inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #26 of 51: thermonuclear thesaurus (zimby) Fri 5 Feb 99 17:21
    

not enuf. but I get some tonight.

TODAY was a big tornado of press in DC. And I may get 10 hours of sleep!

Better yet, I've been planning this huge benefit book party. INstead of
throwing a nice wine & cheese, I decided to throw an EVENT. SUffice it to
say, we got fucked raw by a promoter who didn't kno biz-ness.

Nonetheless, we have managed to get over $30,000 in corporate sponsors; two
awesom bands to play (the Roots--BEFORE they appear on SNL next Saturday,
and this incredible jungle/bangra band called Karsh Kale); lots of celebs
(ranging from Diane Saywyer to Russell SImmons to Ricki Lake) and it's all
gonna be good.

Monday is the day!
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #27 of 51: thermonuclear thesaurus (zimby) Sat 6 Feb 99 20:58
    
Aside from persistent insomnia, I had a really good time in DC. I did
this interesting show called either America or This Is America on PBS.
A huge roundtable. Lots of other TV and radio. And a big book signing
which was taped by CSPAN and should run soon.

And the benefit is right around the corner! Yay!
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #28 of 51: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sat 6 Feb 99 22:07
    
Occasionally I try to watch This Is America, but it tends to be very
annoying, in spite of hand gestures toward diversity.  But I would have
watched this one if I'd known.
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #29 of 51: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Mon 8 Feb 99 23:25
    

wait, zimby, they taped a book SIGNING?  how cool.
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #30 of 51: thermonuclear thesaurus (zimby) Tue 9 Feb 99 20:23
    
Farai’s Book Tour Journal:



2/9/99

Last night was my big book tour blowout party. I am very very tired,
and very very broke, but also very very happy.

Back in November, I decided to throw my book party as a benefit for
two youth-oriented groups I work with: City Year (www.city-year.org)
and Do Something (www.dosomething.org). I tend to give a lot of money
to charity, so I thought: why not throw a big party and also make my
friends give a lot of money to charity too?

Good idea: poor execution (at least at first). I hired a woman who
is/was a friend to organize the benefit. She wasn’t working for free.
She planned to charge $2500 for her services. Suffice it to say that
instead of fixing things, she royally screwed them up. By the time she
finished “helping” us, we had sent out invitations to a venue which was
already booked, and none of the other things she was supposed to do,
like book talent or get liquor sponsors, was actually done. And two
weeks before the benefit, we only had eight—count ‘em, EIGHT—RSVPs for
an event with 300 capacity.

I literally was sitting in my office crying on the day I found out
that our space had fallen through. Not only that, but the negligent
party planner tried to blame the whole mess on me. I (easily) patched
things up with the venue which was mis-booked, and (pretty easily)
booked a beautiful new space called Float in midtown Manhattan. It is
drop-dead gorgeous. You walk into a series of foyers and smaller rooms
with couches and bars. Then the main room is a huge square with velvet
banquettes on 3 sides and a translucent white wall lit from behind on
the final side. That’s where we put the stage. There are also these
great light-table style tables which you can either rest your drink on,
sit on, or dance on depending on your whim.

Directly upstairs is a mezzanine with couches and tables so you can
look down on the action below. And in back there are 2 private rooms
where we had a fabulous catered dinner from this great Vietnamese
restaurant called Cyclo.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. We were lucky enough to have secured
a whole bunch of corporate sponsorship: $20,000 from MTV, $3,000 from
Vibe, $5,000 from Timberland and some other money from ABC, William
Morrow, and the singer Babyface. But even once we’d booked a location,
we had NO TALENT. We were shitting bricks. We got this friend of mine
at Vibe to start looking into things, but it was five days before the
benefit and we STILL had no talent. First thing that happened was that
my friend Tanya booked this incredible bangra/drum ‘n bass band led by
a guy named Karsh Kale. (The band is just “Karsh Kale and friends.”)
Karsh plays tablas, and they have a synth player, a drummer, a male
kuwaali singer, and a female soul singer. They rock the house!!!!!! And
then also, at the last minute, our friend Jess got the slammin’ hip
hop group The Roots to play. They are going to be on Saturday Night
Live this weekend.

So all seems well, right? Hah! The Roots show up tired and cranky. I
can’t really go into the whole rigamarole but we lept through HOOPS to
keep them happy. Of course, once they got on stage, they had the room
bouncing. 


Among the people who showed up were Diane Sawyer (she’s the coolest!)
and a bunch of other folks from ABC, a buncha folks from the WELL,
actor Andrew Shue, who founded Do Somrthing,  singer Duncan Shiek, Ms.
Foundation head Marie Wilson (who danced all night!), director Darren
Aronofsky, and actors Sarita Choudrey (who also danced all night) and
Jared Harris.  We totally sold out our 300 person capacity. And best of
all, I had a good time.

Late that night, a bunch of us girls who organized the fete went out
with one of the Karsh Kale band members for fries and burgers at an all
night diner in Hell’s Kitchen. We were all dressed to the hilt and
acting like fools. All the tired late-shift workers who showed up to
eat must have thought we were CRAZY. (Which is true, of course.)

So I hit the sack, woke up and had breakfast with my mom, who came in
for the event, and then hopped on a plane for SF. Onward, book tour,
onward!!!!


(I'll be at the Freedom Forum in SF tomorrow:
1 Market
Stuart tower, 21st fl
5:30 cocktails
6:30 reading)
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #31 of 51: Katherine Branstetter (kathbran) Tue 9 Feb 99 20:38
    
I'm tired *reading* that!

