ellenkushner: (NYC: RSD)
It's unbelievable:  Almost impossible these days to find a room in NYC for under $200!  I recommend:

• This 10/12 NYTimes article:  http://frugaltraveler.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/16/7-manhattan-hotel-rooms-for-150-more-or-less/

Colonial House Inn, W. 22nd in Chelsea. Near the HighLine, the Flatiron Building, and a pretty decent branch of Grand Sichuan.

A little pricier, but perfect:  

• Your own small, charming apartment on the Upper West Side, Country Inn the City.  We used to stay there before we moved here. He prefers longer stays (3 nights & more) - but check out the Last-MInute-Specials; you can always ask.

• Around the corner from it, the Beacon Hotel.  It's gotten a facelift since the funky days we stayed there, but you gotta love the kitchenettes, with Fairway & West Side Market across the street!  Suites w/2 rooms w/foldout couches a good deal for families. Near Lincoln Center, Nat. Hist. Museum, Artie's Deli.

Your suggestions?
ellenkushner: (NYC: RSD)
Tonight, my cousins Paul & Debra Saltzman Hill came up from lower Manhattan, where they've been living without power since the storm; Paul, an architect, has been organizing their building to make sure everyone has water and support - including getting people to carry water up to folks on the 12th floor (no elevators!), checking on the elderly, etc.  Because of this, it's one of the few buildings in their neighborhood that didn't need to evacuate just because of no power.

Here on the Upper West Side, they got hot running water and connectivity, and sent out a note to friends letting them know how they were. I was particularly struck by this, in Paul's note:


"As you can see, we have a 
lot of problems. That is a good thing. A few years ago, our rabbi told a story (...) that ends with the moral that only people who are doing pretty well can afford to have lots of problems. Someone who has a serious problem, like their apartment being flooded to four feet by the East River or someone whose neighborhood was burned to the ground can afford only one problem, like no home. We are fortunate to have so many problems."

* * * 

We also went out to dinner with them at our favorite local Turkish restaurant.  Our neighborhood is close to utterly normal - just some gaps in the stores where the owners/workers couldn't get here from other boroughs (or NJ!).  Our mailman said it took him 3 1/2 hours to drive in from NJ yesterday, since he couldn't use a lot of the roads.  Our doorman got up at 4:30 to come from Queens, so he wouldn't have to worry about the mayor's rule that from 6am - 11pm no car without 2 passengers could cross a bridge into Manhattan.

Some of our subways are already back up & running!  Including the one from our place to Times Square - so we are going tomorrow night to see a new production of Beaumarchais' Figaro off-Broadway.

I tell you this not to boast or to minimize what's happening, but in the spirit of "Things the Media Won't Tell You:"  the News is all horror stories & images, which have frightened & worried many; I think you need to know that not everyone in NYC is in the dark.

My cousin did say, however, before she left (on the bus, which is free through tomorrow, and runs pretty much from our door to hers 80 blocks away) that we could have no idea what pure joy it was to be able to simply flush a toilet.

Yep.

We were supposed to leave for WFC in Toronto today, but we canceled rather than face the possible difficulties of travel from here.  And, to be honest, I felt I wanted to be with my city while this was going on; to see my cousins & make sure they had hot showers; to help Lizza Aiken get to the airport on Saturday; and possibly to take in more friends from downtown who had to flee their apartment when it lost power, because no one can live on the 21st floor without an elevator or running water for long!

They're saying power may be back by Saturday, though.  Considering the miracles city workers have accomplished so far, I wouldn't be surprised.  And I will be proud of them all.

ellenkushner: (FurCoat)
A lovely dinner last night at Paul Witcover's with Terri Windling & Christopher Schelling (our mutual agent) and assorted friends, for visiting author friend Liz Hand  . . . one of those dinners where the wit and wine flow free, and you wish it would never end (and that you could stop yawning after midnight!). The talk ranged from reading books to writing books to reviewing books (we are nothing if not consistent).  

Much champagne (well, sparkling white from various countries) was drunk to celebrate the publication of Liz's second Cass Neary novel, AVAILABLE DARK (which, if it is even half as good as the first one, is very, very good indeed!). Bottles kept popping open. I drank more than I normally do, but it was over the course of many hours, and accompanied by lots of terrific food. We stayed out later than we normally do, and came home late and happy on the subway.

