Mickey Weems applies overtly interdisciplinary interpretation
to a subject that demands such a breakdown of intellectual
boundaries. This is an ethnography that documents the folk nature
of popular culture. The Circuit, an expression of Gay culture,
comprises large dance events (gatherings, celebrations, communions,
festivals). Music and dance drive a complex, shared performance at
these events-electronic house music played by professional DJs and
mass ecstatic dancing that engenders communitas. Other types of
performance, from drag queens and concerts to contests, theatrics,
and the individual display of muscular bodies also occur. Body
sculpting through muscle building is strongly associated with the
Circuit, and masculine aggression is both displayed and parodied.
Weems, a participant-observer with a multidisciplinary background
in anthropology, folklore, religious studies, cultural studies, and
somatic studies, considers the cultural and spiritual dimensions of
what to outsiders might seem to be just wild, flamboyant parties.
He compares the Circuit to other traditions of ecstatic and
communal dance, and uses his grounding in Afro-Brazilian Candomblé
and in religious studies to illuminate the spiritual dimensions of
the Circuit. And, a former U.S Marine, he offers the nonviolent
masculine arrogance of circuiteers as an alternative philosophy to
the violent forms of masculine aggression embedded in the military
and much of western culture.
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