The Monkee’s 50th Anniversary – Selected Stories from Around the World

Leave it to the English (the BBC World Service to be precise) to host an interview with one of The Monkees (Micky) that takes things seriously and asks interesting questions – beginning with “What was the music played in your childhood home?” I’m particularly pleased that Cerys Matthews mentions the show right up front as a ‘true cultural phenomenon’ – because it was!

Cerys Matthews with Micky Dolenz (BBC World Service)

Cerys Matthews with Micky Dolenz (BBC World Service)

Born in Los Angeles in 1945, George Michael Dolenz, Jr. became famous at the age of 10 with his own TV show. He has since established himself as an actor on television, film, and musical theatre, and directed a number of movies and music videos. He will always be best known, though, as the drummer and lead singer of the pop-rock band The Monkees.

Dolenz described the Monkees as initially being “a TV show about an imaginary band…that wanted to be the Beatles, that was never successful”. The four actor-musicians, however, soon became a real band, going on to sell more than 75 million records worldwide. At their peak in 1967 they outsold The Beatles and The Rolling Stones combined.

Dolenz reflects in his outrageously successful career with Cerys, and spins some of the tunes that have defined his life.

Ann Moses played a huge part in establishing the public persona of each of the actors on The Monkees – I discuss the difference between their many personas in the chapter on Identity Construction (named whimsically for the song A Little Bit Me, A Little Bit You). The Monkees was a rare show in which the characters used the names of the actual actors – which begged the question “Where did the actors end and the characters begin in the audience’s mind?”

Dolenz boyce

50 years less one day ago, I met the Monkees for the first time. I was on the “Last Train to Clarksville” – a promotional trip the day before their show aired in 1966. I met all four boys – and while I knew they would be a huge hit, I had no idea of the rousing years ahead, going on tour with them, trips every week to their indoor and outdoor sets as they filmed their magical show. It’s been a great experience and I can’t wait for my reunion with Peter and Micky this Thursday. 50 years later I’ll be doing video interviews with them – no tape recorders, no transcribing, no waiting 1-2 months before the story is in print. It’s definitely has been a wild ride!

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In today’s radio interview on Mornings with Nicole Dyer from Brisbane, Australia we can hear the wonderful happiness in her voice as she introduces her interview with Micky. It was great to hear that their radio station has been playing several tracks from Good Times – unlike American radio stations which seem so stuck in pre-planned song lists that we’re lucky to hear “Last Train to Clarksville”. Granted, she speaks more about the new album than the show (my focus in the book) but I appreciated that she clearly knew – and loved – the Monkees.

Dolenz abc

Micky Dolenz on 50 years of ‘The Monkees’

On September 8, 1965, an ad appeared in the entertainment trade magazine ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ seeking ‘Folk & Rock musicians, singers, for acting roles in new TV series, running parts for 4 insane boys, Age 17-21″. Over 400 young men applied – but for the four who were chosen, it would change their life.This week marks 50 years since we first heard the Monkees theme song, and this year, the Monkees released an album of new material. And 2 of the Monkees, Peter Tork and Mickey Dolenz, are heading to Australia as a part of their 50th anniversary tour, and they’re playing on the Gold Coast in December. Nicole Dyer spoke to Micky Dolenz…

 

New Book: OUTSIDE IN BOLDLY GOES: 117 New Perspectives on 117 Classic Star Trek Stories by 117 Writers with essay by Dr. Rosanne Welch

IN OI3 Welch

So excited to see the publication of my latest essay in this fun collection on the original Star Trek series – the Outside In book series invited 117 writers to contribute essays to the book.

They assigned each of us an original episode of the show on which to write a 1500 word essay. My episode is This Side of Paradise where the crew lands on a planet and Spock falls in love with a woman who spouts Walden and Thoreau – written by the brilliant D.C. Fontana, who I note inspired many more women to write television.

OUTSIDE IN BOLDLY GOES will be 352 pages, paperback, $19.95, available in late October 2016.

