Herewith the first in what probably will be a (disjointed) series of posts on the 2008 SAA Annual Meeting:

In spite of the early time slot, a capacity crowd filled the recently-relocated reading room of the library at San Francisco’s Museum of Performance & Design. Following the arrival of the contingent ferried over from the Hilton by co-chairs Susan Brady and Adriana Cuervo, paper ballots were distributed for the election of the two open positions on the Performing Arts Roundtable – co-chair and steering committee member (1-year term). More about the results of the election in a separate post (I’m trying to recreate the suspense here). After introductions were made and announcements given by the representative for SAA’s 2009 Program Committee and our Council Liaison, Susan solicited input and ideas from those gathered for future Roundtable projects. As noted in the last issue of the newsletter, Susan is very interested in working on an initiative in which the Roundtable would coordinate an effort to identify and contribute form and genre terms for materials documenting costume, lighting, and scenic design (most likely to the Art & Architecture Thesaurus). If you are interested in participating, please contact Susan directly.

Session proposals for next’s year’s conference were briefly discussed. Susan mentioned that she already has had preliminary conversations with Helen Adair, Associate Curator of the Performing Arts at the Harry Ransom Center, UT Austin about some possibilities. With the extra-early October 8 deadline looming, your ideas for proposals for Roundtable-sponsored programs or requests for PAR endorsement of sessions from other groups are actively sought. Read the formal call for session proposals here. Look for more discussion via the listserv (and possibly this blog) on this topic in the coming weeks. As always, feel free to contact anyone in a PAR leadership role directly with your suggestions or concerns. The business segment of the meeting came to a close as those PAR members in attendance were given time to fill out their ballots, which then were collected to be tallied.

The program portion of the meeting began with a presentation by our generous host, Kirsten Tanaka, Head Librarian / Archivist of the Museum of Performance & Design. Kirsten provided us with an informative history of the development of the museum — which has involved many shifts in location, name, and mission over the years — and its current plans for the future. Also on the bill was Joe Evans, archivist of the San Francisco Symphony, who shared with us the special challenges of setting up a brand new archives program. Records formerly held by the Museum of Performance & Design were transferred back to the Symphony recently and Joe has been hard at work trying to collect other relevant materials. At this stage, the collection better documents special events and educational programs of the Symphony, rather than its performances. Still without an actual facility, Joe came up with a uniquely Californian solution to his storage situation — records are being kept temporarily in wine storage vaults!

Following the talks, Kirsten led a tour through the museum galleries, which also included a sampling of treasures specially selected for our group, which fellow librarian, Samantha Cairo-Toby, had guarded assiduously during our meeting. The special exhibition that was running at the time, Art & Artifice: 75 Years of Design at San Francisco Ballet (which may get its own post) also was available for viewing.

Many thanks must go to our hosts and presenters, as well as to our organizers, for this wonderful opportunity to have our meeting in one of the premier performing arts collections in this country.