Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Back from New Jack

Just got back from New York yesterday. It was crazy and a lot of fun. The whole point of the thing was for Julie to promote GET WELL SOON at the weekend's NCTE (National Conference for Teachers of English) event. I was really just tagging along for the ride and to support my lil lady. Though we worked in lots of extracurricular stuff and I squeezed in a signing of the THE MOON IS LA LUNA on Sunday too.

Kicked the visit off, Friday, with a dinner with one of my best buds from college, Will, at the world famous, very touristy (and tourist-priced menu) Carnegie Deli. Heard all about Will's tales of being a NYC dog walker, his arrest (and continued legal woes) for protesting the Republican National Convention, and his captain position on his neighborhood's pool league. I love ol' Will. He's got a huge beard and a shiny bald head.

Next day, Julie had her signing that went quite well. She had a nice-sized line when she sat down! Unloaded lots of books and custom made GET WELL SOON buttons. Later that day we visited the American Folk Art Museum which was awesome. I've been drawn more and more to folk art lately since seeing the kickin collection they have at nearby Milwaukee Art Museum. It's so pure, raw, and unpretentious. I love it. Wish I owned some. Someday.

Sunday, had my signing that morn which went much better than expected (didn't know what to think, small fish in big pond and all). I met, for the first time face-to-face, Karen Walsh and Lisa DiSarro of Houghton marketing and publicity team. Real nice people. Chatted it up, signed many copies of LUNA and TOBY AND THE SNOWFLAKES (with Julie on hand, who signed her name to those TOBY's too), then headed out to the much anticipated William Steig show at The Jewish Museum. We met new friends from Booklist there, Gillian and Stephanie. Man, were we all just blown away. I've been waiting a long time to view some Steig originals and I was not disappointed. Along with drawings from my personal faves, GORKY RISES and SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE, there were his actual dummies, doodles, and stream-of-conscious drawings on hand. Not to mention the several pics of him drawing and his studio and tools and vid of him speaking and drawing (I've always wondered what he drew with--lots of things actually). What a draftsman he was! There were also these beautifully designed galleries for kids and adult interaction painted with awesome Steig-inspired murals, panels, doors, pulleys and what not (see the pic above, ripped from last week's NEW YORKER). So cool.

That eve, we went to this blowout ALAN reception, where Julie and tons of other YA authors were guests of honor. It was a regular YA superstar freakfest. Julie chatted it up with many of her idols and faves and I tried hard to hear what people were saying (I think I may have lost some hearing during my 6+ year tenure as a pressman). Afterward, we were whisked off to a tasty and extravagant Italian dinner hosted by Feiwel and Friends. Three hard-hitting reviewers/committee members were present as well as a good sampling of Feiwel and Friends peeps--author Katherine Applegate was there (Yes, Animorphs! But she has a new book with F+F, HOME OF THE BRAVE), Liz Noland and Elizabeth Fithian of marketing/publicity, Julie's and my wonderful editor Liz Szabla, Julie, me and Jean Feiwel herself. I sat between Elizabeth (who graciously endured my ramblings about graphic novels and newfound interest in YA books) and Jean (who's so freakin hilarious! Who knew?). It was too cool, hanging out with Liz, Liz, Eliz, Jean, Katherine, and Julie all night. These girls know how to party! After the feast, went back to our cheerleader-infested hotel (it's true--fresh in for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade), crashed and flew out the next morning.

Dang, good times. Slap full though. Couldn't do that every weekend. Next up, ALA Philadelphia in January. Dios Mio!

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