|The hubbub at the 2011 TCG National Conferience in Los Angeles|
It was 11:30 at night and I had been up since 7 that morning. I wanted to go home. Or rather, I wanted to go back to my hotel room and watch TV. The music was loud, the lighting was dark, the booze was flowing for up to five glasses, and a couple of minutes prior, I had seen a man sporting a six-pack, walk down a catwalk while wearing only a pair of gold lame shorts. On a normal day, that would have given me my second wind.
But then again, this was not a normal day. I had been up since 7 that morning and, save for the new Mike Daisey show (The Orient Express (Or, the Value of Failure)), I had been working all day. I wanted to go back to my hotel room (at the Boston Park Plaza), and watch TV.
Feeling 2: Surprised (Kinda)
Then again, considering that I see shows so I can become better at my job, going to the theater is also work. I am obligated to take it apart the next day when my fellow American Theatre editors ask me, "You saw the new Mike Daisey show? What did you think?"
Those conversations are off the record, since if I wrote what I thought, it would be unfair to Mike and he would probably be very unhappy with me. Mike and I are finally on a first-name, face-to-face, non-Twitter-based basis since I met him at the TCG National Conference in Boston last week. It's amazing when you finally meet people that you know on Twitter and via e-mail in person.
It's almost like dating online, it's a tad anticlimactic, especially because more often than not, the person you see in front of you don't quite look like how you imagined they would. It's like being brought down to Earth. They're a person now, and not an entity. But unlike dating online, you enjoy them a lot more in person. It's a lot more fun, because you're not stuck with asking the template personal questions. Which for someone like me who don't enjoy talking about my personal life, it's absolutely refreshing.
Feeling 3: Sociability (aka Journalism Mode)
I think that's part of why the TCG Conference was so bearable for me. The talk was only on the work, the theater, and not so much on how I was doing. Though when anyone asked, I responded honestly, "Tired." There were discussions about theater's role in activism, the insane 90-plus-degree weather and how "American Theatre" should get an app.
I freely admit that, despite appearances to the contrary, I'm an introvert. The definition of an introvert, for me, is from an "Atlantic" article: someone whose energy is drained from being around people. It was my first conference as a TCG staff member and also the biggest one so far, with 1,000 attendees, not including volunteers. Or what I liked to say last week, "1,000 of my closest theater friends."
There were break-out sessions to take notes in, affinity groups to overlook and plenary sessions to Tweet about (and judging from the lights coming from different audience members at the plenary, I was not the only one breaking old-fashioned rules of conduct). All of which were enlightening and helped me learn so much more about the trials of the field from the artistic and administrative end. And let me know who I should keep an eye on, since the inevitable question always comes up: "What can we do to get coverage?"
Feeling 4: Tired, Part Two
And then, of course, there were the parties. I admired those who had the energy to still, after a long day of conference-related activities, talk to their colleagues and schmooze, and be inspired by those conversations. Especially my colleagues. I still schmoozed but I had reached my limit at 11:30 on Friday night, the penultimate night of the conference.
Feeling 5: Purposeful
So, having reached my threshold of pain in dealing with people, I left. And went back to my hotel room. And watched the Food Channel.