Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Critic's Studio interview

Still coming down from my Baycon/Fanime hangover. I'll hopefully have something coherent to say sometime within the week. Until then, here are my semi-coherent ramblings on Critic's Studio. Jason is a great guy, a true fan of spec-lit, and was fun to talk to. Check off another Elwin Cotman profile piece that doesn't involve dumpsster diving.

And while it's several months late, I'd like to congratulate my Cyberpunk Apocalypse sister Art Noose on her newborn son Bernard. Babies!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chapter 81: In Which I Discuss Designing Your Own Universe

Writing is about obsession, pure and simple.

It is taking the themes and fetishes and interests you have to such an extreme level that you have to devote untold amounts of words to them. And if you happen to get published and kill a few trees in the process, it's all for the good.

All writing is fantasy. Now, there are writers who take on the Sisyphean task of mimicing the real world. Some even go to an extreme and call themselves "journalists.." What I appreciate is when writers embrace the fantasy. When they go all-out and create an entire universe around their obsessions, where the characters are in tune with these interests, and they play entirely by the author's monomaniacal rules.

Case in point:

The Lord of the Rings. Arguably the most in-depth fantasy universe ever created, documented from the beginning of time to when Middle-Earth becomes Our-Earth. You may notice the characters are very articulate. They speak a very high form of English, to the point where they'll just bust out in verse. And not just English. They babble on in three other fully formed languages. Every character, from Frodo to the Witch-king to Wormtongue, has the same love and dedication for language as an Oxford don of Linguistics.

The universality of linguistics in Lord of the Rings is unrealistic, and over-the-top, and undeniably one of my favorite aspects of the trilogy. Every time they bust out the high English I can just hear Tolkien hammering his typewriter keys with the intensity of Beethoven playing a symphony. I feel him. He's in the zone. He's enjoying himself.

Another example. I recently watched the classic 1990s melodrama Showgirls. Melodramas are great because the writers aren't afraid to let their freak flag fly. Joe Esterhasz is gleefully tossing his obsessions around, just as much as his predecessors Jane Austen and Harriett Beecher Stowe once did. The Las Vegas of Showgirls bears as much resemblance to our world as Middle-Earth. Yes, I know Vegas is sleazy, but in Showgirls-Earth every single last male character is an evil predator. Even that useless Glenn Plummer character is, at best, a weaselly liar and stalker. The rest are mustache twirlers devoting all their time and energy to using, fucking, and throwing away these women. Even the broke ones who don't work in the entertainment industry. While I know there are slimeballs in Vegas, I don't think all the men are like that. Eighty percent, tops.

It gets even better. In Showgirls-Earth, the natural pecking order for showgirls is decided by pushing other girls downstairs. That's literally how they get promoted (if they fail to fuck their way to the top). It is such an accepted practice that Gina Gershon's character not only forgives Jessie Spano for trying to cripple her, but gives her an affectionate goobye. "Oh, darlin'. How do you think I got my first leading role?" Well, I guess that makes it okay, then. Gina pushed a girl down the stairs, and its implied the next girl is going to push Jessie down the stairs, so the world is a never-ending cycle of pushers.

Showgirls is, of course, a comedy. But it's also a prime example of worldbuilding. Esterhasz and Verhoeven are obsessed with the concepts of sex, sleaze, and ambition. As such, their universe operates by these rules. Oh, naturally that girls a nymphomaniac! Of course she used to be a hooker! Hey, this guy's a dancer, too! Of course those guys are looking to get laid! Isn't that what all men want all the time? The best part is that the actors are in on it, the principals sleazing it up to a painful degree, especially Elizabeth "Caution Be Damned" Berkeley. In Showgirls they design their universe and go for it.

After all these years, I realize that's what drew me to Tarantino movies. Even before he went full-on fantasy with Kill Bill, he was creating his own worlds. His characters also love to talk. They all have an encycloepedic knowledge of film; this is to the point where you can sit down a Gestapo agent, an actress, a British spy, and two German OSS recruits, and assume coreectly that they've all watched the exact same movies. Because they love movies in general, just like Tarantino.

