Squeeze This: accordion acts you should know

Something for the girls.

Was there anything more unexpected in season three of Mad Men than the scene in which Joan brought out her cherry-red squeezebox, and serenaded a dinner party with "C'est Magnifique?" Accordions were once a bastion of adult gatherings; there were bona fide accordion stars — Dick Contino, who played San Francisco's Barbary Coast in the 1940s, made it on the pop charts — but in this century, they've left the mainstream, resurging underground in pockets of klezmer, pirate polka, Tejano music, and gypsy jazz.

In her new biography, Squeeze This, writer-musician Marion Jacobson delves deep into the history of the instrument and contemplates its place as a cultural technology. At an event this week, Jacobson will likely discuss some of her findings with the Accordion Apocalypse crew (and sign copies of her book), followed by squeezebox-filled performances by Luz Gaxiola, the Mad Maggies, and Sheri Mignano.

In anticipation of her appearance, I asked Jacobson to give us a list of her favorite accordion acts, young and old, traditionalists and rule-breakers. See her responses below:

Marion Jacobson’s Top Five Accordion Acts

Alex Meixner: my definition of an “accordion idol”

Gogol Bordello: gypsy punk

Five-time Grammy winner Flaco Jimenez, the soul of Chicano and Tejano music

Dick Contino: 1950s accordion idol turned hip elder statesman

Weird Al Yankovic: parody + accordion = sublime masterpieces

Two Accordionists to Watch Out For
Cory Pesaturo: no accordionist today has better improv chops

Ginny Mac: she sings, too!

In a Category of Their Own Making
Those Darn Accordions: Welcome to hell, here’s your accordion

Squeeze This! A Cultural History of the Accordion book event
With author Marion Jacobson, music by Luz Gaxiola, with the Mad Maggies, and Sheri Mignano
Thu/16, 7pm, free
Accordion Apocalypse
255 10th St., SF
(415) 596-5952

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