The title of the conference, "The Ecstasy of Speed," was selected due to its relevancy to current issues of study, and allowed for an array of presentation topics ranging from from crank addict surfers to Craigslist ad surfers; we saw Corpus Christi Pageants and Facebook fanatics, and had analyses on everything from Doctorow's Ragtime to Danielewski's Only Revolutions. Since the panels were set up thematically in an attempt to simulate the debilitating effects of escalating speed, it came as no shock when the unexpected ending left many in attendance craving more.
The event ended after keynote speaker Derek Pell captivated the crowd with anecdotes and satirical readings of his work ranging from "deconstructing" art to tips on how to write a successful suicide note, ending with a clip from his reworking of Plan 9 From Outer Space, aptly titled Plan 9b From Outer Space.
In a comment to a rousing presentation by Larry McCaffery, MFA graduate and author Kimball Taylor may have summed up the overall feeling of the day when by saying that the most dangerous effect of speed is not the acceleration but coming to a quick stop.
As a result of my own confusion with the unexpected ending, I failed to thank the people I had meant to (besides Pam Fox Kuhlken for supplying us all Cracker Jacks), so allow me to use this space to thank everyone whose hard work went into making this conference happen:
Thank you Gaelan Gilbert for all your help in co-organizing the event; Bill Nericcio for running the Crisis Carnival website and basically guiding us through the whole process; Nathan Leaman for helping in the transitioning from last year's amazing conference; Larry McCaffery for all the arrangements with the keynote; Derek Pell for acting as keynote; Mark Young, Quentin Bailey, Joanna Brooks, and the other respondents already mentioned for giving your time; Annie Foral for reserving rooms; Adam Pike and everyone at Ponce's for supplying our lunch; Megan E. Gilbert for displaying her artwork; Charlie Yi of The Latent Print for help with the flier (see above); and thank you again to all of the panelists for sharing their work under the rigorous pressures of an academic conference.
I enjoyed the entire experience and look forward to seeing what comes of next year's conference after I pass the torch on to the next unsuspecting grad student. Any volunteers?