Weavers of Dreams, Unite!

Weavers of Dreams, Unite!

Actor's Unionism in Early Twentieth-century America

eBook - 2013
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Chicago Distribution Center
Published to coincide with the centenary of the founding of the Actors' Equity Association in 1913,Weavers of Dreams, Unite! explores the history of actors' unionism in the United States from the late nineteenth century to the onset of the Great Depression. Drawing upon hitherto untapped archival resources in New York and Los Angeles, Sean P. Holmes documents how American stage actors used trade unionism to construct for themselves an occupational identity that foregrounded both their artistry and their respectability. In the process, he paints a vivid picture of life on the theatrical shop floor in an era in which economic, cultural, and technological changes were transforming the nature of acting as work. The engaging study offers important insights into the nature of cultural production in the early twentieth century, the role of class in the construction of cultural hierarchy, and the special problems that unionization posed for workers in the commercial entertainment industry.

Book News
Holmes (film and television studies, Brunel U.) offers a study of early 20th-century American trade-unionism and the transformation of the theatrical economy. He focuses on metropolitan theater. He documents working conditions and intersecting roles of race, class, and gender affecting actors' opportunities. In this vein, he considers the intersection between the high culture and class politics, paying careful attention to contradictory ways of "conceptualizing the process of cultural production". He also reviews the actors strike of 1919, the tension between the labor movement and the Actors Equity Association over the expectations placed on workers, the AEA's move to discipline "immoral" actors. A final chapter turns to the new horizons for cultural production and actor organizing opened up by film technology. Annotation ©2013 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Publisher: Urbana : University of Illinois Press, ©2013
ISBN: 9780252094682
Characteristics: 1 online resource (x, 222 pages) : illustrations


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