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Mar 02, 12:15 pm - 1:00 pm
Powell Campus Center, Nevins Theatre
Lecture or Speaker

Bergren Forum - Heidi Jensen

All presentations will be on Thursdays from 12:15 to 1:00 in Nevins Theater. Tea and coffee provided.

 March 2: Heidi Jensen,  “Gangsters and Moon Men: Musicological Meanderings with 'Mack the Knife'

The song “Mack the Knife” has become a standard within the popular music canon.  Notably performed by such artists as Bobby Darin, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald, the tune has come to represent the playful allure of criminality from a safe distance.  Yet, the origins of the song “Die Moritat vom Mackie Messer,” and of Mackie—as the protagonist of Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s Die Dreigroschenoper—were meant as something otherwise.  Join Heidi Jensen, Visiting Asst. Prof. Of Music, on a musicological and transmedia journey out of Weimar and into the dark alleys of the American cultural dialogue, as she explores the ways in which Mack insists, persists, and resists normative social structures.  From Mack's origins as a figure of Epic Theater, to his commercial appropriation by the MacDonalds Corporation, the character has exploited popular culture’s fascination with subversion and dissent—rebelling against social expectations while simultaneously fulfilling them.  Mack allows listeners to explore the possibilities of the gangster, and in doing so, to also reimagine themselves. 

The Zoom link for people unable to attend in person is:

For further information, contact Marilyn Saxton: [email protected]