Monday, April 25, 2011

Snapshots of Pop Culture

Here's a little taste of the trip to the Popular Culture Association Conference: we stayed at the Marriott Rivercenter which is a combination mall and canal, chock full of tourists and cheap Texas trash, er, souvenirs. I lived in that state for three years, eleven months, six days, five hours and fifteen minutes and I never understood the arrogant Texas chauvinism. I lost count of the number of Tejas tattoos I saw. I don't think I've ever seen anyone with Connecticut tattooed on their skin.

I had to take a picture of this because I couldn't decide if it was genius or the most horrible thing ever; I wish I'd taken a picture of the guy who was in it with his two tiny daughters. Scarred for life or prepared for the worst? In case you're wondering, it costs $2 for a "ride" in the machine.

We spent most of our time in panels seeing papers on all kinds of topics. Of course what everyone really looks forward to is chatting in the bar which is far more relaxed (though often just as thoughtful). Miss Wendy and Paul and I started things off on the right foot the first night.

It was my last year as chair of the Medieval Popular Culture area: we're combining with the Arthurian area (strength in numbers), so next year I have no responsibilities but writing my own paper. Naturally I've already come up with an idea for a special panel: anyone interested in a Romance & Comics, let me know. I attended the open forum on  Romance scholarship which was quite interesting: not surprisingly, there were only two men there. You gotta admire the chutzpah of a guy who'd bring this cup to that room full of women (or maybe it was just obliviousness):

PCA is a rather laid back conference, but there are still moments that people find stressful. Someone must have been trying to encourage a friend with this note that first appeared in one of the elevators, then on a painting in the hallway where I snapped it:

Saturday Miss Wendy wanted to wander around a little and see the sights after she gave her awesome presentation on Moto Hagio. Last time we were in San Antonio, the only touristy thing we did was the Ripley's Believe it or Not! "museum" which was amusing at least. So we headed over to the Alamo which is now classified as (no, I'm not kidding) "The Shrine to Texas Liberty."

I liked this shirt and the lotteria paintings in this store, but everything they had was unbelievably expensive, so I didn't feel too tempted to add to my belongings as I'm continuing to divest myself of things.

I'm always intrigued by weird stuff that other people don't seem to find interesting. I have odd tastes, I guess. But I loved the way electricity was anthropomorphised in this sign. It looks deliberately malevolent.

I was lucky on my flight out: after the unexpected overnight stay in Chicago a week ago, I was pleased to find that because my flight was overbooked, they bribed me to change flights with $400 in travel coupons -- and I didn't have to go to Chicago (Atlanta instead) and got there only an hour later than I would have anyway. On the way back, not so lucky, but that's okay. I had plenty of time to check out the new trends according to W:

What's more "punk" than an airbrushed model in a corset? Sigh. And I'm hoping the rumours that punk rocker Poly Styrene has died are just that, though she has been battling cancer for a while. I've been following her on Twitter and the new album is getting a lot of good press. I hope it's not true. [Sadly it is true: requiescat in pace, Marianne].


Todd Mason said...

She's got mousse in her hair. If that ain't punk, what possibly could be? Poly Styrene with her new braces (dental, not skinhead suspenders), perhaps?

C. Margery Kempe said...

I suppose. 9_9

I forgot to mention, too, the new thing where Davy Crockett has become "David" in the official parlance, though the shops still sell Davy's coonskin hats. Another eyeroll-worthy moment. Davy never realised "Hell" is just another name for Texas, I guess.

pattinase (abbott) said...

We were just talking about going to the one in Costa Rico in July but I understand that is the rainy season and I can't take any more rain.

C. Margery Kempe said...

Next year the international conference will be in London, which unfortunately coincides with the Olympics, but I'll probably go anyway. It's a fun conference and there's a huge crime fiction area (at least at the national).

Todd Mason said...

Shit. Poly Styrene really never does degrade.

Now we're hearing that Joanna Russ, cut down from a series of strokes, might be drawing very close to the end. We don't need no damned trio, or even a duo if it can be helped.

C. Margery Kempe said...

Argh -- just saw that on Twitter. It would be another terrible loss.

Did I remember to send along the link to the interview with her in JPRS? Very interesting.

And Samira Ahmed wrote a nice piece on her blog about presenting the news on Poly's death.

Todd Mason said...

Thanks for the Russ's not clear, but seems like it's a recent interview. Damn and doubledamn.

And visiting Jerry House's blog reminds me we've already lost Phoebe Snow and Hazel Dickens this week, so there's a diverse trio of singers to form, with Poly, in the choir of our memory.

C. Margery Kempe said...

Fairly recent: I think it's a couple of years old, but yeah. I didn't know about Dickens but a lot of people mentioned Snow and wondered why someone like Leon Russell was getting a revival and not her.