|Neil Gaiman Speech & Talk (Part 1)
||[May. 24th, 2008|01:28 am]
Kelly J. Cooper
|[||Tags|||||2008, event, gaiman, geoff, geoff long, henry jenkins, jenkins, julie, julius, kresge, mit, neil gaiman, schwartz, talk||]|
The Julius Schwartz Memorial Lecture Featuring Neil Gaiman went really well. If you're interested in the DVD recording of the event, keep an eye on that page. I'll try to remember to post details when it's available.
MYP's friend and liaison Geoff Long did a fabulous job organizing and introducing. Professor Henry Jenkins is a wonderfully thoughtful speaker and interviewer. And Neil was clever, charming, and articulate, as always.
I managed to see lillibet, muffyjo, and jason237 when I entered (just after they opened the doors - we'd already finished unpacking and arranging the books, comics, and t-shirts for the Million Year Picnic sales kiosk) and was looking around for a seat. They graciously offered me one of theirs. In the front row. Six feet from Neil. YES!!! Such nice people!
Right behind me was drwex and later, sweetmmeblue joined him. I don't know Amelia's LJ, but she was in that row as well. I actually got up and scanned the crowd, managing to see thespian, Drew, feste_sylvain, tamidon, hammercock, trowa_barton, sunspiral, and Sian. I think I also saw roozle and one of the spawn, but I'm not sure. I looked for laurenpburka, and her husband saw me, but I didn't spot them.
I knew lots of other people, but I'm not sure if my brain is full or I don't actually know/remember their names. There were also plenty of people who looked like I SHOULD know them, but I do not in fact know 'em.
We started with Geoff introducing Professor Jenkins and Neil Gaiman. Then Prof. Jenkins gave a short biography and impact statement about Julius "Julie" Schwartz, in whose honor this lecture series is named and presented. There were slides! And quotes! I learned a couple of things I didn't know about the history of comics and comics fandom, despite having read Comic Book Culture: Fanboys and True Believers (Studies in Popular Culture) by Matthew J. Pustz and Sense of Wonder by Bill Schelly (among other books; but most of the others were on the history of comics themselves rather than the culture around comics). I need to get my hands on Julie's autobiography (Man of Two Worlds: My Life in Science Fiction and Comics by Julius Schwartz and Brian M. Thomsen).
Er, nevermind. Powells had a copy and they take PayPal now. Huzzah!
Then Neil gave a speech, which included reading out the essay Alan Moore wrote for Julie's funeral (which Neil was asked to read at the memorial), a wonderful piece that made me tear up, and discussing Linda Williams' book Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the "Frenzy of the Visible", which is about hardcore pornography and which helped crystallize what "genre" is to him.
Next, Prof. Jenkins and Neil did a Q&A session, with Prof. Jenkins providing the Q's and Neil occasionally providing A's, but mostly rambling about topics related to the Q, without actually answering the Q.
Finally, they took a handful of questions from the audience.
The event ran from 7pm to 9:30pm, after which there was much lobby chatting and crazy comic, book, and t-shirt buying. (Prof. Jenkins, I think it was, had a huge pile of out-of-print Sandman t-shirts which we sold like the proverbial hot cakes.)
After the talk, at the frenzy of consumerism in the lobby, I saw a few of the folks above, more people I recognized but couldn't possibly name, plus metagnat and joev, but I only really got to wave at them.
Once we (Tony, Anthony [the new guy], and I from MYP along with muffyjo and Geoff lending a hand) finished loading out, we headed over to Senior House (where Prof. Jenkins lives) for the reception and got to chat with Neil a bit (yes, I checked with Geoff before I dragged Jo along; I'm not an evil glommer). Neil is still a very nice fellow (I've chatted with him a couple of times before). But, possibly more importantly, there was a huge pile of Indian food. As I hadn't eaten since lunch (and it being after 10pm), this was a marvelous thing. Also, Prof. Jenkins has a huge and fabulous library of books and comics that live on the bookcases which are everywhere in his quarters (shared with his wife). I love looking at other people's bookshelves.
After Neil left and we'd chatted ourselves out, muffyjo and I walked back to her car and she gave me a lift home.
Part 2 of this post will have quotes and references. (I took notes throughout the event.)