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Nebula Awards Weekend 2011

The Nebula Awards Weekend are being held May 19 - May 22, 2011 at the Washington neb-logoHilton Hotel in Washington, D.C.

This year the Toastmaster is Michael Swanwick, a prolific science fiction and fantasy writer who has been awarded the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, the Theodore Sturgeon Award and the World Fantasy Award, all in one lifetime.

Events during this weekend include:

  • Workshops
  • Program
  • Tours
  • SFWA Business Meeting
  • Mass Autographing Session
  • Friday Evening Reception to Honor the Nominees
  • Nebula Awards Banquet and Presentations

The Workshops are:

Warfare for Writers – The basics for writing characters in battle, conducted by Timons Esaias. This workshop tackles three elements of this very vast subject:

  • A Catechism for the Semi-Clueless – the fundamentals of military science:
    • What is War?
    • Why are there units?
    • Why officers?
    • What are strategy, tactics, logistics and camp-followers?

Other basic definitions will be addressed, and most importantly, for each element the question will be raised: "What Does This Mean for My Writing?"

  • Fortifications 101 – a slide show discussing defenses through history. Hosts name the major parts of defenses, with the focus on the nine essential elements that tend to be missing when one visits castles, forts and bastions today.
  • Getting Combat on the Page – a series of writing exercises to put theory into practice. The "battle" will be broken down into modular parts. Attendees learn to consider what to show the reader, and what to spare them. Remember also that battle is the writer‛s opportunity to stress one‛s fictional characters in a nicely extreme environment.

Cooking Up a Book Launch: Recipe, Essentials and Icing, conducted by Janice Shoults, EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishingneb-MSbook

  • Creating Your Recipe
    • Why have a plan
    • What are your goals?
    • What is your plan?
  • The Essentials
    • Back to the 5 w’s
    • Promotions plans
  • The Icing
    • Brainstorming creative ideas around making a book launch unique to your book
    • Joint venturing
    • Online launch parties

Bonus Workshop: Cooking in a Test Kitchen – the chance for each participant to practice. Each group will be given the photo of a book cover, and a case study with details, and have an opportunity to work through the steps of creating a book launch and then presenting it back to the group.

TV Without Terror – Approaching a television interview without fear. Conducted by Mike Zipser and Tom Schaad of Fast Forward, a monthly half-hour cable TV show about the genres of SF, Fantasy & Horror, at the Arlington Independent Media studio.

This on-location practical workshop will give a taste of how television studios work, and what to expect.

In studio: See the workings of a small studio (and you would be surprised how small many studios really are).

Live experience: participants will take part in a mock interview and offer critiques of the mock interviews with peers. All participants will receive a DVD copy of the interview.

Practical tips related to little details that can make or break an interview:

  • What to wear
  • Makeup
  • Interview length
  • Do you look at the camera?
  • Other issues
  • Practical checklist

Improving Your Website – Evaluating and planning websites, conducted by Gayle Surrette and Paul Haggerty of SFRevu/Amperzen Design Studio
"Evaluating current sites" is the main focus of this workshop and will revolve around evaluating current author websites. This section also focuses on workshop attendee websites. Participates should provide a link to their current site so that the site can be easily accessed during the workshop.

Purpose of websites – Websites are an easy way to connect authors and fans, but do you need one? This section focuses on the importance and purpose of websites:
Is a website necessary for you?

  • What should be included on your website?
  • What should not be included on your website?
  • Pro/Con of having a blog be your main website?
  • Do you need to allow comments and reply?

There should also be time for a section related to Website Fundamentals to discuss the nuts and bolts of websites, if needed. There are numerous items that need to be included in website design plans. These are some of the main items the workshop will discuss:

  • DNS & hosting
  • Software
  • Design
  • Content
  • HTML
  • How often do you need to update?

Reading Aloud 201 – A Critique Workshop including Techniques of Voice Acting, conducted by Mary Robinette Kowal
(Attending the Saturday morning program item “Reading Aloud 101” on Saturday 11:00 a.m. is a pre-requisite to attending this workshop; different material will be covered in these two items)

People may audit this workshop, but auditors cannot ask questions or speak (people who wish to audit Reading Aloud 201 need to attend the program item Reading Aloud 101).

