Grace Elizabeth Hale - Cool Town

Grace Elizabeth Hale - Cool Town

Tuesday, Apr 07, 2020 7:00 PM

Highland Inn Ballroom Lounge
644 North Highland Avenue NE, Atlanta, GA 30306

As a student, small-business owner, and band member, author Grace Elizabeth Hale experienced the seminal Athens, Georgia music scene of the 80s firsthand. Blending personal recollection with a historian's eye, she reconstructs the story of the small college town's resourceful networks of bands, artists, and friends who made a new art of the possible, transforming American culture and alternative music along the way.

Hale will appear in conversation to discuss her new book, “Cool Town: How Athens, Georgia, Launched Alternative Music and Changed American Culture” with Tony Paris, Managing Editor of Creative Loafing Atlanta.

This event is free and open to the public.

About the Book

In the summer of 1978, the B-52's conquered the New York underground. A year later, the band's self-titled debut album burst onto the Billboard charts, capturing the imagination of fans and music critics worldwide. The fact that the group had formed in the sleepy southern college town of Athens, Georgia, only increased the fascination. Soon, more Athens bands followed the B-52's into the vanguard of the new American music that would come to be known as "alternative," including R.E.M., who catapulted over the course of the 1980s to the top of the musical mainstream. As acts like the B-52's, R.E.M., and Pylon drew the eyes of New York tastemakers southward, they discovered in Athens an unexpected mecca of music, experimental art, DIY spirit, and progressive politics--a creative underground as vibrant as any to be found in the country's major cities. 

In Athens in the eighties, if you were young and willing to live without much money, anything seemed possible. Cool Town reveals the passion, vitality, and enduring significance of a bohemian scene that became a model for others to follow.

In a story full of music and brimming with hope, Hale shows how an unlikely cast of characters in an unlikely place made a surprising and beautiful new world.

About the Author

Grace Elizabeth Hale is the Commonwealth Professor of American Studies and History at the University of Virginia. Her previous books include “A Nation of Outsiders: How the White Middle Class Fell in Love with Rebellion in Postwar America” and “Making Whiteness: The Culture of Segregation in the South, 1890–1940.”