21 October 2008

ASA Conference in Albuequerque: Day Two

Friday 17 October

8AM: Breakfast at Gold Street Caffe. Eat "Cowboy Breakfast": eggs, ham and cheese on a green chili biscuit with a side of fruit. The biscuit is delicious. lizzie b demolishes a plate of seared steak hash. Red chili glazed bacon on the side amazes. Strong coffee flows freely.

9AM: Move from Downtown Inn to Route 66 Hostel.

10AM: Sit in on “Queer Black Marxism: A New Critical Reading for Interwar-Period African American Studies,” an analysis of Angelina Weld Grimke’s play Rachel and Wallace Thurman’s The Blacker the Berry. I’m not entirely certain that the literature carried the larger claim of the paper—that there is a queer black Marxist critique within New Negro literature that has been ignored—but it’s a provocative idea and I look forward to seeing it developed with more historical context and examples. Conference papers can be disappointing in this regard.

10.30AM: Sneak out and run over to another panel on “The Black Press in the Twentieth Century.” An enjoyable paper on The People’s Voice and the early Cold War. Exit before the end of the panel as I feel a dire need for more coffee, having only managed a couple of hours of good sleep the night before.

11.30AM: Meet lizzie b at the Federal Court House on Gold Street to see WPA murals. lizzie b will report on the murals later.
12PM: Take bus to University District and hit up used book stores. No real finds.

1PM: Walk to UNM for lizzie b to continue her search for New Mexico’s WPA treasures. See a caterpillar on campus.

2PM: Antiques and book stores on Nob Hill. No purchases. Walk along long stretches of street with fellow freaks and abandoned hotels.

4PM: Nachos and beer at O’Neill’s on Central Avenue. Mediocrity. Duh.

5PM: Reception for the founding of the Journal of Transnational American Studies. Bad crab cakes, good people.

7PM: Back to hostel to change clothes and put feet up for a few minutes.

8PM: Drinks and talk at Atomic Cantina, then the band starts. We continue at Lindy’s Diner. Night life in ABQ is a nutty potpourri of local teenagers, would-be hip college kids and straight-up drunks. Oh, and mounted police.

12AM: Wonder if it’s bad that I only attended two papers today. Decide it probably isn’t. Sleep.