Sex, Hope & Rock’n’roll: Ellen Willis and Pop Critique

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“Rock is, among other things, a potent means of expressing the active emotions—anger, aggression, lust, the joy of physical exertion—that feed all freedom movements, and it is no accident that women musicians have been denied access to this powerful musical language.” So wrote Ellen Willis in June of 1974, when the acclaimed feminist thinker and cultural critic was working as the Rock, Etc. columnist at the New Yorker.

A new book of Willis's rock criticism is out now, titled Out Of The Vinyl Deeps and edited by her daughter, Nona Willis Aronowitz, and this weekend a conference at New York University will celebrate her work as a pop culture thinker and writer. Nona joins Laura in studio with Drexel University professor Devon Powers to discuss Willis's influence and ideas.