The annual United States Institute of Theatre Technology (USITT) conference was in Kansas City over the past five days or so. This was my third conference, and I had a terrific time. I flew in on Tuesday night, getting to the hotel shortly before midnight. On Wednesday morning, I had breakfast with Chris and Dianne, my in-laws. They took me to a great locavore restaurant, and we had a nice visit.
Then, the debauchery began.
USITT subdivides itself into smaller topical commissions. There is a lighting commission, a safety commission, a rigging commission, and naturally, a safety commission. Each commission programs a series of meeting sessions (panel discussions, roundtables, product demos, etc.), and conference attendees are free to go to any session at any time. There's also a large showroom floor, where companies and schools set up displays and talk to potential customers and students. Naturally, I spend most of my time with the sound session.
Days were spent in sessions. John Leonard, a sound designer from the UK, talked to us about his career. Students presented portfolios. Drew Dalzell out of LA chaired a whole day on live v. recorded sound effects. Brad Berridge from MA organized a session on sound for dance. Nights were spent eating well and drinking well. We spent a good bit of time in The Drum Room, a historic bar in the Hilton President. We also closed down a bar called Quaff a couple of nights in a row.
Brad and his pal Jeff (who was a classmate of mine in undergrad) maintained a blog for LiveDesign Magazine. There's video, photos, and not too much text. One of the highlights for Brad and I was the sound playback party, where sound designers can make a short presentation of a recent project, as a way to cross pollenate and show off a little bit. Brad and I had been playing with our iphones earlier in the session, and we decided to do a little impromptu iphone symphony. You can check it out here:
All in all, a tremendous trip! Next year: Charlotte! See you then!