Good news! I just finished my last paper of the spring quarter and am officially off for the rest of the summer!!! This quarter, though not nearly as challenging as the winter quarter, was somewhat of a drag due to the classes I had to take. One class, entitled Introduction to Performance Studies, surveyed the ways different disciplines approach performance. A more appropriate title for the seminar might have been Survey of Performance Studies; calling a class for Ph.D. students “introduction” is pretty condescending. Anyway, what made this class worthwhile was meeting and interacting with professors from other areas whom I otherwise would not have met. The other seminar was Feminist Performance and Race. And it was all about identity politics, of course. Identity politics is fascinating up to a point and an important way of understanding the culture we live in, but after a while it gets repetitive and boring—at least to me. Still, always one to make lemonade out of lemons, some of the readings were quite good and will be useful to be and the class time itself made for some excellent conversations.

Grad Forum this quarter was a lot different from the other two quarters because Shelley had us attending various events to look at various modes of performance. We saw a Canadian dance company, The Holy Body Tattoo, perform at UCLA. It was terrible. We attended the “Ashes and Snow” exhibit that was at the Santa Monica Pier for a while. Also terrible. (I wrote a little reaction essay which maybe I can post to my blog.) In May we went to see a Civil War Re-enactment at Fort Tejon. Although overall the experience was interesting and kind of fun, the re-enactment itself was pitiful. Tom, thankfully, attended with us and was able to compare it to the more “authentic” re-enactments he tried to avoid in Gettysburg. And finally, we saw Robert Wilson’s The Black Rider at The Ahmanson. I had actually seen this in San Francisco in 2004 and enjoyed that production better, even though it was exactly the same. Go figure. Still, I ended up using this production as the basis for both of my final papers so at least it was beneficial in that regard. Shelley ended the quarter by having everyone attend Universal Studios—though she told me I didn’t have to go since I had been so recently (thanks Mom and Mike!). Overall, grad forum was fun even if most of what we saw sucked.

Another important event that occurred this quarter was my end of the year meeting with Sue-Ellen. I got a chance to tell her that I’m really not interested in writing about performance from the point of view of identity politics. Of course, since I’m a feminist, this will factor to in whatever I write about but it won’t be the only fact. Really, the class I took in the winter with Vivian Sobchack on Space and Place was fascinating to me. Sue-Ellen, thankfully, sees that I can incorporate that interest with my interest in multimedia as well. How exactly, I don’t know, but I guess that’s what I’ll be figuring out for the next three years. She advised me to read books and journal articles in this area, so that’s part of what I’ll be doing for the summer.

And finally, I received my teaching assignment for next year. I will be a Teaching Fellow (TF) in the Performing Arts General Education (GE) Cluster Course for freshmen (see link for more info about the course). This is a yearlong class with the same students that meets some of their GE requirements for graduation. It is a lecture course consisting of 120-130 students, and team taught by four professors from different areas in the performing arts and four TFs. Also during the fall and winter each TF has two discussion sections of 16-20 students. And finally, in the spring quarter, instead of the lecture/discussion section format, each of the eight professors and TFs develop their own courses for up to 20 students who get to choose whichever one they wish to take. We are completely at liberty to design our own courses so I’m very much looking forward to that. I will also start working on this during the summer because fall and winter are going to be extremely busy. In fact, I predict that between classes and teaching those two quarters, but most especially the fall, will be as busy as my winter quarter was. Anyway, I’m honored to have been placed as a TF. It’s only available to people with prior teaching or TA experience and it’s the highest paying TA job a grad student can have at UCLA.

So, now you know that even though I’m not in school this summer I still have plenty of school-related work to do. I also plan on working on my Spanish, too (oh, if only there were some sort of chip that I could have implanted in my brain for that). But I also plan to read, relax, have some fun and do stuff around the apartment, too, like replant my balcony garden that has totally died and finally paint the living room. But I’m also available for some plain old hangin’ out with friends and family, so feel free to keep me booked. 🙂 After all, I’m off until 9/28!! Woohoo!!!

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