Monday, September 26, 2005

My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard...

Happy coincidences will bring the coolest shit your way.

I was at my friend Brent's house Saturday night, and he played me a bit of a show he had TiVo'd a week ago, wanting to know what I thought of a specific musical number. All of the show was incredible, and what was killed me is that it aired on Bravo and I had never seen it.

It was The Dan Band: I am Woman. This is a concert by Dan Finnerty and two male backup singers. They sing nothing but songs by strong women, changing none of the pronouns. This guy is so totally straight, it works. It is very funny, as they do crazy choreography and medleys no one would ever think of.

Sunday, I went out and found the live cd.

It opens with 'Free Your Mind/I Am Woman', and you know you are in for a ride. He does not really play for laughs, which makes it funny, but also underlines the fact he is paying tribute to women.

The journey goes into an ABBA medley, a Christina/Britney/TLC medley, and on and on. You find yourself wanting to dance and sing along. He has fun up on the stage, and it translates well to the songs and performance.
Midway through the show, he begins 'Call Tyrone' which is funny, but it segues into 'No More Drama' which gets powerful and serious. If he did it on accident, it was incredible, if he did it on purpose, it was brilliant. The man has a set of pipes on him. It is what makes him more than a novelty act.

I took the cd into the office today to show Brent. By the end of the day, everyone wanted to borrow it and it was all anyone could talk about. That in itself says alot.

Check him out!

The Dan Band

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Blue Writing, Part II

It's no Big secret that I am a fan of Sex and the City, or that Carrie Bradshaw is a role model of mine. I am not vain enough to think that I am like her, but the arcs of some of the stories do parallel some of my life. I am sure I am not the only one. But when you identify so closely with what is going on, it is kind of spooky and reassuring at the same time.
One nice thing is that Carrie can usually pull me out of a writing funk. I can watch an episode and it will send me right to my laptop. I just finished watching Episode 5 of the 5th season where Carrie has the launch party for her book. At the very end, she gets into her limo, and the driver is so excited about Carrie's book that it reminds Carrie that getting a book published is no small feat.
I guess I needed that to remind me of what I have accomplished in the last year. I have a book review column that is published in my hometown newspaper, and I get to travel around and meet up and coming authors, as well as people already respected in the literary field. Everyone has bad days at work, you just have to make sure you use the memory of how good the good days are to reinvigorate yourself.
I love my job, I really do. I think it's just harder because I am alone here and don't get to really share it with Tom, yet. I am so ready for him to be here, and there are days I think it is never gonna happen.
Funny, just the other day I was commenting on how I don't write when I am in a funk, but there was Carrie, ready to drag the words out of me...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Writing the blues

Most great writers and songwriters turn to writing as a source of comfort when they are sad or going through great tragedy. It's how so much of our great art has been created.
I, on the other hand, never feel the urge to write when I am down or upset.
That, my dears, is why you have not seen a post in two weeks.
I am doing well, I just have so much going on, I get stressed and don't want to do anything, least of all write.
Today, I am forcing myself to in the hopes it will bring me some comfort and distraction from everything else.
And with that sentence, I have no where else to go. Everytime I hit a period, I stop and stare at the screen, not knowing what to write next.
I guess I could talk a bit about the Rita, since I am in Texas. Houston is so far away, I might as well be in another state. Not that it doesn't affect me, it does. I just don't see the immediate effects like people in South Texas are right now.
That was quick. Now I am stumped again.
We'll try again later.
(Obviously, the won't be on one of those retrospective clip episodes)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Things that happen to you in Portland

I must tell you about the author dinner. It was great fun. It was like speed dating for the literary set. Each author would stop by your table for 20 minutes, then a bell would ring and you would get another author. Some of the authors were not that impressive, but we did meet HW Brands, author of Lone Star Nation, and the very handsome and affable Michael Collins. He's Irish, and has the sexiest voice. Got my picture with him and got his email, under the guise of getting him booked for a tour (which of course I would love to do, so I could be his chaperone).
Cody and I went for drinks after the dinner, and found this really cool place, that was comfortable for both of us. Club Aura had a velvet rope and a guy with a clipboard, so I knew this was a place I would love, it also had very pretty women, so Cody was happy also. Very modern and chic. They also make great cosmos. I was soo pretentious, but I was an out of towner, so it's allowed.

I have begun to notice a few things about the Northwest. Once you are here a few days, rules and observations make themselves known:
1. You listen exclusively to Alternative music, and you like it. Portland has a great alternative station we listen to in the car. I have not listened to Stevie or a cast album since I got here. (although I did buy two vinyl Nicks' albums at a record store)
2. You begin to realize how detrimental Metrosexuality is. Everyone in Portland looks gay. If you cruise a guy, his girlfriend is likely to throw daggers your way. Lesbians are another story. Although short hair seems to be the norm, they are way prettier than the cowgirls we have in Texas.
3. They are very fond of the one way street and the buses only, no turns of any kind on any major road. It makes navigation tough. I let Cody do most of the driving for this reason.