Other events include:

Visits to:

  • National Museum of the American Indian
  • Library of Congress
  • Smithsonian’s Air & Space Museum Tour
  • Smithsonian’s Natural History Museum

Presentations include:

  • Using Science in Science Fiction: A Presentation and Conversation
  • Writers Incorporating
  • Putting Your Backlist to Work
  • Collecting Over a Writer’s Lifetime to Supplement Retirement Income
  • Hints 4 Graceful & Subtle Self Promotion

Mass Book Signing – These authors will be present for autographs:

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Catherine Asaro
  • Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Christopher Barzak
  • J. Kathleen Cheney
  • Chris Claremont
  • Brenda W. Clough
  • Aliette de Bodard
  • Scott Edelman
  • Timons Esaias
  • Cynthia Felice
  • Andrew Fox
  • Laura Anne Gilman
  • Anne Groell
  • Joe Haldeman
  • Peter Heck
  • M.K. (Mary) Hobson
  • Vylar Kaftan
  • David Keck
  • John Kessel
  • Alethea Kontis
  • Mary Robinette Kowal
  • Geoffrey A. Landis
  • Lee Martindale
  • James Morrow
  • John Scalzi
  • Lawrence Schoen
  • Stanley Schmidt
  • Bud Sparhawk
  • Allen Steele
  • Eric James Stone
  • Michael J. Sullivan
  • Michael Swanwick
  • Darrell Schweitzer
  • Judith Tarr
  • Brandie Tarvin
  • Mary Turzillo
  • Michael Whelan
  • Connie Willis

The Nebula Awards Banquet will be held Saturday evening, May 21, 2011 in the International Ballroom.

In addition to the Nebula Award nominees, announcement will be made for the 2011 Grand Master. The title Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master is bestowed upon a living author for a lifetime’s achievement in science fiction and/or fantasy.

James Tiptree Jr. Bake Sale

The Tiptree Award honors works of speculative fiction that "explore and expand gender." This year‛s award winner will be announced.

James Tiptree, Jr./Alice B. Sheldon will receive SFWA’s Solstice Award, posthumously, at this year’s Nebula Awards Weekend. To further highlight her work, a Tiptree Bake Sale will be held during the weekend.

For more information go to

Nebula Awards Weekend
May 19 - May 22, 2011

Washington Hilton
1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.

Music Preview: The Real 'Royal' Kate


Soprano Kate Royal performs A Lesson in Love
Friday, May 20, 2011

Forget about the former Kate Middleton. The real “Royal Kate” is British soprano Kate Royal, who winds up a busy season in New York on May 20 with her long-awaited Carnegie Hall recital debut in the intimate Weill Recital Hall. This comes on the heels of her Carnegie performance with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra last December and her Metropolitan Opera debut in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice last month.

Royal’s recital (part of her first North American tour which also includes stops in Montreal, San Francisco, Atlanta, Vancouver and Vermont) will be taken up by the entirety of her latest EMI Classics CD release, A Lesson in Love, in which she and pianist Malcolm Martineau perform a selection of 29 songs to tell the story of one woman’s journey from youth to maturity via love and betrayal. The composers, which include Schumann, Faure, Wolf, Liszt, Debussy, Ravel, Strauss, Brahms, Britten and Schubert, were personally chosen by Royal, whose acute musical intelligence ranks with her lovely singing voice and poised stage presence.

For those who want even more Kate, EMI Classics has released a DVD of last summer’s production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni from England’s Glyndebourne Festival, in which a luminous Royal sings Donna Elvira. The soprano spoke by phone from Montreal before her recital there about her appearances in New York, how A Lesson in Love originated and how it feels being eclipsed in Google searches for her name by the new Duchess of Cambridge.

Kevin Filipski: How does it feel that, when someone Googles “Kate Royal,” they now get information on a Kate who married into the Royal Family a few weeks ago?
Kate Royal: Well, I seemed to have been bumped down a bit, haven’t I? (laughs) I was in New York for the wedding, but I still woke up at 5:30 in the morning and watched the whole thing. I actually became far more patriotic watching it from so far away from home than I actually was before. I felt very proud while watching, it looked absolutely beautiful and I think most people got the sense that they are genuinely a happy couple.

KF: How was it making your Metropolitan Opera debut singing in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice this past month?
KR: It went great! It was a great role to start off with at the Met, since it’s not too long or strenuous. It’s an amazing place and an amazing “barn” of a hall to perform in. I was happy to be singing Gluck to start, even though it’s quite difficult and quite a stretch to be doing baroque music at the Met, since there’s a lightness to baroque that’s tough to put across in a big place, but I think we pulled it off. It was lovely to work with dancers, from my point of view, since it’s mainly a ballet, not that I have to dance. It was lovely to watch and to combine that with singing. I’m very interested to sing something else there, and I’m slated to return next season.

KF: When we spoke last fall, you were preparing to sing Britten’s Les Illuminations at Carnegie Hall with Orpheus, the conductor-less chamber group. How was that experience?
KR: Actually, I thoroughly enjoyed the process. In terms of doing that again (working without a conductor), it would take a lot of trust with the musicians, so I would  certainly do it again but not all the time. It takes a lot to create a full democracy in music-making, but with that piece in that situation, it worked beautifully.

