Thursday, April 16, 2009

PCA/ACA, Part II: Thursday

The next morning, there was a 7am graduate student get-together, but I was too tired to go.

I did make it to the 8am 2038: "Toys & Culture," which was a 3/4 win. The first paper used a hermeneutical approach to examining toy advertising. Interesting idea, and I especially enjoyed looking at comparison advertisements from 1993 and 2008. Then an idea about the Teddy Bear and how it is used, which was fairly interesting. A Barbie vs. Bratz presentation reaffirmed my hatred for Bratz, but was overall interesting, especially that Barbie launched a Tattoo Barbie to be a Bratz competitor. Last was a paper on Barbie and Dexter, which only entertained me for ten minutes or so, mostly because I don't care for Dexter.

I then planned to go to a Children's Lit session, but changed my mind and went to 2076: "Gender & Media Studies III: Makeovers, Beauty and Popular Culture." The first paper blew me away, but not in the way it should have. I knew more about the subjects that the presenter seemed to, and I was really looking forward to insight into the mother figures of Kate Gosselin, Michelle Duggar, and Amy Roloff, all characters which I enjoy. Then there was a paper on Chinese Beauty Pageants that may have gone on a little long, but was a trend which I previously knew nothing about. Then, looking at The Swan and Extreme Makeover and how women are affected by these programs. I had never seen either of them, and was pretty shocked to learn about their practices. Finally, a look at Sex and the City which pointed out triads in the show, which I have no comment on as I don't care for the program.

I then went for lunch at Cafe Beignet on Bourbon. I'd been there before (for breakfast) during one of my previous trips to the Quarter. This time, I ordered the Bourbon Croissant, which was tuna, bacon, and white cheddar on a croissant with tomatoes and pickles. It came fairly quickly, and as I enjoyed the courtyard and took a few pics (but not many, since we already have pics of the jazz figures and fountain), I enjoyed the meal. There were a few pieces of hard-boiled egg in the tuna, but they were large enough to pick out without a problem.
After lunch, I headed to the Sesame Street Seminar. It featured the executive producer of the show, an executive editor, an assistant VP, and Fran Brill, one of the puppeteers. The session had amazing montages and stories from this beloved children's show. They discussed the costs of the show, Jim Henson's puppet designs, the casting, the characters through the years, and the extreme research that goes into the program. I learned SO MUCH. And if I wasn't living in California, trying to finish a thesis, and married, I would totally apply right now for a job working for Sesame Street. Exec Prod started in a PBS internship in talent royalties payment, then did every production job there was. And she had great stories, too. But the best part? Fran Brill (the first full-time female puppeteer hired by Jim Henson) pulled out both Prairie Dawn and Zoe, and I witnessed part of the magic that is Sesame Street puppeteering.

I really, really, REALLY wanted to head to the book room next, to get Fran Brill's autograph. But I needed to help out a colleague and read a paper in her place, so I was stuck in 2145: "African-American Culture II: The Struggle for the Souls of Black Folks." I don't have much to say about the panel, mostly because I was angry with the lack of attention to time and pacing by the chair. And I'll leave it at that.

On to 2162: "Adolescence in Film & Television IV: Interrogating Degrassi: The Next Generation." I was initially excited about this session, since I am a big Degrassi fan (in all of its carnations). The first paper was entirely too scientific for my tastes, but it was meant to be, so I'll let that go. Then, the sexuality of Emma, Many, and Paige on the show, which gave a pretty good look at how they fit the "have-it-alls" and "at-risks." Last, a look at the nostalgia factors in Degrassi and the new 90210. There were some interesting points, and a late comparison to The Secret Life of the American Teenager and how, although it boasts the nostalgia factor of Molly Ringwald, it still suffers because the actions in it would never happen.

The conference reception was Thursday evening, and after enjoying some fruit and cheese, I delighted in a few beignets from Cafe du Monde.

Then it was back to the hotel.

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