8/1–Conference Day 3

Friday began leisurely because I didn’t have to be at the conference until 2pm.

At 2pm, I went to the plenary session in which six senior scholars were asked to write manifestos on “elephants in the room.” Basically, this just gave them leave to sound off on any issue they wanted to. If you’re interested in reading about some of the issues in the academic world of theatre, then click here. I’ll just mention the highlight(?) occurred when one scholar, who was talking about peace, insisted that the audience sing “We Shall Overcome” with her. Really and truly.

Then I attended a panel having to do with the virtual and the real. One woman gave a paper in which she briefly mentioned Alladeen, but I’m not really sure what her point was. Another man presented on his production of The Bacchae in Second Life. Interesting, but weirdly nostalgic. Luckily, Phil Auslander was there again and berated them, basically, for their lack of sophisticated thinking on the issues. Which, I have to say, they totally deserved.

For dinner I found a great place on the 16th Street Mall, Mad Greens. I liked their food so much that I ended up eating there for dinner three days in a row.

After dinner, I walked around for about 45 minutes. If you threw Manhattan and L.A. into a blender, you’d get Denver. Not really, of course, but it’s certainly my first impression. Lots of old buildings with a walkable downtown that has lots of things to do, but all in a desert setting surrounded by mountains. I loved the old building with the intricate detail. I don’t know why I didn’t take any pictures. Anyway, while on this walk I stumbled across the Story Corps mobile unit that I’ve heard about on NPR has been doing for the last few years.

It was cool to see something in person that I’ve only heard about on the radio. Especially when it was so unexpected.

In the evening the conference held a “micro” Fringe Festival. They used 4 of the conference rooms and had 5 performances in each, from about 8pm until after 11pm. I attended two pieces but left after them because of having to be up early for the 8am panel the next morning. The first piece was interesting—it was a multimedia performance about surveillance and expectations of women. The second piece was not so good—I can’t even tell you what it was about and it was done in a realistic style, so that should give you an idea of its opaqueness. But I thought the microfringe was a great idea for a conference and had fun in that hour.

I’ve neglected mentioning the multimedia elevators at my hotel. Every elevator has a screen in it, each displaying a different image. The images are usually landscapes, deserts, meadows, rivers and mountains, though one image is a black and white image of a drive-in restaurant, and another is of an old country-style house. They are moving images because you can see and hear the flow of the river or the wind blowing in the meadow. Unfortunately, my camera phone is not good at capturing a decent image of the multimedia elevator, but it’s a very strange phenomenon. Finally, I was able to get a somewhat decent picture of the cows on screen in the elevator…

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