the highest of high points - I won a TERABYTE Hard Drive in the raffle! Woohoo! thanks Seagate! It looks awesome and will actually not fill up immediately (which is what happened the last time I bought an external hard-drive and then got ambitious with media). I actually didn't know that was one of the prizes, I was going for the Les Paul Gibson beauty that was also being auctioned off. But I can sure use the storage.. it will also be great to backup my field recordings when I go to Jamaica.
I met a ton of fascinating people, and had a lot of good conversations. Including a lot of introductions - "oh you should meet x, who I was just talking to, she does just what you are interested in." I also got to make the case, repeatedly, for the importance of ethnographers in the tech world, an idea to which people were surprisingly receptive. There was even another lurking ethnographer, whom I had known before only as an internet connection from my online web journal days (back before they called it a blog): big up tiara.org! 1995 internet peoples represent!
I was also well pleased to see Rickey Vincent there, moderating the Bay Area Funk panel. This man literally wrote the book on Funk. I know him from the UC Berkeley Hip-Hop Studies working group, which I haven't been involved with as much this semester, but I still have love for, and they are picking up and doing great things under revitalized leadership this year! I had to scale back because at the end of last year I suddenly found myself the sole remaining member of boalt.org and since I do think it is a valuable student group I thought I should devote myself to getting it back to being self-sustaining. This we are doing - lots of great people involved already, and some cool guest speakers and conferences coming up - more on that soon.
Another interesting theme of the conference was Obama support - a variety of T-shirts from simple to cute ("Barack you like a hurricane"), the extreme point made by Robert Kaye from Musicbrainz who had his head shaved except for a circle at the back on which was dyed the Obama symbol. I guess despite FISA, techies still like Obama. Not that I disagree - at this point I'm just happy that there is someone who believes that sciences, research and experts have a place in government.
There was a very legal-technical panel called "Ethics and Music Law" which I was hoping was going to be a discussion of some of the big conundrums around music and law, but then I saw that it was for Continuing Legal Education credit, which usually means that it's a series of specific questions about how to stay consistent with the Bar Associations ethical guidelines. And it was. Still kind of interesting in that it opened up for me some of the specifics about how musicians and lawyers work together, but not as interesting to me as a deeper discussion of the issues might be: like if the panel was about taking more seriously how different musicians' goals & practices can be from legalistic approaches to goals and practices - not just framed as a problem for lawyers to educate musicians to think & act right, but as a possible clash between law-mindedness and other ways of being.
more updates soon - short promo: Surya Dub Oct 25th! and I'm playing a party in a hay maze south of Half Moon Bay on Nov 7th!
(oh and I learned the truth about acorn)