As Terri & I said good night to each other at opposite ends of the hallway, we remembered the way we used to sit in the scruffy kitchen on 110th St. (yes, the very kitchen in the apt. in my last post), wondering at the fact that here we were, young 20-somethings already successful in publishing, living in New York, and yet . . . and yet . . . . 

Where are the boys with champagne?

we used to cry.  Because surely, once you'd been published, won awards, etc., your life would be an endless feast of beautiful young men pouring champagne - and you'd never have to do the laundry or the dishes or take out the trash or scrub the catbox again?!  And yet.

So; last night.  We were back in the midst of the Glamorous Publishing Thing together. It was just the way we'd always hoped it would be.  And we realized, that, now, finally - and I swear we both shouted this out at exactly the same moment:

We'd found the boys with champagne!
ellenkushner: (gargoyle)

The most extraordinary thing happened to me today.

I returned to the apartment I lived in after college, the one that inspired my Riverside books, the one where I wrote Swordspoint and Thomas the Rhymer.

It happened because, about 3 years ago, I wrote this post about it.  Recently, the new owner found the post and wrote asking me if she was indeed living in my old apartment.

Reader . . . It was someone I knew.  --Or, at least, had known, in my previous lifetime in publishing.  She'd known my brother in college, and we'd had lunch a couple of times.  She worked at the Village Voice, then. (Now, she is a YA writer, and I will have to ask her permission before I go posting her address here....I'll call her "P--" for now.) We also figured out that she is the person responsible for my reading BAB: A SUB-DEB.  And she had a well-worn first edition of Swordspoint.

The odds are dazzling and enormous.

And here I confess that it's taken me about a year to take her up on her offer to come over and see the old place.  Even though, before I knew it was hers, I'd dreamed of slipping a note under the door saying, "Hi, I used to live here and would you mind terribly if I came in and looked around, sometime?"  It's different, when it's someone you know.

Fortunately, Terri had also lived in that apartment with me for awhile (along with a rotating cast of roommates) - she created Bordertown there, in fact! - and she wanted to see it, too.  So we went together.

And it was wonderful.  My body remembered the elevator, and the hallway; it all felt right and familiar, as if I'd never left.  The apartment's been fixed up - inlaid floors sanded & polished, kitchen re-done - but not unrecognizably. And it's all still there.  Terri & P-- went into the kitchen to make tea, and I confess I sat in the livingroom and cried, because there was the fireplace where Alec burned the book, and the wall Richard had practiced against.  And the window where I had my desk, looking out on the street, was glowing in the sunlight.

I joked with P-- that, since I am trying to write a novel about a girl who goes back to Riverside, she should let me come over and write there - and she claimed that if I promised to name an appealing character after her, she would consider it.

We'll see.

This is not quite the post I'd intended to write; either I'm too tired, or I don't actually want to talk about it all yet. I did take a lot of photos, and maybe I'll put them up, here or on FB. (I tweeted one, today - because it's easy from my iPhone.  I'm so Lo-Tech!) But since the day also included Delia leaving for ICFA, and my going later to a friend's talk at the Drama Bookshop . . . and getting and obsessing over audition clips for the TPOTS actors . . . Well, it's nice to be able to just sit here and think about it.

ellenkushner: (FurCoat)
An absolute peach of a day, or so it turned out after a stressy morning following up on last night's dreadful moth revelations (which were Tweeted & Facebook'd in ghastly RT*) - managed to make it to lunch date with Ellen Datlow, Betsy Mitchell (editors of considerable note) and visiting Israeli publisher (and BBF) Rani Graff at PongSri for Thai near the theatre where we then saw Alan Rickman & a remarkable cast of younger actors in SEMINAR on Broadway.  It's all about aspiring writers, and we hooted our way through it, poking each other frequently; after, we retired to Amy's Bread on 9th to fortify ourselves with caffeine & baked goods, and argue about who was cooler, Writers or Editors.  I will not say who won; I think it was the oatmeal-walnut scones.

Then Betsy & Ellen went off to unaccountably do some editing, while those of us who Live for Pleasure ambled up to Columbus Circle, looked at some Crafts and then had an incredibly fine dinner at Sugiyama - turns out even Japanese fancy kaiseki restau's have an Early Bird Special - er, excuse me, Prix Fixe - in NYC.

