Wednesday, May 25, 2011
BEA: Day 2
Let's see, I started the day at around 6:30am, so that I could get over to the Javits Center for my 8:00AM author breakfast, which featured Diane Keaton, Jeffrey Eugenides, and Charlaine Harris, and which was hosted by Mindy Kaling from "The Office." I was primarily there to see Eugenides, and happily he spoke the longest and was by far the most interesting. And I think I've got the whole thing on video. Diane Keaton was predictably entertaining and did a fabulous reading from her forthcoming memoir, complete with emotional breakdown and tears. Authentic? The breakfast was well worth attending, despite the early hour--though I've never been to one of these breakfasts that wasn't. There was one disappointment, however. One of the big benefits of plonking down extra cash for the breakfasts is that you usually get copies of the speakers' and host's books. Today, the only book they had available on tables and seats was Charlaine Harris's latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, which is of less than no interest to me. (However, I suspect that it would be of great interest to some of you, so I grabbed a stack for my house, ha ha. Book group and blog giveaways are forthcoming, and if you're one of my RL friends, just let me know if you want a copy. Friendship has benefits. And so does reading my blog, apparently.) Oh, they also had blads of Mindy Kaling's forthcoming book. Apparently Mr. Eugenides was making changes to his novel as recently as... yesterday. He says he's done now, but no galleys for a while, I guess. Fingers crossed for better luck tomorrow.
Another benefit of getting to the hall early is the opportunity to pick up tickets to signings that require them, but I mostly struck out. However, I ran into Heather Graham's husband, Dennis, today (I saw Heather yesterday.) and he did me a good turn. He was like, "Do you want a ticket to the Dave Barry/Ridley Pearson signing?" Oh hell, yes! Not only did I get a signed galley of their really delightful-sounding forthcoming YA novel, the two of them yucked it up on video. They're reliably fun. Thanks, Dennis, you rock! Saw lots of other lovely friends today, including the awesome Laura Caldwell, Rick Mofina, M.J. Rose, and Joshua Corrin. Josh and I were reminiscing about our MWA dinner at the Tonga Room during Bouchercon last October, and what a great time was had by all. What's especially nice is that all of us will be together again in six weeks for Thrillerfest.
Highlights today included lovely chats with Alice Hoffman and Luis Alberto Urrea, who joked about (former San Francisco mayor) Gavin Newsom with me. I got signed galleys from both, and I'm especially excited about reading more Hoffman, as I loved The Red Garden. This is a period drama, and looks very different from that one. The truth of the matter is that I don't remember much about most of the books I acquired today. I was grabbing and stashing today, and spent much less time in lines, and more time walking the show floor.
Another BEA observation that many have commented on: There seem to be a lot of librarians attending this year. Is it just that there are fewer booksellers? Anyway, it was a shorter day for me. I played hooky and snuck out early; I had a date with Chris Rock. One more note: I'm buying stock in Dr. Scholl's. It's a miracle product!
Theater Postscript: Yes, my date with Chris Rock was to see the matinee of Motherf**ker With the Hat. Now, among those who know me well--or superficially, for that matter--I have a reputation for being foul-mouthed. I can only wish to be as creative with my obscenity as the cast of this show. I was amazed how profane and yet brilliant the language was! I seriously loved this play, and as brilliant as the performances of the cast of five were, for me it really was about the script. It was a perfect blend of comedy, tragedy, and high drama. The cast really was wonderful, and I believe that three of the five actors are Tony-nominated. Rock was not nominated for this debut performance, but I thought he was strong. It's also worth noting the amazing set and design work. Set changes were a delight to watch. And this show got the standing ovation.
Following the mat., I had the time to sit down for my first real meal all week. It was nice. To sit. And to eat. After which, I went to the theater right across 45th Street from the one I was at in the afternoon. There, I saw Jerusalem, which has been one of the most highly praised productions of the season. I can see why. Mark Rylance is brilliant, and given that he's nominated for the best actor Tony for two separate plays this year, I have to assume he's a shoo-in, and for this play specifically. I don't even know what else to say about this production, other than go see it if you have the chance. Big standing O, and not even three curtain calls would quiet the audience down.