When I learned that Couch-Stone 2014 would take place within about 60 hours between a Thursday evening and Saturday afternoon in San Marcos, Texas, my first concern was that I would have no time to indulge in the local culture in an area I’d wanted to visit for so long. Too often conferences are confined to up-tight spaces cloistered away in a sterile university conference room or corporate hotel—totally separate from the food, art, and (let’s be real) bars that characterize the social life of a city. Anyone who participated in Couch-Stone this April will testify that we experienced an amazing array of the local flavors and sounds thanks to the incredible planning of Joe Kotarba and his crew.
((Rob Gardner (guitar), Maggie Cobb (guitar), Gene Halton (harmonica) and Lori Holyfield (guitar))
Couch-Stone 2014 was a full-immersion experience: eating smoked BBQ and digging the sounds a of a live band made up of Sociologists, drinking Lone Star and listening to master-of-space-and-time Leon Russell at Gruene Hall, and being serenaded by roving tejano guitarists in the beautiful University of Texas library. Texan culture, with its vibrancy, complexity, irony, and deliciousness was the main act all weekend long. And there were papers, too.
(Gene Halton and Joe Kotarba)
Really good ones, at that… From the guys we’ve all cited like John Johnson and Rob Gardner, self-described “honorary” Interactionists like Timothy Dowd, and the new guard of music Sociologists like Maggie Cobb and Thaddeus Atzmon. Christian hip-hop, the Velvet Underground, a capella singing, porn soundtracks, Inuit folk music, jam bands, and the four lads from Liverpool all got their 15 minutes in an awesomely rich and varied set of talks across two days. As always, I left Couch-Stone excited to go home and write after listening to everyone else’s insightful projects and clever ideas.
See ya’ll at the next one. Don’t forget your rage sticks.