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Objectivist Conference (OCON) 2010

In anticipation of this summer’s Objectivist Conference (OCON) in Las Vegas, I talked with Marc Petock of Richmond, Virginia-based Tridium about OCON’s venue, the upscale Red Rock Resort. Marc was moderator at Tridium’s annual Niagara Summit, which was held at the Red Rock a couple of weeks ago. He described the property’s conference capacity as absolutely outstanding in every way. The Niagara Summit had registered 725 attendees, according to Petock, but unexpectedly had to accommodate another 200 enrolled guests and he said that while the resort couldn’t get everyone a room at the Red Rock, the staff were exceptional in meeting the increased staffing, dining and service demands. He also told me that wifi capability (free to guests) is reliable, the breakfast bagels are fresh, and he highly recommends the Red Rock’s food court, dubbed the Feast Buffet, which includes pizza, sushi, Chinese, Mexican, and Italian cuisines. Marc said that, while conference guests did report sluggish service at the coffee shop, the overall experience was good enough that Tridium is seriously considering a return engagement for next year’s Niagara Summit. More on OCON 2010 here and my comments on OCON 2008 in Newport Beach, California, are posted here.

Robert Mayhew Interviewed

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Robert Mayhew, a philosophy professor and prolific editor and author, about Ayn Rand’s first novel, We the Living (1936). He discusses the book, its urgently relevant theme of the individual versus the state, the movie version, and his thoroughly engaging Essays on Ayn Rand’s We the Living. This is the first of three exclusive interviews about this classic work of literature planned for publication on the site. I aim to post interviews with Ayn Rand Institute archives manager Jeff Britting, who wrote an Ayn Rand biography and co-produced the Oscar-nominated 1990s documentary, Ayn Rand: A Sense of Life, and Duncan Scott, who co-produced the restored film adaptation of We the Living, made in Italy in 1942 and reconstructed with Ayn Rand’s cooperation.

Read the interview with Dr. Mayhew here.

Fall 2009: Peikoff, OCON and Ayn Rand

This fall, I am working on projects and studying Objectivism, and reading new biographies of its creator, Ayn Rand. My review of Yale University Press’ Fred Astaire by Joseph Epstein is available for purchase in the fall edition of a print publication. The foremost expert on Objectivism, Leonard Peikoff, will deliver a 6-part lecture course at the 2010 Objectivist Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, the Ayn Rand Institute (ARI) reports. Dr. Peikoff’s forthcoming book, The DIM Hypothesis, in which he presents a new philosophical theory, will be the basis for the course. For more information about this exciting news, read the announcement in ARI’s latest Impact, which is packed with interesting information (incidentally, my movie review of the pirated, 1942 Italian film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s We the Living is published in the electronic edition, with a brief history of the motion picture). The review is one of a series of articles for this site; others include this op-ed about the 1936 novel. I’m planning to post new, exclusive interviews about We the Living, about both the book and the movie, in the future.

Books: ‘Nothing Less Than Victory’

With diabolical new plots to attack America by Islamic terrorists and Iran continuing to threaten the West with nuclear destruction, Professor John Lewis makes the urgent case for “offensive actions in pursuit of peace” in Nothing Less Than Victory: Decisive Wars and the Lessons of History, due to be published by Princeton University Press next year. Dr. Lewis, a friend and teacher whose military and ancient history courses are superb, promises on his Web site that Nothing Less Than Victoryshows that a war’s endurance rests in each side’s reasoning, moral purpose, and commitment to fight, and why an effectively aimed, well-planned, and quickly executed offense can end a conflict and create the conditions needed for long-term peace.” Dr. Lewis, whom I once interviewed for an article series about Alexander the Great, is both extremely passionate and knowledgeable, a rare and welcome combination among today’s intellectuals. His new book deserves serious attention.

New on DVD: ‘We the Living’

We the LivingAs I reported in May, a film adaptation of Ayn Rand’s 1936 novel We the Living, is available on DVD. It is also on sale through the production company.

The 1942 motion picture was recut from a pirated Italian adaptation and released in fascist Italy and Europe as two separate pictures. I’m planning an interview series about Ayn Rand’s breathtaking literary achievement and the outstanding movie version, which was theatrically released in 1988, for publication on the site.

While the film is also excellent, there is no substitute for the superior experience of reading We the Living, which was recently reprinted with an urgently relevant introduction by Leonard Peikoff, in this new trade paperback edition.