For Hard Times Blues, I'm revising a story called "The Piper's Christmas Gift." The story itself was a Christmas gift, written for my friends a few years ago (one day I'll have the time to make Christmas cards that are actual cards). It is a favorite of my editor Nathan, and I am including it. The story is my homage to turn-of-the-twentieth century children's lit, which is quite possibly my favorite school of writing. Seriously, what other period and genre can boast such heavyweights as Francis Hodgson Burnett, E. Nesbitt, Rudyard Kipling, L. Frank Baum, and Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a few. Whether it be Peter Pan or Tom Swift, the years between 1880 and 1920 were simply a golden time for literature.

"Piper's Christmas Gift" is the most fun I've had writing a story in a while. It is a weird piece, and fantastical, and unabashedly geeky. Certain characters are named for characters in classic kid lit. Some are pastiches of said characters. They all love the stories as much as I do. The New York City of "Piper's Christmas Gift" is maybe the most fantastical universe I've crafted. It's interesting that I'm doing lots of research for this piece, to capture what New York was like at the time, in order to finally create a place as distanced from our world as Middle-Earth.

And the best part is re-reading the old stories, and discovering new old artists. I had honestly never heard of Kate Greenaway prior to poking around in the little "Books on Children's Literature" section at Moe's. Now her drawings are up there in my list of influences. Did I mention those old books are all beautifully illustrated?

I encourage all writers to not be afraid of your obsessions. Follow them to their apex. See where they lead you. Allow your characters to love what you love. Craft a world that reflects you. Maybe not for every story. It's good to stay grounded, too. But try it once. So much fun.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Baycon and Fanime schedules

RIP Donna Summer. A truly classic chanteuse. Listening to "This Could Be Magic" for the millionth time as I write this.

This Memorial Day weekend I'm a busy beaver. Doing Fanime and Baycon. I am going to be in geek heaven.

Friday May 25, 1pm-2pm--Leiji Matsumoto's Futuristic Myth (Fanime)
After six decades mangaka Leiji Matsumoto, creator of Captain Harlock, is more popular than ever. Through blending of genres, from the fairy tale to space opera, Matsumoto has created his own mythology. In this panel we will discuss the "Leijiverse" as modern myth.

Friday, May 25, 4pm-5:30pm--Urban Fantasy reading (w/Pat MacEwen) (Baycon)

Saturday, May 26, 4:00pm-5:30pm--Hugo Nominees Discussed (w/Christopher J Garcia, Kevin Standlee, Deirdre Saoirse Moen) (Baycon)
WorldCon 2012 is fast approaching, and every year the highlight is the Hugo Awards.  Our panel of past and present Hugo voters will discuss the nominees.  Who do you think should win?  Who do you think will win?

Saturday, May 26, 5:30pm-7pm--Once Upon a Time, Brothers Grimm, Fables, and Other Looks at the Modern Fairy Tale (w/a whole slew of other writers) (Baycon)

These are not your grandmother's fairy tales or even your mother's. They show the story behind the story and more. Explore the new look at Fairy Tales in the Modern Age.

Sunday, May 27, 4:00pm-5:30pm--Fantasy reading (w/Leslie Ann Moore) (Baycon)

Sunday, May 27, 11pm-midnight--Yoshiaki Kawajiri (Fanime)
Few animators have left their mark as much as Yoshiaki Kawajiri. From urban fantasy to the Gothic to cyberpunk, Kawajiri has pushed the limits of horror in the same way as Cronenberg and Carpenter. We will discuss and celebrate the dark visions of this legendary director.

I am excited for Fanime specifically because this is my first time putting together my own panels about these artists I admire. I've been reading old school science fiction lately, and in terms of concepts and imagination, Matsumoto is right up there with contemporaries like Poul Anderson and Delaney. I hope I do his work some measure of justice.

To prepare for my Hugo nominees panel, I did some reading in Berkeley today. Read a few pages of Jo Walton's Among Others, reread some of A Dance With Dragons. I'm pretty sure the copy of ADWD I was reading at Books Inc. was the same one I sold to them for 8 bucks a few months ago. Five minutes after I put it back on the shelf, a girl came charging up to the fantasy section with her two friends.

GIRL: They have it! (looks at price) It's only 18 dollars!
FRIEND: Get it.
GIRL: Yay! Now I can finish A Feast For Crows!

Made extra cool by the fact that I, in a roundabout way, provided her with the discounted copy. At least I like to think I so. I also appreciated how messed up the book jacket was from being thumbed so much.

