Oliver Stone, Harry Shearer to Speak at Convention

Confab starts a day early this year, with a Wednesday-night cocktail party.

Academy Award-winning film director Oliver Stone and multi-talented funny guy Harry Shearer will speak at the AAN convention in New Orleans, to be held July 11-14 at the Ritz-Carlton in the French Quarter. Shearer will speak during the editorial awards presentation on Thursday, July 12 and Stone will keynote the First Amendment lunch the following day.

As an artist who consistently pushes the envelope of free expression, Stone is an appropriate First Amendment speaker, and Louisiana is an apt venue for his speech. Stone was sued in Louisiana state court by the family of a Ponchatoula woman who was paralyzed after being shot by a teenage couple who went on a multi-state crime rampage in March of 1995, allegedly as a result of watching Stone’s 1994 film, Natural Born Killers.

Shearer first gained national recognition as one of the creators and stars of mock-rockumentary This Is Spinal Tap. He also was a writer and cast member of Saturday Night Live for two seasons, and is now the voice of Mr. Burns, Smithers and Ned Flanders, among others, on The Simpsons. For 16 years, Shearer has hosted the nationally-syndicated public radio program Le Show, and lately he has done some reporting for Microsoft’s online magazine, Slate.

Shearer told Gambit Weekly owners and convention hosts Margo and Clancy DuBos that he is ready to do whatever is needed during the convention, so AAN members may see him registering attendees, reporting for the convention newsletter, and moderating a classifieds panel.

Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times correspondent Rick Bragg has also been confirmed as a speaker. Bragg, author of the best-selling memoir “All Over But The Shoutin'”, will address the editorial stream on Friday, July 13. A day earlier, Dr. William Boyd is scheduled to present an all-afternoon personnel management seminar for editors. Now a senior vice president at Creative Loafing Inc., Dr. Boyd formerly presented management seminars as a faculty member of the Poynter Institute.

The social programming starts a day early this year, with a cocktail party at Storyville on Wednesday, July 11. The following evening will feature a Party With Your Own Kind event, and the social schedule concludes on Friday with the Krewe of Mardi Gras Madness Ball at Mardi Gras World.

Registration materials for the convention will be mailed later this month. In the meantime, attendees can reserve rooms at the Ritz-Carlton by calling 800/241-3333. The special AAN room rate is $150, single or double.