Saturday, January 8, 2011

city of angels

Down by the Convention Center, there are a good number of angels adorning lamp-posts.   Probably I'll get tired with Hipstomatic shots soon - but they work very well in turning the glitzy neon atmosphere down there into something a little more ethereal and weird.   Not that the MLA counts as glitzy nor neon - but its surroundings do, in a cheesy sort of way, as one engages in the super-quick march from the Center to the J. W. Marriott, with a suicidal road crossing thrown in for good measure in the middle.   I think, given all the distances involved in moving from one room to another in this particular location, that I would have lost a good deal of weight this MLA, if I hadn't also bumped into rather too many glasses containing vodka and bits of fruit juice at other times.

It's very hard to locate any dominant theme among the largely late C19th and early C19th sessions that I've been to - a continued interest in the material, and its linkages to form; a continued interest in the implications of C19th technologies and media shifts - but nothing that's emerged as any new direction here.   John Plotz's paper gave me one of those imaginative jolts when one thought about William Morris looking at projected images of early typefaces / medieval manuscript lettering, blown up onto a large white screen, but although I know that will find its way into next semester's teaching, it didn't represent a paradigm shift.   Of course, I keep my ears open for mentions of flashes (telegraph flashes included).   But I have a bundle of order forms from the book fair, and sometimes I think that the very best part of MLA - apart from running into old friends for hasty 3-minutes updates on their lives - involves trawling all that new print.   It was one of the best MLAs I've ever been to - in the sense of truly enjoyable - though I don't know how much that has to do with anticipating actually living here in the City of Angels - and getting, at the same time, a rare chance to spend time walking around downtown, a part of the city that I normally swish through at some speed.

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