Friday, April 17, 2009

PCA/ACA, Part III: Friday

Friday morning I was TIRED. But, one of the panels I was most interested in was at 8am, and I made it by 8:06, so it wasn't the end of the world. It was 3010: "Children's Literature & Culture V: Disney." The first paper was entitled, "Stars versus Rainbows: Walt Disney's and Jim Henson's Philosophies of Childhood." Disney is very mainstream, and focuses on the way to do things in a normative manner. In the opposite, Jim Henson's Muppets instead act in a completely anti-norm manner, and the presenter showed clips from a Wonderful World of Disney Special where the Muppets go to Magic Kingdom. It was very fascinating, and I immediately requested that Jonathan find it for me, as I cannot wait to see it in its entirety. I LOVED the idea of the paper. The next paper was about Disney's misrepresentation of gender and nature through film and song, which looked at the Disney Princess line and all it has done to create a monopoly on toys. Next, The Hannah Montana phenomenon and the idea of performing. It was rather enlightening for me, since you can look at the Miley/Miley/Hannah thing as self, other, and neither. The final paper dealt with Brother Bear, which I didn't want to think about, since I'm not the biggest fan.

After that, I decided to head over for a session in my real focus: Theatre. 3071: "Theatre & Drama III: The Lighter Side," was an excellent session. No media failures, which was a (sadly) very high point. The first presenter showed how he uses pop songs to perform the chorus in Ancient Greek plays. A marvelous idea, with great video examples. Then there was a paper read by a girl whose friends came for this session (and apparently no other ones, since they thought everything else at this conference was boring), dealing with the fact that there are very few "new" things on Broadway, since there are a lot of revivals and adaptations currently. Then an interesting presentation on radio theatre, which I am rather ashamed to say I didn't know anything about. He gave us each CDs of examples, and I plan to pop it in my car next time I drive someplace. Last, a rushed presentation on doing Carroll and Twain for children's theatre.

I went to Felix's Restaurant and Oyster Bar for lunch, which was recommended in the paper I got from the last session on Wednesday night. I felt bad taking a 4-person table, but all the 2-person tables were full, and I didn't want to sit at the counter. The server was friendly and prompt. I ordered a half shrimp po'boy and jambalaya. The jambalaya was about average, nothing too special. The po'boy was fairly standard as well. Problematically, the tartar was clumpy in a container on the table, so I didn't use any. This left my sandwich rather dry (since I got it "no-mayo"), but still good. It was a hair expensive for lunch (it ran $14 with tip), but it's a famous place that I hadn't been to, so I deemed it worth it.

I then went on to 3078: "Animation I: Animation and Gender." At this point in my review of the conference, you should be able to see that I love children's entertainment and I love gender issues. I don't know that I really love the latter, but I do enjoy seeing what people have to say on these matters. The first paper focused on Walt Disney's early Alice cartoons, and by early I mean like 1910-1935. It was amusing to see early attempts at combining live-action and cartoons. Then there was a paper given on Disney's boys and men and their interactions with girls and women, given by a woman from the UK who has books published on female Disney characters. She had extraordinarily interesting things to say, and I had never drawn the parallels that are common with such characters. Last, there was a paper on Dora the Explorer, where I focused on the idea that children are NOT learning from that show, and don't participate in the interaction which I thought the show thrived upon.

From there I headed over to a more failed panel. I should have gone elsewhere (and had originally planned to go elsewhere but changed my mind), but I sat through 3123: "Adolescence in Film & Television V: Feminism, Misogyny, & Trauma in Adolescent Television." The first paper was on Veronica Mars, a show I know very little about. Then was an interesting read on the misogyny in The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Here was when I made my only dumb comment [which is pretty good, considering a) I feel too uninformed to comment much at all at ATHE, and b) I commented or questioned on more than half the panels I attended, so one dumb comment isn't that bad]. Then was a hard-to-follow paper on the role of parents in Smallville.

I then made another choice that wasn't the greatest: 3167: "Film XVIII: Playing Against (Genre) Type: Macabre Musicals, Working Girl, Thai Pastiche, & Wall-E." The first paper's title intrigued me, but I couldn't follow it. I went to purchase it from the table, thinking it would help, but it wasn't available. The second had major A/V issues, but would have been more interesting if I was familiar with the film (Working Girl)... I think I'll rent it, though. The final paper was looking at how Wall-E exploits 20th century sci-fi traditions... which I thought would be really interesting. Instead, some comments made in the paper were quite offensive to me, and the "review" factor was a little heavy... plus it didn't really give strong points throughout.

Then it was time for my own presentation. And, as par for the course, chaos once again ensued. My panel was at 6:30pm, and I arrived at like 6:05. The door was shut and locked, so I waited 5 minuted, in case the previous session was running over. I knocked, no answer. I wandered the hall, saw nobody helpful. 6:15, I pounded on the door. 6:18, I decided to head down two floors and across to the other tower in case there had been an update at the registration booth. I'm holding back tears as I rush over, only to find no updates on the board, and nobody at the booth. I decide to head back over, and get there at 6:22. At this point there's another presenter there, who mentions that she found somebody to unlock the door. I then was so relieved that I burst into tears, so I had to explain my panic. I dried my face, but now was sweaty and red as I went into the room. And it begins. First, a paper on the John Adams mini-series. Then, a Mad Men thing on women. Then, something about True Blood. Then, my paper. It was nearing 7:30 by then, so our audience of 8 shrunk to 5. Nobody really seemed interested, and I received no questions or comments, but I didn't really mind.

I was tired and still kinda shook up, so I grabbed Arby's and headed to the hotel. I did stray from my usual, and went with the roasted chicken club (pretty good, needs honey mustard tho) and the mandarin peach tea (which was too sweet, I nursed it for about four hours and never finished it).

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