Monday, July 12, 2010

National Stuttering Association Annual Conference: Part I

This marks the fourth year we have attended the National Stuttering Association's Annual Conference. My daughter started stuttering as soon as she started talking. Pediatricians and other specialists told us to relax, that she would grow out of it. Then they told us to lighten up, we were stressing her out. Then they told us to talk slowly (we're from Philadelphia - it's not happening). In our search for proper answers, we found the National Stuttering Association and it changed our lives, especially Li'l Fish.

This year, the conference was in Cleveland. Yes, Cleveland. I know, I thought the same thing, too. I mean, LeBron couldn't make it fun with $100 million dollars (We were in the city when he made his announcement. I thought they were going to burn the city down, but I think Clevelanders have pretty much resigned themselves to being the ones who get sooooo close they can taste excellence, only too get punched in the gut, doubled over and pounded into the mud. I think they knew LeBron was leaving before he did, because they have learned that disappoint follows Cleveland the way night follows day.) That being said, the city itself was a blast! It was far more fun than I thought it would be, and I was especially struck by the incredible friendliness of the people who live there. The restuarants where we ate were very good as well, with a big cheer for Chinato.

We did the obligatory tour of the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. I was prepared for a Hard Rock Cafe style of outlay and was completely blown away. The early years, showcasing how rock came from the blues and gospel and early country music was fascinating. Other highlights included the history of Austin City Limits; a Bruce Springsteen exhibit featuring his notebooks, interviews on his creative process and the Corvette he bought when he finally hit it big; there was a section on how different regions influenced and were influenced by the artists who played there (Liverpool in the Beatles era, Seattle and grunge, London and New York for punk). There were the costumes of Hendrix, Stevie Nicks, and of course, The King. The Pink Floyd exhibit was awesome as well, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND the 3-D U2 show...except for the conversations before the show. This really happened:
Guy 1: Oh, this is 3-D?
Guy 2: Yeah.
Guy 1: I didn't know this was going to be 3-D
Guy 2: You mean, "U2 3D" didn't give it away?
Guy 1: What?
Movie, mercifully, begins.

As a history teacher, I always thought of history in terms of conflict, with those eras and epochs determined by shifts in power, by victories and defeats. The Hall opened me to a new idea, that history could be defined and delineated by music. I like a museum that can challenge one's perceoption of how we view something, especially oof how we define ourselves. The Hall did that foor me, and such, is a must-see highlight of Cleveland. Spend a day there.

But the real highlight for me was, of course, the Conference itself.

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