City of Angles: An AAG Recaptrospective

Do you ever have that feeling that you had a year stricken from your life in the course of a few days, every fiber of your being swallowed by a teeming current of hyperactivity? I remember visiting Washington, DC at 13 with my eighth grade class way back in the mid-90’s. Our bus pulled away from our middle school around 4 in the morning, and we arrived in the nation’s capital in the early afternoon, fitting in a series of afternoon visits to monuments, memorials, and ultimately our HBO-blessed hotel somewhere in the distant Virginia suburbs. I’ll never forget my friend Mike saying to me on the bus as we left the district on that first night, “Remember boarding the bus in Connecticut and leaving? Doesn’t that feel like yesterday?”


The view from the 30th Floor of the Westin Bonaventure. Depending on the smog level, you might be able to see your house from there.

Yes, it did feel like that one day had taken up two, and my first day at my first AAG meeting felt like it took up three. My wonderful compatriots and I piled ourselves, plenty of coffee, a box of promotional postcards, and presentation notes into the car around 6am and headed up the 710 into Los Angeles. Before my head hit the pillow that night, I had presented a chapter of my thesis research to acclaim, watched innumerable others impress with their own research, ate a (sponsored) breakfast with enthusiastic and outgoing Cultural Geographers, explored one of LA’s most impressive bars, reunited with the first Geography TA (and Professor) I’d ever had over a decade ago, reunited with an old professor who (I told her) was the reason I’m where I am today (she recommended the CSULB program and wonderfully wrote me a letter of reference), talked musical politics with a group of Texans, had a serious discussion with a Dentonian about Denton’s music scene, attended a GPOW reception at LA’s coolest bookstore, hung with some Penn State folks at LA’s hottest Jewish bar, ran into an old friend who relocated to B.C. that I hadn’t seen in 8 years, took a Kentucky friend for a ride on Angels Flight and for her first(!) Pupusas at Grand Central Market, and somehow managed not to collapse and need my cohort to cart me back to the car a la Weekend at Bernie’s 2.

So, Wednesday was quite a day. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday certainly weren’t slouches, either. I was fortunately to meet three of my favorite Geographers (Tim Cresswell, Dydia DeLyser, and Mona Domosh) in the span of 5 minutes on Friday afternoon. Dr. DeLyser’s presentation on her cultural archaeological investigation on the first neon light in Los Angeles, by the way, may have been the coolest thing I saw all week.


This kid stole my logo idea! Well, Lance’s idea, but still. I hope he won the competition. We need more musical geographers to rise through the ranks.

On that note, I’d like to welcome the new readers I’ve won from handing out my shiny new Sonic Geography business cards around the conference (all 3 of you). Seriously, though, despite the amount of sleep lost and missed work which I need to cut this short in order to resume, to borrow a line from one of my research subjects, I “couldn’t be more excited to be a part of the zeitgeist.” The fact that these were the only two photos I took all week further proves my claim.

Back to the grind… from the grind. Talk to you all soon.

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