Sunday, July 31, 2011

Back to Denver, Part 1 of 2

I missed last year's annual Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas conference after attending the two prior to that (you may recall I wrote about the last one I went to in Washington, DC - 1  2  3), so I was glad that I got to go this year. It was held in Denver from a Thursday to a Sunday. Well, Jonathan ended up needing to be in Denver on business the next week, and was scheduled to fly into Denver just an hour before I was going to leave! So I changed my flight (thank goodness this one was booked on Southwest!) to stay five days with him in Denver.

My flight was uneventful, and I had no problems finding my shuttle to the hotel. I always forget how far out the Denver airport is from the rest of the city, tho! I was able to unpack, relax a bit, and grab a light lunch before the conference began at 3pm. Not to go into details on everything I learned in each session (I know that's only interested to 3% of you, LoL), I'll just give a few highlights.

On Thursday, the conference had a wonderful start with a panel that talked about some hot topics in the field and what's going on. Then a bunch of us Early Career folks had dinner at a famous diner (yeah, you're going to have to follow The Casual Eater for that one) before the evening reception. 

Friday morning began with various tour options, and I chose the walking historic tour of LoDo, or lower downtown. I really enjoyed the tour (which was over 2 hours for just $10), and would strongly recommend it to anyone interested in some of the littler-known facts about the Mile-High City. Get Kevin! We walked a lot and saw many different things in Denver, including several haunted places, some public art, and even a fabulous Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar shoppe that let us taste the various liquids!

Friday lunch was supposed to be for Early Career Dramaturgs, but since our tour ran longer than the schedule length, several of us missed it. But, from what I heard later, nothing big was discussed. Friday afternoon included several choices of sessions, and my favorite was a panel with two of the local theatres being represented. Both are doing some unique work and I was very excited to hear about what is being done and how dramaturgy is being used in those projects. 

Friday night was set aside for seeing theatre. My first choice ended up being pushed back a week so I wasn't able to see it. I wasn't in love with any of the other choices, though I eventually settled on the Bovine Metropolis Theatre's Makeshift Shakespeare. It was described as long-form improv with Shakespearean influences. I thought it sounded different and fun so I asked several people to see it with me, eventually finding just one other person who was interested. It was a late-night show, beginning at 10:15. But it was less than two blocks away, so I wasn't concerned. Russ and I met there and as the next hour went on I became increasingly grateful that nobody else had decided to go! We both felt it was an awful show. And it can't just be attributed to an "off" night, as there were structural concerns. But all's well that ends well (pun intended).

Saturday was a different format. Rather than having scheduled panels all day, we had a large session in the morning where people proposed ideas of what they wanted to talk about. Then, they put up the possibilities on a wall and they became the next three sessions' options. I wasn't thrilled with the idea, as I generally need some time to think about each option and weigh out what will be the most beneficial and interesting for me. I chose a great session for my first selection, though my second and third might have been better served in different rooms. Still, some great conversations were born, and that was great.

Saturday night was the banquet, which for me is always slightly awkward. It's a good chance to talk with people and get to know others better, but many of the attendees want to catch up with friends they only see at this conference once a year. So I generally jump around and talk to various people during cocktail hour, trying to figure out where I should sit. This time in particular it was difficult to choose because of the buffet set-up (it was a seated dinner in San Diego and DC), so you couldn't see where many other people were until after you had your food. Then, quite the crowd moved to a local bar for a bit (but not too long, they closed at midnight!), and I heard some very intriguing career histories (which, honestly, are generally fascinating in the dramaturgy field).

Sunday was short, just a couple of things. I really enjoyed the first panel, which was a case study of sorts, with four dramaturgs discussing how they handled the same show in the past year. I was kinda sad that several people missed it (Sunday morning is a common fly-out time at this conference) and at least a few of us hope to see panels similar to this in the future.

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