Warning: Participants of the MLA Convention may be geeky.

Typically, any mention of the MLA drums up bad memories of high school and college research papers, but this weekend’s Modern Language Association Convention features less work, more play (especially if you’re a nerd like me). Each year, hundreds thousands of participants flock to the chosen city to attend seminars on literature, music, poetry, and education trends; it’s the Comic-Con of academia. Let me set the scene for this weekend: Grad students, professors, scholars, and well-read citizens will surge through the doors of the Washington State Convention Center. They’ll whip through their program books, furiously highlighting, circling, starring, and grinning over panels that they just can’t wait to attend. These are three of our favorites:

How Seattle Changed Comics 8:30–9:45am

The Seattle Sound: A look at Nirvana, Sleater-Kinney, Hendrix, and More 1:45–3pm

Pinter in Seattle: A Creative Conversation with Frank Corrado and Harry Burton 3:30–4:45pm

Unfortunately, you can’t just pop in. But if you’re as curious as I am about the 750-plus panels this year, buy a weekend pass (the only way tickets are available). If not, stay tuned for my summaries, reactions, and more, coming next week.

UPDATE 1/6/12. Just found out about a free event at Town Hall tied to the MLA Convention: 60 alternative writers (many who are in town for the conference) will read three-minute snippets of their work, this Saturday 7:30–9pm. Writers on the docket include: Johanna Drucker, Rachel DuPlessis, Junte Huang, Susan McCabe, Laura Moriarty, Aldon Nielsen, Evie Shockley, Vanessa Place, Rebecca Brown, and Joe Milutis. —Laura Dannen

Modern Language Association Convention
Washington State Convention Center, Jan 5–8, $205–$265, 646-576-5167, mla.org

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