Friday, July 27, 2012

Slayage 5: Whedon as Undead Author

Jonathan Gray, a personal favorite of mine for his writing on LOST and on anti-fandom, gave the keynote speech to open up Saturday's session. He provided a classic description of why textual studies killed the author and why the WSA was right to dig him up when it came to Joss Whedon, Undead Author. It turns out that Gray has some interesting things to say about why Joss Whedon matters.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Slayage 5 Recaplet: Day 1 (KR)

I suppose it's time to start consolidating the pages and pages of notes (and recordings — for personal reference only) I took over the three day conference period that is Slayage and mold them into some sort of recappy format.  David's already begun his summaries and it's making me look bad.

First I want to give you an idea of the scope of this conference.  There are three full conference days, running from 9am until well past 7pm.  It is a dense conference and the amount of information we receive comes at such a rapid pace that it's easy to get overwhelmed.  By the last day, I honestly couldn't make it through the end of the final panel.  One needs a truly sturdy constitution to make it through without wavering.  It would take Rupert Giles himself.

But this is a digression!  Follow me behind the cut to continue our adventure:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Very First Scholarly Article on Joss Whedon has been found

It had been thought to be lost, but WJ board member and super-librarian Alysa Hornick has found it:

Betancourt, Michael. "Educating Buffy: The Role of Education in Buffy the Vampire Slayer." Transylvanian Journal: Dracula and Vampire Studies 3.2 (1998): 1-12. Print.

Fittingly, it focuses on the pilot episodes.

Seriously, this is an invaluable find for Whedon Studies. Take a look through and see if his analysis holds up for the series episodes aired after 1998! (Seriously: there's some fun assertions here, especially in the conclusion.)

Slayage 5: The First Day (DK)

Keynotes are lengthy presentations, over an hour, plus there's a Q&A session afterwards. While there's some more keynotes we'll take a look at on the WJ, there's also some really good 20 minute papers that I'd like to highlight. Of course, you won't be hearing about all of the good ones. There were 3-4 panels going on simultaneously, so I can only tell you about a few. Kristen will be able to tell you about a few more, plus there's the conference report that will be posted on our big sister publication, Slayage: The Journal of the Whedon Studies Association. Plus, jet lag's a killer: there were a few papers that I liked that I just lacked the energy to take notes on.

Also? My first task as the editor here is to scout out new talent. So, I attended the first Angel panel and lucked into a fascinating investigation of the unaired Angel episode, "Corrupt". Now, we're all used to unaired episodes now with Dollhouse and Firefly making it the hip thing, but Corrupt was on the scene first. You've probably never heard of it. (Okay, I'm done channeling that particular hipster meme...) But, really, I hadn't heard of it before! Evidently, it caused a reboot of the series, featured a demonic crack whorehouse, and maybe was the beginning of the deterioration of the relationship between Whedon and the WB, despite all the public quotes to the contrary. 

Mr Pointy Award Winners!

The WSA announced the winners at the Slayage 5 conference for the Whedon Studies Association’s annual award for the best work in the field is a juried award.

The winner for the Short Mr. Pointy for the best article or chapter or online short scholarly work published in 2011 is:

I will say that I was impressed with not only the scholarship in this analysis of the series, but also how accessible it is to a general audience. Eve has managed a great marriage of style and insight.

The winner for the Long Mr. Pointy for the best scholarly book published in 2011 is:  
  • Macnaughtan, Don, ed. The Buffyverse Catalog: A Complete Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel in Print, Film, Television, Comics, Games and Other Media, 1992–2010. Jefferson, NC, and London: McFarland, 2011. Print. 

I'll post about his presentation with our own Alysa Hornick on cataloging the Whedonverses later this week, but I can say that his book not only has citations, but descriptions of the work catalogued, which ranges from Season 8 to scholarly books to fanvid sites. Invaluable. Write your library today to have them buy it.

Additionally, all conferees at the Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses in Vancouver had the opportunity to vote for the best conference presentation. The winner of the Paper Mr. Pointy is...
  • Iatropoulos, Mary Ellen. "Defining Joss Whedon's Disability Narrative Ethic: The Impairment Arcs of Lindsey McDonald, Bennett Halverson, and Xander Harris." The 5th Biennial Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. 13 July 2012. Presentation.

File this one under "Wish I had attended that panel." Of course it's my own fault: I should have gone as a teacher of disability studies and someone who's written about Xander. Curse you, conference luck fairies! Grr! Argh!

At least that one's going to be in the forthcoming disability studies book on Joss Whedon, so I'll have another shot at it.

Edit from KR: We were remiss to leave out the two special Mr. Pointy award winners.  The above winners were announced in the official email from the WSA, but we were planning on covering the special award winners in our recaps.

At the Slayage banquet, Matthew Pateman presented our friend Nikki Stafford with the first special Mr. Pointy Award for her Great Buffy Rewatch project (in which both David and I participated).

On the final day of the conference, Alysa Hornick, who is a member of the Watcher Junior editorial board, received the second special Mr. Pointy award for Whedonology: An Academic Whedonstudies Bibliography and her ongoing contributions to scholarship on the Whedonverses.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Slayage 5 recap: Smile Time (DK)

Slayage 5 is always a whirlwind: catching up with people, meeting new people, listening to presentations, recruiting writers for future WJ issues, singing... So, while Kristen was one of several attendees tweeting, neither of us have gotten around to providing you with info on the conference in paragraph form. I'd like to start rectifying that by giving you my impressions on a few of the papers I saw presented.

