Speakers for Vinegar Hill ’76 Series



Network | Siva Vaidhyanathan

Siva Vaidhyanathan is the Robertson Professor of Media Studies and director of the Center for Media and Citizenship at the University of Virginia. More to the point, he’s a lover of 70s cinema and an international expert on media and culture, making him the perfect person to tell us why Howard Beale is mad as hell, and how he’d feel about today’s media landscape.


King Kong | Carmenita Higginbotham

Carmenita Higginbotham is Associate Professor of American Art and Culture at the University of Virginia, where she teaches classes on Hollywood and Disney. She’ll be on hand to answer all your King Kong questions, including how racial and sexual politics have changed in the 40+ years since Kong fell hard for Jessica Lange.


Rocky | Paul Wagner

Paul Wagner is an Academy Award-winning independent filmmaker who has produced and directed more than forty documentary and dramatic films over a forty-year career. You can ask him your questions about 1976’s Best Picture winner, which Sly Stallone wrote in a dumbfounding 3 days.


A Star is Born | Miller Murray Susen

Miller Murray Susen is a teacher, writer, director, and actor. She currently teaches Drama at Village School and edits their literary magazine, Jambalaya, and she recently directed the musical Fun Home at Live Arts. She’s ready to weigh in on any of your burning questions about A Star is Born, including whether Kris Kristofferson is 1976’s sexiest shirtless man.


All the President’s Men | Jordy Yager & Jamelle Bouie

Jordy Yager is a journalist in Charlottesville who focuses on issues of poverty and equity, and has been featured on NPR and in The New Yorker. He covered Congress and the federal government for 7 years as a staff writer for The Hill and the Los Angeles Times.


Jamelle Bouie is chief political correspondent for Slate magazine, and a political analyst for CBS News, where he covers campaigns, elections, and national affairs. He’s also a talented photographer and avid movie fan.


The Outlaw Josey Wales | William Little

William Little is assistant professor in the Department of Media Studies at the University of Virginia, where he teaches a course on Westerns, among other topics. He is at work on a creative project set in the American midwest in the first decade of the twentieth century. He’s the perfect person to answer your questions about Clint Eastwood’s Civil War classic, which he called an “anti-war” film.

Lipstick | Laurie Jean Seaman

Laurie Jean Seaman is the Director of Prevention at the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) and works with the community to make it a place where all people are treated with dignity and worth, where empathy and listening are practiced by all and for all, and where it is common to speak out for gender equality and healthy sexuality. She’ll be happy to answer your questions about how the landscape around sexual assault and prevention have changed in the last 40 years, and how we can interpret Lipstick in the #MeToo era.


Harlan County, USA | Lori Shinseki & Paul Wagner

Lori Shinseki has worked in documentary film production for over 20 years. Her most recent film, The Twinning Reaction, examines the profound human toll of an infamous study of separated twins in the 1960s.


See Paul Wagner’s bio in Rocky.

Both filmmakers are fans of 1976’s Oscar-winning documentary about the effort of 180 coal miners and their wives against a coal mine in Harlan County, Kentucky in 1973. Ask them anything you want, including how they think Barbara Kopple’s documentary holds up 40 years later.


Car Wash | Dr. Meredith D. Clark

Dr. Meredith D. Clark (@MeredithDClark) is a former newspaper journalist whose research focuses on the intersections of race, media, and power. Her award-winning dissertation on Black Twitter landed her on The Root 100, the news website’s list of the most influential African Americans in the country, in 2015. She’s a pet mom to two tabby cats, Gabe and Spencer, and a devoted “Grey’s Anatomy” fan.


Taxi Driver | Carmenita Higginbotham

See bio in King Kong.


The Song Remains the Same| Jack Hamilton

Jack Hamilton is Slate’s pop critic and assistant professor of American studies and media studies at the University of Virginia. He is the author of Just Around Midnight: Rock and Roll and the Racial Imagination. He’ll be ready to answer any of your questions about Led Zeppelin’s trippy and arguably self-indulgent concert film.