Gotta agree with Jo Walton. Books are, indeed, magic.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chapter 80: In Which I Declare Mastery

Master of Fine Arts.

70,000 smackeroos and I get a pen, a cardboard fan, a water bottle, and a folder with the word Mills on it with no diploma inside. I write 1/6th of a rough draft, generously referred to as "thesis," got the muttering assent of two professors, then put an embargo on it so one may ever read it.

All cynicism aside, I have finally graduated with my Masters. The celebration was well worth it. Seeing all my friends with their family was worth it. Sitting next to my beloved Mills sisters as they took their robes off, got drunk and muttered at the president to hurry up her speech was worth it. The confetti in the air was worth it. A college commencement is a parting, yet it felt like nothing less than a reunion. We were all together.

And we were all smart, and ambitious. The Mills English graduates of 2012. Hearing everyone discuss their post-graduate plans was so inspiring. These are people who WILL publish books, who WILL teach, who WILL work in publishing. 

It seems not long ago I sat in Maud Casey's office at University of Maryland and talked seriously with someone about dropping out of grad school. At the time, continuing my education seemed the most distant thing in the world. Graduate school has been a 5-year journey and I saw it to the champagne glass end.

First of all, I thank my family. Family has always meant more to me than blood. There were times I wanted to drop out, saw it as the only option, but it was my family who told me to push through. Getting to visit my friends in Pittsburgh over winter vacations kept me balanced after all the Bay area insanity. Getting to see them when they visit the Bay? Just as good.

I thank the new friends. Those who I met in class and hippie houses. Writers, painters, world travelers, Antarctica cartographers, dancers, squatters. Amazing people. Every new friend reminding me that I live in maybe the world's biggest gathering of interesting people.

I thank the artists. My brothers and sisters from the Interdisciplinary Writers Lab. Kim Vodicka, who went on the road with me. Adam Atkinson, who introduced us. Everyone who hosted us on tour. Everybody who organized every reading and every performance that inspired me over these last two years. My world has been filled with artists. I can count several authors as close personal friends.

I thank the teachers. Micheline Marcom, Dr. Rebekah Edwards, Dr. Tarah Demant, Kathryn Reiss, Miranda Mellis, among others. Thank you for teaching me.

The students of English 001: Thank you for being open to my instruction.

I thank my love, Carleen. We met during one of my darkest periods in the Bay. Would it be cliche to say she was my light? Oh well then.

At graduation rehearsal I was speaking with the fellow who produced my audiobook. We were sitting on some steps. He said he first saw me at orientation.

"What was I doing?" I asked him.
"Sitting on some steps," he said.

There and back again, eh? If grad school taught me one thing, it's to take life one thing at a time. Multitasking does not work for me; I focus on one thing and do it well. Last weekend what I did well was celebrate with my family and friends.

Next up: I'm a panelist at Baycon and Fanime. Doing a panel on this year's Hugo nominees. Have not yet read Among Others. Excited to do so.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Low Lives 4 performance on Youtube!

Nice sound quality. Check it out.

Chapter 79: In Which I Discuss Graduation

I didn't go to my graduation ceremony in 2005. I was in a unique position, as many of my friends were a year ahead of me, and by graduating early I had the chance to walk across the stage with them. But Pitt is a large school. The idea of cramming into an ampitheatre for several hours and watching people I don't know receive papers sounded exhausting.

I am going to the Mills graduation. Mills is manageable. I went out and bought the gown and such, and I'm feeling the pageantry. There's something inherently youthful about a college graduation. For a day, it will be just like high school. That sense of endings and beginnings. Sharing that sense of accomplishment with your friends. Of course, we are not youths. The student speaker is a woman in my department, one of the oldest people in the program. But graduation is one of life's rituals intertwined with hope for the future. I should do it once in my life.

On a personal note, it is a celebration I share entirely with my Mills cohort. My family, blood and otherwise, is on the east coast. Two years of living in Oakland and I haven't made any close friends outside of school. Yes, I know people, but nobody willing to travel long distances to see me graduate. My social circle has primarily consisted of hippies of various degrees of sketchiness, foisted upon me while living at the collective house. So graduation reminds me how isolated I've been. If I stay in the area I hope this will change.

The time flew by. It absolutely flew.


