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Professor longhair: Rundgren at IU

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These are fortunate times for Todd Rundgren fans living in central Indiana. For some time now, we’ve known about Rundgren’s Sept. 11 Clowes Hall album re-creation show, at which he and a full band will perform each and every song from 1974’s Todd (“Sons of 1984,” a Gilbert and Sullivan cover) and 1981’s Healing (“Healer,” “Healing, Pts. 1-3”). Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are still available, and range from $35 to $75 per seat (plus applicable fees).

And news arrived last week, courtesy of the Star, that Rundgren will become a professor at Indiana University, if only for a short while. In late October and early November, Rundgren will spend about two weeks on the Bloomington campus, during which time he’ll teach a course for a group of IU undergrads in the Wells Scholars program, and make two public appearances: a lecture (Oct. 28) and storytelling concert (Oct. 31).

Glenn Gass, the IU professor of music who was instrumental in recruiting Rundgren, wants to make it abundantly clear that the course is restricted to IU students. That means there’s no auditing allowed, unemployed Toddhead from Dayton, Ohio. That expired IU ID won’t get you in either. I’m talking to you, Scott Shoger.

But Gass is excited to pass along details about Rundgren’s two public appearances. Oct. 28’s lecture, which Rundgren is calling “LONGHAIR: TR and the Beatles Effect,” will coincide with a session of Gass’s course on The Beatles. Oct. 31’s storytelling concert, entitled by Rundgren, “CLUSTER: The Birth of the T-Chord,” will concern, according to Rundgren via Gass, “the development of my harmonic sensibility with performed examples.” The free concert will be held at Auer Hall, which holds about 400.

Gass was the catalyst for Rundgren’s appearance; he owns a summer home up the road from Rundgren’s on the Hawaiian island of Kauai, and says that he came to meet Rundgren “in the best of ways,” i.e. outside of the context of fandom — Gass’s son came to befriend Rundgren’s son, their families intermingled, etc. Still, Gass is careful to credit others where it’s due, pointing to professor of physics and Wells Scholar Program director Tim Londergan (a Rundgren fan, natch), professor of sociology Bernice Pescosolido and the Class of 1963, which endowed Rundgren’s visit as Indiana University Class of 1963 Welles Professor.

Meanwhile, one hopes that Rundgren’s turn as a professor will be somehow preserved for posterity, because there are a couple potentially fascinating field trips on the syllabus: one to a studio facility, where Rundgren might just demonstrate how he mixed down a track from one his records; another to the Stone Age Institute, a non-profit devoted to the study of pre-historical technology and evolution, where one imagines Rundgren might re-enact the bones-as-xylophone scene from 2001.

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