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Celebrating hobo culture

The Yard Dogs Road Show performs Thursday, April 7.

A talk by Jessica Hahn, author of two books based on her experiences hopping trains, will kick off the celebration of hobo culture at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 5 in the Humanities Center. In her talk, titled “Not Lost: A Young Woman’s Experience Riding the Rails,” Hahn will offer insight into the world of those who train-hop around the country and opt for lives far off the beaten path.

The series of events, co-sponsored by University Productions, Arts Lehigh, Visiting Lectures Committee, English Department, and the Women’s Center, also include:

• A talk by English doctoral candidate John Lennon, who is studying hobo culture and helped organize the week’s events. He will speak at 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 6 in the Humanities Center on the “The Art of Invisibility: Temporary Autonomous Zone and the Subculture.” (For more on Lennon’s doctoral project, read “A freedom most of us would not be able to handle”) Also speaking will be American Studies graduate student Matthew Burns, whose photographs of boxcar art will be on display at the Humanities Center throughout Hobo Week.

• A talk by RU Sirius, also known as Ken Goffman, author of Counterculture Through the Ages: From Abraham to Acid House. RU Sirius, who has been described as an “edge-thinker and media rabble-rouser,” will unfurl a secret history of rebels, ranters, and mystics who are united in their distrust of authority and will delve into the deeper dimensions of a quest for individual freedom in a shrinking world of surveillance and control. RU Sirius will speak at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 7 in Maginnes 102. His talk is titled “Counter Culture Today: How to Tell Your Friends from the Robots.”

• The Festive Finale. The Yard Dogs Road Show will perform at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7 on the lawn outside Packer Memorial Church (inside if it rains). The Yard Dogs, led by former hobo Eddy Joe Cotton, who chronicled his experiences in his on-the-road journal, Hobo: A Young Man’s Thoughts on Trains and Tramping in America, are a traveling jug band including sword swallowers, fire eaters, dancing girls, men in drag, and just plain down home jug fun for the whole family ... even our crazy Uncle Sam!

For more information on the week-long series of events, please call the Humanities Center at (610) 758-4649.

Posted on Tuesday, March 29, 2005

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