Au Revoir: Heading to Europe

I will be coming soon to a European city near you (that is, assuming you live near a European city). As of today, my wife, Cynthia, and I am departing on a 2 1/2 month, 20 city, 11 country, lecture tour of Western Europe. I will be speaking to academics, journalists, policy makers, industry insiders, secondary educators, and the general public at various legs of the trip, sharing my ideas about spreadable media, civic media, fan activism, transmedia, new media literacies, fan studies, and comics studies, depending on the audience, both looking backward to some of my recent research projects (including the several books which will be published over the next six months or so) and forward to my new project (especially the work I want to do on comics, media history, and material culture.) Along the way, we will see many of the great cities and monuments of both the modern and classical world, most of them for the very first time. For those who want to follow along, here’s the schedule of the stops on my tour:

ay 1: Travel to Germany

May 2: Marburg, Germany

May 3: Göttingen, Germany

May 4-6: Frankfurt, Germany

May 7: Gießen, Germany

May 8: Stuttgart, Germany

May 9-13: Lisbon, Portugal

May 14-16 London, England

May 17:Nottingham, England

May 18: Sunderland, England

May 19: London, England

May 20-21: Dublin, Ireland

May 22-26: Paris, France

May 27-30: Madrid, Spain

May 31-June 2: Barcelona, Spain

June 3-7: Milan, Italy

June 8-10: Venice, Italy

June 11-12: Zurich, Switzerland

June 13:-16 Delmenhorst, Germany

June 17-19: Prague, Czech Republic

June 20-21: Budapest, Hungry

June 22-30:Bologna, Italy

July 1-11–vacationing in Rome, Italy; Athens, Greece; and Kea Islands,Greece

July 11: Travel Back to U.S.

People are asking what will be my home base. Home bases are for wimps. We are living out of our suit cases, moving city to city, and not looking back. Thanks to the enormous help of the ever remarkable Amanda Ford in pulling together this trip for me and for all of my many hosts along the way who have been so welcoming to this American visitor.

While I am in Europe, my blog is going to go dark. They are going to be doing some work on the back-end and I did not want the responsibility of maintaining it while facing the inconsistencies of maintaining digital access while visiting so many different cities in so many different countries. So, you will have to get along without me for a bit, but know that there will be many good things coming when I get back — including some recounting of the various sites I saw and hopefully interviews with some of the people I met.

On my way out the door, I thought I would leave you with a few goodies to remind you of me while I was away.

First, this is a video blog created by Lauren Bird from the Harry Potter Alliance in which she offers a very nuanced summary of my ideas about the relationship between folk, mass, digital, and participatory culture. I’ve become a big fan of Lauren’s videos over the past few months, so I was most flattered that she decided to share this account of my work.

A few months ago, I was asked to perform in a USC Student Thesis Film (directed by Nicholas Musurca) which dealt with the career of an imaginary Korean filmmaker. I was delighted when they asked me to play the part of film scholar and critic, David Bordwell. As it happens, I know David very well: he was my dissertation advisor and we’ve remained good friends ever since. Besides, there’s some degree of physical resemblance between us. They’ve launched a preview for the film through Kickstarter which includes a snippet from my cameo performance, and I thought I would share with those of you who will appreciate the inside jokes here.

Finally, I wanted to share with you an animated short that was made to explain my ideas about media convergence. I have to say that I responded to this video with some degree of bemusement or sadness. It seems my avatar has been putting on too many pounds since my move to USC and now he has to carry around all of that weight with him.

This is how my avatar looked when I was at MIT, partying up with the young folks at Global Kids, and looking pretty lean and spry. I joked at the time that Second Life takes 20 pounds and several decades off you.

And here is how my Avatar looks now, hanging out in bars, eating stuff that is not good for him. This is a real wake-up call and when I get back from Europe, I am going to put that porker on a diet!