The marched back down to W. 44th to see On a Clear Day You Can See Forever w/Harry Connick Jr, who wasn't very good, but the rest of the cast was.  [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman is bound to write up a smart review, so I will say only that the newly revised book is absurd yet charming.  I did see the original (in summer stock) when I was 12, and it had a great effect on me.  I am inclined to be critical; also, as a working fantasist, I resent my suspension of disbelief being asked to perform unreasonable acrobatics.  Still, I grinned through most of it, and didn't think about moths.

Walked Rani back to his hotel, where he presented me with some 12 boxes of Galilee Bouquet herbal tea in such divine flavors as Sage & Lemongrass, and Verbena & Za'atar. (I had asked for 1 box of Rosemary & Sage, but apparently Wissotsky doesn't make it any more.  As booby prizes go, the 12 other boxes take the cake bigtime!)

Subway took us home, where I attacked mothy plastic clothing bags with vigor and bleach - until I realized this was really stupid, and just threw them out.

Thank goodness for great lashings of sweet to go with the bitter.  And grant us the blahblah to remember that it's not always one or the other.

And to all, a good night.

*In brief:  Went to uptown Storage Unit yesterday (in rented car) to retrieve winter clothes, and found 4 of our stored Persian rugs seriously moth-eaten. Was not pretty.  Will spare you details.  Delia Facebook'd about it some. She waited for emergency Rug Man to come & take them away.  Will cost a lot to fix, but hope insurance will cover.  HOPE.  Brought clothes home, thought they were OK, but found damage in one, so went out for garbage bags & mothballs (yes, I know now that mothballs do not in fact work - looked a buncha stuff up on internet - including fact that we shoulda put anti-moth in the rugs when we stored them - but who knew?  Our stuff is in a climate-controlled bunker 4 floors underground! It all seems so sterile, there....); this morning took it all to the cleaners....
ellenkushner: (Witches of LUBLIN)
All this month, NYC's wonderful Center for Fiction (formerly the Mercantile Library) presents a series of science fiction and fantasy events during centered on a celebration of Ursula K. Le Guin's novel A Wizard of Earthsea, called The Big Read.  

I'll be participating in the events there on October 19th, 20th & 24th.  [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman moderates a YA panel this Thursday, Oct. 13th, featuring [livejournal.com profile] blackholly, [livejournal.com profile] cassandraclare, Justine [livejournal.com profile] larbalestier, &[livejournal.com profile] chris_moriarty.  These events are FREE.

And on Weds. night, Oct. 12th, Margaret Atwood is coming to speak on "the impact that science fiction has had on her life as a reader and a writer."

This event is not free.  But, for my Services to the Empire, I have been empowered to offer free tix for YOU!  To be on the Guest List for the Atwood event, go to this page.  Click on RSVP there, and in the Messages box type in code: EKSF

To RSVP for other events (which are free), please go to:
http://www.centerforfiction.org/events/the-big-read/
and click on individual dates in the "Big Read Events" box.  It's not like they won't let you in without an RSVP, but it helps them figure out how many are coming; and I suppose if something gets really crowded, the RSVPers will get first pick of seats in their really charming 1930s LiteroColonial building on E. 47th Street.  It's a pretty intimate space - and there are Refreshments after! And tons of used books downstairs.

The Center has assembled a remarkable list of speakers for these events, including John Crowley, Samuel R. Delany, Elizabeth Hand, Michael Swanwick,  N.K. Jemisin, John Wray,  Andrea Hairston, Alaya Dawn Johnson, Steve Berman, Carlos Hernandez, David G. Hartwell...  (I'm afraid you missed last week's Naomi Novik, Lev Grossman, Kelly Link, Katherine Anne Goonan et al panels.)

And it warms my heart to see a Serious Literary Institution giving such honor to a great author & observer of SF/F, and we, her acolytes.

So do come if you can.

For more information: http://centerforfiction.org/events/the-big-read/


There's also a pretty entertaining post at [livejournal.com profile] rosefox 's Genreville about it all.

And if you thought Atwood wanted nothing to do with SF, you'll be pleasantly surprised with the recent interview she did with the Center's Dawn Raffel.
ellenkushner: (NYC: RSD)
* Large, handsome African-American actor reciting obscure speech from Shakespeare's KING JOHN (very well! we all gave him money.  He began boomingly: "Your graces pardoned..." and we thought it was going to be a sermon at first! So good.).