No tour this year. I made a decision to focus exclusively on my manuscript. Even organizing a brief tour (which I've done before, on short notice) seems too much of a distraction from the writing. I want this book to be the best it can be, so I'm making it my only priority. Still hoping for a big cross-country tour down the line. You know, if we all survive the Mayan prophecy.

On a similar note, my tour mate from last year is doing her own tour! The inimitable Kim Vodicka is putting out her first book of poetry in June. The title is Aesthesia Balderdash, which sounds just mind-warping enough to be a Kim Vodicka book title. I believe she's only 23 or 24, so of course I'm insanely jealous that she's both successful and young. But seriously, she's one of the more talented artists I've met in recent years, and I've been fortunate to spend these last few years in the company of artists. Excellent wordplay, and it comes to life even more when she recites it. Here's the tour info. If you are in any of these cities, do yourself a favor and check it out.

Kim Vodicka/Ben Kopel Sui-Southern Book Tour 2012!
Greetings, friends and fiends!

Ben Kopel and I will be celebrating the release of our first full-length poetry collections by rambling around doing readings and signings south of the Mason-Dixon! Check out the dates/locations listed below, and if you/anyone you know who ...
might be interested will be in any of these areas at these times, SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS!

June 7th: Casa Azul (Grand Coteau, LA) 7:00pm
June 17th: Artmosphere (Lafayette, LA) 7:00pm
June 19th: Brazo's Bookstore (Houston, TX) 7:00pm
June 20th: Book Woman (Austin, TX) 7:00pm
June 22nd: Lucky Dog Books, hosted by WordSpace (Dallas, TX) 7:00pm
June 23rd: Nightbird Books (Fayetteville, AK) 7:00pm
June 24th: Java Cabana (Memphis, TN) 7:00pm
June 26th: Lamplighter Lounge (Memphis, TN) w/ Fille Catatonique 10:00pm
June 27th: Little Professor Book Center (Birmingham, AL) 6:00pm
June 28th: Emory University (Atlanta, GA)
June 29th: Avid Bookshop (Athens, GA) 6:30pm
July 2nd: Location TBA (Oxford, MS)
July 3rd: McKeown's Books and Difficult Music w/ Anne Marie Rooney (New Orleans, LA)

About Kim:

Poet Kim Vodicka grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana and received her B.A. in English from UL Lafayette in 2010. She is currently working on her M.F.A. in Poetry at LSU, where she is also a Graduate Teaching Assistant and Co-Coordinator of Delta Mouth Literary Festival 2012. Kim is an avid lover of music, hosts a psychedelic rock show, "Shangri-La-La Land," on KLSU, and is involved in musical-poetic projects. She believes that poems want to be songs very badly, and she can recite most of her work from memory. She is the author of the self-published chapbook Hustle, featuring poems and collages constructed from pornographic literature. Her artwork has been published in Tenderloin, and her poems have been published in Shampoo, Ekleksographia, Dig, and Spork (forthcoming). Aesthesia Balderdash (Trembling Pillow 2012) is her first full-length collection.

Praise for Aesthesia Balderdash:

“Belatedly—like everything we wait for—Kathy Acker’s great, I mean really great, grand‐daughter appears…in Louisiana...Her ‘blood runneth cheesecake’ who penneth this collection of see-sick lyrics drunk w/ semantic play...Vodicka’s Aesthesia Balderdash sisters the disaster of gender in ways that matter: ‘chronically, / abashedly, / rosily, cockily, / dazzlingly.’ Not for the faint of art, this is poetry that cunts, I mean counts.”

--Laura Mullen, author of Dark

North Carolina

For the record, Jesus Christ never said anything about homosexuality. The hatred of gays, while known to pop up in old Jewish fairy tales, is simply not a part of the Christian faith. Never was.

Also for the record, I'm possibly doing PhD in Lousiana, and whenever I mention it people get this look in their eyes, a kind of despair for me, and say with a quiet trepidation that the South is "different." Californians: your precious state ALSO illegalized gay marriage. It's America. There's oppression everywhere.

North Carolina's not the first state to write hate into its constitution, certainly won't be the last. Thirty-eight states have outright turned their hate for LGBTQ people into law. The marriage thing, like marriage in general, is mostly symbolic. It is to shove down the minority's throat what they cannot have, so they know they are inferior and never demand their rights.

