Sunday, August 28, 2011

The ebb and flow

Congratulations to the Rising Tide organizers on an amazing conference yesterday and big congratulations to Dedra Johnson @ G-Bitch, the winner of the 2011 Ashley Award.

Yesterday was a flow tide fo' true....this conference is only getting bigger and better by the year and yesterday's event at Xavier made that apparent.  All of the panels and the speakers were interesting and entertaining right down to the kick-ass performance by the TBC brass band at the end of the day.

My personal favorite was the "Re-capping the well" panel.  I was surprised at Bob Marshall and David Hammer's candor about the power of the oil industry in da' gret' stet'.  My favorite line was from Marshall who said he get's aggravated when he hears people say the oil industry has raped the state of Louisiana, he said, "It's much more like consensual sex."  That was a funny line.  Drake Toulouse of Disenfranchised Citizen was great as well....nervous....but still did a great job.

David Simon was exactly as you would expect...raw, poignant...mostly critical.  He definitely left you with an acidic taste in your mouth.  He drilled into both Mayor Landrieu and "the preservationists" about the way both sides handled the whole "HBO can save these houses" skirmish.  He seemed disgusted by both sides' behavior during the incident but he was particularly critical of Mayor Landrieu and spent more than a few minutes expressing his distaste for Mitch.  I don't want to say he was scathing, I think Simon is a guy who could really tear someone a new asshole if he wanted but he definitely made his sentiment known.  He consistently warned the audience about the dangers of the "We just need to get the right guy in office" attitude and how there are no messiahs in the political world.  He even referenced President Obama as an example of that.

Bottom line...he really doesn't like Mitch.  I'd be curious to hear Mitch's take on it.

He also made hay that the proponents and developers of the "biomedical corridor" planned for mid-city are conspicuously using Baltimore's Johns Hopkins as teleiotes.  He pointed out that Baltimore executed a grand plan to raze blocks and blocks of houses and neighborhoods around that facility in order to create a similar vision of a massive bio-tech/medical community.  A decade later the area is mostly empty lots where the houses and communities once stood.

Even though I was there and listened closely to the whole thing, I don't feel like I have "standing" on the issue so I will let you, the viewer, assess his comments for yourself by watching the archived video (should be up momentarily but I have to coordinate with RT organizers).

Katy Reckdahl penned her perspective for the TP.  I got a kick out of this line:

"Before discussing the hospital, Simon talked to the young journalists about how perceived outsiders often are criticized for writing about communities where they don't live."   
Young?  I think 80% of us are over 40 but I'll take the compliment.

The webcast was a glorious success by webcasting standards.  I still don't have the grand, de facto takes about a day after the event to get the final numbers because the report isn't totaled until  each person who watched it actually closes their viewer window (so please do that if you're reading this and still have one open :) )....but at the moment the number is at 1248 viewers.  That's pretty impressive.

The archived video files will be uploaded over the course of the next week and I'm sure they will be located on the RT site.  I'll keep you posted.

Congratulations to everyone involved and dont' forget it's never too late or too early to donate to RT!


oyster said...

Thanks, man. The organizers worked hard, and it was pretty gratifying to see it come off so well.

HUGE thanks for the streaming video. A couple weeks ago, when registrations were still under 100, we weren't totally sure whether a webcast was worth the trouble.

If you told me before the show that 400 would tune in, I would've been extremely pleased. 1200+ blows my mind. What a great cherry on top. So, huge thanks to you for the professional videography. (And I sure enjoyed helping JR test the microphones.) All of that is doubly valuable now, because the conference was so chock-full of strong content. Many attendees can't wait to re-watch their favorite parts and find the segments of the show they might've missed.

jeffrey said...

Thank you for pointing out some of the good points Simon made about "the one great man theory" I wanted to remember that his entire talk didn't irk me the way my emotional memory recorded it. Once I watch the video I'll be able to think more clearly about it. I was told that the Q & A session was interesting but I was out of the room at the time.

Mostly, though, I thought the whole "standing" business came off as self-absorbed. He kept saying "I don't care about standing" but I wonder who he was trying to convince of that as he went on about it for most of his speech. My impression was that "standing" is his own straw man device for responding to anyone critical of his work with regard to New Orleans. I think it's all very small and a little paranoid maybe.

But anyway I don't want that to overshadow what was an altogether amazing day. Thank you so much for helping to make it possible. Like, Oyster, I am completely blown away by the number of online views. I honestly didn't think we would break 100.

Jason Brad Berry said...

I'm just happy it was a success. And for the record the 1200 views doesn't necessarily mean 1200 people watched every second of the conference. It just means 1200 players were accessed. Still, that is a great stat.

I didn't get Simon as paranoid, I just sensed he was indignant. I think, in his mind, he was there to defend his work. I enjoyed his views, especially the parallels and differences between Baltimore and New Orleans...that was really enlightening.

I still liked the Recapping the well panel the best. It's almost done, btw.