* Korean kid with orange striped hair doing loud, impressive, complicated tap dance routine on platform @ 42nd St.

* Woman with delicious hat (a "fascinator") but a rather sour expression

I impute all this to the presence of my visiting friend Nick, from Maine - clearly NYC was showing off for him!  He is here to read some characters in Monday's actors' voice recording of the Swordspoint audiobook.  It will be SO GOOD.

We went to see our friend Michael Schumacher dancing in a piece Peter Sellars is working on about the Vimalakirti Sutra at the Rubin Museum.  Sellars spoke for almost an hour, and we were so close we coulda hugged him.  Man, I love that guy.  Beforehand the program director, the fabulous Tim McHenry, told some people behind us that they should present the performers with something after - I spun around and said, "Oh, *I* wanna give Michael the flowers!"  Turned out they were ahermaherm The Rubins - as in the people who founded the museum.  Fortunately she was perfectly lovely, turned out to be a big SF reader, so we swapped titles til the performance began - and she asked for my card.

Such is life - sometimes.

ellenkushner: (INTERFICTIONS)
Just found out that "Sleep No More" (which I wrote about here and Delia here ) did not close in the spring, or else is back:  running through Sept. 17th in NYC, for those who wish they had gotten a chance to see it.  Tix are pricey, but it's like nothing else on earth.

Best writeup may be Daniel Rabuzzi's here.
ellenkushner: (NYC: RSD)
Saw the Alexander McQueen exhibit last night at the Met(ropolitan Museum).  Friends had harrowing tales to tell of the lines this week, but we somehow found the sweet spot and missed the worst of it.  There are 3 lines you must engage with:  

(1) Getting into the museum building. 
This can involve standing outdoors and snaking into Central Park in the blazing sun.  But we went at 7 pm when it was raining, and few people were there (I guess just the subset of the ones who'd heard that the museum would be open for the exhibit til midnight, and didn't fear melting).  There were 3 lines, 2 going up on either side of the great steps, and 1 at the ground floor entrance at 81st, by far the shortest. We waltzed in there in < 15 minutes.

(2) Getting your entry badge from the admissions folks
We just walked up to the Member Desk & displayed our cards to receive badges - but in fact, the lines for regular admission were very short then, too.

(3) The Grand Tour 
When we joined the line to get into the exhibit, the sign promised a 5-hour wait.  But what did the line snake through?  THE MUSEUM!  So we looked at things on the wall all the way through.  We picked which single piece of Chinese porcelain we would choose from each case we passed. We marveled at the 4,000 yr old silverwork of the Bactrians (who?)  and the taste of the 19c in paintings (smarmy nymphs w/veils, oh my!).  We talked about Life - I regaled my nephew with tales of the idiocies I committed in my 20s, hoping to give him heart as he enters his own . . . . We people-watched and Tweeted (me) and Facebooked (Delia) our progress - and in 2 short HOURS we found ourselves inside the exhibit itself.

It is All That and More.   It's not just looking at a bunch of amazing dresses that are in fact interstitial works of art; it's an entire Installation with music and sets and video & holograms.

If you can't see it, there is a plethora of pictures on the web, and the exhibit catalogue is well worth getting.  But if you're in town and want to give it a try, today is the final day and the museum is OPEN TIL MIDNIGHT, and  I would say:

a) Get on line in the rain they promise is coming, or at least after 7pm so you're not standing outdoors in the blazing sun.
b) Last night, at least, they were LETTING PEOPLE INTO THE MUSEUM til MIDNIGHT - it's not as if you need to be there by 10pm because they chase you out at 12.  I didn't realize that.  Though when we left ca. 10:30, the lines were longer than when we'd gotten there at 7.  And let's face it, tonight's going to be a madhouse.  But witnessing that is part of the fun.
c) Thank the guards - they're working crazy hours, and they look tired.
ellenkushner: (gargoyle)
 A wonderful visit today with Henry Wessells at James Cummins Booksellers on Madison Avenue, where he generously & affably showed my nephew, Theodora Goss[livejournal.com profile] d_aulnoy , Kakaner and me some of the jewels of the collection, and taught us about cut and uncut pages and bound and unbound copies.  I read from first editions of Tristram Shandy, Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Woman, and Chesterton's [ETA:  my nephew informs me it is Lord Chesterfield I mean, and "not G. K. Chesterton"]  letters to his son - none of which I've ever read myself, not in any edition.  Now I want to read them all.  But I wonder if I'll find them as compelling in modern paperbacks?  They felt so dense and amusing and . . . real in their originals.  Plus, Chesterfield had some excellent advice on how a young man should get on when he first comes to town and tries to establish himself, which I read to nephew, hoping he'll find it of use as he is in precisely that situation.

