation)
- 1:30 pm: “Time Traveling With the Prophet Billy Joel,” Jessica Sternfeld (Chapman University)
- 2:00 pm: “From History in Song to Song About History,” Joshua S. Duchan (Wayne State University)
Session 6B: “All It Takes is Inspiration”: Billy Joel, in Theory
Examining Billy Joel’s music from the perspective of music theory highlights the songwriter’s compositional proclivities and tendencies, while considering his music from the tradition of art and cultural criticism illuminates the ways the songs garner mass appeal.
- 1:00 pm: “Form, Lyrics, and the ‘Short-Short-Long’ Pattern in Billy Joel’s Music,” Don Traut (University of Arizona)
- 1:30 pm: “Deceptive Love: The Impact of Deceptive Motion in Billy Joel’s ‘She’s Got A Way' and ‘She’s Always A Woman,’” Sean Atkinson (Texas Christian University)
- 2:00 pm: “How Art Imitates Life: Ricoeur, Narrative, and Billy Joel,” Ryan Sargent (Metropolitan State University of Denver)
2:30-3:00 – Coffee Break
3:00-4:30 – Concurrent Sessions:
Session 7A: “Big Shot”: The Art of Concert Photography
Photographers discuss personal approaches to concert photography through the specific lens of Billy Joel’s career. They share personal anecdotes and professional insights about the art of capturing live performance on film.
- Photographers Kevin Mocker, Bryan Oller, Larry Hulst, and Todd Caudle
Session 7B: “Well, We All Have a Face”: Comparisons and Contrasts
Billy Joel and his music are often understood and interpreted alongside other musicians and traditions. These presenters offer comparisons and contrasts with Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, and folk music.
- 3:00 pm: “Movin’ Out on Thunder Road: Images of Ambition, Escape, and Authenticity in Billy Joel and Bruce Springsteen,” Jack Sheinbaum (University of Denver)
- 3:30 pm: “Behind the Nylon Curtain: Revealing Billy Joel’s Inner Beatle,” Jeremie Michael (Florida State University)
- 4:00 pm: “‘The Downeaster “Alexa”’: Billy Joel’s Folk Elegy for the Atlantic Marine Fisheries,” A. Morgan Jones (Waterford Kamhlaba United World College)
4:45-5:45 – Keynote Event – “Take the Phone off the Hook”: A Conversation with Billy Joel
Join us for a live phone interview with Billy Joel! Conference co-chairs Ryan Bañagale and Joshua S. Duchan will ask Mr. Joel questions submitted by conference presenters and get his take on the inspiration, composition, and lasting impact of his music.
5:45-7:30 – Dinner On Your Own
7:30-9:00 – “Streetlife Serenader”: A Concert of Billy Joel’s Music
“Streetlife Serenader” is a song about making music on one’s own terms. This concert of works from across Billy Joel’s career features arrangements for solo piano and guitar; vocal solo and chamber chorus; guitar quartet and bluegrass band. Faculty, students, and friends of the Colorado College music department offer a dynamic--and at times unexpected--musical conclusion to the conference.
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