I’ve been asked if this is a common occurrence at scientific conferences: at an Australian conference on climate change, the entertainment at a social dinner was a burlesque show. And the answer is…no. Every meeting dinner I’ve attended has had some white-maned elder statesperson of the discipline do the ‘entertainment’, which is usually thin on the bare flesh and the humor, thick with jargon and historical detail. It can be fun—I recall one talk by JZ Young that was full of squid and voltages that I really enjoyed—but I don’t think it would have been improved if he’d been up on the podium wearing nothing but balloons.
It’s an odd story. The cabaret was cut short after 10 minutes, so I think it’s clear that a significant number of attendees must have expressed their disapproval immediately, and that this was a bit beyond the pale, even for wild ol’ Australia. Some organizer somewhere made a very, very bad decision, I think.