A young Brit was also there, perusing the shelves for what turns out to be his collector's passion, pre-1830s colored prints.  As he was leaving, he turned to AJ & me and said, "If you're thinking of collecting I just want to tell you:  Do it.  It is one of the great pleasures of life."

Oh, dear.

new post

Mar. 13th, 2011 07:35 pm
ellenkushner: (IAF)
 Got back last night from a completely wonderful day:  first to matinee of an Arthur Miller play I'd never even heard of,  The American Clock (directed by Cynthia Babak, writer & reviewer Paul Witcover's partner).  There's a nice review here, and [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman  just wrote one as well (also see her last one, on the TFANA's brilliant revival of F. Murray Abraham's Merchant of Venice).   Final performance tonight.  A fusion of vaudeville, show tunes, video & a script written with Miller's genius for tight characterization, jumping from scene to scene, from monologue to monologue, so that you felt like you were switching channels on a collection of fabulous movies about the Great Depression, each of which you'd love to watch in its entirety, and all of which together gave you the genuine sense of what it was like to live through those times - as Miller intended.

Our companions were the delightful delicious pair Carlos Hernandez (author of "The Assimilated Cuban's Guide to Quantum Santeria"   and co-author of the Interfictions 2 Study Guide) and poet & educator Liz Clark. We started out at that fish place on 5th, wound down to Gorilla Coffee . . . and were still talking about books, writing, teaching and the best leather jackets when we parted at the Atlantic St. station.

I got home and checked e-mail, and was disappointed to see that there were no comments to the LJ post I had thrown off that morning . . . hadn't I?  I remembered writing it.   So where was it?  Oh dear, oh dear . . . nothing.  Went to bed certain psychosis was immanent.

Then I remembered that I'd posted it here.
ellenkushner: (EK/DS wedding band)
Long silence this week due to wonderful visit from Boston dear friends Mike & Deb - Mike was the PD at WGBH when I applied for a job there; he hired me and promptly left the station, but we became good friends, and he and Deb were a very important part of my life in Boston - in fact, he held one pole of the chuppa at our Legal Wedding in 2004 - and that's Deb's sleeve you see in the background of the photo posted in Kelly Cogswell's terrific article on Delia & me in this week's Gay City News (thanks to Sarah Smith for the photo - and to Jim Freund for editing it & posting it on Picasa along with the other ones from the NYRSF reading last week!  Kelly C. was at the reading, and I was also delighted to see she got such nice quotes from some of the other folks in attendance).

With Mike & Deb we went up to the celebrated Arthur Avenue old Italian district in the Bronx, and brought home just about everything we couldn't eat on the spot.  Deb & Delia prepared bronzino with fennel & fresh linguine (which Mike must've stood online for for over an hour!) w/fresh mozarella & zucchini.  We were nearly too full for the ricotta pie.  Nearly.


On Thursday, Delia & I did our now-annual trip to St Bart's to pay our respects to her parents in the crypt - miraculously, the organist began practicing for the Christmas service as we walked in the doors, so we got a great big glorious blast of that as lagniappe.  Then we wandered up Fifth Ave. looking for the perfect place for tea, but the St Regis was fully booked - we couldn't even snag a seat in the King Cole Bar, so we fell back on the little basement cafe at Bergdorf Goodman, which while short on decor has amazingly good food & nice staff.  Convenient, too, for looking at the store's holiday windows, which are, as usual, spectacular this year.  I tweeted a bunch of the Fifth Ave. windows - you can see links to all of them here, I think (also the pony-riding goats at the Big Apple Circus, which is where we went yesterday!).  And, oh, yeah, then we went to Tiffany's for a wedding gift for D's cousin - you wouldn't believe the price of silver, now!  Delia wanted to send some as it's what her mother would have done (groom's mother recently told very funny story about mailman in small town Louisiana actually trembling as he delivered her high school graduation box from Tiffany's [a small pin]) - so we settled on a very pretty little crystal vase instead.  And then, whaddayaknow - Tiffany's was giving out hot chocolate & candy & cookies to all! It was very impressive.  I had a reindeer, and then a bird in blue icing, which you can see in this photo I took of the entire impressive setup.

