- A couple weeks ago, I got flown out to give a lecture on Peruvian cinema at University of Kansas as part of an Andean and Amazonian Worlds seminar put on by their Hall Center for the Humanities. I got the gig thanks to my colleague and friend (and collection co-editor) Tamara -- and it marks the first time that I've actually been brought anywhere to talk about my specialty. I also got to give a talk to undergrads at the Center for Latin American Studies. And here's the thing: not only was everyone really nice, but people were genuinely interested in what I had to say. Except for Tamara, I don't know any of these people at all. And every so often in academia, you wonder if what you're doing is really of any interest to anyone else but yourself -- you hope so, but you never know. Watching people take notes on what I said was quite the boost. (Plus, Lawrence and Kansas City turned out to be a pretty neat place! Who knew?)
- Last weekend, I was in Chicago at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, giving a paper entitled -- wait for it -- "It's Not Easy Bein' Brown: Rita Moreno, Lena Horne and The Muppet Show." It's my second foray into writing about television (come to think of it, the second writing about racial depictions in TV, the first one having already been published at the e-journal Slayage), which I don't have formal academic training in, but am slowly gaining some know-how. The story behind my wanting to do the paper is intriguing: two years ago, I was prepping my course on Stardom and wanted to do a unit on Lena Horne. I went looking for a famous episode of A Different World, but that was unavailable at the time. Instead, I found The Muppet Show, whose first season had just been released on DVD. The episode was (for me, at first) unusually milquetoast -- but then on a whim, I watched the episode on Rita Moreno. (I do have an academic interest in Rita Moreno, but that's a later endeavor.) Seeing the episodes back-to-back led to the idea for the paper -- and a year-and-a-half later, I've now given it. I may even try to pump it up a little further at another point.
- Visiting Chicago also gave me the opportunity to call on one James Chadd, one of my 'shmen from waaaay back when I was a UGA at Dartmouth. The last time I saw him, he was just about to graduate in '96; just over ten years later, he's doing wonderfully well working as an ER doctor in Chicago proper. (And, had I contacted him earlier, his apartment was only eight blocks from the conference site. Instead, I stayed at a friend's palce way up north in Andersonville; they weren't around, so I cat-sit for them, even making friends with Loopy Lucy.) Next year's conference: Philly.
- At the conference, I got to talk to a couple presses, who at least seem interested in the book. That's all I'll say for now, but I just have to keep plugging away. It's so close to being done -- I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
- Last week, I found out that I'll be teaching my standard into film course for University College next year. This means that instead of 50 students from across the university spectrum, I'll get around 20 students, all freshmen who will live on the same floor. This is a huge opportunity that I didn't even know I was being considered for until after it happened, so I'm thrilled at the chance to teach it. My schedule for next year is a bit odd, but is shaping up to be very nice, with my spring featuring only my stardom class and my grad seminar on film. (This means, for once, my spring will not feature a class at 8:30 AM! Woohoo!)
- Speaking of teaching, summer plans thus far: teaching a course on Almodóvar in May and June; Cape Cod at Ange's parents in July; my parents in A2 in August before the fall begins. In between, a conference in early June in Edmonton (also a fly-out!) on Peruvian exploitation film, and possibly a trip up to Hanover for reunion (#15!).
- I still have to choose the movie for my class' final project, which has to come out over the next couple weeks. I'm narrowing the choices now, having already seen one good candidate.
- And oh yes, looky that: someone's having a birthday next week. And man, is he turning two. With all that implies.
Friday, March 16, 2007
A quick run-down about what I've been up to (and why I haven't been posting as often lately):