Totally spaced this until just now, but the 9th annual EMP Pop Conference starts tomorrow, and as always, if you love thinking/talking/learning about music, you should check it out. And it's free! This year's theme is "The Pop Machine: Music and Technology."
Douglas Wolk, presenting a paper on the incorporeality of club and radio DJs, the disconnect between their bodies and the sound they produce—they can't physically touch the sound they create the way that a guitarist can touch the vibration of a string, they aren't physically interacting with their audiences, and if they're doing their job right they might as well not even have a physical body—stood at the podium, silently shuffling his papers every couple minutes and cueing video clips while prerecorded voices read the paper he'd written. A cute and effective conceptual stunt. Daphne Carr, for a presentation called "Computer Love(r)s" about the intimate relationship that writers and music critics have with their laptops, encouraged the audience to take out their laptops and follow along to series of cues and instructions she'd posted to her website. ("Stand up and play your favorite video for five seconds, showing everyone you can." "PROTECT YOUR LAPTOP FROM EVERYONE ELSE'S GAZE [BY] MAKING YOUR ARMS INTO A COCOON AROUND IT.") Sean Nelson, for a presentation about sexlessness in '90s indie rock, titled "Let's (Not) Get It On," pointedly refrained from having sex with anyone onstage.
Charles Mudede will be posting a preview of some of this year's specific panels/presenters later this afternoon.