It's been obvious for a while that America's sliding into a more oppressive nation. The people who run the country feel their grip slipping, resulting in the extremist measures of the last two years or so. The parts that scare me the most are the security-related measures that always seem to fly under the radar while people wave Bibles and talk about marriage. Stuff like the army being able to indefinitely detain American citizens. Like sound cannons and tanks in the streets of Oakland. Jackboot thugs have been gaining more power since 9/11 and the only language they know is violence.

The cultural progress I have more hope for. I'm sorry, you can't turn back the clock. You cannot make gay people go back in the closet and feel like they're diseased and perverted. You cannot turn women into cattle and livestock. Hell, even in the Middle Ages/Biblical periods, which your average conservative idolizes so much, a woman could serve as head of household and find ways of agency. Reverting back to the complete patriarchy of Abraham's time is not possible.

Abraham had lots of slaves. Those aren't coming back either. Black people aren't going to go away. Yes, yes, lazy, drugs, welfare, blah blah blah. You don't like us so I guess we should just accept every indignity you throw at us. Um, the president's black. Something has progressed.

I've been a cautiously hopeful person ever since the Arab Spring. It was a truly beautiful moment that continues to have ripple effects among the oppressed of the world. This one thing I know: Progress can be fought but it cannot be stopped. All the hatemongers have guaranteed for themselves with crap like Amendment One is a battle. They will continue to want their will imposed on others, and those others will continue to balk.

It's not always bloodless. One of my favorite stories in American history is Nat Turner's rebellion. A hugely inspirational battle for freedon. The story goes that he murdered his own master, thereby freeing himself with his own hands. This could just be Braveheart-style romanticizing, who knows. What is not in dispute is that the rebellion was an act of progress against slavery, the worst injustice ever perpetrated by man on another. What happened afterwards? The whites hung Nat and his crew, then proceeded to massacre hundreds of slaves just to set an example.

See a pattern? Those in power feel they are slipping and resort to extreme measures. The peaceful protestors in Egypt suffered casualties. Think about it: every person in those demos knew their police force had no problem murdering civilians. They were out there anyway. They made the choice. I cannot think of greater courage.

A poet friend of mine once expressed the fear that when the inevitable "shots fired" happens in America, it will be some Tea Party person or related right-wing supremacist. This is possible. God knows Jim Crow Laws were not enough to stop oppressors from terrorism. Amendments might not be enough for them. Laws that equate women to cattle might not be enough for them.

I don't know. They have to lose. History repeats, sure. But it does not reverse. It can only go forward.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chapter 78: In Which I Discuss What I Do When I Should be Working on My Manuscript

Six days until graduation. Still have to get my regalia. Cap, gown, hood, and a "walking card," whatever that is. Rehearsal is Friday. It's fun to see everybody's party pictures up on Facebook. We earned it.

And I've been partying some. Just wrapped up an odds&ends session with my audiobook producer on Wednesday. We went until ten, and he was pretty much falling asleep at his computer. I was bushed, too. But it's done! Now to edit.

I went to a BBQ at his place for Cinco de Mayo. Nice sausages. He told me before I left that it was magical working on this project with me over the last two years, hearing and getting to know the book through my voice. Genuinely one of the nicest things anyone's ever told me.

Cue Boys II Men:

San Franciscans take Cinco de Mayo seriously. You'll never see more ran-over road cones on a highway in your life. Kind of terrifying. I went to an industrial rave with a friend of mine. She was doing promo, her boyfriend was DJing. It was fun. And thirsty. And smoky. And crowded. And long. Her BF went on last and I'm pretty sure I danced a total of 4 hours, minus times spent sitting or lying on a mattress in the green room. Despite compliments that I was a "champion," I don't know if I would have stuck so long if the DJ wasn't my ride. My denim jacket also didn't go well with the color scheme (black on black).

Great music. I'm a fan of dubstep, which has its origins in industrial, among other things. Just really hard, energetic, floor-stomping music. The rave thing is cool to visit every few years but I don't think I'd like to live there. Even the people I met who were knee-deep in the scene admit its an insular culture, with a lot revolving around name recognition, cred, what kind of gear you use, and various forms of metaphorical dick-waving. I don't think I'd ever want to be that deep in any sub-culture. Some folks there remembered it was about the music and came to have fun, others were all about how important they thought they were in the scene. Love the music. That other stuff holds no interest to me, as a grown man.

