Conference recap: Literature/Film Association 2018, New Orleans
“Space, Place, and Adaptation” was the theme for the Literature/Film Association Annual Conference, held in New Orleans this past November. Adaptation is one of my primary scholarly interests, and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to present my work and attend some fantastic panels. The below recap includes a brief summary of my paper, a list of three presentations that particularly caught my interest, and a list of three food/drink spots to check out in New Orleans.
In “The Tempest’s Tempest: 400 Years of Hypermediation,” I argued that the opening storm scene’s representations over the centuries, from the First Folio to a 1908 silent film to the 2016 RSC stage production, follow Jay David Bolter and David Grusin’s double logic of remediation. Representations of the storm have attempted to immerse audiences in the world depicted, while also drawing attention to the technologies that make that immersion possible. Using M.J. Kidnie’s work on what defines instances of a given Shakespeare play, I argued that this scene’s hypermediation has become fundamental to what we recognize as The Tempest.
This project originated in Claire M.L. Bourne’s Shakespeare class this past Spring.
Here’s a link to the conference program, and below are my notes on three papers that particularly caught my interest.
Andrea Braithwaite, University of Ontario Institute of Technology, “Mass Market Detective Fiction, Hallmark Mystery Movies, and Canada’s Cultural Industries”
Hallmark has an extremely popular series of mystery movies, so popular that the company changed the name of the Hallmark Movie Channel to the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. The mysteries are often set in an “Anyplace U.S.A.” sort of small town, which in real life actually turn out to be somewhere in Canada— most of the films are shot there. The formula typically includes a female protagonist, often most recognizable from their work in the 1990s, and a supporting cast of Canadian actors. In recent years, Canada recognized that it could not compete head-to-head with Hollywood film production. So instead of competing, Canada transitioned to what Braithwaite described as a cultural industrial model, in which it incentivizes companies like Hallmark to produce their films in Canada.
This caught my interest because for one, I was admittedly wholly unfamiliar with Hallmark’s mystery movies. I’m also really taken with the fact that the idealized U.S.A. depicted in these movies is actually outside of the actual U.S.A., so they’re doubly imagined spaces: they don’t really exist, and the places that represent them are outside of the U.S.A.’s borders.
Also, on the same panel, Robert Moses Peaslee presented his and Rosalynn Vasquez’s work on Game of Thrones and Northern Ireland’s Tourism industry. This made for an intriguing juxtaposition. The producers of Game of Thrones chose Northern Ireland in part for its very particular landscape features, aids in depicting very specific fantasy locations. The Hallmark movie mysteries’ producers chose Canada to depict locations for films that, while set in a contemporary world, are themselves fantasies of sorts, featuring small town spaces that are both idyllic and generic.
Robert Gordon Joseph, University of Dayton, “From a Streetcar to the Streets: The Two New Orleans of Elia Kazan”
Robert Gordon Joseph’s paper argued that Elia Kazan’s 1950 film Panic in the Streets followed the transitional Hollywood era’s focus on New Orleans as a contemporary city of industry, while his 1951 film A Streetcar Named Desire hearkened back to classical Hollywood’s 1930s period pieces focused on white creoles in the French quarter. Kazan shot much of Panic on location in New Orleans, while he shot much of Streetcar on soundstages. He found the latter best suited for creating the city as he wanted to portray it.
Amanda Konkle, Georgia Southern University, Armstrong Campus, “From Narrative Subjectivity to Soundtrack Subjectivity: Adapting Drive"
I’m was not familiar with Drive, aside from knowing that it stars Ryan Gosling and his character speaks very little during the film. Amanda Konkle’s paper argued that the film, adapted from a 2005 novel, uses its soundtrack to convey the driver’s internal states. The soundtrack takes the place of what in other adaptations is often accomplished by voiceover.
3 New Orleans Spots to Check Out
Sylvain. A cozy dinner spot with well-crafted Southern dishes. I had the “Chick-Syl-vain” Sandwich. It seems like a great demonstration of what good cooking combined with good ingredients can do, because the sandwich consisted of just three things: a buttermilk-fried chicken breast, a roll, and pickles, and it was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. Ever late to the party, I also just realized that the dish’s name, “Chick-Syl-vain,” is a play on “Chick-fil-A.”
Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop Bar. A candlelit piano bar. Per the website, it was “built between 1722 and 1732 by Nicolas Touze, is reputed to be the oldest structure used as a bar in the United States.”
Muriel’s Jackson Square. Good drinks and a nice view of Jackson Square. A table set with bread and wine caught our attention on the way upstairs— it is “reserved for our resident friendly ghost Pierre Antoine.” The website has a detailed history of the building and its hauntings.