Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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Blue Skies

I just returned from a full day at the third-annual Experience Music Project conference, which concluded with successful delivery of my paper to a seemingly appreciative and decent-sized audience, one which included both Chris Pratt, who took off work and shelled out $12 for the day pass, and Josh Kun, who presented his first academic paper at the same conference I did, way back in 1994 at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, the conference where I first met Jonathan Sterne and Kevin Carollo and witnessed Michael Bérubé in his in-person coolness.

Now that was a long sentence! Eat your needlessly prolix heart out, Henry James. Just eat it. Just eat it. This ain't no truth or dare.

Jeff Magnum was just singing, "I love you Jesus Christ." Then Chris, checking his LiveJournal friends, shouted out, "You have to take Skylar to Chuck E Cheese!"

So I go check Kim's blog and whom do I see but Jesus Christ!

Talk about a harmonic convergence.

Blues Sky Badge

Highlights of the day, other than the paper, were

• 1) meeting John Rockwell, the New York Times music critic whose opera reviews I was reared on -- my father would read them out loud while my mother cooked dinner -- and then telling him that I was reared on his prose;

• 2) attending a roundtable discussion entirely devoted to the topic I'm discussing in my chapter on McSweeney's -- which I recorded, BTW -- in which Punk Planet editor Dan Sinker, Akashic Books publisher Johnny Temple, and McSweeney's alum Neal Pollack all said precisely the things I need to quote someone else saying in order to make my analysis seem less idiosyncratically subjective;

• 3) getting to meet the aforementioned Sinker for the first time and discovering that he looks remarkably like a slimmer, younger Michael Moore in his Bail magazine hat and multi-day facial hair;

• 4) managing to suppress all the impulses that came into my head during the roundtable, such as shouting out, "But that's precisely what I've been arguing for years!";

• 5) rewriting large portions of my paper over lunch by hand -- don't I always seem to be making last-minute revisions that way? -- in order to address Robert Christgau's slam of academic prose and his even harsher implied slam of Judith Butler. Since I'd brought Wendy Brown's Politics Out of History with me today, I worked some passages from her introduction into the paper. I also cut out the touchy-feely outreach to non-academics -- the "light" parts -- and amped up the theoretical angle considerably;

• 6) eating yummy fries and a cheeseburger at the Liquid Lounge, while the kind bartender kept bringing me cola after cola;

• 7) meeting Ann Powers right after I got to the conference and seeing pictures of her recently adopted, four-month-old baby girl on her digital camera, then showing her current pictures of Skylar still on the xD card of my digital camera;

• 8) running into her husband Eric Weisbard a little later and having him remind me about why being an academic is better than working in a corporate environment;

• 9) thinking about going on a book tour some day, while listening to the round-table discussion, in which I will aggressively sell "merch" to my adoring fans;

• 10) surviving the laser-bright blue light of the projector bulb directed at my eyes during my panel. I was sure I'd suffer retinal damage or have a seizure, it was so intense.

• 11) enjoying the stunning cloud formations and sublime play of light on Seattle trees and buildings during the drive back to Salmonberg with Chris.

All in all, a fine day.


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