Tag Archives: CAA

Temple of Gloom

Drawing of the Temple of Dendur in its original location by Henry Salt (1780–1827). The drawing was made by Salt during an expedition to southern Egypt and northern Sudan in 1819. The digital version of the drawing is taken from the web site http://www.ancient-egypt.co.uk, created and maintained by Simon Hayter, and is copyright free.

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Last night, shortly after the disappointment of Mubarak’s speech and many hours before today’s extraordinary news, Egypt’s pro-democracy protesters steeled themselves yet again in preparation for uncharted waters. I managed to tear myself away from my Eyptophile twitter stream and hop on the 6 train to the Upper East Side in order to attend CAA’s centennial gala party. Egypt was all that was in my mind. I was not in a party mood.

Inadvertently, the CAA gala, held at the Met’s ubiquitous party venue, The Temple of Dendur, added its own incongruous layer of dowdiness, grandeur and gloom. I guess the main problem was that aside from the full bar and a few bowls of nuts, there was absolutely no food. Not a shred. So for $35, exhausted and hungry scholars were permitted to stand around a crowded ruin and drink, until they were summarily dismissed at 9pm.

We New Yorkers know that the Upper East Side is not a particularly hospitable part of town in which to find oneself exhausted and hungry — not to mention tipsy — especially in the late evening. As we shoved off into the freezing night, pal and fellow blogger Charlotte Frost mentioned she hadn’t eaten since noon. Happily, I know the UES well enough, so I steered us to a favorite joint for nosh on Lexington where we supped on matzo ball soup cheek by jowl with local cab drivers:

Pastrami Queen:

Before leaving I did manage to take a few pictures. I was particularly intrigued by CAA members’ widely varying tastes in footwear:

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Hashtag #CAA

I got to the Hilton late and in a bit of a funk Wednesday morning while waiting for my favorite fool-proof blend of French roast Italian espresso to hit the brain.  Just inside the door, about to climb onto the north escalator, I immediately bumped into a friend – we hugged, and I went on; once at the top of the escalator I bumped into another friend, this time ready for a brief conversation (caffeine infusing). Ten minutes later I bumped into yet another friend with whom I had some serious catching up to do. As we stood talking in the middle of the thoroughfare that is the Hilton’s 2nd floor lobby, we each caught the eye of other friends who then stopped to chat. Two of us, ostensibly strangers, suddenly remembered we’d had dinner together with some people about six years ago during the CAA conference in Atlanta – pleasant memory: much expensive wine had been imbibed that evening.

And so, in the twenty minutes or so that passed, two people chatting had fluctuated and morphed into various groups of three, four, then five, finally breaking off into twos before dispersing altogether. Temporary plans were done and undone, panel sessions suggested, meetings complained about, lunch plans cemented.

As I left, heading for the panel session I felt would be the perfect ice-breaker for the conference, I squeezed off a tweet – something about this conference blog with a link and the hashtag #CAA or #CAA2011. I thought about how twitter, more often than not, facilitates the online expression of what just happened in the Hilton lobby: people coming together, some strangers, some friends, exchanging information and leaving a trail of breadcrumbs: phone numbers, URLS, hugs. So here is a widget of all things #CAA. Please feel free to tag your own tweets as such where applicable, and thus contribute to this casual, ever-fluctuating group of acquaintances and friends.

Posted in CAA, Twitter | Tagged , | 2 Comments