Records! A Panel Discussion with Amanda Petrusich

Sept. 26

Writer Amanda Petrusich embedded herself in the world of record collectors for her book “Do Not Sell At Any Price: The Wild, Obsessive Hunt for the World's Rarest 78rpm Records," resulting in the rare deep dive into music nerd-dom that's neither super condescending nor totally on the side of these guys. They aren't freaks and they aren't admirably antediluvian holdouts either. They're just, well, dudes: hard-headed ones breathing rarefied air of their own creation, yes, but just dudes nonetheless. And it helps that Petrusich values the music on these records over the records themselves (she calls Geeshie Wiley's 'Last Kind Words Blues' "rhythmically baffling in a way that makes her performance feel singular"), though she does get caught up in the mania a little bit too. At one point, she trains to become a certified diver so that she can swim in the Milwaukee River where it is rumored that lots of 78s were disposed of decades ago. Mostly, Petrusich's glimpse of music collecting is sympathetic while conceding that it is indeed totally nutty, if rather endearing, to devote one's life to these ultra-rare records from nearly one hundred years ago. 3 p.m., Inner Harbor Stage at the Baltimore Book Festival, Inner Harbor, Light and Pratt streets, (410) 752-8632, baltimorebookfestival.com, free. (Brandon Soderberg)

Amanda Petrusich
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