Sunday, October 2, 2011

Who Moved My Chi?

Think Paul Ruebens, Mr. Bean, Garrison Keillor and perhaps a bit of George Burns rolled up in one. Perhaps you might then have a picture of comedian Brian Longwell who presented a rip-roaring, albiet irreverent, routine on a drizzly, foggy, freezing afternoon at NELA. If you came for cute references to libraries, this was not the place! If you came for polite language it was not the place either.

No yawns here though. Mr. Longwell used the unlikely tools (technology?) of and overhead projector and transparencies. Imagine if you will.

The conference program "Books I Never Returned" (a lighter side of libraries) was NOT what Brian Longwell presented but it was funny nonetheless. A few references to the profession were made but they were few and far between. Instead, Longwell surveyed the spotty crowd (well, about 1/5 full with a huge emptiness near the center) and asked "Is there an open bar somewhere in the building?" We were laughing within the first few minutes, though, when one of his only references to librarians was "I don't have to ask you to turn off your cell phones while I'm in the company of THIS profession!"

He looked like Mr. Bean, his timing was reminiscient of Burns, his inflections sometimes a bit Keillorish and his expressions more like Paul Ruebens (Pee Wee Herman.) His presentation included hand-drawn graphs, rough sketches, overlays and explanations all on those silly transparencies. But it worked. We ended on "Who moved my Chi?" and laughed our ways out of the room.

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