Lessee, what else?  Daniel Rabuzzi sent me a link to Annie Lennox's new video God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (which title it took me years to realize is not "God rest you, merry gentleman" but "God rest you merry, gentlemen!"), saying:  Brings to mind Thomas the Rhymer, and Greer [Gilman]'s work. - oh, yes!  And if you youngsters don't already know Eurythmics/Annie Lennox's Here Comes the Rain Again and Walking on Broken Glass videos (yes, that is Hugh Laurie as her dorkish 18c beau), consider them my gift to you this year.  (And sorry about the commercials - YouTube wtf is up with that??!)

Finally:  This piece by Susan Dominus in the NYTimes on today's wedding anniversary of four longtime friends just made me grin (and read every other line to Delia at the breakfast table!).  It also contains some remarkable truths & insights about my parents' generation.  Read it and be glad they were and are with us all.
ellenkushner: (Latvian THOMAS)
Delia & I are reading tonight at NYRSF  at 7pm  (details here).  Continuing last year's tradition of presenting not-yet-published work, this time I'll be giving a sneak preview of "The Duke of Riverside,"* a new story set shortly after my novel Swordspoint. It will be published this summer in NAKED CITY: TALES OF URBAN FANTASY, edited by Ellen Datlow (St Martin's Press, July 2011).  [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman  will read from her forthcoming teen novel THE FREEDOM MAZE (Big Mouth House, 2011): the story of a girl from 1960 who travels back in time to her family's sugar plantation in 1860s Louisiana, and is promptly sent to the slave quarters . . . kind of an E. Nesbit time travel book with teeth!

I seem to have caught a mild cold - or maybe it's just brutal malaise brought on by too much running around - but don't worry; I've given great performances in far worse condition; as soprano Laurie Monahan once replied when I asked her what techniques singers use for delivering the goods with respiratory ailments:  Adrenaline!  Seems to work.  But just in case, I propose to spend the day in bed re-watching the third season of Slings & Arrows, with maybe a little gentle Georgette Heyer, plus, if I feel up to the excitement, the galleys of Nancy Werlin's new novel, Extraordinary, which she was kind enough to send me in return for a sneak peek at "Duke of Riverside."

This will be our first time in the new reading series space, SoHo Gallery for Digital Art -  a thrill because its walls are lined with projection(?) boxes wherein giant images glow.  Even if you can't come, series director Jim Freund has posted tonight's images here (and this seems like a good place to thank him for putting up with my megrims as I fussed & fretted about what should go up, after having claimed on Friday (on the train to Philadelpia, by iPhone) that I didn't care that much!).  Along with book covers & illos, they include a couple of photos from our 2004 wedding in our backyard in Massachusetts, one of us cutting the cake, and the other of the giddy cake toppers (made by our dear Sarah Smith).

*As "The Duke..." weighs in at a hefty 8,000 words, I don't know that I'll be able to fit it all in my 30-minute timeslot. Will rise from my bed of teem at some point & try to figure out how many minutes/page - does anyone know?
ellenkushner: (NYC: RSD)
I just quite unexpectedly met Alan Rickman, backstage at a performance of Strindberg's Creditors  at BAM, a show he directed. I was the guest of the Welsh Cultural Council (long story) and we had fantastic seats for the show (row B!).  One of the three amazing actors in this tight little drama, Owen Teale, is Welsh, so we were ushered backstage to meet him - and what a great guy he is!  He speaks of Rickman with warmth, and not a little awe.  He is, apparently, a force to be reckoned with.  (Teale also does fabulous imitations of his voice, along wtih Al Pacino's  and other dressing room visitors....Ah, actors!  I could never mimic worth a damn.)  Apparently Rickman comes to every performance, and gives notes (by phone) the next day.  So there he was in the dressing room, being pleasant to everyone who wanted to talk to him.  He obligingly shook hands with all of us. Then I had wine with Teale (who obligingly had brought out plastic cups & opened a bottle) - it did seem a bit Wrong that we were there to see him, but everyone was still clustered around AR.  Then Rickman politely said good bye all, and I realized I had a copy of "The Man with the Knives" in my bag.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained - I mean, it's not like anything bad was going to happen.  So I shook his hand again, and said, "I had no idea you would  be here tonight, but I wonder if I could give you this?  Thank you very much; I really appreciate all the work you've done" or something like that.  And off he went.