KF: Your current recital tour comprises a program you devised, A Lesson In Love. How did it come about?
KR: I wanted something to reflect what I do, what I love. I enjoy singing in recital, and it’s almost a separate career from singing operas. I wanted to try a concept of combining songs to create something that’s very personal to me. Obviously, the theme of love is an easy one to pick, and I wanted to create one character to sing. You usually have to create 20 separate mini-characters in a recital for each song you sing, so why not create one character through 20 songs? It’s a sung monologue, and I tried to pick songs which were written individually rather than as part of song cycles. There are well-known songs and a few less known pieces. I had the wonderful task of sifting through poetry that grabbed me, because I was focused on a performing a story that was in the first person and in a female voice. I always enjoy planning a journey to take the audience on, and doing this was a fun exercise that I think really works for me and for the audience.

KF: How will performing in a small room like the Weill Recital Hall compare with singing in a 4,000 seat “barn” like the Met?
KR: That’s the great thing about my job: you have to alter your performing style depending on where you are. A Lesson in Love was written for small audiences, and it’s difficult to create that intimate atmosphere in such a large opera house. It’s something that I enjoy doing while onstage, and I’m able to draw the audience in.

KF: A new DVD has just been released of Don Giovanni that you starred in at last summer. How do you see the visual aspect of your art in this era of social networking and other competition?
KR: I’ve watched clips of the DVD and I think that opera works fabulously on video and (director) Jonathan Kent’s idea was a very filmic one that translates very well. I think the visual has always been a huge part of my singing world, and I notice more and more while reading reviews that what performers look like, and even what they wear, are mentioned more than anything else, even in classical reviews. The media side of it has certainly changed, with a much wider audience that can watch operas live in movie theaters, which I think is a fantastic thing. The only downside might be an audience’s confusion over amplification: during a live performance, to experience the acoustic sound of an orchestra and singer is something that can never be recaptured on video.

Soprano Kate Royal performs A Lesson in Love
May 20, 2011
Weill Recital Hall
Carnegie Hall, 57th Street and 7th Avenue, New York, NY

Photo courtesy of EMI Classics

Pianist, Writer Charles Rosen Delights 92nd Street Y Audience

On the morning of November 14th, 2010, at the 92nd Street Y, acclaimed pianist and music writer, Charles Rosen, spoke fascinatingly for about 90 minutes on the late works of Frederic Chopin as a prelude to his concert celebrating the bicentennial of the composer's birth. Given that he has written three chapters on Chopin in his book on Romantic music and also recently did an article on the composer for the New York Review of Books, Rosen took this opportunity to avoiding repeating what he has said elsewhere and here sought to compare the style and achievement of Chopin with that of his exact contemporary, Robert Schumann. The speaker illustrated his talk with abundant musical examples at the piano.

Read more: Pianist, Writer Charles Rosen...

A Tribute to Spalding Gray

The life and work of the late Spalding Gray will be celebrated in a big way this week at IFC Center (323 6th Av.) in Manhattan from December 8 - 10th, 2010 . Wednesday night will begin the tribute, which leads up to the Friday’s release of Steven Soderbergh’s new documentary on Gray And Everything is Going Fine.  There will be guests galore.

Wednesday, December 8, 7:30pm the program screens the filmed version of the Tony Award-winning production of Our Town (1989, Kirk Browning), a long-running Broadway hit staging of Thornton Wilder’s iconic American play, directed by Gregory Mosher and starring Spalding Gray, with support from Eric Stoltz and Penelope Ann Miller.

Mosher will be in attendance to discuss the film, along with Kathie Russo (Gray’s widow and producer of And Everything is Going Fine) and Amy Hobby (producer of And Everything is Going Fine).

Thursday, December 9, 7:30pm, the tribute screens two rare films.  First, Thomas Schlamme’s 1988 Terrors of Pleasure, a 60-minute monologue written and performed by Gray.

Next is A Life in Progress, 1985, directed by Robbie Henson, a 30-minute portrait of the artist.  Additionally, this night will feature a trailer for Joe Berlinger’s and Bruce Sinofsky’s Brother’s Keeper which features a monologue performed by Gray.  Berlinger, in person, will discuss his work with Gray, along with returns from Russo and Hobby.

Look for Soderbergh to make an appearance during the premiere week of his And Everything is Going Fine.  The only one who won’t be there, sadly, is Spalding Gray himself.

Spalding Gray

IFC Center
323 Ave. of the Americas (at West 3rd St.)
New York, NY
box office: 212 924-7771

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