Arts & Entertainment

Bona Prof to Speak at Bruce Springsteen Symposium in New Jersey

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ST. BONAVENTURE, NY – Bruce Springsteen has sold millions of albums and performed to capacity crowds at stadiums that seat tens of thousands of fans.

But how would “The Boss” fare as a political candidate?

TAPinto Greater Olean Co-Editor Richard Lee will explore that question on Saturday in a presentation at Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness on the Edge of Town: An International Symposium. The four-day conference will begin Thursday and run through Sunday at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J.

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“Celebrities make attractive political candidates,” Lee wrote in his conference proposal. “They have name recognition and financial resources; they are media savvy, and they are viewed as white knights untainted by politics. But the skills needed to win a home-run title or star in a hit movie are not identical to those needed to conduct a successful political campaign.”

Lee will deliver his presentation, “I’m Bruce Springsteen, and I Approved This Message,” during a 10 a.m. panel session titled “Springsteen and Political/Social Impact.”

To gauge Springsteen’s viability as a candidate, Lee gathered information from 17 political and music experts, including campaign consultants, journalists and public policy analysts.

“My presentation will reflect the opinions of people who are well-respected and very accomplished in the worlds of politics and music,” Lee said.

Lee, who lives in Olean, is an associate professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure University. As a journalist, he covered rock’n’roll in the early 1980s before becoming a political reporter. He later worked in several government and communications positions, including deputy communications director for two New Jersey governors.

In 1980, The New York Times published Lee's op-ed In Support of a Proposal for a State Anthem, in which he argued that New Jersey should designate Springsteen’s “Born to Run” as the official state anthem.

The Springsteen symposium, which commemorates the 40th anniversary of his 1978 album "Darkness on the Edge of Town," will feature an international roster of participants, as well as a host of keynote speakers and musical acts celebrating the life and times of the Jersey Shore and popular music.

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