I would like to begin with the fact that BBF starts EARLY! Anyways, Arianna and I went to Cartooning: You can do it too! which was really the perfect way to start the day off. Because it started at 10am, there weren't many people there which was nice (little did we know that this was all going to change during the later forums). Of course I also started the morning by sticking my foot in it, as we wanted to attend a panel that started at 10:30am I let Arianna know that I hoped the panel would start on time. To which a smiling gentleman replied, "Me too!." Wouldn't you know it, the dude was Jarrett Krosoczka? At least I didn't tell him we were friends before we were properly introduced.
Side note: Jarret's daughter is ridiculously adorable. Everyone's little daughter should be forced to have pig-tails that stick straight out of their heads.
Anyways, the panel had Jarrett Krosoczka, Aaron Renier, Jef Czekaj, and Alexis Frederick-Frost. Robin Brenner was hosting the panel. After the four artists all got over the giggles that seemed to overcome them, they introduced themselves and did a quick sketch of their well-known characters, except Jeff but he totally made up for it which we'll get into in a little bit. Generally each of them told a little background about themselves and their illustrations and then they were going to collaboratively create a comic. Jarrett talked about how he went back to his old school and realized he still believes that his lunch lady lives at the school and doesn't leave. Aaron made me giggle as he drew Turnip the Elephant and muttered, "This is turning out really good." Jef didn't draw, instead he rapped! It was CRAZY AMAZING! Everyone should read Hip and Hop Don't Stop with his music in the background. Alexis got me to try and copy his illustrations (which I have to admit turned out moderately well), so well done Alexis.
Arianna, Jamie, and I all wanted to go to the panel The Novel: A Prognosis, so Arianna and I left cartooning early to get to the BPL, which was a good thing since the theater was pretty full.
Random fact: I also almost died going down the stairs, unfortunately neither Arianna nor Jamie witnessed it.
The panel was made up of Daphne Kalotay, Nick Montfort, and David Shields. Jay Parini 'hosted' the panel, except I don't think anyone told him that and he essentially spent the entire time pontificating his own beliefs. What a windbag. It should have been our first sign that this was going to get ugly. Nick Montfort started, essentially saying that the novel needed to evolve. And that tying different medias to it, novels would then be able to satisfy the current cultures attention span and thirst for more. He referenced "i you we" by Waber and Pimble, which was amazing to see but I'm unable to find it online. Jay Parini interrupted here to throw his two cents in, which I disregarded. Anyways, I found Nick to be quite interesting and informative, little did I know that David Shields was going to send that crashing to the ground. David Shields wrote Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, and generally argued that a "real" novel hasn't been written in decades and that the only novel worth reading was existentialist in nature (this is a bit generalized, but not by much). One of my notes on him was, "Wow, such a big fat head." Which he was. Then came Daphne Kalotay, the writer of Russian Winter. I liked her, I think she had an interesting idea... if only Jay Parini hadn't taken over her time and started talking over her! WHAT A JERK! Jay, here's some advice: if someone asks you to host a panel that you are deeply interested in, say no, instead ask to be on the panel. That way you'll have a time constraint and other people's thoughts can be heard. Thank you.
By the end of the panel, I think we were all quite worn out for the windbaggery, but instead of giving up we headed off to hear the panel on 'The Tendencies of Technologies.' Nick Bilton, Kevin Kelly, David Kirkpatrick, and Nicholas Negroponte, were speaking and John Hockenberry hosted. Nick wrote the book I live in the future and here's how it works, a book that I would like to read but not own. Generally he spoke about how the internet has changed the economical status quo, and that the publishing companies aren't keeping up. We are allowing technophobia to hinder our economic and cultural growth. Kevin wrote the book What Technology Wants, and talked about how technology has developed into it's own kingdom of life. It is inevitable and ever evolving. I thought he had an interesting point that we currently have a moral obligation to increase technology for the future, so that their genius might have an outlet to radicalize the world. Neat! David was the Debbie Downer of the group. He wrote The Facebook Effect. He L-O-V-E-S Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and president of Facebook. I'm pretty sure that hearts and flowers dance before David's eyes when he talks about Mark Zuckerberg. Lame. Nicholas is the founder of the non-profit One Laptop per Child. Nicholas talked about how the physicality of a novel isn't going to diminish the reading experience. Having an eReader isn't the death of books but rather paper. And that he doesn't want to dismiss that there is an experience with the physical book, but believes that people will get over it. He said this in a much more charming way than I just did, and we all had a nice chuckle about it. P.S. Mr. Hockenberry did a very nice job facilitating the panel. Very nice job indeed.
So that was the beginning of our day. It had it's ups and downs. We were still optimistic for what was to follow. So off to lunch we went.