Pre-Order Directly from the Publisher Today

See the sidebar for more books and essays from Dr. Rosanne Welch

Psychobabble reviews “Why The Monkees Matter”

As an author, it is both exciting and frightening to begin reading the review of a book you have spent several years of your life researching and writing. But you also appreciate when a reviewer sees both the good and the perhaps not so perfect points of your work. That’s how I feel about Mike Segretto’s coverage. He doesn’t completely agree with my feminist bent on the show, but does agree with my glass-half-empty/glass-half-full take on the way the show handled ethnicity in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement. I smiled when he rated the book “a fine piece of cultural analysis” and an “atypically readable and fun one”. That was my goal all along – to make some cultural points about The Monkees and their impact while entertaining the fans who have known they mattered all these years. — Rosanne

Review: ‘Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television, and American Pop Culture’
by Mike Segretto from Psychobabble, July 17, 2016


The question of whether or not some artifact of the twentieth century still “matters” has become a trendy question among pop-culture writers. The annoying implication is that the writer’s judgment holds some sort of weight, and if it is decided that, say, The Beatles get the thumbs down, they no longer “matter”—whatever that means. Instead of asking questions, Rosanne Welch’s new book Why The Monkees Matter: Teenagers, Television, and American Pop Culture makes an emphatic statement, and unlike a lot of these other “does this matter?” pieces, there is a special point behind her statement since The Monkees spent so much of their fifty-year career having critics tell them they most certainly do not matter.

As Welch points out, that attitude really began to change in the wake of Davy Jones’s death in 2012, as critical consensus started moving toward the judgment that The Monkees were actually really great. The point of Why The Monkees Matter is to articulate that judgment, and she does so by focusing exclusively on their TV show, which she notes was artistically, narratively, and politically progressive.

Welch organizes her book as a series of stand-alone topical essays. She deals with the state of the teenager on American TV prior to The Monkees arrival; how The Monkees contemporized depictions of young people by voicing anti-war, anti-consumerist philosophies (some scripted, some not); the radical inventiveness of the series’ design and writing (“The Monkees” was that rare sixties show that went out of its way to hire young writers); it’s pop-cultural legacy; etc.

Welch also deals with how women and non-American ethnicities were handled on the show. This is where “The Monkees” didn’t always live up to its Aquarian ideals, though the author cuts the series a lot of slack regarding its treatment of women. Yes, we do see an unusual number of female characters in respectable positions on the show—judges, royalty, PH.D. students, rock musicians—but some of Welch’s arguments that the series was generally feminist are weak. She contends that Davy’s weekly girlfriends weren’t sex objects because they never actually spend the night at The Monkees’ pad. Well, how many women on sixties sitcoms spent the night at a man’s pad? Zero? She suggests that Micky values intelligence more than sexuality because he describes Brenda from “99 ½ Pound Weakling” as “brilliant and intelligent” when this is clearly a joke on her stoned inarticulateness. While Welch notes the demotion of the all-female band The Westminster Abbeys to go-go dancers at the end of “Some Like It Lukewarm”, she unconvincingly suggests that other elements in the episode balance out the sexist way the writers chose to end it.

Welch is less forgiving when analyzing how non-American ethnicities are handled on “The Monkees”, focusing on how Asians, Italians, Gypsies, and Russians are stereotyped on the series. She misses a great opportunity to discuss the character of Thursday in “Monkees Marooned”, who very effectively sends up the “black native” stereotype with his eloquence, intelligence, ability to take control of situations, and hipness.

Aside from the weaknesses in these two chapters, Why The Monkees Matter is not only a fine piece of cultural analysis overall but also an atypically readable and fun one. It’s filled with historical tidbits about the series’ filming and writing and Mike, Micky, Davy, and Peter, so even if you need no convincing that The Monkees matter, you may still find much to interest you on its pages.

 

Listen Now: “Why The Monkees Matter” on Conversations Live with Cyrus Webb – Recorded Episode

Listen to the recorded episode using the links below

cyrus-webb

Host Cyrus Webb welcomes author Rosanne Welch to #ConversationsLIVE to discuss her new book WHY THE MONKEES MATTER: Teenagers, Television and America Pop Culture.

