We walked into a room from the seventies. The walls were covered with neon panels, accented by Christmas lights and hippie-style flower cutouts. For all its cheesiness, though, the room was vibrating with energy. People were being ushered to their seats by a swarm of red-coated assistants. The camera crew was hurrying into place. Several interns, distinguishable by their youth and general fluster, were running back and forth across the stage. Then, as if to complement this picture, a man in a deep purple, velour blazer came out on stage to greet us.