Yes, folks, it’s just about that time again. Time for my favorite skeptic gathering, JREF’s annual The Amazing Meeting, aka, TAM! Are you coming?
I sure hope you are! I’ve spoken or performed at every TAM save one, and I was the first person who ever got on stage and said, “Welcome to our very first The Amazing Meeting!” back in 2003. TAM is many things: it’s educational, provocative, entertaining, and sociable. With well over a thousand attendees, every year we get a healthy mix of veteran TAMers and welcome newcomers, and a TAM doesn’t go by that people don’t make great and lasting friendships – folks who reunite every year, and who continue to engage and enlarge their skeptical social circles through local activism and other regional and national gatherings. Scientific skepticism is indeed a social movement, and that fact, and its ever-growing success, is joyfully reflected in the enthusiasm we see reflected every year in the TAM culture of speakers and attendees alike.
We work hard to bring the audience an intriguing variety of presentations, including no less than ten innovative new workshops on Thursday; a substantive, jam-packed program of speakers on Friday and Saturday, the presentation of original papers on Sunday, all capped off with a closing Sunday night Million Dollar Challenge event (which many people last year declared a highlight of the conference!). This year’s speaker list is packed with accomplished and informative presenters, with our usual mix of a few popular repeaters (always with new presentations of course) along with plenty of new faces. I’m looking forward to (for just a handful of examples) our keynote speaker, noted author, journalist, and freethinker Susan Jacoby; a talk by my longtime friend and colleague, mentalist Max Maven, who has performed previously at TAM; evolutionist Jerry Coyne’s first time on TAM’s stage; David Gorski, who blogs at Science-Based Medicine; and psychologist, sexologist, and author Marty Klein, who is talking about “junk science, moral panics, and sex.”
Still haven’t got your attention? What about full Las Vegas nights of special social events, parties and shows? There’s “Drinking Skeptically” on Wednesday in the ever popular Delmar Lounge, where attendees and speakers routinely share cocktails and conversation; Thursday night’s brand new “”What They Don’t Want You To Know” show featuring Bryan & Baxter with a guest appearance from Banachek; Friday night’s “Satiristas” stand-up comedy show, a huge hit last year, hosted by Paul Provenza and featuring special guest, Father Guido Sarducci; followed by a now annual favorite, “Penn Jillette’s Rock & Roll, Donuts & Bacon Party”; Saturday night’s
“Magic, Mayhem & Mentalism” show, produced by yours truly, featuring and array of amazing performers including King of the Coney Island Sideshow, Todd Robbins; and then late Saturday night, our second annual Skeptics Poker Tournament, featuring Joshie Berger, who will also be presenting his talk on poker strategy, which helped a beginning player end up being our first poker champion last year!
As for me, besides my new talk, “Credit the Con Man,” and my annual onstage conversation with James Randi, I’ll be contributing to two onstage panel discussions, performing a guest spot in Saturday night’s “Magic, Mayhem & Mentalism” show, and probably player poker again if I can stay awake! And I will also be on stage for the Sunday night Million Dollar Challenge program! I hope to see you at all those events, and in between – at the shows, the parties, the meals, the Delmar Lounge – make sure you come up and say Hi!
Want more information? There’s plenty to be had right here. Take a closer look at the complete speakers list and the full schedule. Then, if you haven’t done so already, register! Come to Vegas and have the most skeptically fun time you’ll ever have or imagine! See you in Vegas!
Jamy Ian Swiss is Senior Fellow at the JREF. He blogs regularly at randi.org.