7/31–Conference Day 2

Today was a long, hot day that stared with a little scare. David, who’s a year behind me at UCLA and was sharing a room with me, forgot to put the coffee cup into the coffee maker and before either of us noticed, coffee was spreading all over the table. The table my computer was on!!! Luckily, we caught it in time and was able to wipe up the coffee from the bottom before it did any damage. What a close call that was.

For me, the conference began by attending a panel on mixed media with Jen and Jason. I met Jason when he was at UCLA finishing his dissertation and I was in my first year. Jason was also the editor in chief of Extensions then (and for which I am now the editor-in-chief), plus our research interests are very similar, so he’s been sort of a sign post for me of things to come.Anyway, he gave a paper and then Jen gave her paper and then the excitement began.

Sitting in the audience was Phil Auslander, one of the most important scholars writing about mixed media issues. And he’s got many bones to pick. Mainly, he thinks that the live and the recorded are not fundamental opposites but different stops on the same spectrum. So he immediately busts Jason and Jen for talking about the live and the recorded as separate entities. But Jason and Jen held their own and it was a great, albeit slightly heated, conversation. I especially appreciated Jen who said (and i’m just paraphrasing here): “you’re right, Phil, but if we just accept your argument then there is nothing else to talk about and we all go home.” She argues that we need to keep talking about multimedia performance because it’s woefully under-theorized. Go Jen! So that was a fun panel for me to attend and certainly was one of the highlights, if not the highlight, of this conference.

Afterwards, I decided to go find free wi-fi. Let’s just say that after be directed to three places that were supposed to have free wi-fi and being disappointed each time, I was very frustrated. And it’s really hot here—so walking around trying to find an internet connection was not fun. So I broke down a paid for T-Mobile pay as you go service.

Later I went to the panel that David was on to hear his paper and ran in to a friend of mine who attended that MRG retreat I did last year in Davis. Then I was supposed to meet with the people who I’m doing the roundtable with on Saturday, so I went to the lobby of the hotel and waited and waited. Turns out that I was waiting in the wrong spot, which is not like me at all to make that kind of mistake so I felt really dumb, but they were all very nice about it. But while I was waiting for them in the wrong spot, I ran into a woman I went to State with—it’s been 14 or 15 years since I’ve seen her. I was her assistant director for The Abdication so there was a brief moment in time when we spent lots of time together. Anyway, we spoke only briefly but she’s teaching at a college in Pennsylvania.

The conference ended that evening with a keynote address given by Augusto Boal. It was cool to see him in person but he wasn’t saying anything compelling, so David and I left to grab dinner. It was nice to relax after a long day.

After, we walked around a little bit and came across this interesting piece of art/charity solicitation:


I must admit that I was surprised by the sizeable homeless population in Denver. Having lived in three of the major cities in this country, I felt that I have seen the worst of homelessness. But I honestly think Denver was worse than any other city I’ve seen. So the parking meter re-purposed for donations was not the surprising to me. In fact, I thought it was a little glib in light of the major problem it clearly is in that city.

Also, my hotel was across the street from the Denver Convention Center which has this interesting piece of art:

It’s like he’s peaking in wondering what everyone’s doing.

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