Let's start with the wonderful Cynthea Masson, whose Keynote continued her tradition of being a difficult act to follow. Her stylish presentation, "'Break out the Champagne, Pinocchio': Angel and the Puppet Paradox. That's right, Slayage 5 started with an in-depth analysis of the best standalone episode in Angel—Smile Time.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Letters from the front lines of Slayage 5 (DK)

If you follow us here at Watcher Junior, you're likely also aware of @watcherjunior. Kristen's been tweeting about #Slayage5 with a bunch of others here. (So you would already know that Jane Espenson gave us an incredibly sweet video message thanking us for talking about the messages they knew were in the work and those that they didn't know were there! She rocks.) It's a very different experience for me, as it's been the first time I've been at a conference where I've been aware of such a commentariat... It's an awful and empowering and scary thing to think about, given how fragile most of us presenters feel our work is at the time of presentation. These conferences are about nurturing ideas into fully formed critiques. I imagine it's how TV creators must feel about reviews of their pilot episodes, or maybe just Variety commenting on how things are going on set.

So, I'll be contributing to the beady glare of the internet on this blog, which is close enough to print and speech for me to feel a comfortable with it. As I catch a breath, I'll post snippets of presentations I liked and was not too exhausted to take notes on. (To give you some sense of how engrossing an academic conference can be, I don't think that Kristen's knitted a stitch this weekend!)

I won't be posting a recording of my singing at the Sing-along, as it is painful to hear. A lovely experience that I look forward to each year, especially when we get to sing "Mandy," which we didn't get to do this time.

Let's start with the presentation on this project based on our work together, "'Bring Your Own Subtext': Surveying Online Fans about the Values Expressed by Joss Whedon's Work." I've posted the Powerpoint, handout and the speech outline on Google Docs for you to keep. A note: you should go back and forth between the two documents, as I deliberately put quotes and stats in the ppt that I was going to talk about but not read to the audience. And I outsourced my critical frame to the handout!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Firefly Survey Results 2

Hey, all, just a final bit of house keeping from the Firefly survey's results. Those results are after the page break.

We've examined the values nearly always shown (capable, courageous, imaginative, independent, family security, freedom, self-respect, true friendship), nearly never shown by the series (no value rated near a 1 as almost never being shown), and those values on which there was no consensus on its representation (world at peace, mature love).

Tomorrow night at the latest, we'll have a new issue of Watcher Junior to talk about. And, on Thursday, we'll be off to Slayage 5, where we'll be reporting on the conference. Soon afterwards, we'll publish a version of my presentation AND we'll have another issue of Watcher Junior for you!

And the values are...

Monday, July 9, 2012

Cabin in the Woods results 3

Hey, all, just a final bit of house keeping from The Cabin in the Woods survey's results. We've examined the values nearly always shown (courage, independence, intelligence, freedom, and true friendship) and nearly never shown by the series (cleanliness, obedience, manners, aesthetic appreciation, salvation, and tangible assistance support), along with a post detailing a number of values on which there was no consensus on its representation (forgiving, helpful, honest, exciting life, sense of accomplishment, world at peace, equality, family security, inner harmony, and national security). We'll take a look at the values represented frequently, sometimes, and rarely by the film after the page break.

A reminder: The summary post of the other values for Firefly will be posted on Tuesday. By Wednesday night at the latest, we'll have a new issue of Watcher Junior to talk about. And, on Thursday, we'll be off to Slayage 5, where we'll be reporting on the conference. Soon afterwards, we'll publish a version of my presentation AND we'll have another issue of Watcher Junior for you!

What follows are the values represented frequently, sometimes, and rarely by the The Cabin in the Woods:

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Avengers Survey Results 2

Hey, all, just a final bit of house keeping from The Avengers survey's results. Those results are after the page break.

The summary post of the other values for Firefly and The Cabin in the Woods will be posted on Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday night at the latest, we'll have a new issue of Watcher Junior to talk about. And, on Thursday, we'll be off to Slayage 5, where we'll be reporting on the conference. Soon afterwards, we'll publish a version of my presentation AND we'll have another issue of Watcher Junior for you!

We've examined the values nearly always shown (capable, courage, helpful, freedom, national security) and nearly never shown by the series (clean, mature love, salvation, tangible assistance support), with those values on which there was no consensus on its representation (inner harmony, personal assistance support).

What follows are the values represented frequently, sometimes, and rarely by the series:

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Countdown to Slayage 5: One Week!

It's one week until Slayage 5 and I'm already yearning for Vancouver's sunny, cool high-60s forecasted by Weather.com rather than the gross, muggy high-80s we're currently sludging through in Boston.  That's right.  Sludging.  Also, Slayage Online posted the final program on their site, making me (if it's possible) even more excited for the conference.  O frabjous day!

When the preliminary program was posted, I was overwhelmed by the wealth of possibilities (in the best way possible), but I think I've now found some focus.  Follow me behind the cut to find out where I'll be at Slayage 5!