This weekend an international heavy metal conference for academics and researchers is happening in Bowling Green, Ohio. It's called "The Heavy Metal & Popular Culture Conference," and organizers say it's the first of its kind in the U.S.
It will feature presentations by heavy metal scholars from around the world about race and gender in the genre, and about its growing popularity in places like Finland and Puerto Rico.
Matt Donahue teaches at Bowling Green State University, where the free event takes place. He says in the 1980s, musicians from Toledo and Detroit created an influential crossover style that melded punk, rock-and-roll, and heavy metal. On Sunday he'll host a panel called "The Toledo Heavy Metal Scene."
Donahue says heavy metal is like any other musical style with talented musicians and fans who find their community within the genre. He's currently working on a documentary that looks at why heavy metal t-shirts have become so popular, and what the shirts mean to the people who wear them.