Performance and Professional Wrestling

Taylor & Francis
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Performance and Professional Wrestling is the first edited volume to consider professional wrestling explicitly from the vantage point of theatre and performance studies. Moving beyond simply noting its performative qualities or reading it via other performance genres, this collection of essays offers a complete critical reassessment of the popular sport.

Topics such as the suspension of disbelief, simulation, silence and speech, physical culture, and the performance of pain within the squared circle are explored in relation to professional wrestling, with work by both scholars and practitioners grouped into seven short sections:

  • Audience
  • Circulation
  • Lucha
  • Gender
  • Queerness
  • Bodies
  • Race

A significant re-reading of wrestling as a performing art, Performance and Professional Wrestling makes essential reading for scholars and students intrigued by this uniquely theatrical sport.

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About the author

Broderick Chow is a Lecturer in Theatre at Brunel University London, and an active performance practitioner.

Eero Laine is Visiting Assistant Professor of Theatre at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York.

Claire Warden is a Senior Lecturer in Drama at De Montfort University.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
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Published on
Aug 12, 2016
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Pages
226
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ISBN
9781317385073
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Performing Arts / General
Sports & Recreation / Wrestling
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Irvin Muchnick — a widely published writer and nephew of the late, legendary St. Louis wrestling promoter Sam Muchnick — has produced a book unlike any other on the astonishing growth of professional wrestling and its profound impact on mainstream sports and society. In Wrestling Babylon, he traces the demise of wrestling’s old Mafia-like territories and the rise of a national marketing base thanks to cable television, deregulation and a culture-wide nervous breakdown. Naturally, the figure of WWE’s Vince McMahon lurks throughout, but equally evident is the public’s late-empire lust for bread, circuses, and blood. As this book demonstrates, the more cartoonishly unreal wrestling got, the more chillingly real it became.

What truly distinguishes Wrestling Babylon, however, is Muchnick’s ability to show how professional wrestling has become the ur-carnival for a culture that feeds on escapist displays of humiliation, revenge, fantasy characters, and sex. His People magazine article on Hulk Hogan blew the lid off the drug abuse of the sport’s signature superstar. His award-winning Penthouse profile of the ill-starred Von Erich clan was the first to connect the dots between wrestling, televangelism, and MTV-style production values. His never-before-published investigation of the death of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka’s girlfriend suggests the cover-up of a murder. The book’s appendix — a comprehensive listing of the dozens of wrestlers who died prematurely over the last generation, with little or no attention — is both a valuable resource for wrestling historians and a shocking document of the ruthless way sports entertainment eats its own.

The New York Times Bestseller

Recently retired WWE superstar AJ Mendez Brooks is a powerhouse—strong, quirky, and totally confident. But that wasn’t always the case. With humor and tremendous heart, she opens up for the first time about her harrowing struggle to understand her demons and the diagnosis that helped her gain control over her life.
 
Everything I was told should be my greatest insecurities and weaknesses, everything that I’ve been labeled—SHORT, NERDY, SKINNY, WEAK, IMPULSIVE, UGLY, TOMBOY, POOR, REBEL, LOUD, FREAK, CRAZY—turned out to be my greatest strengths. I didn’t become successful in spite of them. I became successful because of them.
 
Growing up AJ was a quiet girl trying to act “normal” when she felt anything but. As her family struggled with drug addiction, poverty, and mental illness, she found escape through comic books and video games, and was inspired by the tough and unconventional female characters. It wasn’t until she discovered pro wrestling that she learned superheroes could be real.
 
Determined to become the superhero she’d always admired, AJ trained and sacrificed for years to achieve her dream of wrestling professionally. Yet she quickly faced industry pressure to play the role of the damsel in distress and to dress more provocatively to cater to male fans. But she fought back and created an ass-kicking alter ego that was a genuine representation of herself: nerdy, enthusiastic, and a little bit crazy. 
 
With humor and tremendous heart, AJ opens up for the first time about her harrowing struggle to understand her demons and the mental illness diagnosis that helped her gain control over her life. What most people view as a hardship, AJ embraced as inspira­tion for her superhero persona, shattering the stigma attached to mental illness.
 
Charting her journey from a scrappy girl in an unstable home to an empowered wrestling champion, Crazy Is My Superpower is an un­flinchingly honest story and brave confessional about her long road to self-acceptance.
The first detailed, student-focused introduction to modernist avant-garde performanceThis textbook introduces the reader to modernist avant-garde theatre. It clearly explains the key terms as well as the major movements, including Expressionism, Dadaism, Futurism, Workers theatres, Constructivism and the Living Newspaper, and Mass Performance, using a case study approach. It introduces the important innovations of the modernist avant-garde, reassesses theatrical techniques, and provides examples of plays and performances from across Europe and America. There are also chapters on The Modernist Body and on Interdisciplinary Performance. The book approaches the modernist avant-garde both as an area of academic study and as potential raw material for contemporary performance. Key Features:nbsp;The first introductory guide to the modernist theatrical avant-garde nbsp;Includes case studies, practical exercises at the end of each chapter, an annotated bibliography and a glossary of performance termsnbsp;Includes links to performance-based explorations of theatrical techniquesnbsp;Provides a springboard for further independent study, both theoretical and practicalClaire Warden is Senior Lecturer in Drama at the University of Lincoln. Her research focuses primarily on constructing new, fluid narratives for modernist performance. She is the author of British Avant-Garde Theatre (Palgrave MacMillan 2012), and multiple journal articles and book chapters on modernism, interdisciplinarity, theatre, art and cultural studies.
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