Monday, October 1, 2012

Dick-Fest 2012 Totally Recalled

 Photo: That's me interviewing Jonathan Lethem, Laurence Rickels, Rudy Rucker, and John Alan Simon. Click to see the rest of the image: Rucker and Simon have been cut by the auto-formatting...

Though I'm still pretty tired, as well as behind in my grading and housework, I guess I better put my thoughts down about the Dick-Fest before the memories start to fade. They tell me it was an unqualified success. I actually didn't get to see much of the Fest as I was running from emergent situation to technical catastrophe almost the entire time.

First off, there were more than 130 who registered. The big lecture hall/theater where we were staging the fest only holds 140, and people were still registering the night before. I was sweating. Talk about sweating, I met Dr Laurence Rickels at the airport and drove him to his "Hospitality Suite" on campus - only I couldn't find the damn place.  Talk about an anxiety dream! But Rickels is a cool cat, a nice guy, and I drove him around on Friday before the fest. I can't say I "get" his book now, but he did offer this kernel of wisdom: Naziism is Psychoanalysis in reverse. That sure got me thinking. Rickels also had a cool video presentation of old space race stuff.

The next night I drove Jonathan Lethem to his suite and we had a nice talk. I knew we'd be pulled in different directions at the fest, so I was glad to get the time. Very nice guy. I've got some friends that call me "Dave" and some friends that call me "David" - Lethem is a "David" friend. I got him to sign my copy of "Men & Cartoons" too! His keynote was funny, touching, and revolutionary - more on that when the videos come out -- more on when the videos are coming out later.

The highlight of the event was the screening of Radio Free Albemuth. Well before that we had a nice dinner in the "Nob Hill Room" at my school, with an open bar, and pretty good food. But the movie was a hit, and seeing it with a theater full of Dick-heads was wonderful and rewarding for me personally.

I finally got to meet Umberto Rossi. A gentleman and a scholar. And of course got to catch up with old friends Lord Running Clam, Perry Kinman, Frank Hollander, Laura Entwisle, and more. The whole thing reconfirmed for me that Dick-heads are some of the nicest, smartest, and most generous people on the planet. In addition, I met lots of cool new people: Chris Rudge, John Burton, Doug Mackey. I can't list everyone.

The Verge has just posted their video and article about the fest, and they're great! Check them out here. More pictures to follow.


John said...

I thought it was a really special event. I go to quite a lot of academic conferences, as well as reader-led events in the UK like the annual Festival honoring the poet John Clare, and my own co-organised ‘PKD-days’ in Nottingham. But I can’t remember feeling so consistently drawn in and interested in everything as I was at this Festival. All the speakers were really rewarding, as were the conversations I had with fellow ‘Dickheads’. David Gill worked phenomenally hard on every aspect of running the event, and it paid off magnificently. I am not surprised you are tired, David, but well done! A brilliant event! -- John G.

Jeffrey A. Goodman said...

Thank you for putting on a terrific event and for creating a situation where I was able to come in contact with some new friends from far and wide. It was a real honor to meet all who attended, sat on panels, gave presentations and showed films, slides, etc. I’ve had a hard time decompressing from the festival as I woke up even this morning ready to be immersed in all things Dickian, but that event has passed much like PKD’s 2-3-74 event….it was a 3 day pink beam that hopefully will return in the future! Great seeing everyone, and thanks again David!

umberto rossi said...

The best thing about the Festival was that it made me realize that I should rewrite several parts of my book. The worst thing about the Festival is that it made me realize that I should rewrite all my book.

But this is my own problem.

It was wonderful, and I look forward to the next Festival. I just can't get enough, that's what I feel.

Lord RC said...

Thanks for all your hard work, David, to make this a successful event. To meet so many PKD fans in one place was, as they say, awesome! Can't wait till the 2014 festival in OC!