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Powell's Books Presents Jonathan Taplin in Conversation With Robbie Robertson
Jonathan Taplin’s extraordinary journey has put him at the crest of every major cultural wave in the past half century: he was tour manager for Bob Dylan and the Band in the ’60s, producer of major films in the ’70s, an executive at Merrill Lynch in the ’80s, creator of the Internet’s first video-on-demand service in the ’90s, and a cultural critic and author writing about technology in the new millennium. His is a lifetime marked not only by good timing but by impeccable instincts — from the folk scene to Woodstock, Hollywood’s rebellious film movement, and beyond. Taplin is not just a witness but a lifelong producer, the right-hand man to some of the greatest talents of both pop culture and the underground. With cameos by Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Martin Scorsese, and countless other icons, The Magic Years (Heyday) is both a rock memoir and a work of cultural criticism from a key player who watched a nation turn from idealism to nihilism. Taplin offers a clear-eyed roadmap of how we got here and makes a convincing case for art’s power to deliver us from “passionless detachment” and rekindle our humanism. Taplin will be joined in conversation by Robbie Robertson, guitarist and principal songwriter in The Band.

May 25, 2021 05:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

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Jonathan Taplin
Jonathan Taplin is an author and director emeritus of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Taplin’s book Move Fast and Break Things: How Facebook, Google and Amazon Cornered Culture and Undermined Democracy, published by Little, Brown & Company, was nominated by the Financial Times as one of the Best Business Books of 2017. Taplin has produced music and film for Bob Dylan and the Band, George Harrison, Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, Gus Van Sant, and many others. He was the founder of Intertainer, the first streaming video-on-demand platform in 1996. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He currently sits on the boards of the Authors Guild, the Americana Music Association, and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti’s Technology and Innovation Council. Taplin’s commentary has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Time magazine, the Huffington Post, the Guardian, Medium, the Washington Monthly, and the Wall Street Journal.
Robbie Robertson
Robbie Robertson was born in Toronto, Ontario in 1943, with roots in both the Mohawk community at the Six Nations Reserve and the Jewish enclave of the city’s downtown. He received his rock ‘n’ roll education in the Hawks’ line-up, which along with Levon Helm would eventually include future Bandmates Rick Danko, Richard Manuel, and Garth Hudson. The Hawks went on to play with Bob Dylan on his legendary “Going Electric” tours in 1965 and 1966. Moving to Woodstock in 1967, Robertson and his bandmates recorded the seminal “basement tapes” with Dylan before changing their name to The Band and releasing the groundbreaking Music from Big Pink album in 1968. The Band became the first North American rock group to appear on the cover of Time magazine and in 1994, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and performed live at the ceremony. Currently, Robertson is writing his follow-up memoir to Testimony, and working on the music for Scorsese’s Killers Of The Flower Moon.