Look out!  She's coming this way!
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #32 of 51: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Wed 10 Feb 99 07:43
    
Heavens, what an ordeal.  I'm glad it came out so well.
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #33 of 51: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Wed 10 Feb 99 11:36
    

So basically, the adrenaline was PUMPING.
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #34 of 51: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 10 Feb 99 11:40
    
Whew.

I see from http://www.popandpolitics.com
that tonight you're at: 

                         5:30 reception/6:30 speech
                         The Freedom Forum Pacific Coast Center
                         1 Market St., Stuart Tower, 21st. Floor, SF

Missed your radio interview, darnit.  The Freedom Forum always reminds me of
the Eagle Forum...  (shiver) ...  but they look like a sort of apple-pie
cousin of the ACLU.  What are their politics?

Anybody know?
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #35 of 51: Moist Howlette (kkg) Wed 10 Feb 99 22:28
    


I was there.  She was magnificent - standing room only crowd, and the
bookstore sold out of books!
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #36 of 51: Martha Soukup (soukup) Thu 11 Feb 99 11:16
    
I was there, but I had to duck out early because of helping a friend shop
apartments.  Huge crowd of cool-looking people.
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #37 of 51: impoverished intervallic palette (castle) Thu 11 Feb 99 13:50
    

Farai rocks!
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #38 of 51: glacial melt (nanlev) Thu 11 Feb 99 14:41
    

Large room filled to capacity and Farai was 100 % charming and
mesmerizing, and damn smart, too.  Wellites in attendance, at least:

zimby, kkg, tpy, rreis, lin, sumac, barbg, latiny, soukup, cromis,
nanlev, wknutsen, fsquared and pys. any others ?
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #39 of 51: Martha Soukup (soukup) Thu 11 Feb 99 14:45
    
Also her hair looked great!
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #40 of 51: That's pronounced La Tiny=======> (latiny) Thu 11 Feb 99 23:39
    

and some youth who were IN the book were there, which was also very cool
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #41 of 51: this bag is not a toy (vard) Sat 13 Feb 99 22:01
    

Farai! Come to Portland!
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #42 of 51: thermonuclear thesaurus (zimby) Sun 14 Feb 99 22:59
    
I'd love to.

I had the BEST time tonight. I mean, bar none. After a mad dash
through several cities, I came to Denver and had a very light,
prolonged schedule. 2 things a day for 3 days straight.

By this morning, I was pretty bored. After doing a million things a
day, you get unfortunately used to overstimulation.

I was set today to do this show called E-Town which I knew next to
nothing about. Sort of a variety show, said some people. Eco-friendly.
Smart.

Well, this car is supposed to pick me up at 2:30. I'm used to the NYC
chauffered Town Car, where you sit in the back and either sleep or are
bored while someone is paid to drive. The guy who picks me up is a
scruffy retired professor (geology) with a pickup truck. We talk the
whole way there.

The show that evening is Taj Mahal and 3 Hawaiian slack key
guitarists-- Cyril Pahinui, Dennis Kamakahi and George Kahumoku. They
all BLOW me the HELL away!!! I mean, I was clapping and wiggling the
whole time. And then I get up in the middle of their sets and have a
little interview with Nick Forster, who is one of the hosts. It's
delightful.

The hosts of e-town are a married couple, Nick and Helen Forster. Both
musicians: he, bluegrass; she, a singer. After the show, they have a
reception and I get to talk to both of them. They've got 3
teen/twentysomething kids (his biological; her stepkids). They've led
and continue to lead an incredibly interesting life, with cultural
influences from all around. Very cool people.

Anyway, it was a great night. And I got the phone number of the
parents of one of the Hawaiian guys, just in case I need some real
cultural connections on the islands. I've never been, but I hope to go
in the next year.

This is the end of my official book tour--i.e., my time off from work.
Tomorrow I fly back to NYC, go back to work, and STILL have a zillion
book things to do. We'll see how that goes.....
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #43 of 51: Martha Soukup (soukup) Sun 14 Feb 99 23:15
    
Ooh, I heard Taj Mahal live once.  Sounds great all around.
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #44 of 51: Linda Dyer (lin) Mon 15 Feb 99 01:24
    

i used to go to the tapings of E-Town!  so much fun.
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #45 of 51: Wagner James Au (wjamesau) Mon 15 Feb 99 03:07
    

Cyril Pahinui-- would that be a son/relative of the late Gabby
Pahinui, the Jimi Hendrix, as it were, of slack key guitar?
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #46 of 51: Martha Soukup (soukup) Mon 15 Feb 99 09:40
    
Did he sing "Big Legged Women Are Back in Style Again"?  He should always
sing that.
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #47 of 51: Cynthia Heimel (plum) Mon 15 Feb 99 11:18
    


THe end of a book tour was always so sad, I always had to adjust to not
being the Princess anymore.  Although it was nice not to rush insanely
anymore.  Farai, will you be relieved?
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #48 of 51: thermonuclear thesaurus (zimby) Mon 15 Feb 99 12:51
    

re: 45 YUP!!

And as for the end of book tour, I had a major depression at the end of last
book tour, but this time I
'm relieved...
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #49 of 51: Moist Howlette (kkg) Tue 16 Feb 99 13:16
    



Congratulations on a successful tour, and on charming the socks off everyone
who met you.  I have this on good authority, btw.
  
inkwell.vue.28 : Farai Chideya's book tour journal
permalink #50 of 51: thermonuclear thesaurus (zimby) Mon 8 Mar 99 14:46
    
One more reading in New York:

Freedom Forum
Newswum New York
6:00 doors open (and they usually have snacks)
6:30 discussion

580 Madison Ave
56th/57th St.s
212-317-7503
  

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