The Mainly Annual EastWesterly Review/Postmodern
Village Conference 2002
A Report on the 9th Annual EastWesterly Review/Postmodern
by E.W. Wilder
our plans for another international conference were foiled by the post-9/11
environment. We understand that the violent nature of past conferences
would have made it difficult to [i]ensure a venue, but being put on
a terrorist watch list seems a little extreme to us. Sure, we're as
interested in subverting the dominant paradigm as anybody else, but
not so much that we'd be denied our Café Cubanos (made with fair-trade,
shade-grown organic coffee of course). I mean, we're anarchists, but
we're civilized anarchists.
We suspect rival literary organizations had something
to do with our being named terrorists. It's interesting that all those
organizations that are working for or have been co-opted by the hegemonic
forces all have three letter titles and acronyms: CIA, FBI, ESA, MLA,
AMA, APA, BLM, BIA, KLH, CNN, TNN, TNT, WGN. Scary, isn't it? NASA,
with four letters, and as embattled as it is during budget cycles, is
still okay. Space travel was always already po-mo anyway.
jury is still out on the EPA.
The town we decided upon, then, was in the US, and the
venue couldn't have been better.
Day's Inn in Alliance, Nebraska was chosen for, among other things,
the advertised "largest indoor pool in Southwestern Nebraska."
And we believe it. The pool easily accommodated the elephants. The conference
room was advertised to hold only 30, but we managed to cram in at least
150 at one point, causing the volunteer fire chief to raise his eyebrows
a bit, especially when we pulled out the pyrotechnics. But we thank
him for helping us put out the smoldering carpet anyway.
Most of the actual papers were presented in our portable amphitheater
which opens up out of the bed of a semi-truck. Except for the relentless
Nebraska wind and active insect population, this is nearly the perfect
set-up. "Large truck parking with electrical hookups" indeed!
We enjoyed the jacuzzis, of course, and the continental breakfast was
truly "deluxe," but the nearness to Carhenge was what sealed
A Mecca of po-mo pointlessness, art from the dregs of Industry, and
a sufficiently horizontal landscape to suggest the eternal void - who
could've asked for more? Well, we could, and we got it in the beautiful
stands of native bindweed that lined the ditches for miles around and
created local field advisories. It was a resonant reminder of nature's
creeping disregard for the affairs of humanity, unequaled by anything
save perhaps kudzu.
it was the bucolic setting or the relative lack of a police presence.
Perhaps it was the "down home" atmosphere that made us all
a bit more docile and community oriented, but this time, nobody got
busted. Sure there was plenty of destruction, but it's so much harder
to keep track of breakage with so much acreage to consider. We did think
having to pay local authorities to fish incapacitated conferees out
of Alliance's Central Park Fountain was asking a little much of our
recession-weakened coffers, but it beats posting bail.
Property Damage: $52,727.34
Which is about average, all things considered. Replacing the scorched
carpet at the Days Inn was a major expense, along with the ruined tables
and folding chairs ($10,027.47), but it paled in
comparison to cleaning and repainting the pool after pachyderm swim-time
and re-paving the parking lot after they got frisky with a Peterbuilt.
The truck was fine with a good washing; fortunately there hadn't been
time for the elephant's, shall we say, "genetic inheritance,"
to crust over. It's also pretty amazing what a troop of monkeys can
do to a hotel room. Now we know why they lock down the TV!
were brief calls for a ban on live animals at future conferences, but
it was eventually decided against. First of all, it's worth it in terms
of sheer enlightenment, but mostly the alternative, dead animals, is
becoming a bit of a cliche.
Page 2: But enough of this drivel; the papers