Wow, this is taking a long time. I need to wrap this up before I forget all the details.
After the last session, I went back to the hotel. I had intended to take a nap but I ended up in IM conversations and phone calls and then eventually I had missed the nap window. I went down and hung out with Dan and Janet in the hotel lobby consuming the free wine and cheese for a while, and then everyone went to their respective hosted dinners. I went to the one hosted by Amanda and Mario of Rocketboom at the Minj Grill. My new buddy Mark was there, as were a number of cool folks. Jimmy Wales and his wife and daughter were also at this one. The conversation was good, as was the food. Before leaving the hotel, Ed said if he wasn’t hosting a dinner he’d be going just for the food there and that I should get the wings. I never get wings but I did and they were indeed fantastic. The only downside is that in a situation like this where you are talking to lots of folks and sitting across the table from people of whom you are a fan, wings may not be the best logistical choice. Still, it was pulled off, I think without disgusting anyone. The liberal application of wet naps mitigated against the faux pas.
We talked a lot about (obviously) new media, videoblogging and IP TV, podcasting, Wikipedia and the new power structures of information. Don Moore at the table has worked a lot in television so we got a lot of stories about how things work inside the building and I got the sense from him that as someone in the know about the present day of big media, he has a lot of faith and anticipation from where the new media are heading. It was a good mix of people and the knowledge coverage was really good – we all had enough in common to have subjects to talk about but we also all had different areas of expertise such that a lot of knowledge came out. I enjoyed it a lot and would be glad to eat at Minj again.
After this, everyone broke up and went their respective ways. Amanda and Mario and I went back to the hotel and did the interview in the lobby sitting around a table. I don’t remember why I felt so confident but I did it zero note style. Usually I have at least a scrap of paper to keep me on track but this was as free as it wheels. I think having talked to them earlier in the day when they agreed to do the interview and having seen the presentation, I just felt it would all take care of itself once the conversation got rolling. Lo and behold it did. The mobile rig did splendidly in its first trip out of the house except for being too noisy when moving the mike from person to person. We talked for about 15 minutes on the mike, a few minutes afterwards, a few more minutes when Ed stepped out of his dinner he was hosting in the Biltmore dining room to talk to us, and then we broke up to get ready for the evening.
I ditched my stuff, made a phone call home, and headed out to Solaris. Amanda and Mario had left first, but by the time a group of us including the usual suspects as well as Antonella Napolitano got down the street, we caught back up with them as they weren’t quite sure where they were heading. We walked there and then a few members of the party realized they didn’t have the ID to get in (and look really young, so there was no wiggle room.) We trekked back and back again, and then we were inside. Even after all that, the show hadn’t yet started. During the walk, I got to talk a lot with Mario who blew my mind with some of the stuff he wants to do. Since some of that includes making independent film, I told him my idea that formed from my talks with John Rogers about forming collectives or cooperatives around the production and how to make your crew working for free actually participants in the process.
The musician was Alana Davis, a performer lots of people seemed hyped about but with whom I was unfamiliar. I really enjoyed the show, even though I moved to the bar area for a while to converse with people. I liked the music but I couldn’t pass up the chance to talk to all these people while I was in the same room with them. I ended up showing several people the CVS camera and talking about the cable hack several more times. Eventually, I ended up having a long and emotional conversation with Mario and Amanda about the fun and opportunities and pressures of what is happening right now with media, new and old. We all sort of mutually agreed that we feel that something special is on the cusp of happening, that there is a window to create a new world with new access to more people, more engagement and less passivity and that a smarter public could emerge from it. Obviously, this includes getting tech out to more people and connectivity out to more people who are presently unconnected, which is a big issue. We also know that if it gets screwed up now, the existing media and power structures will build up antibodies to this and perhaps entrench deeper in a way that immunizes them against changing. That’s the responsibility part. Can a few minutes of dada video daily change the world? I think so, but don’t take my word for it. You can watch it happen.
Unlike the previous night, I took it a little easy on the brews so I was coherent enough for conversation all the way through the evening. In another of the many surreal moments, I found myself in a cluster of folks including Mark, Chris Daniel and Duncan “Atrios” Black in a conversation that ultimately turned to the technology of how GWAR does what they do and the democratizing power of Monty Python. I got my Alana Davis CD signed, got her permission in person to use her music in the podcasts and as the soundtrack to the video of the conference. She really seemed tickled when I told here that at first I got the permissions in order not to get sued, and eventually I realized that anyone that would sue me is someone whose music I don’t give a shit about. It was a good time all around, but eventually I ran out of steam and left. I said my goodbyes and hugged everyone and back to the hotel.
On the way, I got into a conversation about Greensboro nightlife with some random guy and pointed him to various options. Bad luck for him that I was his tour guide, hope he found something fun. I saw a spot right in front of the hotel so I went to move my rental car closer. The band unloading at the pub I was parked in front of had me almost blocked in, but they and the taxi driver behind me guided me out. Now parked right by the front door, all set up for loading up the car and heading out, I went to bed and slept the sleep of the spiritually satisfied but physically exhausted.
To be concluded