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Taylor Mac: A 24-Decade History of Popular Music

Revisiting Taylor Mac: How to Be a Dandy in the Age of Mass Culture

Taylor Mac’s A 24-Decade History of Popular Music, produced in two distinct 12-hour parts as part of our biennial Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Governor Ed Rendell even raved, “It was the most entertaining show I’ve seen in many, many years.”

One of our goals with this project was to spark meaningful dialogue in Philadelphia about the complicated nature of American identity since our founding intersecting with personal identities and stories. As part of that approach, we invited Temple University Associate Professor and Poet, Brian Teare, to experience all 24 hours of Mac’s monumental project and capture his thoughts in an essay that we could share with everyone who came to see all or part of the piece. In an essay titled, “How to Be a Dandy in the Age of Mass Culture,” Brian meditates on the experience through the ideas of sacrifice, tension, endurance, solidarity, visceral pleasure, cultural representation, and much more.

We invite you to read Teare’s essay and then ponder, digest, and share your thoughts on Taylor Mac’s work with us. If you’d like, we’ll repost your thoughts it right here on our blog – or you can share a response with us privately, and we will gather together everything we receive and give it to Taylor Mac to read with love from Philadelphia.

"Worried about the future of American theater... Look to Taylor Mac."
- San Francisco Chronicle

Taylor Mac is a New York-based theater artist, playwright, actor, singer-songwriter, cabaret performer, performance artist, director, and producer whose many talents combine in the spectacular A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC. Taylor recently won the 2017 Edward M. Kennedy Award for Drama inspired by American History, the 2017 MacArthur Foundation 'Genius' Grant, and was a 2017 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Drama. A 24-DECADE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC had the distinct honor of being included on an unprecedented three New York Times “Best of…” lists in 2016: Performance, Theater and Classical Music.