Karen Tongson, in conversation with Guy Branum, discusses and signs Why Karen Carpenter Matters

In the '60s and '70s, America's music scene was marked by raucous excess, reflected in the tragic overdoses of young superstars such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. At the same time, the uplifting harmonies and sunny lyrics that propelled Karen Carpenter and her brother, Richard, to international fame belied a different sort of tragedy--the underconsumption that led to Karen's death at age thirty-two from the effects of an eating disorder.  In Why Karen Carpenter Matters, Karen Tongson (whose Filipino musician parents named her after the pop icon) interweaves the story of the singer's rise to fame with her own trans-Pacific journey between Manila--where imitations of American pop styles flourished--and Karen Carpenter's home ground of Southern California. Tongson reveals why the Carpenters' chart-topping, seemingly whitewashed musical fantasies of "normal love" can now have profound significance for her--as well as for other people of color, LGBT+ communities, and anyone outside the mainstream culture usually associated with Karen Carpenter's legacy. This hybrid of memoir and biography excavates the destructive perfectionism at the root of the Carpenters' sound, while finding the beauty in the singer's flawed, all too brief life. (University of Texas Press)


Event date: 
Friday, May 17, 2019 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
Book Soup
8818 Sunset Boulevard
West Hollywood, CA 90069
Why Karen Carpenter Matters (Music Matters) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781477318843
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Texas Press - May 20th, 2019
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My Life as a Goddess: A Memoir through (Un)Popular Culture Cover Image
By Guy Branum, Mindy Kaling (Foreword by)
Please call for price (310) 659-3110.
ISBN: 9781501170225
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Atria Books - July 31st, 2018