There was one point in which a DJ sampled "Loved by the Sun" by Tangerine Dream, which my friend instantly recognized. We were singing the Legend theme song for the rest of the night. I think that was my highlight. I also think I'm wise in my choice of friends.

Oh, and some drunk people in a van stopped by us as we were packing up to leave, demanding alcohol from us. The assertion that there was nothing for them and they should just leave led quickly to death threats. The lady driving, who was entirely blitzed, was quick to start screaming "bitch," fuck you," "I'll fuck you up," etc. When it seemed that they were actually leaving, they put the pedal to the metal and DROVE BACKWARDS on the street, to brake in front of us so the lady could continue calling us "bitches" while her boyfriend in the passenger seat apologized intemperately, referring to my friends and I as "Billy, Timmy, and Stephanie." Way to celebrate Mexico's freedom. It was at that point I decided to crash in the city rather than risk a ride to the East Bay, even though one was offered.

My friend lives on Market Street. I'm glad I stuck in the Bay long enough to be able to view downtown SF from up high. I've always been at ground level, in the reek and realness of the cesspool they call SoMa. To look out a window directly at those beautiful rooftops is ranked among one of my best experiences. You just never know when you get these chances. Also spent some time in the city the next day. They were having some pretty cool Mexican heritage cultural events.

Long story short: graduation. Manuscript writing. Drinking. Dancing. Drunk people. Death threats. Allergies. Sunshine.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012


I'm alive!

Oh, and hey, Blogger! Way to make your new settings confusing.

T-minus 10 days until graduation. Ten days until I'm a Master of the Art of Writing. There's something a little mystical to it, like I just upgraded my stats in an RPG game. There's something like the end of high school. Everybody's smiling, hugging, talking about their summer plans, generally in a positive attitude. Doesn't hurt that the weather's been so good.

It also feels good because it's earned. I've been studying the English language, its traditional forms, its new forms, it creoles and code-switching and history, since I was 8 years old. I am a master at this point.

Hard Times Blues was put on hold while I did my thesis and prepared for my Low Lives performance. My goal is to have the manuscript done, done, DONE in the next six weeks. Five pages a day, either new or revised. That is the way of the master. *bows*

Just finished the last recording session for the JDS audiobook. I didn't have much time to prep, so I ended up doing the last three chapters of "Assistant." The focus was on keeping my voice low and steady, which I think works for that piece. There's some shouting in that part, so I couldn't keep it low the whole time. For the last two recordings, my producer fed the sound directly into ProTools on his computer. Previous times I'd done shouting, like Ingrid's singing in "Safe Space," the machinery couldn't handle it and everything turned to static. The producer put a limiter on his ProTools, separating the sound into two tracks that cut out the fuzz. I listened to it on playback. Yep. That's some damn good shouting.

I would lie if I said I'm entirely happy with the recordings. "Brother Roy," for instance. Sounds great, and I get into it just listening to it as I drive around. Still, there's some dialect parts where I switch, sentence by sentence, between "work" and "wuk." I do not have a real Southern accent. It's hard to do. Make no mistake, a lot of it sounds wonderful. Some of my best creative work. I just need a last session to do odds and ends.

I also have a cover artist! Fiona Meng, 2012 Illustrators of the Future Winner. She did a picture for my friend Tom Doyle's Writers of the Future story, and I was like *cue Sean Connery voice* "Yes! Yes!" The picture she gave me is beautiful and I can't wait to unveil it.

Low Lives
Take one Mills classroom. Take one projector. Take one set of text and pictures on Photo Viewer. Pull down the window shades. Wait nervously for the go-ahead on Ustream chat. Go.

Here it is, until such time as it is I can upload to Youtube:

Live performance and all, there were a few hiccups, but overall I'm happy with it. I'm not good at technology. Like, it terrifies me. Handling the livestreaming was a lot more nerve-wracking than putting the piece together. Thus, I was grateful for the call from my mother right after, telling me how much she loved it. My reaction: "So it actually broadcasted? Yes!"

I was fun and cool to do an international event. I look forward to going back and seeing the performances I missed.