Gay Guerrilla
Julius Eastman and His Music
Edited by Renée Levine Packer and Mary Jane Leach
Reviews and Press

Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise: Notable Music Books of 2015

A fascinating new collection of essays exploring the life and work of the enigmatic composer Julius Eastman . . . who worked fluently in jazz, improvisation and acoustical experiments. An indication of his impact is the very fact that so many people have come together [in this book] to remember him and are actively championing his music. Most of his compositions were once thought to be lost, but [co-editor] Leach has been collecting and disseminating the pieces for almost 20 years. ALBANY [NY] TIMES-UNION

The publication of this rigorously researched, lovingly produced, multidimensional study of a singular artist will surely be met with joy by those of us who remember Julius Eastman--the inspired creator, the sly provocateur and martyred saint of the avant-garde. For those who are interested in iconoclasts of whatever stripe, this volume will be a revelation and an invitation to rethink what composition, performance, and life at the precipice of madness can be.
--Bill T. Jones, choreographer and dancer

Gay Guerrilla: Julius Eastman and His Music has arrived just in time for Black Lives Matter and gets my deepest praise. This important volume of essays, brought forth by two brilliant women who have long championed Eastman's music, belongs in every music conservatory library and beyond.
--Pauline Oliveros, composer
Composer-performer Julius Eastman (1940-90) was an enigma, both comfortable and uncomfortable in the many worlds he inhabited: black, white, gay, straight, classical music, disco, academia, and downtown New York. His music, insistent and straightforward, resists labels and seethes with a tension that resonates with musicians, scholars, and audiences today. Eastman's provocative titles, including Gay Guerrilla, Evil Nigger, Crazy Nigger, and others, assault us with his obsessions.

Eastman tested limits with his political aggressiveness, as reflected in legendary scandals like his June 1975 performance of John Cage's Song Books, which featured homoerotic interjections, and the uproar over his titles at Northwestern University. These episodes are examples of Eastman's persistence in pushing the limits of the acceptable in the highly charged arenas of sexual and civil rights.

In addition to analyses of Eastman's music, the essays in Gay Guerrilla provide background on his remarkable life history and the era's social landscape. The book presents an authentic portrait of a notable American artist that is compelling reading for the general reader as well as scholars interested in twentieth-century American music, American studies, gay rights, and civil rights.
Foreword by George E. Lewis
Introduction: Julius Eastman and His Music by Renée Levine Packer
Julius Eastman, A Biography by Renée Levine Packer
Unjust Malaise by David Borden
The Julius Eastman Parables by R. Nemo Hill
Julius Eastman and the Conception of "Organic Music" by Kyle Gann
Julius Eastman Singing by John Patrick Thomas
An Accidental Musicologist Passes the Torch by Mary Jane Leach
A Flexible Musical Identity: Julius Eastman in New York City, 1976-90 by Ryan Dohoney
"Evil Nigger": A Piece for Multiple Instruments of the Same Type by Julius Eastman (1979), with Performance Instructions by Joseph Kubera, by David Borden
A Postminimalist Analysis of Julius Eastman's "Crazy Nigger" by Andrew Hanson-Dvoracek
"The Piece Does Not Exist without Julius": Still Staying on "Stay On It" by Matthew Mendez
Connecting the Dots by Mary Jane Leach
"Gay Guerrilla": A Minimalist Choralphantasie by Luciano Chessa
Appendix: Julius Eastman Compositions compiled by Mary Jane Leach
Selected Bibliography
List of Contributors
Renée Levine Packer's book This Life of Sounds: Evenings for New Music in Buffalo received an ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence. Mary Jane Leach is a composer and freelance writer, currently writing music and theatre criticism for the Albany Times-Union.
Published by the University of Rochester Press, Eastman Studies in Music Series
all contents © 2000 - 2016 mary jane leach - site by fdg