bio

I am Associate Professor of Communications and Director of the Film Studies Program at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. I teach media production, new media, audio production, and critical studies. I advise the student-operated radio station as well. Before joining the Department of Communications at Etown in 2009, I taught in the Telecommunications Department and American Culture Studies Program at Bowling Green State University while working on my dissertation.

I am the a past president of the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association (MAPACA), worked with CommuniKitchen on MAPACA’s website. Previously, I co-chaired the Music area of MAPACA. Currently, I co-chair the Internet Culture area of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) and the Professional Development area of MAPACA.

My PhD is in American Culture Studies with concentrations in Film, Popular Culture, and Media Studies. My dissertation is titled “Use and Influence of the Amateur Musician Narrative in Film, 1981-2001.” It is an analytical survey of four fictional amateur musician narratives created in films; the actual influences and longevity of which have far outlasted the created narratives. While at Bowling Green State University, I cofounded The Culture Club: The Cultural Studies Scholars’ Association, organizers of the Battleground States graduate conference, and the Tuesdays at the Gish film series with Dr. Mark Bernard. In 2008, I was immortalized by Jorge Cham in PhD Comics. I’m “Dan.”

Prior to my higher higher education (graduate school), a made a lot of media: a lot of it bad, a lot of it unfinished. Music, audio recordings, videos, images, web stuff, photographs, whathaveyou. When I was 15, my mother bought me a video camera. My present for many a sweet sixteen party I attended was to video tape the party, edit it (as best as I could), and give the birthday girl (or boy) a copy of the tape. In high school, I was fortunate enough to work with the progressive PHS TV class/club at Pennsbury High School. I guess I learned enough (or convinced someone I had learned enough) to get into NYU where I intended to declare a major of (what else) film.

Well, turns out, New York wasn’t for me. I moved to West Virginia, and started playing a lot of music. I had a (great) band in high school called Dewback, but in Morgantown I became a pretty serious musician. Not a serious person, mind you, but a fairly serious musician. I have played in punk bands, hard core bands, noise bands, “just rock” bands, indie/alternative (what ever those are) bands, hippie jam bands, jazz bands, bluegrass bands, and on a lot of minimalist recording projects. Recently, my musical projects have veered further and further away from a reliance upon repetitive meter, tonality, and musicality. Concentrating on experimental sound, noise, and music, I like prepared strings, electronics, and nontraditional instrumentation. Recently I played with the KBD Sonic Collaborative.

I founded Cornslaw Industries in the Fall of 2004 after a short-lived production company, I.F.N.O.R., folded because of a lack of precise purpose. Cornslaw Industries went through several half-assed incarnations before settling in as a net.label and media collective. The now-successful and established (can I say that?) net.label virtually has released albums and media collections by bands and artists both as digital archive re-releases or as material created specifically for Cornslaw (that makes less sense when I read it back, but I’m keeping it). Cornslaw can boast tens of thousands of downloads and over sixty eighty individual releases. The label spawned a physical record label for a short time called Uncle Nicky Records. UNR released a seven inch single and assisted Mason Porter in releasing a CD.

I live in South Philly with my wife, Carolyn, our cat, Nagano, and our son, Owen.

You want more?

Most of my music (and my friends music) can be found at Cornslaw Industries.

I’ve played in dozens of bands you’ve likely never heard of, some of which some people have actually heard of and would consider themselves fans (not many). In the past I recorded as/was a member of: DewbackThe Courteous NinjasPoCKetScHwa (with Chris Kasper), The RecipeThe Grossly Misjudged Collective Works of Barry’s ListeningtheroyalouiThe Daven Mines, Good and the Hoods, Kind Insight, Some of the Most Famous People Alive, and Grass Combustion.

The first song I played live was at a junor high school talent show. It was “California Uber Ales” by the Dead Kennedys.

I bought my first four track in ’95 on a credit card I would pay off for the next several years. I still have it (the four track, not the credit card). It barely works, but it’ll play some of those old tapes from time to time. I used that four track until I got a digital eight track in ’06 on a credit card I would pay off over the next couple weeks (I was an adult). I love proper studios, but I really love four-track bedroom pop culture. Cornslaw Industries is founded on this love.

I do a lot these days with prepared, altered, homemade, and wrong instrumentation. I record with and perform on prepared guitars and basses, light sensitive oscillators, bent toys, mis-wired electronics, no input mixers, contact mic’d objects, bowed and struck metals, casios, pedals, a crackle box, a computer-based sampler, and a theremin. I can also play (to varying levels of ability) guitar, bass, mandolin, ukulele, tenor banjo, tenor guitar, drums, (n unconventional) electric autoharp, keyboards, clarinet, and the nose flute.