I knew you'd kill me if I forgot to mention it.  Especially as I already told my Twitter pals first.  (But you know I love you best, don't you?)

mano a mano

May. 6th, 2010 12:22 am
ellenkushner: (CantySwordspoint)
An early review of "The Man with the Knives":  

A very nice guy, a retired engineer from Queens, is always at the NYRSF readings - so he heard [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman  & me read the story in its public debut there in December '09.  I was at NYRSF last night to hear Greg Frost read (hilarious Donald Westlake homage for Darrell Schweitzer's new Cthulu anthology), and the guy made a point of coming up to me to tell me he'd heard the rebroadcast of the story this past Saturday at 6 a.m. on Hour of the Wolf.  "I liked it even better the second time," he said.  "And there was a lot I missed the first time - for instance I hadn't realized it was mano a mano."

But there was no hand-to-hand combat in that story. "Mano a mano?"   I assumed the look of perky inquiry I assume when baffled but benign.

"You know," he said; "I didn't realize his first lover was, well, another man.  It was good, though.  I really enjoy your writing." 

We proceeded to have a lovely talk about his daughter who's a burlesque artist & costume designer at Coney Island.

The world is a wonderful place.

P. S.  The radio show, complete with our reading of the story, will be up online for another 9 days.  Here's the info on how to hear it.
ellenkushner: (Madame J.)
First of all, thanks to all the lovely wonderful people, old friends & new, who came to celebrate with us on pub day for The Man with the Knives, my new chapbook from Temporary Culture.   (I'm going to get your names/tags wrongs, so please do "sign in" below so I can thank you personally!.)  Here's everyone partaying at the elegant James Cummins Booksellers on Madison Avenue (full of delectable rare books - yes, that is a first edition of Keats' poems under the glass case) while I slave away signing books:

  

And here is the Thing Itself - the first copy I held in my hand - note the raised type of the cover, which is real embossing [check the back - see? raised!], and the page with the number count  (only numbered in the hand-bound version - note Henry's red fingerprint [one in every book, even the paperbound]!)

                 


There are still plenty of books left, so click here to find ordering information.  

And if you'd like your book signed and/or inscribed, I'll be happy to do that for you if you let Henry know before Saturday noon (when you order), as that's when I'm seeing him next.  I inscribed about 8 of them today to people who'd pre-ordered - you know who you are - and thanks!  If you don't like the story, you can simply enjoy the Beautiful Object you will soon be holding in your hands.  The weight & surface of the paper . . . the texture of the cover . . . the interior illo's . . . . ahhh!  Bliss in 32 pages.
ellenkushner: (DREYDL)
Remember right before your parents' parties, where any time you reached your hand out to something in the 'fridge, your mom shouted, "Don't touch that -- it's for Company!" ?  (Man, I hated Company.  They got all the good stuff - howcome we never got confetti pasta salad, or little parfait puddings?)

Well, right now my 'fridge is full of Cheeses of Many Lands, and baby carrots, and hummous & baba & stuff like that.  And, [livejournal.com profile] deliasherman , DON'T TOUCH IT!!!

It's all going down to the Workmen's Circle building tomorrow, where we're assembling a cache of New York's Finest voice talent, to do a reading (with music by Yale Strom & Hot Pstromi) of the Feminist Shtetl Magic Realist Klezmer Musical Radio Play I've been writing with Yale & Elizabeth Schwartz, The Witches of Lublin.  It's a private reading, designed to let us writers hear the script done by Real Actors, and hear if it works.  We've invited some colleagues to critique us, as well.  We did the same thing almost a year ago today, and spent the year rewriting based on people's comments (and the things that had been brilliant on paper - and when we read them aloud in Y&E's backyard in San Diego - that suddenly rang like tin).  [That said - we've just moved into a bigger room, so if you really want to come listen tom'w, let me know.]

