One way that AVPM creates an intimate relationship between fan and text is by transforming the multibillion dollar Harry Potter transmedia franchise—the ultimate form of mass culture–back into folk culture. Whereas folk art is an expression of the community who is also its audience, mass art is disseminated to its audience already made, articulating its values for them. However, as so many fan studies scholars have noted, fan fiction allows fans to convert mass culture back into folk culture. I would add that by explicitly relying on the syntax and semantics of the musical, AVPM is even more adept at creating the sense that mass art is folk art. Jane Feuer argues that: “In basing its value system on community, the producing and consuming functions served by the passage of musical entertainment from folk to popular to mass status are rejoined through the genre’s rhetoric” (3).
Neat paper situating A Very Potter Musical within the history of folk culture and musical theatre. She covers the connection between music and affect, community, amateurism, and compares, rather gorgeously, diegetic audiences in movie musicals to the audience in AVPM’s youtube vids:
For example, film musicals often offer up images of the diegetic audience to compensate for the “lost liveness” of the stage, serving as a serving as a stand in for the film audience’s subjectivity (27). Many Hollywood musicals include a diegetic audience that cues the non-diegetic audience in about how to feel about a performance—if they clap and cheer, the performance was successful. If they sit silently in their seats, the performance was a bust. A similar effect is created when watching the streaming video of the live stage performance of AVPM.
This last is particularly fun to apply to Glee, and not just Glee’s fuckton (actual academic jargon) of in-narrative audiences, from the prep school girls in “Animal” to the NYADA students in “Bring Him Home”, but the peripherals such as the concert movie and that “Gleek of the Week” thing they do following every show. Creator-controlled audience reactions vs. the folk-culture, read-write, real-time chaos of Twitter and Tumblr.
Plus, if you’re into both Glee and Starkid, it’s pretty fun to watch the clips she’s pulled of moptop!Criss and Joe Walker in tap shoes.
[META] “To Dance Again!”: Affect, Genre, and the HARRY POTTER Franchise