Sunday, November 02, 2008

Home from Chicago

I just got home from several days in Chicago for Film & History's conference. This year, I served as the Area Chair for the Doctor Who area of the conference, which means that I solicited and selected the Doctor Who papers, then organized them into panels (for which I came up with spiffy names), and served as a point of contact and advocate for my panelists.

The conference was a lot of fun (in a manner of speaking -- I mean, it was a bunch of academics reading their papers. But the Doctor Who area seemed to function as a sort of mini-conference within the larger event, with a bunch of die-hard Who aficionados holding extended discussions about the show and its themes, issues of gender and racial representation, how it reflects the British culture from which is emanates, etc.

Chicago was great. The weather was surprisingly temperate. One highlight for me was spending an evening with my college friend and the lead actor of my new film, Endings -- Matthew Brumlow. He's a company member of the American Theatre Company in Chicago, and he and his new bride, Cora, took me to see the new ATC show, a play called Celebrity Row, written by Itamar Moses. The hook of Celebrity Row is that, at one point in the 90s, a SuperMax prison facility in Colorado housed -- at the same time -- Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber), Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City bomber), Ramzi Yousef (the architect behind the first World Trade Center bombing, and Luis Felipe (leader of the Latin Kings).

It's a really interesting play. Of course, the idea that these men who have "yard time" together is ludicrous, but the play handles the suspension of disbelief well, and it's a really interesting exploration of some of the issues facing the U.S. right now.

All in all, a good trip, but I'm glad to be home. Today was a long day of travel, waiting at O'Hare (had to check out of hotel early-ish, but flight wasn't for several hours) and then again in Dallas. And tomorrow morning, up early to take the girls to school and head into the office...

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