The whole thing started in June 2006, when we were moving into our apartment in NYC, and our dear friends Yale & Elizabeth were packing up to move to San Diego.  While we were hauling our unpacked boxes out to their car for them to use, I said, "I'm really sorry you guys are leaving, not just because I was looking forward to being in the same town with you, but because I'd been hoping we could do a project together."

And, Lo! before all the boxes were in the car, we'd had an idea.  And I went back to the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music, who'd been asking me to propose something, and said we'd do the Debut of our new Musical Radio Play for their 2007 season.  And it was so.  We worked with a great trio of pickup musicians + an entire radio theatre troupe that just happens to reside in Kalamazoo, and presented the show (with Eliz & me playing major roles) . . . . and then we rewrote the whole thing.

And in NYC in 2009 we did that reading, and we learned a lot.  And now we're ready to do it again.  After this one, I hope we'll be able to move forward with a director, producer & funder(s!) so we can record & mix in time for "The Witches of Lublin" to air on public radio for Passover 2011 as a Holiday Special.

I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime . . . Don't touch that!  It's for the Talent.

Cast List (April 2010):
Anne Bobby, Adrienne Cooper, Chris Delaine, Sam Guncler, Fiona Jones, Barbara Rosenblatt & Doug Shapiro
ellenkushner: (Knives cover)
The official publication date for "The Man with the Knives" is just one week away!  To celebrate & launch the book, Temporary Culture is throwing a small party.  As publisher/designer/chief cook/bottlewasher Henry Wessells says:

Come one, come all!


Monday 3 May
5:00 to 7:00 pm
James Cummins Bookseller
699 Madison Avenue, 7th floor (betwen 62nd & 63rd)
NYC
RSVP:  Henry at JamesCumminsBookseller d.o.t. com

There will be brand-new books there for sale:  both the $15 paperbound version, and the $$$$ handbound-cloth-with-marbled-paper, signed by both me & artist Thomas Canty.  Canty's original art for the book will also be on display.  (You don't have to buy a book to come - but you know you want one....)

Only 420 copies are being printed, and when they're gone, they're gone. To order (or reserve - if you know you're coming to the party, just ask him to set one aside for you) yours, send a check or note to Henry at the e/address on the webpage here.

You can also click through to proofs of the Title Page and the First Page from there, with examples of Canty's beautiful text decorations (but not his glorious full-page and pull-out pictures, which I guess will be a Surprise!).

I hope to see some of you at the party, where I will gladly & gratefully sign & personalize books of all kinds (as long as I wrote them)!  And that goes for just about anywhere - if you get a copy but are not in NYC, I'll be happy to sign it for you next time we meet. 

JUST ADDED:
I can sign & personalize pre-ordered (before May 3) copies!  Quoth Henry:
All subscribers can expect to have a copy signed by you (you can come early to the party), I will pour you a glass of wine, and you will sign away. If they send e-mail with name clearly spelled, I will print out the e-mails.

I should also point out that every single book from Temporary Culture really does come with a red thumbprint personally inked by the glorious Publisher.
ellenkushner: (NYC: RSD)
Well, it was time to get the apartment evaluated, to find out from a realtor whether it's worth remotely what we paid for it 5 yrs ago when we bought it at prohibitive expense, and then fixed it up and put in lots of lovely trinkets & wallpaper.

So we called our old realtor - who sold Delia's dad's apt when he died, helped us buy our temporary place, sell it, and then find this one - to give his opinion. We figured he could see past the squalor of half-packed Passover boxes, galley proofs of The Man With the Knives all over the floor, review copies of friends' ms., etc. etc., so we left it all pretty much as is.

The good news is, it's gone up slightly in value. The even better news: I don't have to clean up my room! I quote:

"This is really nice! I love what you've done with it . . . . It's got a real emotional pull . . . Yes . . . The fact that you work here is part of the feel . . . It's got an Upscale Bohemian feel to it. Don't pick up a single piece of paper! It feels like people in the arts live and work here. That will really appeal to the right person. Yes; you bought something really different and big, and you applied your own taste."

Don't get excited: we have no intention of selling or moving any time soon. But I can stop waking up in the middle of the night in a flop sweat now!

October 2014

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