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Book Expo reflections

For those addicted to reading, Book Expo America is a cross between Wonderland altand an obstacle course. If one can bypass the enormous crowds, fight through rabid fans bent on getting the latest advanced reader copies of their favorite read and fans loaded down with over a hundred pounds of books stuffed into tote bags, one can have a chance to meet and interact with the stars of the literary world. For me as an aspring author and book addict, it was sheer paradise.

From the show stopping show runners like Charlaine Harris, who generously encouraged me to keep writing, to the wonderful editors, sales people and volunteers who generously talked to an overly enthusiastic young writer who had far too many questions.

Even waiting on long lines to get autographs from personal heroes like animal specialist Temple Grandin and vampire author sensation Richelle Mead was a chance to connect with fellow fans. I chatted about Holocaust education with a brilliant young high school student from Maryland, discussed Christian theology with a handsome young salesman who was kind enough to watch my bulging book bags, and chatted with Laura Joh Rowland, one of the authors who inspired me to write.

As this is my second Book Expo, I had already mastered the unspoken survival rules. Pick events clearly, avoid all but the most yearned for big names, arrive at all signings thirty minutes early and take free samples judicially, remembering that you have to carry them home.

Most importantly, look outside your genre and the big publishers. There are a lot of new and independent voices being featured and many are incredible. Special recommendations to the Mystery Writers of America book in the 4400s, an amazing staff make sure you get recommendations suited for you.

Tomorrow, highlights include Bill Willingham of Fables fame and Mira Grant of the Newsflesh saga, both doing in-booth signings. I’m counting the hours.

Billboard's Touring Conf Plays In NY - Awards in Hand

Rush's Alex Lifeson & U2's Paul McGuiness

After six years at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City, the Billboard 7th Annual Touring Conference & Awards, moved over to the Sheraton New York on November 3-4, 2010. While attracting the most delegates in its history, the trade publication Billboard got a larger room for the two days of music industry panels, but  the awards show was held in a compressed space.

The panels covered mostly touring issues, including ticketing, merchandising, branding and sponsorships, VIP packages, artist development, new media and other live music , tech people issues. The conference attracts booking agents, artist managers, concert promoters, record company executives, venue professionals and a few indie artists.

The highlight of the concert was a keynote case study with the hot country group Sugarland along with its manager and  agent, but the real treat was Sugarland -- Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush.  Nettles has a big hit, "Who Says You Can't Go Home," with Bon Jovi back in 2006.

Read more: Billboard's Touring Conf Plays...

2010 NY Comic Con Reflections

Walking through Grand Central Station and seeing people dressed as Japanese schoolgirls, ninjas and superheroes is unusual, even for Manhattan. New York Comic Con and New York Anime Festival attracts the few, the proud and the geeky into the Javits Center for three straight days of comic books, movies, anime and zombie apocalypse.

Comic-Con At Street Level [photo: B. Balfour]Going to Comic Con/NYAF is not an activity for those who have a low threshold for public humiliation. Besides the spandex and the skimpy costumes, there is also the constant demand to participate in activities which practically demand shedding any self-consciousness.

One big attraction was the Michael Jackson Experience, where dancers competed to copy the moves of the late great performer. Although not brave enough to try, it was an experience to watch the heavily costumed souls courageous enough to attempt dancing weighted down by loads of fake armor. The fear of public humiliation aside, it was likely one of the most popular spots at the event.

Read more: 2010 NY Comic Con Reflections

The Super Mega Show Rocks with The Classics

From July 9th to July 11th, 2010, another great rock and roll collectors/fan convention, The Super Mega Show & Comic Fest, tooksupermega comic show place in East Fairfield, New Jersey. This fun show had all the requisites of such events -- autograph signings, panel discussions and live performances. But what was especially great was the live concert -- the Come Together All Star Jam -- that I attended on the 10th, which included some infrequently seen stars of past era such as the following:

  • John Walker of The Walker Brothers
  • Mark Lindsay, lead singer of Paul Revere and The Raiders
  • Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork of The Monkees
  • Terry Sylvester of The Hollies
  • Denny Lanie of Wings and The Moody Blues
  • Pete Best
  • Billy J Kramer

Read more: The Super Mega Show Rocks with...

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