Listen to the recorded show

 

A Woman’s Voice in the Writers’ Room – An In-Depth Interview with Dr. Rosanne Welch in Creative Screenwriting Magazine

A Woman’s Voice in the Writers’ Room - An In-Depth Interview with Dr. Rosanne Welch in Creative Screenwriting Magazine

A Woman’s Voice in the Writers’ Room

Rosanne Welch on writing for female characters, changing the pronoun in a script, and the power of research.

Rosanne Welch is a TV writer, author, professor, and feminist, who’s able to combine her passion in one place thanks to her current position as an adjunct professor at Stephen’s College (the oldest women’s college in the U.S.) for its screenwriting M.F.A. program.

The Stephen’s College screenwriting M.F.A. program is certainly unique: it’s the first low-residency program specifically for TV and screenwriting, and is explicitly designed to increase the number and impact of women working in film and TV. It’s the perfect fit for Welch, who teaches all four of its History of Screenwriting courses, from the Silent Era throughout modern day, as well as a One Hour Spec Script course, and Writing the One-Hour pilot.

Senior Hall, Stephen’s College. Image by HornColumbia (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia CommonsSenior Hall, Stephen’s College. Image by HornColumbia, via Wikimedia CommonsThe idea for the program came from Ken LaZebnik, who Welch had met decades earlier when they both wrote for Touched By An Angel.

According to Welch, “Ken LaZebnik came up with the idea for the program, to create a Master’s program for screenwriting, opposed to extension or continuing education screenwriting programs where there is no degree at the end of it, you just have the experience of writing in the program.

“He needed someone to do curriculum, he needed someone who had a PhD on staff, and he also only wanted to hire writers who were part of the Writer’s Guild, because he wanted the students taught by working writers and writers who had experience.”

Fortunately Welch fit the criteria. “I was really excited because a lot of Master’s programs focus on directing or film production or being a master of all trades, and he just wanted to focus on screenwriting.”

Welch’s current life as an academic is a far cry from her days as a secretary at Stephen J. Cannell productions, back when he was the biggest independent TV producer with shows like The A-Team and 21 Jump Street.

Read the entire interview on Creative Screenwriting

Why The Monkees Matter Book Signings – Organization and Ideas

 Why The Monkees Matter Book Signings  

I have arranged for at least 2 book signings here in Los Angeles, but I am looking at other locations where interested fans can gather both here in the US and, if you can believe it, Europe!  

If you have any thoughts as to where a collection of Monkees Fans could join me for a reading and signing event, please share it here.  

Why The Monkees Matter Book Signings - Organization and Ideas
Preparing the first signed copy to go into the mail
Order yours using the link in the sidebar or clicking here 

I am looking at the Palm Springs area, since I have family there, but I also have 3 trips planned that could provide for signing opportunities.  

In late July I will be in Catania, Sicily.  

In Early September, I will be attending and speaking at the SRN (Screenwriters Resource Network) Conference in Leeds, UK.

In November, i will be attending and speaking at the Citizen Jane Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri.

This also gives me the possibility of a signing event in St. Louis or Kansas City, depending on my flight decisions.  

I welcome your thoughts and also any assistance in setting up a reading and book signing in your area.  

I hope to meet you in person, soon. 

Rosanne interviewed for “TedxCPP explores ripple” in The Poly Post [Press]

Poly post tedxcpp interview

During the intermission at TedXCPP last week, I was interviewed by a student reporter for The Poly Post, Cal Poly Pomona’s Student Newspaper. Here are some of my quotes from the article, TEDXCPP explores ripple” that appeared on Tuesday, April 12, 2016.

Poly post tedxcpp

“The first speaker of the night was Rosanne Welch, who started her professional career as a television writer and producer and now teaches several courses across multiple college campuses including CPP. Her talk, titled “The Importance of Having a Woman’s Voice in the Room,” advocated for the importance of a woman’s perspective in screenwriting.

“I disliked not being able to teach girls girl stories,” said Welch. “I never understood the logic to that; I still don’t.”

Welch’s talk did not just speak to women. She emphasized the importance of allowing young boys to admire females and males in order to give them a well-rounded human experience.

