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As the FWPCA/ACA celebrates its thirtieth anniversary, we celebrate the organization and its founder, Felicia Campbell, by looking at the nature of happiness, comedy, humor, and fun. Featuring a lecture, live dance performance, professional comedy/improv presentations, and other interactive multimedia elements, the Friday night keynote talk launching the thirtieth Far West conference will investigate what makes something fun(ny), turning to theory from the history of western philosophy and examples from popular culture especially over the last three decades. Our historical investigations will lead us from Aristotle’s lost book on comedy to the question of sit-coms and feminism; from Immanuel Kant’s (unsurprisingly) unfunny definition of “comedy” to the bizarre yet genius performances of Andy Kaufman that took place in the years leading up to the founding of the FWPCA. Picking up where that history leaves off in 1987, Steeves and Co. will lead their fellow conference-goers on an exploration of all things humorous—from yesterday, today, and pointing to all of the punchlines still to come.

"A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the 30th Anniversary of the FWPCA"


H. Peter Steeves Professor of Philosophy Director, The Humanities Center DePaul University with Danielle Meijer Lecturer in Philosophy, DePaul University Artistic Director, Aleph World Fusion Dance and Pete Parsons Professional improv comedian H. Peter Steeves is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Humanities Center at DePaul University where he specializes in phenomenology, ethics, and philosophy of science. His favorite joke is the one about two peanuts walking down a street at night when one was a salted. Steeves is the author of several books, including: Founding Community (Kluwer, 1998); Animal Others (SUNY, 1999); The Things Themselves (SUNY, 2006); Beautiful, Bright, and Blinding (SUNY, 2017); and the forthcoming Being and Showtime (Northwestern U P, 2018). His favorite thing to say to a group of people is, “Okay, everyone here who believes in telekinesis, raise my hand.” Steeves has published more than 130 book chapters and journal articles, has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship and NEH grants, has been a Fellow at Princeton and Stanford, and was a member of an astrobiology research group at NASA Ames. He was chosen in 2011 by Rate My Professor as one of the “Top 15 Best Professors in the United States.” His current research focuses primarily on cosmology and astrobiology—on the origin events of both the cosmos and life. And your mom. He’s also currently researching your mom.

Galactic Rangers and Domesticated Dinosaurs: A Reconsideration of the Latent Characters of Comics Auteur Jack Kirby

The co-creator of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man, X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer, and more, Jack Kirby (1917-1994) blazed a creative trail for over half a century that has no comparison, and that now dominates visual entertainment in all its forms—graphic novels, movies, TV series, video games. Let’s not overlook, though, the second- and third-tier characters Kirby created for major and indie companies. Will it be much longer before Machine Man, Etrigan the Demon, Devil Dinosaur, Kamandi, Silver Star, and Captain Victory escape the dustbin of pop-culture history? In a presentation at once humorous and informative, comics scholar and book critic Jarret Keene assembles an overview of Kirby’s quirkiest creations which, despite eschewing mainstream success up to this point, endure within the specific cosmologies of Marvel and DC, and within the larger canon. Keene argues that Kirby’s lesser characters continue to prop up—and will ultimately save—the comics industry, and that these creations are on their way to becoming tomorrow’s icons. Jarret Keene is an Assistant Professor in Residence in the English Department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he teaches creative writing and ancient literature. His fiction, essays, and verse have appeared in literary journals like New England Review, Carolina Quarterly, and the Southeast Review. He has written several books—travel guide, rock band biography, poetry collections—and edited acclaimed story anthologies like Las Vegas Noir and Dead Neon: Tales of Near-Future Las Vegas. For more than a decade, Keene was the contributing music editor at Vegas Seven magazine and a book critic at Tucson Weekly. Before becoming a college instructor, he made real money writing helicopter-maintenance manuals and casino-employee newsletters. Keene is currently working on a critical biography of comic-book legend Jack Kirby, co-creator of Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Ant-Man, X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Silver Surfer and so many more.
Jarret Keene, PhD Assistant Professor in Residence English University of Nevada, Las Vegas
HOTEL REGISTRATION Need a place to stay? The Palace Station Hotel & Casino are offering attendees reduced rates.
About us fARwEST pOPULAR cULTURE aSSOCIATION 2017-2018 Popular Culture Review
Popular Culture Review, the refereed journal of the Far West Popular and American Culture Associations, is published twice yearly by Westphalia Press.
Now in its 28th year of publication, the journal solicits articles on all areas of Popular Culture worldwide and is widely indexed. Subscriptions are included as part of membership in FWPCA/ACA.
One need not be a member to submit an article for consideration, but must join the organization on acceptance. Queries about membership and articles for consideration should be sent to felicia.campbell@unlv.edu Popular Culture Review gratefully acknowledges the contributions and support of the UNLV College of Liberal Arts and the UNLV Department of English For open access to the journal go to http://www.ipsonet.org/publications/open-access/pcr