The greatest thing happened at the end of the day yesterday. The Lion King opened Friday for a two month engagement. Last night I decided to try and go. I didn't have my heart set on it, so if I couldn't get a good ticket, I would just go to dinner. I drove down to the venue with 15 minutes to spare and ended up dead center 4th row.
It was incredible. I know many theatre snobs tend to dis the presence of Disney on the Great White Way, but the staging was so imaginative. I cried like a little girl during Circle of Life.

This is it from Portland, I have a plane to catch. See you again from the Lone Star State!

Friday, September 09, 2005

Are you hip enough?

Well, we are in the middle of the day here, and I thought I would catch you up on my morning. The show went well. We made contact with many publishers. Most of them were eager to get our business. Everyone was giving away lots of books. I kept filling bag after bag, until it hit me that I would have to get them home somehow. I decided to ship them to myself or buy another suitcase, and kept grabbing the freebies. As we walked the floor, I kept noticing this very handsome, shaggy haired boy, who looked so out of place amongst us bibliophiles. About an hour later, Cody looked at me and asked if I wanted his book, I looked around, and there was Mr. Shaggy, signing books at the author table. Not wanting to run into the cellophane syndrome again, I sent Cody to talk to a publisher while I stood in line.
With his window cleaner blue eyes, he asked a few innocuous questions as he signed my book. I shrewdly gave his publicist my card and explained that I could get him booked on a tour through our Northwest stores. He smiled and I walked away.
Back to grabbing freebies, I met a publisher specializing in books on classic cinema and gay issues. I swear he was Bruce Vilanch's brother. I talked to him a bit and he offered just one of his multiple titles to me, until the conversation got around to the fact that I bought for 152 stores. I now have his entire library of titles. He also asked me to dinner. These are the guys I attract.
Breaking for lunch, Cody and I went to Doug Fir's. If you are ever in the Portland area, go. It is incredibly hip and oh so gay. The style is very retro and the waiters are fabulous.
I have a few hours to rest before the author dinner tonight. More to come...

Mr. Cellophane

Greetings one and all. I write to you today from Portland, OR, where TMSS is on location for the Pacific Northwest Bookseller Association trade show!
I am joined this weekend by my fellow Book Buyer Cody. Cody is a great guy who has been helping me chart the waters of Regional Books. It does help that he is nice looking in addition to his natural ability to put people at ease. He has been married for 2 or 3 years, I think.
Unfortunately, we discovered a downside to traveling together. On the flight from Amarillo to Las Vegas, we had two (That's TWO) pretty hispanic gay flight attendants. They were so busy cruising Cody, I couldn't get the time of day. So, poor Cody gets tagged for a 'mo and I get ignored. It could be a long weekend.
After getting to Portland, we drove around and found our convention center, which was a minor miracle considering the map that was provided to us.
Today is an incredibly busy day for us. We have to hit every University Press we can, and there are many. Cody will be leaving tomorrow morning, so we have to get all the work done today, but that should leave me Saturday to explore the city.
More from Portland later...

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Banned Books

Having been in the book business for longer than I care to admit, I am very passionate about bringing awareness to the plight of the banned book. The last week in September, the American Library Association and the American Bookseller Association both participate in Banned Books Week. Libraries and bookstores are encouraged to set up displays, hold lectures and generally inform the reading public of the threat of censorship. This has become even more important in the wake of the PATRIOT act, as the government can now search library and bookstore records without informing potential suspects and librarians and booksellers are forbidden to divulge that they have been searched.
When I was in the bookstore, I faithfully set up a display every year, and also participated in a discussion group at the county library. The display was a hit. Many books would sell off of it, and it always garnered media attention. When I got to home office, I decided to see if we couldn't go chainwide with the display. We have, and have received nothing but good feedback from the field.
What surprises me is that when I talk to the average person, they have no idea that a) Books are still being banned and b) There is a week dedicated to it. This is frightening when the ALA releases a report that more books have been challenged or banned this year than last year. MORE, not less. In this era of panic and fright, literature, the cornerstone of knowledge and communication, is being removed from schools and libraries across the nation...

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Lost innocence

I got home today to a lot of laundry sitting on the sofa, dishes in the sink, and general unruliness in my apartment. Not having any pressing engagements, I put on Madonna's Drowned World DVD and began to clean.
The background music was very helpful and I got a lot accomplised in a very short time. When I sat down, I remembered the last time I had seen it.
HBO had aired it in it's entirity live. I had decided to make an evening out of it. I called up Keith and David, and Karen and Nicole. We made appitizers and sat around reveling in the majesty and genius of Madonna. I was disappointed that her Evita number was reduced to an instrumental of 'Argentina,' but it was an incredible night: Good Food, Good Friends, Good Entertainment.

It was the last week of August 2001. It seems like a different world, and it was. There were no color coded alerts, no taking your shoes off at the airports, Karen and Nicole were together and there was no sign of the cancer that would claim Nicole.

I am not usually one for such morose thoughts, but as I watch the devestation Katrina has wrought and the general lawlessness that has pervaded the aftermath, I yearn for those simpler days.
Of course those days weren't simple, they just seem that way, clouded by the distance only the past can provide...