The Mainly Annual EastWesterly Review/Postmodern
Village Conference 2003
A Report on the 10th Annual Conference
by Lael Ewy
Loquation, Loquation, Loquation
began the saga of the 10th annual 2003 EastWesterly Review/Postmodern
Village Conference in a pasture near lovely Clines Corners, New Mexico,
where Norma Perfect whetted our appetites with her poem "Grain-Fed
Girls of Nebraska Led to the Slaughter by the Prod of Patriarchy."
We had a surprisingly good time as the first papers were presented playing
in the field; with the picturesque Sangre de Christo mountains to the
north, the high-desert took on a purple tinge in the mid-morning light.
There was plenty to do despite the limited onsite entertainment, including
playing with the pebbles and the yucca, and cuddling the spritely desert
mice that populated the pasturage and darted to and fro between the
fun was spoiled, however, when the mouse-players (a cadre of, primarily,
former Bostonians from Philadelphia -- they claimed that with self-improvement
and economy, they could train the mice to found a lending library) began
coughing uncontrollably. They joined the delegation from Beijing whose
plane had been routed through Toronto in the medical tent. The Beijing
delegation had arrived with their own inexplicable bronchial ailment
and had retired to the makeshift health facility early on.
certain bunch of white males took to drinking in order to "fortify
themselves" against the mysterious viral infections making the
rounds of the conference. Their erratic journey down to the ghost town
of Chloride, New Mexico, where the state health officials quarantined
us, they then dubbed "The Trail of Beers." When it was suggested
by myself and others that their title was, perhaps, a bit racially insensitive,
they responded that Congress’s "Eensy-weensy" tax cut
was what was insensitive to taxpayers everywhere and that it should
have been much, much larger. When further objections were made, veiled
threats to call the Department of Homeland Security for our "unAmerican
commentary" precipitated a hasty end to the conversation.
were, indeed, spare, given the normally unpopulated nature of Chloride.
Wind whistled through the split wood of the walls on the ramshackle
19th Century saloon we eventually lit upon to serve as our Conference
Center, coating our plasma-screen video presentation wall with fine
dust and further exacerbating the respiratory ailments that had now
come to afflict some 80% of the conferees. Electricity was spotty, shutting
down the most soul-baring moments of the "Sex as Semiotics"
talent show, and a rattlesnake nest kept many patrons away from the
bar. Most of us were too ill to care, however, adding an ironic sense
of hope to an otherwise much too interesting situation.
was, surprisingly, up, to 1140 at the time the Conference gathered in
Clines Corners. Numbers dwindled, however, after our quarantine, with
the still mobile attendees sneaking off to nearby Truth or Consequences
to take the healing waters there. Of those, only the ones caught by
the state health officials were able to return. By the time the van
from the CDC arrived to cart off the dead, though, some fascinating
and important papers were presented, with a few themes to be noted,
among them politics as text, TV as science, and, as always, celebrity.
Page 2: Pop culture is for the living.