The 4th Slayage conference was just as “entertaining and educating” (Buffy 7.16 “Storyteller”) as any of the previous three, with a few significant differences:
- This year, it was the Slayage Conference on the Whedonverses—Joss Whedon has created, written, produced, and/or directed so many different programs, movies, and comic books beyond Buffy that “Buffyverse” is an insufficient descriptor of his work, not to mention the many other people associated with it. Currently, if you go to the conference archive, it appears that all the previous conferences have been re-named to “conference on the Whedonverse,” but clicking on an individual link, reveals that the first conference (2004) was in fact, “The Slayage Conference on Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” in which Angel played only a minor role.
- This conference was in beautiful, historic St. Augustine, Florida, at Flagler College, built around 19th c. hotelier/industrialist Henry Flagler’s Hotel Ponce De Leon, where we had our Friday evening banquet. It is spectacular. Professors Jim & Tamara Wilson and their arrangements team did everything to make things run smoothly and to help us find our way around the college and the attractions of the town.
- SC4 held the first official meeting of the Whedon Studies Association, which (let’s admit it), sounds a lot more intimidating than “Buffy Studies,” though if a person were actually to encounter Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he might find her more terrifying than Joss Whedon. Or not—he can probably kill you with his brain.
- And finally, the really important different event of this year’s conference: the 2010 Slayage Journal award for “Buffy Studies” (which I’m sure will now be called “Whedon Studies” scholarship in book form, the “Mr. Pointy” award, went to Buffy Goes Dark: Essays on the Final Two Seasons of Buffy The Vampire Slayer on Television, co-edited by Lynne Y. Edwards, Elizabeth L. Rambo, and James B. South.
As shown in this photo, the Official Plaque of Fame hasn’t arrived yet. As soon as it does, I’ll glue it on and send the stake of glory on to Lynne and/or James to hold for a while. In fact, we must acknowledge that we really share the award with all those who wrote the essays that make it up. Several of them were nominated for the “Mr. Pointy–Short” award: Brandy Ryan for “‘It’s Complicated…Because of Tara’: History, Politics, and the Straight, White Male Author,” David Kociemba for “Understanding the Espensode,” Ira and Anne Shull for “The Candide of Sunnydale: Andrew Wells as Satire of Pop Culture and Marketing Trends,” and Rhonda Wilcox for “‘Set on This Earth Like a Bubble’: Word as Flesh in the Dark Seasons.” These and the other contributors (incl. David Lavery, who kindly wrote our Foreword) made the book what it is, and we couldn’t have done it without them.
The other nominees were all excellent as well, and next year we should see more good stuff, if the books available and forthcoming at the conference were any indication. I’m especially looking forward to Buffy in the Classroom.
It was all I could do to get that photo of BGD with Mr. Pointy—both of which obligingly stood still for me—but pop culture diva Jennifer Stuller at Ink-Stained Amazon has provided some lovely pics of presentations and historic Flagler locations including a link to some laughable footage of scholar-fans/fan-scholars singing—yikes!