Need Something to do Thursday?

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From Col. Tom Parker's management of Elvis, to the payola scandal, to the Brill Building's song factory, to Motown's charm school, to disco's drumbeats set to the tempo of heart monitors, to the Mickey Mouse Club and Tiffany's mall concerts, the music industry has been attempting to "develop" artists for decades. Even The Sex Pistols were pawns formed by their manager Malcolm McLaren as a marketing tool for clothes.

But most people feel that industry meddling really hit its height in the mid-'90s with the resurgence of the boy-band movement spearheaded by helicopter-taxi magnate Lou Pearlman, who in addition to his crimes against taste would later be convicted of running a massive Ponzi scheme and accused of sexual misconduct against some of the artists he "took an interest in."

But hey, you have bills to pay, so there's a good chance you're wondering if any of that even matters as anything more than conspiratorial grousing by artistic types. But considering the weight of music's role in our emotional memory, our culture and traditions and yes, even the economy, isn't it worth finding out?

Well, tonight, you can. Swing by Visual Arts Collective and catch a screening of the acclaimed documentary, Before the Music Dies, an examination of the industry's influence and its effects on culture and creativity.

The screening is part of a new film series from Collapse Theater, which made its micro-cinema debut at VAC with last month's showing of The Room.

The screening starts at 8 p.m. and costs $5.

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