AAN 2012 Convention: ‘Fight and Lose Repeatedly Until You Win’

DETROIT – The first night of the 35th annual AAN Convention had all the hallmarks of The Hangover film: drinking, debauchery and obscure celebrity cameos:

While day one was like The Hangover, day two seemed to have a lot of them:

However, whatever discomfort felt was soon alleviated by the sheer awesomeness of the day’s opening speakers, NPR’s Matt Thompson and Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs:

Another notable speaker was Detroit-based First Amendment lawyer Herschel Fink, who addressed attendees of the Free Speech Lunch.

Fink, who has defended a literal who’s who of famous and infamous clients, such as director Michael Moore and rapper Dr. Dre—who encouraged Fink to win his case by saying, “Dre’s paid you a fuckin’ million dollars, so you better fucking win it!—said he is more proud of his work involving freedom of information litigation.

Fink said he has a “great and serious” concern for the future of the country as a democracy because of the dwindling financial resources available to news organizations to legally fight toward transparency.

He encouraged news organizations to find funds–by pooling resources with others, for example–and challenge lawmakers and officials as often as possible to serve readers.

“Our purpose is to inform,” he said. “That’s what the constitution demands of us.”

Convention attendees were also treated with a general session featuring former MC5 guitarist and activist Wayne Kramer, who encouraged alts to start a conversation on prison reform in the U.S. where, among other things, prisoners receive time “like it’s lunch.”

And finally, the results of the 2011 Altweekly Awards were announced to much fanfare:

And snark:

A complete gallery of winners can be found on our Facebook page. For convention updates, follow the #AAN2012 hashtag on Twitter.