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S.F. Conferential

Jenny has already mentioned this, but it's worth saying twice: the set-up for the conference was abysmal.


This year, many many panels were held in spaces on the edges of the big open exhibit room, separated from the exhibit space by curtains. In many of the largest rooms, the back walls were not walls, but curtains. On at least one occasion, I left a panel because I couldn't hear my own session over the sounds of another.


And this was the second year in a row where the conference was scattered socially. There was no central social space for people to hang out in, meet up with each other, or encounter each other serendipitously. On Friday, they set up tables in the upper level (for the party that night), and people flocked to them. Loud and clear, once and for all:

We would like a place where we can sit down.

I'm not talking about three tables near the coffee kiosk. Genuine social space, please. Please. Half of the fun is running into old friends, making spur of the moment plans, all the while having an anchor space where we can go with some assurance that we'll see someone we know. Two years in a row now that hasn't happened. And as a result, it feels disjointed, jumbled, and I feel like I missed seeing some people I wanted to see.

As expensive as I know it will be, I'm honestly longing for the old Palmer House. Sweet home Chicago.

That is all.


Agreed . . . but I still think it's better than crossing a picket line, which requirement would have resulted in no conference at all (at least for me).

It's sad to see that NCTE still doesn't understand how important conversations are to conference-going.