Above is the first podcast of Nicole Sandler's radio show from NN13. I'm in it a little at the beginning, but check out her interviews with Christine Pelosi, Markos Moulitsas, Julianna Forlano, Matthew Filipowicz and others on the same video.
Here is the second one she did with Congressman Alan Grayson, NJ gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono, Peter B. Collins, Brad Friedman, Joel Silberman, and more:
I've wanted to go to Netroots Nations for years but was unable to... until this year, because it was in San Jose, only a few hours away by car. So Mr. Laffy and I made the drive and, despite feeling very intimidated at the thought of meeting so many accomplished, knowledgeable, notable Progressives, I jumped headlong into a sea of like-minded liberals at a convention center the size of Wyoming.
GOD that place was huge. And just making my way from one room to another, or even across enormous rooms like the "Town Square" (the room filled with booths manned by organization members, radio hosts, etc.) was exhausting. It was a little like going back to UCLA where one class would end and I'd have 10 minutes to schlep across campus to the next one. So, physically, it was demanding.
Emotionally, it was surprisingly rewarding. I expected to feel like the odd person out, knowing how cliquish these events can be, and this one was no exception. However, despite the familiarity among the various groups, it wasn't all that difficult to make my way in, introduce myself, and I invariably got a warm response in return. Not always a lengthy one, but most often a "Oh I know you! Hi!" kind of response.
Note: I was consistently surprised by that response. I had no idea that people like Rep. Keith Ellison (!) would know who the heck I was. Nor did I expect that some of the more recognizable participants would take the time to chat. Most of the time when you meet a well-known personality, they give you an obligatory hello and phony smile, and then on to the next person. But Rep. Ellison, Howard Dean (I tell that story in the video above), Barney Frank, Christine Pelosi, Chris Christie opponent Barbara Buono, Rep. Mike Honda, Rep. Barbara Lee, Daily Kos's Markos Moulitsas, and so many others stopped, chatted, asked questions back, and didn't act as if they had something better to do.
Sad to say, many of us aren't used to that kind of reciprocity, meaning--yay!-- at Netroots, actual conversation (or at least short chats) is the norm, not the exception. I got to reunite with old pals like Cliff Schecter and Lizz Winstead, and I was finally able to meet and chat with Ari Berman (so nice, so brilliant), Jacki Schechner (of Current TV and the Stephanie Miller Show... a doll!), Sally Kohn (with whom I've had phone chats, but this was so much better... lerve!), Shannyn Moore (we've also spoken on the phone, it was so good to meet, hug, talk face to face!), Tina DuPuy (a riot!); my fellow bloggers (Brad Friedman, an absolute hoot and sharp as a tack, and Hullabaloo's amazing Digby, immediately likable... to name two); and tweeters whose Twitter names and avatars finally morphed into three-dimensional human beings (talkin' to you @WillDurst, @ZerlinaMaxwell, and @AndyCobb); plus so many other amazing, accomplished types (Sam Seder and Elon James White come to mind), and that is what made the trip worthwhile. I'm sure I'm forgetting some of those I met; I'll add them in as my sieve-brain kicks in.
It was also a thrill to see Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Sandra Fluke, Barney Frank, Howard Dean, Rep. Mike Honda, and so many others speak live and in person. It makes a difference, as opposed to seeing them on the Tee Vee Machine.
A huge thank you goes to Nicole Sandler for taking me under her wing and making a point of introducing me to people I never would have met had it not been for her. She's a blast to hang out with and a good friend with a ton of moxie. And yes, I just wanted to use the word "moxie."
The panels were informative and fascinating, the entire experience was a positive one, but boy am I pooped!
And I am no longer a NN virgin.
Here are a few photos:
I cracked Howard Dean up by telling him how often I post this photo at TPC (the rest is explained in the video):
Christine Pelosi (right) made a point of recommending my work to Rep. Barbara Lee. I was floored, no kidding.
Right after this interview I had a few minutes with Rep. Mike Honda. What a genuinely nice man he is.
Nicole Sandler, Sam Seder (seated at table upper left), Tina DuPuy, Markos, Digby on Radio Row
Barney Frank. What. A. Thrill! 'Nuff said.
I love Rep. Keith Ellison. Personable, smart, Progressive, and sweet as can be. No B.S. and plenty of heart.
Christine Pelosi and Rep. Mike Honda were a joy, and yes, I hugged them both.