Seattle was impossibly green. I couldn't recall much about the last time I was there (1995?) apart from sitting on some dude's roof and seeing a blue heron. This time around, since it was the pop conference, instead of roofs and herons there were name tags, Power Point presentations and Robert Christgau giggling. Falafel pitas were eaten and record stores trolled . Mairead's eagle eyes spotted the Real Janelle EP in Easy Street for $.99 (a steal and a half for the cover of "Where Eagles Dare" alone), and they had Louder Than Bombs for $7.99, so it is officially my new favorite music store. Take that, Cheapo! I also procured two lovely zines:
1) States of White & Green: Writings from the South Bend Juvenile Justice Center (Mairead C., editrix). I got this from Lady M. in lieu of one of her famous perzines, which are out of print, but it is a stunner and far better bound than any of mine.
2) Adventures in High Contrast Living N*23, Pacific NW Special Edition: Babies + Parties, by Shayla H. Babies and parties are rad, and so is Shayla. Marvel and admire here!
My panel went well, despite the fact that I had to follow what might have been the funniest paper of the entire conference: Glenn Dixon's "Boldly Gone: A Personal Trek into the Shameless, Sincere Music of Leonard Nimoy (With an Illuminating Side Trip into the Vocalizing of William Shatner)." All of us in the room, including S. Merritt, grinned and brayed like overly anesthetized donkeys. Other con hi-lites included Jabali Stewart blowing out a Learning Lab speaker with Bad Brains, Sara Marcus exorcising Ani, Joon Oluchi Lee theorizing Courtney Love through Phyllis Wheatley and just about everybody and her mother batting around the words "melisma" and "timbre" like so many music nerd tennis balls. Douglas Wolk's "Complete and Utter History of the Numa Numa Dance" was beautiful, not just for its judicious display of YouTube golden nuggets but also its celebration of misfit pride (the Numa dude was a true pomo freak messiah, preaching his gospel of embarassing yet unabashed love for pop music via webcam).
In general, it was a rapturous, pogo-inducing joy to be around such brilliant and generous people, ladies and men alike, who are helping to tear down the "boys only" sign from the rock crit treehouse. For reals--25 years ago, it would have been floor-to-ceiling Dylan wank-offs and Beatles retrospectives; today we can talk about race! gender! sexuality! and not get backed into the corner with "how is that relevant, exactly?" stares and the threat of girldeath-by-canon. Today I can sit in the audience of a panel made up entirely of women weaving sonic feminism and queerness and Sassy magazine and watch the dudes around me applaud. I felt more than a little twinge of pride in my heart, and I think Jessica Hopper did, too.
Because I was so preoccupied with picking up my jaw from the floor most of the time, my notes were cursory like whoa (M. was far more diligent) but I still managed to scrawl a few choice observations on the back of my entry ticket:
classic 50s chord progression
abjection like in Kristeva; Lacanian presence through absence
Drew Daniel is awesome
I guess that's all one needs to know.