“It’s hard to have two audiences,” said Welch. “But I wanted to remind women they have to learn to speak up, and I wanted to remind grown ups that boys aren’t afraid of that.”

Read the entire article at The Poly Post

 

Dr. Rosanne Welch Speaks on “How Star Wars In Influenced Movie Themes, Female Characters, Fandom & Fan Fiction” – Tuesday, April 12 – Noon – Cal Poly Pomona

Dr. Rosanne Welch Speaks on “How Star Wars In Influenced Movie Themes, Female Characters, Fandom & Fan Fiction” – Tuesday, April 12 – Noon – Cal Poly Pomona

Star wars cpp

(DOWNLOAD PDF FLYER)

 The University Library celebrates National Library Week with

Star Wars Saga

“How Star Wars In Influenced Movie Themes, Female Characters, Fandom & Fan Fiction”

Tuesday, April 12 – Noon

Cal Poly Pomona University Library

Special Events Room (4th Floor)

 

TEDxCPP Features Two CEIS Professors via Cal Poly Pomona Web Site

The Cal Poly Pomona Web Site has a feature article today on the two College of Education and Integrative Studies professors (including myself) who will be presenting at this week’s TEDxCPP. — Rosanne

TEDxCPP Features Two CEIS Professors

Two professors from the College of Education & Integrative Studies will explore persistent stigmas in society at the second TEDxCPP.

Shayda Kafai and Roseanne Welch will be among eight speakers who will discuss topics ranging from sex to education to gender to religion on Thursday, April 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Kellogg West. The theme of this year’s TEDxCPP is “The Ripple Effect.”

As a lecturer in the ethnic and women’s studies department by day and a writer by night, Kafai seeks to spread awareness of the oppression caused by words and phrases used to describe people with mental health disabilities.

Kafai aims to change perspectives on mental health stigmas in her speech titled “The Language of Madness.”

“I am going to be exploring the stigmatic ways we socially frame psychiatric disabilities,” Kafai says. “Through the use of personal narrative, I will share reasons why we must collectively unlearn totalizing language.”

Welch has taken her writing and professional experiences from mainstream television to the classroom by teaching humanities in the interdisciplinary general education department. She holds a doctorate in American social history of the 21st century.

Welch’s speech, titled “The Importance of Having a Female Voice in the Writer’s Room,” will address issues with “othering,” which occurs when one group takes another group’s differences and uses that against them.

“Based on my previous career as a television writer, I’ll be speaking about moments when new perspectives in the writer’s room can help influence thousands of viewers,” Welch says.

Kafai and Welch have a common goal: broadening perspectives on stigmas that persist in society.

To learn more about these speakers and to get tickets, visit the TEDxCPP website.

Rosanne speaks in Cal Poly article, “Vagina Monologues’ Seeks to Empower Women and Inform Campus”

Come one!  Come all – (if you live near Cal Poly Pomona) and see my colleague Peg Lamphier and I perform in this year’s Vagina Monologues tomorrow (Tuesday the 16th) at 7pm on campus.  Tickets are $10.

Click below for an article about the event – and our participation – with quotes.  Support a student journalist and give it a read!  And, yes, some video will be posted after the show is over..

“Auditions were open not only to students, but to staff and faculty as well. After noticing that on a poster, Professor Rosanne Welch, who holds a doctorate degree in American social history of the 21st century, was inspired to audition.

“Peg Lampher and I are really big feminists and we talk a lot about it with our students,” she says. “I went over to her and said, ‘We should put our money where our mouth is.’ ”

After auditioning, the pair was cast in one of the last monologues of the show. Welch says it is perfect for them because the topic is childbirth, and they are both mothers.

Throughout the experience, Welch’s favorite part has been watching the students take control.

“I was proud to watch them, but I was also a little bit sad because a certain number of them have had things happen to them in their past which brought them to work with the Women’s Resource Center,” she says. “The fact that they are able to put on this presentation and take control of the night is a beautiful gesture.””

Read the entire article, Vagina Monologues’ Seeks to Empower Women and Inform Campus